Higher Education: A Changing Paradigm


The world of education has been ever changing and evolving. The unprecedented situation created by the global pandemic , Covid 19 has prompted higher education institutes to rethink yet again. Educators have been researching on the best ways to inculcate the appropriate skills in students and also making efforts towards bringing the best of talent to teach students. It is a difficult task to design a program that meets the needs of students who are from diverse backgrounds and ensure that they get the kind of education that fulfills their purpose and ambitions.

Teaching Pedagogy

Teaching pedagogies are being developed to include interactive and engaging experiences rather than simple dissemination of information. Earlier research suggests that the essence of teaching lies in the faculty’s ability to reflect on their style of teaching. Critically evaluating one’s own method of teaching by making notes and constant reflection may help faculty to improve the student’s “meta-cognitive awareness” and thus help him become a better decision maker (Cook-Sather, 2012). Education is being seen as a means to enable the student to be ready for the real world. Hence it needs to include more of practical application of concepts that provide students experiential learning rather than theoretical knowledge. Teaching methods have been changing from lecture method to flipped classroom, case studies, and blended learning. Technological advancements have enabled blended learning mechanisms where students can learn theoretical concepts through online lectures and use face-to-face class room interactions more effectively. Organisations like Adobe, Cisco and Microsoft, for their growth and high valuations, are investing in building education as a focused vertical and devising ways to help bring technology to the classroom. The idea is to use the classroom time for meaningful interactions. Many educational institutions advertise their tech- savvy classrooms with pride and showcase the flexibility given to students in completing the requirements of their curriculum.

Student Engagement

Student engagement was highly linked to campus life until now. This included all kinds of engagement – class room interaction, clubs and societies, participation in activities and contests, process of internship and placement services, sports and many more. All these are various ways by which a student’s personality takes shape, makes a student more competitive and responsible and helps in development of leadership skills. The process of engaging students is again being re-thought now to include same services online. Institutions have to use technology and deliver the same course and curriculum to the students through various available platforms provided by Microsoft, Google,  Zoom etc. However there is a constant evaluation of whether the students are truly feeling “engaged” or is it a one sided discourse which ends after a session.  The guidelines provided by Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education (Kuh, 2001) are still relevant from the perspective of being assessed on learnings, value time factor and applying the learnings in their lives.

This continued uncertainty of Covid-19 has made educational institutions look at ways to “manage” the situation rather than reflect on the purpose of education.  In the absence of campus driven activities, student engagement is being looked at differently. The very nature of teaching and learning may undergo a transformational change.  Private colleges like IILM have created Undergraduate and Postgraduate Student Engagement teams working towards understanding the perspective of students and creating a schedule for engaging students. Focused group discussions are being done with students across campuses to understand what students are excited about and what are their barriers to learning and feeling engaged. Several inputs were shared by students which have been referred to here. Instagram pages run and managed by students wherein they can showcase their talents, writing blogs on previous trips made and their experiences, interactive webinars to hone up specific skills and inspiring lectures by industry experts are few of the ways that can promote learning apart from the focus on the program curriculum. The evergreen alternatives of having fun sessions that promote positive interaction, buddy programs for those students who have freshly enrolled in the system, and the joy of being rewarded by peers and teachers for various initiatives are always welcome. Students with writing skills can be prompted to run editorial columns/blogs/newsletters whereas students who are more adventurous can be asked to lead Instagram pages. Social media contests like innovative cooking, gaming and talent hunt are few which can grab their interests and make them feel engaged.



The Dilemma

There is a marked difference found in the offerings of distance learning and on campus learning’s’ which institutions were earlier using to differentiate as premium learning. Face to face interaction induces better comprehension and teachers can pull students into discussions, design activities for them and provide real time presentation opportunities thereby helping develop the complete personality of the student. A very obvious fact with the on-campus option has been the experience of the student life and its lifelong influence and networks. The thought and the fear of online education impacting the campus/classroom based training has been in existence for many years however it is only the current crisis that has made it look strong. The need for value delivered through sustainable student engagement in various facets and not just limited to academics will have a huge role to play.

Educational institutes will need to think beyond clubs and societies and show their creative side to win and sustain themselves in these uncertain times.  The question is whether institutes will go back to their earlier way of teaching, post Covid -19 or will be able to bring about a more permanent change in their approach to imparting knowledge and look at higher education as a changing paradigm. A lot will depend on how the situation shapes up, however we have to be prepared now.


Remedial Plan

Educational Institutes might consider restructuring their current curriculum in order to plan for blended learning.  A combination of online education along with class room teaching would gradually gain importance wherein students can learn the theoretical concepts online, but still have face to face classroom experience wherever necessary. Choosing the right online platform from among the list of options available is also an important factor that will help the institute connect with students and provide different and interesting modes of course delivery and thereby engagement with students.   Maintaining high standards of quality education under all circumstances along with an element of differentiation is a must to create a platform for the institute and to attract students. Overall, institutes will require to rethink their current strategy and approach in order to sustain in this uncertain environment.


George D.Kuh (2001) Assessing What Really Matters to Student Learning Inside The National Survey of Student Engagement, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 33(3), 10-17, DOI: 10.1080/00091380109601795

Cook-Sather, A. (2012). Lessons in higher education: Five pedagogical practices that promote active learning for faculty and students. Journal of Faculty Development, 26(1), 33–39.

