For changing job scenario, blended programmes are the only solution

Chaitanya Kalipatnapu

By 2022, 37 percent of the Indian workforce would be employed in new job roles, according to the Future of Jobs report commissioned jointly by FICCI-Nasscom with EY. And, a bulk of the requirement – estimated at about 75 per cent – will come in from the services and capital-intensive manufacturing sectors. By the end of the current decade, 90 per cent of India’s GDP is expected to be contributed by the services and manufacturing sectors.

The bad news is: Both these sectors are expected to witness disruptions and new business models will come into play at a rapid pace. As a result, several traditional jobs will become redundant.

Thankfully, there will be a demand for design thinkers, digital disruptors, and innovators, who not only embrace new technologies and platforms, but also thrive in the dynamic new economy.

To meet the skill gaps of the changing economy and to drive the change, the demand for professional education will grow exponentially. But, traditional education models will fail to cater to these demands owing to factors such as accessibility, affordability and lack of outcome-based learning.

New educational models such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) have emerged in recent years to meet these needs. In fact, educational platforms such as Coursera and EdX that offer a vast array of MOOCs have already seen a high level of enrollment from India.

However, MOOCs too have seen their own set of challenges; foremost among which are the poor completion rates and a lack of outcome-based learning. SPOCs, offered by institutes like Emeritus have solved these shortcomings to a major extent.

Many of the students – typically middle-management executives – are preferring professional education that optimises their time away from work but at the same time, gives them access to Ivy League faculty, global peer groups and learning outcomes that can accelerate their career transition.

For example, in Columbia Business School’s 8-month Executive Program in Management, the participants are in a global cohort, having interactions with Ivy League faculty in class room sessions, continuing their learning over online modules and more importantly, working on a strategy project to apply their learnings at their work place, and developing their network through Columbia’s Alumni benefits.

Top business schools of the world such as INSEAD, MIT Sloan, Wharton and HBS offer similar SPOC programmes. These programmes have also accelerated career transitions. For example, graduates of the 12-month INSEAD program have demonstrated an average 30 per cent-plus salary increase within six months after the programme.

In her latest book, ‘Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader’, economist and professor at INSEAD Herminia Ibarra explains how to step up to a bigger leadership role. Backed by research, she propounds the counter-intuitive approach that to become an effective leader, you need to act first and then imbibe the thinking.

Blended programmes like that of INSEAD, MIT and Columbia with their modular structure, focused learning outcomes and emphasis on application are expected to contribute very well to leadership development and career transformation of working professionals, so that they keep themselves relevant to the demands of the rapidly transforming global economy.

(The writer is co-founder and Director, Eruditus Executive Education)