Interview by Yash Panchal
Mr. Supriyo Guharoy is the CEO of Indo Asian Group of Institutions. Mr. Roy is IIM Bangalore and Jadavpur university alumni, with over more than 10 years of experience in the education industry as CEO of major educational institutions in Bangalore. Prior to joining the education industry, he has served as the business and profit center head, successfully nurtured and grown the relationship of Forbes with Dresser-Rand, USA. Faced with formidable competition from relatively low-cost products, he developed and implemented the strategy of “value-added reselling” of D-R’s API turbines to Indian Customers.
Mr. Roy also successfully steered the business to adopt Renewable Energy as the new growth area and picked up business opportunities in Biomass and Solar energy based distributed power generation. Currently, he is handling a new assignment of setting up a new university in Bangalore. The university will start with a B-School and then have Hospital and Medical College, Engineering and Liberal Arts departments. He specializes in Waste Heat Recovery and Renewable Energy.
Insight on the education sector
It has been irrefutably established that knowledge is the only form of sustainable economic power for both individuals as well as enterprises in the ever-changing global landscape. In order to be at the top of the learning curve, one has to have a good education. I consider that it is the duty of every educator to inform people that the knowledge they acquire in schools and colleges will have a limited shelf life. So, be a life-long learner. Unfortunately, not everyone in the education sector today is equipped to provide such deep insight to students. This is a challenge.
At Indo Asian Academy Group of Institutions, we believe in and actively pursue the development of one and all through a collaborative effort. This is possible only when you have a free and fair environment where 360o feedback is encouraged. As the CEO of the Group,
I practice participative management and my leadership style is democratic
I believe this is the only way to manage knowledge workers better.
Major challenges to deal with
Many of the colleges in Bangalore, as well as most other parts of the country, are run with what I call as “trader’s mentality”.
It must be understood that education is not an expense but an investment
It pains me to see that there are mushrooming of colleges with poor infrastructure and very low level of commitment to providing the best quality. This is the challenge we face as students/ parents come to discuss fees and not what quality of education the institute can provide.
It has always been a complaint from the Industry/ businesses that educational institutions equip students only with bookish knowledge. This is true to some extent. There is a need to overhaul the curriculum on a regular basis and make them more industry oriented. We, on our part, call in experts from the industry to interact with our students and also send our students for internships with companies to gain more practical knowledge.
Opportunities for students through placements
The good placement has always been a strong point for the Indo Asian Academy Group of Institutions. We have various soft skills programs to enhance the students’ employability. But the crux lies in the fact that our placement manager picks up one student at a time and do a SWOT analysis for every individual and do the necessary hand-holding to help him/her overcome any specific difficulty. This is a unique program ably handled by the Placement Team.
Relation with the students
As I have mentioned earlier, we are very hands-on. The Chairman of the Group and I are available at the campuses on most of the days and we have a very well established communication program. We address the students throughout the year in every program – right from the inauguration of the academic year to the annual day. We have an escalation procedure and any student can reach me after following the necessary process of meeting the Faculties, Heads of the academic program and the Principal.
Encouraging an ideal school environment
Learning can be effective only when there is a to-and-fro process between the student and the teacher
We have a training program through which each faculty is encouraged to be an interactive facilitator rather than delivering a monologue in the name of the lecture! At Indo Asian, the students take an active part in organizing events and participate in all sorts of academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. As a result, they become expressive and natural leaders.
Qualities required for an aspiring manager
Every management guru has given one characteristic or the other to become a successful manager. It is easy to say, be long-sighted, think out-of-the-box and never take failure as a stumbling block, etc. etc. But the point is, in today’s competitive world, one would not get too many chances. So, the most important quality for an aspiring manager would be: a) hunger for learning new skills and b) shed all sorts of rigidity and c) be ready to change as you learn those new skills.
Goals to achieve for Indo Asian Group
Indo Asian was primarily in higher education (from Pre-University to Post Graduate programs) until this year. We noticed that the students we get at K11 and K12 levels, there are certain degrees of inadequacy and often it becomes difficult for us to teach them the skills they ought to have learned at middle school. So, we decided to integrate backward and set up a school this year. Our idea is to establish this school as a model and replicate that model by expanding into new geographies.
Suggestions for the youth
One challenge the current generation of the students will face is that the world will continue to change at a very fast speed. If you can’t cope with it, then you run the risk of being left behind. It’s something akin to the digital divide our earlier generation faced when computing became all-pervasive. So,
learning new skills and keeping up with the new technology is imperative
And it is not only for science students, it applies equally to commerce and art students also. For example, a student of commerce needs to understand blockchain and similarly, a student of history needs to understand genetic codes to follow the evolution of civilizations and historical events.
So, in a nutshell, I would advise every student to break the common perception of focusing too narrowly and explore broad-based, cross-domain curriculums.