Prof. Asheesh Gupta is the Vice Chancellor of the OP Jindal University, Raigarh. Under his leadership the university is going firm on its objective to be an institution where students learn by doing, where real world challenges find practical solutions and innovation happens not by chance, but by design.
In this interview, Prof. Asheesh Outlines the Value of MBA Program in India and the role of OPJU in it. He also discusses his association with the organizations and mentions why the University is thriving to be in the line of IIT, NITs and IIMs
Vice Chancellor, How do you look at your association with the University?
I believe I am fortunate to be in this role at the time when we have just started building the OP Jindal University in Raigarh. Not many people in India realize that the creation of a new University is really a historic event. In the west and developed world, hardly any new Universities have been created in recent years. When you understand that many Universities are centuries old and that you are part of laying the foundation of something that will stay for centuries to come and where thousands of students will come, study and then go to change the world you are humbled by the opportunity that not many in the world have.
Any of the significant challenges you faced as a Vice Chancellor?
Starting something new is always a challenge. The special situation of OP Jindal University where we are also transforming an existing Engineering Institute affiliated to the state technical University of Chhattisgarh poses an additional complexity. Changing mindsets, and coming upto very high expectations that he students, parents as well as government has from us is a huge ask.
How do you look to enhance the value of MBA program with the Institute?
Everyone in higher education understands how critical good faculty is to the quality of any program. Then the curriculum which needs to be aligned not only to the current needs and environment but really what is going to happen in the next 10-20 years when the students of today will be playing important and leadership roles â€“ how well are we preparing them to lead at that time.
At OP Jindal University, we have started with the School of Engineering and will introduce other schools of management, education, sciences etc in due course. We are focusing on making the program more powerful by getting the best teachers not only from India but around the world to teach our students with the help of technology, offering a very experiential curriculum where students learn primarily by doing and build skills, and a support for successful long term career with emphasis not only on placements but also higher education both in India and abroad.
How do you stand against the IIMs/IITs/NITs in Management & Engineering?
Our facilities and infrastructure compare with the best Engineering Institutes in India. People have told us that our labs might be better than even several NITs. Our curriculum and teaching methodology has adopted best practices not just from IITs, where I and several of the other leaders of OPJU studied and have a lot of respect for, but also leading Institutions around the world which are more experiential and Industry oriented. I am confident that our students will prove their mettle vis-a -vis the best. Our aim is to develop not only professionals who are best in the country but also those who are best FOR the country.
What according to you are the top 2 things that the MBA program teaches and nobody else teaches?
I did my MBA from one of the IIMs and I can tell you that the some of my best learning took place not in the class but outside the class, not from my teachers but from my fellow students, not about the courses but about life. It is a great opportunity to explore possibilities and build long lasting friendships, which become a source of strength as one embarks on different areas of work. The other aspect of an MBA program is that it can open one's eyes to the fascinating interconnectivity between disciplines and the concept of general management that cuts across functions like finance, marketing, HR etc.
How your curriculum ensures best practices of Industry?
We have an Industry advisory board which plays a crucial and active role in shaping our curriculum and the experiences for students. In addition Industry professionals act as mentors to groups of students. Being a full-fledged private University established by Act of state assembly, we are able to bring a lot of innovation in how we teach.
Academic Team of OPJU
Your take on employability vs placements w.r.t MBA program?
I think schools and colleges take a very short-term view of students when they over-emphasize only placements. We believe that every student of ours is unique and deserves to explore the opportunities that are best for him. I know that a job in some of the top tier IT companies is highly prized at many engineering colleges or in a consulting firm at many MBA colleges. But the better thing for some students might be to pursue an entrepreneurial venture or higher education in a world leading University overseas. We like to look at this holistically.
Employability is an important issue in light of the skill set that some students enter these programs with. That is the essential core of any professional program like B Tech or MBA and whatever we give students must go to make them more employable in opportunities of their choice.
What is your message to the students who wish to join University?
Think of University education as the start of an exciting journey, not a course for getting a job. Come to OP Jindal University if you want to realize your full potential, if you want to be among leaders and if you want to shape your destiny through creativity and hard work.
How do you look at enhancing student-industry interaction at University?
It is in our DNA. We also emphasize teacher-industry nexus equally. Education and industry need to be two sides of a coin. We have some structural advantages at OPJU in terms of access, location and leadership that makes it easier for us to do this. Our students, for example, do live projects at Jindal Group companies, solve real problems under guidance of Industry professionals.
Any advice to Young Students?
It is great to be young at this time and have the opportunity to learn in such a unique environment. Focus on acquiring knowledge, exploring your strengths, pushing boundaries and stretching yourself at this time. Extract as much as you can from your University and your teachers, this opportunity will not come again. The rest will inevitably follow.
Brief Bio: Prof. Asheesh Gupta
Asheesh Gupta is the Pro Vice Chancellor and Member, Board of Management of OP Jindal University, Raigarh, established by an Act of state legislature of Chhattisgarh in 2014. He has over 25 years of years of experience spanning operations, engineering, strategic consulting, general management and Institution building in media and education.
He worked with McKinsey and Company, the world leading global consulting Firm, as a management consultant for seven years serving clients in India, Netherlands, Russia Scandinavia, Greece, U.A.E and several other parts of the world in multiple sectors including energy, infrastructure, technology, education, retail and entertainment. Later as President of Hero Mindmine, the private education venture of the Hero Group, he led it from a start-up into a position of leadership developing a team of over 200 professionals, establishing international partnerships and 90 learning centers across India. Asheesh was also a member of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister's task force on IT Enabled Services.
As Director and co-founder of 9.9 Mediaworx, Asheesh co-leads the Education practice of 9.9 and has directed the work at several Institutions: He was the Director of the McKinsey Knowledge Centers, the global research facilities of McKinsey in India with over 600 professionals. Recently, he established and led the McKinsey Capability Center in India which works with executives to help build capabilities for transformation through experiential learning and education.He also served as Vice Chairman on the Governing body and led the effort to turnaround a group of Engineering, Pharmacy and Managements Colleges with nearly 5,000 students in Madhya Pradesh.
Asheesh received a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.Last Updated - 02 Apr 2016