Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Dr. C. Gopalkrishan is currently the Director of PDPU-SPM. His educational qualification includes Ph.D. in Economics from Gujarat University in the year 1990. His professional affiliation includes IIMA, IRMA, MICA and BK School of Management.
Dr. C. Gopalkrishnan’s experience in the education sector
I am presently the Director at the School of Petroleum Management, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. I am also interim Director General at the Gujarat Energy Research & Management Institute (GERMI), the parent organization of PDPU and had also been interim Director General at PDPU.
Before joining PDPU, I was the Director at the Institute of Management, Nirma University and Dean of Doctoral Studies at the Nirma University.
I have also served as a Professor at the BK School of Management and had taught as a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Institute of Rural Management, Anand, and at MICA.
In the field of professional education, it is satisfying to the teacher that he is one of the important players in the transformation process of students into professionals of excellence. In the process, the teacher also contributes to turn the student into employable individuals, who in turn contribute to higher generation of income of the country. Education, therefore, is the key contributor of the development of the country.
Dr. C. Gopalkrishnan’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
I do not know whether I have a particular style to talk of me; my method of dealing with situations depends upon the situations. In situations where empathy is called for, I try to be empathetic, where cooperation is called for, I attempt for a cooperative solution, and where toughness is required, I try to be tough. Generally, I am highly democratic in decision making and trust people. I personally believe that if there is enough delegation of tasks, people generally try to do their best if rewards are also associated with achievements. To conclude, I think my style could be described as situational.
Dr. C. Gopalkrishnan on how he has assessed the effectiveness of teaching and learning in PDPU- SPM, Gandhinagar
One of the indirect tests of effectiveness of teaching is the placement itself. We at the school have 100% placement, which in a way is an assurance of our quality. However, we take feedback from the recruiters and try to take corrective measures, if any from time to time. We also consult alumni and the employers on the quality of our students.
We generally follow a mix of case method and concept teaching. Tools and techniques and analytics get emphasis in the system. The school reviews the syllabi every year based on the changes in the market place and economy. Senior industry representatives and alumni are involved in these meetings. The school follows continuous evaluation pattern. Also, component-wise grading is an important aspect of the evaluation system.
Visiting faculty from the industry, seminars and conferences, management conclaves, and exposure to visiting experts are the other features of education at the School is another feature. Student feedback at the end of each course is another feature of teaching and learning at the School.
Dr. C. Gopalkrishnan’s relationship with the students
Regular meetings with students in the classrooms and addressing on various aspects from time to time are one of the opportunities to meet and discuss with the students.
The students have access to my office without prior appointment, is another aspect of governance system that we follow.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at PDPU- SPM
Management students go to a B-School with the idea of getting a reasonably good job at the end of their studies. If we are not able to provide jobs to the students, or we produce students who are not employable, we consider it as our collective failure.
Our employment record is the consequence of our attempt to follow the best practices in the industry. A number of our faculty members were also associated with some eminent B-schools in India and therefore, it is relatively easy to implement the best practices.
Dr. C. Gopalkrishnan on how does PDPU-SPM stands apart from other institutions
1 Course design and & Teaching: Emphasis on the ever-growing Energy sector in the main and General Management; application-oriented teaching, and blended learning
2 Environment: Availability experts from the industry (Energy) for teaching and interactional opportunities; nearness to technology institutions on the campus of PDPU (School of Petroleum Technology, School of Technology, and Gujarat Energy Research & Management Institute) and close interaction with these institutions including joint teaching and the location in the Knowledge Corridor where other specialized institutions exist: Gujarat Disaster Management Institute, Institute of Seismic Research, Gujarat National Law University etc. and close interaction among these institutions.
3 Resources: Availability of resources and facilities: Air-conditioned classrooms with modern facilities, Libraries, Auditoriums, Good Canteen Facilities, modern hostel buildings and Sports facilities.
Above all, well trained and well- experienced faculty. These are the things that make our programmes and institution very different.
Important changes brought by Dr. C. Gopalkrishnan in the curriculum of PDPU- SPM
SPM, PDPU has been operating well before I had joined the institution. Excellent leadership provided by the top management and their vision gave the institution a very good direction.
After my joining, several developments have taken place such as-in addition to MBA in Energy & Infrastructure Management Programme, the School had also added a General Management Programme, as both the programmes have a lot of synergy; I restarted Management Development Programmes as a regular feature; started a journal, initially as a management journal, but expanded to university level journal covering energy and management as the focused theme of the journal (The Journal of Energy & Management). This is now, ISSN registered and UGC listed journal. Apart from this, I have worked further to improve the placement record (in terms of average salary) and admissions. We are in the planning process to start two new programmes (out of this, one programme will be inter-disciplinary).
We are also negotiating to start a new distance education programme in management for executives in the petroleum sector. We are planning new MDPs too. We had also participated in NAAC accreditation of the university (The University received A (3.39/4).
Qualities which over the years have helped Dr. C. Gopalkrishnan, and the entire management, create a brand name for PDPU- SPM
Obsession for the best quality and for growth. Our ambitions are international so far as future is concerned.
Goals in mind for PDPU-SPM for the next few years
We at the University would like to build PDPU into a world class institution. This implies having international faculty and international students (in other words, the best talent) too and useful research output in the area of energy so as to achieve energy security for the country.
Message for the youth who aspire to be young leaders
Try to become a true professional for your own development and development of our nation as young high quality human resources are the backbone of all development.