Interview by Arjun Verma
Dr. Manisha Ketkar is currently working as Director of Symbiosis School of Banking & Finance, Pune. She is a Commerce graduate and a Fellow Cost & Management Accountant (FCMA). She has also done her Master’s in Business Studies (MBS) from the University of Pune, and her PhD in 'Study of supply risk management practices' with Symbiosis International (Deemed University) under the guidance of Dr. O. S. Vaidya from IIM Lucknow. Dr. Ketkar has presented papers in International Conferences and also has some published papers to her credit. She has a 28 years of experience. She has handled the operations of a business unit of a pharmaceutical multinational for over 16 years before her passion for teaching made her join Symbiosis in 2006. Her areas of expertise are Cost & Management Accounting and Supply Chain Management.
A great learning experience and an opportunity to grow
My experience has been a learning one. Being a part of the education sector for a long period of time has given me the right to say that it is the best place to work because of the kind of exposure it gives. It is said, “There is no age to learn”, and so here you not only teach, but you also get to learn simultaneously. With the advent of newer teaching pedagogies and growing technology, it demands to be learned and to learn daily. This helps not only in growth of the institution but also yourself.
Challenges faced by Dr. Ketkar
Building something from scratch requires a ton of hard work and perseverance. Our institute is in nascent phase, and this needs a lot of focus and care just like for growing children.
The current stage requires a lot of detailing and efforts in every aspect of the institute, be it curriculum decisions or placements – which have become a challenge due to economic scenario. Being a part of the prestigious university, it also gives us immense opportunities to build and grow. We believe that we will be on the greener side soon.
Opportunities available at SSBF
Immense value addition takes place at the institute. Our curriculum has been our strength. We believe in training our students to be the industry-ready professionals. During internship, students get the practical experience; some even prove their caliber to the companies that end up getting them a PPO / PPI.
We are honoured to have industry support. For internship process at the end of the first year, banks and companies show a lot of interest in picking up our students. This gives the students a great start in their career. The growing phase of the BFSI sector, as well as the University, provides us with growing opportunities. Our students get placed in reputed organizations like JP Morgan Chase, PWC, Axis Bank and Siemens, to name a few.
Regarding our future prospects, we wish to expand to other companies not only in BFSI sectors but also those involved in finance domain.
Build a positive culture
Diversity is one of the best qualities we have at our university. This is very helpful in inculcating acceptance in the students for workplace diversity. We prepare them for industry and tend to make them ready for every upcoming challenges and opportunities.
Being a residential program, it gives the students exposure to fellow students from different Indian states and also from some foreign countries. Living, studying and interacting with each-other help students in many ways.
SSBF curriculum is designed in such a way that it provides a specialized knowledge and training to address not just the growing banking and finance requirements, but also the increasing complexities and challenges of the BFSI sector.
Our courses are focused on banking and finance enabling the students with relevant knowledge and managerial skills to work effectively in banks, NBFCs, financial institutions and other organizations in the BFSI sector.
An open door policy for students
Along with being a director, I tend to put on different caps including the one of a professor and a companion. It is important to be a part of them to understand their thought process. Also this gives me a chance to be a part of the young generation and I try to mark participate in every indoor and outdoor activity they go through. Also my doors are always open for my students.
Vision and goals for SSBF
My goals are not only the ultimate results, but also the journey we undertake together to achieve them. We aim to:
- Establish practical learnings where students not only get knowledge through books but also by experiences: of self or of seniors in the field.
- Continually enrich the curriculum to make the students industry ready
- Build students’ confidence and develop their personality
- Get better placement opportunities
- Build a distinct image for the institute and carrying on the legacy of the university name we hold.
Suggestions for the current youth and aspiring students
Guidance to the young generation:
I always tell my students to inculcate three basic values:
- Passion - Have a passion to be a better individual and also to influence the world in a positive way. Your small steps would make it a happy place for all.
- Excellence – Excel in anything and everything you do, be it education, training, profession or employment. You should aim to do every task better that anyone else.
- Respect for individual – please be kind to every person you interact with, particularly those who are vulnerable. You be their strength.
And above all, the success is not only what you measure with money or professional positions, but also how many happy moments you share with your family, friends, and society at large.