Corporate Connects in MBA Curriculum: Reorientation Required

Corporate Connects in MBA Curriculum: Reorientation Required

By Dr. Kisholoy Roy

Corporate Connect programs have been in vogue for a number of years across institutions that deliver MBA or equivalent curriculum throughout the country. As an individual when you get to browse an institute's portal, chances are that you will come across a picture of a high ranked individual of some corporate house delivering a lecture at the institute's premises which will be featured in the 'Events' section of the website.

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So what are these corporate connect programs? In corporate connect programs, an institute invites a well known personality or a high ranked individual from a well known corporate house to talk on a subject/topic which can be related to general management like team building, leadership or CSR or it can be specialized topics for a certain segment of students who might have taken up a particular specialization like let's say if someone speaks about the importance of advertising tools and techniques in the context of brand building. It is largely believed that such interactions will benefit students as they will get the relevant and requisite industry exposure and that way they will be in sync with the requirements of industry while they are still students of an institute.

However it has been observed that students largely stay confused or at times even are mesmerized by the presence of a corporate persona who is suave with good oratory skill. Although at times, there does come a speaker who inspires people to work hard and smart but then its largely restricted to that. Neither do students get to imbibe the relevant knowledge being shared nor do they enjoy the session at times. The reasons are many. It is human nature that one person opens up to another with queries only when there is a certain amount of comfort zone between the two. If that is not there, we humans often opt to stay ignorant rather than projecting us to be silly creatures with one of our queries which might be extremely naïve to other people present in the session. The way a corporate individual with years of experience in a field of work will interact with students on a topic will be distinctly different from how an academician will do. The person's teaching methodology often is beyond the understanding of students. What I mean to say thus is that learning or rather differential learning which should be the purpose of such sessions does not get accomplished.

Corporate connects largely serve as occasions where an institute showcases its infrastructure to a competent individual from the industry who might just feel like conducting a campus placement based on his overall understanding of a college. Corporate connects presently are more placement oriented rather than learning oriented. Yes that definitely should be one of the purposes but not the major one. The need of the hour thus is to redefine the purpose and scope of corporate connects to make them for student friendly in the context of value added learning at management colleges.