Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Dr. Joseph I. Injodey is currently working as the Executive Director of Rajagiri Centre for Business Studies, Kochi, Kerala. He is a Post Graduate (Loyola College, Chennai) and holds a Ph.D degree (M.G University, Kottayam). He carries 25 years of teaching experience at Post Graduate level in Rajagiri College of Social Sciences and Loyola College, Chennai. He has widely travelled and has been a visiting international scholar at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan State, USA.
Being an accomplished trainer, Dr. Injodey has offered various training programmes both in India and abroad, including “Skills for Counseling for Managers” for the Senior Managers, Bank Muscat, Oman. His areas of interest are mentoring, employee resourcing and counselling. He is a counsellor and a part of the expert panel for employee selection in many companies and educational institutions. With his wide experience in teaching and administration, he sets very high standards for the Centre and supports the progress of the faculty and students through regular training programs and academic inputs.
Experience in the Education Sector
The basic tenet that guides teaching is to train the students through the travelled ways of learning and equip them to embrace the unravelled mysteries of the world. Nothing can be more rewarding than moulding individuals to become productive members of the society. Only a dedicated teacher will be able to understand the joys of mentoring students to be ethically responsible citizens as well as knowledgeable professionals. The education sector empowers teachers to carry out a highly responsible task- one that stands above all others in terms of its output and influence. Finally, through guiding the future of a new generation, the level of satisfaction that I enjoy is boundless.
The changes in the education industry noticed over the past years
The Rajagiri group of institutions was born out of the vision of the CMI Congregation. Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara was their founding father and one of the pioneers of education in Kerala. Saint Chavara took a bold decision of ‘A School for every Church’ in 1864 that paved the way for the right to education for all who seek it irrespective of caste or creed. It was an important milestone in the history of education in the country and led the way to widespread efforts in this sector.
Though the ratio of public to private educational institutions is about 7:5, India has made substantial progress in increasing the attendance rates in primary education and expanding literacy. Now India has a large private school education system complementing the public system. The country has consistently improved its education system, bringing quality education to the masses and this is commonly cited as the prime reason for economic development. Admittedly, there still remains a lot to be done in the area of tertiary education.
Nowadays, conventional classroom teaching stands lacklustre with the development of a plethora of innovative teaching methods. Students are now exposed to a variety of teaching and learning systems. Virtual classrooms have become a reality. The classroom has literally become global as an exchange of students and faculty members from different universities across the globe have gained momentum. Incubation centres on campus have opened the wide window of opportunities for students who are serious about creative ideas and viable projects. Rajagiri has stood abreast of technological and pedagogical changes that have swept the education environment of the country.
Speaking from a B School point of view, industry-specific courses are a necessary part of the curriculum and specialized courses like BFSI, Luxury Retailing & International Business are a part and parcel of specific domains. However, there is a felt need for courses that have applications across all industries in today’s context like Data Science, Digital marketing, e-Commerce, Business Economics, Media & Communication and Entrepreneurship. These are industry ready programmes and would be in high demand in the coming years.
In the not-too-distant future, we can expect foreign universities to function in India. This will raise the bar of quality education. In 1995, a Foreign Education Bill was mooted in parliament and in 2006, the draft reached cabinet and was given some consideration in 2010. Now, the bill is yet to be tabled in the parliament. An influx of FDI in the education sector will give more options to prospective students which, if handled judiciously, could lead to quality improvements in the service. However, the government will have to move cautiously to ensure quality and save the country from ‘fly by night’ operators. One effective method would be to make it mandatory for foreign universities to tie up and be committed to the alliances with the existing quality education providers in the country.
Differences between the Education in India and abroad
First and foremost, the seriousness with which a student approaches higher education in foreign Universities is unmatched. The prime reason for this is the system of self-funded learning in the west. Most of the students in Haworth School of Business enrol themselves in management education programmes after a long stint of work experience. In India, the cultural differences play a part in keeping this as a parent-centric exercise. Again from a B School point of view, the work experience adds a lot of value to the learning that happens in the classrooms.
The most optimum path for a student wanting to excel in any field of management
As mentioned earlier, a post-experience management programme adds a great deal of value to the student’s grasp of best practices. The art and science of management are in its application and the learning takes place when the conceptual understanding of management principles can be visualized in real time situations. Going by the same logic, it is important to ensure that the students join institutions that give prime importance to the industry interface.
Rajagiri achieves this through its strong alumni connect. There are a large number of alumni working in world-class organizations who are willing to mentor the upcoming Rajagirians through live projects, industry visits and presentations. Another major area is the co-curricular skill development programmes that the institutions offer. Add-on certification programmes and opportunities for self-development through training camps and other college activities add immense value to the student and help him to be a day –one performer in the industry. These are indeed the lifeline of management students and help them to excel in the workplace.
