Dr. SK Mahapatra is the Director of KIIT School of Management Bhubaneswar [KSOM]. Dr. Mahapatra has donned many hats with distinction in his long professional career spanning 30 years in industry and eight years in academics. He has held leadership positions in renowned corporate groups in India and has lectured in various reputable institutes. He has had substantial experience in handling large teams, diverse workforce, and has overseen critical staffing issues through Project Execution, Commissioning as well as Operations. He has been highly innovative in strategizing solutions for complex problems involving people and the community. Early in his career, he worked in Steel Authority of India starting as a Management Trainee and he has honed his IR and Employee Engagement skills working hard from shop floor upwards, rising to Senior Management level. Prof Mahapatra had a mid-career stint of four years as a full-time faculty in HR & IR at the Xavier Institute of Management, and was highly acclaimed for his research, teaching, corporate training and consulting. He was an ADB consultant on behalf of M/s PA Consulting Indonesia for Assam Power Sector Reforms, and OD consultant to DRDO at Integrated Test Range, Chandipur. Prof Mahapatra has worked and travelled extensively across India and visited the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, USA, South Korea, Thailand and Bhutan. Recently, he has visited the top Universities in Korea as a member of FICCI Higher Education delegation. Dr Mahapatra is Past President of National HRD Network, Bhubaneswar. Professionally networked, he is a life member of NHRD, National Institute of Personnel Management, Indian Society of Labour Economics, Indian Society of Training & Development, and he is also a member of SHRM global network.
Education strengthens the roots of human existence and nurtures the growth of civilisation
“Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man,” said Swami Vivekananda. Education is the means to attain self-actualisation, which is the ultimate motivation for me to live and work for. It has been a great honour for me to be deeply involved in the education sector, to lead. Even while I worked in the corporate sector, I have never missed the opportunity to stay as close as possible to the education sector. Education strengthens the roots of human existence and nurtures the growth of civilisation. All sections of civil society, be it business, government or common man, receive continuous guidance from the education sector. New knowledge, new skills and new opportunities for healthy living, germinate and get nourished and cultivated at Educational Institutions. Education caters to both sustenance and growth in quality of life.
I calibrate my leadership style oscillating between ‘consultative’ and ‘authoritarian’
I believe in teamwork as the essence of good management. My style of leadership is highly collaborative and consultative but decisive too. I put a premium on ‘buy-in’ of every team member, and ‘time limits’ for every task, from brainstorming to execution. I calibrate my leadership style oscillating between ‘consultative’ and ‘authoritarian’, as I set time limits for discussion and implementation in distinctive compartments. As you know education starts with ideation and ideation requires free discussion. However, the educational institutions are bound by the academic calendar for implementation and execution. Thus, the mixed style of leadership has served me well as head of my institute.
Our media presence is only to develop awareness among the student community about our institute
The strategic plan for marketing our flagship programs and the running of these programs though a well-oiled administrative mechanism. We believe all the three programs which we have, i.e., the Doctoral program in Management, the MBA program, and the BBA program are of premium quality and content. Therefore, frankly speaking, we have never had a go-to-market strategy for any of these programs. Our media presence is only to develop awareness among the student community about our institute as the location is not as well-known as the location of peer institutions, in India and abroad. Dr. Achyuta Samanta, (the Founder of KIIT & KISS) and his untiring work in developing our world-class campus, complete with world class education and sports infrastructure, is our biggest marketing advantage, and his philanthropic work is our biggest inspiration for offering holistic value-based learning. In one sentence, the Quality & Content of our programmes, the high commitment of our Faculty and staff to implement the programmes, the reputation of our Alumni and above all the inspirational image and self-less work of our Founder, is the four pillars of both, our strategy and administration.
The difference between Indian education and foreign universities lies in the way of teaching and learning
At KIIT School of Management, we have over 104 foreign students, which constitute almost 9% of our student strength in the B School from undergraduate to doctoral programs. The difference between the education systems abroad and India are not so much in the contents but in the pedagogy. The cultural heritage of a region influences the teaching methods. The way of learning practiced in India has a link with the way of life in India. The content of the syllabus is almost the same in every country. When a student chooses to go abroad for higher studies, they get prepared to accept the ways of teaching-learning followed in the host country, and the host university. The host universities have usually dedicated offices to help the international students to adapt the new ways of life and learning in their host country. KIIT is no exception. We have a dedicated office to support our international students from over 45 countries both at University level and at the respective school level. We have a faculty specifically assigned to look after the concerns of the International students. Besides, I as the Director, meet the International students at my Institute, regularly, in a structured way to personally take care of their concerns and progress. The strength of our International students has been steadily growing, which is an indication of our success in addressing the challenges of handling cultural diversities in a positive way.
The curriculum is revised annually through a process of ‘listening and learning’, and ‘progressive benchmarking’
We take the inputs from corporate leaders and academic leaders for continuous improvement. In the course of the year-long academic process, our faculties and students get to interact with numerous corporate professionals through various industry engagement events. Each year KSOM conducts different conclaves i.e. National HR Conclave, National Marketing Conclave and National Finance Conclave where CXOs and leaders from different areas deliver keynote speeches, participate in different panel discussions and conduct area specific workshops.
