Interview by Pratyasha
Prof. Manojranjan Nayak is the Founder President of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed-to-be-University. His educational qualification includes a Ph.D. from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), M.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and B.Tech. from NIT Rourkela. From an early age, Prof. Nayak dreamt of developing a quality educational hub. He quit his government job to nurture the nine institutions and fulfill his dreams.
In an exclusive interview with Collegedunia.com, Prof. Nayak shared his views on the education industry and his leadership philosophy.
Views on education industry
Any right-thinking person will agree that there can be no substitute for quality education as it is the only means for social transformation. The opportunity for higher education is a must for young people. It will help them not only to explore new paths for excellent careers but also serve society as a responsible citizen. The education industry, if you prefer to term it so, is perhaps the best industry to work in because we are responsible for shaping the future of the nation.
I have been a teacher, love the profession and will prefer to be a teacher if I am born again.
The success story of SOA
Being an educationalist, I felt the need for quality institutions in Odisha, where students could get access to the best available pedagogy in the country. With this view, The Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) was founded to enable students of the state to have access to quality education. Our initial attempt was a simple experiment where only 118 students joined the Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER) in 1996. SOA was conferred with the status of a Deemed to be University in July 2007. As of today, nine institutions are being run under the SOA umbrella educating over 10,000 students in different professional courses.
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Prof. Nayak’s Leadership philosophy and style
I feel the role of a leader is primarily to make others working with him to believe that what he is trying to do is achievable. Also, s/he should work hard and set high standards before others. I firmly believe that co-workers need to be inspired by the leader to give their best and function in a decentralized setup. They should know their responsibilities and execute the plan in order to reach the goal smoothly and with a 100% success rate.
Challenges faced as the Founder of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan
A university can thrive and grow only if it pursues the path of ensuring education of high quality with the attendant rigour and has the penchant for research. In SOA, we have been striving to ensure both. Ours is a highly research-focused University where the teaching-learning process is a holistic exercise, aimed at creating community leaders in every discipline. I personally feel that as founder of SOA my biggest challenge is to make the students go through a process which will make them responsible, enlightened and productive citizens of the country.
Placement opportunities at SOA Deemed-to-be-University
We have witnessed a considerable amount of hiring from reputed companies for the past few years. The students have received a great amount of appreciation from the recruiters for their performance, competence, and skillsets. What has set the SOA students apart is their excellent attitude to learn and inclination towards sincerity and dedication.
Students have received excellent job offers from companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Reliance Industries, Deloitte, IBM, CTS, Infosys, WIPRO, HighRadius, TVS Motors, Mu-Sigma, and Tata Steel.
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Prof. Nayak follows an open-door policy with learners
The students are the most critical stakeholders in an educational institution. With a campus spread across 127 acres, 197 e-Enabled classrooms, 340 PG and UG Labs, a huge state-of-the-art convention center, seven institutional and 42 departmental libraries and sports facilities are meant to help the students to excel in academics and extracurricular activities.
Though the responsibilities bestowed on me keep me busy most of the day, I always make myself available to interact with students daily. They are allowed to come and meet me without any prior appointment.
Qualities required in a Top Manager
According to me, an aspiring manager should be honest, hard-working, and diligent to be effective. The other qualities he must possess are excellent communication and interpersonal skills. With this, s/he should have the ability to diagnose a problem quickly. Having all these qualities will ensure an outstanding team, having an exceptional success rate.
USP of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed-to-be-University
I believe the passion for excelling, pursuing quality academics and the stress on research has placed us on a different footing altogether. SOA Deemed-to-be-University ranks 24th in the University category and 41st among National-level institutions by NIRF. Apart from this, the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, SOA’s faculty of medical sciences has been ranked 21st in the country by NIRF.
Being a research-oriented institution, there are currently 13 research centers and 47 research labs where 47 percent of the work is done in the areas of national priority. The research centers include the Centre of Biotechnology, Centre of Excellence for Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences, Centre for Excellence in Biomechanical Sciences, Multi-disciplinary Research Centre, to name a few. The Centre for Environment and Climate, one of the latest research center is working towards promoting strategic knowledge on environment, weather extremes, climate variability, and climate change as Odisha is vulnerable to nature’s fury.
The 1,000-bed IMS and SUM Hospital is another USP of SOA which has emerged as one of the most popular healthcare centers in the eastern region. It registers a daily footfall of around 3,000 patients.