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Mangalayatan University - [MU], Aligarh

Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh NAAC, UGC Estd 2006 State University
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Interview: Brig. (Dr) Surjit Pabla, Vice Chancellor, Mangalayatan University

How do you look at your association with Mangalayatan University?

 Mangalayatan University is one of the few universities in the country that have been established in a rural environment. It caters to the higher education needs of the rural population. Most of its students are first generation learners who come to this university to meet their aspirations of acquiring undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees. My association with Mangalayatan University is special due to this reason. Having born and brought up in a village in Punjab, I enjoy looking after higher education of a predominantly rural student community.

Any of the significant challenges you faced as a Vice Chancellor, Mangalayatan University? 

Located in rural environment, Mangalayatan University draws most of its students from surrounding villages. They are mostly first generation learners and need extra mentoring to take off in higher education. There is a need for providing extra resources especially in communication and general awareness. We have created a special cell career Advancement Cell that teaches communication, current affairs, Indian History, Indian Constitution, Environmental Science, Value Education, Computer Literacy and Analytical Reasoning etc. which is paying rich dividends. Our first generation learners easily slip in to the general stream through this initiative.

The other major challenge is, "attracting good faculty." The rural surroundings and lack of good schools for children are major problems we face in recruiting good faculty from other parts of the country. By creating faculty accommodation on the campus and providing incentives and transport for children to attend good schools in Aligarh and Mathura, we have ameliorated this problem to some extent. We now get faculty from other parts of the country and have improved the faculty profile with over 40% members with PhD degrees.

How do you look to enhance the value of MBA program with the University?

Management Education has been seeing a downtrend in the past few years. Apart from the IIMS and a few other institutes, the admissions have been poor in institutes all over the country. Many Management Institutes are closing down. Only those Institutes that provide management education that leads to graduates getting good jobs and promotion prospects are likely to survive. We need to enhance the value of our MBA Programme to meet the above requirements. We have already upgraded our facilities for state-of -the -art delivery of education. The curriculum and the pedagogy are also being upgraded to meet the challenge. Also, we have included experienced faculty members with PhD from prestigious institutes and universities in our team. Our MBA graduates will be superior to those coming out of other universities and will certainly have an edge over the others.

How do you stand against the big brands in Management?

It will take a lot of efforts on our part to compete with the IIMs. However, Our MBA graduates will soon be the best out of the rest and will make a place for themselves in the job market. We shall continue our efforts to catch up with the best and eventually overtake them. Our Management Faculty Team is prepared to put in the required efforts and is bound to succeed.

What according to you are the top 2 things that the MBA program teaches and nobody else teaches?

We initiate our MBA students into research during their postgraduate studies. The University has a very strong PhD Programme with every full time research scholar getting a scholarship of Rs.15000/- to Rs.20000/- per month. The presence of large number of full time research scholars in the department makes a strong impression on the MBA students and encourages them to indulge in research. Beyond the classroom teaching to develop overall personality of the students coupled with effective industrial internship programme helps the students to be industry ready by the time they leave the University.

How your curriculum ensures best practices of Industry?

Regular Interaction with industry and lectures by experts from industry keeps our students engaged with the industry. We also have industry experts on Board of Studies. This ensures inputs from industry while framing the curriculum. This also ensures that the best practices being currently in the industry also become a part of our teaching process.

How does opportunity differentiate your B-school for the students?

Our students are mostly first generation learners. They are the first ones from their families to strive for higher education. Mangalayatan B School is different from other B Schools since it provides an opportunity to these first generation learners to prove themselves and to compete with those who come from effluent families and have had the privilege of starting with an advantage. We are managing reasonably good placements for almost all our graduates. They may not be starting as the IIM graduates, but are sure to catch up in the near future with their determination and diligence. Our graduates are respected by the industry.

Your take on employability vs placements w.r.t MBA program?

MBA Graduates need to get into managerial positions either immediately on joining or in a few years' time. Their employability thus depends not only on their knowledge but also on their leadership qualities. It is necessary for B Schools to inculcate leadership qualities in the MBA Graduates.

What is your message to the students who wish to join Mangalayatan University?

Our motto is "Learn today to lead tomorrow" My message to our students is, "Use the ample facilities at the University to learn, develop leadership qualities and go out to lead the world".

How do you look at enhancing student-industry interaction at Mangalayatan University?

We have a strong industry internship programme embedded in the MBA curriculum. The last semester is almost entirely for industrial internships since the theory portion is almost completely covered in the first three semesters. This gives our students hands-on industrial experience before they complete their MBA. Also, many of the students are absorbed by the organizations where they do their internship.

Any advice to Young Students?

All students have the capability to achieve the targets they set for themselves. My advice — "Set targets beyond your self-perceived reach and work hard to achieve those targets. You can do it!"

 

Brief Bio: Dr. Surjit Pabla

Dr. Surjit Pabla, born on 20 September 1949, is a Mechanical Engineer with M.Tech and PhD from IIT Bombay. He has an extensive experience in academics, administration and multiple infrastructure projects. Having been in academics for over ten years, Dr Pabla has held many important academic responsibilities including: Vice Chancellor of Mangalayatan University Aligarh (Present Assignment), Founder Vice Chancellor of JECRC University Jaipur. Founder Vice Chancellor of Manipal University Jaipur. Vice Chancellor of Sikkim Manipal University Gangtok, Pro Vice Chancellor of Manipal University Manipal, Director Manipal Institute of Technology Manipal, Director Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology in Sikkim.

He served in the Army for over 30 years wherein he was a professor at College of Military Engineering at Pune and visiting faculty at Punjab University Chandigarh. Besides that, he held many appointments there including Chief Engineer J&K (Handling multiple infrastructure projects worth over Rs. 2000 Crores), Commander Works Engineers Pune, Joint Director General (Design) at Army HQ, Director Think Tank at Army HQ,Manager Air-conditioning Systems at Chief Engineer Bombay Zone. His invincible spirit earned him a privilege to participate in the Indo-Pak war as a young lieutenant in 1971.

Apart from that, he holds membership of various institutions and society, Fellow of Institution of Engineers (India), Fellow of Geotechnical Society of India, Life Member of Indian Society for Technical Education, Life Member of Indian Buildings Congress to name a few. He was also the President of Indian Council of Universities, Secretary General, Association of Self Financing Universities, Chairman Vice Chancellors Committee on New Curriculum for Engineering Colleges, Director GeoSyndicate, SINE, IIT Bombay, Member of Yashpal Committee on Reforms in Higher Education and a Member of Knowledge Commission, Sikkim.

Last Updated - 02 Apr 2016

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