Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Prof. (Dr.) Santanu Kr. Sen is currently working in Guru Nanak Institute of Technology (JIS Group) as Principal. He is also a senior professor and HOD for a long stretch of time. Earlier the held the office of Principal at Budge Budge Institute of Technology (A Degree Engineering College).
Dr. Sen is a senior expert and academician having around 23 years of experience in the field of Computer Science and Engineering in which 8 years in Industry and 15 years in Engineering Academia including Abroad. Dr. Sen is an active researcher with numerous national and international publications to his credit, an author, renowned speaker. Apart from the technical and professional expertise he has musical acumen and plays Spanish Guitar, Mandolin, Mouth organ, Flute, Keyboard.
He holds Ph.D. (Engg.) degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Jadavpur University. Apart from this Dr. Sen possess MBA in Information Systems and B.E in CSE from NIT, Silchar.
Dr. Sen’s academic career spans in institutes like Future Institute of Technology, Kolkata, Asansol Engineering College, Asansol and Regional Engineering College - Silchar.
Dr. Sen has extensive industry experience at Vanguard Technologies Limited, UK, JBAS System Inc., California, USA, CMC Limited, NetCom India.
Dr Sen has been Selected in the Marquis Who’s Who in the World in Science & Engineering for the year 2012 and received Academic Excellence Award – Special Leadership Award from JIG Group in 2017, Shiksha Gourav Puroskar from Centre for Education Growth and Research, New Delhi in 2016, “Indira Gandhi Sadbhavna Award” from Global Achievers Foundation, New Delhi in 2014, “Bharat Bibhushan Samman Puraskar” from EHRDA, New Delhi in 2013, Best Principal Performance Award from Global Achievers Foundation New Delhi in 2012.
Experience in the education industry
The journey has been great so far. Education is a very sensitive and crucial sector in our societal infrastructure. Education in India is rapidly modifying. Interactive teaching methodologies, the influence of technology on education, innovative approaches and the new India drive are converting educational outlook and crafting new opportunities. Especially for engineering students, education is a continuous endeavor, meeting expectations and acquiring skill sets, thereby, collaborating and adapting always.
The education sector in India is the next big thing in the block. Statistics say that in another 5 years the middle class will grow to 500 million and this is the major chunk who contributes to paying the education bills. More-over the tertiary-age population in India will exceed China within a decade. So, the sector is always becoming bigger. Above all, academics give the opportunity to think big, think innovative and fathomless opportunities for research and development. This is the big plus of this industry. To dwell with the young talents and help them grow is probably the most satisfying experience.
Prof (Dr.) Santanu Kumar Sen’s philosophy of leadership
I have a very simple philosophy of prioritizing students first and providing impeccable service in terms of academic and extra-academic accomplishments. Our institute is a veritable construct of individuals, so people management is the key to success. I am happy to provide an amicable and professional ambiance where my colleagues enjoy creative liberty in the workplace and contribute to the development of skills, aptitude, and personality of the students with all their heart. I learn and adapt to the qualities fostered by the faculty, staff, and students, so I devote more time to listening and learning instead.
I believe that an ethical, reliable, and knowledgeable leader cannot alone drive the mission and vision of the Institute, but one can facilitate a work environment and culture catalyzed by hassle-free communication system irrespective of the organizational hierarchy and it is this space of value and care in the air of GNIT, which makes my team stand by me all the time. I cherish the energy and vitality of my workforce, inspiring me instead to work more.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Guru Nanak Institute of Technology
We possess an outstanding track proof of placing students in Corporate multinationals. Our focus is to facilitate the students with the pertinent professional prospect. We have a dedicated Training and Placement Team, which works round the clock liaison with domain-specific business unit. Our esteemed recruiters include Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Amazon, Camgemini, Deloitte, Wipro Technologies, IBM etc. to core industries like ITC, Siemens, Ericsson, Jindal Group etc.
The corporate world requires professionals, so we have initiated a demand specific drive to provide our students with the best training opportunity. We also integrate the corporate life culture, soft skills, and etiquette both in terms of behavior and communication skill. We also lay stress on developing the Emotional Quotient and Aptitude Competency (EQ, IQ, Verbal Ability, Quantitative and Technical) of our students. I am overwhelmed to find my students benefitting the maximum exposure scheme in terms of domain expertise and industry trends.
Our global alumni base is flagging from USA, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, China and across the states in India. Our unreserved support and emotional connect with the students coupled with seminars, Conferences, workshops, industry intensive lectures, numerous Talk shows with Corporate Delegation Teams, Industrial visits, Research Work, National and International Participations give our students the perfect springboard on the placement platform of our college.
We already have substantial tie-ups with multi-domain corporate houses and we are on the verge of exhaustive expansion. I am planning to trigger semester exchange program with corporate houses like Capgemini, and more the better. We already have a similar tie-up with AIT, Bangkok. We have also started to ensure that our students are participating in Govt. of India sponsored projects and competitions like ACM ICPC, Smart India Hackathon etc. The kind of participation, I believe will make our students completely oriented for the corporate sector, research and academics.
Apart from these, we promote collaborative activities through active chapters of IEEE, IE (I), ISTE etc. to equip our students to face the challenges of the modern industry.
