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Is Higher Education Necessary to Achieve Financial Success?

Perspective of a student –

During our childhood, we all must have heard from our parents and elders that if we study hard during our childhood, we will reap the sweet fruit of it during our later years of life, but we have many examples in front of us like Mark Zuckerberg who left the Harvard University without even completing his degree but still, he has a net worth of 10,680 crores US $. And one of the greatest examples will be of Steve Jobs, so today most of us will be proud and feel self-satisfied of having the latest model of i-phone with us but this couldn’t have been possible if back in 1997 a college dropout wouldn’t have “THINK DIFFERENTLY” approach and launched an entire series of iMac, iTunesiTunes StoreApple StoreiPodiPhoneApp Store, and the iPad.

Education is one of the important factors which might help us to decide our future goals and career paths to lead towards financial success in the future but it is surely not the most necessary component for creativity, innovation, and constructive disruption in society and most importantly for our financial success. The era of Industry 4.0 has demanded an immense need of technical skills which were not there in the existing fundamental formal education structure but since the New Education Policy 2020 came in, it signifies that how important IT and technical skills are, that the government has to include it in the basic curriculum of primary and elementary school children.

The current digital era has brought many new professions that do not require higher education. So even if we consider time duration of the long back but just recently a decade ago, people would have never believed that “vlogging” – making videos and posting them online – would be a future career option. Now, some vloggers pay the bills uploading YouTube videos alone which have given rise to an entirely new segment of “social media influencers”. Irrespective of whether you hold any degree or not it has no impact on your popularity.

Having a formal degree does not directly lead to a successful career. If we look into the current scenario most of the employers place a higher value on experience, which could mean volunteering, work experience, or general experience of life for selecting the best fit for their organization. With a mixture of skills, hard work, and luck, people will do just fine even without degrees.

Even in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a sudden higher drift in the demand of online Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning based technical and behavioral competency-based skill-courses which are quoted as vital to survive and compete in the current job market. As been quoted in one of the recent advertisements that to progress in career, continuous learning and skill-building are also important apart from basic institutional education.

One thing is also clear that most people do not land up working in their dream job aligned with their education even if they have enough skills for such a job or work. Intensive research should also be a mandatory part of the curriculum to reduce the current skill market gap and make our present and future workforce being ready for jobs in the upcoming digital era which will ensure financial stability along with a wider knowledge base as well.

As per an article in Financial Express dated December 26, 2018, India had only twenty- one thousand publications during the last decade which seemed to stand nowhere in the global mark. India holds its heads high in some of the key areas like traditional healthcare facilities existing in Ayurveda and other ancient histories. To survive and get successful in the current globally cut-throat competitive market, we should try to adopt an appropriate mix and balance of our ancestral knowledge along with adding technological aspects to the same.

And all these courses demand deep learning and research on the subject area which can be learned through various sources but just limiting ourselves to textbook knowledge or few restricted sources will never help us in attaining the right results rather we should focus more towards attaining a proper balance of theoretical knowledge along with practical aspect into the same.

So to conclude we can say that formal education should be made mandatory but then it should be flexible enough to let a student explore the creativity, innovation, and technological aspects of themselves. At IILM where I study for my higher education, the nurturing environment has given me the flexibility and freedom to choose from a wide array of electives and soft skills to pursue my passion and creativity and be future ready.

Author – Harshita Jain

MBA, Year II – IILM University Gurugram

 

 

The Future of Education: The Flipped Classroom or Blended Learning?

We are into week 11 of the lockdown and as educators, we have seen days which we never imagined in the wildest of our dreams. The entire experience of education changed overnight. Educators became learners and students were suddenly given those very gadgets (read smartphones and laptops) for which they were earlier cajoled for constant usage. Online education suddenly became the new normal. Many of the faculty adapted very quickly to the situation and got their act together to conduct classes from their homes. The students on the other hand, geared themselves to studying in the comfort zones of their homes. Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, WebEx, Skype, Google Meet, etc – all possible platforms were explored, and a new classroom was created.

IILM University also swiftly adopted technology to ensure that the learning did not stop, irrespective of the lockdown. In fact, IILM went a step further to ensure that almost all the scheduled activities other than teaching were also conducted online, viz mentoring, dissertation guidance, Club activities and placement preparation workshops for the students. The Placement Cell at IILM University leveraged their strong industry connect to get virtual summer internships for their undergraduate and postgraduate students. Faculty mentors at IILM have been continuously guiding and hand-holding these interning students to keep up their motivation levels while working for home.

