According to a recent study, more than 80 percent of faculty members in majority of B-Schools do not possess any work experience in the corporate sector. These faculty members, who join the profession right after completing their course or PhDs, therefore are not able to teach the concepts to students appropriately. On noticing the state of the faculty members at B-Schools, Dr. Manjunath VS, Director of NITTE School of Management who initially wanted to pursue his passion of teaching decided to do a corporate job for a few years and return to teaching later.
"Due to the fact that most faculty members do not possess work experience, they fail to connect the theoretical concepts and case studies with the practical scenario in the industry. This is a major drawback prevalent among majority of university MBA programs," says Dr. Manjunath. After completing his five year corporate stint he decided to return to his passion. But fate had something better in store for him and he chose to guide faculty members through various faculty development programs, thus encouraging them to improve themselves and the students as well. He has developed a variety of modules to help teachers overcome their weaknesses.
The Director felt that faculty members needed to be given more opportunities to increase their teaching competencies in order to fill the space between academia and the industry. He ensured that the institute signed agreements with Peenya Industrial (Industries) Association (PIA), Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). The signing of these agreements helped in creating a new avenue for faculty members to follow a variety of projects for a time span of two to three months with industries in a variety of verticals. Furthermore, Dr. Manjunath encouraged fellow faculty members to pursue various research topics as he felt that research in the field of management studies has been in a state of constant decline. The Director introduced a mandatory program for students where they have to pursue a 4 month internship with the industries through these associations where they will be able to do projects and at the same time complete their training for their jobs.
Upgrading Technology and Skills
While the Director has been providing the faculty and students with many opportunities to improve themselves, he went a step further and provided each of them a tablet which contains all the course material, assignments, case studies and other important content. By ensuring that each tablet contained all the necessary content, students can now be prepared for the class in advance. "We have added an additional feature where students can provide their feedback on the faculty members, case studies, seminars conducted by industry executives and other events, thus understanding where we can improve further," states Dr. Manjunath. He presents the students with various opportunities to enhance their skill sets through the trainings which he provides for industry executives. Students who are deemed worthy by Dr. Manjunath are welcomed to attend programs in Quality Management, Lean Practices, Personality Development, Purchase, Supply Chain Management and others. "Although students can improve their communication skills, the major issue I notice is their attitude," says Dr. Manjunath who believes students hope to get cushy desk jobs in an air conditioned environment which is really hard to find in reality.
In order to ensure that the students are grounded, the Director annually invites around 25 high level executives from various industries to talk to the students and explain what the current scenario in the industry is and what the requirements are. The executives are also able to point out what kind of job openings the students will be able to apply to and how much they will have to struggle to get and not lose the job. "My advice to students and faculty members is that they need to constantly update their skills and knowledge with the current trends and requirements. By doing so, you will be able to reach new heights," concludes Dr. Manjunath.
Dr. Manjunath VS
He is currently the Director of the NITTE School of Management. He believes that students should not have dreams of cushy jobs without possessing the necessary skills. He also hopes that the faculty members constantly evolve their teaching methodologies and knowledge with the changing scenarios.
After working for 5 years with the industry, Dr. Manjunath decided to return to his passion of teaching and at the same time decided to focus on developing the faculty members through Faculty Development Trainings. He has trained more than 1000 faculty members to date and has developed a variety of modules to guide the teachers improve themselves. He provides training to industry executives on a daily basis on programs such as Quality management, Lean Practices, Personality Development, Purchase, Supply Chain Management and others. While these programs are conducted in the Nitte School of Management - Center for Management Development (NSM-CMD) centers ranging from a day to a week to 10 days, the Director also offers in-house training for several organizations. This according to him has been the most satisfying work he has done in his career.