Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. C. Babu is currently working as the Director at DSIMS since 2008. With qualitative and quantitative goals in his mind, Dr. Babu hopes to see DSIMS among the top B-Schools in the coming years
Dr. Babu’s experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in
I have 27 plus years of experience. I completed my MBA in the year 1990, then I was with industry for about 5 years and then I became an academician author. Fortunately, I took leadership precision at a very early age. So, I have seen different people, different positions, different challenges and a lot of black swan moments - a different paradigm shift in the management industry.
Well, academic education is a very satisfying industry for me. As a teacher and academic leader, I have immense satisfaction in culling out the best in young management aspirants. So, my experience with regards to a teaching as a teacher, with regards to an academic administrator, I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Dr. Babu’s philosophy of leadership
This is a very interesting question! Knowingly or unknowingly, you mentioned leadership. We at DSIMS, give a lot of importance to leadership. If you look at the important line or the tagline of our insignia, you would find ‘we create leader’ in the tagline. We, as a management institute or 7-year old institute, are stepping into the 8th year. But as an institute, we are part of a 70-year old legacy. We are part of the Rajasthani Sammelan and that is over 70 years of glorious experience. During these 70 years, our trust has produced an immense amount of graduates. Coming back to DSIMS, we have taken this tagline ‘We create leader’ because we give a lot of importance to sharpen the skills of the management aspirant. We do quite a number of programs for leadership development.
Since you ask me about my personal philosophy of leadership,
I always believe in commitment, hard work and focus
So, that is my personal leadership style, I work every day for more than 14 hours and this because you love your job. Unless you have commitment and focus, the work will appear like work. Eventually, that will look like a burden. Behind my 26 odd years of experience, I have never felt that I have worked because I love what I do. I think that this should be a quality of a leader. So, only when you work harder, be focused with commitment, then you can walk the talk. When you walk the talk, you have got a lot of people looking at you as a leader, they should get inspiration from you. If you have put in a lot of efforts, commitment and focus in the right direction, I think that itself will fetch you success as a leader.
Changes noticed in the various industries over these years which are helping the management aspirants today
I have seen a lot of changes. When I started my career, the industry and the dynamics were different. Today, the dynamics are totally different. Just to give you a perspective, in the last 8 years, a lot of disruption is happening in all the industries. Technology is one example; the technology interruption is immense. This disruption has given a lot of opportunities for students as well. I can see a lot of changes in the media industry, I’m saying from the perspective of DSIMS’ 10-years’ experience. The media industry is something where a lot of start-up companies have come and most of these companies have done really well. So, my marketing students find a lot of opportunities in these start-up companies. Even in the banking industries, I have been seeing a lot of changes, with regards to the way they operate. A lot of banks have come and they did quite well. For example, you have got Axis Bank, Yes Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank. To my surprise, some of the PSU banks are doing very well, so our students find opportunities in these industries. Then I could see many changes in the logistics side and supply chain side. Our students who have taken operations management have found a lot of opportunities in these particular industries. So, I have noticed a lot of changes in many industries and these changes offer plenty of opportunities for my students.
Most optimum path for a student wanting to excel in any field of Management
I have been observing my students are taking up different up different precisions and want to share with you some experiences and instances of mine where my alumni come and meet me and I take their feedback where they come and tell – Sir, you do this or you don’t do this. A lot of times, they come and say – Sir, we need Advanced Excel which should be taught to our juniors. So, we designed it, did a workshop and prepared our students for the industry. There are many areas, be it soft/technical skills where students come back and say – we need this, we need that. For example, if I talk about sales, there has been a problem that a marketing student needs to be prepared for sales as you have to first take up a sales job, meet people and face humiliations. As in institute, we do a lot of research, we meet people industry. A strong commitment is what we showcase in our institute. Students should be prepared to work for long hours in your office, that’s what we always advise our students.
Dr. Babu on what makes DSIMS stand apart from other institutions
Our network with industries is quite immense.
We study the industry very closely and we understand their requirement
I can give you some examples of our practices. Our senior professors go very often to the industry and our recruiter, and we understand what is lacking in our current alumni. We bring back the discussion to our boardroom and discuss it with our faculty members and we redesign our curriculum. Our students are prepared to hit the wall from the Day 1. Our industry interaction is very robust and very extensive. We conduct a lot of programs/events; these events are in many domains. We conduct many events in the domain of marketing, finance, operations, and HR. When we conduct these programs, we bring a lot of senior practitioners from the industry. These industry practitioners come to our institute, talk to students and the students know what is expected out of them. The other advantage is that all the senior professionals invariably speak to my faculty colleagues. They interact with our faculty colleagues and we understand their need and requirement. So, we alter our curriculum based on the industry requirement. Each course of DSIMS will not be completed without few seminars from the industry practitioners. By default, all our professors bring people from the industry to the classroom. So, we emulate the Stanford Business School practice where our professors, by default, bring a practitioner in the classroom to complete that course. From 18 months to 2 years, our students get to interact with a large number of practitioners.
