— Professor Bharat Bhasker, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
How do you foresee the role of technology shaping India’s progress in the next decade, particularly in areas like digital transformation and business analytics?
The next decade for India will be tech-fuelled with digital transformation and business analytics playing a crucial role in driving the economy. From widespread adoption of 5G and fibre networks to empowered
government services and from data-driven business decision making to AI-powered government initiatives, digital adoption is set to impact every aspect of our lives.
Businesses will rely on data-driven decision making, undertake AI-powered risk analysis to enhance their risk management strategies and to ensure financial stability and operational resilience. We can expect more
personalised customer experiences, far-reaching digital literacy initiatives that will empower marginalized communities, greater access to education and healthcare, etc.
However, there are challenges that will need to be addressed if the power of this technological revolution is to be harnessed to its maximum potential. There is need for robust data governance frameworks and
stringent regulations to ensure data security and privacy. Furthermore, this digital boom will bring in the need for a workforce that has relevant skills. Hence, there has to be adequate focus on skilling. We must
also think of ways to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas. Another key factor is to ensure responsible AI development and deployment to ward off untoward consequences.
Interdisciplinary studies are absolutely crucial. Today, technology is integral to every facet of business – from marketing to finance and from customer service to product development.
In your opinion, what role can academic institutions play in preparing the next generation of business leaders to address the challenges posed by rapid technological advancements, and how can they bridge the gap
between theoretical knowledge and practical application?
Academic institutions shoulder the responsibility of training and developing talent that is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and adaptability to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of business and technological
advancements. As educators, we need to reimagine the curriculum, integrate technology, foster critical thinking and problem-solving among our students, provide them the much-required exposure to real-life business
challenges through collaborative projects with the industry, and thereby equip them for the future.
At IIMA, we follow the Case Study Method, which allows students to immerse themselves into real-life challenges and come up with solutions. Our academic offerings are reviewed and updated periodically to keep pace
with industry demands. Our long-standing association with the industry combined with the research undertaken by our Research Centres allows us to bring real-world challenges into the classroom and, therefore, allow
our students to be at par with industry expectations. Our students also get the opportunity to work on projects with the industry, and, thereby, grow into innovative, ethical, and responsible leaders.
Taking note of the widespread proliferation of AI, we have also included courses and electives that have been designed specifically based on research-driven insights. Through this, we enable our students to have a
holistic view of the industry and foresee the trends to stay ahead of the curve. While we endeavour to match our pace, it is important to remember that this is a continuous process and academic institutions will take
a while to completely adapt and evolve. In such a scenario, collaborations with the industry are mandatory as they facilitate effective, relevant and continuous learning.
As someone deeply involved in IT education, what are your thoughts on the role of interdisciplinary studies, combining IT with fields like business and analytics, in preparing students for the evolving demands of
Interdisciplinary studies are absolutely crucial. Today, technology is integral to every facet of business – from marketing to finance and from customer service to product development. Hence, equipping students with
the knowledge, skills and training to think holistically across disciplines is critical in today’s world.
When you bring together different disciplines, you create a fertile ground for innovation and creativity. Interdisciplinary studies can help students think outside the box, come up with new ideas, and develop
solutions to complex problems.
The need for interdisciplinary studies is critical now more than ever. The industry is in a constant state of flux, and it needs leaders who are not only adept at their core skills but also are aware of the other
components that impact their business.
Disruption is a continuing phenomenon and business leaders now must have the foresight and tact to predict trends and anticipate disruptions to keep their businesses resilient. By embracing interdisciplinary studies,
we can prepare the next-generation of professionals who not only possess the business acumen but are also technically skilled, well-rounded, adaptable, and ready to lead in the ever-evolving world of business.
With a focus on your interests in Data Analysis, how do you see the evolving landscape of data-driven decision-making influencing India’s business and policy domains, and what steps can be taken to harness the
full potential of data analytics in the country?
Data holds tremendous potential and is poised to revolutionize both business and policy domains. Businesses are already relying on data insights to design and optimize their marketing campaigns, offer personalized
experience to their customers, undertake risk mitigation and fraud detection, optimize logistics, improve inventory management, etc. In the future, we will see data-driven decision spread further due to its
efficiency and accuracy.
In the policy space, we can expect greater evidence-based policy making, transparency and accountability. Data analysis can help predict and prepare for natural disasters, saving lives and minimizing economic losses.
To unlock the full potential of data analytics, we need to first develop robust data infrastructure, foster data literacy by training both the workforce and the public on data interpretation and analysis, strengthen
data privacy and security by implementing water-tight protection regulations and lay down ethical guidelines to ensure responsible data use. Collaborations between the government, academia, and private sector to
share data and expertise for collective benefit is a great way to do this.
By embracing these steps, India can leverage data analytics as a powerful tool for progress, driving economic growth, improving public services, and creating a more equitable and data-driven future.
In today’s world, in your opinion what should be the ideology of a good business leader? Are our business schools geared towards shaping such leaders?
In today’s complex and dynamic world, the ideology of a good business leader should go beyond traditional notions of profit maximization and shareholder value. A good business leader should operate with a clear sense
of purpose which aligns with social and environmental responsibility, embrace a stakeholder-centric approach, displays integrity and ethical conduct and makes decisions with transparency, fairness, and
accountability, respecting all stakeholders and upholding high ethical standards.
Furthermore, a good leader should be agile and adaptable to the rapidly changing environment. They should encourage innovation, embrace new technologies, and be open to learning and evolving to stay ahead of the
However, above all, a good leader must understand the humane value of business. Building strong relationships with employees, customers, and partners is crucial. Leaders should lead with empathy, understand diverse
perspectives, and foster a collaborative and supportive work environment.
Ultimately, the future of business leadership lies in embracing a broader, more human-centered ideology that balances profit with purpose, ethics, and responsibility. Business schools have a vital role to play in
equipping future leaders with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to navigate this complex landscape and lead their organizations towards a more sustainable and equitable future.
By incorporating these changes, business schools can play a crucial role in shaping the next generation of leaders who are not only financially savvy but also ethical, responsible, and focused on making a positive
impact on the world.