The Way Forward

As the pandemic situation gets critical, experts around the world are deliberating on the way forward for higher education, anticipating online education to assume greater significance in the coming years. Academicians are exploring the options of the flipped classroom and blended learning to offer an effective learning environment for the students. The author discusses here the case of these two trending topics which are likely to show us the direction, as we prepare ourselves for the forthcoming semesters to welcome the existing and new batches of students.

The Flipped Classroom

Let us take the case of a flipped classroom first. Based on my experience and having heard several online discussions, I feel that the success of the implementation of the flipped classroom lies not only in the orientation of the faculty but also on the ownership of the student in his learning. Until now we as faculty majorly adopted a passive learning approach which was faculty-centric in a lecture mode with the objective of content dissemination. What is required is an active learning approach that is student-centric and works on a collaborative model with the objective of content creation. The flip of the traditional classroom works on this principle. An element of experiential learning is brought in along with academic learning. A robust LMS makes it possible to create a flipped classroom. The conceptual learning is done by the students through the LMS and in the class they are given pedagogical tools to apply that learning – whether it is through a project or a case or a simulation.

This sounds exciting, but how many of our students would seriously come prepared for the class and contribute to the classroom discussion? Given the fact that most of them look forward to an exhilarating experience in college and campus life, academics is the last thing on their mind. Forget students, will we able to orient and motivate our faculty to create a flipped classroom? Moreover, the perception of undergraduate students towards education is different in comparison to post-graduate students. Also, there is a huge effort that is required on part of the faculty for creating online content for the LMS. And last but not the least, LMS comes at an enormous cost. Will institutions be able to afford this massive investment at a time when student recruitments look bleak? Will we be able to restructure our infrastructure for creating this learning environment?

I feel that the answers to these questions will tell us whether we should head in the direction towards flipped classrooms or not.

Blended Learning

Blended learning according to me is a healthy mix of the traditional classroom and online teaching. Technology cannot replace educators – it is an undisputed fact because interaction with the students is a must for learning to be effective. And for this, student engagement in class is particularly important. In fact, for blended learning to be successful, the end objective should be participative learning. Given the low levels of the attention span of our students, it would certainly be a Herculean task in online teaching.

Blended learning is possible if we change some of our existing teaching practices. A differential pedagogy is the need of the hour. An increased use of simulation, gamification, role plays, and case studies in the online classroom setting are foreseen. Faculty preparedness with respect to the design of the course, course learning outcomes, course content, and pre-class groundwork will be of utmost importance. The focus would be on curated content and overload of reading material would become passé. Increased usage of audio and multimedia material by the faculty in the new age online classroom is likely to make the sessions interesting for the students. Faculty would have to design the communication plan for each course and establish certain norms for their class. Class time management would be of great significance. The duration of the classes will also have to carefully deliberated. The planning of the timetables and the schedules will have to be done in such a way that students are excited to attend their classes, rather than feeling compelled.

Whether the future lies in the flipped classroom or blended learning, I believe that facilitators are required to be academically, physically and mentally prepared for their classes going forward. The old teaching practices will have to be done away with. In fact, faculty preparation for each class would decide how effective their session would be. And it is not just about digital literacy, but also the online behaviour while conducting the classes in the new-age classroom. Their mannerisms, their involvement and conduct would decide if students attending are mentally present or only logged in to show their online presence in the class.

Conclusion

Rote learning and the traditional learning approach need to be replaced with a student-centric learning approach while making best use of technology. A hybrid model of teaching is the need of the hour. A meticulous planning is required to ensure that students enjoy their online learning journey rather than feel disinterested. The time has come to innovate the learning pedagogy and create an ocean of new knowledge. It is time to rethink, plan, and prepare.

Virtual Summer Internships in an era of COVID-19: IILM students share their Work from Home experience

COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented disruptions, impacted the economy across the globe and created a paradigm shift in higher education. Since the end of March 2020, there has been a national lockdown, bringing a standstill to almost all activities. This year MBA students have gone through a myriad of experiences and emotions due to COVID-19. The graduating batch of MBA students who got placed had their own set of worries, and the Year I MBA students had their apprehensions of their SIP. SIP or Summer Internship Program is one of the key experiences that are cherished by all MBA students. With COVD-19 unsettling all their aspirations, it was a Herculean task of the Placement Cell to get virtual internships for the entire batch, across various specializations. But much to the delight of the students, the Placement Cell arranged a good list of more than 50 companies who were ready to offer them virtual internships in multiple domains. As a result, some students are even pursuing two internships simultaneously.

