Interview by Bhawna Rawat

vijiDr. Viji Rajesh is the Professor & Head of S.A Engineering College, Chennai. She holds the degrees of M.Com.,  M.B.A., M.Phil. and Ph. D. She carries a considerable Academics experience of 16 years and Industry experience of 8 years.  In Industry workplaces, she has worked in various capacities, for example, Tube Products of India (Murugappa Group),  Insignia InfoTech, M&N Publications (GETIT Yellow Pages), DTDC. She has also provided training to students and industry employees.

She shares professional membership with MMA, AIMS International, International Society for Commerce and Management Studies and Uniresearch/Academicians. She has published several books, articles and journals. She has won awards like the Best Department Award for the year 2014-15, 2015-16 & 2016-17, special appreciation award for achieving 100% graduation of students’ batch (2015-17), “My Zebra” Appreciation award initiated and given by MS-Chola & RAIF for the institution on 26th March 2017 and 100% result awards in Corporate Finance, Accounting for Management, Industrial Relations and Labour Welfare, Business Ethics & Corporate Governance.

Experience in the education industry

Working in the field of education has indeed been a learning experience for me.  It has been a journey where I have envisaged to be an Executive Coach and enabled my students to transform their career and to sustain being achievers in both self and business environment. I believe that the role of a teacher in India is still considered as a noble one.  \

The performance appraisal of a teacher is where your students stand in career and confidence

To see my students who have become shining stars to industry and well placed with the likes, Mind Tree, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Cryo Bank, IndusInd Bank L& T, Polaris. Wipro, CTS etc. is satisfying. The difference in the education industry as compared to others, according to me, is that the remuneration is not always measured by money but beyond.

The significant challenges faced by the Head of the Department (M.B.A) S.A Engineering College

Two important challenges faced by me during my tenure as HOD is a decline in admission and employability of students.  I and my team have been successful in converting this challenge to an opportunity. This can be seen with 100% filling of seats during admissions and 100% placement. We as a team have also achieved a 100% graduation of our students (2015-2017) batch and 20 University Ranks.

The curriculum ensuring the best practices of the industry

Anna University’s curriculum is constantly reviewed to suit the industry’s expectation.  Any gap identified is supplemented by us through industry-oriented value added courses, industry-oriented guest lectures, incubation projects, professional affiliations and internships.

Goals set for S.A Engineering College

S.A. Engineering College is committed to provide outcome-based quality educational services in the field of Engineering and Management to students, enabling them to acquire knowledge, life skills and to achieve academic and professional excellence.

Department of Management Science supports this commitment and works towards transforming the Department into the quality centre by imparting management education along with value-based professional excellence. We believe this can be achieved by 

  • Creating an excellent teaching and learning environment for our faculty and students.
  • Imparting quality education by focusing on nurturing innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, research and ethics by enhancing their self-confidence, creative skills and professional expertise.
  • Focused programme in developing leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion.

Ensuring the quality of education at your institution

We believe in the systematic delivery of the academics combined with co-curricular and extracurricular exposure. We have a system which nurtures academic excellence with a schedule which ensures academic delivery, innovative pedagogy, out of the classroom learning and case study method of learning.   We believe in combining the theory with practical exposure through professional affiliations with Madras Management Association, NIPM, HR Sangam and the like. We also have management clubs like the HR Club, Marketing Club, Finance Club, Systems Club and Operations Club which provides the platform for students to brainstorm and discuss the current industry scenario.

Building a positive school culture or climate

  • Positive and empathetic relationships between students and faculty. Students would be valued and accepted in an environment where they could interact with caring faculty.
  • Opportunity to network and interact with professionals from Industry and Academia.
  • The focused approach towards student development,  Faculty Development and Research
  • Appreciating the student achievements in academics, research,  extracurricular and curricular activities
  • Appreciating Faculty achievements in academic excellence and research.

Establishing a relationship between faculty and students

Our relationship with the students starts even before their admission process. The day they walk onto our campus they are counselled by our well-experienced faculty team who guide them in choosing a career to suit their goals and dream.  Once they are a part of the department each student has a faculty advisor who monitors their academic and professional growth. The class advisor also acts as a bridge between the leadership and the students.  We have a conducive environment where the students have connected to each other, faculty, placement advisors and Head of the Department. They can interact with each one of them individually or in groups.

Read more about faculty available at S.A Engineering College

The growth of students through placement opportunities available at S.A Engineering College

We have had 30+ companies visiting campus last year and few off-campus placements have also been facilitated. The placement support continues even after they leave the campus through Alumni interactions. Our students are provided with placement training where there are groomed with soft skills, aptitude, attitude, group discussion and interview skills.

The new focus starting this academic year 2018-19 is to give personalized attention by having an individualized grooming to suit each student based on their skills. Competency-based placement training would be initiated from the first semester.

Read more about placements opportunities available at S.A Engineering College

Philosophy of leadership

Transformational leadership. I believe in working with my team to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group.

Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students

  • Set your goals. This will make your learning journey easy and focused.
  • Network.
It is very important to network with professionals, fellow students, faculty

Get yourselves a membership in professional affiliations.

  • Technology. Learn to combine technology with business knowledge. Business analysis requires technical skills. Predictive analytics is here to stay.

Make the most of your time on the campus. This is the time when you nurture your individual and professional path and move towards your goals, gain business acumen, get the right professional connection. Make new friends. It is not a rare sight to see students join in new business ventures or help each other in their career path.