Organization and Management Theory (OMT)

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In search of the "new normal"

By Mariam Siddiqui posted 07-13-2020 19:25


Job market recap:
With the AOM virtual conference around the corner, catch the important highlights and takeaways of Thursdays with OMT in the latest OMT Blog post by Mariam Siddiqui.

Mariam Siddiqui

PhD Candidate in Management

Twitter handle @MissMarSid

I’m a PhD Candidate at a Business School in London, and the last few months have not been the easiest. I never expected the journey of my doctoral education to be a linear step-by-step process. However, no one could have anticipated a global pandemic right in the middle of it, either. Having spoken to my friends, it seems we are all going through similar anxieties, some PhD-related and some not so PhD-related. The purpose of writing this blog is to highlight a series of online sessions (organised by OMT Division) that helped ease some of my worry and gave me an insight into what the “new normal” may look like for young academics and researchers across the globe.

Thursdays with OMT Online Series (May 2020)

So time for an honest confession. I did find myself asking, “Why spend another hour in an online session? Surely I had my fill of back-to-back ZOOM calls and TEAMS meetings.” Well, within the first few minutes, I knew this was going to be time well spent.

Session 1: Deans from around the world discuss the impact of Covid on the job market and hiring

Dean of EGADE Business School (Mexico): Ignacio de la Vega spoke about how the increased use of flexible learning online models has become greater but it’s nothing new for the Business School. The financial impact of COVID is significant, with research budgets becoming tighter and new student registrations down by roughly 17%. However, EGADE will be hiring approx. 100 faculty members in all disciplines, which is great news in this environment. The profile of academic hires will be changing, with an increased focus on virtual Visiting Professors.

Dean of Carson College, Washington State University (USA): Chip Hunter spoke about American public universities not knowing the full impact of Covid on their finances yet, mainly due to funding being dependent on the state government.

The key message was not to judge the situation of Business Schools through the headlines – things are not dire. The market may be a bit slow to move due to the uncertainty this year, but approvals for academic positions are happening even under hiring freeze conditions. Moving forward there will be a larger virtual component in courses for sure. The more adaptable and flexible the teaching approach (i.e. delivering distance learning, capability to design online courses), the better.

Dean of Rotterdam School of Management (ERASMUS University of Rotterdam): Ansgar Richter spoke about the full financial impact of Covid not being visible yet. But in larger programs (e.g. Masters/Undergrad courses), student applications are up by 65% next year. However there are some challenges in courses where international student exchanges are high. Rotterdam School of Management don’t have a hiring freeze. But hiring will be conducted at a reduced scale, i.e. with plans to hire 10 to 15 faculty members who are research-active, with a number of candidates who are more teaching focused also.

Dean of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (India): Chetan Subramanian spoke about being cautiously optimistic. IIMB had already invested in digital platforms and have found the transition to online learning smooth. No hiring freezes are in place, and in fact the Business School interviewed 5 to 6 candidates over Zoom in the last few weeks. This is an opportunity to attract faculty from Europe and North America. The Dean’s advice was for young academics to become more adventurous and consider Asia. They are definitely open for business.

After listening to the Business School Deans from 4 different regions, I felt re-assured. Yes, things are going to be difficult. But there are opportunities out there as well. It was also interesting to hear that no one truly knows the full impact of this global pandemic yet. We are all trying to grapple with uncertainty and change. The more agile, the more flexible my approach, the better I will be able to manage my career going forward. The “new normal” may not be crystal clear yet. But it looks like things are getting better. Fingers crossed!
*All three sessions of Thursdays with OMT are still very much relevant and available on Facebook (links provided below):
Session 1: Deans from around the world discuss the impact of Covid on the job market and hiring

Session 2: Job market around the world: Opportunities, Hiring, Researching and Teaching

Session 3: Moving forward in a Covid-Infected Academic Job Market

So far, these sessions have been viewed more than 2,000 times. If you have not had a chance to view yet, I would definitely take a look.

If you would like to give feedback on this blog, these sessions or request similar content please contact me via Twitter @MissMarSid.