Interview by Yash Panchal
Mr. Amlan Ray is currently working as the Dean of Jag School of Transformative Skills, New Delhi, earlier known as the NBA Group of Institutions. He believes that staying up to date with the industry is the key parameter for sustenance and stiff competition with the educationalists in the industry.
Experience in the education industry
If you talk about the Education Industry then we know that it has been one of the key industries for any country. So, India’s education industry is very vast. Particularly we Indians have got our inclination towards higher education which you do not see often in other markets. If you talk about US market or UK market you do not get to see that kind of inclination. So, there is a huge opportunity for the higher education industry segment.
At the same time, you’ll find there are a lot of low-quality institutions also. There are checks & balances which the students require to judge the institute by seeing what kind of skill sets they’ll get at the end of the program. So, if the institute is offering practical learning, if the institute is offering the latest things which are followed in the industry, it’ll help the student more rather than only theoretical knowledge for which we have the opportunity today to provide that theoretical knowledge through online programs.
When I started my career, it was the year 1995. So, initially, almost about 10 years were spent in the Manufacturing industry then I shifted towards Education & Consulting and I have been in this industry for the last 15 years. I have worked with engineering colleges, management institutes and currently, I’m heading a mass communication & digital communication institute.
The Dean’s philosophy of leadership
There has been a lot of changes in leadership style. If you see the leadership style, earlier, we used to study in management, line function and staff function. For example, if you talk about the army defence model, there you’ll see a chain of command. Today, there is no chain of command existing in the organization structure. It is more collaborative & more participative, particularly in the knowledge-driven industry.
You’ll find that there is a collaboration between equal players so the leader cannot dictate his stance or whatever he wants. So, he requires to collaborate with the team members and out of that only the best can come out. Therefore, team management is more important now.
The significant challenges faced by the Dean of Jag School of Transformative Skills
The major challenge we have seen in the past few years is that the media is converging towards online platforms. So, earlier we used to have in mass communication- radio, television, focus on print media but now what we’re seeing is that everybody is converging towards just a small instrument called a mobile phone. You can watch your television on the mobile phone, you can listen to your radio in the mobile phone and in fact, you can read newspapers also on the mobile phone. That’s why we’ve seen that there is not much growth in the traditional media and that growth is happening in the digital media.
Seeing this challenge or seeing this opportunity whatever way you want to portray, on the basis of that we’ve redesigned our curriculum and we’re focusing on digital communication. NBA Group of Institutions earlier used to focus on television journalism. Now, Jag School of Transformative Skills is focusing on online media & digital media & digital communication.
The curriculum ensures the best practice of industry
See what we do, here we give the students practical exposure through different products. We’re having our own in-house products like News Broadcasting Team which is a YouTube Channel. We also have a news portal by the name of ‘The Live Voices’ and radio station online. So, any student who enters this campus gets to work on these 3 products. So at the end of the curriculum, they get hands-on experience in Radio, television & print.
In addition to that, we have created two more labs, one is the Digital Media Lab and another one is a Digital Business Lab. So, when students work in all the five labs, they get first-hand knowledge about content creation, content marketing as well as how to run a business. It’s pure practical learning and 70% of our curriculum is practical learning & 30% theory.
The growth of students through placement opportunities available at Jag School of Transformative Skills
In the case of Jag School of Transformative Skills, from day 1 we start the practical learning so when the students complete the program whether it is a 1 year or 3-year program what happens is, that they have the understanding about the industry. They know the requirements of the industry and in the final year, they become industry-ready. So, when the industry absorbs the students, they do not get just some raw student but they get someone who has already done a good amount of internship, has a good amount of practical exposure.
So, that way the students are already having the skill sets which are required to be in the industry. That is a major advantage in the case of Jag School of Transformative Skills.
Establishing a relationship with the students being the Dean of the Institute
I, myself take classes. So, students have my mobile number and email id and we have regular interaction. For any kind of challenges, they can come to me always. There is always an open door policy. In addition to that, through different social media, we also interact. So, we’re always in touch with the students.
Encouraging an ideal school environment
A college culture will be based on its curriculum and the curriculum is not only academic. There will be extracurricular themes which are also equally important. To make the entire journey of the students engaging we conduct a lot of events which are an integral part of our education system. So, that actually inculcates in the students the leadership quality, the team building quality, even entrepreneurship quality. So, we have focused on extracurricular activities also in our curriculum.
The top qualities that an aspiring candidate must possess
The student must have a learning attitude. When someone is having that hunger for learning then obviously they will find the course more interesting and that is our requirement from the students. If someone wants to go for the mass communication they should have that inclination of communicating, need to be more extrovert, more open towards new ideas, more open towards what is happening across the world.
Goals for the Institute for the next few years
Our goal is to establish a number of courses in the transformative skills. One is the digital communication course, that we’ve already launched. So, our focus is on the upcoming field of digital marketing and digital communication. In addition to that, we’re thinking about bringing new technical courses which will be in the area of Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Data Journalism etc.