Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
An alumnus of IIT Roorkee, Dr. P.N. Hrisheekesha is the Campus Director of Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC) Landran. A seasoned academician with 26 years of experience in teaching and research, Dr. Hrisheekesha has to his credit more than 41 research articles published in national and international journals of repute. He has been a research consultant for reputed industries and the chief editor of acclaimed international journals. Dr. Hrisheekesha has also authored many technical books. In addition to being a member of board of studies in various universities, he has worked as academic council member in reputed universities as well.
As Campus Director, his key responsibilities include strategic planning and managing academic affairs in addition to a host of others.
Dr. Hrisheekesha’s experience in the education industry
My association with the education industry has been thoroughly enriching as it has helped me evolve both as a person and professional besides providing me an opportunity to interact with fellow educators as well as students. The work-life balance has also been great. It has further helped me gain crucial insights into the expectations and aspirations of today’s youth and how we as educators can address and nurture the same. These are some of the key factors which make it the best industry to work in. Going forward, I see the education industry experiencing exponential growth. It would also have a crucial role to play when it comes to fulfilling the huge demand for skilled and competent human resource as created by businesses and corporates, in the coming time.
Dr. Hrisheekesha’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
For me, leadership is all about having a collaborative approach towards achieving our goals while being completely open to learning new things. It also means being receptive to receiving feedback and insights of one’s team members and utilizing them in the best possible manner while creating an environment of trust and loyalty. Two-way communication, providing opportunities to all team members to evolve as good leaders, integrity, empathy and compassion are the other crucial ingredients that help one become an effective leader. I would describe my leadership style as open and participative.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Hrisheekesha as the Campus Director of Chandigarh Group of Colleges
Managing an academic institution comes with its own set of challenges both expected and unexpected as well as dealing with expectations and outlook of faculty, students and the management all of whom belong to different age groups. Most of them are real-time challenges esp. on sensitive issues that need immediate attention. It is of paramount importance that these are addressed in a balanced manner, as also in the most appropriate fashion. Maintaining the quality of education and ensuring that the faculty remains updated with the latest trends and knowledge of their respective fields is yet another challenge as we are dealing with the future of the country. Maintaining discipline without impinging on students’ right to enjoy college life too is a significant challenge that one has to tackle on real-time basis.
Curriculum at Chandigarh Group of Colleges
We ensure that the syllabus framed by PTU is followed without any compromise. Internship opportunities, regular workshops, quality projects, guest lectures, seminars and industry visits all form a part of the curriculum providing our students with the best learning opportunities and exposure in their respective streams. Additional measures have been taken to fill the gap between industry requirements and curriculum, post a gap analysis conducted to understand the requirements of the industry. The analysis was also reinforced with feedback received from industries, recruiters and companies. CGC also has tie-ups with top multinationals like IBM and CISCO which have set up lab infrastructure in campus. CGC’s collaboration with Amazon will see the latter training our students in cloud computing through certificate courses on the subject. Further, CGC’s 360 degree Training and Placement Programme equips its students in acquiring skills for placements by sharpening their aptitudinal, technical, professional and interpersonal skills. It also focuses on ensuring overall personality development of the students to be ready for the corporate world. These practices have helped us enhance industry-academia interface and also ensured that our students are kept abreast with the latest trends in industry which, going forward, would help them become industry-ready professionals.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Chandigarh Group of Colleges
Placements remain one of CGC’s key USPs. A broad spectrum of companies visit our campus every year to hire students from across all the streams including Management, Engineering, Hotel Management, Computer Applications, Pharmacy, Biotechnology and Education. These include fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Microsoft, HP etc. Other top recruiters include Deloitte, Sapient, Hitachi, Technologies, L&T, TAFE, Schindler, Mahindra, Mindtree, PayU, Royal Enfield, Samsung, Tata Power, JSW Steel, Cipla, Tata Technologies, Lava, Hitachi, Godrej, Axis Bank, Taj, Oberoi, Jet Airways, IndiGo, Coffee Day Enterprises, ITC Ltd. and others. We at CGC are always in the perpetual process to scale up our efforts to provide our students the best of learning and placement opportunities. We have a specialized Training and Placement Programme (TPP) for our students which ensures that their logical skills, communication skills, personality development are honed in tandem with their academics. This training begins in their first semester and continues till the last helping them steal a march over their contemporaries when it comes to bagging the best in class placements.
