Shri P Sriram is the Chairman of Chennai Institute of Technology. Life was tough for Sriram and his family. After doing his diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Central Polytechnic, Chennai, he joined a company Flexible Manufacturing Pvt Limited as Quality control inspector.He has spent a lot of time honing his skills in the industry, but meanwhile took up AMIE ,in Mechanical Engg , part-time , as this was the only way to move into a good corporate.He remained focused in his ambition, without the fear of failure, he began a humble start by establishing his own manufacturing company in 1996 and now he has four plants with 1000 + employees. The group diversified into education and set up Chennai Institute of Technology (CIT) , a leading and upcoming educational institution , preparing students in the engineering field.
Engineering education should prepare the budding engineers to face the real industry needs
Being an industrialist and an educationalist, engineering education should prepare the budding engineers to meet the industry requirements when they graduate. Outcome-based education is a student-centric teaching and learning methodology and the course delivery assessment is planned to achieve objectives and desired outcomes. An outcome-based education should develop the skills/traits in every student. Students should develop in-depth subject knowledge on Design/development and solution. They should be aware of the need and problem analysis.
I keep a lucrative approach and thus I prefer a transformational style leadership
It is a problem of plenty when it comes to the number of engineering graduates in this country. But as an industrialist, I always see there is a scarcity of engineering graduates who become the perfect fit. An underlying reason for starting the Chennai Institute of Technology is to see how we can transform the present system, and bridge the gap.
If I reflect on my style of leadership, it’s a combination of various styles. I particularly keep a lucrative approach and thus I prefer a transformational style of leadership. It’s a collaborative approach, where I empower my teams to be a part of the decision-making process and enable collective goal-setting. I would outline the high-performance expectations and develop people through individual support, and productive relationships.
A leader should know how to convert the challenge into an opportunity
Every challenge is an opportunity. While we have many challenges in running an educational institution, I would like to see how we can convert the challenges into opportunities. And I would think focusing on the stakeholders and addressing their needs has helped us in converting the challenges into opportunities. Attracting the right set of students who have an aptitude and flair for engineering, and developing an action plan in line with their aspiration. Also, making parents understand about the aspects of engineering. Therefore, addressing parents is also pivotal. The other challenges are to keep the curriculum which meets the industry standards and faculty who have a penchant for teaching and those who keep themselves abreast of industry knowledge.
I constantly remind myself that all my thought process and approaches may not be accepted by the current generation
I am a father of two boys who are currently pursuing engineering education and one of them is studying in our college. So, it’s natural to be a bit paternal with the students, to take care of their future and welfare. But, I constantly remind myself that this is the Pivotal Generation or Gen Z, and some of my thoughts and approaches may not be appreciated by them.
So it is more of a friend and a coach, and my faculty members work shoulder to shoulder with my students, put themselves in their shoes, spend hours on the field and the labs, and travel with them for internships, competitions. This bonding has helped in shaping a very friendly, buddy type of relationship with the students.
The need to start the institute was because of the scarcity of industry ready engineers
As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons why I started the Chennai Institute of Technology, was as an industrialist when I was recruiting engineers for my company, I found that there is a scarcity for industry ready engineers. Given the continuous change in the environment and technology, I would think this work is an ongoing one, and a huge one considering the vast technology space we operate in.
From achieving the vision, I would think our strategy of partnering with industry and reputed educational institutions of India and abroad have set the right foundation, and we are building the magnificent edifice over it now.
Some of the key Centers of Excellence (COE) I would like to call out are:
- CIT-PEGA University Academic Program
- CIT-T&VS COE for Advanced VLSI Design
- CIT-HCL COE for Embedded and Imaging Technology
- CIT-Kuka Industrial Robotics Training Center
- CIT-CISCO Networking Academy
- CIT-COE for Industrial Automation
- CIT-COE for Industry 4.0
- CIT-COE for Defence and Space
- CIT-KYUTECH-WABCO COE for IoT
- CIT-RANE NSK Center for Excellence for Applied Research
- CIT-Harita Composite Research Center in Mechanical Engineering
- CIT-Atalon Engine Research Center
- CIT-Accurate COE for Metrology
- CIT-COE for 3D Printing and Reverse Engineering
- CIT-COE for NC Technologies
- CIT-COE for New Energy (Solar & Wind)
- CIT-Trimble Buildings Education COE
- CIT- COE for Hi- Tech Hydroponics Research and Development
- CIT- Biopac COE for biomedical engineering and research
- CIT-COE for Nanotechnology
- IIT Bombay Remote Center
- CIT-PMKVY Skills Development Center
The Indian education focuses more on theory rather than practical
The Indian education focuses more on theory rather than practical. Indian education system doesn't pay emphasis on creativity. Whereas in foreign countries; they focus more on practical based learning. Foreign education curriculum contains everything from arts to sports along with studies. To bring in the best practices from the world-class institutions, we have partnerships with various educational and industries across the world, and we have regular exchange programs where faculty and students travel to various European Countries, China, Malaysia and USA.