Two weeks on, I got talking to a few students of the current MBA batch to find out their experience till now and am sharing it here.

Surbhi Dhasmana – Intern at E&Y

It is totally a new world for Surbhi Dhasmana. This dynamic youngster, aspiring for a career in the area of finance, has been fortunate to be selected as an intern at Ernst and Young (EY), one of the ‘Big Four’, in the department of Risk Management Services. Her orientation training last more than three weeks, which gave her comprehensive insights into the structure and policies of the company, the service line, the team and her role. She had been initially assigned the responsibility of research and analysis of financial documents and files of the clients in the database of EY and on the International Database. Based on a high-quality score of this analysis by her reviewers, the company has assigned her more critical tasks. She now interacts with the Engagement Partner of the Clients to gather more information and seek any clarifications they may have. Her experience so far has not only been interesting, full of learning, it has been also challenging working for one of the world’s top-most financial companies. Having a supportive industry mentor with whom she communicates freely and gets a prompt response to her queries has made her internship journey exceptionally smooth. Surbhi loves the work culture of EY, which is a flat organization and offers easy approachability. She has interacted with a diverse group of individuals and enjoys a strong connect between the team members. Besides the mentor, she is also assigned a ‘buddy’ to resolve miscellaneous issues. She is usually working around 10 to 11 hours a day, but she is not complaining. She has created her schedule and has become time smarter. She has polished her excel and other technical skills and is achieving the required results within the given time schedules. Surbhi feels that the normal office internship is good to network with people and leads to one-to-one learning and better time management. Since this virtual internship is inevitable due to the COVID–19 circumstances, she has learnt to work and discharge her duties and responsibilities remotely and achieve the same results.

Sharad Karnani – Intern at Fever FM

Sharad Karnani is an aspiring marketing professional who is interning at Fever FM in the area of brand marketing. After his induction, he got an opportunity to work in the area of marketing research and digital marketing. The overall experience has been good, with continuous learning and capitalizing on new things every day. He misses the physicality of an in-office experience but with supporting mentors and getting to do new tasks daily makes it fun. He has gradually adapted himself to his virtual internship, sitting at his place in his own comfort zone. He feels that it has increased his efficiency of working, but sometimes it is boring with no other colleagues around. He gets timely responses and feedback from his mentor with whom he communicates without any hitch. He is happy to be learning new skills every day and as of now with only 5-6 hours of work, there is not too much of pressure, so it is going smooth for him. In a short span of fifteen days, he has learnt the nuances of business communication. He does not like the occasional non-involvement in a task due to the physical absence from the workplace. He is still coming to terms with his virtual internship, he is missing pursuing physical internship which allows a connect with real people that is important to learn, grow and make new connections. But he understands the current circumstances and is grateful to IILM University for providing the perfect internship according to his preference and needs. He is glad that even in a virtual mode, he has been able to enhance his skills and develop himself. He is looking forward to contribute meaningfully to his internship company and gain valuable insights into the contemporary market trends and organizational dynamics.

 

Ishali Gupta – Intern at UN Global Compact

Ishali Gupta, who is the Vice-President of the Synergy HR Club at IILM University, is interning with UN Global Compact India in the HR domain. After her induction, she was assigned the task of undertaking research, preparing questionnaire for need analysis and feasibility study for developing a new online program. Spending around 6-8 hours during the day, she has already honed her skills in database management and tech skills. Even though the internship is virtual, and it has been two weeks, she has been able to get knowledge about various sensitive topics like sustainability, women leadership etc. through the webinars and virtual meetings and how to work as a professional. She has been able to get an work closely on the SGDs particularly related to gender issues. She has increased her network on LinkedIn. While she is enjoying her stint as an intern, she would like to have a defined time to work. Initially there were challenges to balance her work life, but now she has been able to create a schedule for herself. She was initially sceptical to pursue a virtual internship, but she is now finding it useful. Her mentor is quite polite and she communicates freely with her. She got the SIP opportunity through campus and is glad that the University has always been supportive for any issues related to internship. ‘Happy to be a part of IILM University Gurugram’ is what she has to say.

