Students attending business school in India these days are learning as much about balanced budgets as they are about balanced psyches.
As tapped-in educators in this part of the world acknowledge the emerging importance of spirituality in the corporate landscape, the pursuit of individuality and competition is giving over to one inspired by teamwork, cooperation and even service. In turn, the curricula in India’s post-secondary institutions’ management programs are increasingly reflecting that.
The Management Centre for Human Values at the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, for one, has introduced a new batch of courses in such well-grounded esoterica as “managerial effectiveness through human values,” “ethics in management functions and processes” and “corporate social responsibility.” Here, playing off concepts from Indian philosophy and drawing deeply on cavernous stores of Indian wisdom, students are versed in the finer points of nourishing their creative spirit and managing the ego.
Elsewhere in India, a slew of spiritual organizations have themselves entered the field of management education. Take Mata Amritanamdamati Math, a public charitable trust founded to promote the message of a Hindu spiritual leader who’s celebrated for her humanitarian work, and the Centre for Value-Based Education it oversees.
The Srihgeri Sharada Institute of Management in New Delhi and the Symbiosis Center for Management and Human Resources Development in Pune work to synthesize holistic Indian notions—including yoga, pranayam and meditation—with modern management techniques in their curricula.
The organization of followers dedicated to Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, a friend to the Beatles recognized as the leading force behind transcendental meditation, operates five centres of management study in the country.
The SP Jain Institute of Management & Research in Mumbai enjoys a reputation for offering a “value-based education” that emphasizes moralistic values, social sensitivity and team spirit.
And, most recently, the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore invited a select group of IT professionals—all of them in middle- to senior-level positions in leading Bangalore software companies—to special classes in “spirituality and self-development for global managers” as part of its post-graduate program in software enterprise management.
This quest for self- awareness, improved ethics and overall expanded consciousness in the dark continent notwithstanding, the fact remains that spiritual-based leadership and teaching programs that cultivate same are far from the norm in the Western world. Precious few management schools offer courses that focus in this area, and spiritual-based leadership is simply not part of the vocabulary of most business leaders or management school educators. The enduring chase of prestige and power, however, is.
It makes sense that the world’s concerted efforts to tame rampant greed should begin in the gentle, mystical nation that is India. From these humble beginnings, a revised leadership paradigm that regards social responsibility, ethical behavior and concern for the environment in a revised light will hopefully bloom. In a perfect world, business schools will increasingly encourage corporate leaders to be motivated by carrots beyond those ones that have conventionally been dipped in gold.