Individuals become aware of their strengths and weaknesses once they acquire some years of experience. This is also a time when individuals start to seriously consider their career options. An honest self-assessment helps them realise what they can leverage and where they need to improve to stay relevant in the marketplace. They explore various learning avenues to see what fits their needs – from simple options like self-help books and online tutorials to more structured avenues like short-duration training programmes, long-duration distance education courses, full-time post-graduate education, etc. The more structured and formal learning avenues tend to have higher returns on investment but generally require greater commitment of time and effort. So before investing in a certain avenue, it is important to know if it truly meets one’s learning requirements. This is where a programme’s ‘Learning Goals’ come in.

Learning goals clearly define the ideas, skills, techniques, etc that a particular programme is designed to help you master. It gives you a great way to evaluate a particular programme for a fit with your needs and to compare it with other similar programmes. For the ISB PGP, we have defined five learning goals that students achieve, at the least, over the course of the year:

Interpersonal Awareness and Working in Teams
Each student shall demonstrate an ability to work effectively in a team, exhibiting behaviour that reflects an understanding of the importance of individual roles and tasks, and the ability to manage conflict and compromise, so that team goals are achieved.

Critical and Integrative Thinking
Each student shall be able to identify key issues in a business setting, develop a perspective that is supported with relevant information and integrative thinking, to draw and assess conclusions.

Awareness of Global Issues Affecting Business
Each student shall be able to identify key relevant global factors, and be able to analyse the impact of the global environment on business issues, as compared with domestic factors.

Effective Oral Communication
Each student shall be able to communicate verbally in an organised, clear, and persuasive manner, and be a responsive listener.

Ethical Responsibility
Each student shall be able to identify ethical issues, understand the impact of a particular issue on various stakeholders, and become ethically responsible business managers that positively impact businesses and society today.

To help the students achieve these learning goals, the programme provides the fundamentals of management education with the flexibility of exploring chosen areas of interest. It provides multiple learning opportunities through interactions with faculty, students and business leaders, and encourages self-learning through reflection. It also combines theory with practice – teaching methods include case studies, class discussions, field studies, seminars, simulations, independent work, and more. Overall, it encourages integration of thinking across disciplinary boundaries and teaches one to operate in the local environment, but with capabilities to operate globally too.

In short, the programme helps develop managerial and leadership capabilities required to thrive in the dynamic business environment we find ourselves in today. The context may vary amongst organisations of varying sizes that operate in different industries and geographies, and that have different economic/ non-economic objectives, but for those individuals who aim to become adept managers and inspiring leaders, the ISB PGP is one of the best learning avenues.

If you are thinking of business education, I would assume that you have already done some amount of honest self-assessment and identified your areas of weakness and strength. You may even have understood your learning needs already (if you haven’t yet done so, I encourage you to take up that exercise soon). Once you know what your learning needs are, you can compare them with the ISB PGP’s learning goals and see how you can benefit from this programme.

Next week, I will blog about the role that faculty and their research play in helping students achieve these learning goals and internalising core management principles.

All the best!