Interview by Pratyasha

IIST Indore

Shri Arun S. Bhatnagar is currently designated as Director General of Group of Educational Institutions i.e. Indore Institute of Science & Technology, Indore Institute of Pharmacy and Indore Institute of Management & Research). He has immense experience of 43 years in Government (Income Tax Department) in academics as well as in Private Sector. Shri Bhatnagar has served the country by joining the Indian Revenue Services (IRS) in 1983. He has completed prestigious courses from Duke University and University of Maryland as well as Executive MBA from IIM, Bangalore.

He has received the most prestigious award for the “Best Practices” instituted by the Ministry of Finance. He has also participated in various poem recitations and one of his poems got international acclaim. Within a very short span of time, he has taken this group of institutions to a zenith, as this year admission statistics has escalated by more than 95% in Indore Institute of Science & Technology.

Talking about his experience in Education Industry

Education has always remained my first love and my liking for the job is great. Having experience of almost 8 years of teaching as a professor in a post-graduate college, I can clearly say that I’m naturally inclined towards teaching. I served as an Additional Director General as well as Faculty of National Academy of Direct Taxes and have trained IRS Probationers as well as senior Bureaucrats in various fields. While in civil services, I had academic connections.

Leadership philosophy and style

I believe in direct connection with the students since they are our main stakeholders. For proper communication, we have developed various WhatsApp groups for solving the grievances of students. Our institution keeps in mind that admission is not our sole purpose. We, rather, believe in providing them with good employment opportunities.

As a group of institutions, we have social responsibilities towards the society and foster them for employment. For this, we have created a tagline: “Enhancing employability quotient with holistic development.”

I tried to find out the reasons for their unemployment and why are they not industry-ready? There is a wide gap between academia & industry. To ensure a proper solution for this, we have done root cause analysis and have appointed 5 faculty members only for English Language, Quantitative Aptitude & Logical Reasoning, to enhance their soft skills numerical ability.

Providing environment friendly education

There is one unique experiment that our institute has done and got a very good response from the students i.e. “Green Waves Club.” This club stands for various objectives. Firstly, we ensured to cultivate organic vegetables. I prefer that all vegetables should be organically cultivated for our consumption at our canteen. This experiment is quite successful among students.

Secondly, the club inspires students to be socially conscious about national problems. We have organised tree plantation drives and that too very specific trees to enhance biodiversity in our lush green campus. Accordingly, all new students plant trees. With this, the institution is promoting “No to Plastic.” We are also looking to prepare compost fertilizer as our new project.

Why IIST is the best place for students?

Since IT sector is quite dynamic, the institution has introduced Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Students should be well versed in the Internet of Things (IOT), Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Cloud Computing, Analytics etc. The capabilities and skills of students must be enhanced. Apart from their degrees, they must have some quality certificate courses with them to increase their employability quotient. To improve their personality, we have made 19 clubs for their interests in any sort of games. Likewise for the cultural programme, we have made separate groups.

Read about IIST Placement

There should be no compromise on academics .We have, therefore, invited eminent faculty members from all over India to join our team. We have faculty members primarily with Ph.D. We emphasize on best teaching practices available in India. We are inviting faculties from various institutions of national importance to deliver lectures so that our faculty members and students can augment their skills. Happiness quotient has risen among the students.

Being ‘interactive’ is the key to any problem

Being in any position, the most important thing in any kind of service or job is INTERACTION. You should know two things in life: how to deal with yourself and how to deal with others. Most important thing is to speak from heart to heart. You should be very transparent, objective and sincere and your integrity should be beyond doubt.

Here in the institution , we try to change the thinking of the students from limited identity to cosmic identity. I am telling the students again and again that you are the creator of your own destiny. Your thought is the most potent power in the universe. If you think positively, things will happen. Law of attraction will definitely work if you think positive. Change your attitude and thinking and it will decide your future course of destiny. Do not depend on outside help. You should light your own lamps.

Challenges faced as Director General

In the prevailing circumstances, all of the institutions have the responsibility to provide the best education. We have to improve the quality of our education. There is a difference between a teacher and a guru. A teacher is a quantitative expansion of the personality and guru is a qualitative expansion of the personality. Our journey starts with becoming a teacher to a guru. We should be a mentor to our students.

Goals for the upcoming future of the Institute

As the Group of Institutions, we have to do our best so that our students come out with flying colours. And they should become a responsible citizen, good human being and they must be academically and technically sound. The group should be known for discipline, academics, and holistic development.

Suggestions for the aspiring youth

Gautam Buddha once said “if you love yourself you should keep yourself safe.” I always tell the students that you should maintain your positive attitude, it will turn into actions and if your actions are right it will define your destiny.

You are the creator of your own destiny”