The short answer is Yes. For the long rationale read along. All of us are aware of the structure of the private higher education in India and almost all of the institutes provide engineering, BBA and MBA under the same banner and same campus. This is actually an advantage for a robotics club as we would see ahead.
The first thing that we would like to challenge is the very thought that robotics is only for engineers. Agree, that a robot is a technical integration of various branches of Engineering and Science but we miss out one important aspect here. Robotics is a team sport just like football or cricket.Any team activity needs a variety and that is where a friend from BBA or MBA stream can bring a value to a robotics club. The critic may argue that although it is a team activity what can a potential management student do for a robotics club? Right?
Wrong at least in our view. A management student can bring the needed balance which a college robotics club may need in terms of project management, product management if we speak very broadly.
Well wow! You must be now thinking of a friend in campus who may help you and is from the management department? Well then read along.
Robotics club would need both skills of project and product management and we are not saying that engineers can not do it. We are saying that a management student can join the fun as well and bear in mind that he is studying for these very management skills. So why not use an expert from the campus?
In terms of project management, a robotics club may decide to initiate the club and frame the terms of reference which an apt management student can do with relative ease. Then comes cost, scope, time and quality definitions which can be added to the charter of the club by a management student with some guidance from the college faculty.
Next value addition comes in the form of product management wherein the club has been already formed and a couple of robots (products now) are identified and planned right from 'proof of concept' to testing and finally towards realisation. This also needs a decent amount of outbound and inbound marketing which are taught as subjects in any BBA/MBA courses. The club then can draw the fruits in terms of higher exposure within the internal student community and also outside the college. Just to add social media marketing is very important for a club and using skills of marketing a student from management department may do wonders for the club.
But this blog does not just challenge the engineering mindset, it also challenges the management students mindsets in a way - 'Why should be an MBA/BBA graduate be bothered about a geek stuff like a robot?'
Well, the simple answer is to look around yourself today. There are loads of job around looking for product managers and your student days experience as a product manager in your college robotics club may set you apart from the crowd. Not only that you would get the needed practical exposure to aspects of management like social media marketing, content management, finances, risk management, communication management, earned value analysis and so on. This should not be very difficult technically as well considering most MBA's have an engineering back ground themselves and BBA's have done computers and mathematics as well. So what may stop them for understanding the product (robot)? Nothing we suppose.
So where do we go from here? The mantra probably is very simple. Please allow anyone to come inside the robotics club. We believe that a robotics club should be open for anyone who is keen and interested. The college may add certain conditions like regular attendance to meetings and training etc but the entry barrier must be a NULL set. Everybody is welcome to try.
What would happen eventually in such a model? What do the college gain from this kind of approach?
The gain is actually very high. The club members get a first-hand exposure to working in a heterogeneous team just as it happens in real life. Do we say in corporate or academic careers that we will only work with Electrical engineers? Obviously, we end up working with Hr, Finances, General managers and almost anyone who is a stakeholder. So why not give that heterogeneous team working experience to our students today? The outcomes are win-win and definitely is a food for thought.
So do you have a robotics club in your college? If yes - Are MBA and BBA's involved actively in the club? Hopefully you may have the answer now and we leave with that thought in mind.
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