The New MBA: Creating Better Leaders

In spite of the popular belief that leadership skills are inherent, and only those born with them are capable of leading with efficiency, there is evidence to show that these skills can, in fact, be learnt. Through a right mix of hard work, mentoring, and experience, the right leadership attitude and values can be inculcated in someone.

Imagine the success an organization can accrue, if each and every employee (irrespective of designation), displays leadership skills and a sense of responsibility. The organization can accomplish such a scenario by investing in its employees like it would for any asset since employees are the biggest assets of any company. An investment in the knowledge and skills of the employees, through a well-designed management programme, can groom them to become potential future leaders.

Today, we are witnessing most top league B-Schools making a move away from the standard framework of management education which comprised primarily of theories, numbers, and business models, to a more innovative and effective method of creating leaders. “There is an enormous scope for improvisation in an MBA programme,” Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, Prin. L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Research and Development (WeSchool), says, “Leadership skills can be imparted in a much more interesting and effective manner. One way we do this at WeSchool is by providing novel lessons which integrate the philosophy of theatre with inspirational areas like sports and military.”

Defence forces have been the breeding ground for heroes and leaders. An MBA programme can upgrade its approach to education by including interactive simulation lessons that correlate business principles with military concepts, like the importance of discipline, quick decision-making in high-stress situations, effective communication, & goal-setting. MBA programmes can also educate students on leadership through real-life sports events. Sports can teach students a lot about strategy, collaboration, execution, personnel-management, critical thinking, and handling of success and failure. Another stimulating field which can be assimilated in business studies is Mythology as it effectively communicates the qualities and principles of a leader, through stories.

Dr. Uday Salunkhe notes that MBA programmes can play a big role in enhancing skills of empathy and tact in its students, “Management is basically all about managing people. MBA courses, therefore, need to focus on social awareness and relationship management.” WeSchool regularly involves its students in programmes on Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility which helps to develop in them a sense of ownership and responsibility towards an organization or society as a whole. Training with leaders from top companies and decision-making bodies during internships also prepares Welingkar ites to take up the mantle in the future.

An innovative management course, thus, focuses on developing not only the management professionals’ technical skills but also their capabilities to execute successfully. Besides knowledge, it aims at enhancing their emotional intelligence, which needs to be above-average in any good leader. By tweaking the MBA programme in this new manner, institutes will be able to create true leaders of tomorrow.