Raja Singh Rajput – Intern at Mfilterit

Raja Singh Rajput is among the well-networked and popular students of the batch, who secured an internship in the area of data analytics at Mfilterit. His erstwhile technical skills gave him an edge over others, and at the onset of his internship, he got to work on a new data visualization tool, Power bi, which gave him exposure to interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities. It has been a rewarding experience for him with his industry seniors supporting and helping them in every possible way. His mentors are very calm and patient while explaining things, as it is quite difficult and frustrating to understand tasks related to analytics in an online mode. Through his internship, he can now apply whatever concepts he studied in MBA. One of the initial hurdles he faced when his internship started, was that it was quite difficult to understand the concept online. Slow internet connectivity led to the video feeds freezing, making for a bumpy online experience because of low bandwidth and congested airways. But this has given him the opportunity to improve his patience levels! His work schedules are sometimes as high as 8 hours, and he operates on the deadlines given. Flexibility of work from home sometimes gives him the time to read books and pursue online courses. This virtual internship has given him a unique opportunity to independently take decisions after researching on the issue at hand rather than relying on assistance from others. Working remotely has been a big adjustment which he has made and is quite used to now. One of his key learnings apart from the technical skills is the understanding the importance of setting goals and expectations and asking for ongoing feedback.

Komal Yadav – Intern at Panasonic India

Komal Yadav is an ambitious young student who has got the opportunity to intern at Panasonic India in the sales and marketing department. It has been a fruitful learning journey for her. She has got an in-depth understanding of the product, refrigerator market, distribution channels and pricing strategies. She learnt the skill of creating channel strategy using market share and numbers of counters for different tier branches through simulation. She got a practical learning on customer buying behaviour and their pre, during and post-purchase decisions. She worked on PSI (Purchase, Sales, and Inventory), thus honing her Excel skills. She has got a hands-on learning about the industry terms and jargon. She has been able to enhance her email etiquettes and professional communication. Her internship has taught her the importance of deadlines. She feels that the success of a virtual internship lies on increased planning and consideration by both the intern and supervisor. Even though it is virtual, yet the internship can help gain skills and make connections. In the last two weeks she has learnt to create a professional environment while working at home and the significance of proper time management. Her industry mentor clears all doubts and has given her the freedom to ask any queries without any hesitation. She is finding her internship quite engaging and interesting. With the guidance of the industry mentor, she has been able to perform even the challenging tasks with ease. On an average she spends 6-8 hours per day on her assigned tasks and with each passing day, she is becoming more productive. While she feels that virtual internship is useful, but only to some extent. Komal thinks that visiting the company to get a real experience is a must. But she acknowledges that in these hard times, it is difficult to get an internship. She is grateful to IIILM University, particularly to the Placements Head, Prof Ruchi Shah, for providing opportunities, support and guidance in these times.

Ankush Bansal – Intern at Dabur and Kellogg’s

Last but not the least is Ankush Bansal, a young proactive student, who has opted for two SIPs simultaneously. Since its virtual, he feels he can manage both simultaneously. He has always been a multi-tasker in class, and it was his dream to get into a FMCG company. When he got the opportunity to intern in sales and marketing at Dabur (Chandigarh) and Kellogg’s (Ludhiana), both located in his home state, he did not have the heart to leave either of the brands he got selected in. He is learning the rules of the game on his own, without any induction from either of the organizations. At Dabur, he is required to be in touch with the retail shops and get the data for registering them on the Suraksha Store Portal (Govt. initiative). He is required to prepare the product portfolio of Dabur Real Juice and compare it with its competitors. At Kellogg’s, he is responsible for calling the KPC of the Kellogg’s in Chandigarh and Ludhiana area for their brand Pringle and conduct a survey. His double internship has given him immense learning so far. He has not only come to know about how the companies work, but also given him the opportunity to overcome his hesitation issues. He had teething issues in the beginning and found it difficult to cope up, but now, he is leveraging technology to adapt and perform as per the requirements. Both his mentors are supportive, and he gets a quick response to his queries. They have given him an environment to communicate with them whenever there is a need. He is working for 4-5 hours on an average in a day but wants more, especially field work, which he is missing badly. He has improved his communication and tech skills but would like to go out and network. He strongly feels that sales cannot be learnt virtually. However, he feels blessed that at least he has internships in hand, all thanks to IILM University.

