Interview by Yash Panchal

Dr Kailash, LNCT Group of Colleges

Dr. Kailash Srivastava is the Group Director at LNCT Group of Colleges, Bhopal. He is also Adjunct Professor at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. He is a power system professional turned academician with a well-rounded experience of 34+ years ranging from the top multinational company in Europe to top educational institutions in Europe and Asia.

Dr. Srivastava is a Swedish national and now dedicated to higher education quality enhancement through his accumulated experience and out-of-box ideas. Kailash's global and multidisciplinary perspectives and thoughts on academia, industry, technology, and society enable him to spot opportunities to effectively improve the system.

Kailash has an extensive background in strategic planning, project management, contract management and execution of projects and is deft at handling NPV calculation, techno-economic analysis, techno-legal issues, and patent analysis. He partnered with several universities in Europe and did mentoring, coaching and guiding young professionals including a number of university Master and Ph.D. interns at ABB. He is Senior Member of IEEE, Individual Member of CIGRE, Fellow of Society of Power Engineers (India) and Fellow of Institution of Engineers (India).

An enjoyable experience in the education industry

I am enjoying working in the education industry because by and large, the relationship between the teacher and the student is just like soil and sapling; both are indispensable entities for each other, as both make the bondage strong with their interactive presence.

I love to do new things and learn from doing everything that I do. I learned a lot from the interaction with my colleagues and my fellow co-workers. Now in this industry, I am attempting to learn from the youthful people who are loaded with lots of excellent ideas.

Dr. Srivastava’s leadership philosophy

I have no set style. I believe nothing like “one size fits all” exist in real life. I am a Swedish national and have worked a major part of life in Sweden and many other developed economies including China. I had the privilege of working with 32 different nationalities. At LNCT group, we always strive towards being “the best”. In other words, we seek to ensure that today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow is better than today.  

In a nutshell, my role requires a mix of all different leadership styles though I more often attempt to be transformational which is about initiating changes in organizations, groups, oneself and others. I try to motivate others to do more than what they originally intended and often even more than they possibly thought they could. My philosophy would be to work with well-defined vision, missions, objectives, and goals in addition to honesty, dedication, and perfection.

Challenge is to bridge the gap between industry and academia

LNCT group has a legacy of more than 25 years. We are a much bigger organization and offer diploma to postgraduate programs in technical education and graduate to postgraduate programs in management and sciences.

Our efforts are to roll out #industryready and #futureready professionals. We need faculty members who have had considerable exposure to the industry. Bridging the gap between industry and academia is a major challenge in this country which I think can be made possible only by intense industry-academia interaction.

We are central India’s number one educational group. Our challenge to keep maintaining that position and continue growing in a fast-changing dynamic world.

Helpful experience of being the Vice Chancellor of SUAS Indore

In short, my experience will help me apply a tinge of skill to academic excellence here. Experiences make a person strong and could speak with confidence and determination in behaviour. I would definitely try to use my good and rich experience in a much better way to avoid the repetition of the goofs of the past.

Ensuring best practice of industry through the curriculum of LNCT Group of Colleges

The curriculum followed here evolved on the academic learning of 25 years of continuous working towards being “the best”. It’s dynamically adjusted based on the self-assessment, the discussions with various stakeholders and keeping the latest trends in view. The professionalism of our management gives us an edge in standing out from the rest of the best in the industry.

Thoughts on the changes noticed in the Education Industry over the past few years and the skill set required by a corporate in a student

Yes, there are so many changes like the one-year course has been changed into the semester system, classes have been turned into smart classes. Faculty and students are much aware of their communication skills and soft skills also. In addition, modules are developed in teaching methodology to the customized needs of the corporate and make the student industry ready. Right-to-education (RTE) has been brought in by the government. India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education is increasing. The literacy rate for females is improving. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is getting popular with digital penetration. Students have a choice now to learn at their own pace.

We live in a fast-changing world. The skill sets change with time. Skills like manual dexterity, endurance, memory, verbal, auditory and spatial abilities, etc. will decline. On the other hand, abilities like analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, creativity and initiative, critical thinking and analysis and complex problem-solving will be required in the future.

Interaction with the students

We have a mechanism and our Dean (student affairs) does this in a very systematic manner. I personally enjoy meeting students and interacting with them on any matter. It is advisable to meet and discuss with them on all the issues at the regular interval.

Goals to achieve in the next few years

I have already partly indicated some of the challenges i.e. staying current, staying relevant, providing quality education, rolling out #industryready professionals are on the top of mind. We want our students to solve real-life problems through research and innovations. We also want our students to become entrepreneurs giving employment to others rather than themselves seeking employment and working for others.

Advice for the youth

Think original, think big, believe in yourself, focus on your strengths, work on your weaknesses, be a lifelong learner, do what you like to do, take life as fun and enjoy every moment in life.