We live in a VUCA(Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. New careers are emerging almost every fortnight. Let us understand this through an example.
Harish works as a marketing manager in the cosmetics department of ABC Pvt Ltd, an FMCG company. On a typical working day, he would be found preparing strategic marketing plans. This includes marketing ABC’s services in a newspaper, magazine, advertising on billboards, setting up a stall in the popular malls of the city, etc. Generally, all his tasks involve a lot of paperwork. He also spends a significant amount of time brainstorming with the content team on a 2-3 mins ad that is to be broadcasted on television. One can also find him replying to emails, talking to his team over coffee, and holding meetings in the conference room.
Fast forward to the year 2022, Harish’s nephew Anil also works as a marketing manager at ABC Pvt Ltd. However, Anil doesn’t have to commute to the office daily for work. ABC Pvt Ltd. has now adopted a Work from Anywhere policy. Today, Anil is working from his Goa farmhouse where he has been on a trip with his family.
Sipping his espresso near the pool at the farmhouse, Anil starts his day by analyzing how the brand is doing on each social media channel, performance on partner platforms, updating Trello boards, planning and supervising virtual meetings and onboarding social media influencers for their marketing campaigns.
The world is changing at a fast pace and so are job roles. As illustrated in the above example, there has been a drastic change in work at the same organization and same role within a decade.
Replying to emails is replaced by communicating on collaborative tools such as Trello boards, social media which was only used for fun is now a major revenue source for ABC, virtual meetings have become the norm. Setting up a stall in the mall is now replaced by marketing in the metaverse and ads on television are replaced by sponsored ads on social media. Brands can now be endorsed by an influencer(content writer, comedian, entrepreneur) rather than only a Bollywood or Hollywood celebrity.
In order to cater to these dynamic needs of society, educational institutions cannot rely on a one-size-fits-all pedagogy. We need individuals who are cross-functional, agile and have a growth mindset. How do we build this skill set?
Integrating knowledge from a variety of disciplines, an interdisciplinary education can help us develop the skills required to thrive in a VUCA world. As a shift from the “siloed” learning that has dominated education for decades, these programs incorporate more than one discipline, tackling problems from multiple perspectives. An interdisciplinary degree allows students to curate their own degree by selecting programs from multiple disciplines. This allows students to tailor their education in order to prepare for their career goals.
Benefits of an Interdisciplinary Education
1. The World is Interdisciplinary
According to The National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE 1995) “educational experiences are more authentic and of greater value to students when the curricula reflect real life, which is multi-faceted rather than being compartmentalized into neat subject-matter packages.” Real-world problems are complex, so no single discipline can adequately describe and resolve these issues.
An interdisciplinary education thus prepares students better to navigate the challenges they face in life.
2. Develops Critical Thinking and Creative Problem-Solving Abilities
The focus of interdisciplinary education is on how to think, not what to think. Instead of memorizing facts, students learn to examine, analyze and connect ideas. These valuable skills are necessary to innovate and create meaningful change in the world.
3. Promotes Holistic Thinking
As critical thinkers, students are able to recognize the interdependence of various elements that form larger systems, patterns and objects. Holistic thinkers give broad attention to context, relationships, and background elements.
4. Huge Emphasis on Building Strong Communication Skills
Interdisciplinary education is research-oriented. This prepares students to make persuasive arguments backed by evidence and communicate their ideas to diverse groups. Creativity, communication skills, writing etc, all lie at the core of an interdisciplinary education which are some of the top skills companies look for while hiring candidates.
Here are Some Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Programs in India.
1. Vedica Scholars
The Vedica Scholars Programme for women is an 18 months full time post graduate management programme for women professionals. Comprising 4 tracks – management, liberal arts, communications and personal growth, their curriculum emphasizes holistic growth for women professionals. Their unique ‘Shadow a Women Leader’ module provides hands-on experience of working with women leaders in reputed organizations. The programme has a robust mentorship network. Every scholar(each student at the Vedica programme is summoned as a scholar) is mapped to a buddy mentor, programme mentor(senior industry experts) and a shadow mentor.
Location : New Delhi
Degree Offered : Post Graduate Certificate in Management Practice & Leadership
2. Young India Fellowship
The Young India Fellowship (YIF) is a one-year liberal studies multidisciplinary residential postgraduate diploma programme. Their vision is to groom socially conscious leaders and change-makers for the 21st century. With an experiential learning module and critical writing module in their curriculum, they enable students to hone skills such as Collaboration, Communication, Problem-Solving, Critical Thinking, and Leadership. The curriculum offers 12 core courses and 8 electives. While catering to multiple learning styles, it uses a mixed pedagogy of group discussions, lectures, field visits, simulation, creative projects, academic writing, plays and case studies.
Location : Sonepat, Haryana
Degree Offered : Post Graduate Diploma in Liberal Studies
3. Anant Fellowship
Anant Fellowship is a 1 year residential full time diploma programme. It aims to bring together committed and passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds to solve environmental challenges by building equitable and sustainable environment solutions. Launched in 2017, the programme has attracted more than 120 Fellows from over 14 countries across the globe. It not only focuses on urban development and sustainability but also explores disciplines such as art appreciation, philosophy, social sciences, design thinking and gender studies. The fellowship invites applications from diverse backgrounds. Individuals come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including microbiology research, biodiversity conservation, artificial intelligence and data science, environmental activism, corporate sustainability, agriculture, and marine ecosystems, to mention a few.
The Anant Fellowship is recognised by Anant University, Ahmedabad.
Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Degree Offered: Post Graduate Diploma in Built Environment and Post Graduate Diploma in Climate Action
4. Naropa Fellowship
The Naropa Fellowship is a one-year, fully-residential, post-graduate, programme. The goal is to provide fellows with the skills and resources they’ll need to advance business, enterprise, and civic leadership in the twenty-first century. The purpose is to develop entrepreneurial skills that will aid in the development of a strong socioeconomic environment in Ladakh and the adjacent areas. The fellowship also includes a year-long Live-Action Project (LAP) that invites fellows to create sustainable entrepreneurial solutions for the local population in Ladakh and the greater Himalayan area. The fellows work across sectors such as agriculture, art, culture preservation, consulting, education, hospitality, policy, travel, waste management and media
Location : Hemis, Ladakh
Degree Offered : Post-Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurial Leadership
What do These Universities Look for in Their Candidates?
1. Intellectual Curiosity
Individuals who are on a quest for knowledge and seeking a holistic educational experience. An ideal candidate is someone with a wide range of interests who can actively participate in a vibrant peer learning community.
2. Passion & Self Awareness
Individuals who are passionate about exploring their true potential and have a drive to bring about meaningful change in society. Someone who seeks self awareness, has a growth mindset and is committed to lifelong learning.
3. Potential for Impactful Leadership
Individuals who have a demonstrated ability to overcome challenges and a deep-rooted drive to solve grass-root problems and break stereotypes.
Sounds interesting but confused if this would be the right choice for you?
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