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Published on: Dec. 14, 2020, 6:03 p.m.
What’s your choice?
  • Management Education has acquired great momentum across the globe

By Sunil Shukla. The author is Director, EDII-Ahmedabad

At a time when MBA graduates are commanding huge salaries, there is a group of youngsters who are willing to take the risk of entrepreneurship and are turning towards entrepreneurship education. That I think speaks volumes about the space that entrepreneurship per se (and education in the area), has created for itself. Entrepreneurship is today a global phenomenon. Considering its benefits to the entrepreneur and the economy, most universities, including international universities and management institutes, have started offering it as a full-fledged course or an elective. I would like to believe that management education and entrepreneurship education are complementary to each other with the former creating ‘managers’ – who are the executors and the latter creating ‘entrepreneurs’ – who are the architects of business. A manager is always more successful if he/she possesses entrepreneurial resourcefulness (or intrapreneurial traits as we call it), while on the other hand, an entrepreneur, in addition to entrepreneurial competencies will also need managerial skills to succeed.

Management Education has acquired great momentum across the globe. An MBA programme primarily imparts specialised management skills that create a professional-manager. For a long time the management curriculum had remained standardised, and did not really accommodate knowledge in relation to the changing context of the business world. Western models were more highlighted and analysed, so much so that this education started losing its application-orientedness in the Indian context. However, lately I believe the curriculum has undergone changes to befit Indian as well as global contexts. The focus is on imparting both hard and soft skills, alongside knowledge, as these are mandatory for right orientation. Management graduates are, therefore, well-prepared to execute business plans and strategies.

However, when we look into the curriculum of entrepreneurship courses, it is applied with a more judicious mix of various aspects of management and behavioural science. The key differentiators between management and entrepreneurship courses are, in an entrepreneurship course there is focus on risk propensity and the soft-skills of entrepreneurs; identification & evaluation of business opportunities; detailed project report or business plan of an enterprise; and support system institutions and implementation strategy. Through these focused lessons entrepreneurship education prepares an individual who adopts entrepreneurial thinking as a way of life. The structured curriculum trains participants to take up an entrepreneurial career, including the creation of new enterprises through product or services innovation, product development, or value chain creation.

Generally a ‘manager’ applies rational approaches within a predefined working framework to execute a task, while an ‘entrepreneur’ applies a creative, imaginative or innovative approach to execute a work. In fact, entrepreneurs identify a focus area to venture into with a clear vision. They also aim for a particular vision to be attained in a specific time period. A manager pursues the objectives of the organisation by making effective plans and efficient use of resources. Managers generally operate within charters defined by either promoters or the leadership.

However, entrepreneurs have the vision to extrapolate their subjective worlds. Normally entrepreneurs link it closely to ‘how they understand what is happening in a particular sector or the industry’. Their own knowledge of a new product or manufacturing process usually leads them to envisage future opportunities and market something different. Mostly, entrepreneurs define the ways of implementing plans that showcase what they themselves are, and their success depends precisely on how suitably their plans the changing needs. Entrepreneurs not only define situations, but they envision what they want to achieve and create amiable conditions. Their competency rests in visualising and defining what they want to do and, often, how they want to do it.

Today, there is certainly good awareness among people about the advantages of entrepreneurship as a career and entrepreneurs are celebrated; most successful entrepreneurs are today role models for aspiring youths. EDII-Ahmedabad offers the award winning United States Association of Small Business (USASBE) Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship Programme Outside USA entrepreneurship education programme which it started way back in 1998. The programme has produced hundreds of new as well as family business entrepreneurs. In 2017, -Ahmedabad conducted a study on its alumni of 17 batches and discovered that 78 per cent of alumni had chosen the entrepreneurial path after graduating from EDII-Ahmedabad, and had contributed significantly to their family businesses, created new ventures and were riding the start-up wave in the country.

However, to remain dynamic and competitive, either nationally or globally, knowledge of entrepreneurship is necessary. And there are specialised institutions (like EDII-Ahmedabad) to provide that knowledge along with desired skills and aptitude helpful in realising entrepreneurial aspirations.


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