When Phanindra Sama started redBus.in along with two of his friends; they never imagined that it would become a Rs.800 crore company. Like redBus.in there are many other successful companies like Sanat Technologies, QA Infotech, Veta Beans Neural Solutions and many more built by a group of young techies. The common factor that unites all of these young entrepreneurial ventures is the place where these business ideas were incubated ï¿½ Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani.
BITS, a leading institute for engineering since 1946 has been churning out competent engineers year after year. With a heavy focus on inculcating the entrepreneurial strength, the institute provides budding entrepreneurs with the support through the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) which is supported by the BITSAA Center for Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (CEVC). CEL was started with 20 students and now has over a hundred credible members. CEL helps in organizing entrepreneur talks, entrepreneurship simulation games, business plan competition and also an internship program with entrepreneurial companies.
Inculcating Global and Practical Knowledge
Entrepreneurs need to have all the knowledge they can gather in order for their idea to become a success. To facilitate this, BITS reviewed its curriculum and deemed it was necessary that it be updated so that the students will become better engineers and entrepreneurs. In 2010-11, a massive exercise across all the campuses was conducted where each department was asked to view the top three degree programï¿½s curriculum in their field. "After thorough examination and planning, BITS decided to bring on the best of the outside curriculum but still keep some of the features of our existing curriculum which have been time tested," says Prof. G. Raghurama, Director, BITS. A lot of hands-on learning components like assignments, group work and lab exercises are provided apart from the classroom teaching which may vary from 20 to 50 percent depending on the course.
The students in the 3rd or 4th year have to take up projects under the supervision of a faculty which allows them to apply the knowledge they have acquired and make something that actually works. This makes them more practical in their approach. The Practice School Program is a program where all the students are required to work in a company for 7 to 8 months. More than 1000 students under the supervision of the different faculty members and persons from the companies are a part of this program. They get an opportunity to learn what it is to work on the products or services that their respective companies offer. The institute prides itself on the program as it has been hugely successful and over 250 companies are involved in it.
Research is Equally Important
In order to ensure the students stay updated the teachers who teach them also have to update themselves. With this in mind the institution has made it a point that all of their faculty who are screened thoroughly have to take part in research and development apart from teaching in as much capacity as they can. A testimony to this fact is AcYut, built by the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, (CRIS) of BITS, Pilani, is India's first indigenously developed humanoid. The humanoid weighs 7.5 kg, is 101 cm high and has 28 degrees of freedom. The team that built it consisted of dedicated faculties, researchers and students.
BITS has kept a Rs.1000 crore budget for building and upgrading research facilities in order to provide its budding entrepreneurs, engineering graduates and researchers the necessary tools. It is also one of the premier universities to use CISCO's immersive tele-presence facility; which connects all the campuses. With this amazing facility a teacher in one campus can teach a course live for the students in the other campuses simultaneously and this has been hugely successfully with over 14 courses being offered on this mode.
Developing All-round individuals
As it is important for students to develop holistically the management has allowed them to have drama clubs, film clubs, photography, social activities, sports and academic activities. They also encourage their students and faculty to go for the exchange programs as it has signed over 60 MOUs with international universities.
The institute has over 100 companies that recruit over 90 percent of its graduates with a salary package of Rs.8 lakh and above. In order to ensure that only the best students enter; BITS has setup its own entrance test called BITSAT. With 2,200 seats, BITSAT has over 1.6 lakh applicants who write the test from 40 centers across the country. They also have over 200 students who pursue the dual degree program which is a Bachelor in Science and in Engineering. BITS is one of the most sought after names in Education in India and rightly so as their alumni list names several top notch industry professionals and entrepreneurs.