The growth of students through placement opportunities available at Rajagiri Centre for Business Studies and the curriculum ensuring the best practices of the industry
Rajagiri has been a 100% placement campus and has provided utmost support for all the pupils not only in getting final placements but also to ensure that he/she finds the best suitable industry and best sought-after profile. To this effect, the Office of Corporate Relations in Rajagiri plays a major role in the overall career development of a student. The process begins with a career guidance mechanism. All students are encouraged to enrol for this in order to get very detailed and customized career guidance from the Office of Corporate Relations.
Another unique exercise is carried out by the Assessment Development Cell. This is a personalized assessment of each student, studying in Rajagiri by a committee constituted by experts from Industry who have been heading top functions in major companies across India. They give a detailed report to each candidate about their innate strengths and weaknesses as well as suggestions on the way forward. This is a unique practice that Rajagiri has adopted and probably the first of its kind in the country. It is more prevalent in the industrial sector for management trainees and other newly inducted staff in major companies.
From October onwards, companies start coming to campus for summer placements for first-year students and final placements for the second year students. Rajagiri gives a major thrust to the summer internship programme as that introduces the candidate to the industry and vice versa. Many of the companies who pick students from Rajagiri for summers do so with the intention of assessing the candidate through the two-month internship. They often get converted into job offers at the end of the programme. Internships abroad are also gaining momentum as many agencies like IAESTE as well as reputed international universities whom Rajagiri has partnered with in all the continents of the world also help students to reach these targets easily.
Rajagiri has placed great emphasis on the latest pedagogical tools in order to bring the best practices from industry to the learner. Some of the points are listed here:
- Current and relevant Case studies
- Experiential methodology– Weekly Industry visits and field work
- Simulations / Board games /interactive learning
- Tie-ups with management associations: This helps Rajagirians to be updated with the market dynamics. Rajagiri is an inseparable part of any industry relevant activity of associations like KMA, NIPM, NHRDN, ISTD, IACC and CII.
- Concurrent field work – one HR student is dedicated one day every week to a particular company for the whole year. They work there as non-enrolled staff.
- Activity-based learning - For example, Supply Chain, Probability testing etc. Industry relevant concepts are taught in simulated industry settings.
- Summer internship and dissertation of candidates: These have always been highly industry relevant. Recruiters are aware of this requirement and help us make them industry ready
Read more about placements opportunities available at RCBS
Things that make the institution stand apart from other institutions
Rajagiri was instituted as a professional social work educator in the country after Tata Institute of Social Sciences. After branching out to many professional courses and even after expanding into two campuses in Cochin, Rajagiri’s mission is to educate students to become socially sensitive managers and that is our USP. It starts with the 10-day rural sensitive camp where the entire student community takes on projects in remote villages and carry out a hands-on exercise for the entire period. In this remote resource-restricted environment, the students get their first taste of another way of life and successfully complete the infrastructural and other projects they have taken up.
Students themselves do the pilot study under the guidance of experienced faculty members and they plan and implement it. After this, many of them voluntarily join the social work NGO functioning out of Rajagiri called Transcend which allows them regular opportunities to contribute to the community. Through these and other interventions Rajagiri ensures the social commitment of each of its students.
The qualities which over the years have helped to achieve gratified recognitions like ACBSP, NBA, NAAC & Association of Indian Universities
Rajagiri’s guiding motto is “Relentlessly towards excellence”. This is something that is embedded within the culture of Rajagirian’s education. From the top management to the housekeeping staff, the culture of excellence has permeated the entire campus. The CMI management has lent its unstinted support to all the processes that ensure quality. In the same way, it has encouraged Rajagiri’s efforts towards gaining the highest rated national and international accreditations. On the international front, Rajagiri is a member of the AMBA development network and is in the process of acquiring EPAS and AACSB accreditations. None of this would have been possible without the relentless support of management whose experience in managing educational institutions has helped to guide the institution to greater heights. Credit goes to the faculty and staff of Rajagiri whose capabilities and commitment make this possible.
Goals for the institution for the next five years
In terms of quality, Rajagiri should become the most sought-after Business School in the country. Rajagiri should become a synonym for educational excellence among the schools of international repute. We also aim to become a deemed university in the very near future.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
As the founders of this institution envisioned, many of the national and international setbacks that impede rapid progress will be mitigated to a great extent by giving importance to education. Business education has become the order of the day. However, one must be careful while choosing the educational institution one would like to join. A number of institutions have mushroomed in the recent past which lay greater emphasis on outward appearances and impart poor quality education.
The quality of a business school lies in its teaching quality, its infrastructure and its industry connect. Students must ensure that the B-school they are aspiring for has these in place. On the part of the student, she/he has to understand and internalize the fact that there is no shortcut for hard work. A highly focused work schedule and a relentless effort to update oneself constantly is the mantra for success. In this fast-paced world, students have to realize that one needs to run hard to remain where they are. One needs to aim higher and work harder in order to get the advantage.