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KOLKATA: Ravi Dhar (22nd batch/1985-1987), an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, and George Rogers Clark Professor of Management and Marketing at Yale School of Management, feels Indian B-schools must radically change the way they function or risk becoming irrelevant to top global corporate houses.

Speaking to TOI after receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIM-C, Dhar, who has an affiliated appointment as professor of psychology at Yale and an expert in consumer behaviour and branding, marketing management and marketing strategy, said premier B-schools in India, like IIMs and ISB, need to sort out the tension between relevance and rigour and become more international.

"In the US, business is integrated with law and humanities. But business schools in India stand alone. They have to find credible university partners to adopt a holistic curriculum. Also, business education is becoming multi-disciplinary with the need to study psychology, sociology and political science alongside economics to know how markets, teams, societies, economies and nations work. At Yale, when a case is being analyzed in a marketing class, both economics and sociology teachers are present. The challenge is that standalone management institutes in India with limited resources need to collaborate with partner universities," he said.

Dhar joined the Yale School of Management faculty in 1992 and was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Consumer Insights, a research centre that facilitates interaction between marketing executives and academic scholars from many disciplines who share an underlying interest in understanding customer behaviour and marketplace dynamics.

The professor also stressed on the need for an international student base among Indian institutes to inculcate a global mindset. "Companies now don't want an American or an Indian manager. They want a global manager because for transnational companies, the workforce is spread across continents. Indian B-schools currently have only a 5% international students' mix. That needs to go up substantially," he said, pointing out that B-schools in China had 15% international students while it was 35-40% for the US.

Dhar, whose research on using psychological principles to understand consumer behaviour in marketplace has been widely published and recognized with marketing's leading scholarly awards including the William O'Dell Award and Distinguished Scientific Accomplishment Award, said Indian B-schools needed to look at how to increase research. "The challenge before Indian institutions is to get good faculty that has good teachers as well as researchers," he added.