Posted on: March 28, 2016
There are plenty of career progression options available to the generalist who is multi-skilled,” says Dr VS Pai, Professor, General Management, KIAMS
KIAMS – developing managers for the next millennium
“General Management is rather a broad area,” says Dr VS Pai who teaches the subject at the Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS). Elaborating on what this field of expertise encompasses, Dr Pai explains that it is subjects like “Strategic Management I & II, International Business, Written Analysis and Communication, Legal Aspects of Business and Management Consulting. Non-taught courses like Business Immersion and Industry Studies” also come under its purview and are taught at KIAMS in line with its mission of training and developing managers for the next millennium.
Offering a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) and a Management Development Program (MDP) in General Management, the Institute’s vision of providing society with a centre of learning that excels in management education is one that is being very ably met. Says Dr Pai, “There are plenty of career progression options available to the generalist who is multi-skilled. However, the danger is of spreading one’s resources too thin. Because of the relative lack of depth of knowledge and skills, one may become the jack of many trades but master of none.”
“The challenge is to be able to, on the one hand, take the benefits of the wide scope available to a generalist and, on the other, develop expertise over time in certain areas and excel in them,” Dr Pai explains. Which is why, many of the electives at KIAMS help students to deal with real life management challenges. “Our Strategic Management I & II courses, in particular, are driven keeping the changing real life milieu in mind. Cases for class discussion are handpicked to place students in the shoes of the decision maker. Students are thus compelled to not just analyse and take decisions but to also provide the rationale for having done so.”
Emphasising the need for generalists as opposed to hyper-specialists, Dr Pai feels that future possibilities for students become very narrow if they super-specialise. “If a super-specialist desires change, it will not be easy to make it happen given the limited scope of one’s education and training acquired. The challenges will increase when there are several candidates competing for growth in a narrow area of specialisation,” he says.
Electives such as Business Immersion therefore, play an important role in providing students with unlimited scope to grow and expand their knowledge base, as the course exposes them to real-life situations in a company for a 20-week duration. “If the student does a good job of the project assigned, she or he may end up receiving a PPO (pre-placement offer) from the company concerned. This is a real vindication of the capabilities of the student in delivering results to the satisfaction of the company management,” says Dr Pai.
The multi-faceted faculty-student interaction that KIAMS lays great importance on is therefore geared to improving performance and motivating students to excel. It is a well thought-out strategy that can broadly be categorised into pre-class, in-class and post-class interaction. “In-class interaction is largely focused on teaching, leading case discussions and driving role plays by the faculty on the one hand and raising questions, active participation in case discussions and executing role plays by students on the other,” says Dr. Pai. Pre-class interaction is thus characterised by professors guiding students on projects, assignments, term papers and case analyses. While post-class participation centres on professors clarifying students’ doubts, providing guidance on how to improve implementation and encouraging students to stand out.
The end result of this two-year process sees well-rounded management students who know their own areas of expertise and are able to create a niche for themselves in the corporate world.