Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Dr. Sunil Rai is the Vice Chancellor at MIT ADT University, Pune and a former Vice Chancellor of the Assam Kaziranga University Jorhat and Director of Maharashtra IT Corporation, Got of Maharashtra, Mumbai. He is the co-founder of Cambridge Global Partners, Edinburgh UK, which provides strategic consulting to several industrial and academic organizations. He has served as commissioned officer in the Indian Navy for twenty years and has served on ships INS Vikrant, Nilgiri, Himgiri and Oil tanker Shakti. He had served DGM (MIS) of Goa Shipyard Ltd Vasco, Goa.
In his career in academics spanning over fifteen years has held leadership positions in top educational institutions that include Jt. Director at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Dean MPSTME at NMIMS University, Mumbai Pro-Vice Chancellor at NIIT university, Neemrana, Rajasthan, Director Goa Institute Management, Sanquelim Goa and Director Regenesys Business School South Africa, Mumbai division.
His academic credentials include Ph.D. in Business Continuity Management (BITS Pilani), Masters in Business Administration with HR Specialization (IGNOU), M. Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering (IIT, Mumbai), Masters in Marine Engineering from Naval College of Engineering (NCE), INS Shivaji – Lonavla and BSC Honours from JNU New Delhi. He is a prolific speaker at various Management Seminars and Conferences. His research interests include Technology enabled-People driven Change Management and Organizational Development.
He has twenty years of experience in the field of IT that includes Design and Development of Integrated Enterprise Solutions for Corporate Organizations, Infrastructure Management and Execution of Information Security and Networking projects. He possesses twenty-two years of experience in managing Ships and Technical establishments of Indian Navy in various capacities and retired as Commander in 1999. He also developed and commissioned ERP for Navy Wide Logistics Management.
He has successfully headed Administration and Growth and Development of Large and Leading Academic Institutions in India and has served on several governing boards as Director. He has steered setting up of large campuses, developed organization and processes and created state of the art technically enabled teaching learning infrastructure. He has crafted the pioneering relationship with renowned internal institutions including Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA; Ulster University in Northern Ireland, ITIN France and Kennesaw State University, Atlanta USA for offering joint programs in India and conducting research.
He has instituted Professional Program in Management in collaboration with some of the leading companies in India – ICICI bank Ltd, ICICI Prudential, Citi Global Services Ltd, Infomedia, IBM, MRSI, in the fast-growing segments of Banking, Insurance, Media, IT enabled services, Retail, Hospitality, Healthcare etc.
His Associations include Alumni IIT Mumbai, Alumni ASCI Hyderabad, Associate Member IE (India), CSI Mumbai chapter and IBA Mumbai Chapter. He has published papers on Business Continuity and Higher Education in various journals and published articles in management magazines and Business, Education columns in Newspapers. He has addressed various national and international conferences and has earned accolades for his oratorical skills and style of public speaking.
Dr. Sunil’s experience in the education sector
I have been in the education sector for many years and have been fortunate to be at senior levels as academic administrator, the higher education sector is growing rapidly in terms of the private higher education players. The entire eco-system of private higher education is evolving into providing quality education. This evolution makes the sector a challenging one.
Dr. Sunil’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
I follow supportive leadership style, which is centered, on my subordinates’ contribution towards the decision. Leadership carries with it the responsibility to inspire others, and to direct them to attain the vision and goals of our organization. Empowering others to make decisions is important for developing future organization leaders.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Sunil as the Vice Chancellor of MIT ADT University
The major challenge that I face at MIT ADT University is that of integrity. The already established and existing constituents, which were established before 2010 and the ones that have been established later and are in the process of development to find their place. The other challenge is managing the diversity of the programs from technical to extreme non-technical and from highly jacketed and disciplined approach of training (mandated by concerned regulators) and the freedom of learning approach of students pursuing arts, Fine arts and design areas of study. The distance of the University from the main city, Pune poses difficulties in getting more faculty time as also the experts from the city of Pune.
Curriculum in MIT ADT University
The curriculum followed in all the programs of our University are designed to promote high academic rigor, greater relevance to the industry and practice, innovative ad futuristic outlook of the study area and comprehensive in outlook, conduct and result oriented.
Dr. Sunil’s experience as Vice Chancellor at Kaziranga University
Kaziranga University was a very fulfilling and enriching experience. Fulfilling because there is a lot to be done in the North East region, which has been neglected in history by all the rulers of the past. Even geographically, the region suffered an isolation from the rest of the world. Enriching, because the people from North East are extremely talented and humble human beings, not adultered by the arrogance of achievements and success as in the case in many developed regions in the country.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at MIT ADT University
Growth of students happens through skill development, which is an ongoing process at the University. On one side the skill development practices along with the rigor of academics is part of student life of MIT ADT University. On the other side, regular interactions with the industry foster understanding of latest developments in the industry. These two dimensions prepare the students for industry readiness before they pass out of the university.
Dr. Sunil on importance of time management in a student’s life and strategies that he opts to manage time
I start my day with clear focus and focus on high value activities. Time management is spending time wisely; it shapes the student’s mind into the direction of discipline and sense of duty. Discipline is extremely important especially in school life to become better students. Time management is a skill that enables students to use their time productively and efficiently.
Important skills that corporate looks in the student
Critical thinking, problem solving, spirit of entrepreneurship, innovative approach
Dr. Sunil’s relationship with the students
As I live in the campus, I am part of the student life. Observation, empathy and management by walking around the campus and meeting students.
Ideal academic environment according to Dr. Sunil and how does he encourage that kind of culture at MIT ADT
An institution should inculcate in students the spirit of creativity, the capability to design lasting solutions to complex problems and resolve to implement dependable techniques of execution to undertake roles as builders of progressive society. The ideal school environment should promote scholastic learning combined with rich value system to develop responsible and socially sensitive global citizens.
Top qualities according to Dr. Sunil that an aspiring PGDM/MBA/Engineering student must possess
Innovative, Decision-Making Skills, Entrepreneurship, Team-Oriented, Logical Analysis, Communication Skills
Goals in mind for MIT ADT for the next few years
To create a world class university that educates and researches and makes great academic contribution, continues to have blend of students from all over the country that focusses on quality education that is student success centric.
Suggestions for the current youth who is going to become the future managers.
Respect yourself, your family and teachers. You are the best gift of God to yourself and society. Do what your heart and soul say but do it well ensuring you do not hurt anyone. Respect environment and your lineage. Above all, be happy and enjoy life. Happy person only can make others happy and achieve all the goals as a successful manager.