Friday, 15 May 2009

What ails XXX ?

The day I walked into my business school , all those years ago, I heard this term - "What ails XXX ?- substitute name of business school for XXX. Many years on, I still hear this rhetorical question. From many business schools. Its nice that they do ask this question, but often they stop at that and simply gaze at their own navel.

Imagine an organisation, where you have virtually irrelevant performance targets, no serious performance evaluation, you are unlikely to be sacked, where you bristle against authority and do your own thing, where compensation levels are low, but have little relationship to performance and where demand often exceeds supply, so you don't have to worry about capacity utilisation. That closely approximates a business school - I am being deliberately harsh to make a point. Business schools rarely practice what they preach. That's probably why they hate to take anybody from the industry inside.

Business schools must be run like a corporate - with all its faults, a corporate is still the best form of an organisation we have invented. Hire the best talent. Pay market rates but linked to performance. Sack professors if they are inefficient (what a revolutionary thought). Set sensible performance targets (not number of unreadable papers that are published). Tailor the product to what industry needs; not what you would like to give . Have some form of an organisation structure and accountability - not anarchy in the name of academic freedom.

The CEO of a business school must be from industry, not academia. As I posted before, professors have to go back to industry once in 10 years - not doing consulting, but doing an actual job, where if you fail, you get sacked. At least 10% of professors must NOT have a Phd - ie they must not be career academic types.

If I were to say any of these things in the hallowed portals of a business school, I would get pelted with rotten eggs. But that's the beauty of a blog - I can only be figuratively pelted; not literally.

So in answer to What ails XXX ?, I say Nothing. Just practice what you preach.

9 comments:

Aparna said...

totally totally totally agree with u para 3

Adesh Sidhu said...

And one important skill professors need to have is good presentation skills. They should not put students to sleep with their poor delivery of lectures.

Anonymous said...

I do not think we can have countable cases where there is shift of "talent" from academia to industry and vice versa. Both creatures leave in their own world and do not find each other compatible when they meet. Even after 20 years of industry experience and urge to teaching profession, I do not find comfortable acceptance by academia and any shift gives feeling of a feathered bird in a land of penguin

Anjana R said...

this reminded me of the movie 'whats eating Gilbert Grape?' i think the problem with a lot of professors is that they are completely out of sync with the mindset of the student.

rads said...

Yea you'd sure be egged for this but these are truths which everybody knows and yet none want to agree to.

Bala said...

Your China & India comparison is really good. Any one could challenge you, saying that you generalize or that your experience may be limited. But what we say from our heart about our experiences even if based on a single encounter is like hitting the nail on its head. You don't need a PhD for that. I am particularly looking for some authentic information or measurement criteria on Indian work culture or ethics. Do you know if there is any published information. Thanks

Ramesh said...

@Bala - Thanks. Yes, there are generalisations, but that's the joy of blogging. You can be delightfully irresponsible !!
No, not sure of published material on Indian work ethics. If I come across something, I'll pass on.

Athivas said...

Interstingly,things are now changing, in the academia, too! It cannot get any better stressful for full time A/P's and Prof's. Perform or get sacked-The institution has to maintain its reputation and ranking!!

Ramesh said...

@athivas - Yes times are changing in academia, but I don't think the sharpness of performance culture that exist in corporates has permetaed fully.

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