Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Ravi Kumar Jain is the founding Director at SIBM Hyderabad. He is a start-up evangelist, a Doctorate in Business Management and holds Masters in Business Administration (Finance) and PGD in ICT management. He brings in over 20 years of rich experience in family business management, teaching and training, research, business consulting and academic administration. Institution building and championing new initiatives has been his forte. His areas of research interest are corporate finance, valuation, market microstructure, Business Economics, and outsourcing.
Dr. Jain is an avid researcher with more than 100 international and national publications to his credit. He has authored and edited several books in the area of business management, banking & finance, and ICT management. He serves on the editorial boards of reputed international refereed journals. He has conducted several successful international events and conferences and has been actively engaged in business coaching, faculty training and executive training programs at various organizations including L&T Metro, Indian railways, several banks and IT services companies, Indian armed forces to name a few. He is an expert trainer in case method teaching.
Dr. Jain has held various academic and administrative positions at ICFAI Research Center, Hyderabad; Symbiosis International University, Pune; and in the faculty of Finance at IBS- Hyderabad campus. He was the founding director of Symbiosis Institute of Research and innovation at Pune.
Dr. Ravi Kumar Jain on his diversified career and rich experience in the education industry
My career so far has been quite an exciting fast-paced journey crisscrossing several domains - from a family business to entrepreneurship to teaching & research to academic administration and institution building. When I look back, I realize that starting early in life has its own advantage as we end up learning toughest of the ‘lessons of life’ at an early stage when we are young, energetic and can afford to experiment and have a greater appetite for assuming the risk. In the hindsight I feel that diversity of exposure in career and life has helped me develop a deeper understanding of business, entrepreneurship, and academics and, perhaps, that has made all the difference; otherwise ‘understanding the business of academics’ is tricky (laughs).
In the last two decades of my academic life, I had an opportunity to work with three academic institutions of national repute in the areas of compliance (AICTE, UGC, MHRD etc), internationalisation initiatives, ranking & ratings, program design & management, setting-up and expansion of research centre(s), building-up a full-fledged B-school campus (green field) etc, covering almost every aspect of academics, administration and institution building.
In my entire journey so far, Symbiosis International University and Padma Bhushan Dr. S.B. Mujumdar, in particular, had an indelible impact in my academic life and career. It was Dr. Mujumdar who has instilled confidence in me and made me believe that I can aspire for bigger things in life and offered me my first major administrative assignment, back in 2009, of being the founding director of Symbiosis Centre for Research and Innovation (SCRI, earlier called as SIRI) and followed by a major responsibility of starting the Symbiosis Hyderabad campus.
Following an open-door policy and being available for the students
Open-door policy is an inevitable component for building a transparent and an agile organisation and more so for an academic institution where the future managers and leaders are trained and groomed. At SIBM-Hyderabad, the most striking feature is its ambiance of inclusivity and participative management. Open-door policy has been complemented with a generous dosage of empowerment whereby all our MBA graduates are empowered through student council that drives most of the activities on campus with the entire administrative machinery facilitating them to achieve the best of the results. Open house discussions, joint committee meetings involving students, faculty members and administrative officers are a common place for all important decision points. From curriculum design to corporate engagement to infrastructure development (both hard and soft) to student welfare, every aspect is discussed with sufficient representation of student body and faculty members. Believe me, this policy has paid off huge dividends so far wherein our students have always surprised us by exceeding our expectation in getting results. No wonder, SIBM-Hyderabad figures among the top fifty B-school of the country and among top ten in south India in such a short period of four years.
The core strengths of SIBM Hyderabad
SIBM-Hyderabad is been built on the rich legacy of Symbiosis where ‘Excellence’ is a habit and not an event. SIBM-Hyderabad offers a differentiating experience in all respects…….
- Campus & Infrastructure: Extremely beautiful fully-residential campus away from the hustle & bustle of the city in a serene environment with a lush green ambiance and world-class facilities of both soft and hard infrastructure. A rich library, sophisticated learning toolkits, lecture theatres, video conferencing & live streaming facility, seminar halls, massive auditorium, amphitheatre, indoor & outdoor sports complex, health clinic, recreation and wellness centre, mess & canteen, shopping complex, and round the clock security are a few important features of our campus. In short, it is a self-contained knowledge village with all necessary ingredients to nurture socially responsible business leaders of tomorrow.
- Corporate connect: SIBM-H boats of its deep and far-reaching corporate connect with more than hundred forward-looking major corporate houses of the country recognizing and patronizing us for placements (summers and final) as well as for continuous engagement. These corporate houses participate in several events such as case study competition, workshops, experience sharing platforms, experiential learning programs etc., for both our students and faculty members in their academic and research pursuits.
