Interview by Yash Panchal
Professor S C Sharma is the Director of IBS Gurgaon. He has been with IBS Gurgaon since 2010 and took over as Director IBS Gurgaon in December 2014. He belongs to the Indian Economic Service, a batch of 1971 and is an economist, having highly versatile experience of over 48 years in economic and financial analysis, management and teaching. He has worked at various policy analysis levels in the Government of India including the ministries of Finance, Industry, Cabinet Secretariat, etc. He studied at University of Delhi (Institute of Economic Growth), Bath University, England and Pennsylvania University, USA.
During 1983-85 he was the Chief Research Officer in the office of the Economic Advisor, Ministry of Industry and was the head of the Industrial Finance Division. He also assisted Secretary/Additional Secretary in Department of Industrial Development who was on the Board of Export-Import Bank of India, Industrial Development Bank of India, Industrial Finance Corporation of India and Industrial Credit & Investment Corporation of India in project appraisal and formulation of comments on the Board Notes of these institutions. He was Economic Advisor, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) in the late 80s. He, along with other experts, visited Japan and South Korea in December 1988 to study the Competitiveness of Indian Steel Plants in comparison to the best steel plants of the world and prepared a Report for Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices. He was a member of sub-group on Steel Sector for 8th Five Year Plan.
Prof. Sharma has also worked on a book titled - "The corporate Story of HUDCO 1970-1995". In June 2011, Prof Sharma was invited to Shanghai, China by Carnegie Corporation of New York to participate in a Symposium on Global Financial Crisis and the Future of International Monetary System. He has travelled abroad extensively to organize and participate in International seminars, workshops, panel discussions, etc. He has been the Editor of two reputed Journals in the field of management and has a considerable published research work to his credit.
The most vital sector of the economy is the education sector
Education sector (industry) is the most vital sector of the economy and the society as it is instrumental in shaping the minds of the present generation by imparting knowledge, skills and positive attitudes. It emphasizes the need for lifelong learning by going beyond the formal channels of education. While on the one hand, education should promote livelihoods, make students employable, equip them with skills capable of generating larger value in a digitizing world and contribute to improving their overall quality of life, on the other, it should endeavor to connect the youth with the core values on which our civilization and culture has been built. Side by side, education should promote scientific temperament at the societal level.
During my over forty-five years of rich and fulfilling association with education, training, research, consultancy, advocacy, and public policy, I have realized that education industry provides maximum freedom and abundant opportunities for experimentation and expression of creativity.
Interacting with young and inquisitive minds is a highly refreshing experience which no other profession can provide
Each time you deliver a course, you become wiser. You can see and feel that you are evolving.
Challenge for enhancing the brand of IBS Gurgaon
ICFAI Business School is a highly valued brand. The industry has reposed infinite faith in the quality of management education imparted by us and finds our students industry-ready. Corporate needs to invest minimally in the training of our students because of our close and continuous interface with the corporate at every stage of their preparation.
The reputation of IBS brand, both in the eyes of corporate and students, has to be further enhanced. It will always remain “work in progress “. There are no limits to the creativity of students and faculty.
As Director of ICFAI Business School, my primary concern is to create a climate of intellectual discourse, inquiring mind and the free flow of thoughts leading to an enhanced level of knowledge generation and dissemination. Further, at the institutional level, the nature of challenges is inextricably linked to the ever-changing opportunities thrown up by domestic and global developments in industry and economy.
The curriculum of IBS Gurgaon
ICFAI Business School believes in close and continuous interaction with industry. This is achieved in several ways.
- Firstly, the syllabus for various courses is being continuously redesigned and aligned with changing industry needs. New subjects have been introduced to cater to specific needs of various sectors and companies.
- Secondly, most of our faculty are drawn from industry. Many of them have worked at the board level or assisted the board in decision making. This exposure is suitably blended with conceptual knowledge and delivered through case studies, live projects, action learning, etc.
- Thirdly, senior practising professionals teach courses and share the latest developments and practices with the students in a structured manner.
- Fourthly, our summer internship of 14 weeks and deliberations that follow provide insight to students in decision making.
