Associate Dean’s Message

AbhinandaSarkarAbhinanda Sarkar

Business schools are a compromise between education and training. Over the years as a professional who has been both an academic teacher (at MIT) as well as corporate trainer (at GE), the distinction between the two has become more clear. Training is about developing skills; education is about learning how to develop skills

 

This September, the new President of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) gave a sweeping vision of the future and its possibilities. I want to quote a particular sentence from President Raphael Reif’s speech:

“The residential campus model is best at teaching the skills one learns through human interaction, such as how to compromise, inspire, persuade; how to build a life of high ethics and moral value; how to work creatively with people of different backgrounds; when, and how, to speak — and when, and how, to listen.”

The context of this elegant sentiment was the challenge and opportunity of online learning models that are rapidly emerging – but the sentiment itself stands on its own. It is particularly relevant for campus-based business schools.

Business schools are a compromise between education and training. Over the years as a professional who has been both an academic teacher (at MIT) as well as corporate trainer (at GE), the distinction between the two has become more clear. Training is about developing skills; education is about learning how to develop skills. Leaders and managers in business environments obviously need fundamental skills in order to be successful: communication skills, people management skills, money management skills, product marketing skills, and so on. But they also need to keep learning new skills continually; how to deal with a global financial crisis, how to incorporate analytics into sales, how to reduce a factory’s carbon footprint, how to write a blog, etc. The training part is rigorous, clear-headed, and grounded in facts, figures, and cases. The education part is softer, deeper, more intuitive, and calls for nuanced understanding of technology and society. Business schools have to train future managers and educate future leaders.

A residential business school is setting itself up to do a great deal. How far each succeeds is a function of its students, its faculty, and its environment. As the MYRA School of Business sets off on its journey, we will find out many things and we hope to tell you about them. We also hope you will participate in the journey and tell us what you think. We will have succeeded if our alumni can truthfully echo the words of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt speaking at his alma mater, Dartmouth College:

“I work for investors and I have a vast responsibility to perform for them. I have a powerful job, but I’ve never wanted to be powerful. I want to be a different leader in a different day. I hope to be judged by what I do and not how much money I make. I want to create a company that’s powered by ideas and values and people.”

We are on our way.

Dr. Abhinanda Sarkar is the Associate Dean at the MYRA School of Business. He previously was Quality Leader and Principal Scientist with GE Global Research in Bangalore. He graduated from the Indian Statistical Institute and obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

 

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