These experiences indicate a new class of managers in the making. These self-motivated, energetic youngsters have beautifully adapted themselves to the virtual environs. They are among the 200 odd MBA students of their batch who have coped to the situation and geared themselves to a different phase of learning. They are past their disappointments of not doing a physical internship and all apprehensions. With the continuous support and guidance of their faculty mentors and the Placement Cell of IILM University, these students are in fact now surging ahead to learn and progress in their professional lives.

Whatever I am is all because of IILM: Satyaveer Pal (Alumnus, Batch 2006-2008)

After completing his Bachelor of Science from Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (MJP) Rohilkhand University, a young lad stepped out of his hometown Bareilly to fulfill his dreams in the Millennium City of Gurugram. A career-ambitious student, he landed at IILM to pursue a career in management. Meet Satyaveer Pal, Regional Manager – Sales (International Business), Aurionpro, Gurugram, an alumnus of Batch 2006-2008. His work takes him to places, literally. He has extensively traveled to Europe and the APAC and South Asia region, particularly Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Nepal where majority of his clients are based. His last International visit was to Indonesia and Vietnam in February 2020, just before the national lockdown.

I had the opportunity to speak with him recently, and he was reminiscing his experiences at IILM during his stay at the campus. Considered as a studious person, he was the CR (student Class Representative) for two consecutive years, and this helped him tremendously in improving his interpersonal skills and leadership qualities. His favorite faculty was the marketing professor, Dr. Priyanka Dhingra whose lessons in sales and marketing were a lifelong learning for him. Giving presentations, participating in quizzes and class exercises are among his best memories at the campus. He fondly recalled an instance when he had to make a sales presentation where he came up with an innovative idea of marketing and branding of pens. This activity – based classroom pedagogy made him realize that marketing was where his career lay, and today business development has become his forte.

IILM gave Satyaveer learning both inside the classroom and outside. He learnt how to respond and gauge behavior of other people. He acquired networking skills and learnt how to brand oneself. This learning has taken him to the pinnacles of success.

He got an opportunity to do his summer internship at Shoppers Stop Gurugram, and he was also part of a new outlet opening in New Delhi where he helped Shoppers Stop in setting up their retail business from the scratch. He gained hands-on experience during his SIP and developed a multidimensional approach to handling problems. He believes those students who do not take their SIP seriously are the ones who loose out on good placements later.

Satyaveer feels that he not just gained academic knowledge at IILM but also the soft skills that are required to be successful in the corporate world.

As he was an outstation student, Satyaveer stayed at IILM boys’ hostel, and that was a wonderful experience for him. He learnt to become independent and gained friends for life. He cherishes the memories of playing cricket after classes in the campus grounds, going around in the local markets and malls of Gurugram, and chit-chatting with his hostel roommates till late night.

It is such a pleasure to have an alumnus as Satyaveer. His colleagues praise him unabashedly. I was going through some of the recommendations he received on LinkedIn and my heart swelled in pride. Considered as a good task master and team player, his peers and managers hold a remarkably high opinion of Satyaveer. According to them, he comes with a very infectious sort of energy; always warm and outwardly sociable, he gets along with people very easily. He is good at making new connections and is the live wire of every conversation.

He is still in touch with his faculty, Dr Radhika Madan and Dr Sujata Shahi, presently the Vice-Chancellor of IILM University. He has had positive interactions with them in the past and due to these, he has retained the connect with his Alma mater. Dr Radhika had in fact taught him and still considers him as one of her brightest students taught till date. She has seen Satyaveer grow in his career path over the years. A very vigorous person with a clear vision, she feels that he knows how to co-ordinate assignments and the workforce he deals with. She has found him to be a very dedicated and committed person who strives to achieve his goals with full commitment and sincerity. His positive approach to all his challenges is what differentiates him from other students.

In the past twelve years of graduating from IILM, he has earned the reputation of an enterprise leader with an excellent track record of contributions that streamline operations, invigorate businesses, heighten productivity and develop business strategies.

alumni-SatyaveerHe visits IILM Gurugram once in two months – either as an industry speaker to share his insights with the present batches, or as a jury member for a campus event – contributing in every possible way. He has also recommended several students for taking admissions in MBA, the flagship programme of IILM University Gurugram. One of the most connected alumni to his alma mater, he takes out time from his busy schedule whenever IILM requires his presence.