Myths about Green Economy: Busted

Greenery calms down our eyes and mind. It symbolizes life, freshness, nature, harmony, energy, and fertility. The world is facing serious challenges in environmental front. To motivate people to stop contaminating the environment, Environmentalist, and environmental enthusiasts are using “Green” concepts everywhere. At IILM with a blend of management and engineering, we create Eco friendly surroundings. Same concept is used for green economy.

“An economy is the production and consumption of goods and services and flow of money. Then what is Green Economy? Is Green economy all about planting trees in the world? Let us make it short and simple by explaining Green Economy. Green Economy stands for accelerating economic activities and infrastructure that are helpful in low carbon emission, increase energy conservation, and efficient use of resources.

There are certain myths about green economy, which you will also relay on-

  • Every business around is polluting environment. Agricultural waste makes Delhi’s atmosphere  suffocating every year, chemical fertilizers contaminating underground water. Agriculture a major sector in green economy is polluting our country. Therefore, green economy is just a concept for books.
  • Everything around is driven by fossil fuel. Electricity for metro trains generated from the thermal power plants using coal. In actual we are not conserving the environment. Environmental protection, social benefits and profit making cannot go together. Again, green economy is a myth.
  • Green economy cannot grow like fossil fuel based economy. This economic model will not get acceptability of citizens. So it is a myth.
  • Shifting economy from fossil fuel to other energy sources may result in job loss. Governments won’t be able to afford this, so it’s a myth.

Let us burst the Myths about Green Economy

#Myth-1 Industry transformation in Green Economy

Businesses will get transformed into green economy. Present MSME like renewable energy, sustainable transportation, waste management, green residential areas, water management, land management, fisheries, agriculture, forestry, etc. will work on large scale. There are certain areas in the business that yet to be explored. Organic farming can make agriculture non polluting, healthy and profitable.

#Myth-2 Environmental protection, Social benefits, and profit making cannot go together

  1. J. Kurian of Amul, Shri Mahila Grh Udyog and several other Indian examples has proven that social benefit and profit making can go together. Both of them uplifted the people financially. Government of Gujarat has introduced a project of installing solar panels on 19000 Km long network of canals of Narmada River. Hence, above myth has been proven wrong

#Myth-3 Growth of Green Economy is perceive slow

Renewable energy and recycling can be the key drivers to foster green economy. Availability of energy and raw material economically is the need of industry. Renewable energy is an economic and sustainable source of energy and recycling can provide cheaper raw material. India’s 55% of energy requirement will be covered by renewable energy sources by 2030, if this sector will grow at the same pace.

#Myth-4 Career and Job Opportunities are limited

Whenever technology shifts, it affects the job market, and existing jobs transform. India’s top business schools are carving our future managers and technocrats to work in present environment and cope up with future challenges. Research will play a key role for every student.

At IILM College of Engineering, Department of Biotechnology trains students in hydroponic technology, vermin compost, bio compost etc. Our Alumnus and existing students are working with reputed brands at renewable energy sector. Civil engineers at IILM are developing methods of using non-degradable plastic in construction. This will change the future construction techniques and minimize pollution.

Coming to the end of discussion, I would like to support  Green Economy as- industries can easily shift to renewable energy sources, Green economy will grow at the same pace like fossil fuel based on our  economy there will be no dearth of career opportunities. Green economy will contribute in better health of citizens. Citizens can start practicing basic  fundamentals of green economy by using solar power, compost in kitchen gardens which are  very beneficial in  conserving energy.

For more information on green economy related readings follow my blogs on IILM Blog site https://blog.iilm.edu or write to me at ashutosh.singh@iilmgsm.ac.in

How to Make your Virtual Teaching Interesting for Learners

Change always creates anxiety and when this change is rapid then it creates panic too. Recent changes in an environment completely upset the traditional classroom teaching-learning process. It left no other choice but to move on a new platform for learning that is virtual classrooms.  This transition from traditional face to face teaching to virtual teaching was highly unexpected and too quick to absorb hence given a very strong blow on the teaching-learning process. Moreover, neither the teachers nor the students were trained for such a virtual environment. When I thought about learning through virtual teaching, I encounter two questions. Does any scientific method exist to enrich the learning process? Can learner also enhance their learning?

On the lines ‘the show must go on’, one needs to adapt to the virtual teaching-learning model and should make this interesting for learners. Learners are sitting at the comfort of their homes with too many distractions all around. Learning will only happen when they find interest in lectures and feel engaged.

To increase the productivity of the class teachers might consider the following tricks:

Lay down fundamental rules

At the beginning of the class, the teacher should inform the students about few basic etiquettes to be followed in class. Ask the students to mute their microphones to avoid any disturbance. Students will unmute themselves only if they have any questions to ask or if they are asked to do so. If possible, ask the students to switch on their camera which will increase the engagement.

Engage students

On online platform, students have a shorter time span for concentration. By asking questions to random students in every 5-6 minutes will keep them engaged and hence increase the productivity of the class. At every 5-6 minutes keep asking simple questions and for answers ask students to type in the chatbox. Answers could be just ‘yes/no’ type.

Give control to the students

Generally, in classes teachers speak a lot, and students felt left out and learning stops. It is better to give control to students at times and ask them to interact in the form of discussing with each other in class.

Share content in advance

Possibly, share the content to be discussed in class with all the students in advance so that they are prepared well in advance.

