Interview by Pratyasha
Dr. Shekhar Chaudhuri is currently working as the Director of Calcutta Business School (CBS Kolkata). His education qualifications include B.Tech (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering, and he is a Fellow of IIM Ahmedabad with specialization in Business Policy. Having worked for several prestigious organizations, Dr. Chaudhuri has much experience in the industry as well as the education sector. At CBS, the academician is currently involved in a significant transformational exercise to develop it into a vibrant, innovative and excellent academic institution.
Experience in the education industry - A fortunate opportunity
Having worked for several management schools, I have had a meaningful and satisfying experience. I have worked at IIM Ahmedabad and was able to do original work in the area of Management with a strategic focus. I have also worked with several leading academicians from the world.
Academics have given me the opportunity not only to learn new subjects but also to manage organizations. It has played a crucial leadership role where I could apply what I had learned and taught. In my view, the field of education has tremendous diversity, which enables me to decide my priorities. I like being in this sector mainly to help young people grow and be successful in their lives.
Leadership style - A Facilitator and motivator
At CBS, I help my colleagues to develop and updated their methods of teaching and research. I make sure to guide them and supervise in whatever tasks they are working on. However, in the initial years, I foresee that I would have to play a proactive role in strategic planning, but this would have to change due to the changing nature of the organization. I would like to see CBS becoming a self-governing institution requiring a little nudging from my side. It should be able to absorb and develop new practices and become very innovative.
Challenges at the Institute - Strengthening the core
Calcutta Business School's vision is to be a center of excellence in management education. To achieve this vision, it is necessary to work on multiple fronts simultaneously, which is a significant challenge. Over the last 2-3 years, we have faced the challenge of strengthening the teaching-learning process and environment. However, this has already been achieved to a considerable degree.
We have also introduced several innovative aspect programs like Outbound Leadership Practicum; Rural Immersion; Workshop on Design Thinking & Innovation and many more to strengthen brand awareness about the Institute.
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Experiential learning - Curriculum practices at B-School
We are continually evaluating and revising our curriculum to ensure that our students get the best management education possible in our country. Initially, our curriculum mimicked the curricula of leading institutions. However, we have realized that given our constraints, we have to come up with our innovative solutions.
The college emphasizes on developing communication and soft skills of the students to make them “industry-ready.” For this, we organise various seminars and workshops to enhance these skills. Apart from this, the students are provided with internships to gain practical exposure. I believe we are ahead of the curve as far as the curriculum is concerned.
Analytical and Communication skills - Qualities in a student
Students who aspire to become managers and organizational leaders should not mug up the lessons that are taught to them in school or college. Instead, they should put much effort in attempting to understand the intricacies of various subjects through their efforts.
It is also important to develop their skills of writing and speaking. Apart from academics, they should take an interest in sports, team games, and other extracurricular activities. This will help them to develop collaborative, sportsmanship and team building skills.
Open interaction with students is the key to success
CBS is a relatively new management school with limited human resources in terms of quality and quantity compared to the larger and more established ones. Therefore, it is essential to build a direct link with the student body. Being a Director, I try to meet the students occasionally and also teach a few courses that help in developing and maintaining a healthy relationship.
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Placement opportunities at the B-school
CBS believes that it is necessary to emphasize on providing our students with several opportunities to secure jobs in their dream companies and industries. Over the last two years, we have built a department focusing only on career development and placement both for internship and final placement. This department is led by a senior faculty member having significant industry experience as well as officers who have a lot of experience in the industry across sectors.
We have been making exploratory visits to companies spanning different industries across the country and organizing intensive personality development workshops. These efforts have already started bearing fruit. Several of our students got placed in companies in various parts of India where the CTC package is relatively higher. We intend to continue these efforts more vigorously.
Upcoming Goals for the Institute
Over the next few years, the college aims to develop new academic programs to strengthen the learning process at the institute. We are also planning to develop the International Student Exchange Program to build a closer relationship between the students and the industry.
We would also continue to experiment with the curriculum, keeping in mind our students' learning goals and requirements. Overall, we would like our curriculum to have a proper balance between the three pillars of excellent management education; knowledge, skills, and right beliefs & attitudes. We will continue to make CBS a leading institution in its domain consistent with our vision.
Suggestions to the young generations
My suggestions to aspiring students interested in a managerial career are:
- Work hard to develop analytical skills
- Strengthen knowledge of English and build communication skills
- Develop a positive "Can Do" outlook
- Develop team-working skills
- Never get depressed by failures; they are the stepping stones for progress.