Learning the Art of Becoming a good or great Teacher of Management

The MBA course is not an ordinary course. Possibly, when the IIMs were established, many other Universities that introduced the course did it as mere extensions of the M..Com course, run by the Commerce Department. Today, the game is different and the rules of the game have changed too. This article is an attempt to discuss what makes a good teacher or a great teacher of Management.


The MBA degree is a highly valued degree. The IIMs are a class apart when it comes to imparting education confirming to global standards. The best teachers in India are always those from the IIMs. Why is that the best of research is produced only at the IIMs? Answers to such questions are complex and not one line answers.

Be that as it may, the most important requirements to become a successful teacher are a) World-class research capabilities b) Creative talent at understanding complex phenomena and interpreting the same in the classroom on an everyday basis c) Having a stint in the Indian Corporate Sector for five years d) Enabling students to become entrepreneurs and e) Always seek to teach global knowledge with Indian anchoring.

World-class research capabilities

This author had worked as a Research Staff Member in the Personnel Management and Industrial Relations Area of the IIMA. Even at that point in time, each of the teachers had a doctorate degree from one of the best Universities in the UK or USA. Each of them had a minimum of at least sixty publications in refereed journals. Most had at least fifty research papers published in world-class research journals. Many had attended at least ten International Conferences, where their papers were highly appreciated for their inputs and recognized as well.

Simply put, this is the minimum requirement for becoming a world-class teacher in the IIMs or any of the top B schools in India. Some prominent names are the Janmalal Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, the Management Development Institute, New Delhi, the Faculty Of Management Studies, Delhi University, the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, the TA Pai Manipal Institute of Management, Manipal and the XLRI, Jamshedpur. It is hence imperative that you aspire to work to these levels of excellence if you want to stay very competitive. You not only need a good doctorate; you need several more credits in your resume. Like the highly original, research-based articles. Even here, it is absolutely essential that you stay glued to global developments and come out with path-breaking research.

For instance, if you are a teacher of HR in a Management Institute, you will do no good to your credentials if you do a research study on absenteeism; this topic has been beaten to death by thousands of researchers. Instead, you could focus on the burning topic of adaptability of rural employees towards changing rules of engagement in BPO and IT companies. The aspirations and ambitions of this chunk of the workforce; what can happen to quickly close the skill gaps and so on. You could even publish case -studies of BPO employees, who had landed in Chennai or Bangalore, after their education in a rural environment and how they braved all odds to become successful. Such real-world examples will motivate your own students, who would have landed in the cities without much of preparation and then would be doing the MBA course in an urban environment.

Creative talent at understanding complex phenomena

Can you as a teacher of say, Marketing Management dissect and reason out the complexities of today's global recession? Well, even if you are not an economics expert, it is not rocket science. The US-China Trade war is one cause; the slow down in India has also happened since a far lesser number of jobs were generated in the past six years; the contract employees, who were working all these years as NEEM trainees have been shown the door; newer forms of self-employment, like the small hotels, have multiplied everywhere, since the lower middle class and the just one level above it, with salaries around Rs16,000 to Rs17,000 per month, are growing by leaps and bounds.

Collect data on all such complex phenomena; motivate your students to go to the local bazaar to understand what is going on; ask them to interview people in different households to understand what areas they are trying to cut expenditure on; ask your students to study the growth of the unorganized sector, even by observing sales in the local department store; if several customers pick up biscuits of a local manufacturer and do not touch Brittannia products or Parle products or the Sunfeast brand of ITC, quiz the retailer as to why this is happening and his stocking priorities. Hundreds of new answers will emerge from such an in-depth study of social phenomena in a time of recession.

Having a stint in the Corporate Sector for five years

If you are employed in a pucca Government job or a Govt aided MBA college, check if you can take a sabbatical and rejoin after a stint of five years in the Corporate Sector; if you working in a private institute, you can jolly well jump and go into a Corporate job for five years. If you have a working wife, all the more so. You will get a good chance to observe the complexities of doing business in India. If you are smart enough, and you already have a doctorate degree, if you can put on your thinking cap and come out with a series of initiatives like Six Sigma( assuming you are trained in it), with a focus on cost-cutting, your experience will be highly valued and you will be rewarded for it. Go for the Corporate experience, as you can marry theory with an experience that much better and faster as well. Your objective should be to aspire for a stint with the likes of the prestigious Bharadhidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirapalli, which has a tie-up with the BHEL, Tiruchirapalli, and there is a good chance of your rubbing shoulders with the best managers of a prestigious company like BHEL. Check for other B schools that have similar links with industry and after your Corporate exposure, a stint in such B schools will help you a great deal.

Enabling students to become entrepreneurs

Take leave for three days and go over to the nearest IIT or NIT. There, you will notice that some of India's best brains are simply raring to grow. This wave of new thinking and solid action, from among even fresh engineers to set up their own start-ups through viable business models where the cash flow is too good, is always seen. Each of these colleges might as well have an MBA course as well. Talk to such bright minds to get information; come back to your institute to engage with groups of your own students to come up with new ideas.

Never ever underestimate the power and native intelligence of rural students. They may think in their own mother tongue. They will clearly express their ideas too, in the same language. Yet, the most fertile seeds for a good business model will still emerge. This is exactly how new businesses are emerging just about everywhere. Most of these are IT controlled. You will be far better off as a Management Teacher if you can bring to the table, a significant entrepreneurial streak in at least forty of your one hundred students studying in the first or the second year.

Always seek to teach global knowledge with Indian anchoring

It does you no good to merely teach Indian concepts or knowledge that pertains only to India. It is fine for you to pour into several videos, now available on YouTube, about how Steeve Jobs built one of the world's best product-based IT companies called Apple Computers and how he made Microsoft scramble for space in the mobile market. Or how he has given competitors a run for their money, worldwide. This is all the more so, as Apple Products are now stocked and sold literally everywhere and the younger generation will be fully conversant with the far superior functional features of every single Apple Product. Can you relate each of the late genius moves, to the vital concepts of Core Competence and Competitive Advantage? You will go nowhere and so would your students if you just stick to the traditional SWOT analysis and discuss just one case study. Today, the best method of teaching is only the case study method. You need to totally change your mindset and focus only on case studies. Once you do so, you will have achieved a degree of success that most of your colleagues would not have; go in for a change as a rule.

Go for it. Go for all global concepts. Write-out interdisciplinary case studies. Never restrict the case-studies to just one discipline. You can go places as a Management Teacher if you seriously try to be different, all the way. All the best.


Gone are the days when the mere theory was enough for the MBA degree. The competencies required and some steps to be taken in this regard have been described in some detail in this article. If there is a serious effort at making a real difference, you can surely become a very good Management Teacher, with employability. In other words, you would have "arrived". You can get into one of the branded B schools and look for a memorable career, with the brightest minds.

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Author: Venkiteswaran26 May 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

While the academic faculty in management education institutions can explain the theoretical aspects of management, the students get more benefit from real-life examples and case studies.

Having worked as a middle-level manager in my career, I had occasion to attend some specific (in-house) management classes. There it was felt that most have the basic knowledge from textbooks or some literature available, but eagerly look forward to hearing the personal experience of the faculty members. The same attitude can be expected from the academic management students too. If not having much personal experience, teachers can relate the theories to some relevant day to day life incidents too.

It is keeping these points in mind that the article presents two paragraphs 'Creative talent at understanding complex phenomena' and 'Having a stint in the Corporate Sector for five years'. I have found the "TED talks" very useful and practical to the management students. The speakers there narrate and relate real-life stories for explaining the management principles.

The academic teachers can adopt some of these methods in teaching.

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