“Management professionals need emotional intelligence in relation to their subordinates, peers as well as bosses. Now, a leader has to learn how not to complicate relationships.”

The Chennai Chapter of Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad (IIM-A) Alumni Association and Anna University are jointly organising a one-day conference ‘Rethinking Management Education with Innovation and Creativity' in Chennai on October 29.

At a press conference, S. Muralidharan, president, IIM-AAA Chennai Chapter, said there were over 2,000 institutions in the country offering MBA programmes and in Tamil Nadu there were about 230 engineering colleges and business-schools offering MBA but the standard of education was not known. “The sudden change of trends like the recession in the United States and Europe, political turmoil in petro dollar countries, China's economic resurgence, the emergence of newer products and systems call for skill sets in the management graduates relevant to the global environment we live in,” Mr. Muralidharan said, emphasising the need to rethink and align the pedagogy to current economic and business requirements. He had a personal experience to cite as an example of changing business practices.

“For an overdraft, a bank manager came up with 10 propositions each one catering to a different portfolio. Unless management students are sensitised and imparted specific skill sets to put them on a self-learning curve, the purpose of education may not be served,” he said.

“This warrants for an innovative and creative approach in management education,” said Kandaswamy Bharathan, organising committee chairman. Explaining the context in which Harvard Professor Srikant Datar was commissioned to write a book in the wake of 2008 U.S. recession, he said Mr. Datar had stated that the three attributes of knowing, doing and being were essential for management education. The art of imparting knowledge was practised fairly well in the business schools but the doing part, that consisted of skill sets, needed revision.

“Nearly 30 years ago when we studied at IIM-A, communication skill was the most important. Today, it is not enough. Management professionals need emotional intelligence in relation to their subordinates, peers as well as bosses. Now, a leader has to learn how not to complicate relationships,” Mr. Bharathan pointed out.

“The objective is simple. Chennai has 110 B-schools. If the college managements, deans and directors can be sensitised, the conference will serve the purpose,” Mr. Muralidharan said. The chapter has over 100 alumni of IIM-A in Chennai specialising in different domains which could be channelised purposefully by using their skill sets, he said explaining the reason behind associating with Anna University. P. Mannar Jawahar, vice-chancellor, Anna University, said the university (which is all set to manage all engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu shortly) would look at the possibility of revising the MBA curriculum next academic year based on the recommendations of the conference.