How do you look at your association with the University?
My association with the university has been very fulfilling. I have been able to contribute towards making of a new-age university with focus on inter-disciplinary learning, industry relevant education and global orientation. Academic autonomy and truly world-class academic and physical infrastructure have helped me in creating a culture of research and innovation and benchmark our systems with the best in the world. Establishing three new Universities earlier has helped me develop a conviction that private sector higher education in India will be the future.
Any of the significant challenges you faced as a Vice Chancellor?
The biggest challenge has been to change the mindset of students who have come out of schools and universities that focus on rote learning. They have been influenced by a general market perception that in private sector institutions, there is no need of discipline and hard work. As a Vice Chancellor, I need to break this myth. Fortunately, the handpicked members of faculty strongly believe in redefining higher education in the country and have been able to achieve the unachievable in a very short period of time although it required continuous training and motivation. While, we have been fortunate in attracting world-class faculty, the drastic changes needed in the way education is imparted, were facilitated by our renowned partner Universities like Politecnico Di Milano Italy, Le Cordon Bleu Australia, University of California Riverside USA, Purdue University USA, Oklahoma State University USA and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK etc.
How do you look to enhance the value of MBA programme with the Institute?
Our MBA programme offered by the School of Management is different from the rest. This statement is vindicated by the fact that the first batch, which graduated in May 2015, secured 100 per cent placements with reputed companies including 5 students starting their own business. The curriculum is contemporary and authenticated by the industry. The faculty members have rich industry experience and they ensured intense and continuous interaction with industry through ongoing live projects. The students got opportunity to work on live consultancy assignments. What really made the difference was that all students worked in groups consisting of students from various schools of the University enabling them to simulate real life working environment apart from the fact that the project topics were extremely relevant and made them deal with multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural issues which industry faces.
How do you stand against the IIMs/IITs/NITs in Management & Engineering?
Ans: This issue is really close to my heart. Supposedly, the brightest of the students get admitted to IITs and IIMs and that’s the only difference. Our infrastructure is the most modern and comparable, if not better than theirs. The academic processes are the real differentiator. Our graduates work their way through the rigor of the programme, have sound analytical capabilities and are more sensitive to the social and economic issues. They are trained to work with strict deadlines, have gone through the process of character building and therefore will provide stability and add significant value to any organisation they work with. Throughout the programme, our graduates are made to focus on ‘Making’ or ‘Creating’. For example, every student makes an actual instrument or machine or a product, 3D printer, drones and smart home systems being some of the examples and management students were part of the multi-disciplinary teams that worked on these projects. Also, we offer flexibility much beyond these elite institutions can think of. For example, each student has the opportunity of securing a minor specialisation from any other school of the University and we facilitate lateral mobility to students to other schools of the university depending on their interests and aptitudes.
What according to you are the top 2 things that the MBA programme teaches and nobody else teaches?
There are many but I will list the top two; 1) Inter-disciplinary projects in groups consisting of students from different schools and programmes and the option of pursuing a minor specialisation from other schools of the university; and 2) the opportunity to work on consultancy assignments.
How your curriculum ensures best practices of Industry?
The industry is involved right at the curriculum design stage and this involvement continues in the form of extensive industry visits with planned learning objectives, numerous industry experts delivering guest lectures, students’ involvement in organising seminars and conferences, business plan writing competitions and writing case studies on companies. In the University, design thinking is all pervasive. The key feature of our curriculum is inter-disciplinary approach to learning with research orientation.
How opportunity does differentiates at your B-school for the students?
Ans: Students are involved in all activities like organising seminars, conferences, technical competitions, case study developments, live content development for media, consultancy assignments with corporates, summer schools with partner universities abroad, study abroad programmes and sports meets. The students are offered wide options of picking courses and specialisations. The unique opportunity of lateral movement from one school to another within the University is something no one has offered in our country.
Your take on employability vs placements w.r.t MBA programme?
I strongly believe that if education aims at developing employability, placements will follow. Placements are a byproduct of employability. I would appeal to the industry that they should not insist on early joining of the jobs by students and let them complete their education. Also, they should facilitate live projects for the students so that they become more employable. Another initiative where industry can help us is the internship or short working stints of faculty members with the industry.
What is your message to the students who wish to join G.D. Goenka University?
My message to aspiring students is to join a programme as per their interest and aptitude and not get influenced by others. There are excellent career opportunities in every profession if they work hard with sincerity. I would also say that they should visit the institution they wish to join, meet faculty members, existing students and see the facilities and not go by hearsay.
How do you look at enhancing student-industry interaction at G.D. Goenka University?
We already have very intense interaction and are committed to enhance it further by promoting industry sponsored projects, consultancy and training assignments with the companies, undertaking live ongoing projects with the students, industry visits, faculty internships in addition to student internships, organising seminars and conferences in collaboration with industry partners.
Any advice to Young Students?
My advice would be to choose a programme carefully, work hard and do not look for shortcuts. Acquire soft skills in addition to hard skills, broaden their horizons and keep abreast of global, technological and social trends. I would also say to the youth that we look up to them to positively influence the environment around them by inculcating sound value system, which has somehow become a casualty in recent years but is increasingly demanded at the work place.
Brief Bio:Prof.(Dr.) Raj Singh
Dr. Raj Singh is the first Vice Chancellor of the G D Goenka University. His clear understanding of higher education in India and visionary approach place the University in the league of top Universities in the country. He was earlier the founder Vice Chancellor of Ansal University, Gurgaon and was the Chief Operating Officer – Education at Ansal API, New Delhi.
A postgraduate in Economics from University of Rajasthan and Doctorate in Strategic Cost Management and Performance of Mergers and Acquisitions, he was the topper of the coveted Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) programme from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI).
A strong proponent of Flexible, Inter-disciplinary and Trans-disciplinary learning, he has had an exemplary career spanning more than three decades. Dr. Singh worked with Amity group of Institutions for over 14 years and held various senior positions like, Vice Chancellor, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Director General, Director and Professor and Head at Noida, Manesar, Jaipur and Gwalior Campuses. He was responsible for many collaborations Amity group had with Universities from UK, USA and New Zealand. Dr. Singh established and headed the prestigious ICFAI Business School, Delhi from 1995 to 1998. Prior to this, he served the Indian Air Force for 14 years. A rare blend of academics and administration, he is highly regarded for his oratory skills.
An avid researcher, acclaimed teacher, astute administrator and Institution builder, he has been a trainer and consultant in areas of Corporate Governance, Change Management, Finance and Cost Management. His clients include both Indian and Multinational companies like TATA, Indian Airlines, Telecom Consultants of India Ltd., Denso India, ANZ Grindlays, NTPC, GAIL, SAIL, Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd., Birlasoft, Energy Infratech Ltd., Haryana Institute of Public Administration (HIPA) etc. He has presented research papers and delivered keynote addresses in over 50 national and international conferences and seminars and has been a panelist in many TV shows. He recently represented India at the International Design Summit held in Milan, Italy. Dr. Singh is a charismatic leader who nurtures and brings out the best in his team.
Widely travelled, he has been a visiting Professor at IIT Delhi and Delhi School of Economics. He has been on advisory boards of many Institutions and University Departments, Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI) and was the Vice Chairman of Quality Committee on Education of QCI, Govt. of India. Member of the first Governing Council of the Rajasthan Science Congress, he was conferred the outstanding Education Leader Award 2012 by the School of Educators.Last Updated - 07 Aug 2015