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  • Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes Organizes a National Summit on Corporate Academic Partnership

    Published on December 3, 2010

    Chandigarh:  A first of its kind summit was organized in Mandigobindgarh under the aegis of Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes. The key question was: How exactly should Industry and Bschools partner with each other? Elements Akademia, an IIM Alumni Venture, was the knowledge partner. Especially in the context of Tier 2 Bschools often located outside the main metros. The challenge is that these schools make up 95% of all Bschools in India, and yet the industry participation is generally limited only to final placements.

    Dr. Shalini Gupta, Director General of Desh Bhagat Group, outlined the progress of Desh Bhagat group where number of students has gone up from 100 to more than 5000 in a matter of last few years. The priority now is how to actively engage with the industry beyond placements, to ensure practical exposure to the students and hence increased ‘employability’.

    Vivek Gupta, Faculty from IIM Lucknow, explained the role of management and faculty in improving the corporate-academic linkage. He identified more than 1000 SMEs in and around Mandigobindgarh, each with local problems and opportunities. Why can’t the faculty take it as a target market, form groups with 5 MBA students each, and offer consulting (free or at nominal rates) to these companies. Faculty needs to be, and train students to be, curious and proactive.

    Dr. Amit Kapoor, Honorary Chairman of Micheal Porter led The Competitiveness Institute, and a faculty from MDI, shared his personal experiences on how the industry is so actively involved in all aspects of top colleges like Harvard and Sloan. He talked of ‘passive collusion’ in India, where faculty does minimal research and students continue to underperform versus their potential. He exhorted the Tier 2 Bschools to move beyond their placement agency role and actually create knowledge.

    Ashwini Sharma, Head of Lean initiatives, Bank of America Merill Lynch, who joined from Singapore via a video conference, examined the role of alumni in creating industry-academic partnership. He recounted his own experiences of how IIM alumni in South East Asia were helping the IIMs in India by actively creating awareness of their alma mater amongst, say, Singaporean companies.

    Ratna Singh, Global HR Head – Evalueserve, outlined why students are not able to satisfy the employment requirement of companies. She said she has literally hundreds of openings of back end research jobs paying about Rs. 3 lacs an year and requires fresh graduates and post graduates. However, most students who apply are weak in English communication and Thinking skills and lack even basic corporate awareness. Hence, despite the presence of jobs, MBAs go unemployed!

    Nishant Saxena, Founder & CEO of Elements Akademia, gave 10 tips on Entrepreneurship as a career option. Instead of settling for low-paying, poor job satisfaction roles, he suggested that students can also evaluate starting their own firm. He gave insights on where to go for incubation and funding and how to know that the business idea is worth it.

    Kanupriya Pachuari, alumni of FMS and formerly with Godrej, who is the Elements consultant based in Desh Bhagat, helped coordinate a joint action plan – with participation from students, faculty and management – on how to take Desh Bhagat group to the next level. These included upgradation of online presence and website; starting free consulting for local companies; forming special interest student groups in finance, marketing etc; special ‘telecalling’ English classes for weaker students; organizing alumni meets in Delhi and Chandigarh; residential campus (70% students supported the idea); arranging a full credit course by an IIM faculty etc.

    Students were thrilled to participate in an intellectually stimulating environment. They learnt new ways of enhancing their skills, shared ideas and gave suggestions on improving the culture of their college.