MDI Gurgaon hosts 11th Indian Management Conclave

December 22, 2021

GURUGRAM: Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon hosted the 11th edition of the Indian Management Conclave (IMC) that was organised by on December 20-21, 2021. IMC is India's definitive annual management education conference and awards platform. The theme of this year’s Conclave was “Learner Centric Management Education”.

Over 150 Directors and Deans from India’s leading management education institutes attended the two-day event held at the MDI Gurgaon campus. There were two special sessions, three plenary sessions, a B-school Directors’ Roundtable and a faculty master class during the course of the Conclave.

In his inaugural address, C.P. Gurnani, MD and CEO, Tech Mahindra, said that young executives today are different from past generations. He said that they are not just pursuing traditional job-satisfaction matrix like rewards and careers, but they want to go beyond and make a positive impact. He added that these young executives are not satisfied with just the salaries and promotions, but want their work to make an impact on the society and environment. He called upon B-schools and corporates to support and nurture this spirit.

Delivering the host address, MDI Gurgaon Director Dr. Rajesh Chakrabarti said that with the rapid advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the biggest challenge for today’s management professionals is the future of work. He posed the question as to how much of it is a reality that is going to impact today’s medium learner in the next half a decade or so.

Referring to the radical changes brought about in education by the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Chakrabarti said that people have understood what can be achieved or not across computer screens. He was of the view that the world is still learning the powers and the limitations of online education. Dr. Chakrabarti also spoke about the importance of research by faculty in B-schools and its impact in classrooms. 

In a special address, Dr. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), said that the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 promotes multifaceted and multi-disciplinary learning in many ways.  Delivering his address virtually from Jammu, he said that B-schools should make the best use of the NEP framework and emerge stronger as degree granting institutions.

A highlight of IMC 2021 was a special session on “Celebrating MDI – The Academic Leadership Incubator” in the light of the Institute completing its 50 years of existence. One of the salient contributions of MDI Gurgaon to the management education ecosystem in India has been the academic leaders it has proffered to IIMs and many other leading institutions. A panel discussion was held focusing on this unique contribution of the Institute. Dr. Anup K. Singh, Director General, Nirma University Ahmedabad, Dr. Bhimraya Metri, Director, IIM Nagpur, Dr. Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur, and Dr. Pawan Kumar Singh, Director, IIM Tiruchirappalli, participated in the discussion. All four speakers have been part of MDI Gurgaon in one capacity or the other.

Dr. Anup K. Singh recalled that the whole purpose of MDI Gurgaon was to teach practicing managers. Dr. Pawan Kumar Singh highlighted the fact that the Institute was one of those that created the wave of management education in India.

Another special session was held on the topic “Assessing Personal Skills and Qualities for Admissions”. Dr. Patrick Kyllonen, Distinguished Presidential Appointee, Educational Testing Service, USA, addressed the session virtual mode. 

The B-school Directors’ Roundtable was on the topic “NEP 2020 and Standalone B-schools – Structure, Opportunities, Challenges”. The Union Cabinet approved the NEP in July 2020. The new policy, which replaces the 34-year-old policy of 1986, aims to pave the way for transformational reforms in the education system in the country. The following issues came up for discussion during the roundtable: future shape of regulatory structure for standalone B-schools in India; opportunity to offer undergraduate management education and liberal education courses; and other potential opportunities and challenges for implementing NEP.  

Delivering a special address during the roundtable, Dr M.P. Poonia, Vice Chairman, AICTE, assured management schools of regulatory support in the new NEP 2020 policy framework. He said that the implementation of NEP 2020 will give opportunities to B-schools to offer quality education. He also said that PGDM institutions like MDI, XLR and BIMTECH are doing a great service by training students for industry requirements. 

The first plenary session of IMC 2021 was on “The Right MBA Class Mix”. The speakers discussed how B-schools should think about solving perhaps the biggest challenge – getting the class-mix right. In addition to the traditional cognitive and analytical abilities, what mindset and human skills should B-schools prioritise during selection? And should they assess for both cognitive and non-cognitive human dimensions? The session was chaired by Dr Ranjan Banerjee, Dean, BITSoM Mumbai.

The second plenary was on “Student Engagement and Learning Methods”. It focused on the fundamental challenge faced by educators while dealing with Generation Y, also known as the millennials. Dr. Prafulla Agnihotri, Dean, VPSM Mumbai, and Founding Director, IIM Tiruchirappalli, chaired the session.

The third and final plenary session was on “Student-led B-school: A Leadership Conundrum?” At times, the student approach can be at odds with the leadership and faculty. Students may focus on the immediate, here and now, while the leadership mat think of long term. So, how does B-school leadership tread the path cautiously? How can they create an atmosphere where students are co-owners of the key processes? This session discussed this intriguing challenge faced by institution leaders. Dr. Janat Shah, Director, IIM Udaipur, delivered a special address.

This year’s faculty master class was on the topic “Hybrid Teaching”. Dr. Das Narayandas, Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, addressed the class via virtual mode.

Delivering the valedictory address, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, expressed optimism about India’s economic growth in the near future. He said that some very deep structural reforms over the last seven have laid the foundations of a much better environment for private investors. Referring to the IMF’s forecast that India’s growth rate will be 8 percent in the year 2022-23, he asserted that this growth will continue for the next five to 10 years. 

Dr. Kumar said that extensive use of technologies like AI is changing the nature of business and work. With the future already upon us, he said that new ways of thinking about society and business are needed and people can’t be working in silos. Connecting this with education, he said that holistic thinking which multi-disciplinary education nurtures is needed. 

Dr. Kumar also raised concern about the quality of low-tier MBA programmes in India. According to him, while Indian management education is big in numbers with more than 3,000 MBA programmes, the quality dimensions need to be reviewed. He referred to a recent MBA employability report which says that only 46 percent of MBAs are employable. He called upon policy makers and B-schools to come together to change this.

During the valedictory session, AACSB International, USA, the world’s largest business education alliance, presented accreditations to MDI Gurgaon, IIFT New Delhi and XLRI Jamshedpur.