Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Mr. Devinder Narain is presently working as the Director, Corporate Relations at Shobhit University Meerut. He has completed his Bachelor of Commerce from Delhi University, Post Graduate Diploma in System Analysis and Design in Information Technologies and Master in Business Management in Human Resource Management. He carries leadership roles in many professional organizations including corporate, Institutions and University. He has actively helped students and professionals of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and North Eastern states as motivator, trainer and counsellor in the field of profession and education.
Mr Narain is a founder member of STEP Student Transition and Empowerment Programme (an Initiative of Shobhit University) to guide and help school students in planning their career path. He is a motivator, trainer and counsellor with a leading multinational training company ‘Go- Training’. He is a visiting counsellor with the Institute of Counsellor Training Research and Consultancy (ICTRC). He is a visiting counsellor of Knowledge Confluence. He is further a member of the Centre for Education Growth and Research, New Delhi. He is a member of India Education Network, New Delhi. With profound knowledge, he is associated with Chhaya Foundation, an NGO which provides training and counselling to underprivileged students.
Acknowledging his contribution to society in the areas of education and other concerns, Mr Narain has been profusely honoured and awarded. He was awarded by the Centre for Education Growth and Research, New Delhi for his contribution to education. He is also awarded by the Indian education network, New Delhi for his contribution to Industry academia Interface. He has travelled widely in India to participate in various professional, educational activities, Motivator and as a Counsellor.
A fulfilling experience in the education industry
I started my career as an educationist, initially with the IT education sector. I worked in BRILLIANT COMPUTER EDUCATION and from there I actually realized that I love talking and I love discussing education with people. My first organization taught me the skill of counselling which normally psychologists are supposed to do. However, with that kind of exposure and experience, I automatically developed that skill and started discussing with students. I used to enjoy that session a lot.
Although I never thought of coming into this sector because my dream was to join forces. Unfortunately, due to certain reasons, I was unable to do that. But I love and enjoy this career profile. While working in the IT education sector in 1997 with one of the leading software company, during a discussion, it came to our minds to establish a technical institution. From there my journey for professional institution started. That was a turning point from IT corporate to technical and Professional Education. I calculated it, it was more than two decades of learning and hard work. Now, things automatically come from the heart. Today, if somebody will offer me a large amount of money to change my profession, I would simply say no. I love this profession and nowadays the role of career counsellor is more important.
I have been working at Shobhit University for more than 13 years now. I started my career with Shobhit University as a Marketing Manager then; I was promoted as the Head corporate relations. Last year I was promoted as Director. The position has given me authority as well as responsibility.
The role of a career counsellor
If we are talking in terms of career, earlier students were influenced by parents or teachers and the options were limited like Medical, Engineering, Commerce, or Humanities.
Today, the options are endless and so are the opportunities.
Students are more confused nowadays they are getting half cooked information from peers or online. People are communicating without an in-depth knowledge of the subject. Sometimes it is really difficult to find out what is wrong and what is right.
To help students, Shobhit University initiated a program called “STEP” (Student Transition and Empowerment Program). The basic objective of STEP is to provide career counselling to the students studying in villages.
I believe in teamwork rather than working in isolation
You are a captain because there is a team behind you. I am the Director today because my team has helped me in performing my responsibility successfully. Without a team of hard-working professionals, you cannot be a leader, no one will know you. I have always been thankful to my team who has always supported me 24*7. Definitely, my Team and family support are with me otherwise I wouldn’t have achieved what I am able to.
Sport is an important part of education
Sport teaches you discipline, teamwork, time management and inculcates leadership qualities in you.
If you think of education without sports, then it will be just partial education.
Being a sports person in my initial life, I personally believe that sports helped me in my overall grooming. Sports had taught me cooperation, teamwork, support and managerial skills.
At Shobhit University, we are having a traditional and modern sports facility like Gym, football, volleyball, Hockey, Badminton, Squash, field games and indoor games, sports help the students in overall grooming. The Shobhit University promotes Sports; the university produced and assisted National and International players in Boxing, softball, Cricket and Body Building etc.
Challenges are important to motivate us
You should only compete with one person: yourself.
The challenges are required, challenges motivate us. Every day we have different kinds of challenges.
The important thing is to realize that if you love your work your challenge becomes a motivation for you.
The curriculum ensures that University and Industry are constantly in touch. At Shobhit University the best thing is that our curriculum is industry–oriented. You may be surprised to know that the Shobhit University doesn’t have a placement cell. Instead, the Shobhit University is having a training and development cell. It is a firm belief of the university that placements are by-products of knowledge. A University must provide knowledge to the students, Placement/Job will automatically follow.
