Teaching and learning in MBA has to be completely different from your undergraduate days. There are many reasons for it. First, you are doing a post graduate program which is different from a graduate program. Second, MBA, is a program where many disciplines such as accounting, statistics, economics, psychology, engineering, mathematics, anthropology and sociology, to name just a few, are put together to achieve decision making capability. Decision making is the key to becoming a good manager and a leader. Third, when you become a manager, you will be responsible for the money of the investor and life of the employees. Fourth, by the time you reach the MBA program, you will be an adult with one’s own thinking and perception. Fifth, as a manager and a leader, you will be working in an environment of continuous change. Sixth, you will be expected to apply all the conceptual knowledge that you gain in the MBA program. Seventh, you will have to generate original ideas and defend it not only during placement, but also during your career.
These are some of the reasons why MBA pedagogy has to follow experiential learning. Experiential learning cycle is defined by the noted researcher Kolb. The researcher postulates that concrete experiences are the best for experiential learning. However, this may not be possible always and hence we use cases, simulations etc. A learner should reflect on the experiences, convert the reflections into abstract conceptualization and then experiment.
The heart of a successful MBA program is case method of teaching. Our faculty uses cases from Harvard, which is considered the mother of all management education. Harvard cases are real ones and not fictitious ones. So, every time you learn a case, you learn about the industry, the challenges that a company in that sector faced and learn to evaluate the situation and make recommendations.
If a management institute follows case method, it is essential to have a theatre shaped class room. Cases method of learning is discussion based. The theatre shaped seating enables each individual to create eye contact with every other person in the class and make effective communication while defending one’s point. This enhanced your self-confidence. ASB has created ideal class rooms to run the case method.
You learn to become an effective manager and a leader by playing that role. You will participate in many role plays in the class room so that you become proficient in playing the role of a manager and a leader. Where possible we use computer driven simulations to give you a real-time experience of your decision making capacity and its impact.
Managers work in real industry environment. Hence, ASB uses industry visits as a tool to gain insight into the working of an industry. During your MBA in ASB, you are likely to visit five to six industries to gain real experience of how things happen on ground. When you see what happens on ground and learn in the class what should happen, you are able identify the gap and then become leaders who can bridge that gap. Your ability to take the organization to the ideal situation in small steps is the key to becoming an effective and successful manager and leader.
The purpose of talks by various senior functionaries from an industry is similar to Industry visits. In this case the experience is brought to ASB and it saves the logistics of visiting industries. More importantly, it gives you an opportunity to listen to and learn from a senior manager. ASB conducts many such talks. It also conducts mega events like Times Ascent-ASB HR conclave where a number of business leaders come together on the same stage. If one working manger can make an impact, imagine the power of many such managers addressing you together.
Alumni of ASB are managers and leaders in various organizations. Connecting with them is similar to connecting with a working manager from an industry. However, alumni are more close and understand the culture of ASB better than corporate captains. Hence, this an invaluable method for experiential learning.
Activities are excellent opportunity for experiential learning. If you have a management festival and you take initiative to market the festival or conduct an event, you automatically learn by doing. Constello, the management festival of ASB, Tata Crucible which is the largest business quiz in India, outbound training, management games, making business plan etc. are the tools that ASB uses to enhance your experiential learning.
Committees and clubs in ASB are forums created to put you into leadership roles and give you experience to learn from these. ASB’s structure will invariably give you opportunity to become part of some of the committees and clubs so that you put into practice what you learn in the class.
Summer Internship gives you a deeper insight into the working of a company and help the company solve small problems. You may study working capital management, consumer behavior of customers of company, a human resource issue, how to optimize an activity and so on and make recommendation to improve the situation. In brief, during summer internship, you will experience making an impact for the business outcome of the company in which you intern. This is one of the most valuable experiential learning that you will have in your MBA program.