Indian Institutes of Vocational Management (IIVMS): Institutes for Next Generation Management

Vocational courses are those that are directly deployable onto a work situation by teaching and developing work related skills. While class room teaching is essential and inevitable, science is best learnt in laboratories and technology is best appreciated in workshops. In contrast, management studies, despite the gallant efforts to bring in the case study approach and occasional industry guest lectures, remain theoretical and class room laden. In addition, the difficulty of reducing complex real world issues to manageable assignments leaves the students quite distanced from the complex realities. Added to this, the convenient management principle of holding someone else accountable and responsible for elemental projects makes management studies even more superficial.

To institutionalize vocational management studies, India needs a string of Indian Institutes of Vocational Management (IIVMs). The existing management institutes may convert themselves into IIVMs or establish adjunct IIVMs. Vocational management studies must have five essential components. The first is that an equal distribution of pedagogy between classroom and workplace must prevail. The second is that project work is not a surrogate for real time work experience. The third is that the faculty must comprise an equal number of fulltime academic faculty and visiting workplace managers and leaders. The fourth is that the curriculum should be managed and students' performance evaluated by an academic board of both in-house faculty and industry experts. The fifth is that the vocational management institutes should run off-campus management programs aggressively.

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Global Education for Global Leaders: A New Bilateral Paradigm Towards 2030

Dr Marshall Goldsmith, a top CEO Coach made a point that despite cultural differences across countries, the CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies have a lot in common. Amongst such common characteristics, he mentioned Western education as an important feature even if they went to school in India. He also said that a future CEO should have five things that were not required in the past: global thinking, cross-cultural appreciation, tech-savvy, building partnerships and shared leadership. Though he was candid about the egoistic and other problems of leaders, his insistence on Western education seemed as his quick fix for global thinking, one of his five leadership ingredients. Probably, he views Western (US, typically) education as a surrogate for some of the important attributes of the Western system.

These could relate to a graded educational experience that emphasizes logic, openness, boldness, expressiveness and experimentation, and benefits from superior laboratory and other facilities. These contrast with the Asian (Indian, typically) educational experience that supports tradition, caution, deference and conformity, and suffers from constraints of campus infrastructure. Western educational system focuses on open competitiveness in everyday life as opposed to the Indian educational system that emphasizes competitiveness more in examination routines, and accommodation in day to day routines. Western culture promotes inter-personal independence of the individual with dependence on one's head while oriental culture promotes interpersonal dependence of the individual with dependence on one's heart. Global Indian leaders need a hybrid model to succeed.

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An Ecosystem for Fundamental Research: An Essential Paradigm for India

Fundamental research is a passion, and not an employment or a business avocation. Neither age and gender nor nationality and geography have any relevance to the unending quest for new discoveries and inventions. Amongst the hundreds of Nobel Laureates, 25 years is the age of the youngest Laureate and 90 is the age of the oldest; 59 years is the average. In fact, over 49 Laureates are younger than 40 years, with most of them being in Physics. As Dr Higgs's continuing work demonstrates, fundamental research is a lifetime passion. Similarly, it is truly multinational; as long as a world class research ecosystem exists in any nation, world class researchers would migrate to that nation, as a large nation like US and a small nation like Sweden equally exemplify.

Fundamental research requires extraordinary dedication, time and effort to explore hidden depths of knowledge and also connect seemingly unconnected domains of knowledge. The Nobel Prizes in scientific disciplines demonstrate the importance of cross-functional knowledge, especially computer modeling or transportation modeling, in understanding complex chemical and biological activities. The God Particle (Higgs boson) research could not have happened but for the massive investment and effort involved in establishing the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. India needs to invest for an ecosystem for fundamental research. Fundamental research will lead to a truly fundamental transformation towards a leadership role in global scientific and engineering domains for India.

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