In 2006, after brainstorming with academician and Industry we did revolutionary changes in the University syllabus, especially in Engineering and Management. We introduced mandatory internships in the last/ Final semester. In B.Tech. courses offered in Shobhit University, the academic/ theory part of academics finishes in 7th semester, in 8th semester there is a mandatory internship. A mandatory responsibility of the university is to provide the internship to all eligible students. We talk to industries and say that our students are available for at least three months to work with.
Generally, industry takes engineering students after completing 4 years of degree and provide them training while paying them a handsome salary of Rs. 30 to Rs. 40 thousand per month. While trying the Shobhit University Internship model and by spending 30 or 40 thousand rupees Industry may hire three to four intern without any liability of hiring the students. Industry takes them as an intern; the student does all work as a full-fledged worker. Based on the performance during the internship period Industry may offer full employment or otherwise, Industry sends them back to the University, once a student completes their Internship with industry. Now, the benefit of this is that students are able to practice work in the actual environment. They are having 3 to 6 months of exposure prior to their completion of the degree as compared to the students of other universities even if they come back after completing an internship. The Shobhit University Training and Development Cell will easily provide them opportunities.
Industries are having the advantage that at the same cost they are having more manpower, more man-hours. So, definitely the productivity and output increase. After a certain period of time, when interns work in any organization for 6 months and increase the output, definitely, the organization wants them to continue and offer them a full-time career opportunity. So, automatically students get the desired career.
According to the students’ performance in their academics, we try to find a match for them. The student will not get their degree until they complete their internships as it is a part of their curriculum. The university and industry are in touch with each other. It is a holistic approach where we try to build students' career.
We ask our students whether they want to go for higher studies, government jobs, corporate jobs or any other thing. So, the students who are in the 6th semester can still get knowledge from us about their chosen career in their last year on the campus. They are advised to prepare themselves according to the industry.
The Shobhit University is having MOU with a number of corporates including Internshala, Monster.com, Cocubes, D Link, Microsoft and BMW etc. We are doing so many activities where the industry is coming to the University. Shobhit University is having a big infrastructure, any industry which wants to come and start a startup in university is welcomed. We may offer them cheap manpower who have knowledge and skill. They can start their KPOs and start manufacturing small products. For example, for our Shobhit University in Gangoh, we have diploma electrical students and mechanical students. We have 50 acres of land there. Mediocre industry in RO purifiers wants to come and start a venture with us. They will get our students free of cost and our students will get knowledge. So, both are getting benefits.
Shobhit University's management believes that universities should work together with the industries.
Teachers also learn from the students while teaching them
Yes, they will, students are always better teachers than anybody else. Whatever we are teaching them, they will explore it more. If a teacher teaches students, he/she will teach based on his knowledge and experience with an objective that student must score well in an examination. But the students explore subject beyond examination. Many time they think out of the box and come up with new ideas and concept and make the teacher think from the student point of view. If they bring it to the floor and discuss, honestly speaking, a teacher’s role changes and the teacher becomes a learner. A teacher is also a human being and doesn't know everything. If you want to be a good teacher, you should have it in you to be a good learner.
An Ideal college environment is where students feel free to ask any questions from the teachers
There are many factors involved to make an ideal college environment. According to me, students must have the liberty to ask questions and teachers must encourage them to ask whatever comes in student’s mind, even if the question not from the subject. A teacher must respond, even if a teacher doesn't know the answer they must be honest enough to tell that I don't know and I will explore it and will come back to you, that is the best environment according to me.
Wherever I go, whenever I talk to students, my first objective is that they should ask questions because without asking questions they won't be able to learn. It also creates a good relationship between teachers and students as well.
Goals for the university includes providing high-quality education to the students
The University is a place where we nurture knowledge; the prime goal of any University must be, providing high- quality education to the students. The life is all about growth and development. As the director of Corporate Relations at Shobhit University, my aim and objective are to provide an opportunity for the students to help them in enhancing need base knowledge and create a hunger to learn new. At Shobhit University we are able to nurture them for the world and not only for the country. I am proud that students of Shobhit University are representing the country in different parts of the world.
The students are the flag bearers of the University. You will never forget your school or university throughout your life, it holds much importance in everybody's lives and that is why we should do our roles efficiently.
Suggestions for the aspiring students
Know yourself and enjoy life. If they know themselves, they will know what they want to do, they will always have positive thoughts. If they have positive thoughts, then success will automatically come to them.
Today I was studying an article in the newspaper about good luck and bad luck. The author says that good luck and bad luck are your positive and negative thinking. If you start thinking positive, then automatically good luck will come to you. You will have to take care of what your gut feeling says and what are your risk-taking capacities. So, if I know myself then I will know my strength and weaknesses. And the day I will know my weaknesses and strength then I will be able to plan out things for myself.