He is currently residing in the corporate hub of Gurugram with his parents, wife Abha and a three – year old son Arkin. On being asked, how did his stay at IILM impact his career, he proudly said, “Whatever I am is all because of IILM.”

Is taking a Drop Year in 2020 a good career strategy? – IILM’s Advice for Students

While the whole world is battling Corona, there are many students who have their own battles to wage. This is especially those who have appeared for Class XII exams and they may be worried for their future. A few exams of CBSE students are still pending. The results are yet to come. It is a critical year for them, given their decisions to take admissions in graduation. Some of them were aspiring to go abroad. Now all their dreams seem to be at a standstill.

Well, dear students and their equally concerned parents – The government regulations are no way indicating a pause in education – they have stated in their recent guidelines to delay starting the academic year, but it will begin. You have all options open as you would have earlier. The only thing that has changed now is a shift in the day of commencement of the session. So the question of dropping a year should not occur in your mind.

On dropping a year, one or all of these may happen-
– Your drop year will stay on your CV for the rest of your life. It may affect your candidature for selection, as recruiters are looking for all possible reasons to reject the applicants. You may not even qualify for the selection process, as in several global multinational corporations, a drop in the year is one of the reasons for not shortlisting the profile of the candidate.
– You may be the only one in your class or peer group to sit at home exploring options for the subsequent year- it generally leads to a dip in the motivation level and its not easy to sustain yourself during this time. The morale goes down and depression sinks in.
– You tend to lose confidence in your abilities to start afresh.
– It will also give the impression to any third person that you are not at all adaptable in nature – you do not have the strength to fight it out and brave the circumstances.
– Most importantly, you are still not sure that you will get what you are seeking.

We have all spent more than a month at home, and we do not know till when this will continue. Do not elongate this stay even further – believe me it is going get tougher
by the day. We have already had enough of negativity since the spread of the pandemic – let us not increase the problems in our lives. Make an informed decision about the course you want to enroll in – there are abundant prospects for you. All educational institutions, particularly the private ones are functioning online, and Universities like IILM are all prepared to welcome students in the new session whenever it starts. We are equipped to conduct both online and offline classes. Our faculty are developing innovative pedagogies to make the class more engaging. We have been ensuring that there is no academic loss for the existing students and the learning did not stop a single day during this lockdown period. We have finished our course syllabus for the semester, have conducted Club activities, we have done mentoring sessions, we have guided students for dissertation, we have conducted guest sessions for the subjects we are teaching and we are ready to conduct the exams. We have given ample opportunities for students to intern from home, and
almost all our students have their WFH summer internships in place. As faculty, we are working hard to respond to the situation to the best of our capabilities.

If you were aspiring for a foreign degree, as of now, you should take admission in an Indian Institution for now, and perhaps go abroad for your post-graduation. By that time, you will become aware of your career interests and you will be mature enough to take care of yourself. These next two years will be trying times, and your adamant desire to go to foreign shores may end up being an obstacle for your successful career. Things will certainly become normal – but how soon none of us know. When International borders and travel will open, it is unknown. And how soon they will start accepting applicants and student candidatures for admissions is also not clear.

But what is known for sure is that our career path has to be charted by us alone. Dropping a year has never been a good strategy. And in a world of uncertainty, it is a strict no-no. Based on my experience of two decades, I can only say that think positive, explore available options and get a stress-free life for yourself. Let these turbulent times not affect your careers.

Authored By
Dr Sona Vikas (Associate Professor – HR & OB)

The Student Teacher Relationship at IILM University

The bond I share with my students is an incredibly special one. This is a relationship which continues for life and, IILM University has given us teachers this flexibility to not only interact with our students inside the classroom but also outside.

At IILM University, this is a relationship of respect, love and trust. The foundation of this relationship gets laid on day one when a student takes admission. It gets nurtured during the tenure of the student, continuing even after the completion of their program. The teacher is a mentor, a friend, philosopher and guide in the true spirit. The students have long conversations with their teacher – whether it is in a professional area or an academic concern or connecting on a personal level or just generally talking on any topic under the sun. There is seamless communication between the teachers and their students. At IILM University, teachers not only guide them to make informed choices about their careers, but also motivate them to bring out their true potential. They give them feedback so that they improve themselves. The teachers enhance their confidence levels so that they are prepared to face the challenging corporate world. Most importantly, they spend time with their teachers at IILM University. This relationship transcends the boundaries of formalities and the teacher acts as a mentor for the students.

