‘An MBA could be the right degree when the economies reboot’

“Digital-savvy MBA grads from top schools of the world would be the winners,” says Ashley Fernandes

Prospective MBA students may be worried about the impact of COVID 19 on the future job market. Yet, even in dire times, this is scope for opportunities, says Ashley Fernandes, Country Head for India, emlyon business school. In an interview with The Education Post, he also points out that MBAs need to be flexible, diligent, and disciplined in their approach. Here’re the edited excerpts.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the jobs market hard. How an MBA could help one stands out once the economy restarts?

The coronavirus pandemic has led to lay-offs, cost-cutting as businesses are hit immensely. As the lockdowns continue, business models will evolve and professional skills will come handy in a highly selective workplace. An MBA could be the right degree when the economies reboot.

As you would be aware, MBA programs are facing constant and rapid changes and ROI is paramount in the participant’s decision process. Research, quality delivery of fundamental and practical knowledge, helping the participant’s leverage their hard and soft skills are important; but what is essential today is closing the knowing doing gap.

Let’s not forget that MBAs are usually hired to strengthen the corporate leadership talent pipelines

Rapidly evolving technology, increasing data, climate change, environmental issues, pandemics, mounting inequality lead to volatile, uncertain political and social environments, create complex and ambiguous situations that leaders need to anticipate, and managers need to navigate. Knowing how and having the confidence to take on these challenges will determine the personal and professional success of the next generation of students.

Do you think a change in the approach matters a lot in these days of uncertainty?

Prospective MBA students may be worried about the impact of COVID 19 on the future job market. Yet, even in dire times, this is scope for opportunities. MBAs need to be flexible, diligent, and disciplined in their approach. We have launched a special webinar series in India, CareShareDare Talks through which we have challenged students to look at the constraints and turn them into opportunities.

One size fits all is something of the past

We believe future employers will appreciate their willingness to be proactive and think ahead of the curve. Let’s not forget that MBAs are usually hired to strengthen the corporate leadership talent pipelines. Crafting an unconventional story in times of uncertainty such as now, as the pandemic rages on, will undoubtedly show a sense of grit, and resilience; true signature of leaders.

Why Digital savvy MBA graduates will be in high demand in a post-pandemic world?

The pandemic has crystalized the shortfalls of previous models and been an acceleration of the digital transformation that was already in motion; in play, digital and data are now centerpiece in many business models and strategies. As businesses recover from the virus shock and reinvent themselves, disruptive ideas, digital-savvy MBA grads from top schools of the world would be the winners.

emlyon business school’s International MBA has continuously improved its international rankings over the last years and participants’ satisfaction is on the rise.

What is at the crux ofemlyon business school’s value proposition is experiential learning

The program offers an extensive range of electives to advance the technical skills of participants. At the school, digitization, hybridization, and internationalization are essential components of a strong eco-system, and each student has the opportunity to create a unique learning path toward his/her professional goal.

Could you tell us the approach of emylon business school in this scenario?

What is at the crux ofemlyon business school’s value proposition is experiential learning. Bringing knowledge along with a change in mindset and working on real projects are part of the “early maker” journey, which is the school’s pedagogy. The makers’ approach is very important. Teamwork, prototyping, testing, gaming, exposure to diverse and multicultural environments, immersion in corporate projects are all impactful ways and means to force participants out of their comfort zone and combine knowledge and emotions.

Managing the unknown, and finding assurance in uncertainty, trigger confidence and help they develop critical and impactful thoughts and actions, now and most importantly in the future. In a nutshell, not only are they ready to accept, lead and manage change, they are the change. Another important tangible benefit from working on real company projects is that problem solving is put in the broader perspective of stakeholder relationship, societal and inclusive impact. It’s another way of saying that management is about solving people’s problems.

One size fits all is something of the past. Moving industries, shifting gears and/or climbing the corporate ladder, relocating to another part of the global village, whatever the motivation, the MBA team provides each participant with an approach focused on individualized outputs and the optimum ROI.

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