Relationship with the students
I am not the person to be dreaded behind the closed door in the principal’s office. I indeed enjoy hassle free communication with my students, where he later gets ample liberty covering a wide range of topics from academics, extra-academic, personal motivation etc. I ensure an amicable and receptive platform to my students and for that, I always try to be a friend, a motivator and more importantly a person who speaks a lot of them regarding the humaneness of my students. I am really fortunate to bask in the glory of my students in abundance and I am really proud of my students who are global citizens and internationally recruit-able resources.
The very ambiance and infrastructure of my workstation are suggestive of widespread accessibility. In a day I interact with at least 10 to 15 students individually to solve their respective concern pertaining to academics, extracurricular activities, and research. I made it a habit to walk the classrooms, central facilities, and laboratories every day. I have scheduled classes in the form of seminar lecture followed by Q&A session with the 3rd year and 4th-year students. I also work as a facilitator of Special Recruitment Drive whenever triggered by the Training and Placement Cell. I work in tandem with the coordination team involving students and staff in many national and international events hosted by GNIT and JIS Group. I thoroughly enjoy the casual chat with students in the playground and Cafeteria, sometimes sharing lunch with them or walking the talk.
Culture in Guru Nanak Institute of Technology
At GNIT, over the years, we have tried to inculcate an atmosphere of participative management at all levels and we give propriety to the do-ers. The people who take initiatives and actions to achieve goals. So, we have a vibrating environment all around. We do a lot of activities and thus have a strong bond of the team. We take short goals and try to accomplish and this makes everyone always engaged.
One of the prime focuses of the college is to promote innovation at all levels. Also, we take up a lot of social initiatives which makes the culture positive.
To support the social, emotional and intellectual faculty of the students we focus on value-based education, prioritizing the concept of discipline and integrity and categorically setting up the expectation level. We also organize Parents-Teachers Meet biannually thereby extending a strong and connected relationship with the stakeholders’. The take-home of the prescribed syllabus finds cognizance when our students participate and win awards in National and International Seminar/Conference/Workshop when our students participate in International academic and cultural events and what makes us proud is the number of achievements by the students and faculty members in the last couple of years. I simply facilitate faith, confidence, and trust-building among stakeholders and I do so by respecting individual voice. These individual voices coupled with my personal vision has manifested the shared vision of the institute.
Regular meetings and problem-solving sessions are conducted across the departments. We also have the right value of Mentoring system, which makes the job easier. We have a special focus group on Discipline, Standard of Education, Students’ Performance and Attitudinal Development, Training and Placement, Academic and extra-Academic Engagement exceeding expectations etc.
Top qualities, according to Prof. (Dr.) Santanu Kumar Sen, that an engineering aspirant must possess
I believe one needs to possess the quality of adaptability to survive in today’s competitive environment. Most of our recruiters are Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies which aim at the global delivery model and our students need to comply with the industrial expectations. Our students are well acquainted with the desired capability of emotional and intelligence quotient coupled with the concept of Service Level Agreement. Aspiring minds are advised to possess excellent English Communication and Writing Skills, inclined to Analytical Aptitude, should be conversant with the latest domain specific technology, a continued learner with a creative bent of mind, a logical thinker, problem solver and a team player who with be the next leader in the block.
Curriculum at Guru Nanak Institute of Technology
Our system of education skillfully fuses theory with practice besides instilling moral values to mold emotionally balanced professionals and responsible citizens. We impart outcome-based education and roll out a curriculum as per the need of industry through a system of Industry Adjunct Professors.
We focus on a need-based education and collaborate with a wide range of industry and professional bodies to understand and incorporate latest frontiers of science and technology.
At GNIT we nurture a spirit of practical project-based education and promote research, innovation, and creativity and collaborate with premier academic and research organizations and industry to ride on the latest trends and standards.
Challenges faced as the Principal of Guru Nanak Institute of Technology
To manage the wide demography of students with different ethnic and cultural background and transform them into a formidable team force was a challenge which we could do through systemic nurturing and mentor over the years.
To catch-up the latest trends in industry practice and research at the global level in order to ensure an excellent and dynamic education is not easy and we try to perform as per the expectation of all stakeholders.
Goals in mind for GNIT for the next few years
GNIT has been a seat of integrated learning over the years and has contributed significantly to academic and research ecosystem of the country. The institute has collaborated with MOFPI, DST, AICTE, UGC and various industry for research and development and working with ISTE, IE (I) for professional developments. GNIT was the nodal center for Smart India Hackathon 2016 and international coding events such as ACM ICPC.
As a step forward, we are focusing on multi-disciplinary research having collaboration with national agencies and industry at a broader scale in order to ensure the quality delivery of latest practices of science and technology.
GNIT have received many accolades and ranks from renowned organizations and our aim to take it to the global levels in the years to come.
Message do you have for students wishing to join Guru Nanak Institute of Technology in the near future
I extend a warm welcome to all aspiring students wishing to have a successful career at the picturesque GNIT campus conveniently located in the city of Kolkata surrounded by the green eco-friendly environment.
GNIT ensures a professionally deft education delivered through a system of structured academic setup instilling high standards of ethical values. We offer a harmonious blend of professional education and hands-on skills and foster research and innovation. We impart sincere efforts to ensure a suitable career to all students.