WeSchool: Bridging the distance gap with ‘Hybrid MBA’
Prin LN Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (WeSchool), is a leading private B school with campuses in Mumbai and Bengaluru. Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool on how technology is helping in their efforts to develop future business leaders
WeSchool is among the top B-Schools as per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) conducted by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. Technology implementation has leveraged marketing communication and campus operations in Mumbai and Bangalore, to a whole new level. The role of technology on WeSchool campus has evolved over the years internally through operations, academics, infrastructure and externally through website and social media communication.
“On the operations front, we are a digital campus and all our payments on campus are transacted digitally. This is applicable for Mumbai and Bengaluru campuses as well. We have a dedicated online portal that acts an information and feedback channels for students, faculty and staff. For example, schedule of lectures, student feedback, placement interview status, takes place on elearn,” says Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool.
“From an academic point of view, the Hybrid MBA reflects how the role of technology has made higher education accessible to students who have time and distance challenges,” states Dr Salunkhe.
The infrastructure enables students to connect to internet through Wi-Fi on campus and computer lab too. There is a digital library that is equipped with e- books and mutlimedia content. According to Dr Salunkhe, the WeSchool Library is a modified library and has undergone a huge digital transformation in the past five years.
“The library collection has grown to more than 95,000 books and more than 150 print periodicals (Indian and foreign). The library collection is developed according to syllabus as well as current industry trends so that students are industry ready,” he informs. The institute provides diverse e-resources which are academic as well as research oriented. All the e-resources can be accessed on-campus as well as off-campus. There is access to over 25,000 e-books and e-journals.
Speaking about the official website, Dr Salunkhe says, “The basic interface which is our official website is not only informative but also interactive especially for the technologically adept student crowd. On our website, our core faculty videos affirm the key features of our programs effectively than just text. WeSchool alumni testimonials showcase our former students narrating their campus experience and key take ways.”
WeSchool team catering to prospective students is highly responsive on Facebook which attracts high number of queries and comments prior admission. “This year we have introduced a chat bot to answer queries at a preliminary level. We are also organising webinars for our prospective students on Facebook,” mentions Dr Salunkhe.
In order to make the learning effective, the teaching in the classroom is powered with internet access, LCD and OHP for teacher and student presentations. “We inspire our students to use technology for community development through WeSchool RedX Innovation Lab,” adds Dr Salunkhe.
As a step towards improving the learning experience on campus, there is an online feedback system specially designed for students. Here, the students write online feedback about faculty anonymously. He informs that the system is mandatory and is carried in regular cycles throughout the academic year. Such processes help faculty understand what interests the students and the response of the class. E.g. a student may suggest more case studies to understand key lessons or respond well to gamification for understanding finance related concepts.
“An online feedback is vital especially for new teaching faculty with corporate experience. Students are notified about the companies visiting campus. Post campus interviews, students are notified about their interview status on the e-learn portal. The same portal also facilitates for internal Admin HR processes for faculty and staff.
An innovative implementation is for Hybrid MBA students queries, an online student helpdesk facility “We-Care” has been introduced in student login. This facility enables the student to get all their queries resolved mostly within 24 hrs.
WeSchool has a strong focus on distance education. Due to geographical barriers and the high cost factor, students from smaller towns often find it difficult to attend a conventional MBA program.
“Hybrid program from WeSchool overcomes the boundaries of distance and cost and helps students fulfill their academics ambitions. We continue to deliver quality education, while providing distance learners with the flexibility they need. WeSchool’s Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) can be availed in the Hybrid Learning mode, which operates on a unique hybrid structure combining effective online and offline study formats to help people learn conveniently,” explains Dr Salunkhe, pointing out that women with restricted movements due to family commitments can acquire invaluable professional learning through WeSchool’s Hybrid Programs.
These programs vary in formats from classroom based, virtual, hybrid (blend of classroom and virtual learning), open programs, and customised programs best suited for private organisations for their employees. On weekends, experiential workshops are conducted on managerial skills development as well as learning takes place through a number of innovative modes like, business simulation games, movie learning sessions, industry visits, etc.
Dr Salunkhe avers that contemporary technologies like Python, Tableau could enable learning in Business Analytics and Research related topics. “Blended learning, which is a combination of online, classroom and experiential learning is becoming popular in executive education segment. Most of the working professionals are looking at adding skills and often run out of time. Customised education certificate courses and short-term programs are convenient and add value to experienced professionals.”
WeSchool is constantly exploring new technologies that would add experience and knowledge for students through e-learning platform. In addition to the Hybrid MBA programs, the institute has recently added programs in two years full time PGDM in Research and Business Analytics and eBiz, is grooming young professionals to work in an environment of ML and IoT across job roles and industries.
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