Praxis Business School: Creating leaders for the digital world

·5-min read

We are in the midst of the Digital Revolution – driven at the core by high-speed internet connectivity and accelerated by the proliferation of mobile devices that provide easier and faster access. This has changed the way we live – from socializing to learning to ordering food to transferring funds and paying bills to watching films and other media streamed directly into our phones. Enterprises have to respond with alacrity and skill to disrupt existing business models and find innovative ways of delivering quality, convenience, speed and reliability to the customer at lower cost.In order to function as agile, innovative teams, these enterprises will require a work-force equipped with a whole new set of knowledge and skill-sets. It is therefore mandatory that educational institutes - especially business schools who promise to deliver ‘industry-ready’ students – understand the rapidly changing skills landscape and reorganize themselves to respond appropriately.

Skills for the Digital Age At the simplest level, this digital story is driven by data and technology. Every function will have data at its core, with technology finding better ways to harness this data to improve the quality of our lives. Thus, regardless of the sector or the function, everyone joining the industry will need to be data fluent and comfortable, if not proficient, in working with technology. For example, a marketing professional will need to appreciate concepts such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google analytics; an HR specialist will engage with concepts like the social enterprise and retention analytics.

This covers the hard, measureable part of the digital-ready landscape. Digital is also about disruption, agility, innovation. transparency, co-creation, blurring of organisational boundaries. Digital-ready resources will have a digital temperament or digital mind-set. They will be: Capable and independent learners, who will have the ability and courage to learn quickly, on their own.

Critical thinkers, who will be able to make reasoned judgements about what to believe and what to do; Good communicators, who will have the ability to listen and absorb, ask the right questions, and present complex concepts in easy-to-understand ways; Effective collaborators, who will embrace diversity and work with heterogeneous groups of people (including customers) with varied beliefs and perspectives to solve problems.

Drivers of transparency and integrity, who will build trust and respect in a world characterised by empowered employees and customers who constantly examine your value systems.

Creating digital leaders – the Praxis way Praxis is driven by the purpose of creating resources that will lead India’s transformation into the digital world and the belief that leaders of tomorrow need to be able to understand the impact of and the immense opportunities created by digital technologies.The Praxis thought is explained in my conversation with ChetanBhagat, a part of which can be accessed at https://youtu.be/ZlHgWkbYHmw We are digital in everything we teach We pioneered the formal teaching of analytics in the country in 2011 and have graduated more than 22 batches of our post graduate program in data science, which is consistently ranked in the top 2 full-time data science programs in the country for the last 5 years.

The PGDM program has undergone a digital transformation. The first year core has been redesigned to include courses like fundamentals of data science, data visualization, digital business and fintech. In the second year, students are offered specialization in, among other streams, digital business management, data science, business analytics, consumer insights and market intelligence and risk management.

The pedagogy at Praxis reflects our belief that digital skills need to be context-specific – and hence embedded in and integrated with the knowledge-base of the business functions. As a consequence, curriculum design and delivery emphasize contemporary digital technologies and practices across functional areas like marketing, finance, operations, human resources etc.

Building an ecosystem for learning The digital-ready leader of the future is a critical thinker, capable learner, is ethical, is an effective communicator and collaborator – and understands data and technology. We have set up a learning ecosystem that celebrates transparency and encourages fearless debate and dissent. We respect diversity of background and perspective and teach people how to, rather than what to, think. We align our course design, delivery and assessment to improve the learnability and thinking ability of the students. We create platforms for people to work in disparate groups and present solutions to complex problems.

This ecosystem comprises four components: we enrol students who are curious and passionate about learning; our professors are accomplished industry professionals with high academic pedigree; we have deep connect with the industry for design, delivery, mentorship and recruitment; and our digital and physical infrastructure is designed to facilitate collaborative learning.

Creating robust career opportunities Business management education has historically promised at least three things: an education of core business topics, a ‘higher calibre’ of job opportunities and a prestigious networking circle. Job opportunities, or placements, the lifeline of any management institute, are a natural fallout of getting the learning culture and pedagogy right and backing it up with a placement team that cares for the students and not just the percentages – and this is why we have been able to offer exciting career opportunities– both in terms of quality and numbers – to our students.

Our high-level objective is to teach our students how to think, and how to learn. These are skills that stay with them for life, are transferable across disciplines and contexts and strengthen their ability to play leadership roles in a world that is characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

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