Interview by Yash Panchal
Prof. (Dr.) Ajay Kumar is the Director – Management at ITS, Ghaziabad. He holds more than 30 years experience in the field of management research, teaching, training, consultancy and academic administration. He was Research Fellow of UGC and was also recognised as Associate Professor by GGS Indraprastha University in 2001. He has imparted MDPs for the companies like BEL, IOC, Motherson Sumi, Public Sector Banks, several insurance companies, private companies and others. He has also written books on Brand Management and Consumer Behaviour.
Dr. Ajay has also completed successfully many consultancy for the pharmaceutical companies for their launch of products in Bihar, Nepal and NE states. He has organised more than 150 seminars and conferences on diverse issues of Management practices. He has attended more than 300 international conferences, symposiums and seminars organised by IIMs, MDI, CII, PHDCCI, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and others. He is a practitioner of relationship marketing and an ardent supporter of rural upliftment programmes. He has been awarded for his excellence in management education by several national and international bodies.
Dr. Ajay Kumar on the current scenario of the education industry and how it’s an ideal workplace
In the present scenario, Education is a thriving and dynamic industry. The level of participation is very high and each action will make an impact on others life thereby making it very responsible industry. From an academic perspective, a career in the Education sector offers support, flexibility, and resources this, coupled with many ways to develop your career and profile, and makes education industry an ideal workplace.
From a non-academic point of view, Higher Education offers a great variety of career opportunities and career development through training and development.
Tackling the challenge of fostering the trust of the stakeholders
For any B-school, the key drivers of reputation and the potential points of differentiation are often career success of students, teaching methodology, campus culture fostering ethical behaviour, rankings, accreditation, and high quality teaching staff and a good value for money. The challenge and the opportunity are to foster the trust of all your stakeholders as a Director.
Companies are increasingly emphasizing on an entrepreneurial mindset to be developed in their employees. So, the biggest challenge is to imbibe Critical Thinking and Analytical Reasoning in the students’ approach, which stems from the change in the approach towards management in the Corporate World.
The curriculum of ITS ensuring the best practices of the industry
In my experience at ITS, I have found our management students are more perceptive of the job market & seek meaningful careers after completing their management education. They seem to be much more focused than before.
Students at ITS are trained to think strategically with an entrepreneurial approach. We intend to nurture the entrepreneur within every student. They will be moulded to do critical thinking and develop their analytical and people skills. In the next three years, I see ITSians growing in their careers by first, helping companies to enter newer businesses and then these entrepreneurs will then go on to start ventures of their own in 5-10 years down the lane.
Looking at the Industry practices there is a great demand for Soft Skills. Skills such as communication and team work in particular from our young Management Graduates and we at ITS realize this and have made it an integral part of curriculum and evaluation at the same time.
A visionary and realistic leadership style
As Director of ITS, my philosophy of leadership is very visionary and realistic. I always believe in looking at the big picture. I always try to inspire my students and faculty to emulate and perform at optimum levels. I understand that the jobs of all the employees in the organization are required to come together to reach agreed-upon goals.
The hallmark of my identity is, not to walk on the beaten path but to strike new routes; not to benchmark but to be benchmarked, to be second to none but to be the first to respond to the needs of the people and business, by taking up the tasks that are bold but necessary, and which nobody has the courage to take up.
Thoughts on Co-curricular activities and their role in the holistic development of students
Co-curricular activities allow students to pursue their goals and interests outside of their standard academic curriculum. A college is a place that lays the foundation for your future and your career. At I.T.S, we have various students clubs (for the students and by the students) where students do not just gain the academic knowledge but also their overall personality development takes place. And it’s the extra-curricular activities that are responsible for grooming your overall personality.
Employers today are looking for people who can bring to tables more than just academics. They are looking for candidates who are good in communicating and interacting with others. Technical skills can be taught but soft skills that extra-curricular activities in college help develop cannot be taught in a workplace.
Views on an ideal college environment
Though I feel no environment is ideal you have to make it ideal for yourself, but in my perspective, I believe in an environment which offers diversity, independence to do the right thing, a working culture which strives to create an open and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff.
A workplace in which we can seek input from campus constituents and develop policies, plans, and practices that promote social justice, equity, community, and the open exchange of ideas.
More on the curriculum of I.T.S
The Key USPs of I.T.S include faculty with rich industry experience; strong international tie-ups; specially designed courses to enhance employability skills; strong association with industry and frequent visits of senior business/corporate leaders on campus; State of the art Infrastructure among others.
I.T.S - The Education Group is committed for a distinctive obligation to nurture the required skills and imbibe confidence among our students by their overall development through academic rigor, learning opportunities by implementing, co-curricular activities including workshops, seminars, conferences, inter-institutional fest etc. The Group is committed to bring research oriented knowledge and to trigger curiosity in the minds of it scholars that would bring evolutionary and revolutionary change in the way we perceive and apply knowledge.
Tips and suggestions for the current youth
I would like to suggest to my aspiring students and youth that they should possess an Entrepreneurial drive with integrity; Ethical and values to fit into not only the corporate world but also in every entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country. The candidate should have a global mind-set that will match up and fit into today’s volatile global business world. He/She should be Self-Idea generating and innovative in nature.
To summarize, I would say today’s youth should be:
- Active - Physically active, mentally active, socially active, and politically active.
- Honest - financially honest, emotionally honest, and honest with yourself.
- Educated - Not just college education. Educate yourself about the country’s problems, the state’s problems and your neighbourhood’s problems.
Changes noticed in the education system
The transformation of the education sector presents many opportunities. The education sector is in the process of transformation, rapidly becoming the new frontier of investment for venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) firms.
Educational institutions are facing new challenges resulting from technological driven changes in teaching and learning, globalization of higher education and changes in the economic climate.
But as a Management Educator and practitioner, I am very hopeful that in the next few years, Education needs will drive technology use, rather than the ‘coolness’ of technology trumping education. Online is not a cure-all for education issues in this country, but it can help provide greater access to new skills training,” Online Education is powerful when combined with curriculaand programming created and led by practitioner educators. The human factor will always remain important.
Goals in mind for I.T.S
To describe the goals in mind for I.T.S, I would list them as:
- To pursue excellence focuses on three areas — academic excellence, personal values, and social concern
- To provide opportunities to students through Global Management programmes or students outreach programmes and gain first-hand experience of organizations in other countries to help shape global business leaders
To ensure that all our students appreciate and imbibe ethical and responsible business practices, which is a challenging task in a socio-business environment that is increasingly becoming obsessed with mere economic success whilst compromising on the environment and social objectives.
Last Updated - 18 Mar 2019