Interview by Pratyasha
Dr. Vijay Page is associated with MET Institute of Management as Director General for two decades. His education qualifications include MMS from JBIMS (1968) and Ph.D. Having industry experience of more than three decades, Dr. Page has worked with various private corporate houses in the field of textile, plastics, fertilizers, and FMCG. Additionally, he has worked in the establishment of MET as a consultant to UN ECOSOC. Dr. Vijay runs an NGO in the drought prone areas of Maharashtra and also designs rural development programs.
In an exclusive interview with Collegedunia.com, Dr. Vijay shares his thoughts on the education sector and talks about his leadership philosophy.
Education is not an industry, but a foundation of each industry
A confession and clarification to begin with! I came to the education sector after working for almost 30 years in different industries. I thoroughly believe that education is not an industry. It is the ‘Soul of Industry’ or rather the fountainhead from which millions of people seek empowerment, skills, and strategic direction.
I have taken to this mission in the spirit irrespective of the financial returns. I believe, what we offer to students, parents, teachers, and institution we serve, the society gives it back to you in full measure. Knowledge cannot be converted in any currency of this materialistic world. It is a pure bliss, which occupies the space from here to eternity.
Leadership philosophy and style
In this complex and dynamic world, shaping and grooming the students to tackle the current and future challenges of the economy is a humongous task. Every individual involved in the chain of management education bears equal responsibility for moulding, shaping, and fine-tuning the ecosystem and deliverables to the students.
The effort of an educational institution is aimed at developing a sense of ownership, accountability, responsibility, and performance-oriented action, which necessitates a sense of leadership in every student. My effort, therefore, is to ensure that every team member in his/her area of academic, scholastic and co-curricular exchange with student assumes a leadership role to help achieve the milestones in the academic schedule.
As per Dr. Page, challenges never end
I really look forward to a day or time at MET Institute of Management when there are no more challenges to be met! I believe that right from the time when a student enters the institution and till the time industry absorbs the youth with open arms, the task is always in-progress. Even when the alumni have achieved success at the marketplace, we yearn to hear the echo of their laurels being sung at the hall of fame.
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Smooth and Transitional - Placement Opportunities at MET
There is no doubt that the industry has significantly raised the bar while recruiting students. They expect them to be productive from the very first day. Thus, a student has to metamorphose from being an apprentice to a full-fledged manager within the four semester journey at MET.
At our B-school, we try to bring students closer to the industry by taking up live projects, ensuring one-to-one interaction with industry professionals & alumni and helping them to do quality work in summer internships. Through these efforts, we try to narrow the gap between the academic and industry requirements. Because of all these steps, our students become more appropriate and employable for the positions offered by the recruiters.
The curriculum at MET Institute is evaluated regularly
Here at the Mumbai University, the curriculum is revised regularly, giving us a wide scope to add, amend and alter the subjects and applications of the same. This flexibility helps us to seek the best industry faculty, who are keen to experiment with new project ideas with the students which is a win-win both for us and for industry.
We also have MET Seva, which works in the CSR space developing sensitivity of the students to the cause of the underprivileged and weaker sections of the society. They are also involved in promoting national missions like Swachh Bharat, Green India and Hackethons promoted by AICTE to evolve solutions to complex problems of the regulatory system of the country. This helps us to develop the 360-degree view of the student to the industry and society at large.
Establishing a healthy relationship with the students
As a Director, I have the opportunity of interacting with students both through formal and informal way. The entire design of the program, teaching schedule and continuous exposure to industry experts help me to interact with students and faculty at initiation.
Whenever a new industry initiative launched, I receive feedback and a partial echo of what has been delivered to the students. It is a continuous chain of interaction with the students as well as inputs received from alumni and industry with whom they share their journey. These inputs trigger further interventions on my part. As a team, we continuously engage with the students to lift their morale and confidence level to meet the challenges of the market place.
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Views on technology - nurturing education in India
The first two decades of the 21st century have witnessed an explosion of sorts in the entire teaching-learning genre. A vast repository of learning and knowledge tools are available to both students and faculty in the web world. Laptops and mobiles are gradually replacing the standard desktops as dynamic support systems for students and professionals. Therefore, we have been trying to provide access and infrastructure to the open-source learning platforms and adequate bandwidth to students. This helps them to explore the knowledge sources under the guidance of the expert faculty.
Besides pen and paper-based exams, online submissions and chat boxes are available to students to quench their thirst. MET also promotes students to write blogs and take part in Techathons which are conducted at regional and national levels to lift their competitive knowledge threshold.
Uniqueness of MMS/PGDM programs offered at MET
The B-schools across the country are delivering well-designed academic and Co-curricular programmes to ensure that the students pass out as thorough professionals who could stand up to the challenges of the industry. At MET, we wholeheartedly believe that there is no choice of being an apprentice but a multifaceted professional who can meet the highest standards of the industry. Both as a leader and team member, the management professional, has the task cut out of excelling under pressure. Therefore, we try to sensitize them towards underprivileged and weaker sections of our society as well as expose them to the corporate elites who shoulder authority and responsibility at the market place.
Dr. Vijay’s organised and systematic schedule
My schedule is partly driven by the academic routine as well as the administrative and regulatory demands. During each semester, classroom inputs are balanced with interactive sessions like conferences, workshops, seminars, etc. which account for most of my time, since these are the thrust areas of critical importance. Interacting with students, teachers, parents, alumni, and industry experts goes on round-the-year, and these interactions always motivate and charge me while the words of PVC Capt. Batra keep ringing in my ears, “Yeh Dil Mange More!”
Suggestions for the young generations
The modern youth is certainly better informed about microclimate, which is holding them like a Cocoon they choose to operate in. There are a select few who keep broadening their horizon to look beyond the traditional limits of their knowledge and skill sets. They also look for widening their search to acquire inputs on their chosen area and domains, but the majority tend to float and gloat within their narrow confines of access and knowledge inputs. There is, therefore, the critical need of counselling and guiding them to focus their energies, which will add to their core strength and elevate their knowledge levels and experiences to develop a degree of uniqueness and strength our effort is driven by this conviction.
The youth should focus on the evolution of mass customisation and the value-chain spread across the whole world, which will empower their journey to the core of professional management. Scholastic pursuit necessitates delving deep into the world of books and libraries and there is no shortcut to learning and wisdom. As Dean Jonathan Swift said a long time ago, “Books are to mankind, what memory is to the individual”. Despite the big data at our disposal, we cannot do away with the memory function both at the professional and societal level.