At IILM University, we understand that students are at the cusp of an important juncture in their life, and they need the support of their teachers to hand-hold them in order to take judicious career decisions. IILM ensures that they have a smooth transition from being happy-go-lucky students to sincere and serious corporate professionals. The role of a teacher in shaping the life of the students at IILM is far more critical and serious business than anywhere else. At an age when most of the students are unable to take professional guidance from their parents, the teachers act as an anchor in their lives, giving them the direction they are seeking.

IILM encourages its students to come out of their comfort zones. As teachers, we persuade them to take challenging tasks and set tough goals for themselves. In the process, they emerge as winners, because they also learn the art of accepting failure and moving on in life, even if they are not successful.

On my part, I feel, it is this bond with the students that completes me as a teacher. It does not matter what time they call or send a message on WhatsApp. It is my commitment to them that they will get a response at the earliest, if not immediate. I do not believe in scolding them. In fact, I do not remember shouting at any of them ever. But it certainly does not imply that I accept whatever they do and say. It also does not mean that I am a lenient teacher. Throughout these 13 years in academics, students have always listened to me and complied to what I would have said. The students of my first teaching batch of 2007 still get back to me for help and guidance. And the reason for it is only one – I treat them as adults and very gracefully put across my point. I do not hurt them, nor do I say anything that I would regret later. I do not believe in taunting them, nor do I ever expose their weaknesses in front of others. I have never embarrassed them by sharing their personal experiences to other colleagues or students.

I conduct myself in such a way, that it gives them the confidence that they can connect with me and take my help any time they want to. This attitude has never let me down. It has made students connect with me, even if I would not have taught them in class. And not surprisingly, I am in touch with all the student batches that I have taught in these years, in some way or the other. I attribute this to the mutual love and respect that exists in my student-teacher relationship. I believe that if we want our students to become good human beings, we must treat them as one.

After Boards how to choose an Institution of Higher Education

Choosing an institution of higher education may seem like a daunting task to some. After all, it is what decides the direction of one’s career. All those years at school lead to this very critical decision. A lot is at stake. The life ahead is based on this single decision. But it will not be tough, if the students make the decision prudently. Based on my experience in higher education, I have identified a few important factors which if kept in mind while making this choice, will make the task easier for parents and students.

Firstly, one needs to see the legacy of the Institution. It adds to the credibility and tell us about the trust parents would have had on this University all these past years. It should add value to the degree for the student.

Secondly, the quality of education offered is of utmost importance. The same can be gauged through two ways – faculty and curriculum. The faculty make a great impact on the delivery and learning in the classroom. There must be adequate number of qualified (PhD) and experienced full-time faculty, who are passionate about teaching. A globally bench-marked programme curriculum ensures that the student fits in world-class organizations. If the institution offers global exposure and a cross-cultural environment, it is an added advantage.

Thirdly, there should be proper student mentoring. Most of the students feel lost, or directionless when they enter a campus after class XII. The hand-holding given during school seems to be missing, as a result leading to students being dis-oriented. There are only a handful of institutions who have the process of attaching a dedicated faculty mentor to each student in their campus. For the parents, this is a great initiative to keep a track of their ward’s progress.

Fourthly, a strong industry interface with ample placement and internship opportunities should be present. One’s career after college depends majorly on these. Internship support by the Institution goes a long way in helping students to make their future career choices. Also, many students opt to take up employment after their graduation to get experience before pursuing higher education.

Lastly, some more important factors should be considered for convenience and to enhance the experience, like the location of the Institution. It should ideally be near the corporate hub of a metropolitan city offering plenty of exposure, opportunities, live projects and most importantly, reducing travel snarls. The infrastructure and facilities provided by the institution enhances the experience. The campus life through events, clubs and societies should enable holistic development of the students.

By keeping all these factors in mind, one can choose the right institution of higher education for the perfect experience of learning and development after school.

Why are SIPs (Summer Internship Programmes) important for MBAs?

