Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Dr. Chetan Bajaj is a Senior Professor at IFIM Business School. He is a pass out from IIM- Bangalore and has completed his M.Com. from Delhi School of Economics. With an experience of over 35 years in prestigious institutions like PWC, Apollo Tyres, Kirloskar, MDI Gurgaon etc., Dr. Bajaj has been Consultant to some of the World’s top MNCs including Kellogg’s, Philip Morris, Pepsi, AT&T, DCM group, HMT, KOEL etc. He has conducted over 100 MDPs for and trained over 4,000 senior managers in the industry. He has also headed Marketing function at Enexco Technologies, a German MNC.
Apart from this, Dr. Chetan Bajaj has authored 5 books and published in leading Journals and has also been a visiting faculty member with some of the top Business Schools in India and abroad including IIMs, Antwerp University etc.
Dr. Chetan’s experience in the education sector
My experience in the education sector has been fantastic. This sector gives us an opportunity to groom leaders, entrepreneurs, change managers of tomorrow, as well an opportunity to build a great nation.
Dr. Chetan’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
Leadership means aligning and inspiring all stakeholders to move forward towards a common goal. My leadership style is participative as in business school faculty members, who are highly educated and have to be motivated to evolve a common ground for the growth of the business school.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Chetan in IFIM Business School
The challenge before a professor is multifold, including in IFIM Business School. It is to keep up with a changing environment where knowledge is exploding and to keep updated with the latest knowledge, to innovate new pedagogies to engage students and establish a connection. Next challenge is to research and publish extensively to remain relevant as a professional. Inspiring the students to explore themselves, build concepts and skills and right attitude to become leaders of tomorrow requires that the professor be very versatile and dynamic.
Dr. Chetan on how his experience as the Director of ISB&M, Bengaluru has helped him in IFIM Business School
I have been the Director of various B-Schools including ISB&M and Jain University etc. for almost 14 years. As a Director, I got an opportunity to see the big picture, interact with many very capable intelligent and motivated individuals. I got an opportunity at IFIM to share my ideas and experiences with management and faculty members. I got a taste of leadership positions and change management as a Director. This is what my students at IFIM are now preparing for. I can, thus, foresee the type of challenges they will face and type of skills they need to acquire. This greatly facilitates interaction with students.
The growth of students through placement opportunities available at IFIM Business School
IFIM has a strong placement department with very good placements. With AACSB Accreditation now, the interest of Corporate sector in IFIM students will go up further.
In previous institutions, I have been involving students in their placement processes. The students actively build relationships with corporate executives and make formal presentations. The huge energy which the students bring to the placement process greatly push the envelope.
You don’t become a leader some day in future. You become a leader today or never. The students have a great role in pushing the envelope to unimaginable heights. They should be accountable for their growth. I like to see more student involvement all-around.
Dr. Chetan’s relationship with the students
I establish relationships with students by being one of them. I move out with them participating in their activities in the town and even outside. I even engage in Sports, Dance, and Music with students. Informal relationship with students and friendship formed with students outside the classroom go a long way in Challenging and Motivating students to strive for reaching great heights and actualize their potential.
Ideal school environment according to Dr. Chetan and how he encourages that kind of culture at IFIM Business School
Marketing is the heart of business. Without top line, there is no bottom line. Having said that, business today is becoming more cross-functional. Students pursuing Marketing Specialization have to understand the dynamics of other functions. They should be self- initiated for Leaders do not need to be Driven, they are the movers who shake the World, with their initiation.
Top qualities according to Dr. Chetan, that an aspiring Sales and Marketing student must possess
Sales and marketing as any other business professional should have an open mind, always willing to explore, learn, develop and have the ability to connect with and build relationships with people having diverse taste and background.
Goals in mind for IFIM Business School for the next few years
IFIM should stand out. Stand out as a unique institution developing leaders who have a different approach – are continuously employable and yet socially responsible citizens. They should have a global orientation and willing to experiment and bring change at the workplace.
The faculty members at IFIM in partnership with students should break boundaries and create new knowledge, becoming trendsetters for new ideas and innovations
Dr. Chetan on where he sees India in the field of Sales and Marketing 5 years down the line
There will be spiraling demand for marketing professionals – but only for those who demonstrate performance, who are great networkers and can work to improve the customers lifestyle and businesses and who can work with people from diverse cultures, functional streams and with different ideas; who improve continuously acquiring new knowledge and skills including in Database Management, Digital Marketing, Technology; and who are creative, innovative and have a broad worldview.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
The world is what the youth will make it. There are huge opportunities and demanding challenges ahead of you. You should see yourself in the mirror every day and find how you much have you changed – as you have to re-invent yourself every day, to keep pace with change and to become the change agent. You have to acquire knowledge and new skills, every day. You can provide thought leadership only by keeping ahead of the times.