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Vellore Institute of Technology - [VIT University], Vellore

Vellore, Tamil Nadu AICTE, UGC Estd 1984 Deemed University
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Interview: Prof. M J Xavier, Executive Director, VIT University

Q. As an Executive Director of VIT University, what are you looking forward to most?

A- "My primary responsibility is to make the VIT Business school a desired destination for managerial education for both fresh students as well as working professionals by adding new programs that are relevant to the market and those that take advantage of the whole University.

Additionally I would like to contribute my best to take VIT University to better ranking in the global arena by strengthening research, employing new educational technologies and working on the public relations on the physical as well as the social media."

VIT Entrance

Q. How close are you to the goals and objectives you set when you became the Executive Director, VIT University?

A- "Things do not happen overnight as we are a large University with more than 30000 students. I am happy with the progress made so far."

Q. What drove you towards engineering?

A- "Those days it was considered very prestigious to get in to engineering and hence I did engineering to satisfy my parents. Though IIMs were relatively lesser known institutions, I went to IIM Calcutta to pursue my passion."

VIT Arial View

Q. Being an alumni of IIM Calcutta and a Founding Director of IIM Ranchi, what advice will you give to students seeking admission at VIT University?

A- "Whether one joins VIT University or any other please, education today is about acquiring skills and knowledge. The students have to be self motivated and go beyond the curriculum and learn on their own. We at VIT stress on this aspect of learning to learn and life-long learning in the  minds of students. Things change rapidly and one has to be a self learner to survive in this ever changing environment.

Additionally, VIT has a fantastic placement record. It is mainly because our students get enough opportunities to develop their personality and skills during their stay with us."

Q. Can you enlighten us on the vision of VIT University?

A- "Our Founder and Chancellor Dr. G Viswanathan’s vision is to provide quality higher education on par with Internationally best Universities. We have been consistently ranked the best private University in the country. We have remained the best private engineering Institution for  a fairly long period. In terms of research, we are the third largest producer of scientific research papers in the country. We are rated on par with IITs in terms of the quality of education,research, infrastructure and placements." 

VIT Prof

Q. Your book, Strategic Marketing, won the DMA Escorts Award for the Best Management Book of the Year 1999. What’s more in store? Is any other book in the offing?

A- "As one grows older, you get naturally drawn to a larger purpose in life. I am working on a book on ‘spirituality for success’."

Q. What challenges are ahead in engineering education?

A- "The biggest challenge today is bridging the disconnect between industry and education. Like every Medical college, we should have a tech park attached to every engineering college. Our faculty should be consultants to companies in the tech park, so that they can bring practical problems and cases in to the class room. Currently we have a technology incubation center within VIT University. We plan to add a technology warehouse and an accelerator too. Apart from this we conduct Hackathan every year where the students get opportunities to crack practical problems posed by large, medium and small companies. Making students employment ready is another challenge. We have a large number of personality development and soft skills courses built into our curriculum to enhance their employability."

VIT Prof

Q. What makes VIT University stand out from the rest?

A- "Our greatest inspiration and strength is our Chancellor. He considers himself a student for life. When most people of his age had hung up their boots, he went to Harvard to do the Advanced Management Programme. With a mind set of an inquisitive student, he knows what best to give to students. He always scouts for the best faculty and has provided the best labs and infrastructure for students.

As a patriotic Indian, he has always strived to make VIT a world class institution. We already have students from more than 26 countries studying in VIT. One of our alumni has recently become the education Minister of Botswana."

Q. Are there any new programs that you are excited to launch?

A- "We are launching an Executive MBA on business analytics which draws on the strength of the whole University. The faculty for this program will be drawn from Business, Computer Science, Mathematics and Languages (for Text Analytics) departments. Stand alone MBA institutions cannot match our strengths. We have also tied up industry and international institutions for this program."

Q. Does VIT have any major tie-ups with International Universities?

A- "We have tie-ups with more than 126 Universities around the world for students and faculty exchanges. Our MBA students have the option of spending the second year with Michigan University in the US. Our engineering faculty and students go on a number of exchange programmes and we also attract global students to VIT."

Q. What’s your take on Employability Vs Placements?

A- "There is a major criticism that the present education system produces functional illiterates who are not employment ready. This is mainly because of a disconnect between what is taught and what the industry needs. This needs to be bridged. Organizations are not so much concerned with the grades, but look for the right skills and attitudes. We are moving to flipped-class room model so that the students can spend more time on the field working on practical problems."

Top Companies that visit VIT

Q. What’s your view on the growth of B-schools?

A- "B-Schools are there to stay. But the programme mix will undergo a lot of changes. As opposed to the general MBA, we can see the emergence of sectoral programmes such as  Health care management, telcom management, retail management, hospitality management  etc.  Apart from the two year programme, flexible programmes to suit the needs of working people are being floated by b-schools. A number of online programmes are also gaining currency. Of course, there are a few Universities that thrive on online education by providing degrees to everyone who enroll, irrespective of whether they learn or not. They all will slowly fade away as degree for the sake of degree is of no use. Undergraduate programmes will outnumber the traditional MBA soon as industry is disenchanted with the MBAs."

Q. According to you, what does VIT needs the most?

A- "VIT has excelled in teaching, research and placements. We have been a little publicity shy. In today’s world of self promotion, I would like to see all round improvement in our promotional materials, website and communication with the outside world.

We employ information technology effectively for managing the university administration. We have started using educational technology such as class-room capture solutions, paperless examination tools, video lectures etc. I would like to see the speed of implementation to be increased."

Q. Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth?

A- "You are living in a world of great opportunities – media, films, health, e-commerce, design, advertising, IT security, spirituality (become a yoga teacher) and so on. Please follow your passion. Do not try to satisfy the unfulfilled needs of your parents. Do not chase money but look for areas that give you the greatest happiness and satisfaction. Money will chase you. All the best to all of you."

Brief Bio: Prof. M J Xavier

Prof. M J Xavier obtained his Doctorate in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in the year 1984. He has been a teacher, trainer and consultant for close to 30 years. He has authored three books and published more than 100 articles in Journals and Magazines in India and Abroad. His book `Marketing in the New Millennium’ won the DMA-Escorts Award for the Best Management Book of the Year 1999. He has taught in premier Institutions like IIM Bangalore, XLRI Jamshedpur, IFMR Chennai, Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai and IIM Ranchi. He has served as Visiting Faculty to a number of business schools in India and abroad including The University of Buckingham, U.K., Post Graduate Institute of Management, Sri Lanka, American university of Armenia in Armenia, The Texas Christian University, U.S.A.,  California Polytechnic State University, U.S.A. and S P Jain Institute of Management, Singapore and Dubai. He is currently serving as the   Executive Director at VIT University. His research interests include CRM, market analytics, strategic marketing and spirituality. He is a recipient of more than 10 awards for academic excellence & leadership.

Also Read:

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