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GL Bajaj Institute of Management and Research - [GLBIMR], Greater Noida

Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh AICTE | Estd 2007 AKTU, Lucknow Private Institute (Autonomous)
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Interview: Dr. Urvashi Makkar, Director General, GL Bajaj Institute of Management & Research, Greater Noida

Dr. Urvashi Makkar

Ques: About your experience in educational sector and what comes makes it best sector to work in?

Ans: I am in this education sector since 22 years and obviously what makes education sector the best one is we are not dealing with products; we are dealing with the future of our country. In education sector, we have the capability to change the career of our students and orient them towards something which is fruitful and worthy for our country also. So, obviously, we are not in the education sector for monetary gains only but for the satisfaction which we get after giving strong value system to our student and of course to the career of our students.

Ques: Any significant challenge you are facing as the director general of G.L. Bajaj?

Ans: Not only as General Director of G. L. Bajaj IBMR, but being in this industry the challenges are common. Right from the first day I have observed that finding right kind of team for any institute is the biggest challenge. Finding quality faculty members, finding quality staff members, that is, something which is really a big challenge for us which gives a clear indication that our country is having the scarcity of competent teachers. We are ready to pay huge amount of salary in the faculty pertinent but we don’t get right people quickly. It is a very tough challenge and it has grown with the passage of time. It has not come down from last 20 years. I have seen that it has become the most challenging phase in the recent time, we could have got very well 10 years ago but today finding right set of people has become bigger challenge.

Ques: How do you cope up with that challenge and manage to find faculty which nurtures students and not just what is happening all around in any other institute in India?

Ans: After appointing new members and their induction in the faculty we organize multiple orientation sessions for them. We provide them with development opportunities and conduct regular faculty orientation programs, faculty developmental programs on the areas in which we want them to improve like in GL BMR we have had fruitful interactive sessions. We don’t believe in the moral logs of the lecture sessions in the class room. After all we are dealing with management students, so faculty should understand case studies analysis, what is the concept of team representation, what is the concept of research work, live projects with the companies, corporate interface. So we train faculty accordingly and give them lots of development opportunities.

We send our faculty members to trending international conferences, national conferences. We also send them to various events conducted by professional bodies. They are also part of engagement plans with the corporate houses like live projects of corporative interfaces. Many experts come to our campus who deliver talks they listen to them then they develop obviously takes time it is a hard work to give that exposure to the faculty not only hard work t is highly expensive process also in terms of money in terms of time, efforts but still we are dedicated we need to have faculties as per expectation so we give them all sought of these type of platform.

Ques: Since you mentioned that you have been in this sector for more than 20 years. How does it help you reflect on the best practices of the industry?

Ans: Again just as I have highlighted the best practices in management education has to be first of all classroom teaching has to be entirely different and for that we have made classroom teaching 100% interactive. To achieve this end we have put into our curriculum group discussion, case study, individual presentations, team presentations, team assignments and projects, corporate live projects as part of the internal evaluation process. Students have to undergo rigor during two years stay in our campus.

So that’s about class room teaching then comes beyond the class room which is most important aspect of any management school. Management education is incomplete without exposure of corporate sector. For that we are giving them lots of opportunities by connecting the corporate sector by organizing corporate talks with very senior people who come to our campus and share their experiences. We have also started corporate interfaces, in which every student will go outside and will connect with the companies. We have company mentors for students who give live projects to our students. This is the beyond class room sections and them comes very important area global interface.

Nowadays management education is not confined only to the domestic circle, it has to be globally oriented also, so we have also started the global talks. Many of our faculty members are experts from US, Brazil, and France. Currently we are also working with Senior Professors from different international universities, they visit our campus and stay here for one or more month and they teach thirty hours module to few students.

We are beginning the new year with global talks on the topic “Management of Change Innovation and Technology” on January 21, 2017 which is going to be handled Mr. Ashish Patil from USA Washington. He is currently serving as senior VC from Morgan Franklin and will be taking full subject for a thirty hour duration. He will stay in India till January 30, 2017 and we are making arrangements accordingly. It will be kind of full day engagement with our students starting from 9:30 to 4: 30 and our students will be interacting with him for 8 days and in this duration he will focus on case study analysis on the issue.

