Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pick up business ideas from newspapers

Management students should be alert enough to pick up business ideas from reports that are churned out by the newspapers as there are mini-case studies waiting to be explored, according to Mr D. Sampathkumar, Editor, The Hindu Business Line.

He felt that while the media is not ‘completely presumptuous' that it could entirely bridge the gap between the industry and academic institutions, it could still expose people who were concerned with the business of management and open up the ‘mental horizon' in a way that was somewhat better than what if the person was not familiar with newspapers.

Speaking at a Business Line club meeting organised by the PSG Institute of Management Studies (PSGIM), Coimbatore, on Monday, he said a question often raised was whether newspapers helped the students perform better as managers or make them better as students.

An issue that frequently cropped up was the industry-academia divide, which was particularly relevant for business schools.
Not a producing machine

Even engineering colleges were confronted with the criticism that the students were not equipped to perform the tasks that the IT companies expected them to do, which may be true with other industrial segments too. Even medical education was not exempt from this criticism.

Mr Sampathkumar said there was a perception that the academic institutions were ‘simply not turning out the kind of people' that the industry seemed to want. It was not as if this criticism has gone ‘unrebutted' by the academic community, who say the industry doesn't do enough to ensure that the students are ‘adequately equipped' when they pass out of courses, like sharing information as to why some products launches failed.

Management courses are not something like a raw material that, when put through some manufacturing process, comes out as a product! That the industrialists ‘generally tend to shy away' from parting with information about their operations makes it tough to bridge the divide between academia and the industry is a common refrain of the academic community.
Gap getting wider

The problem would not have engaged everyone's attention to the extent it has but for the fact ‘this divide is actually getting wider and wider' as days go by, he said. The real world was also becoming complex in that what would impact the fortunes of a business are not defined so easily that effective counter strategy is difficult to formulate.

It was only natural that the ‘fundamental divide' between the academics and industries ‘should get even wider' as we are beginning to see now.

He felt that newspapers could play a positive part in this scenario, though the media is not ‘so presumptuous' as to think that it could bridge the gap between the real world and the academia but could move towards exposing the people who were concerned with the management of businesses/ economy towards things they should be guarding themselves against.

It would help open their mental horizon in a way that was somewhat better than what it would have been if they had no exposure to the media.
Waiting to be explored

Mr Sampathkumar's advice to the students was to look for news reports from which they could pick up business ideas and said ‘there is probably some mini case studies that are waiting to be explored in each and every story that we publish' that may be true of other business dailies too.

Newspapers in their own way try to bridge the academic-real world divide. Since competition in the job market is getting more intense, students were required to equip themselves a lot better.

Prof Umesh Chandrasekhar of PSGIM said the interaction of the students with Mr Sampathkumar had helped to reduce the disconnect between the industry and the academics, and reading good business newspapers/ magazines regularly would help the students improve their awareness as managers.

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