An eminent educationist and visionary, S. Satnam Singh Sandhu is a Chancellor, Chandigarh University and Founder Chairman of Chandigarh Group of Colleges. A great exponent of creative capitalism, he is a leader who is constantly working towards bringing in reforms in the education sector of India.
Ques 1: Being the Chancellor of Chandigarh University, kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
Ans. My experience in the education field has been rather fulfilling. Before the creation of Chandigarh University, I have been the Chairman of Chandigarh Group of Colleges which we established in 2001. CGC Group made its presence felt with quality education and became the most favored destination for both students and corporate recruiters. As a college, we have been awarded number of awards, ranking, and accreditations. Thereafter, Chandigarh University was established in 2012 and has been acknowledged for its quality and excellence.
As a University, we have been able to make a significant contribution to the careers of thousands of students. In fact, a rough estimate will be around thirty thousand students across 500 companies. We are grooming the future professional leaders, helping the industry attain new heights through young talents and according to country’s growth with innovative techno-professionals.
Ques 2: What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
Ans. According to me, leadership means leading by example and creating a conscious environment for company’s success.
I personally believe in strong decentralized hierarchy and considering one’s self first among equals which further allows you to have a transparent and independent approach.
Ques 3: Any of the significant challenges you faced as the Chancellor of Chandigarh University?
Ans. Given the traditional approach in education, the most challenging aspect was to create a niche for private education institute. Focusing on the new-age approach to encourage change in decades-old methodologies hasn’t been easy. Introducing international approach towards learning and mapping the same as per industry requirements has been a hard-hitting task.
Ques 4: Chandigarh University is in Top 3 Private University as per India Today 2017. Tell us about the efforts in taking it to that level and how do you plan to take the University to greater heights?
Ans. Inception on which Chandigarh University was ready on two strong factors:
- Student-centric approach
- To be globally positioned
We are thinking from new generations’ perspective- their aspirations and how they can be placed globally as valued professionals and considerate human beings.
Given the current shift in global workplaces, we have created our curriculum that is comparable and globally acceptable. The delivery of content is done by faculty which has been groomed at Premier National & International institutes. We are bringing industry and academic leaders on one platform to prepare our students for global challenges ahead.
For quality assurance, we have created a unique Corporate Advisory Board with more than 150 senior functionaries from top multinationals companies as its members. Department of Career Development in the University is grooming students in soft skills, cognitive approach and making them well versed with technology skills. To help budding entrepreneurs, Technology Business Incubator has been setup with the help of Department of Science & Technology.
For us, it is all about an outcome-based approach. World is changing at fast pace and so are we.
Ques 5: When heading an Educational University, it is very important to have a dynamic approach towards both student and faculty development. How do you achieve that?
Ans. Chandigarh University regularly organizes industry-led seminars, workshops, projects and research work for both students and faculty.
Students are exposed to latest technologies via multifaceted advanced labs established by industry on University premises. Corporate mentoring workshops led by eminent industry leaders are organized fortnightly and students are constantly engaged in project works to understand real-time work approach.
As for faculty, development program is organized annually in which we create a right mix of industry, subject matter experts, and international academicians. Apart from this, faculty is engaged in joint research and participates in various national and international conferences regularly. Chandigarh University has created a right mix of theoretical and experiential learning for both faculty and students to keep them relevant as per industry and global standards.
Ques 6: Your University has students coming from different backgrounds as well as different states of the country. How do you build a positive culture or climate among the students?
Ans. Chandigarh University boasts of a culturally diverse environment at the campus. We have students from 29 Indian States, 5 Union Territories, and 32 Nations. Being a part of Chandigarh University, our students become part of a community which has created an amazing platform for all ethnicities.
Department of Student Welfare encourages students to mingle and share their cultures via cultural events organized quarterly. Language barrier is taken care with communication classes introduced in the beginning of the session. Accommodation arrangements are done in such a way that all students are mingled and not separated as per their geography.
Under cultural exchange programs organized by Office of International Relations, our students are visiting various partner Universities worldwide and we host students from Europe, USA, Canada and South-East Asia. These initiatives give our students to experience and extend their horizons and grooms them to become ‘global professionals’.
Ques 7: Your University is now in ‘Limca Book of Records’ for Highest Number of Companies for Campus Placements in a single academic year. How do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available at Chandigarh University? How do you wish to push the envelope further?
Ans. Indeed, it has been a successful journey and it does take lots of team effort to make such recognitions possible. For us, job placement is not the ultimate goal, we are concentrating on enabling students to have a lifelong success in their chosen profession.
As mentioned earlier, Department of Career Development grooms our students with strong foundation in soft skills, personality enhancement, and IT skills. Apart from this, we also provide choice to pursue careers in civil and defense services.
The quality of companies that visit us repeatedly stands testimony to the fact that Chandigarh University has created a niche as the ‘University with Best Placements’ in India. Chandigarh University’s widespread alumni network in top MNC’s such as Amazon, Microsoft, SAP Labs, Deloitte, L&T, Tata Technologies, Samsung Engineering, HP, IBM, Cognizant and other prestigious corporate has facilitated growth in number of selections every year making it as the most preferred destination for campus recruitments both nationally and internationally.
We aim at bringing more corporates to the campus to give our students opportunities to initiate their careers in dream companies.
Ques 8: How do you tend to establish a relation with the students being the Chancellor of the University? How do you make yourselves available to them?
Ans. As mentioned earlier, Chandigarh University is a Student-centric University. As a major stakeholder in the University, our students are a part of Board of Studies, Advisory Committees, and our Ambassadors.
Open houses which take place in beginning of each semester allow students to interact directly with the management, raise their concerns, clear doubts and give us feedback. This unique initiative allows us to improve our working as an educational institute.
I have adopted an open-door policy which means students can approach me at any point of the day during working hours or can contact via an email.
Ques 9: Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
Ans. There are no shortcuts in life, to be successful you need to work hard and smart. I personally believe that students should follow their passion along with regular studies because one would always be successful in what he/she loves to do.