On 29 July 2020, the Government of India, through its renamed Education Ministry (erstwhile MHRD), launched the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), the first education policy of the 21st century, based on the foundational pillars of access, affordability, equity, quality, and accountability, and aligned to the aspirations of the citizens of the era. For Adamas University, this path-breaking policy presents the perfect setting of its cherished aims and objectives. Since its inception, Adamas University, through the general notion of academic freedom, benchmarking with the best of the world, unshackling the quality framework, has been nurturing all its constituent schools and helping them realize the aspirations of the millennial population they serve as students and scholars.
In spite of the raging pandemic, the School of Business and Economics (SOBE), is well poised with its robust work practices, frameworks, strategies and tools to understand and manage the challenges of building a modern, international, relevant centre of excellence, catering to the unique needs of the students and the corporates that it considers as primary stakeholders. The School rests on three strong unique pillars (USPs, if one may call them):
1. Deep connect with the corporate:
In the most canonical way, business is a practice-driven field, so the deep connectivity with the corporate world is imperative, and a real differentiator in this red-ocean of management or business schools, the vast multitude of institutions operating with essentially no difference, leading to commoditization of business education in India. At SOBE, we believe that business is going to transform the world for the good of all by facilitating more and deeper communication between management professionals, scholars, and students. SOBE with most of the faculty either having substantial corporate experience or having worked as consultants to the corporate world, try to mimic through modern online teaching methodologies how the real world works to ensure employability of its students.
Ever alert to the dichotomy between what is taught and what is needed in the job place, SOBE bridges the perceptual gap between the corporate world and the world of academia collaboratively. A few programs, in cutting-edge sunrise sectors like logistics, analytics, and entrepreneurship, offered by the School are actually conducted in tandem with industry partners. The proverbial parallel worlds of the academics and the practitioners are not only divergent, but also mired in deep mutual suspicions. In these and other programs offered by SOBE, corporates are involved not just delivery of content, but in almost every facet of the scholastic activity – curriculum design, planning of evaluation methods, internship design and execution, student assessment, apart from the usual delivery of content through industry speaker series, guest lectures, best practice or case study discussions by corporate professionals.
2. International curriculum:
One clear area that the prevalent situation has brought to the fore, and compelled humanity to take note of is the fundamental assumptions behind much of our business practices. Business is integrated, supply chains cover the entire globe and borders do not restrict exchange of ideas, products and people, just like they have not been able to do with the virus! Globally, corporates are waking up to the wasteful nature of business processes, a general lack of concern for human values (echoing the maxim of end justifying the means), apathy towards the environmental and climate issues, considering any goal other than profit (and the few other variants of the notion with sugar-coated nomenclatures) as tick-in-the-box items to have to look good, rather than to be good, and many such ways in which business have been running for quite some time now.
SOBE, in tandem with its partner institutions and universities across the globe, notably from Europe, USA and South East Asia, exposes its students to the imperatives and challenges of global business with all its covenant human and world issues.
The pandemic time is perhaps an opportunity to once again revisit the question of what we teach, why we teach, who must teach, how we teach, and where we teach the future business and management professionals. But the physical restrictions that it brought about forced academia to shift from the conventional classroom lectures pedagogies to digital online learning systems and processes. SOBE, along with the other constituent schools of Adamas University, made an effective move, which was endorsed and vindicated by none other than QS, and we were awarded the QS e-Lead certification, one among the early few to get it in the entire East and NE India.
Developing a scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform among students in the digital environment, though challenging, is the mainstay of SOBE faculty. Gravity of the pandemics on people will humanize business schools by bringing society in their cross-hairs when it comes to research agenda, teaching curricula and outreach. With the entire World Wide Web at one’s disposal as teaching-learning tool, creativity and ingenuousness of faculty members enable multi-faceted learning among students. Unique digital pedagogies, like flipped classrooms, are being constantly developed by the faculty members to enhance student engagement and learning.
SOBE believes that education is a transformative process. How to we transform ourselves? Essentially, it is a matter of mindset and courage to buck the trend. While the rest of the business schools keep zigging the way they have been for some time now, few torchbearers need to zag and stand the ground at least for a reasonable amount of time for the business school environment as a whole to go through this transition by unlearning the old way, and relearning the new. SOBE wants to be among the pioneers to shed the image of an also-ran, easy-going, mostly local, average-placement oriented program to a unique, rigorous, global, good placement oriented force to reckon with. The best part of this is that as a nation, we know what needs to be done. It is in execution that we fail. The National Education Policy, NEP 2020, as a whole, urges us to take the plunge into this new world of excellence.