Business Schools and Business Strategy
I am sorry, this is not about teaching business strategy in Business Schools. Instead on another important question. Should a B School require a business strategy? I think yes, one must have a business model; where to and how to make money and how to spend it. What are the priorities and what are the larger or long term instututional objectives? What kind of an institution do we want to build and for whom? These questions are often explicitly addressed and there is an articulated strategic plan to realise the corprorate aspirations for many businesses. What about a a business school? How do we compare and judge alternate strategic choices if we do not have a clear direction?
There are many, however who may feel upset that I am looking at business school as a business. The hypocracy is that we can teach business, but teaching business must not be called a business though it is always one. Mostly academics are the first to reject theory as impractical even in their own organizations. Imagine discussing about vertical integration and rapid skimming for a business school and lifestyle segmentation of our customers who are our students. The perpetrator of such ideas may not be liked very much. Should a B school be profitable and how do we do this, what if it is in public sector?
These thoughts were prompted by IIM Indore's decision to go for backward intergration and start an under graduate programmes. Once I worked in a campus where the management claimed that one can study from 'Playschool to PhD' with out leaving the campus. Would IIM Indore pursue this aspiartion? they already have Doctoral and Masters.Now they are going upstream in supplychain to undergraduation. Would they continue up to have a school also, so that they can straddle the entire supplychain? Or should it be diversification to law, botany, mathematics, medicine etc. Will they remain a nicher or will they try to be the cost leader or volume leader.
I also wonder what hundreds of undersgraduate students and their parents will do to the IIM system. Imagine PTA, progress reports, parents crying on the inaugural day, Imagine the professor struggling to adopt to students in their early teens. It would be certainly an intresting experiment? But certainly I would love to read a case study on what strategic directions are served by this move.