This was an old idea that I keep coming back to - that of a Global Enterprise School. Indeed, the shortening to E-School is deliberate to contrast it with B-School. A Forbes article in 2011 first used the term (see my earlier post) and I have been exploring it ever since. This was the idea I pursued in the transformation, which remained incomplete, of London School of Accountancy and Management that I was running at the time, and afterwards, as I set up U-Aspire to offer pathway education globally. While I may have been doing something else for several months now, and U-Aspire, in its China-only format, became more focused on qualifications that lead to English degrees, I have never abandoned the idea. However, the intervening months of experience was valuable and helped me develop the concept further, and perhaps to a point when I am ready to give it a shape.
The idea may have started as a contra-B-School, particularly attractive as the limitations of B-School teaching is all but apparent and the MBA, which made the industry, has lost much of its sheen. As management cadre and career dwindle, many B-Schools have since caught on to the Enterprise mantra, though this may be a significant departure from what they were set up to be. The Enterprise play is self-defeating in a way - no one should sign up for an expensive MBA if s/he wants to become an entrepreneur - and is a roundabout admittance that there are not many management jobs to go around. Indeed, in the end, the B-Schools have done what they do - produced Investment Bankers who revel on the Business Plan competition experiences as Entrepreneurial stints! The world, in a way, remained exactly where it was.
However, this spells doom for Entrepreneur Education too, if that was the idea one had to pursue. That one can teach Entrepreneurs, though consistent with the modern-day mythologies of planned entrepreneurship (and all those Government schemes that come with it), has always been proved wrong. There are issues of aptitude, environment and indeed, the timing. Whatever we believe, not everyone is ready to be an entrepreneur after they leave college, and not everyone should be struck off as potential after they have crossed 40. Entrepreneur Education, particularly of the variety that calls for setting up of a school, is by definition a doomed project.
But, indeed, the Enterprise School is not the same as a School for Entrepreneurship, though this may be quite a nuanced distinction for the blunt hammer of education marketing. Education Marketing, as it stands now, wants everything to be a Course, and all outcome to be defined as a Job Description, preferably with a dollar figure attached - and tries to do so for Entrepreneurship. The Process of education is somewhat redundant in this world, except for some dreaming spires and sprawling lawns that always get attached to Higher Ed, even if it is only virtual (one Marketer told me to think about virtual lawns for an online university, only half-jokingly). The point of Enterprise School is indeed about a new process of education, one where asking right questions are more important than searching for one true answer, is indeed irrelevant for this translation.
This is where the tendency to frame the E-School in contrast with B-School comes from, though, as I argued, this is a non-starter. In this simplistic formulation, one trades up the management career for an entrepreneurial stint, though that defeats the purpose - quest of certainty - that drives enrollment in the first place. However, at the core of enterprise thinking is to turn this model of certainty on its head and to make it emerge from inside out - that I would know that I can find a way - rather than depending on others for certainty. And, this - by definition - should come from the Process of Education rather than the Paper (or the Degree or Certificate) that comes at the end.
So, this is the starting challenge of the E-School conversation - flipping the usual discourse and make the proposition distinctive enough. The way to do it is to connect with real experience, as there are no other way of building confidence. And, this experience needs to be just business projects - one of the big limitations of the business school is to start formulating everything as business and overlooking the distinctive nature of our engagements in family, community and polity. The experience-based education as attempted in business schools usually focus narrowly on business-related problems, but the Enterprise School must go further and seek to create an Experience-based Education engaged in the whole experience of living.
The other challenge in E-School conversation is the one about what is being taught. Business Schools teach business, but if E-School does not teach Enterprise - then what should it teach? If a label has to be used, it is indeed Leadership in the broadest sense that is being offered here. However, this is not leadership as a soft skill, which it has now come to be, but rather leadership as a character trait that one is after. The wider engagement, diverse teams, commitment to learning and reflection and pursuit of values should make the E-School graduates distinctive.