This subject, Management of Change Innovation and Technology, is a subject which I am sure only our institution is running currently. No other institution is offering this subject, so that is another dimension of giving best exposure to your students. These are three states in the classroom exposure then interactive technology, then corporate connect and finally the global connect, which is what we are giving to our students currently.

And then comes very important focus on placements, because finally management students have to reach to that level where they are ready for the corporate sector. For that I am very sure we are the only institution in the Northern India who are offering value added certification courses, free of cost to our students as part of our curriculum. We are offering these courses to our students in association with Ministry of Small Medium Enterprises and we have tied up with them by signing MoU with them. Currently we are offering certification courses on digital marketing to 100% students free of cost, branding 6 sigma certification free of cost to 100% students and third is certification of financial services. The first two courses have already been conducted on the campus and the third one will be offered to all the students starting from February 21, 2017. So these certification courses are preparing our students for placement and giving them an edge over students from other institutes.

Ques: Keeping in mind the institute’s reputation and past placement records, what other strategies do you think can be devised to attract more companies to the placement pool?

Ans: It is a continuous process to have that interaction interface then networking with the companies, it is not that overnight the best of the companies will start coming to your campus it is impossible. In case we think that an American express should come to GL BIMR or Deloitte should come instead, we need to put in lots of effort and that is the reason why we have integrated the two years’ program in such a manner that students are directly in touch with companies right from the first day, like we conduct one week eco induction program after the students are entering into our campus. For that one week program we schedule everything in such a manner that more than 25 experts from different corporate houses come and share their knowledge with our students during the very first 7 days of their entry in the campus. The theme around these interactive sessions is challenges and the expectations of corporates from the managers. Through these sessions our students begin to understand what the expectations of corporates from them are and can orient their ways accordingly. Over the years, the 45 people we invite for talks have also turned out be potential employers for our students.

For this year induction program we invited the CEO of Carbon Continental Imitate Mr.Veer Dubey. We invited experts from IBM, Amul, Pepsico, Bisleri,  Reliance Jio, Aaj Tak. You name the companies and we have invited them as guest speakers during induction program and we have also started corporate talks interview which is monthly event and we invite panel of corporate experts every month who share their experiences. They are again our potential recruiters.

Additionally our students participate in live projects with the companies. They go there they conduct short term programs projects for the duration of one week or 15 days. Like we sent all our students to the Future Group during the week around 26th January and 15th August where they worked for Big Bazaar in different position like in the backbend’s court, inventory management, store management, client servicing and anywhere, where they were deputed. It gives a fair idea to the companies about the sort of students we have and they offer placements accordingly.

Surely it takes hard work to invite the companies to our campus. It is all about networking and then giving them the assurance that we are going to provide them with the best batch of students. This year we have been able to conduct placements in companies starting from the big names like Bisleri, Airtel, Bajaj Capital and Cease Fire, and lots of other companies are coming too. Policy Bazar is coming on 6th January to our campus, and a line-up of 7 companies are there which we will be coming 7 days to our campus. So placement is definitely the end result which we look to put forward and we are able to give best this year for our students.

Ques: How do you a build positive school culture or climate here?

Ans: I have already explained that we focus equally on classroom connect and corporate connect for our students. Our emphasis is on induction programs for both students and faculty members. Our orientation programs aim at inculcating necessary confidence and values in the students and making them understand what is expected of a future manager in the corporate sector. On the other hand the orientation programs conducted for the faculty members aims to make them understand how to make their lessons more interactive and how to build students into future managers. This is how we build our positive school culture.

Ques: What is your philosophy of leadership? How do you define your leadership style?

Ans: I believe in one fundamental principal, that give 100% ownership to the person whom you have given particular responsibility every year so that person will be responsible for his or her area of action activity and he/she should be given complete autonomy to take the decisions to bring new ideas and then obviously everyone can perform very well. If you don’t give freedom of bringing new ideas, leadership is of no use. That is the reason I am very happy our faculty members come with lots of new ideas.

