MATS University, Raipur

Mr. Priyesh Pagaria, the Director-General, has proved his mantle in various businesses, apart from playing a strategic role in managing the brand value of MATS University before the spectrum of stakeholders. He holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management. He joined his family businesses at a very early age and handled various profiles, especially in Project Management, across various sectors including Real Estate, Mining, Hospitality, Power Generation & Distribution, Plastic Manufacturing, and Warehousing. He is an avid traveler and an advocate of advanced technological solutions to human needs. Being just 38, and hence,as a part of the Youth, he brings the vibrant energy, concepts, and solidarity among the students and the staff, equivalently. 

The young minds with their innovative ideas make the education field most attractive to work in

The education sector is the most attractive field as it is the field of young minds, innovative ideas, thought-provoking challenges and interaction with the shapers of the destiny of the nation and the world. If you want to stay young at heart, be willing to meet the new-fangled challenge with fortitude and have a fertile mind capable of thinking out of the box solutions to the most stringent issues then this is the field for you and this keeps you not just connected but glued to it. I am one such person and therefore I have been in this industry for nearly 20 years. I have a very wonderful experience from this journey of mine and, expectantly, it will continue to be so in the future.

Students should ask themselves “What gives them happiness and what does not?”

Competition has always been an integral part of education. After all, it's all about “survival of the fittest”. I always advise my students to spend some “me” time with themselves to discover their unique forte by asking themselves – “What gives me happiness & what does not, where I can innovate & where I just need to follow others”. This soul searching will bring clarity to them, may not be in a day or a month but, over a period. It will help them out to strengthen from within and guide them to pick the right battle where they have the maximum chance to win with their “unique-forte-they-just-discovered”. Concurrently, I tell them, not to fear rejection as it is the only natural way of evaluating the confidence or the belief, they thought, they nurtured over all these years. I believe, if you cope well with the rejection, rest of everything, thereafter, falls in the right place.

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A dream is a set of three elements - skill, passion and resources in the right proportion

For me, failure is the stage when a person loses hope of achieving what he intended to. Every generation comes with a set of pros and cons along with its typical thought process. When we started, we had hard-working students and mostly guided by their parental-peer influences, educational goals, and life goals. 

Fast forward, the millennials do have life goals, but no education goals. They lose their motivation easily without giving much of a fight. Nevertheless, to motivate the students to overcome it, I advise them that before stamping themselves as “failed”, they need to certify themselves of giving 100% and they left no stones unturned barring a few which were beyond the control of their physical or mental prowess. Moreover, if they feel they failed, then they should gaze at it as a signal to do a further two-level exercise. The first level requires them to revisit the plan and take the realistic stock of their resources and then go to second level that, based on the outcome of the first level, requires them to either choose to make another attempt or change their course of action. They have to be thoughtful of the fact that dream is a set of three elements - skill, passion and resources in the right proportion. Any imbalance among these elements proves to be disastrous. I usually end up saying “If you are born, you are born, definitely, for a reason. So, discover the reason and move on”

The valuable feedback from the stakeholders helps the curriculum to stay updated to industry standards

MATS University has a unique feature of up-grading its syllabi more frequently than any other University. This up-gradation is not done just for the sake of doing it. We have a well chalked out feedback system that encompasses the feedback from all the stakeholders and industry that includes the corporate world. The Stakeholders include the students, parents, teachers, alumni, employers, and industry. Their valuable feedback helps the University to keep its curriculum updated in such a way that we can produce industry-ready students who hardly need further training, once appointed. 

Ensuring a healthy environment ensures the first step towards establishing a bond with the students

I make sure I bring something worthy to the table before I reach out to the students with a hope of striking a right chord with them. One such worth is to create a healthy environment in the University to enable them to thrive in the fittest possible manner. This constructs the first path towards bonding. 

Then, to further it, I maintain an “approach-anyone-anytime” policy. Thus, anyone can walk into my office anytime or can simply text me. Our HODs follow the same rule in their respective departments, thereby creating a similar effect. The focus is always on them. I meet with the HODs, on weekly basis, to discuss the issues of students and to chalk out plans for students’ outbound learning. We take periodic online feedback from students without they specifically identifying themselves. Besides, we have given direct responsibility to the HODs and faculties for maximizing the students’ attendance and minimizing the inclination to drop out. We follow a strong anti-ragging and anti-sexual harassment policies Thus, you see, there are many deliberate efforts we put together for building relationships with our students. After all, we are a family, a MATSONIAN family.

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The vision is to make the University more “Professor-Student” centric for us to thrive

For any University, the final goal is to perform in a way that marks a “coming-of-age” for it. The elements that contribute to this grand positioning are the Professors, the Students, and the Management. So, the road map for the next five years is very straight forward. We will make the University more “Professor-Student” centric, they being our brand ambassadors. 

In the next 5 years, we intend to work more steadfastly towards creating a conducive platform for our Professors to do their research work and exploring opportunities to work jointly with the Government on projects of social upliftment and awareness. The focus will also be on building a large team of life coaches and soft skill trainers to cater to the audiences, within and beyond the campus, improving upon the number of patents, creating an extensive digital campaign, and expansive media coverage to showcase our work in order to boost the morale of the MATS family. Also, we will intensify our reach-out to larger audiences, especially the rural youth, who usually wander off and lose their way for lack of guidance. Last, but not the least, we will strive to upgrade upon our NAAC ranking by adding consistently to our system.

The youth today do not believe in Plan B as they consider it a distraction to their Plan A

Current youth do not believe in Plan B as they consider it a distraction to their Plan A. Factually, the students easily get mystified by the success stories of youth icons and try to emulate them without acknowledging their past struggle or background. This psychology is all the more bothersome in today’s era due to easy accessibility for them to various social media platforms. Hence, firstly, my advice to them is to look at Plan B as a smart bailing strategy in a worst-case scenario and not as a distraction. Secondly, they can always take inspiration from the Youth Icons, but their moves should be guided by the rational thought process after careful consideration of the skill sets, they possess, resources available to them, and the existing priorities in their lives. This wise act will save them from any emotional turmoil and regret in later part of their lives.