Importance of Student Research in a B-School

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Mr. Ajitesh Basani,Executive Director,
ABBS School of Management

India’s R&I investment is less than 0.7% of the country’s GDP, and we have not been able to allocate R&D investments effectively to the projected range of 2.7% of India’s GDP.  Research is the fundamental practice needed for overall innovation and growth. For a country like ours, an effective strategy is making research an integral part of academia starting with students. Often the importance of research is assumed to be the work of teaching professionals, but it is something that can be applicable to anyone interested in gaining depth in a particular domain or area of study. Amongst the research output that Indian institutions have, the lowest contribution is from management institutes. Often B-Schools are focused on the final placements of their students. The emphasis given to the final placement offer is immense in India. Though placement statistics play a key factor in an institution’s repute, what we often miss out on is the student engagement that is unique to each one’s learning. This engagement is possible when research is introduced in a management degree.

Starting with the grassroots by driving student research is an approach that is scalable in institutions. Introducing structured research programs into the curriculum is the most effective way of scaling overall research contribution of institutions. This often requires patience and tenacity with a long-term vision of adding ‘impact’ to the community and the society.

The curriculum at ABBS School of Management, Bengaluru is focused on industry 4.0 and has a systemic pedagogy that introduces research in a step-by-step approach. The trimester model with five specializations offered enable a wide spectrum of research opportunities. The student is guided by a research associate and discovers his/her expertise through competency mapping before identifying a topic. The entire lifecycle of the student research results in publications in national and international journals. The idea behind the exercise is not the publication, but the learning through questioning, engaging and analyzing. With industry 4.0 skillsets in rising demand, the fundamentals of statistics and analysis play a crucial role before deep diving into analytics. Research and placement interviews works in cohesion. The reason behind this is the distinct subject knowledge that the student brings through his/her research work to the interview table, unlike pure domain knowledge that is usual. This is valuable in terms of students developing new perspectives, comprehending & analyzing data, and presenting topics with clarity. These are attributes that will last a lifetime for any professional. The workplace of the future will demand such skills from the management graduates of today.

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