To get practical exposure, every student in Chennai Institute of Technology is mandated to take at least two internships
- Summer Internship – for about 8 weeks after their first year to get a feel for the industry relevant to their course of study
- Project Internship – for a minimum of 12 weeks in their final semester.
Roles and responsibilities of the students in Chennai Institute of Technology
‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’, so let me tell my student friends, it’s not just academics at Chennai Institute of Technology. This is a campus – by the students, of the students and for the students. There is never a dull moment, as throughout the year we have events lined up to bring the best talent out of students.
- FUNGINIA, the science and engineering expo, that attracts more than 10,000 school students to the campus
- CATAPULT, the bridge program to help acclimatize students shift from student to college
- CAREER COMPASS, brings in more than 50 industry experts for a two day immersive seminar for student interactions
- Takshashila, the national level techno-cultural fest that brings in the leading artistes and student talent across the country
- WISE – Women in Science and Engineering – a forum to connect our students with Women Achievers, and inculcate a sense of inclusivity right from the campus
And the various clubs in the campus that have celebrations round the year, and the campus life that is enhanced by the fitness clubs, state of the art gym, and recreational facilities.
So I would expect students to have a good mix of learning and fun, and have a memorable and fruitful 4 years while they are with us at Chennai Institute of Technology.
Greatest strengths of Chennai Institute of Technology
There are many strengths and positives about CIT, but if I have to mention one, that is the industry focus that we have on both the Core Industries and IT sector. This has helped us to be ‘future-ready’ and align our programs to futuristic needs of the industry and society at large.
The partnership has been nurtured over the years and strengthened with MOUs and industry consulting projects – where our students have time and again demonstrated on what CITians can do, and it fills me with pride to see some of our student interns delivering on par or at times even better than experienced professionals on the industry projects.
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Engineering is one of the key influences that shape our society
Engineering is one of the key influences that shape our society. Engineers don't just work with machines, designs, and electronics, they use maths and science to provide innovation and inventions that shape our society and improve the way we live and work.
And first and foremost I expect from the students is discipline and commitment. Some of the programs we run like a boot-camp in the institute so that we inculcate discipline and commitment in them, which will keep them in good stead when they enter the industry.
A healthy relationship is built on unwavering trust
A healthy relationship is built on an unwavering trust. Healthy good relationships don't just happen – they take time and patience. I trust my team, and the trust is mutual, as can be seen from the tenure of staff members with the institution, the numbers of our alumni who are in touch with us and help the students and their alma mater, the industry partnerships we have struck and how it has grown strength on strength since inception. I am compassionate, understanding, open and approachable.
Students should have curiosity towards learning and approaching style
Self-Learning is what students must have in them. We are moving to a flipped mode of classroom, wherein the video lectures and notes are shared upfront, and students must read at home and discuss in the class. Also, Students need to get their hands dirty if they have to be successful. Theoretical knowledge may get them good grades, but will not help them in industry. With a new technology coming up every day, students should have their antennas up to look for new things, and have a passion for reading. I would suggest they spend at least 30 mins every day to read something new outside of their academics in their area of interest.
Highlights of Chennai Institute of Technology which lead students and parents to choose your college
As a parent myself, I would look for an environment that fosters learning, ensures my son/daughter graduates successfully, and with a job in line with his/her aspiration. I must say, we have reasonably met the expectations and aspirations of the students, parents and industry in the last 10 years.
In a situation where more than 50% of the engineering seats are going un-utilized in the country as there are no takers, Chennai Institute of Technology, was one of the Top 10 colleges that students opted to join, with 100% admissions, much ahead of various other established and older institutions in the State.
Another heartening factor to note is, in line with the changing mix of gender diversity in the workforce, I see many girl students as well opting for core-engineering courses at our institution.This demonstrates the faith that students and parents have reposed on us, and I would also attribute it to the stellar academic results and placement track record.
Also, Check Chennai Institute of Technology Faculty
Hard work has no substitute and there is no short-cut to success
As a first generation entrepreneur myself, I have come the hard way, and my advice to the students is ‘hard work has no substitute’ and there is ‘no short-cut to success’. ‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand’ – to the budding engineers I would say, engineering is not about reading – but doing.