Use easily available, copyright-free online resources

Share content with the students which are copyright free and easily available. Although, too many contents are available freely for all but do not expect that students will search on their own. It is better to mention the URL for the resource material as click and use the material for them.

Avoid information overload

Plan your sessions well in advance such that students will not be overloaded and they have time to practice problems on the topic discussed.

Make use of Multimedia

To avoid boredom in the classroom, use multimedia tools to make the classroom interesting enough so that students’ engagement increases and so productivity.

Record live sessions and share

Don’t forget to record your sessions for the benefit of those students who live in the area with bandwidth issues and not able to attend live sessions. Share these videos with all the students so all can revisit in case of doubts.

There are certain basic rules for students also to make learning effective and efficient. First and foremost, students need to have a reliable and stable internet connection to attend the classes in virtual mode. They must find a quiet corner at their respective places to avoid any disturbance during sessions. If possible, they can use headphones instead of earphones to reduce the noise level. Prepare for your class well in advance. Go through with all the resources shared by teachers. Be interactive during sessions but do not disturb the flow of the class. Either raise a hand or use a chat box in case of any query.

The productivity of the teaching-learning process in the management program will surely be enhanced if both the stakeholders follow the aforementioned tricks. Faculty and students of IILM will surely make teaching-learning much more interesting and productive on a virtual platform.

Dancing Market: Optimism or Insanity?

In the era of COVID-19 when WHO has declared it as a pandemic. India is under the lockdown for more than sixty days like all other nations in the world. All the economic activities were shuttered down till lockdown 3.0. The future outlook for the Indian economy is not pleasant. Analysts are expecting negative growth for Financial Year 2021. Almost all medium and small-scale businesses are in crisis. Most of them have shut their shops and laid off their employees. Big business houses have announced a salary cut for their employees. For April, the Auto industry first time have observed zero production output. The unemployment rate is at an all-time high. Scores of migrant laborers have moved back to their native places.

In this gloomy scenario across the nation stock market is dancing like anything. Though, it is not at the record height as it was during February but it is not that bad either. Eventually, soon after the announcement of the lockdown market slumped to almost half but this state did not last long. At present, the market is hovering around the level of 2017 which under the present circumstances is quite amazing.

Barometer of Economy?

It is time to evaluate the phrase ‘SENSEX is the barometer of Indian Economy‘. Is it a barometer to gauge the economic activities anymore? The stock market is considered a leading indicator of the economy. It was believed that there is a high correlation exist between the stock market and economy but this correlation does persist?

Fool’s Paradise!

Though the stock market is not a true representative of the economy nowadays it seems like the market has divorced the economy especially to all whatever is happening around us; whatever is the reality of economic activities. The stock market is not showing any concern to the more than fifty-nine lacs corona positive cases around the world and more than forty-seven hundred deaths in India. Stock market and particularly investors are living in paradise.

Future Outlook

There are various explanations for this insane behavior of stock investors. First and foremost, the explanation is that stock prices are always based on the future outlook, not the present. Present stock prices are the discounted cash flows expected from stock in the future. So, the present stock prices reflect that investors believe that economy will have a speedy recovery shortly.

Expectations from Government

Investor’s expectation of a substantially large stimulus package from the government went in vain. Investors have a strong feeling that the government will be able to overcome all difficulties in the economic front. The historic decision of reducing the corporate tax rates and conceptualizing the idea of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is giving hope to the investors.

The central government, as well as Reserve Bank, has already taken measures in terms of various fiscal and monetary policies to infuse the liquidity in the system. The financial year which generally ends on March 31 has been extended till June 30 exhibits commitment of government toward economic measures. Investors are betting on such strong interventions of government to boost the profitability of corporate houses in the future. The first year of NDA 2.0 is rated positively by various analysts which is enough to boost the confidence of investors.

Investment Options

Even more, now investors have not left with more options to invest as the prevailing interest rate on government bonds and all small saving schemes have been reduced. If we adjust the returns from these schemes with inflation, we will get negative returns for almost all investment products. So, the stock market is the only option left for investors to park their excess money with.

Optimism for Vaccine

Stock investors are at present feeling more optimistic about the future than the doctors and scientists who are working on the development of a cure for the Corona virus. Investors are expecting that soon enough a vaccine for the same will be discovered on which the whole world is working.

Black-box Theory

Another theory argues that all investors are operating as a black-box process. No one knows about the future of investments or till when this pandemic end and the road to normality be back. It is just the mere expectations which are leading the market at present. Investors are also active because they fear being left behind. New investors are considering this time as an opportunity to enter into the market at this level which may not come around again.

Parallel with Lehman Crisis

If we draw a parallel between the current crisis with the financial crisis of 2009, we get a hint from there also about this euphoria in the market. In November 2009 when the future of economies was pathetic even then the stock market across the world was mostly up by more than 50 percent from the past year while the economies were only growing by 1 percent for that particular one-year period. People were investing based on their expectations not based on ground reality. So, again history is repeating itself in the market.

Advice for Novice Investors

It can be inferred that expectation of the majority is driving the market than reality. Investors are not acting insane rather they have optimist future outlook. For investors, market timing is really important. For a novice investor, it is time to get into the market with a long horizon. If you have missed the wagon in 2017 then prices are again around that level. ‘Buy with caution’ is the mantra for success.