Our corporate mentoring program Konfidant is one of its kind events where more than 20 corporate bigwigs hold a two day workshop in a one-on-one interaction with KSOM students.
Koeducate is another unique initiative called where-in elective sessions across specializations is co-facilitated by internal faculties and corporate experts from the industry. This special initiative enriches course content and delivery by cashing-in on the knowledge of both the faculty and corporate expert and enhances focus on the practical application of concepts studied in the courses.
KIIT School of Management also has partnerships with several industry leaders like L&T Financial, Chola Group, Dassault Systems, SAP University Alliance to jointly deliver content, foster innovation, enhance student learning and develop new capabilities.
KIIT deemed to be University has a growing reputation, for welcoming students from diverse backgrounds, from all parts of India and abroad
I think, at present our University is among the few exceptional institutions in India w.r.t student diversity. KIIT deemed to be University has a growing reputation, for welcoming students from diverse backgrounds, from all parts of India and abroad. The fact that students from over 45 nations study here is a testimony of our policies to encourage more and more students from diverse backgrounds to choose KIIT as the most preferred destination for higher studies in India.
We act as a launch pad for our students to get a head start in their professional career
Our roles and responsibilities are to fulfil the vision and mission of the University through meticulous planning and execution of the academic processes at KIIT School of Management.. For our students, we see our responsibility to provide the best of professional education in a holistic manner, so that they can get a head start in their professional career before leaving the campus. We believe with the values that they inculcate during their stay in our campus, they shall grow soon enough, as leaders in their own right, to help improve the lives of many others in the society. We are preparing Leaders for the Future.
We are in sync with the digital world and all our programs are tuned accordingly to keep pace with demands of technology
Our Corporate Connect is unique. We have grown like partners in learning. From the first day in our campus, till the last, our students get to see many senior, learned and experienced professionals from industry, standing side by side with our faculty, to address, handhold, coach and mentor.
We are also strong in technology adaptation. We are in sync with the digital world and all our programs are tuned accordingly to keep pace with demands of technology. That is how, we did not lose a breath in switching over to on-line teaching and examination mode as soon as the Covid-19 induced lockdown paralysed the world. Our University did not have to endure any shock. Rather we surprised everyone by carrying on with our business as the new normal, and have received lots of appreciation from parents.
The disciplines are likely to fragment into independent modular programs, giving the students to choose interdisciplinary modules
The future is always uncertain, but the direction is already clear. The rapid expansion of the digital platform for learning has created a real possibility to open up educational opportunities in any discipline up to the highest level for anyone and everyone living on this planet. The limitations of access to classroom infrastructure have inhibited many to fulfil their ambitions, in the past. Their choices were limited by the cost of higher education. Even today, the student has to pay the fees for higher education, and therefore only those who have the means to pay the fees can afford their choice. This is going to change. The Government and the corporates are likely to fund higher education involving high quality research and laboratory requirements, engage only students who are meritorious, and pay the students instead of collecting fees from them. The undergraduate and postgraduate disciplines are likely to fragment into independent modular programs, giving the students to choose interdisciplinary modules, which would be most suitable for the careers of their choice. For KIIT School of Management, the biggest challenge will be to retain and grow in our partnership with corporates for research and consulting projects, for customizing training modules for student-in-campus and be a front runner in management development programmes.
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Students should understand that the shelf-life of any skill learnt today or tomorrow, shall be limited and most probably very short
I would like them to understand that the shelf-life of any skill learnt today or tomorrow, shall be limited and most probably very short. Therefore, they should prepare themselves to unlearn and relearn quickly, and develop a mindset for life-long learning. That is wisdom and wisdom is permanent. A learner’s mindset will be most helpful for meeting their aspirations in life.
Second, they need to understand that life presents many opportunities and the first job is no indication of how successful they will become in their life. However, they must try and make a success out of their first job, as if it is going to be their only job. Tentative approach does not bring any good, neither in the short run, nor in long term.
Third, they have to understand the virtues and power of collaboration. The digital world is unfolding, and rapidly expanding through a process of on-line collaboration. Networking has a two-fold meaning today. Students should build a professional network of collaborators and master the Internet platforms for smart working and optimising performance.
Finally, they should build their legacy, their personal brand, a unique trait for which they will be known in the larger society. They must live by some good social values, as useful and contributory members of society to promote the overall happiness index of the community around them, be it in the physical space of an office or apartment neighbourhood, or net space. Reputation is much more than money or success.
The students of KIIT School of Management shall provide compassionate leadership to the World in different walks of life
We are working with our global Alumni to build a global brand for KIIT as the most compassionate University on Earth, where life values of integral humanism are inculcated side by side with a choice of occupational skills for a career head-start. Our students will be known for building the livelihood and life of many others going beyond the narrow ambition of a job-position or ownership of a successful enterprise. The students of KIIT School of Management shall provide compassionate leadership to the World in different walks of life based on integral humanism.