The Evolving Role of Business Schools in Fostering Global Leaders


With new geopolitical, environmental, and technological developments sweeping the world, the global markets are evolving at a breakneck speed. With the dynamic changes that the 21st century is in the process of witnessing, professionals and educational institutions need to update their methods so that they remain afloat amid the changing tides. Moreover, when compared to their foreign counterparts, the onus to deliver an industry-geared cohort weighs more heavily on Indian B-schools as they are regarded as the definitive gateway to a promising career in the country.

Therefore, in this fast-paced era, B-schools need to focus on upgrading their pedagogy and integrating new-age knowledge and skills. Additionally, the institutions must impart solid values and soft skills, which must be the top priority of B-schools. In an increasingly unpredictable world, fostering values, soft and technical skills, and mindsets that gauge and adapt to changes efficiently would hold one in good stead no matter what the challenges.

To understand the need for pedagogy updates we need to understand the very nature of organisations and businesses today. While post-liberalisation in the 90s, India saw a low makeover across the country, it is only in the last 10 years, with the start-up culture taking root in India that the country saw the real fruits of a laissez-faire economy and globalisation. Now that globalisation is at play in full swing, Indian markets need leaders who have an in-depth understanding of geopolitics and International Business to contribute towards the growth and advancement of the country. In fact, International Business as a discipline was specifically framed to tackle the challenges of dynamic times of interconnectedness such as the one we are currently going through.

Similarly, gone are the days when globalisation was solely a feature of MNCs. The international teams at MNCs, their recruitment processes, and their impact on the Indian employment rates, have long become the mainstay of Modern India. Now, even start-ups have, in their unique way, become international as they are heavily funded by foreign Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors. The foreign influence on startups becomes more visible when they begin enjoying global capital via FDIs as and when they hit the IPO stage. Thus, from an entrepreneurship standpoint, such levels of global influence in the domestic require a hold over global events and business trends, further making a case for including International Business in B-school curricula, with the aim of nurturing global leaders.

Likewise, a solid grounding in International Relations and World History is a potent knowledge combination as many trade-related issues faced today are a direct result of historical exchanges, conflicts, and treaties across geographies.

To further understand, take, for instance, the positive international relations between the United States and Canada. Through trade agreements, economic integration, security cooperation, and diplomatic channels, these nations have fostered a strong, mutually beneficial partnership, exemplifying how international relations can boost trade, economic growth, and overall prosperity. The example suffices to say that B-schools should gear themselves to prepare candidates who graduate with a robust understanding of the world at large. In this way, candidates can make intelligent business decisions when assuming leadership roles in the future.

From a Human Resources point of view as well, these modules pose as cultural grooming and means of sensitisation to different ways of life, essential for a harmonious work culture in today’s transnational workforces. Also, with globalised economies global leaders working on an international project need to follow and even discover varying compliance steps necessary for cross-border operations. Therefore, to handle such complex operations and compliance, the leaders would have to hone mastery in the policy, another area that remains untapped by B-schools.

Similarly, technical skills in emergent technologies need to be incorporated into the B-school syllabus. The world of business has always been intricately woven with that of technology. In recent times, the advent of the Internet has automated banking and trading in a never-seen-before manner. Therefore, by extension, it is fair to argue that the global leaders of today need to be tech experts or possess technical insights to lead the industry in a futuristic direction.

While the balance of powers, policies of governments, and trends in commerce may vary, the world of business still requires analytical thinkers who can create value in any situation. Thus soft skills such as research and reasoning must be valuable takeaways from B-schools. In other words, holistic grooming would help the next crop of global leaders to analyse and discover new opportunities, about which no textbook can give a priori knowledge. Additionally, imparting values around sustainability and inclusivity also needs to be part of the B-school curriculum. Needless to say, for the world to be a better place, tomorrow’s global leaders have to be sensitive to the pressing issues of the day and the long-standing inequalities that still need to be addressed.

In conclusion, the evolving role of B-schools in fostering global leaders lies in adapting their pedagogy to accommodate new-age knowledge, international perspectives, and technical skills while instilling values of sustainability and inclusivity. This transformation in education will be essential to prepare future leaders who can navigate the complexities of the ever-morphing global business landscape effectively.