At IILM, students are being prepared to analyse the economic situation and to identify the trend for investments to be successful. We conduct live trading sessions for better understanding of the same. For more information on stock market one can approach at kumar.saurabh@iilmgsm.ac.in.



As a cool cucumber can turn into a savaged looking cactus, all of us can indeed turn our calm selves to something ferocious because of anger which at times triggers violent responses. Reactions ranging from rash driving to banging doors to actually getting into a physical altercation and verbal aggression are seen most commonly with people who are apparently aggressive.

Social Psychologists cleave the concept of aggression into emotional and instrumental aggression which is to say that former results from unhappy/negative emotions (carried out in the heat of the moment like slapping in a fit of rage) whereas the latter is intended, a well-planned move (to hurt someone purposely like a bully in school or at work).

Aggression is exhibited in physical aspects – hitting, kicking to non-physical aspects like verbal (yelling), social (bad-mouthing, excluding others), racial (micro aggression), sexual (misogyny, homophobic jokes) that are intended to harm others.

Following Liberal education at IILM University, we teach life skills in out everyday classes in the form of role plays or class discussion to help them accept, understand and manage negative emotions.

But why do we aggress? Is it like a life skill that we all need so that we don’t look meek?

Evolutionary Scientists explain that we have an innate ability to protect as well as seek continual survival of our genes. Human beings need to be able to aggress in certain situations, and nature has provided us with this skill which means that under the right situation, almost all of us will aggress (Buss & Duntley, 2006).

Physiologists’ support evolutionary perspective as it is known to mankind that aggression is controlled by Amygdala i.e. limbic system inside the cortex controlling emotions. This further controls our autonomic nervous system which in stress activates flight-or-fight mechanism.  What science is trying to explain to us is that under stress, we will either fight the stressor or run away from it. Not only this, some imperative chemical substances in our body like serotonin which when found to be at low levels predict aggression (Kruesi, Hibbs, Zahn, & Keysor, 1992; Virkkunen, de Jong, Bartko, & Linnoila, 1989).

Behavioral scientists feel that what we see in our environment is how we condition ourselves to be; so if children see their parents act out aggression by hitting, to them it’s OK to do the same. It’s no rocket science to explain that aggression would harbor aggression and the more we see it, the easier it is for us to repeat it.

It is imperative to say that one’s social situation also makes it critical for a response like aggression. As it is commonly noticed that we may react violently in situations where we are uncomfortable/ fearful or provoked (with friends or subordinates) but may react more calmly in others (in front of an authority).

On hindsight, it is easy to recall that when we were aggressive, we were likely to be experiencing a negative emotion (example- unhappy thoughts, pain or discomfort) that’s why it became so easy to react aggressively. In general, it could be the feeling of being ill or undergoing emotional disturbance that makes one vulnerable to frustration which further provokes violent behaviour.

At IILM University which is considered one of the best private universities for Psychology around Delhi/NCR, we teach critical thinking and communication skills along with other courses where we discuss how anger does not become an issue till you keep ignoring it. Reaching to the core of an internal conflict and addressing concerns is half battle won without inflicting pain to self or others.


How to if not stop, control aggression?

The answer to this is Catharsis which is a process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotion. For reducing negative affect and its arousal, if we can actively distract ourselves from that emotion it can help break the cycle of being provoked to react in anger. Catharsis can be any form of meaningful engagement like talking it out, exercising, listening to music and is most useful when done alone.

At undergrad and master’s courses in Psychology at IILM University we teach positive and social psychology and most importantly emotional intelligence. We endeavour to help our students with a thorough understanding of psychology, its components and how aggression is a symptom of repressed issues which through therapy and counselling can be managed.


Aggression is seen more an emotional than instrumental response needs to be managed by first checking on our feelings. We need to assess what caused this emotion and why? At times aggression is directed at something different than what actually provoked it. When we think carefully about our situation, rather than simply responding in an emotional way, we can carefully choose the most effective responses when we are angry (Berkowitz, 1993).

To conclude, aggression is not a disease we need to fight, lets comes to terms with how normal an aggressed response is; but accept that it cannot be typified into personality. We need to address cause before the management for a long-term goal.


A Psychologist’s Guide to Coping in Uncertain Times

“Always Expect the Unexpected Because the Only Certainty Is Uncertainty”

Uncertainty in life has many forms. Changes at workplaces, change in priorities, change in rules and regulations. Even if things are safe right now you never know when they would change and you need to be ready to handle that change.

Change is usually not the problem; it’s the discomfort that often bothers us as we are so strongly attached to a particular outcome in life.

When certainty is questioned we usually have a fight or flight reaction and try to safeguard ourselves. Our brain prefers to find a sure shot outcome to the uncertainty we are experiencing. Research proves that anticipating pain soothes us to be calm than anticipating uncertainty only because we know that pain is certain. For example, uncertainty about getting a job is more stressful than actually losing a job.

Now, the question arises what should we do to tackle uncertainty in a way that it doesn’t impact our overall health and well-being.

This is very important for students aspiring to work with multinationals, professionals struggling with changing roles, people disheartened with their job.

