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Dr Ranjan Banerjee, Dean, S.P. Jain Institute of Management Research, Mumbai Image Credit: Supplied

There was a time when young management graduates would join the likes of Citibank, Unilever and Nestle on graduation, with an aspiration to reach the top position within the next 25 years. Both from the company and the new recruit’s point of view, such an aspiration is uncommon. We explore certain factors that impact the changing face of careers.

Multiple careers

The concept of lifetime employment in a single firm is weaker. Boundaries between functions in an organisation are weakening. Technology impacts every function within an organisation. Data and information are more decentralised, and centralisation and decentralisation can be achieved simultaneously.

For tomorrow’s professional, future jobs imply an immersion into emerging technology and analytics (irrespective of specialisation), and having multiple strings to one’s bow.

- Dr Ranjan Banerjee, Dean, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai

Any job that is repetitive and programmable has the potential threat of being replaced by technology. The newer jobs that emerge will be at the intersection of traditional business functions and technology, ranging from fintech jobs (jobs at the intersection of finance and technology), digital marketing, machine learning related jobs (this often operates at the intersection between business, statistics and analytics, and some understanding of software and programming) and supply chain analytics. For tomorrow’s professional, it implies an immersion in emerging technology and analytics (irrespective of specialisation), and having multiple strings to one’s bow.

Connect the dots Increasingly, managers are required to see interrelationships, not only within traditional business functions, but also between business and society.

Companies pursuing profit to the exclusion of environmental sustainability and values, will receive censure and pressure, not only from vigilant governments, but ultimately, also from shareholders and stakeholders. This leads to potentially the need for a new breed of managers, with a deeper understanding of issues related to sustainability and the environment.

Lifelong learning

The idea of a single-entry-level degree that equips one for a lifetime is past its prime. Continuing education has two facets:

 A slew of short-term programmes at the intersection of technology and business that enable managers to reprogramme and upgrade traditional skill sets.

 Individuals must take charge of their learning. The employee must look at one’s career and decide what new skills /knowledge could be acquired with a five-year (or more) horizon, a large portion of which can be done through free online courses and personal learning.

A more diverse workforce In India, it is anticipated that if the proportion of working men and women were equalised, it could lead to a sustainable GDP growth in excess of 20 per cent.(source: Booz and company).

The opportunities and challenges facing women re-entering the work force are distinct, and preparing both men and women for this transition at different levels is a significant opportunity.

Implications for management education

 A move to lifelong learning: While entry-level programmes will continue to have their place, the larger need is for continuous learning programmes. Executive MBA programmes will see growth, and content and pedagogy needs to upgrade keeping market needs in mind.

 Hybrid programmes: For working executives who are digitally aware, displacement for a long-term classroom course may be increasingly difficult, and the move to hybrid models with a significant online component and an offline component, will become popular. Many of these programmes will cut across traditional silos, and combine business and technology perspectives.

 Learning and thinking: We need to change the way we think and learn. Areas like design thinking, systems thinking and learnability will find large interest (a course on learning to learn is especially popular on Coursera).

 Emerging segments: Management education will be required for many new segments. Whether it be courses to upskill women returning to the workforce, professionalise traditional family businesses, professionalise traditionally unorganised and growing sectors (media, sports), management education will see innovation with regard to emerging segments and offerings. Schools which are good at sensing, design and risk taking will reap rewards.

In summary, it is said that the Chinese word for crisis has two meanings, danger and hidden opportunity’ Schools poised to see the opportunity in crisis will emerge as schools of the future.

- The writer is Dean, S.P. Jain Institute of Management Research, Mumbai