Professor A.S Chawla Professor of Management is currently the Vice Chancellor of RIMT University, Punjab.
He has been in teaching profession for over 38 years. During his professional career, Dr. Chawla also worked as Financial Advisor in a Kenyan Business Conglomerate for one and half year and as Professor and Head of the Finance Department at the University of Rwanda (formerly KIST). He remained the Dean of Management Faculty at University of Rwanda (formerly KIST) during 2002-2004. He has been trained at Harvard Business School, USA and has been associated with the Harvard Business School for coordinating their Executive Education initiative in East and South African Region. He coordinated Making Markets Work program at KIST Kigali in collaboration with Harvard Business School.
Dr. Chawla also coordinated the research project funded by USAID for developing Kigali Economic Development Strategy (KEDS) and Staff Rationalization and Adjustments in King Faisal Hospital funded by Ministry of Health, Government of Rwanda. Known for his administrative skills, Dr. Chawla has held important positions in his parent Punjabi University during last 12 years that includes Dean Academic Affairs, Dean College Development Council, Registrar, Director International Students, Dean RMA and presently Dean Research, Dr. Chawla has also held position of Adjunct Professor at Wilkes University, USA and University of South Pacific, Fiji and has taught Finance and general management courses at USP. He has to his credit 65 research papers and articles in reputed journals and 11 authored and edited books. He has supervised 20 students for completion of Ph.D. degree.
Dr. Chawla is training consultant with many government and private organizations in India. Dr. Chawla is also a nominee director of two companies in India. Widely travelled all over the globe, Dr. Chawla is the protagonist of quality education that India needs to focus on.
Ques 1: Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
Ans. I have been working in the education sector for almost 38 years. A period of 38 years was full of challenges, opportunities and performance. Something that one always aspires in life. It gives me immense satisfaction and great sense of achievement that I have been a part of system that shapes the minds and lives of people. My students have reached the highest level of profession in different fields. May it be industrial/commercial sector, Bureaucracy (civil services) or politics (finance minister of the state). When I see them performing, I get a feeling that it is my achievement. Touching the heights through the students in so many areas at the same time is possible only in education sector. Besides being teacher, I have also handled numerous administrative positions in the education sector that helped me in pushing educational reforms and bringing in administrative efficiency. Education is a field where one is master of his own self. One lays down one’s own target and evaluates one’s own performance. The results are in front of us each day when we deal with students.
Ques 2: What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
Ans. Long time back, in one of the classes at Harvard Business School, I had learnt about Nelson Mandela’s philosophy of leadership. I was too much influenced by the quote: “A leader ……is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the nimblest go on ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind”. I strongly believe in this. I have followed this style and have believed in people and I have been successful. It must have been rarest of the rare occasion that I may have faced failure.
Ques 3: How do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available at RIMT University? How do you wish to push the envelope further?
Ans. RIMT has seriously focused on corporate placements. It has brought desired results. The pass out of RIMT occupies senior positions in the corporate world in India and abroad. With the fast changes in the requirements of industry, it will be essential for us to align closely with industry. We are doing that intends to strengthen it further.
Ques 4: VC’s position requires intense time management. How do you manage your time?
Ans. I have been a strong practitioner of ABC analysis. For last two decades, I have been very particular about rationing of time between important and urgent and unimportant and less urgent. I have believed in complete delegation of work particularly when it is less important/high time consuming and concentrated on important but less time-consuming work. Although I have avoided tea culture in the meetings and prepared my meetings well in advance to sure that time was not spent on unnecessary discussion. Made sure that disposal of routine work is not carried to next day.
Ques 5: How do you tend to establish a relation with the students being the VC of the university? How do you make yourselves available to them?
Ans. In the past, I have been occupying all important positions and now as VC. But I have not forgotten that I am a professor first. I have maintained close contact with students by engaging myself with classes at least an hour a day. I keep visiting various blocks/hostels of the university to interact and have firsthand information about the student’s problems. My communication channels are open throughout to handle the student's issue and I make sure that I respond to any email/message without delay (max time 24 hours).
Ques 6: Your university has students coming from almost all states and all backgrounds. How do you establish a healthy culture and climate among this diverse family of RIMT University?
Ans. We mix them to participate in different social/cultural /sports activities to bring them closer to one another. We also ensure that they mix up amongst themselves in the hostel life through crafted group interventions.
Ques 7: How does your curriculum ensure best practices of industry?
Ans. We keep close touch with the companies that come for campus placement with regard to the skill requirements. Advisory board has been constituted with representatives from the industry for giving their inputs with regard to updating curricula.
Ques 8: What are the qualities which over the year have helped you create a brand name for RIMT University?
Ans. In past, I have been observing RIMT from a distance as I was working in the State University earlier. On the basis of my impression of the earlier time, I can conclude that RIMT has been a disciplined organization. The management was able to put across, in the mind of stakeholders, that the care of students holds prime importance. The management created exceptionally good infrastructure/facilities. Besides strong focus on academics, adequate and comfortable campus living, all kinds of sports facilities including all weather swimming pool, shooting range etc. helped to position itself amongst people in a convincing way.
Ques 9: What goals do you have in your mind for your university for the next few years?
Ans. I am focusing on the qualitative output from the university. Based on overall teaching/research and consulting output, I would like to see the university amongst first 10 private universities in India.
Ques 10: Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
Ans. In today’s competitive environment, no one can succeed without creativity and innovation. May it be a job or self-venture, one has to be competitive and different. The era of a generalist’s approach has gone. Now it is the core competencies that make the difference. Youth today has to get prepared to accept the challenges of the fast-changing business practices.Last Updated - 19 Jul 2017