  1. Firstly, don’t panic, remain calm and level headed. Living in uncertain times can be discomforting but you can control how to respond to such situations.
  2. Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. Try changing the habit of ruminating on negative events of life. Why only visualize worst case scenarios. If there is a fear of not getting a job think of ways to enhance your skills. Think positive and believe in yourself. Remember it’s your life and you have the potential to change it.
  3. Add Value to your skills. It’s important to align your skill set to what is currently the need of the industry. Make sure you have those skills that the current time is demanding. Act upon it. Visualize possibilities.
  4. Market Yourself. Do not think I am asking you to boast about yourself; but how would people know your calibre if you don’t tell them about yourself. Get the recognition you deserve. Go for it.
  5. Ensure your profile is updated. Have an eye-catching LinkedIn profile. Express your interest in companies that you aspire to work with. What you post on your profile should be interesting in content and original in nature to attract organizations towards you.
  6. Focus on Financial Well-Being. One tip for life is always having a financial saving of at least six months worth your livelihood. This will be your support during rainy days and you’ll always have time to choose the best opportunity and will never settle for something less in life. Savings are very essential.
  1. Engage in Self care. Healthy routines are magical. Eat well, exercise regularly, just like body needs stimulation so does our mind and thoughts. So feed your intellect with good literature. Practice mindfulness, it makes life a better place and opens doors that you thought were closed.
  1. Risk is real and Fear is optional. Risk assessed is risk management. Understand the uncertainty take calculated risks and overcome your fears to innovate the new you.
  2. Control what you can. We often run for things that are beyond our control. Try making a slight change by focusing on stuff that is within your control. It can be as basic as setting your clothes a night before a strenuous day. Try comforting your days.

If you see your Today. Job insecurity is the “New Reality,” why respond or perceive it as Negative. It might offer better opportunities for your growth and career enhancement.

Take that Extra Mile and prove your worth. Show the world your True Potential. Don’t Stress and rather Invest in this time to uplift your skills and embrace the new shift that the Industries are offering.

This is the only way you can see the New Positive and Let go the doubt and uncertainty around. Be prepared to change with the times instead of resisting to a change. Life’s most treasured moments come unannounced. Instead of being threatened by unexpected outcomes we should learn that they can be hidden seeds of opportunities.

For best professional practices and how to deal with professional challenges follow my blogs on IILM Blogs and LinkedIn or write to me at megha.kochhar@iilm.edu

We at IILM train students to handle complex situations and be proactive professionals in every situation by focusing on multiple skill development, developing emotional intelligence. There is a Center for Emotional Intelligence at IILM University where training programs help students build self awareness, emotional regulation that helps them deal with uncertainty in personal and professional life.



Most of my employed friends have seen this paradigm shift of working from home at the time when pandemic is hovering on our heads. With this cloud of constant worry and panic, I noticed a silver lining and that has been remote working. As much as thoughts about driving to work in traffic and chores to complete at home, seems like a lost memory; we all know it will take some time for us to go back to that mindless driving routine once the lockdown gets lifted.

Effective Diversion at the time of crisis

So, has this shift from “physically” being at work impacted performance for people? If it is to believed home-based jobs has been an effective diversion from anxious thoughts as well as keeping peace at home. Working from home has created a sense of purpose for the day along with balancing home and work commitments. This fine balance we all have evolved to is our future in 2020. IILM University which is excelling in blended modules for its students, aspires to teach innovatively while using latest web tools so that students keep pace with virtual learning while being at home.

Benefits to the Company

Companies post lockdown would be looking at securing future where cost savings leading to productivity gains and convenience of both employer and employees will be implemented. As expected, this year only we will see many of us having flexible workplace as we have learnt how to manage both aspects of life.

Ease for women to be at work while at home

WFH will encourage more women to join the workforce as the hassles of travelling daily would disappear. “In the US, about 25% of the workforce works out of home,” says Rohit Kapoor, vice-chairman & CEO of EXL Service. “In India, we will move to that kind of level over time. This option will also help women, especially mothers, a lot as it will make it easier for them to join the workforce.”

Is it just positive thinking or are we actually missing “going” to work?

Some say that the absence of meeting colleagues and dressing up for work would be missed and sometimes brainstorming sessions on calls may not work for everyone. People will or already are missing the human touch and at times, work from office becomes a form of diversion from personal problems back at home. No dedicated space at home can also be one major challenge and yes, not all professions can “fit in” this newest modal of working.

Mother Nature says yes to WFH

However to look at the bright side, WFH will help in reducing carbon emissions, will bring in flexible working hours, people will be able to manage time to do things they enjoy and pursue some for which they couldn’t find time and most importantly to be able to slow down the pace of life.


All of us given in the past with hectic routines have now become attentive to our environment, our relations and how much we miss the good times. WFH if taken in a positive way is a step closer to saving our environment, building economy, being creative at work, able to pursue vocational aspirations and most importantly being able to multi-task with ease; it’s that change which will be for the better.

“When you put yourself in an uncomfortable position; is when you grow the most”

Gary Swart CEO oDesk

IILM’s Top 20 Fiction Books for Students in 2020

Don’t you feel you are in a situation you had never expected? Whether you are an undergraduate student doing BBA or some other course or you are a post graduate students enrolled in the best B-School pursuing a PGDM or MBA, you must be feeling overwhelmed by this current scenario, unsure about what the future holds in terms of your education and career. It is completely understandable to dwell upon questions such as:

When will schools and Colleges resume face to face classes?

Will I have to miss a year if I am planning to study abroad?

What impact will the lockdown have on my career?

Will I get good a placement after I complete my PGDM or MBA?