- Faculty: Faculty resources at SIBM-H has a rich pool of well experienced and dedicated faculty members with an average experience of 17+ years. Full-time as well as visiting/part-time/adjunct.
- Curriculum and pedagogy: contemporary and industry mapped curriculum, complemented with extensive deployment of technology for both academic delivery and facilitating experiential learning; including the Finance labpowered by Bloomberg, Analytics lab powered by IBM and other sophisticated analytics toolkit, case method and simulation-basedlearning powered by Harvard business school publishing, Value-add programs and enrichment programs powered by KPMG, NSE, MOOCs to name a few.
- Administration: Integrated Learning Management System (LMS) based on Moodle facilitating seamless academic delivery and administration from the time students enroll into the program till they graduate. A major chunk of our learning is facilitated by various tools powered by LMS.
The vision for business management at SIBM Hyderabad
We have the following three important aspects as our focus areas for the next 3 – 5 years:
- Research and research-based learning process, both for students and faculty.
- Innovation-driven pedagogy and curriculum design.
- Internationalization – More international professors coming in and our students visiting our partner institutes abroad.
In the long run, we want to see SIBM amongst the top ten business schools within the country in the next 5 -10 years, with triple crown accreditations by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), The Association of MBAs (AMBA) and EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQIS).
Pushing the envelope further for the excellent placement opportunities at SIBM
In this respect only one word shall be used and that is ‘Excellence’. It is important to note that in the last 25 years, no Business School has achieved what we have achieved in the last 4 years as far as campus placement is concerned. The placement records stood at 100% last year and at 92% for the students graduating in the year 2018 for all the eligible students. With more than fifty companies participating in the campus recruitment, every eligible student on the campus has been given fair opportunity(ies)to get placed. The average package has been INR 6.5+ lacs this year and we are aiming to reach the average pay package of 7 to 7.5 lacs for the class of 2019. In fact, we have been pleasantly surprised by some corporate that chose to revise upwards the package offered to our graduates.
The post recruitment feedback we have been receiving from the companies has been very encouraging
Further, we have also witnessed major corporate houses earlier having reservations (perhaps the five-year vintage restriction) have started participating in our campus recruitment drive. Another important feature of placements at SIBM-H is the increasing number of PPOs and PPIs, Y-O-Y, thus giving a proverbial short-in-the-arm for a young B-school like ours.
Our focus going forward is to work on continuing the trend of increasing number PPOs and PPIs as well as increasing average packages offered. We shall not leave any stone unturned in grooming our graduates to offer the best talent pool to all those corporates partnering in our growth.
Thoughts on promoting research in the current academia and including it in the curriculum
Research, as I mentioned before, is one of the three core focus areas that drive our future growth strategy. And hence we have now included it as a part of the curriculum itself. We want our students to get down on the ground and get their hands dirty, i.e. have hands-on experience and have the experiential learning by engaging in research. For example,
- We are putting them to different areas of research wherein they jointly work with the faculty members in converting their summer internship projects into viable research papers.
- To engage with the corporate to design and develop certain tools and case studies, along with faculty mentors.
- To engage with the NGOs with social and community outreach in order to provide research and intelligence to the areas where we can make a difference.
Our latest endeavour in this direction is where we are revising the existent curricular structure completely, and hopefully, by the year 2020, our curriculum will look completely different wherein apart from the functional areas, every course will focus on GSTEE i.e. Governance, Sustainability, Technology, Ethics and Environment.
We are also engaged in designing some SWAYAM based courses wherein our students engage in self-paced and research-based learning. Therefore, research is a big piece in our agenda for the next few years.
Digitalizing the education sector and how it helps in reaching a wider range of students
The world is already going digital big time and so are we. At SIBM-H, we deploy digital technologies and platforms to engage with student (both current and prospective) community and their parents. From communication strategy to program delivery, from promotion strategy to placement drives, digital platforms/technologies have been a core part of SIBM-H since its inception. This strategy has helped us in achieving wider reach to the right kind of audience with right set of messages and prompts at lower cost. Further, MOOCs and online digital content have been an important component of our content delivery. In shorts, going digital has resulted in three Es - Effective, Efficient and Economical – solutions.
Message to the current youth
My message to the youth would be to have ‘clarity of thought’ and ‘give your best’ to be able to survive in this competitive world. Channelize all your energy to make the best use of the facilities available to you and carve a niche for yourself in this crowded world. There is no shortcut to success….do your best God will do the rest.
Last Updated - 04 Dec 2018