SIP or Summer Internship Programme is a period of 6 – 8 weeks that is prescribed in all B-School curriculum and has a substantial weightage with respect to credits earned by the students. MBA students need to understand the importance of SIPs not just from the perspective of credits but also the critical role they play in providing practical exposure. While some students are quite serious about these internships, there are some who have a callous attitude. Students who fail to appreciate and understand the importance of these internships, do not realize its adverse consequences on their careers. Summer Internships need to be taken very seriously because an outstanding performer can get a Pre-Placement Offer (PPO), which is an enviable proposition for any student. While making a choice of the companies, the priority of the student should be on their role, the learning, practical insights expected and the company’s brand. The stipend being offered by the company should not be a criterion for applying and selecting an organization. The learnings that a student gains in the SIP helps him to crack the placement interviews, as most of the recruiters ask questions primarily around the learning gained by the candidates during their SIPs. SIPs also offer students a great networking opportunity. The students must interact with their colleagues and connect with them on portals like LinkedIn. Getting recommendations by their reporting supervisors on LinkedIn is an achievement in itself and students must strive for it.  By interning in an organization, the students learn to adapt themselves according to the organizational dynamics, understand the significance of interpersonal and inter-departmental relationships with peers and seniors, and get a hands-on learning of the organizational policies, processes, structure and culture. The SIP gives the students a platform to enhance their personality, improve their business etiquette and team skills at the workplace.

Why MBA at IILM University?

If you ask any aspirant why he or she wants to pursue MBA, the prompt response that comes is “package.” While it is fair to give the millennials credit for this response, they must stop for a moment and introspect as to what value they bring to the organization to aspire that “package”. As a faculty who sees the students sit for various processes year after year, I know for sure that MBA is not about package – it is not about a student’s ROI, it is more about their employability. While they aspire for the money from day 1 of their job, their returns to the organization begin only after a few months of training. And that too if they have the skill-sets required to do their jobs well. The responsibility of the MBA institution is to offer an exciting learning environment to the students, so that they become employable. The students in turn must make the most of the opportunities and exposure their institution offers them during their two-year tenure.

Flagship program
MBA is the flagship program of School of Management at IILM University Gurugram. Students have the options of both functional and sectoral specializations. Through internationally benchmarked curriculum with regular inputs from the industry experts, students at IILM study contemporary courses. These include Intentional Networking, Emotional Intelligence, Critical Thinking, Digital Innovation and Transformation. Online Certifications from institutions of repute are embedded in the curriculum. In each module, a guest expert is invited to share practical, organizational insights whereby beautifully adding to the concepts and theories done in class. We offer students international exposure through exchange programs and study tours abroad, thus giving them an edge over their counterparts.

Giving practical exposure
There is emphasis not only on academic and technical skills, but also the soft skills and life skills. Most of us faculty have PhD and a combination of academic plus corporate experience that contributes to a wonderful learning environment in the classroom. Our focus is on experiential learning with the help of latest tools and techniques using case studies, role plays, videos, field visits, projects, management games, classroom exercises etc. Using innovative pedagogy and emerging technologies, we strive towards a predominantly robust academic delivery to make the education process stimulative, interactive, reflective and creative. As a faculty, I have personally learnt a lot and progressed academically while delivering lectures to the post-graduate students.

Industry Connect
Strong industry linkages are a forte of IILM which facilitate excellent placement and internship opportunities. IILM boasts of highly successful alumni who are now working at very senior positions in multinational corporations. All students are given an opportunity to work on live projects that hone their reasoning and analytical skills.

Mentoring
Each student is assigned a faculty mentor who is involved in giving direction, guiding and ensuring personal and professional development. I am involved in mentoring the students and preparing them to take up meaningful roles in organizations. This increases my connect with them and helps establish a life-long relationship with my students. And that is why many of them start giving importance to their future “job role” over “package” at the time of campus placements.

Almost all events on campus are driven by the students, which enhances their organizing skills and improves their team skills. It gives them an opportunity to be independent in decision making and resource management. Campus life at IILM contributes to their holistic development and enables them to come out of their comfort zone, making them shed their inhibitions. I feel all these factors combine to increase the employability quotient of IILM students. They are groomed to be responsible professionals, ready to take on the challenges in organizations. MBA at IILM is a unique experience, and having seen it myself, I can surely vouch for the same.