How long will the economy take to recover and the job market to open?

At this moment there are no clear answers for any of these questions. There is not much you can do about what’s happening in the outside world, but you can do something about what’s happening to you. You can use this time for self-improvement, upskilling and getting ready to face a future that is uncertain, and you can have a positive and happy attitude to stay mentally and emotionally healthy.

It is a well-known fact that reading is an important skill to be cultivated. It not only improves your spoken and written communication skills, but it also expands your horizons as you read about new cultures and people.

Earlier, I had shared a list of non-fiction books that you all could read for self -improvement and now I am sharing a list of some evergreen fiction books that I would like to recommend for you.

Why Read Fiction

We have all grown up listening to stories from our grandparents and parents, reading fairy tales, tales of adventure, stories from history and from the epics. Storytelling is an important art. A story must be told in a compelling and interesting manner to hold the listener’s attention. The art of storytelling is also important in our professional lives. If we tell a compelling story, we are better able to convince and influence people.

So how does one learn the art of storytelling? If you read some of the best stories written in the world, you will learn how a good story is told. You will learn how to build a plot, structure a story and conclude it satisfactorily. You will learn how to add humour or mystery to get attention. While you learn about storytelling and holding other people’s attention, you will also improve your written and spoken vocabulary and will find that you are able to better express yourself as you read more and more books. And the best thing about reading fiction is that they are entertaining and will keep you occupied and happy.

IILM encourages students to read and has a plethora of books in its library for students to read besides textbooks and subject specific books. I would like to suggest 10 books in the Classic Fiction category and 10 in the Modern Fiction category. A classic is a book that is accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy by being listed in a list of great books, or through a reader’s opinion. So, this list of books is a combination of being in noteworthy lists as well as in my opinion as a reader and a writer. I have stated the genre of the books so that you can also learn how books are categorized by genres and find your favourite genre.

You can pick up any book that grabs your interest but pick up a book you must.

Happy reading!

 Classic Fiction

Moby Dick by Herman Melville: Moby-Dick or The Whale is an 1851 novel which is the sailor Ishmael’s narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship’s previous voyage bit off Ahab’s leg at the knee. This is a very popular book over the years and has been part of many notable lists. Certainly a classic! Genre – Adventure Fiction





Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: This is a story of love triangles, scandalous passion, and the supernatural. The story follows Catherine and Heathcliff’s fraught love. They both marry other people, and their own children suffer their own melancholy fates. An all-time classic. Genre – gothic novel with romance, coming-of-age narrative and revenge tragedy



To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town in the USA and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Genre – Social drama



Malgudi Days by RK Narayan: This collection of short stories offers the reader a wonderful chance to experience the ordinariness and pleasant magic of life in India. Meant to be tongue-in-cheek commentaries or light-hearted reflections on the social and political realities of India, Narayan captures and relays a truly authentic feel. The stories hold a universal appeal. Genre – Short story collection



Frankenstein by Mary Shelly: Frankenstein tells the story of gifted scientist Victor Frankenstein who succeeds in giving life to a being of his own creation. However, this is not the perfect specimen of a living being that he had  imagined it to be, but rather a hideous creature who is rejected by Victor and mankind in general. A gripping read for those interested in science fiction.  Genre – Science Fiction




Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: This novel is an epic American Civil War drama that focuses on the life of petulant southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. Starting with her idyllic on a sprawling plantation, the book traces her survival through the tragic history of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and her tangled love affairs with Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler. One of the bestselling novels of all times, this has been made into a famous movie. Genre – Historical Fiction



The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: First published in 1886, this nouvella (short novel), is about a London legal practitioner named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll and the evil Edward Hyde. Dealing with personality disorder or dual personality, this book has had such impact that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” entering the vernacular to refer to people with an unpredictably dual nature – usually very good, but sometimes shockingly evil. Genre – Psychological Thriller


My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell: This is an autobiographical work by British naturalist Gerald Durrell which tells in an exaggerated and sometimes fictionalized way of the years that he lived as a child with his siblings and widowed mother on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939. It describes the life of the Durrell family in a humorous manner and explores the fauna of the island. It is the first and most well-known of Durrell’s ‘Corfu trilogy’. Genre – Autobiographical Fiction



Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: The book originally intended for adults is often read by adolescents for its themes of angst and alienation, and as a critique on superficiality in society. It has become a modern classic or cult classic because of its popular and rebellious tone. This well-written and memorable book was considered so controversial that many American schools banned it because of its “crude language”. For the generation this book came out in, it became a classic. Genre – Young Adult Fiction, Coming of Age 



 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: A delightful story about four young women this is a book that is popular and enduring for generations of readers young and old, male and female. The readers have fallen in love with the March sisters – the  talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War. Genre – Historical Fiction



Modern Fiction

 Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Devakurni: Relevant in today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Draupadi or Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandava brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale where the fiery Panchaali redefines for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate. Genre -Mythology, Fantasy



Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: This is a cult book by Russian-American writer Ayn Rand whose theme is individualism versus collectivism, not in politics but in men’s souls. She tells this through the story of Howard Roark, an individualistic young architect who designs modernist buildings and refuses to compromise with an architectural establishment unwilling to accept innovation. The book is about the conflict between those who think for themselves and those who allow others to dominate their lives. More than 6.5 million copies of The Fountainhead have been sold worldwide and it has been translated into more than 20 languages. Genre – Philosophical Fiction, Romance


God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: This debut novel of Arundhati Roy is a story about the childhood experiences of fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by the Love Laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much. The book explores how the small things affect people’s behavior and their lives. It won the Booker Prize in 1997.

