Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Pankaj K Agarwal is presently a Professor of Finance at IMS Ghaziabad. His qualifications include B.Sc in Mathematics, MBA (Finance) and Ph.D. in Management. He is also a Fellow in Management. His professional qualifications include CFA, CAIIB, and UGC-NET. He also has a lot of certifications to his credit.
Before his stint with IMS Ghaziabad, Dr. Agarwal has worked as Professor, Associate Professor and Faculty Member in SMS Lucknow, Jhunjhunwala Business School, KNIPSS Management Institute and ICFAI National College. During his industry experience, worked as Assistant Manager in SBI, Management Trainee in PNB and Finance Executive in Rishi Auto (P) Ltd.
Dr. Agarwal has conducted various corporate programs as well as attended and conducted workshops. He authored a book titled “Financial Management”. He is the recipient of First Prize in National Big Data Analytics Championship (Mumbai 2008), Best Writer in Finance by www.cnx123.com, Bank of India Prize by Indian Institute of Banking & Finance, Mumbai and several other awards and.
Dr. Agarwal’s experience in the education industry
I was a banker with likes of State Bank of India before joining academics. Looking back, I feel joining academics was one of the better decisions of my life. First and foremost, education industry offers you an unparalleled reward. It is the satisfaction of playing a role in shaping the careers of students and by extension; nation building.Second; it lets you indulge your curiosity and learn non-stop. Further, this industry thrives on creativity and discovery, letting you explore areas you are passionate about. In addition, relatively better autonomy, flexibility and improving compensation structure are some other features that set this industry apart.
Dr. Agarwal’s philosophy of leadership
I think leadership begins with identifying a goal worth pursuing, recruiting a team, selling the idea, obtaining consensual buy-in, creating a culture of calculated risk taking and then leading by examples. Genuine respect and care for team members is crucial which would also mean listening to them. Finally, a visible ownership of failures and attribution of success to team establishes lasting credibility and trust. In industries like education, team members are highly qualified knowledge workers. To my mind, participative style of leadership works best here.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Agarwal as the Professor of IMS, Ghaziabad
Within a few months of joining I was given the joint responsibility of organizing an ambitious international conference. Getting cooperation from a large unfamiliar team and creating entire backend machinery for it was an exciting challenge, successfully delivered. Right now, training students to take up opportunities in the upcoming areas in finance like risk and analytics are clear goals.
Dr. Agarwal’s insights on the of Finance course for management students
The language of business is money. Irrespective of your functional area, often one will be judged by the ROI. ROI is output (revenue) vis-à-vis input (costs). Soon enough, all new managers start to handle teams & departments; and have to operate on a budget. A good grasp of financial management will come in handy for best utilization of budget and achieving target ROI. In addition, all functional areas have a finance interface. Getting finance department to come round requires one to communicate in their language and understand their issues. This is precisely the reason basic Finance courses are offered to all management students in the first year itself.
Dr. Agarwal on how his previous experience helped him in IMS Ghaziabad
A b-school professor is a blend of a teacher and a manager. She is always involved in some event/conference or workshop which requires skills of planning, organizing, team building, coordinating etc. The rich administrative experience which I was fortunate to get early on in my career has stood me in good stead here.
Curriculum of IMS Ghaziabad
A committee of senior faculty members, the Training and Placement Officer (TPO), professionals from industry and eminent academicians reviews and recommends modification in program design and curriculum every two years. The committee meets to discuss the changing business environment and resultant managerial manpower needs of industry and the skill set required; and accordingly outlines program objectives. Thereafter; the existing curriculum is examined in the light of these objectives and gaps are identified by internal sub-committees constituted area-wise. Finally, a review of national and international best practices is also done by the sub-committees referring to the curriculum of other premier institutions like IIM.
Changes noticed in the Education Industry over the past few years
An omnipresent theme in education today is quality enhancement. The top b-schools in India are increasingly benchmarking themselves against the best in the world. This is a very encouraging. In Tier-II b-school space, there is a welcome consolidation taking place. This space got glutted with unscrupulous promoters offering sub-standard education. This is changing. Today the existing institutions have largely reoriented themselves towards quality teaching-learning.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at IMS Ghaziabad
IMS Ghaziabad has an unparalleled placement track-record of its students, particularly in NCR region. First, the quality of our placements can be judged by the fact that market leaders in almost all industries are regular recruiters at IMS. I think a repeat visit by a company is a testimony to its satisfaction with our graduates. Second, it is not surprising to find an IMSian with more than one offer in hand year-by-year. These factors obviously motivate a new student to make the most of his time at IMS.
The challenge that we currently identify is improving the strike rate of our students in top companies’ recruitment process. Ideally, we would be happy to see a company ending up hiring more than they planned at IMS because of the quality of its students.
Dr. Agarwal on establishing a with the students being the Professor of IMS Ghaziabad
IMS Ghaziabad has a unique mentoring program which fosters teacher-student interaction beyond the classroom. The students can confide anything they like in their mentors and seek their guidance. Mentors keep a close tab of the progress of their mentees and even rope in their parents in the process. Since each faculty mentor and student is allotted an exclusive timeslot for mentoring, practically the mentor is always available.
Ideal school environment for Dr. Agarwal
Ideally, a B-school needs to have an open culture where ideas can flourish. A strict meritocracy, strong commitment to ethics and mutual respect are some of the other values which I feel help an institute in the long run.
Culture always begins at the top. Once the top leadership of an institute has displayed their commitment to certain values, it does not take long to trickle down and spread.
Top qualities that an aspiring Engineering/Management student must possess
Some of the qualities a professional programs student needs to possess today are:
- Quick thinking
- Passion for learning
- Commitment to Excellence
- Communication Skills
- Collaborative Approach
- Comfort with Technology
- A healthy mind and body
Goals in mind for IMS Ghaziabad
Recently IMS got ranked as one of the Top 20 b-schools of India by a leading daily. Our management has set a goal of improving it further in next few years.
Suggestions to the current youth
Try to do everything to the best of your ability. Read biographies of the most successful people in any walk of life. Practice meditation to unlock your potential- It works! And, never ever give up.