The industry is a turbulent caricature of constant changes occurring at every facet of the market. The pace of this change is only going to accelerate with time and only an experienced teacher who constantly evolves with the changes can bridge the gap between practice and theory. "For a B-school professor it is essential to be a lifelong leaner, to remain updated, to be certainly reading more than your students," says Dr. Deepak Gupta, Marketing Professor at Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore. Dr. Gupta has been teaching at the Amrita School of Business for the past six years as a core member of the Marketing faculty. He also been involved with ASB's University alliance with SAP and has earned a SAP Best Practices in Enterprise Resource Planning (BPERP) certification. Prior to ASB, he has had more than 10 years of combined teaching and research experience at UC Berkeley as a graduate student, where he earned masters degrees in Economics, Marketing Science, and an interdisciplinary Ph. D. in Economics, Sociology and Education.
Technology Adoption in Education
"One of the biggest issues that management students face today is the understanding of the market trends to leverage the business. It is a result of the detachment between what is taught in the B-schools and what is happening in the business world," says the marketing professor. In his attempt to even the odds, Dr. Gupta has adopted various techniques in his teaching methods that extend far beyond the boundaries of the classroom. He appreciates the fact that students are well connected to technology. Gupta is glad to take the advantage with the assistance of ubiquitous devices such as smartphones, tablets to provide them with a better experience via the medium of the internet.
According to Dr. Gupta there are two major technological revolutions, first one is FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and the video revolution which is most recent that has a major impact on teaching and pedagogy in the recent years. He is an ardent technology enthusiast with an interest for open source software in particular and has been using a Learning Management System called Moodle for some years in his courses. Now Gupta is in the process of adopting a statistical analysis suite called "R" in his teaching and research. "The more I discover about "R" the more I am impressed by its capabilities," he adds.
In his point of view Youtube is considered as an invaluable asset for sourcing useful videos to use in the classroom. The most recent and disruptive video based innovations in pedag ogy have been the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) and he feels that they provide an uplifting educative experience. "It is a model where the students are encouraged to make use of and bring to the classroom the best resources freely available via web and we as faculty play the role of the integrators and guides. It will change the way we know the classroom, and it will be for the better," says Dr. Gupta.
Making a Bigger Room for Opportunities
The professor also believes that the room for growth in his subject is unmatched as students come in from different age, academic, cultural groups, and social backgrounds. Dr. Gupta welcomes this diversity in the classroom with open arms as it adds immensely to the overall experience of the MBA, both inside and outside the classroom. "There is however sometimes a tendency for the students to stick together based on regional or linguistic backgrounds. We try in our own ways to encourage them to move out of these comfort zones as much as possible," he says. He deeply values the contribution of those with work experience in the classroom and believes that they greatly enhance the quality of the discussions and teamwork.
Apart from providing knowledge with the help of technology, the professor gives students a practical understanding of industry by inviting ASB alumni working in the industry to give MR projects to the student groups. The students, organized in teams, write project proposals, bid for projects, conceptualize and deliver an entire research project over the course of the term, mentored by the alumni and guided by Dr. Gupta.
With his unique methods of integrating the veteran and the new age teacher, Dr. Gupta has successfully churned out work ready graduates that are ready to take on the industry. "I have learnt that it pays to be transparent and fair with your students. They respect you and are willing to learn from you if you walk your talk," Dr. Gupta concludes.