Vbs pgdm placements

The Importance of Course Curriculum

When we think about what it is, a syllabus is most simply a document that expresses to the reader the intentions of the instructor regarding course content, learning goals, assessment approach, and expectations. It outlines for the reader what is expected to transpire during the course and what should be learned.

A good syllabus should deliver comprehensive knowledge to the students and train them to apply the concepts to solve business problems. A good syllabus should help students to attain conceptual knowledge and develop analytical and logical thinking as these skills are expected by the industry.

A syllabus is a kind of instructive tool that sets a standard of what is expected to happen during the complete course session. It prescribes the topics and concepts on the basis of which students will be tested in the final examination. A syllabus actually serves as the contract between the students and the teachers that contains functions and ideas that are used for the assessment of the students’ performance. The process of developing a syllabus can be a reflective exercise, leading the instructor to carefully consider his or her philosophy of teaching, why the course is important, how the course fits in the discipline, as well as what topics will be covered, when assignments will be due, and so on. In addition, by making sure expectations are clearly communicated, instructors can circumvent a whole host of student grievances and misunderstandings during the semester. Efforts are always being made to make the syllabus comprehensive and creative. Subjects such as Business Analytics, Artificial Intelligence etc. are been incorporated in the syllabus so that all the recent trends are been covered. In today’s world there is a gap that exists between what is been taught in the classroom and what students have to apply in the industry. It’s very important to bridge this gap and make them aware about what is happening in the industry. The importance of syllabus therefore cannot be over stated. According to India Skills Report 2018, about 3,60,000 MBA students from 4000 B-schools pass out every year. However, 61 per cent are unemployable due to skill gaps and lesser work experience. Also, the employability of MBA students witnessed a decline of 3 per cent as compared to last year. Now, both skills gaps and work experience are factors that can be addressed by B-schools through their curriculum or program research. Unfortunately, there is a huge divide between B-schools and the relevance of their curriculum. B-schools must realize that it’s high time for constant curriculum overhaul. There is a need to innovate the syllabus and curriculum because:

1. Meet Industry Requirements: Most business management institutes focus mainly on theoretical knowledge and rote learning with minimal emphasis on job skill development and practical training. An increasing number of employers are now voicing their dissatisfaction with job readiness of MBA pass outs. If B-schools want to increase the employability chances of their students, it is imperative that they modify their curriculum according to the industry expectations.

2. Brand Image of the Institution: Business management education space is a highly competitive space with hundreds of existing institutes and new ones mushrooming every year. Reinventing curriculum is one of the sure-shot ways to stand out from the crowd and also to secure a top position in B-schools ranking.

3. Be Future-Ready: A report by McKinsey Global Institute highlights at least 30%-60% of all occupations will become automated in the next two decades. With the advancements in technology and shifting landscape in business situations in terms of complexity and volatility, B-schools must be ready to embrace these changes and prepare their students for future job roles and global competitiveness. B-schools that fail to give adequate importance to understanding and aligning to industry requirements are likely to go downhill.

4. How are Good B-Schools Reinventing Their Program Delivery?
A majority of B-schools are still following an outdated curriculum. But, there are a few exceptional institutes who have already taken the necessary steps for curriculum overhaul. Let’s take a look at how these B-schools have given a facelift to their program

5. Interactive and Immersive Pedagogy: A curriculum that is restricted only to textbook knowledge and one-sided interaction neither holds any attraction for students nor adds any value to their resume. Hence, B-schools are now leveraging technology to widen the scope of their curriculum and offer interactive, blended learning. They are going digital by incorporating audio-visual aids, interactive whiteboards and multimedia presentations in pedagogy. They are also delivering live or recorded online lectures from industry experts and professors from around the world.
Some B-schools have begun to make certain courses exciting for students through gamification and help them learn at their own pace. There is also enhanced focus on providing practical training and experiential learning through case studies, simulation activities, field study trips, group discussions, projects, internships and student exchange programs. Such type of curriculum encourages students to think out of the box and apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life situations.

6. Program Alignment and Consultation from Industry: There is no better way to improvise the curriculum to suit the industry expectations than to get academic inputs directly from business organizations. A robust and regular industry interface through joint academic research can give much-need impetus to B-schools. Industry collaboration also enables B-schools to design niche courses in emerging and futuristic sectors and provide necessary job skills development resources to students.

7. Entrepreneurial Model of Learning: Today’s students are brimming with business ideas and would not mind taking a plunge in entrepreneurship directly after completing the studies. However, they need adequate support at the academic level, and hence, B-schools are now also incorporating the entrepreneurial model of learning.

B-schools have not only begun to offer dedicated courses or specialization in entrepreneurship, but they also conduct events where students can actually build their idea commercially. These events are usually in collaboration with business organizations and start up community which mentor students on various aspects of entrepreneurship. This, in turn also helps students to develop their creative, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, leadership and other soft skills which are increasingly gaining importance among employers to lead automated workplace of the future.

8. Faculty Development: Continuous program research can happen only when faculty have enough expertise and experience in the latest academic and business trends. Unfortunately, the existing academic system doesn’t leave much time for them for research and re-skilling. Many B-schools are addressing this concern by encouraging their faculty to attend refresher courses, take sabbaticals and participate in industry events.

Program Alignment to Industry is the core foundation of any B-school and should be continuously updated to sync with industry requirements and academic trends

The Board of Studies at VBS also suggests the institution regarding on the various matters about academics and the current needs of the business world. The board currently involves 29 members who have great knowledge in fields as diverse as education, business, administration etc. The Board plays a key part in studying the syllabus; suggesting alterations to the syllabus based on several industry trends; understanding the contemporary teaching pedagogy and proposing several alterations and encouraging industry collaborations through meet ups and industry events.

In conclusion it can be said that it is of utmost importance to revive and revise the syllabus of the business school regularly so that we can get an updated curriculum.

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- Rasika Soman