I always follow open door policy in my campus. Anyone whether it’s a student or faculty or staff member, they can meet me any time and obviously they can give suggestion and opinions and we implement those suggestion if we find them really good and realistic so that’s how we proceed. It is always a team work, based on the team work only you can be successful.

Ques: You are a professor yourself, you take up lectures. How important do you think the involvement of the top management in terms of giving out a faculty lectures is important in the university? How do you think it helps to connect with students or what you think is the impact of a top management being a faculty member?

Ans: I think it is very important otherwise I will or any other top management member will not be at all connected with the students. We will never understand what’s happening in the student’s life, what are their issue, you never come to know but when you enter classroom as a teacher, as a faculty then you get the clear picture in front of you. Lots of administrative issues, lots of academic issues they come to your mind, they are brought into your knowledge. As a faculty, students can also connect freely with you. I have found that being involved in the teaching with the students, interacting with them regularly is beneficial. For any organization it can be a huge benefit otherwise it will be just sitting in closed room and not knowing what’s happening outside.

Ques: How do you manage because being Director General is a very hectic task?

Ans: It is difficult but I try on weekly basis that I connect with the students at least one session per week I used to take of the students, that is 100% interactive.

Ques: A lot of the people in the education sector specially the top management are not remotely related with education sector. They don’t have a background in education and thus have faint idea on how to nurture the institution toward growth. How important do you feel it is for the top management in an educational institution to have a background in teaching and education? Let’s compare, you have 20 years of experience in managing top class institute in India, and someone who is in the sector but has no experience in the education field. What difference do you feel? There are colleges around you which are being led by people who are remotely related to education sector or don’t have lots of information about it, and are still heading it. What difference do you feel? What do you think where do these universities will be in next few years?

Ans: It is an irony that someone is in education sector but does not understand it. Yes I do feel that everyone has something to give to an organization. It might be that the management might have observed something in these people that’s why they are sitting on those chairs. I have a very strong opinion that someone who understands how to infuse quality in the system only that person is right to lead any institution because then you understand the grass root issues.

I didn’t start my career as a Director. I started my career as an Assistant Professor in the education sector, and moved on to become Associate Professor to Professor to Dean and eventually to director of three other institutions prior to sitting in GL Bajaj. Obviously such an exposure gives you lots of confidence and you start understanding things in better manner, you can take care of future issues also, you can strategize the institutional position in better manner when you are from the same education industry. So that is obviously an advantage and I am sure the differentiation becomes very clear after some time. The reason behind why few institutions are not performing well and few are performing well should definitely be attributed to the management and the higher chairs and the of course the team which you are carrying with you. It is always about that optimization between the top management and grass root level who are associated with you. I think people from academic circle understand issues better.

Ques: So basically in last few years we have seen education sector move more towards digital presence. Now it is more about who is more visible. So how do you think it has impacted a college which is trying to reach the students?

Ans: Visibility is always important. Without it you can’t sustain, not in education sector. Every product needs visibility that is important but without giving quality service you can’t sustain for a long time. Any product which is advertising heavily but is not fulfilling the promise of quality, will not sustain in the market. Same is the case with any educational institution, if any institution is creating visibility by advertising on social media, print media but then is not providing quality education, I don’t think they can sustain for long time. For Long life you have to maintain the quality of education, you will have to understand what is student expectation and requirement, whether you are giving them right kind of orientation in life. It is all about helping students build a fulfilling career and not just about granting degrees. Had it been only about granting degrees then things may go on for a long time.

Ques: How do you think digitalization has impacted the students, where do you think they get right information from or what would be your call for them, where to go for information, how to look for college and how to differentiate which institution is giving quality education and which is giving you a degree, what is your take on it?

Ans: The social media is a good platform for those who understand what types of institutions are existing in our country but yes you can’t get to know everything from social media, because life is created by the institute on the social media and for students my strong advice is always go to the campus, visit it, see the things for yourself, meet the existing students, only then you can get to know how the institution is performing and be aware and when it is question of your career how can you not visit the campus.

