Industry-Academia Collaboration in Business Schools

Industry-Academia Collaboration in Business Schools

R. Satish Kumar (IFIM Business School, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5837-8.ch024
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In today's competitive business environment, companies need to recruit right personnel for the right job at the right time. The competencies required for the managers to succeed in the corporate world are knowledge, skills, and attitude. In this context, the chapter explains the need for the industry-academia collaboration in higher education in general and business schools in particular. This collaboration should be at input, process, and output levels of the business school activities. Here the author with the case study of IFIM Business School, located in India, attempts to provide the insights into the best practices followed in industry-academia collaboration. The chapter explains the opportunities and the challenges in fostering effective industry-academia collaboration and offers suggestions to design a strategic win-win business policy for the partners.
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In today’s dynamic business environment, it is imperative that business schools collaborate with industry to produce industry-ready students. Academia-Industry collaboration is the arrangement between academic institutions and business entities for attaining mutually beneficial goals and objectives. The author through a case study of IFIM Business Schools attempts to provide the insights into the best practices on Industry-Academia collaboration with reference to Business School.

There is greater emphasis on academic-industry relationships from the early 1980s, and currently, it is necessary for both academic institutions and the industry. The innovative measures from the sectors, institutions and the Government will help in fostering the active relationship between the academia and the industry. The conventional model of the relationship between academia and industry is that of producer and consumer. This relationship facilitates the mutually beneficial collaboration between both the stakeholders. Indian employers are now facing acute shortage of high quality trained manpower. The business schools are not geared up to produce industry-ready students. The Government initiatives alone cannot solve this problem. So, the industry and the established education players have a more significant role to play in coming out with the alternate solution of producing industry-ready students. By this collaboration, Industry gets many inputs from academia in terms of research, and Universities get funding, society gets new products and technology. The partnership would lead to benefits for all the stakeholders.

There is incremental growth in the industry-academia collaboration in the past two decades. This growth is mainly attributed to the Central and State Government for academic research. The industries are interested in this collaboration since they get assistance from academia in terms of research and new product development activities (Bestieler, 2006). The innovation is the need of the hour for corporates to be competitive in this dynamic business environment.

Companies can develop new products and launch them in the market much faster by this partnership with the Universities. In this process, the industry gains expertise in the areas of their business and in turn they can nurture the students and make them job-ready. Universities get funding, as well as recognition in the society. The need of the hour is to have a collaboration where both the parties will come out with the specific action plans, which are mutually beneficial.

In India, the Central Government’s new initiatives such as Make-in India and Skill India requires this academia-industry collaboration. Innovation needs ideas from both the industry and academia. To achieve the global standards in products and services the Indian companies need to collaborate with institutions such as IISc. (Indian Institute of Science), NITs (National Institute of Technology) and IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institute of Management). Since innovation is one of the tools for competitive advantage, companies and countries need to give importance to industry-academia collaboration. It is essential for the Government to address this issue and provide assistance and support for Industry-academia collaboration. The companies need to collaborate with external partners such as universities, public sector organizations, competitors, suppliers and customers in their own or in related industries. Specifically, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are said to benefit from these external linkages (Egbu, Hari, & Renukappa, 2005) because of their natural limitations. The impacts of innovation strategy and university collaboration on the performance of SMEs are currently the significant concerns of technology and innovation policies in emerging economies. The underlying assumption is that a greater focus on university collaboration will contribute to the knowledge assets of SMEs, which in turn, will make them more competitive in a global economy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

National Board of Accreditation (NBA): The accreditation body under the central government.

Indian Institute of Science (IISc.): Premier science and research institute set up by the Indian government to offer post-graduation and doctoral level courses.

Socially Responsible Citizen: Sensitized students to social issues and problems, and made to come out with the solutions.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT): Premier engineering college set up by the Indian government. This is an Indian institute to provide world-class technical education.

University Grant Commission (UGC): The legislative authority under central government to regulate central, state, private, and deemed-to-be universities in India.

Social Immersion Program: Students experience social immersion program with the designated non-government organizations.

National Institute of Technology (NIT): Premier engineering college set up in all the states by the Indian government.

Industry-Internship Program (IIP): Students undergo industry-internship program with the designated industry partners.

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE): The statutory body under central government to govern technical, and management education in India.

Personality Enhancement Program: Students undertake a program that enhances their communication skills and their lifestyle.

Industry-Academia Collaboration: A mutually beneficial partnership between industry and academia.

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