By definition, E-School is also global, reflecting the nature of global engagements in our daily life. However, another distinctive feature of E-School is to appreciate Globalisation as a nuanced process in all its variations, rather than adopting the Globalization Apocalypse thinking that B-Schools promote (the assumption that business everywhere is the same, or should be). This is one thing I learned over the last several years of work in education internationalisation, and E-Schools should provide the safe space for promoting and exploring differences, rather than providing idealised models of behaviour. This is indeed part of the first principles here - the ability to ask questions rather than seeking the best answer - that must guide the approach to globalisation.
This is just a concept at this time, and I am not at the implementation mode yet. However, when an important investor recently asked me what I really want to do, my answer was this - I really want to create this model. I am still not ready and my exploration of ideas continue, but I am hoping to get to the point of fleshing out these ideas into operable principles at some point in 2016. Till then, I am in the lookout for all those cotravellers, whose ideas are similar and who are exploring one or the other aspect of education in their own distinctive way. This post is my invitation to connect up and start the conversation.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
There is no other city like Kolkata for me: It is Home. The only city where I don't have to find a reason to go to, or to love. It is one city hardwired into my identity, and despite being away for a decade, that refuses to go away. People stay away from their homeland for a variety of reasons. But, as I have come to feel, no one can be completely happy to be away. One may find fame or fortune, love and learning, in another land, but they always live an incomplete life. They bring home broken bits of their homeland into their awkward daily existence, a cushion somewhere, a broken conversation in mother tongue some other time, always rediscovering the land they left behind for that brief moment of wanting to be themselves. The cruelest punishment, therefore, for a man who lives abroad is when his love for his land is denied. It is indeed often denied, because the pursuit of work, knowledge or love seemed to have gotten priority over the attraction of the land. This is particularly
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
India's employment data is sobering ( see here ). The pandemic has wrecked havoc and the structural problems of the economy - service sector dependence, uneven regional development and health and education challenges - are more evident than ever. Something needs to happen, and fast. To its credit, the government acknowledges the education challenge. Belatedly - it took more than 30 years - India has come up with a new National Education Policy. It is a comprehensive policy, which covers the whole spectrum of education and perhaps overcompensates the previous neglect by advocating radical change. As I commented elsewhere on this blog, it shows a curious mixture of aspirations, cultural revival and global competitiveness put under the same hood. However, despite its radical aspirations, the policy document often betrays same-old thinking. One of these is India's approach to foreign universities. The NEP makes the case for allowing foreign universities to set up operations in Ind
It's not often that I get to do things I like, but, as it happens, the lockdown came with a little gift. I was asked to develop, by an Indian entrepreneur with a strong commitment to education, a framework for a Liberal Education for one of his schools. And, as a part of this exercise, I was asked to develop a critique of Indian Education, if only to set the context of the proposal I am to make. I claim to have some unusual - therefore unique - qualification to do this job. I am, after all, an outsider in all senses. I have lived outside India for a long time, but never went too far away, making it my field of work for most of the period. I have also been outside the academe but never too far away: Just outside the bureaucracy but intimately into the conversations. I worked in the 'disruptive' end of education without the intention to disrupt and in For-profit without the desire for profit. Along the way, the only thing I consistently did is study educatio
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
Nations are ideas. We try to fashion them as territories. But how can a river, a mountain ridge or sometimes an imaginary line in the middle of a field can explain the wide division in the lives, thoughts and futures of the people who live on different sides? Nations are not the people too. Indeed, people build nations and become its body. But the soul of the nation is an idea: People come together on an idea to build a nation. While that's what a modern nation is - an idea - and that way exceptionalism is not an American exception, very few nations are as completely defined by an idea as Pakistan. There was hardly any political, geographic or military rationale of Pakistan other than the idea of an Islamic homeland in South Asia. [In that way, the ideological brother of Pakistan in the family of nations is Israel] This, abated by the short term political calculations of some backroom colonialists, created a modern state which must be solely sustained on that singular idea. Reli
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.