Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Colonel Vijay Bakshi was commissioned into the Indian Army in June 1979. An alumnus of the National Defense Academy at Khadakwasla, Pune, Colonel Vijay Bakshi (Retired) is a graduate from the Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) and a post-graduate from Annamalai University. In his career spanning 36 years, he has been an instructor at Premier Category ‘A’ training establishments of Armed forces, something that he is carrying with him in his second career.
Having retired from active service in April 2015, Colonel Bakshi joined IFIM Business School as an Associate Professor and the Head of the Department of the Personality Enhancement Program (PEP) since October 2015. Dressing, grooming, discipline, punctuality, behavior, social and dining etiquette have become second nature to the officer and hence he takes great pride in not only setting a personal example by leading from the front but also ensuring that the same are imbibed by all the students at IFIM.
Personality is all about an individual’s appearance, bearing, dressing, grooming, walking, talking and social conduct. By implementing the Personality Enhancement Program, encompassing all the above-mentioned activities, the students at IFIM Business School are transformed into holistic personalities that make them unique and distinct managers and leaders, who are also continuously employable owing to these qualities. Physical appearance being a special part of an individual’s personality, Colonel Bakshi ensures not just his own physical fitness by following his Army routine of morning physical training, but also makes sure that his students undergo the morning “Wellness Program” by participating in various activities such as Aerobics/Zumba, Yoga, Gym and Sports/Games thrice a week on alternate days. The program finds great favor with the students, who find it quite unique, refreshing and entertaining at the same time. The punch line of the program is “A healthy body has a healthy mind”.
Col Vijay Bakshi’s experience in the education sector
After serving the Indian Army for over three and a half decades, I moved into the education sector in 2015 and the experience has been a fruitful one. I joined IFIM Business School as an Associate Professor and HOD of Personality Enhancement Program, a program that aims at developing well-groomed and confident personalities, a unique program. It took me a while to get accustomed to the civilian working style but still, the experience has been quite challenging, fruitful and rewarding.
I feel that the education industry is the best industry to work in since it gives us an immense scope of innovating and makes us responsible for shaping the future of the country. This is where the future of our country is groomed, nurtured and developed and there is no other profession nobler than the education industry in the country. The thrilling part of working in this industry is that you get a chance to contribute towards the future growth and development of the country; it is just like serving the nation in a noble way.
Col Vijay Bakshi’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
Being the HOD of Personality Enhancement Program, I got a chance to handle a strong and committed team of 7 more individuals. Leadership, according to me, is the ability to influence a team towards the achievement of a common objective and in this case, it is the mission of the Institution. It is the art of developing a sense of belonging, pride, and commitment to the team members so that the team works together towards the achievement of our mission and objectives.
If I introspect my own leadership style, I believe that I am a mix of the democratic and participative style of leadership. I believe in involving every team member in the day to day functioning of the department and various other decision-making processes. I believe in Teamwork, empowering my team members to take up responsibilities, being answerable, accountable and responsible for my actions, being brave and courageous and being a strong follower of integrity, honesty, morality, humility, and commitment. At times, I also need to be autocratic because being democratic does not work all the time in every situation.
Significant challenges faced as the HOD of IFIM
The process of Learn, Unlearn and Relearn was a challenge as the HOD of Personality Enhancement Program. The department used to function in a particular way prior to my appointment. But I had to take some strong calls to change some of the functioning for the betterment of the organization. Adjusting to the civilian way of life was another challenge that I tackled well.
Curriculum in IFIM Business School
The Personality Enhancement Program focusses on the Lifestyle and Life Skills aspects. The Life Skills covers the areas of Business Communication, Interpersonal Skills and Leadership, Professional Development and Corporate readiness, whereas the Lifestyle program covers the aspects of Strength Training, Flexibility, and Endurance by getting the students involved in Gym, Aerobics, Zumba, Yoga and Sports, and Games. The entire curriculum is designed by the team and approved by a BOS (Board of Studies) comprising of many notable academicians and industry stalwarts. The curriculum is also prepared by taking into consideration the feedback from the industry as well on a regular basis. The curriculum development process ensures that we follow the best industry practices in terms of Knowledge, skills, and attitude so that every single student becomes continuously employable. Incidentally, we are the only B School in the country implementing this program leading to a Holistic development of every student’s personality. We have further refined this program in a period spanning the last five years.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at IFIM Business School
As the HOD of Personality Enhancement Program, I feel that the placement scenario is doing quite well in IFIM. The average package of 7.2 Lac INR per annum and the highest package of 16.5 Lac INR per annum bears testimony to the same. Companies from various sectors come to IFIM for recruitment of our students. Many of our alumni are presently occupying prestigious positions in the corporate world and that is not only a matter of pride for us but also assists us partially in our placements.
I also feel that there is a tremendous opportunity lying in the overseas job market and we, as an institution are focusing on getting more companies from abroad to visit our campus for recruiting our students.
Col Vijay Bakshi’s relationship with the students being the HOD of IFIM
In Personality Enhancement Program, we encourage a lot of student-faculty interaction. Students are the backbone of any institution, and at Personality Enhancement Program, we encourage quality interactions between the students and the faculty members. Students can approach any faculty member at any time during the day. We have created various Whatsapp groups as well to facilitate these interactions. As part of the Personality Enhancement Program, it is our duty to be available to address students’ issues and I, as the HOD am available to the students throughout the day.
Ideal school environment according to Col Vijay Bakshi and how does he encourage that kind of culture at IFIM Business School
An ideal school environment will be the one which provides the wherewithal and guidance for an intellectual, creative and an innovative mind to flourish. Some core values of life should be imparted viz honesty, integrity, morality, ethics, attitude, punctuality and discipline. A system of reward and punishment would automatically ensure that the culture becomes a way of life at the school.
Top qualities according to Col Vijay that an aspiring PGDM/BBA/Law student must possess
Some of the qualities that a student must possess according to me are-
- Good oral as well as written communication skills.
- Well-groomed and well-dressed personality.
- Good knowledge on current affairs.
- The right sets of attitudes, mannerisms, and behavior.
- Good domain knowledge.
- High level of confidence.
Goals in mind for IFIM Business School for the next few years
As the HOD of Personality Enhancement Program, I have the following goals set in my mind;
- To be among the top ten B-Schools in the country.
- To achieve excellence in teaching, high quality of student engagement and ensuring that the curriculum meets the needs of the society.
- To nurture and develop a strong support system.
- To develop a quality and productive, work, study and learning environment aimed at engaging the entire college.
- Maintaining a strong commitment to excellence through professional development.
- Excel in the field of personality development and aim to move closer towards the achievement of the mission.
- Effective allocation of resources to deliver high-quality education.
- To provide and cultivate effective leadership.
- To support the Institute’s commitment to develop holistic, socially responsible and continuously employable professionals.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
I would suggest the students to-
- Always set a goal in life and formulate a strategy to achieve that goal.
- Be committed towards your own development.
- Enhance your creativity and innovation.
- Work on your oral and written communication skills.
- Focus on your grooming and personal hygiene.
- Keep yourself abreast with the happenings of the world.
- Know your purpose and choose the career that helps you to fulfill your purpose.
- Think Big, Dream Big and Achieve Big.
- Be a role model and an inspiration to others.
- Nurture and develop leadership qualities.
- Be a socially responsible citizen.