In terms of pushing the envelope on the placements front, we aim to expand our accreditation circumference with both software and core industries. We have also started coaching classes in-campus, for our students aspiring to appear for civil services i.e. IAS, IFS, IPS and allied. CGC also has an Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) or Incubation/Startup Cell, with a view to provide mentorship to student entrepreneurs wishing to start their own businesses. Experts are invited to address and interact with students coaching, guiding and training them to hone their entrepreneurship skills. EDC also conducts five Entrepreneurship Awareness Camps each year apart from organizing events which provide students to showcase their start-up ideas and gain funding support from angel investors. Additionally, CGC’s Corporate Resource Centre is continually engaged in working round the clock to get the best MNCs to visit our campus for hiring. Apart from this, setting up centres of excellence, projects and labs with more reputed industries and consultancies is also in the pipeline.
Dr. Hrisheekesha’s relationship with the students
Our students are invaluable assets and we exercise a very strong, healthy and communicative bond with all of them. They have easy access to me and regularly share their suggestions, feedback and concerns by meeting me directly. Additionally, open houses, group interactions and social media platforms including email, facebook and WhatsApp are some of the key modes that students utilize, to reach me. At my end, I make sure that all their concerns are tended to and redressed in an appropriate and timely fashion. Additionally, CGC students who are pass-outs also remain in touch with us through our highly proactive and responsive DSW (Dean Student Welfare) department which has helped us forge a solid alumni network comprising over 20,000 CGCians rendering their services to various corporates across the globe.
Ideal school environment according to Dr. Hrisheekesha and how does he encourage that kind of culture at Chandigarh Group of Colleges
An ideal school environment entails having a student-centric approach. This includes managing the expectations of both students and their parents, ensuring the safety and security of all our students in-campus which includes that of students (both girls and boys) residing in hostels. We also have mentors for our students who guide them on all aspects and are their go-to person in case they have any issue that needs resolution and immediate attention. In addition to this, we have an ample number of curricular and co-curricular activities and events which keep them engaged in a productive fashion and ensure their holistic development by helping them balance their studies with recreation. In campus amenities like cafeterias like CCD, restaurants like SUBWAY, gyms, well maintained play grounds with basketball and football courts make it an ideal place of study. CGC’s location with easy accessibility to the railway station, bus station and airport including Chandigarh is also a cherry on top.
Top qualities according to Dr. Hrisheekesha that an aspiring engineer must possess
The exponential growth of engineering sector and the job prospects it creates make it quite evident that the future belongs to engineers. Students who aspire to make their mark as engineers should have consistent performance in academics, should be proactive in keeping themselves updated with the latest innovations and trends in the engineering domain they want to take up, hone their communication, aptitudinal skills, should be ready to work on personality development and related soft skills. They should also be inquisitive, research oriented, open to learning. Having strong moral values is also of utmost importance.
Goals in mind for Chandigarh Group of Colleges for the next few years
In the coming years, we aspire to make our group the best possible destination for students, faculty and corporates alike. CGC Landran’s glorious legacy had humble origins where it started with just 100 students in 2001. Today our campus hosts more than 15,000 students studying in 25 technical and professional programs imparted across 8 colleges. An impeccable placement record which sees national and international MNCs recruiting our students every year remains our USP. Going forward, we aim to reinforce CGC’s standing as one of North India’s best education institution imparting quality education backed with excellent placement opportunities.
Additionally, we also aim to expand our international tie-ups with global universities/colleges to provide our students with the best of global exposure and learning opportunities. We currently have collaboration with over 30 international universities/colleges with a couple of more in the pipeline. We are also in the process of strengthening our interface with key sectors including IT, Pharma, Biotech, etc. to reduce the gap between industry and academia helping us prepare more industry ready professionals in the future. Our understanding with global brands such as IBM, CISCO, Amazon Web Services and others, to set up research-oriented facilities in campus as well as impart trainings to our students through specialized certificate courses, underscores our efforts in this direction.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
I would suggest that young people should never give up, should keep dreaming and should empower themselves with the best education to become successful professionals and excellent human beings. However, it is also important for them to understand that regardless of the highly competitive environment they operate within, time tested values of patience, perseverance, resilience and faith in oneself would always help them achieve success. I wish all students reading this, the very best for their future!