Genre – Autobiographical Fiction, Social Drama



Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi:  In this novel Sanghi takes Chanakya, the greatest strategist of Indian History and makes us question – “What if Chanakya were alive today?”; “What if he were a player in today’s politics?”; “Would his brilliance and principles be relevant in today’s murky politics?” And then, he provides a brilliant answer in the form of Pandit Gangasagar Mishra, a current day politician and kingmaker. Genre – Historical Fiction 





The Shiva Trilogy by Amish: The Shiva Trilogy is the tale of the extraordinary man whose adventures 4000 years ago are remembered today as the myths of the Mahadev, the God of Gods. It is chronicled through three books, The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas & The Oath of the Vayuputras. 1900 BC. Fascinating book for those who are interested in history and mythology. Genre – Historical Fantasy



Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling: Harry Potter is a series of 7 fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These books are an important read for this generations of youngsters as they have permeated the culture across the world.

Genre – Fantasy


 Dollar Bahu by Sudha Murthy: Written in simple and easy language by Sudha Murthy, this is the story of how money corrupts the way people look at one another and how it can almost tear a family apart. An honest tale of how family members going abroad and earning in dollars are more appreciated than those who stay back and look after parents, Dollar Bahu talks about an understanding that mere dollars cannot buy the love and respect. Genre – Social Drama



A 100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquis: This brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as “magical realism” is a very relevant book in these times of social distancing. The book sold millions of copies; and he inspired a host of writers including Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison. Genre – Magical Realism



The Kiterunner by Khaled Hussaini: The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini published in 2003. It tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the Soviet military intervention, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime. The Kite Runner became a bestseller and was a number one New York Times bestseller with over seven million copies sold in the United States. Genre – Historical Fiction, Drama


Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri: Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of nine short stories by American author of Indian origin Jhumpa Lahiri published in 1999. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in the year 2000 and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Social and emotional maladjustment is an overarching theme in Interpreter of Maladies. Genre – Anthology/Collection of Stories



This is a long list of books to choose from. I do hope you pick up a book or two to read from this list of some of my favourite fiction. I’m sure you will all enjoy reading them and will also expand your horizons
If you have read any of these, please share your view on them or you can email me at


About the Author:  Professor Atima Mankotia

Books by Atima Mankotia

The author Atima Mankotia has written two books about social issues in India many of which she feels strongly about and hopes to raise awareness about through her writings.

The first book ‘Staring at the Square Moon’ was released in 2017 and featured in the Jaipur Literature Festival 2018.

Watch this video of her session at Jaipur Literature Festival 2018.         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSMzIg3N5CY.

The second book ‘Better than Sex’ was released in early 2020 at the Bhopal Literature Festival.

Atima Mankotia also curates the annual CSOI Literature Festival and is invited regularly as a panelist and moderator to prominent events and literary festivals across the country.











Staring at the Square Moon

This book tells the story of four women whose lives come together in early childhood. They develop special bonds that always connect them even when their lives get disassociated as each follows her own destiny. Each one of them grapples with her past, sometimes thriving, sometimes floundering, always confronting and struggling with the aftermath and consequences of abuse that lurk just beneath the surface threatening to overwhelm and destroy their lives. A peek into the world of abuse that comes in many guises from blatantly brazen sexual and physical abuse to furtively sneaky psychological and emotional abuse that leave agonising scars that are indelible, forever haunting and influencing a woman’s mind. Genre: Social drama




Better than Sex: This recently published novel by Atima Mankotia,  Professor of OB-HR and Communications at IILM, is a delightful social satire. It is a  fun read that takes a peek into the minds ordinary Indians through the story of a middle class Punjabi family from Delhi. It’s  a story that deals with complex relationships, love, passion, romance, family ties and bonds of sisterhood. A social satire and a social commentary, while it is a racy read, it raises many pertinent questions about Indian social norms.  Genre – Social Satire, Drama   




The author is a columnist and writes regularly on social issues.

Articles by the Author

Daily O







Huffington Post


Th Quint


What is the Mantra for right mentoring?

 What do Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have in common? Yes! All of them are tech titans of the 21st century and all three had excellent business mentors. There is a long tradition of mentoring that spans history and even dates back to mythology. Today, the term “mentor” has evolved to mean a trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person, according to a book on mentoring by author and businessman, Gordon Shea. 

What is Mentoring  

Mentoring is a fundamental form of human development where a person invests time, energy and personal know-how in assisting the growth and ability of another person. An educator wears multiple hats and has various avatars. One of the most important avatars is that of a mentor since it aims to nurture the mentee’s talents and interests in such a way that they can bring out their best.  ILM has always strived to empower its students by providing them value-based education and necessary inputs to achieve excellence in the world of business. Mentoring is one of the effective means to achieve the above objective.

 Facets of IILM Mentoring:

The mentorship program at IILM is multi-dimensional for students of BBA, MBA and PGDM and all undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Our mentoring programme ensures that it fully understands the circumstances and specific needs of students and delivers a service which is geared to serving their best interests and supporting their progress. The purpose of the mentoring program is to integrate academic learning with real-world experiences and to become a model for workforce readiness, embraced by the community. A very important facet of IILM mentoring programme is the integration between mentoring and career centre to maximize the effort of the successful career of students.

