There is an existing belief in the Indian subcontinent that engineering is a dead end course with a bleak or no future. To an extent this may be true as of the million engineering graduates that pour out of engineering colleges year after year, only 10 percent of them are employed. However, there are institutes like K.L. University that focus on producing Industry ready students through its customized curriculum that has been fine tuned over the years in compliance to the industry requirements. Reflecting on its principles, the institute has placed 540 from the 2005-2006 batch, 570 students from the 2006-2007 batch, 847 students in 2011-2012 batch, 930 students 2012-2013 and these increasing figures translate to 100 percent placement over the past seven years.
The technology and engineering industries require over a million skilled and semi-skilled employees but the number that is being offered to it by the market is much lower than that as the man power that these industries receive are below the established standards. Bearing in mind the numerous clogs in the Indian scenario, the state of the economy and the lack of skilled labour, how is K.L. University able to achieve 100 percent for 7 consecutive years?
The institute is led by Koneru Satyanarayana, President, who says, "Our curriculum is designed as per the international accreditation norms where each program's outcomes and objectives are specified in terms of attaining communication ability, social conscious, team work, leadership qualities, understanding Human values, and ethics in addition to imparting designing, analyzing and creative skills in technology." The institute’s insistence on a student's uncompromised development allows its students to be a notch above the industry standards, which in effect translates in the form of its placement track record. Placements of 2013 saw close to 70 companies visiting the institute for recruitment. Of these, some names are: Axis Bank Ltd, Syntel, Infosys, TCS, Reliance Industries, L&T, TATA International, Wipro Technologies, iGate Patni, HDFC, Indian Navy, and Hyundai.
What enables its Students to move past the boundaries?
K.L. University is a member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which allows them to be a part of a nurturing ecosystem. The institute has an Industrial Relations and Placements Department with offices in cities in India that oversee the industry-Institution interaction and placements. The department is responsible for industry participation in curriculum planning, continuing education and internship for faculty, industrial training for students, industrial visits and tours for students, collaborative programmes with industry, guest lecturers from industry, student career development, and entrepreneurship development program among many other things.
K.L. University has a designated IBM which is an Industrial Collaboration Lab is established with 60 computers in LAN with internet connectivity of bandwidth 48 MBPS within the KLU campus. Likewise, many companies have established a "virtual industry" on campus which allows the students of the Institute to do the industry projects within the campus. Full-semester industrial trainings are integrated into the curriculum for the students in the Practice School. "We encourage the students to take up Core-Jobs. Approximately 60 percent of the companies that visit the campus require students with core-competencies," says Satyanarayana.
"With a view to globalization, K.L. University has already started collaborative activities with a good number of Universities abroad," says Satyanarayana. The institute has signed MOUs and started faculty exchange programs with Indiana State University, USA, National College of Ireland, Latrobe University, Australia and several other institutes all over the world. The faculty gains extended knowledge, in being exposed to such a global perspective, which is disseminated amongst the students and research fellows in class rooms and various discourses. The members of faculty from who visit K.L. University from abroad also participate in class-room teachings, hold consultative sessions and guide the students. Similarly, the Institute has also signed memorandums of understanding with national and multinational industries, which allows the students to visit the industries to earn practical experience.
Spotting Talent Early On
The engineering institute also holds various activities throughout the year apart from academia to nurture talent and spur growth. Faculty mentors are engaged in every batch of students for general guidance and special help. Satyanarayana adds, "To nurture creativity, the mentors are advised to spot innovators in the bunch and support their activities and research extensively". Faculty members have been advised to sieve in talents and create special opportunities for them and innovative activities are hosted in different relevant labs working as virtual incubation cubicles, where these students can partake to further their talents. "We organize one national level technical event named SAMYAK and one cultural festival called SURABHI every year. The University has also established KLUSO (KLU Students Ordinate) under which there are 16 Hobby Clubs which are run by the students. Besides these events, our students are also engaged in technical and cultural festivals organized by other premier institutions," says Satyanarayana.
At the core of all the UG and PG programs is the intent to allow students to explore the academia on their own. Students' research in the form of self-study courses is encouraged in the curricula. Further, in the last two semesters of the final year, the students carry out innovative project/thesis works. In K.L. University students receive comprehensive hands-on training in the laboratories to supplement and compliment their theoretical knowledge.
Numerous opportunities are presented to the students to grow outside the classroom through a host of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. The in-house activities such as organizing seminars and workshops, promoting entrepreneurial spirit, fostering technical skills like robotics, supporting fine arts, performing arts, and literature are carried out through various focused societies and clubs viz., The Institute has a Communication and Soft Skills (CSS) Department, headed by professors with more than twenty faculty members. The institute’s Freshman Engineering Department helps first-year undergraduate students adapt to the requirements of technical education. This turns the graduates into an eye candy for recruiters. "By imparting soft skills and communication skills along with technical know-how, our university is training the students for their all round development," says the President of the institute.
K.L. University has grown in leaps and bounds. The institute today, consists of 11 academic departments and six schools, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological research. K.L. University empowers students to take on the industry with its comprehensive curriculum, world class faculty and well equipped laboratories. It teaches students to be innovators and leaders in their fields of choice and makes each of them a sure shot for their careers.