Perhaps, 2014 was one of the most rewarding years in the history of Manipal University, with two of its alumni reaching at the helm of world's most prestigious technology companies; Microsoft and Nokia. While Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft was a 1988 batch student from Manipal Institute of Technology's Electronics and Communications Department, Rajiv Suri who was appointed as CEO of Nokia,was a 1989 batch student of the same department. Indeed, two of the top Fortune 500 companies being led by MIT alumni,was a noteworthy achievement and a statement by Manipal University reads, "Both went through the same grind and walked through the same corridors. Today, both are heading top companies of the world, clearly indicating that MIT is as good an engineering institute as any in the world."
The acknowledgment of MIT's excellence in education came quickly from the crowd. With more than 50, 000 applications pumping in for the existing 1500 seats, the admission department of MIT felt the real heat in the following years. Interestingly, MIT did not have any plans to increase the intake of students, considering the fact that the situation could have been easily utilized under the influence of commercialization. It was not too surprising. Because, in its journey that spans over 63 years,Manipal Group of Institutions has always avoided irrelevant expansion to maintain high academic standards and as a result,they are ranked in top positions in the country in almost all disciplines of their interest.
In this era of cutthroat competitions, the growth, particularly in the Indian context, has been one of the major challenges at all levels, especially for the private educational institutions. However, giving the premier institutions in the country a run for their money, Manipal Education Group has not only followed the required benchmarks, but also set the standards while achieving new heights. This rich legacy of providing quality education has been inherited in all the Manipal institutions, including the newly established Manipal University Jaipur (MUJ). "Manipal University Jaipur,being the youngest institution of the Group, has a great deal of advantage of learning from established institutions of the Manipal Group and follows some of the well-established policies and legacies. It also gets help in terms of accumulated knowledge and wisdom of the Group, which has decades of experience in this domain," says Dr. Sandeep Sancheti, President, MUJ. Being a new generation-university, MUJ also has an advantage of adopting the latest and superior technologies as well as being more amenable to the latest generation of educational practices.
Today, MUJ is an epitome of educational institutions that use many innovative practices in the areas of teaching and learning, examinations, fostering collaborations and promoting research. "It is a fact that innovation is something that cannot be taught. Instead, it has to emanate out of needs as well as through open mind to learn and experiment. We are very fortunate in this respect and find that the neighboring institutions are trying to emulate many of our best practices in their organizations," claims Dr. Sancheti. While, many state universities are still running with traditional methodologies of teaching, MUJ has taken research as an integral part of its curriculum, which indeed has the potential to plough back in the form of delivering better quality teaching and learning.
With more than 230 students registered for doctoral programs, MUJ supports schemes like Quality Improvement Program to improve the research andthe qualifications of their faculty members and helps them liberally through Professional Development Allowance (PDA) to participate in the research related activities. "Students are the main beneficiaries of all such activities. On similar lines, there are several schemes, which are directly meant for students for their foray into research arena," says Dr. Sancheti. Presently, the university has more than 50 funded projects with external funding of more than Rs. 5 Crores. They have also established two centers-of-excellence, in addition to special facilities like Super Computer, IOT Lab, Device Fabrication Lab and many more.
As an institution with high priority on discovery of new knowledge, MUJ has built a massive team of 423 faculty members, where 187 are PhD holder and 168 are on the road to become doctorates. However, to remain academically relevant in an interconnected world that is increasingly global, MUJ has been working towards internationalizing its education with a fair-degree of fineness. "Internationalization of education has become a common trend world over. We have around two dozen active MoUs to promote exchanges with these partners," claims Dr. Sancheti. To invite and send faculty for exchange between MUJ and its international partners as well as industrial partners,the management has introduced several schemes under the endowment support. Deputation for post-doctoral programs, attending international conferences are very actively pursued by all at MUJ. The university is also very fortunate to have a reasonable number of NRI / foreign students who promote MUJ's mission to strengthen internationalization in the campus that accommodates over 6000 students, out of which more than 4500 resides inside the world class hostels.
"What is learnt outside class with the peer groups at different forums and at different operational levels is equally important for a student's growth. With a large number of students in the campus, our classrooms are diverse and we give a lot of freedom to the students to organize and participate in activities beyond the classroom," states Dr. Sancheti. With lots of freethinkers who get support and guidance from faculty members and experts, entrepreneurship is not only a buzzword but also happening in the MUJ campus proactively.A group of around 500 students with a host of events, expert interactions, competitions and deliberations supports entrepreneurship at the campus. As a result, in-spite of the university being only five years old, they have already incubated five companies and many more are eager to go. The university has also created endowments to offer financial support to some of these innovative ventures through their own resources under Manipal University Technology Business Incubator (MUTBI) initiative. In all MUJ students have started 14 new companies to give shape to their dream of becoming successful entrepreneur.
On the other side, MUJ considers placement as an important outcome of all their efforts.To make it highly productive, MUJ undertakes one-to-one relationship with large number of industries and reputed institutions. Therefore,10industry-supported laboratories are already available in the campus. "More than 70 percent of our students in professional courses undertake their final year projects through an industrial project based internship. This helps them in gaining relevant experience and gets quality placements," explains Dr. Sancheti. Today, the average placements as well as average packages are good for all professional programs at MUJ. In certain cases, the placements have touched 100 percent and during last academic year, while MUJ hosted over 100 companies for campus recruitment. The highest package offered was more than Rs. 14 lakh p.a. with an average of Rs. 5.20 lakh p.a. for Engineering and Rs. 4.90 lakh p.a. for Management.
Having established firmly on a high pedestal during last five years, attracting students from all over the country for various programs, MUJ now intends to concentrate on imparting further better quality of teaching-learning. To do so,they would embark on quality certification from NBA, NAAC and other such agencies. "To begin with we would like to concentrate on Honors program for all common undergraduate degrees as well as starting programs, which are inter-disciplinary in nature. Some examples of this would be a combination of fine arts with fashion and jewelry courses or starting of bachelors program in liberal arts or a one in the domain of sports," shares Dr. Sancheti. The other development plans of MUJ include improving performance and outcomes by empowering the faculty, creating more Centers of Excellence and undertaking collaborative activities with like-minded organizations,contributing to societal needs and enhancing research funding as well as its output. "Indeed we are inspired by life and excited to contribute our best, our might in the most important aspects of one's life i.e. educating people. In overall terms, we are clearly on the path to fulfill our vision of global leadership in higher education and human development," concludes Dr. Sancheti.
Dr. Sandeep Sancheti, President
Dr. Sandeep Sancheti is known as institution builder.Dr Sancheti holds a PhD from Queens University of Belfast UK, after obtaining a BTech degree (ECE) from Regional Engineering College, Warangal (now NITW) and MSc (Engg) from Delhi College of Engineering (now DTU) in 1982 and 1985 respectively.Prior to joining as the President of Manipal University Jaipur, he was Director, National Institute of Technology, Delhi. He was also Director, NITK Surathkal and Director In-charge, NIT Tiruchirapally, NIT Calicut, School of Planning & Architecture (SPA) and Mentor Director, NIT Goa, NIT Puducherry and NIT Sikkim.