Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Been associated with VESIM, Mumbai for so long, Dr. Satish Modh is currently serving as its Director. Prior to this, Dr. Satish was working as a Professor in Strategy and Associate Dean at NMIMS. He has also served as an Aircraft Engineer in Air India, Founder Director of World Hindu Economic Forum and also the Founder and past president of Centre of International Studies, Mumbai.
Dr. Satish is one of India’s leading researchers in the field of business ethics and strategy. He is particularly well known for his research on Indian value systems and its application to ethical management. He has been teaching ‘ethics’ and ‘business ethics’ at SJM School of Management (IIT Bombay), School of Business Management (NMIMS – Deemed to be University), Department of Education, University of Mumbai. Currently, he is Professor and Director at VESIM, affiliated to University of Mumbai.
He received his undergraduate degree in Electronics Engineering from MANIT, Bhopal. Further, he received his graduate degrees in Applied Electronics from University of Indore, in financial management from JBIMS, University of Mumbai. Thereafter he received his doctorate in the area of strategy from the University of Mumbai. In the year 2009, he also received his law degree from the University of Mumbai. After a long stint at Air India where he was leading the business transformation group, he joined the faculty at the School of Business Management at NMIMS University, Mumbai which ranks among top ten business schools in India.
In his long and distinguished career with Air India, he has been elected as General Secretary of the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Union, Hon. Secretary and Chairman of the Aeronautical Society of India, Mumbai Branch. He was invited to speak on ethics and Bhagavad Gita at various universities in USA including University of Southern California, University of North Carolina, San Diego State University, University of Central Florida, Athens State University, University of Washington (Seattle Campus). He has been a member of Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, Indiana University.
He has written a pioneering book titled ‘Ethical Management’ based on Indian value system. His article ‘Value Based Management’ has nearly 8.3 million views on the internet and an article on ‘Building a caring society’ has more than 3 million views. He is also the author of a popular book ‘Discover the Arjuna in You’ published by Jaico Publishers.
Prof. Modh was given Dewang Mehta award for outstanding contribution to education in 2014. He was named among 100 most influential Directors in India at the World Education Congress, 2016 held in Mumbai.
Dr. Satish’s experience in the education industry
The shift from the airline industry to education was smooth. While working in Air India, I was a visiting faculty in premium B-Schools like JBIMS and NMIMS. I was always in touch with the changes happening in the education sector especially in the field of management education. In last 20 years, there has been tremendous expansion in higher education due to liberal development of Technical Education by AICTE. Due to this growth, the quality of management education has suffered. Those institutions which gave major priority to the quality of education have only survived and such institutions have found their place in the priority list of the management degree aspirants.
Dr. Satish on how he ensures outstanding teaching and learning across the Institutions
I believe that ‘learning starts with listening’. Here I am talking about our faculty members who are always on their toes to inculcate extra knowledge by attending National and International conferences, workshops, faculty development programs, seminars etc. Attending such seminars helps the faculties to get exposed to the current trends in management education and hence get motivated to do research. It’s always ensured that whatever they have learnt/gained in these conferences and workshops can be shared with the students so that it proves instrumental for the students in their respective careers.
We follow the policy of giving the financial incentives to the faculties if their research papers get printed in the renowned research journals. Many of our faculty members have presented their research papers abroad and have also embarked on the collaborative research with the foreign researchers. We always try our level best to impart practical learning to the students which is based on case studies so that the students can get the clear picture of the sector. We believe in making the classroom interactive rather than a monotone in which the students can actively participate and they can share their thoughts which in turn results in the healthy exchange of knowledge.
Dr. Satish’s teaching philosophy
My teaching philosophy is ‘inclusive’, which means that every student whether brilliant or average, deserves full attention and respect. In fact, average and below average students deserve more attention and hand holding, so that they can perform better. I don’t believe in discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, gender, language etc. and I have tried to create the same environment at VESIM too.
Dr. Satish on how his experience in the education sector has helped him understand the needs of the industry
I am a strong believer of close link between industries and academia especially in the field of management studies. While in Air India, I attended many Management Development Programs on quality building, performance improvement and team building. I found that knowledge is very useful in delivering required outcomes. Those who are in management schools, need to know as to how the industry functions. Management education is not pure theory, it is applied knowledge. Looking at that, we have various industry tie-ups. Representatives from these corporate are the part of our Board of studies panel and they are invited in these meetings so that we can get their inputs to designs in the industry-based curriculum for our students. They help us to understand the contemporary market.
