Uday Salunkhe

"Enhancing students' skills and making them job ready"

Industry demands talent that can hit the ground running. India, however, is grappling with a supply side challenge, leading to the employability gap. The country has woken up to the harsh reality that 'being 'qualified' does not necessarily translate into 'being competent' in a job/profession, and therefore being employed. The Indian Labour Report highlights that 300 million youth will enter the work force by 2025, albeit with their own set of aspirations. Though there exist no silver bullet panacea yet, the good news is that it is happening already, a few concerted initiatives can definitely ameliorate the unemployability challenge.

Keep yourself tethered to the industry needs
The core issue to be addressed is that the 'producers of talent' have to be in a position to meet the current & emerging requirements of 'consumers of talent'. When there is a sweet spot between the two, we would not have to face the current paradox of 'unemployment' and 'vacant jobs' coexisting. How do the above dynamics impact students and how can we move to grooming the right talent is the question. B Schools have to be prescient about the emerging ecosystem and hence adopt leading positions, before the future arrives in their backyard.

Emotional Quotient, a key to self-awareness, empathy and collaboration
Mastering the EQ is a vital step in making the candidate job ready. While a high IQ enables an employee to be of value to an organisation ('what to do') while adequately developed EQ alone would ensure that the IQ is deployed, while answering 'how to', 'why to' and 'why not to' (eg: 'need' than for 'greed'). EQ development is vital for the employee to adjust better into a work context and contribute better to team work and matrix based reposting relationships. Many B schools are and have been conducting EQ focused training modules that include meditation, yoga, counselling, outbound exercise etc.

Students' Initiatives, a spring board to dream roles
Making the young MBA job ready is no longer limited to what the Faculty/Institution 'does'/' gives' to the student. Equally important is the students' sense of initiative and commitment to raise his/her own level of excellence. To stimulate and encourage students, B Schools need to craft appropriate self-directed learning opportunities like carefully selected projects, visits to the real world (markets, factories etc.). Many a times, the quality of the Project executed by a student can attract the attention of a potential employer, with multiple possibilities being triggered. As WeSchool believes in this philosophy, we have evolved and implemented many effective processes and systems to enhance the job readiness of our MBA students. Some of the recent interventions are: Developing leadership skills by working in team through a real pain-point, Setting up of Assessment and Development Center and the third exemplifying a joint venture between academia and industry.

Develop competence through a multi-disciplinary lens
Competence, increasingly, is difficult to 'compartmentalise' in the buckets of verticals, specialisation and subjects Competence emerges from the interplay of multi-disciplinary forces and 'connectedness' has to be embedded in the choice of subjects and delivery method. As an example, the concurrent phenomena of increasing urbanisation and opening up of the rural/hinterland, will throw up multiple challenges that need understanding of subjects as diverse as sociology, anthropology, mythology, besides the expected ones like planning, mobility options, zoning laws etc. When competence is developed through a multi-disciplinary lens, innovative outcomes– products and services- happen with higher probability.

- Contributed by Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool


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