Views on the growth of students through placement opportunities available at DSIMS
We are a management school of 7 years, moving into our 8th year. Within this short period of time, we got some very good rankings. In Mumbai, we are at the 8th position in the city. In India, we have 92nd position all over. This is because of the acceptance of the industries or recruiters from outside. We give a lot of importance to the curriculum that we design and give to students. When I say curriculum design, we involve a lot of industry practitioners. We benchmark a lot, we benchmark ourselves with some of the best Indian and international Management institutes. Then we go ‘Glocal’, it means that we benchmark the best B-Schools of the country, best B-Schools of the world, and then we do a lot of analysis and understand the requirement of the immediate recruiters. So, we give classroom teaching and a lot of workshops. For example, students choosing Operations Management, we conduct exclusive programs for 3 days or 4 days. For example, total quality management is something all supply management would like to understand. We give an exclusive 3-day workshop on TQM for our students. Similarly, we offer a lot of preparatory courses apart from our normal curriculum. So, I see this ready-made curriculum and a lot of workshops that we offer which give our students growth opportunities.
Qualities which helped Dr. Babu and his entire management create a brand name for DSIMS
As a new institute, we had a very clear mandate right from the beginning that we wanted to be the best in the industry. We have a very progressive management under the leadership of Mr. Ashok Saraf, who is the Chairman of this group. So, the mandate is very clear – you have to have the best faculty team, you have to have the best infrastructure and you must have the best inputs.
Three best things that DSIMS can boast of:
- We have excellent faculty colleagues, all of them have about 15 to 20 years of average experience in the industry and in academics. We don’t compromise on the quality of the faculty members.
- The environment that we offer here, both physical and cultural. We have invested a lot in our physical infrastructure. We have created a right ambiance and ambient moment for the students to learn.
- The culture that we created among the students is to have continuous curiosity for learning. The teaching pedagogy that we adopt here, we have a dialectic method where we encourage our students to think a lot, to analyze a lot and to interpret a lot.
The best faculty, infrastructure, and best culture are what makes DSIMS better than other
Dr. Babu on how to prepare students to face challenges of modern organizations and global standards successfully
Students are with us for more than 18 months or 2 years right from the beginning. We understand the requirements of the industry as well as the challenges of the modern organizations and their global standards. We take a lot of pain, we plan well in advance with our faculty colleagues and we prepare our students from Day 1. When they come into the institute, we have a lot of customized programs besides our conventional teachings. We contact a lot of specialized and customized programs for students to prepare mentally to take the mandate once they pass out. For example, we ask the students to join us for at least a couple of months before the commencement of the program every year. We also conduct a special engagement program called ACP, wherein we understand each student’s strength and weakness. We do a sort of handholding at the beginning itself to understand where do the students lie, what is his strength, what is his weakness, what is his grey area and then we start giving them a sort of handholding. That is something that prepares the student to face the challenge. We also have got such other mini-programs among some of the unique programs that we offer at DSIMS. We offer a program called ‘Buddy Program’, which is designed to mentor our students by their seniors. When students come, the seniors take over as buddies and they guide the juniors, understand, spend time and invest time in them. These are some of the initiatives that we have taken to face the challenges.
Goals in mind for DSIMS for the next five years
I have qualitative and quantitative goals for DISMS. If we talk about India, we are at the 92nd position. We would like to be within 60 in the next five years. I know we will have to put a lot of efforts and face a lot of challenges as we are competing with the best B-Schools. But we do have the wherewithal, we do have the tenacity and we do have the keenness and energy to achieve. As regards to the qualitative ambition, we would like to have a large mindshare in the segments. Every year, close to 2 lakh aspirants appear for the preparatory classes for the entrance exams. We would like to reach at least 70% of these many people and create awareness among these people. I mentioned about mindshare and it is one level above awareness. These are two lofty goals I have to achieve in the next 5 years.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
The world is open to you. You have a lot of opportunities. Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and Mixed Reality is taking away a lot of jobs. I’m looking at excellent entrepreneurs and people from different industries, they have done a marvelous job. So, my advice to the youngsters, “You deep dive into anything that you do, become a master of that particular field”. Of course, you should also know what’s happening around, you should also add skills on other areas as well. Give your 100%, commitment and focus are two things that would make you enjoy what you do. This is my philosophy and I’ve come a long way with this belief. I’m sure if young leaders and the aspirants deep dive on what they are doing, give 100% towards it, I’m 100% sure that they can be a leader. After all, DSIMS stands for a leader.