Branching Out Or Returning To Roots? How Will B-Schools Emerge in the Post Covid World To Stay Ahead

The economy of the world is experiencing tectonic shifts in the face of Covid-19 crisis. From the day we heard the first case of Covid-19 break out in India to this day, dynamics have changed rapidly and at times the future may have appeared bleak at best. Every once in a while, such crises teach us one thing for certain – Being adaptive and doing things with a sensible mix of precision and urgency is the only way one can survive. For higher-ed institutions, and particularly management schools which prepare future leaders for the emerging world order, such crises are also an opportunity to seek, adopt and deliver newer pedagogies. 

Given how rapidly the whole life and livelihood environment is turning into a giant virtual world, a large set of educational institutions are also looking for ways to join the trends of innovation & technology. Luckily, as FIIB had done the big chunk of heavy lifting earlier it made tuning in to the latest outcomes of what coronavirus-led disruption in technology has to offer aka work from home, online teaching, webinars a bit easier to work on. But, navigating the goals and promises FIIB has made to all its stakeholders wasn’t that easy to fulfil in this unpredictable time of crisis. 

There are two fundamental response approaches organizations can take to deal with such crises – 1. Branching out or 2. Returning to roots. Simply put, Branching out means reevaluating the strategy and offerings of the business and trying to explore other branches or areas of expertise that you can leverage to stay relevant and survive in the ‘new normal’. Returning to roots means going back to the basics, understanding the purpose – the ‘why did you start in the first place’-  and tweaking your planning of people, products, and processes just the way you did during your nascent stages. That sometimes also includes operating with limited resources, leveraging cross-functional collaboration, and being a little frugal too. It’s the organization’s choice to choose either of the strategy or a mix of both. 

Higher-ed institutions originated to meet the need of developing, preparing, and sharpening a particular skill or craft of the students to help them get into the world of work. This right here is the root of why we (B-Schools) exist, and to be able to fulfil that despite the changing dynamics of the world. B-Schools need to be innovative and take some risks to live up to their promise. 

There’s no one size fits all solution for any problem, but by carefully evaluating all resources vs. requirements, here’s how FIIB is chalking its path for the Covid-19 world:

Leveraging Technology and Building a  Blended Teaching Culture:

In the past few decades, technology has made teaching/learning easier, but most B-Schools haven’t been able to fully leverage it as major parts of teaching/learning was still done physically. Since this crisis has forced us to look for alternatives to physical teaching, virtual classrooms have gained popularity. 

FIIB adapted very fast to the changing scenario and implemented online classrooms and virtual assignment presentations. Not just that, the first years (all of them!) are also doing their internships as work from home – getting close mentoring from their corporate and faculty mentors. It wasn’t easy switching to an all-virtual classroom; there were issues related to feasibility, technology, and adapting to new unprecedented changes, but the only thing that kept FIIB going was the spirit of FIIB Racers to adapt, collaborate, and most importantly do what is right for the organization. 

With that on the front line, in just a few weeks, FIIB has adopted blended pedagogy and built a webinar culture where teaching and learning are online. And in doing this, we didn’t forget our ‘corporate’ stakeholders, with online executive learning taking a spike in the past few weeks, FIIB has conducted webinars for its corporate and alumni audience as well. 

All for one and one for all – Engaging all stakeholders:

As every unplanned move brings two choices with it; FIIB community has also preferred treating this lockdown as an opportunity to stay ahead of the digital curve rather than seeing this as a threat to our mission of delivering excellence. These hard times revealed that our community stands with each other. For the first time in our 25 years of legacy, we embraced the constraints of a world that is unheard and unseen by many and created win-win learning/growing opportunities for the wider community that literally act as a  milestone in their future endeavours. 

Our entire admissions process went online and our faculty along with our admissions experts helped aspiring MBA students find their fit with FIIB by counselling and interviewing them online. Our Alumni has contributed to the admissions process virtually, helping us select the smart, spirited, dynamic, focused, and purposeful students like themselves to take on the path of management with FIIB. 

Giving-back to our partners!

Amidst this time crisis, we find this as our prime responsibility to help our corporate partners and alumni not only understand innovation but also guide them to process it better in a structured speed and more meaningful way. To add targets to their strategy, we conducted multiple webinars on the topics that are in the most need-of-the hour like Design Thinking, Managing VUCA world, and enhancing effective communication.

To conclude, we are on our path to provide and innovate better learning strategies that can collectively inspire others to bring large level change within their community as well as their organizations. 

Have any thoughts on how to integrate technology with operations to stay ahead of the curve? We’re all ears, tell us in the comments.