Leadership Skills – Part III : Skills that Matter the Most for MBA Students:

Present business scenario is dynamic and challenging. The business firms are in need of people who can play diversified roles and take leadership to solve pressing issues. No wonder business firms combat globally to find people with leadership skills, given the challenges such as global fluency, ability to think strategically, innovate and inspire others. The business requires people who can think globally and act locally.

Almost inevitably, in pursuit of expansion the business firms need to develop leadership roles at every level. There is an acute shortage of graduates with leadership skills. The MBA graduates are not meeting the expectations of the employers in terms of leadership skills. The skill gap is widening every year, says the QS International recruiter’s survey 2007-2014. The Learning and Talent development survey by CIPD has found that the main gaps in leadership skills identified by employers are in setting standards for performance, dealing with underperformance, leading and managing change.

The global business conditions and economic conditions call for more people with leadership skills. Are we prepared to capitalize on the demographic advantage we have as a nation? The global economic situation demands for increasing the productivity and industrial activity? Initiatives like ‘Make in India’ are targeted towards growth. But who takes the responsibility. Are we producing enough leaders? What is the role of B-Schools in India in producing leaders?

Leadership skill is one area where still majority of the B-Schools struggle. How does a B-School develop leadership skills?  Perhaps the most important skill the B-School should impart is the ability to think strategically and lead others. Leadership is all about having a vision and working towards achieving that vision. The important thing that a B-School must do is to follow incident / activity based teaching methodology. As a first step towards developing leadership skills B-Schools can establishing student clubs and cells, which will provide opportunity for students to pursue their vision. This will provide opportunity for them to understand and handle different situations. They get opportunity to develop and implement ideas by working as a team. Next step is to revise how assignments are done by MBA students. More field works / real time projects, in collaboration with start-ups and SMEs, should be given as assignments to students and their performance can be assessed.

India, as a nation with huge demographic advantage needs to produce leaders who are instrumental in economic development. The B-Schools are responsible to develop leadership skills amongst the students, which is crucial for different facets of their career.


Dr. K. Balanagarajan,

Assistant Professor,

School of Management,

Presidency University


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