SAS, has been our academic partner for last 3 years and they have helped us in designing our PGDM program in specialization in Business Analytics.
Most optimum path according to Dr. Satish for a student wanting to excel in any field of Management
Pedagogy in management schools focuses on the management theory, case studies, simulation, project work, internship in the industry and a lot of presentations in the classrooms. Management students have to open up and communicate with their teachers without any fear or hesitation. They need to come to the classrooms with open minds, engage and debate and participate as much as possible.
In addition to this, they need to come prepared with their lessons in the classrooms, there should be active participation and an interaction in the classroom and they should not be the spectators in the classroom. This practice will not only help in building the confidence in the students but will also help the students to gain the extra knowledge. The brain storming sessions help the students to imbibe the quality of innovative thinking amongst them. They tend to compete with each other in order to come out with the best outcomes. The excellence in a specific field is the result of facing challenges in that particular field and the continuous learning.
Growth of students through placements opportunities available at VESIM, Mumbai
We invite more than 150 companies to our campus every year so that the students have many opportunities to get recruited by the company of their interest, before they leave the campus. Over the past couple of years, we have had a very good placement record with good profiles and pay packages. This has resulted in good word of mouth for VESIM resulting in 100% admissions.
There are many students who aspire to get admitted in VESIM for pursuing their masters’ studies but due to limited seats, they get disappointed. From this academic year, we have increased our intake to 120 seats, which is good news for MBA aspirants.
Before sitting for any selection process, we groom the students. They are being trained by the industry experts and the faculty members.
Challenges faced by Dr. Satish all these years
There were many challenges. Building the brand value in the market is the toughest challenge for any Business School. The institutes also aspire to be amongst the top 10 or 20 in the list of the best B-School in which the students aspire to get admitted. The brand value can be only created if you have good faculty. Therefore, the first and the foremost challenge was of creating a pool of best faculties from the education industry. As we know that VESIM has always believed in imparting quality education to the students, so in order to fulfill this objective, we have recruited the best faculty having industry experience.
It’s very imperative to be in sync with the demand of the stake holders in regards to the quality of education, infrastructure, placements etc. Providing the world class infrastructure was the very first thing. The predefined norms laid down by the AICTE were related to infrastructure which were to be met. Keeping all these provisions in mind, we built premium computer labs with all latest technology. The class rooms are well equipped with all modern facilities such as fully wi-fi enabled campus etc. so that our students can use all these facilities at its best.
Qualities, which over the years have helped Dr. Satish and the entire management, create a brand name for VESIM
We have an extensive outreach program, for industry and our colleagues in academics. Since last 3 years, we have been organizing VESIM Literati Festival where we invite authors, thinkers and business gurus, who share their ideologies. So far, we have invited more than 100 authors who have addressed our students. This festival is organized at a very grand scale. Professionals are invited from the industry and the students get an opportunity to interact with the dignitaries and the celebrities personally. We have also organized the International Conference on Business Analytics and Smart Cities which is the talk of the town. In this conference, we get the ideas from young minds as to how we can develop our country by building smart cities. This international conference had a very representation from universities from abroad.
We have also organized the conference on Social Entrepreneurship which was attended by many renowned entrepreneurs. Our major objective of this conference is to give the boost to the students who aspire to be an entrepreneur. All these events are given wide publicity on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram which in turn have helped in growing the VESIM’s success graph.
Dr. Satish on how he prepares students to face challenges of modern organizations and global standards successfully
Our students actively participate in various activities which are conducted by the various academic cells in the Institute. We also have Student Welfare Council in which the mentoring sessions are conducted ‘for the students by the students’ i.e the alumni or the industry experts.
We often schedule the guest lecture by the corporate for the students which helps in the holistic development of the students. The students are engaged in the internship project in which they work in the corporate environment so that they get adept to the industry culture and can understand everything attached to it. We also have ‘Yuva for Seva’ program, where all the students spend 3 months in various NGO’s engaged in social service. This helps in sensitizing students about their responsibility towards the society.
Dr. Satish’s message for the youth who aspire to be young leaders
There is a need for the work - life balance right from the beginning of their career in the industry. I have seen many students who feel ‘burnt out’ by the time they reach leadership position. They need to have a long-term view of their personal development, maintaining good health, taking care of their families while working hard. They need to have a clear understanding of the needs of the society and our country. While being on work, they should lead a uni-dimensional life. Leadership is an inherent quality which is expressed outward when people are not fearful of consequences in any given situation. The holistic development of the students at VESIM try to take care of the future stress in their life.