Dr. Asmita Chitnis, Director of SIIB Pune
With talks about India being the ‘back office of the world’ resurfacing in the recent public discourse, it is worth examining what the moniker implies. What makes India the ideal ground for outsourced international projects is its massive youth population, the highest in the world, which not only has a near-native proficiency in English but also a robust STEM educational background. Post-liberalisation, while the Indian youth, groomed in the Indian education system for transnational conglomerates, has been rather successful but they have been primarily engaged in such work. Despite being a massive soft power in the world, the way ahead for India would be to rise above corporate scut work into more challenging positions.
Given the global nature of the markets in future, the groundwork for more high-quality jobs in India would require B-schools to churn out an increased number of expert management professionals who are competent in International Business. Adding premium management skills to this potent combination of linguistic and technical knowledge would be the frosting on the mammoth cake that is the Indian corporate sector.
A focused International Business education will pave the way for companies to hire candidates who can successfully shoulder the responsibilities that deal with business practices worldwide. Moreover, the global perspectives that International Business provides, could help management professionals solve human resource problems that arise out of diversity. A culturally sensitive work environment, a potential boon of International Business Education, contributes not only to a politically sound solution in terms of workplace inclusivity but also pools in talents across various backgrounds.
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Additionally, to successfully make the best use of the market trends, the management courses need to expand their scope into booming sectors such as cybersecurity, fintech, digital marketing, green energy and sustainable technologies and other tech-powered industries. Indians known around the world for their quality scientific and technical aptitude would be perhaps the ideal candidates for the booming industry.
One of the biggest concerns in the digital world today is cybersecurity. To seize this trend, the B-schools need to focus on an International Business curriculum that delves into the nitty-gritty of cybersecurity laws which would help the huge chunk of software engineers, the most sought-after engineering branch in the country, to be successful in the rising cybersecurity industry.
Similarly, Digital Marketing is another rising technology-infused digital industry. The tech-savvy candidates with the combined knowledge of International Business and Digital Marketing could be instrumental in enhancing the personalised consumer engagement that has been driving sales conversion in the market today.
With the invention of the Unified Payment Interface( UPI) and the fact that India has been at the forefront of internet banking despite a fairly economically stunted population, the Fintech sector is already a thriving industry. Every year the Indian start-up landscape sees several Fintech initiatives mushroom. What could further this trend in India is a scalable model that seamlessly integrates solutions for global transactions keeping in mind the complex finance laws across countries. Now with the ruble-based Indo-Russian oil trade, it is no surprise that the Indian Fintech sector has the potential to give its counterparts around the world a run for their money. Therefore, a focus on preparing international commerce experts with global exposure is imperative and the burden lies with B-schools offering International Business.
Apart from more tech-oriented financial services, perhaps, the future has in store a new economic landscape with NFTs and cryptocurrency being the mainstay among financial products. China has already initiated a process of a centralised digital currency. In the wake of this change, the Indian need to
In addition to the software-related and Fintech industries, the clean energy sector has gained much traction recently in India. Many government initiatives and private industries, including the Adani Group, have shown interest in the sector. Given the rising demand for green energy coupled with the complications in energy security worldwide, future sustainable management professionals in India need to be well-versed in international laws as well as be adept in strategic thinking, especially vis-a-vis the energy crisis caused by shifts in world politics. Such intricate work demand astute International Business thinkers who are passionate about strategic planning and international relations.
The changing world demands that International Business as a discipline needs to expand its horizons. One could further question that given the ubiquitous manner in which topics of International Business have penetrated every aspect of the business world if the discipline itself can be taught as a standalone pursuit rather than aspects of the subject taught in a customised manner to serve other specialisations. In view of the dynamic changes that are to come, perhaps the most valuable lesson that the B-Schools could teach is resilience, which would hold the candidates in good stead, regardless of whatever challenges the future holds.
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