Interview by Bhawna Rawat

Dr. usha kamilla

Dr. Usha Kamilla is currently working as the Director of Institute of Management and Information Science, Bhubaneswar. She holds a Ph. D. in Analytical & Applied Economics from Utkal University under UGC Fellowship scheme and an M. Phil. in Analytical & Applied Economics from Utkal University. Her areas of interest in the research field are Macroeconomic issues and Health Economics. Her current research work includes Inward & Outward FDI in developing countries, Financial stability analysis of BRIC countries and Analysis of bank competition in India. She was honored with the ‘Best Faculty in Teaching Award’ from DAV College Managing Committee, New Delhi, for excellent results in Economics in 2005.

The education sector gives the opportunity to work with a fresh reservoir of talent every year

My experience of working in the education industry has been fulfilling as it has provided me with enormous opportunities not only to educate but also to learn & grow over time. In my opinion, the most fulfilling of my tasks has perhaps been, helping students to achieve their own aims, which requires from them a great commitment for their own learning. As an academician, I have always learned & relearned with every incoming batch of students. I have always enjoyed working with young minds as the environment created by them is very challenging & academically stimulating. My work gives me a deep sense of meaningful involvement in the task of motivating & nurturing young minds. I’m truly honoured & pleased to be a part of this industry.

With its vast pool of skilled manpower, the education industry in India is one of the biggest contributors to the economic growth of the nation. The strength of the education sector is that it regularly receives a fresh reservoir of talent each year and thus, has provided a wide range of opportunities to nurture talent & create new knowledge. So, I think it is one of the most dynamic and versatile sectors to work in.

Leadership is an art which can be taught at IMIS

IMIS is known for its culture of leadership & openness to inquiry. The value system of Discipline, Leadership & Commitment are the 3 pillars on which IMIS as a management institution has grown over the years to produce talented & creative management professionals. Here we believe, leadership is more of an art which can be taught to aspiring managers joining IMIS.

My leadership philosophy focuses on creating & maintaining good working relationships that are supportive & interactive.  I believe in the theory of ‘collective responsibility’ & my style of leadership is considerate, participative & consultative wherein suggestions from various stakeholders are always taken into account.  Staff members are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process & their inputs are considered which results in the group being motivated as a whole. In my opinion, a leader, to be successful, should be acceptable by his followers & should be able to convince them that their individual goals & organizational goals are compatible. This is more meaningful in a management education like ours, where we associate with various stakeholders like students, teachers, researchers & industry professionals.

Our curriculum offers various specialized functional areas of management

The business world has changed significantly in the past few decades. So, keeping pace with the latest industry trends, digitalization & market requirements, in consultation with academic & industry experts, curriculum updating has been a regular feature here at IMIS. Our curriculum emphasizes an intensive yet flexible Management Program with a wide range of basic management disciplines as core courses & electives falling under six specialized functional areas of management like Marketing, Finance, HR, Retail Management and Operations Management. To ensure best practices in imparting management education, here at IMIS, we focus on Practice-based Co-operative Learning through- Field studies, project assignments, case discussions, simulations, role plays, business games & Group presentations.    

Our programs are tailor-made to match the dynamically changing recruitment strategies

At IMIS, we have a full-fledged Placement Cell that works throughout the year to connect to the corporate world & to effectively facilitate the campus recruitment drive at IMIS. Alumni from IMIS are placed in leading Indian business houses & MNCs at top levels. Our education program & personality development program are tailor-made to match the dynamically changing recruitment strategies and expectations of the potential employers. Here, we train our students to aim for an excellent career with their passion in mind to achieve their dream jobs. Career Development Programs and Personality Development Programs are conducted for students’ right from their first year of joining. We ensure that our students are proficient according to the expectations of the industry. Thus, the competitive job market recession does not deter our students from snatching away the best jobs available.       

The success rate of our placement has earned the trust of parents & the student community that is reflected in the sustained admission rate into our programs. Increasingly, the recruiters are recognizing the talents of students from eastern part of our country which forms a major chunk of our students’ profiles. We ensure high package placements for our students & every year we are headed to achieve 100 per cent target with the placement of our students in reputed Indian & multinational companies.

There is an increased demand for good managers in the present scenario

Globalization, corporate expectations & increasing complexities in business has increased the demand for quality managers and consequently, good quality management education has become an essential prerequisite of today’s highly competitive business world. There are opportunities for sure but there are challenges as well. Under such conditions B-Schools, ensuring quality can only sustain and survive. Currently, management institutes must focus on offering the skill set which is required in the present day companies.

Practice-based management education is more effective in providing quality and true learning to students.

An academically oriented environment of any management institute can make an astonishing difference. Future research can be conducted for the possibility of additional specialization to be added in the management education. Faculty engaged in imparting management education must understand these complex situations influencing modern businesses to appropriately incorporate the managerial skills in the learning process. A culture of good faculty, research environment, accreditation system & up-to-date teaching materials are few of the drivers of transforming the shape of management education for a better tomorrow. Moreover, the government has also played a significant role in reinventing management education considering recent trends in economic growth in India. AICTE has come up with an action plan for the development of management education in India.

More goals to be achieved in the coming years to provide quality education

Here at IMIS, students have a great passion to know and understand by being intensively practical. At a micro level, for us, education is simply about helping students learn. But when we zoom out from that small focus & start to look at the pedagogy, industry interface, recent challenges & the supportive infrastructure, the sheer complexity of the management education industry quickly becomes clear. In the wake of today’s fast-changing business environment & the resultant threat to the provision of management education to aspiring managers, IMIS, as one of the premier management institution in eastern India, seeks to pursue the following goals:

  1. To follow new & innovative models of institutional growth for a sustainable future & a better learning environment.
  2. To focus on further improvement of infrastructure & the quality of intake of students.  
  3. To produce competent students at par in excellence with top management institutions in the country.
  4. To add new courses and programs based on our strengths & the needs of the corporate world.
  5. To improve existing research for the development of analytical & entrepreneurial skills in our students.
  6. To nurture young minds with a sense of societal outreach & serve the community at large.

Suggestions for the smart youth to channelize their energy in the right direction

Through exposure to a wide range of experiences these days, present day youth is far more intelligent than we can imagine.  However, there is an absolute need to help them channelize their energy in the right direction. My suggestions to any student aspiring for a great career is –

If you want to have a great career in the area of your choice, just make sure that every thought, habit & action of yours is taking you in that direction. By rigorously disciplining yourself to think only about what you want & keeping yourself away from what you don’t want, you begin your journey toward success.

Saying a burning ‘yes’ to something gives you the ability to say ‘no’ to other things. You have to develop that single-minded focus.

There are only two things needed to be successful in life. First, decide what it is you exactly want in life. Most people never do that. Second, determine the price you are going to pay to get it & resolve to pay that price. Success is not like going to a restaurant where you can pay the bill after you have enjoyed the dinner.  Success requires payment in full, in advance, every single time.”