- Fifthly, many of our students visit advanced economies of the west and are exposed to best international practices in manufacturing, FMCG, retail and other sectors of the global economy.
- Sixthly, mock interviews are conducted for each and every student and feedback is provided by a practising industry professional.
- Seventhly, ICFAI has an alumni base of nearly 50,000 professionals, occupying senior positions in industry. Hardly a day passes without some alumni not being present on the campus. Students’ connection with the alumni is really a superb source for developing insight into the best practices of industry and knowledge sharing.
All these strengths and initiatives provide excellent exposure to our students of happenings and best practices in the industry.
Goals of being captured by the corporates
The primary goal, which I envisage for ICFAI Business School, is to see the corporate vying with each other to absorb our students. This needs continuous efforts for Institution building which is always an exciting experience. It requires the development of perspective and capacity of the leader to communicate it to all stakeholders.
We have been in existence for more than twenty years. We have an All- India presence. Our endeavour has all along been to excel in every field of management education, namely knowledge assimilation, knowledge generation through active research, knowledge dissemination and knowledge application by closely working with industry.
Ensuring the quality of education in IBS Gurgaon
The quality of education and its relevance for industry depend on several factors including the course content and its close alignment with industry needs, methods deployed for transmission of knowledge, etc. The entire approach to academic delivery has to be student-centric and aim at engaging the student throughout the teaching-learning process. Continuous evaluation of students and regular feedback to faculty on their teaching quality create a competitive environment for one and all.
I have been placing special emphasis on situational and experiential learning. The thrust of this approach is to discourage rote learning and bookish orientation. We endeavour to bring market reality into the classroom. All possible tools and approaches are being used to achieve the intended outcome.
A healthy and open relationship with the students
I believe that students have to be at the center of all curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities from day one. IBS Gurgaon achieves it through over two dozens of clubs and cells which are managed by students and facilitated by faculty.
I follow an open door policy wherein students can approach and interact with me on academic, professional and personal pursuits
Besides, I have been continuously interacting with students in formal settings - classroom discussions, club meetings, addressing focus groups, formal addresses to large groups in Auditorium, and in informal situations as well.
Continuous innovation to enhance placements prospects and pushing the envelope further
ICFAI Business School has been continuously innovating to enhance placement prospects of students.
We have, over the years, developed a highly elaborate set of initiatives which identify the potential of each student and also the gaps which need to be worked upon. Placement preparations commence along with the commencement of the first semester.
All members of the faculty, including soft skill trainers, closely work with the students all throughout. Language Lab, advanced excel training, psychometric tests, regular interactions with senior industry leaders and host of other creative interventions equip the students in a comprehensive manner.
In brief, we closely work on shaping the personality and attitude of our students. It is a very subtle and invisible process in which faculty, corporate, and alumni play an active role. Our endeavour would be to make the placement process more customized, both from the viewpoint of students and recruiters. On the recruiter front, high priority is assigned to expanding the corporate network through a regular and continuous interface.
Energetic leadership style
An enthusiastic and energetic leadership with cheerful disposition is critical to the overall performance of the organization. A true leader has to lead from the front and practice what he is preaching to others. Patience is a great virtue for a leader. I believe that a leader should be easily accessible and encourage participation by all levels of employees in decision making as good ideas can come from anyone. He should be free from ostentations and biases. I am making best efforts to live all this.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
The present generation of students is very well informed and adept at people handling. They are bold, confident and courageous. They are more exploratory than earlier generations. They are Tech-driven and spend a large part of their precious time on social media. It is good to combine fun with work and be interested in knowing what is happening to others. It is equally important that they should follow a comprehensive approach for their all-round development. The student should be a keen learner. His interests should go beyond the narrow confines of career building. He should take interest in diverse societal issues. His thought process should always reflect the solution finding approach.
At the same time, the present day youth should be well advised to remember two basic facts of life. One, that there is no shortcut to success, and necessary hard work, perseverance, commitment, and patience must be inculcated in due measure. Second, that there is no end to learning. Learning has to be a lifelong process.