Monitoring is conducted on an on-going basis as a health check, allowing for early intervention when things go off-plan or to alter aspects of the programme in light of experience. Mentors and mentees are the primary contributors to the process of mentoring and monitoring. We believe that each student is different, with different personalities, traits, and skillsets. Some of the many facets of the Mentorship Programme at IILM are:

Identifying and addressing the strengths and weaknesses of mentees: 

To facilitate a 360-degree development of the mentees, the mentors make a plan that is executed from the day the mentee joins the university and continues till their exit. In this process, the mentor identifies the strengths of the mentee and suggests ways to overcome their weaknesses or any challenges that they may be going through.

Career Counselling:

The students of IILM are continuously guided by their mentors to help them reach their goal and objectives. The mentoring program is robust and takes into account every student’s needs into consideration. It is the education that takes place outside the classroom that makes the mentees ready to take on the world. While different students have different career goals, the mentors guide the students as per their interests and their strengths towards the right career path.

 The IILM Mentoring Process

When a student joins IILM, he/she is allocated a faculty mentor. The mentor is the initial point of contact for the mentees. The mentors help the mentees in understanding the procedures of the institute and help them to settle down. The mentors stay in contact with their mentees throughout the various semesters and act as a guiding light by showing them the right path. The mentees reach out to their mentors in case of any doubts or clarifications or queries. They are always welcome to interact with their mentors during their tenure in the institute. It is during the internship and placements stage that the mentor-mentee relationship plays the most vital role.

The faculty members at IILM have seen several batches of students pass out of their respective courses and conquer the world. Many of these students are in contact with their IILM mentors and still communicate with them in case of any doubts and share their life experiences. It would therefore not be wrong to say that the mentor avatar of a teacher is a lifetime avatar.

Watch Drishti Manchanda talk about the Mentorship Programme at IILM  


For more details:

Dr. Oly Mishra, Assistant Professor (Marketing)

International Education – Can the Dream Come True?

Many Indian students were dreaming of an international education after completing school in 2020. They were geared up for a foreign degree at an international university for a BBA or any other undergraduate degree. However, the academic plans of CBSE Class 12 Students have been delayed and they are concerned about what the future holds. Can these students still aspire for an international education? What are the ways in which their dream can still be fulfilled?

The COVID-19 lockdown has come with a new set of concerns for class 12 students whose board exams were postponed midway. Their future education plans have been put on hold. The latest announcement by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on May 18, 2020 releasing dates for the pending board exams between July 1- 15, may have ended some uncertainty for students but this is only the tip of the iceberg of the much larger picture of uncertainty that surrounds their future education plans.  This situation is more acute for students who were planning to study abroad after their 12th board exams and had already taken admission in foreign universities or were in the midst of applying to foreign universities at the undergraduate level. These students are stuck between a rock and a hard place unable to decide how to fulfil their dreams or plan ahead.

Steep Increase in Students going Abroad in the last Decade

According to the statistics released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian students studying in universities abroad in 2019 is 753,000. This number was expected to soar in 2020. Till about a decade ago, the number of students studying abroad was only 66, 736 and  the steep rise in numbers can be attributed to several factors  which would largely include India’s population of 1.26 billion with an average age of 25 years.

After the global pandemic Indian students have little choice but to cancel their plans of studying abroad due to shutdown of college campuses across the world and uncertainty related to resumption of physical classes. Currently, almost 1 million Indian students are estimated to be studying across universities in US, UK, Europe, Australia, and parts of South-East Asia across undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The fear of COVID-19 infection has halted new plans of pursuing education abroad as foreign universities themselves are in a ‘wait-and-watch’ mode. According to Overseas Education Consultants intake for educational institutions in US, UK, Canada, and Europe is very unlikely to happen in September and physical intake of campus will only begin from January 2021.

International Education Dream   

Under such circumstances, what do students who aspire and dream of studying abroad after their class 12th board exams do?  There are many options open but to decide what to do is not easy. Students can take a gap year and risk wasting a year hoping for the situation to improve next year in 2021 and pursue their dream of International education from next year or they could still fulfill their dreams of an international education without a gap year.  Many private universities and Business Schools such as IILM offer an innovative plan for students keen on a foreign degree. Students can take admission in the undergraduate program and study here for a year and take a transfer to an international partner university next year to complete their education abroad. This is the 1 + 2 program offered at IILM.

IILM also offers a 2 + 1 program where students can study at their campus for 2 years and take a transfer to any of their partner universities for one year to complete their education and get an international degree.

Transfer Back to India

IILM also extends support to students in the current scenario of uncertainty where many of them are enrolled in foreign universities and do not want to return to their campuses. IILM offers a lateral entry in its second and third year to students who want to transfer back to India. In the times of the pandemic and even post pandemic, this may be something many parents and students may be exploring and IILM is ready to offer lateral entries to students who do not want to return to their foreign universities.

While times are challenging and uncertain, a good decision now can stand the students in good stead in their future education and career plans.  IILM’s strategy, keeping in view the increased global student mobility, is based on internationalization to help students fulfil their dreams and support them in times of crisis by offering an education that is both globally and locally relevant

For more information: https://ubs.iilm.edu/apply-now/