When it is question of visiting only four campuses, it is not difficult but obviously it is not possible to visit all the campuses. There are more than 1500 institutes in our country in private sector in the management stream I am talking about. In such cases students need to shortlist institutes based on few criteria and I think the criteria should be very clear to the students. The first  should be the status of the approval of the institution that is if it is AICET approved or not, is it affiliated with any university or not. The first priority should be to check the authenticity of the institution. Second go for the academic quality record. Third is placement record and finally very important is its infrastructure, because I have seen that institutes create hype on social media but when you visit the campus, the institute is being run through four closed rooms in some remote area which has no connectivity. So the location of the campus, the infrastructure of the campus, safety of the students, availability of hostel facilities, all these are very important. These things can’t be understood without visiting the campuses, the student should shortlist institutes based on social media and must visit each institute at least once and not only just visit it but meet the faculty members, meet the students. Meeting students is important as students studying at an institute will be able to provide you the real picture.

A Brief About Dr. Urvashi Makkar: She is a seasoned academician with a knack of entrepreneurial spirit and persistent passion for continuous learning. Dr Makkar is Ph.D, EPHRM-IIM Calcutta, MBA, PGDCA and with her strong academic background and ardour for innovative learning, she has created a niche for herself in Education Industry. She carries with herself a rich experience of more than 20 years in academics, research, training & consultancy and with an expertise in transforming educational Institutions by focusing on organizational development. Confident, effective leaders are paramount to the success of peak-performing organizations and Dr. Makkar has been proving this time and again in various assignments led by her. In her current role as the Director General, GLBIMR, she has been contributing immensely in success of the Institute which is distinctly visible in the recent Awards & Rankings received by the Institute. Her continuous perseverance in improving Academic Quality and Research Orientation, Building Global Interface, Developing Entrepreneurial Culture, Improving Corporate Linkage and Creating Performance Oriented Work Culture has facilitated GLBIMR in reinventing Management Education.

Keeping her journey to contribute in the areas of Research and Consultancy, she has recently successfully completed the Certification Course on “Harvard University Leadership Program” in October, 2016 at Harvard University – School of Education, Boston, USA. Dr. Makkar was accorded as ‘Trainer Associate & Local Coordinator’ for UGC sponsored workshops on Capacity Building for Women Managers in Higher Education. She is the Founder Chief Editor of International Journal of Customer Relations. She is holding the Chair of Sr. Associate Editor in Editorial Board of IARS, International Research Journal, Malaysia and Member, Board of Editors, International Journal, Environmental and Social Psychology, USA. Dr. Makkar has conducted more than 50 EDPs/MDPs/Workshops and has been associated extensively with Research & Consultancy assignments of reputed companies. She has to her credit more than 76 publications in refereed International/National Journals and has authored/edited 10 books on CRM & Retail with reputed publishers like Tata McGraw Hill. She has also attended various National & International conferences/ seminars, presented research papers & chaired technical sessions at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA, Universities Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia, IIT Bombay, IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Kanpur, IIM Kozhikode etc. She is a Board Member of “Asian Observatory of Social Quality (AOSQ), the Asian branch of International Association of Social Quality (EU funded Project) at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

Dr. Makkar believes strongly in 3P’s approach of Pride, Power of Dreams and Perseverance to facilitate development of future corporate leaders. During her current affiliation with GLBIMR since March, 2016, she has been associated actively with Institution Building, Academic Administration, Training, Research, Consultancy and International Collaborations. An excellent orator and an insightful leader, Dr Makkar’s forte is her illustrious academic background, immense subject knowledge, continuous innovative and creative working style and her strong social network. GLBIMR has added innovative practices based on present requirements of the corporate sector, benchmarking against top B-Schools and insights from recent studies on the effectiveness of PGDM programme. The highly skilled & proficient faculty, the development process, the systems and procedures together with the enabling environment ensures transformation of an aspiring professional into a committed and employable contributor to society and nation. Under the strong & effective leadership of Dr. Urvashi Makkar, GLBIMR has strengthened the Institute’s global outreach and learning initiative, providing the education exposure beyond national borders.

Last Updated - 18 Jan 2017

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