Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Bhagwan Jagwani is presently associated as Professor (Finance) with Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania Institute of Management & Research, Kanpur, popularly known as GHS-IMR. He is a Management Professor, Trainer, and Consultant in the area of Finance, Accounts & Business Analytics. Prof. Bhagwan possesses a work experience of 20 years in industry and academia, which includes an association of more than 5 years with ICFAI, Hyderabad.
Dr. Jagwani is professionally qualified as a Company Secretary and is presently a ‘Fellow Member’ of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. He also holds Doctorate and Post Graduate degrees in Commerce. Besides this, he is UGC-NET qualified and possesses various certifications from renowned institutions.
Prof. Bhagwan is a certified IBM trainer in the area of Predictive and Descriptive Analytics. He has conducted several workshops for working executives, company secretaries, doctors, hospital administrators, faculties, and students. He has conducted corporate enlightenment sessions and faculty development workshops across India and abroad.
Apart from rendering consultancy services to a company based at Kanpur with an annual of over Rs.50 crores, Prof. Bhagwan has contributed and presented several research papers in national & international journals and conferences. His research papers have been cited by many research scholars in their doctoral thesis and research papers. His current research interests include - Applied Financial Econometrics, Advanced Data Analytics, and Behavioural Finance.
Dr. Jagwani’s experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in
It has been 20 years since I have been associated with the education industry. My engagement has been by way of designing and teaching subjects related to Finance, Accounts & Business Analytics for professional courses like PGDM, MBA, CFA, CA, CS, CMA, etc. Throughout these years, I have also been involved in academic administration, training and final placement of management graduates, the conduct of corporate enlightenment sessions and corporate training workshops, as well as faculty development programs, etc. Apart from this, I have also headed a B-school (being one of the constituents of the ICFAI Academy, Hyderabad).
The specific task that keeps me moving as a member of the academic fraternity, apart from academic discourse, is to ensure Industry-Institute Interaction. This not only aligns the curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities of an education provider with the ever-changing industry requirements, thereby bridging the industry-academia gap, but also keeps the members of the academic fraternity updated. Even if the focus is to promote entrepreneurial spirit amongst students, understanding industry and societal requirements are still important so that efforts are directed in those areas that require prime attention.
History speaks for the fact that the development of any nation and its people depends, inter alia, upon the synergy between education, industry and the economy. This makes education the best industry to work in due to the fact that members of the academia are contributing in the overall development of the nation by way of teaching and guiding students, who would be skilled manpower or entrepreneurs of the future. This, I personally think, should not only keep the adrenaline rushing in the members of the academia but shall also provide them an opportunity to become wiser, updated and in-sync with the industry and society.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Jagwani
I personally believe that behind every challenge lies an opportunity. I have been fortunate enough to have been offered a myriad of learning and development opportunities at GHS-IMR. As GHS-IMR is an autonomous institute, there is freedom to incorporate changes in the academic curriculum from time to time and plan co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in alignment to contemporary industry requirements. While following a prescribed procedure for the same, a lot of brainstorming is done so that the end result turns out to be the desired one.
One of the significant learning opportunities has been to implement ‘Outcome-based Education’ with the use of ‘Rubrics’ in evaluation and assessment procedures. This is in tune with the present day requirements of nearly all national and international accreditation bodies in higher education. I even conduct workshops on ‘Outcome-based Education and Use of Rubrics’ in other institutions with the basic belief that it is high time now to shift the focus from ‘teacher-centric’ approach to ‘student-centric learning outcomes’ approach and every education provider should strive for the same.
Dr. Jagwani on how GHS-IMR ensures best practices of the industry
We, at GHS-IMR, have always believed that an industry-linked curriculum delivered with an innovative teaching and assessment methodology ensures that students are not only exposed to the best practices of the industry but are also able to demonstrate the acquired skills during their internship as well as final placement or entrepreneurial ventures. To achieve this objective, my teachings have always made effective use of simulation exercises, scenario analysis by tweaking real-time company data, financial modeling using spreadsheets, equity research report writing, short-term field projects, exhaustive final research projects, participation in a business simulation and virtual stock market contests, and even roleplays!
Goals in mind for your college in coming future
As a management educator, I believe that the primary goal that any B-school should have in the coming future is to give back to the society skilled manpower that has an understanding of the following: Working in an environment of Robotic Process Automation (RAP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), use of inter-disciplinary analytics to address real-time business problems or societal issues, adroit at using advanced technology like Block Chain, etc. and possessing sensitivity towards environment protection and sustainable development, apart from focus on business ethics in testing times of today and tomorrow.
As far as GHS-IMR is concerned, we are rigorously working towards providing an environment to our students wherein the aforementioned goal is met. The inbuilt features of our management programme give students an exposure to RAP and AI, business analytics, disruptive and break-through technologies, business ethics, developing sensitivity towards environment protection and sustainable development. Besides this, our free international study-cum-industrial tour gives an opportunity to our students to learn cross-cultural diversity, apart from gaining an international certification duly accredited by the Cambridge International Qualifications (CIQ), UK.
Dr. Jagwani on providing the best quality of education in GHS-IMR
Quality of education at GHS-IMR is ensured through a variety of robust systems and procedures through the use of technology. As I said earlier, we have adopted the approach of ‘Outcome-based Education’, which serves as a key to ensure whether desired learning outcomes are being achieved or not. This approach objectively inquires into the percentage of achievement of outcomes in a particular course, programme or even the mission of the institute. Objective measurement of any shortfall in the outcomes achievement of a particular course or programme acts as the way forward to work on related areas of improvement.
Besides this, we have developed a ‘Student Progress Tracking System’ which tracks learning levels of individual students and provides diagnostic data to serve as a basis for improvement. Moreover, tracking of alumni progress and achievements is also an important mechanism followed by us to gauge the sustainability of quality education imparted by our institution. Encouraging faculties to participate in international conferences, working on company-sponsored research projects, conducting management development and faculty development programmes, etc. help in ensuring quality delivery by faculties.
Dr. Jagwani on building a positive culture or climate in students of GHS-IMR
Some of the steps taken by us to build a positive culture or climate among our students include: Developing transparent processes and systems, building effective communication within the institution, catering for individual needs of students, creating a health-promoting physical environment, enhancing self esteem, fostering respect for diversity, fostering inclusive and respectful language, developing appropriate communication between parents and the institution, promoting and rewarding ethical practices, etc.
Dr. Jagwani on his relation with the students
Communicating positive expectations to students, providing opportunities to all students equitably, ensuring an effective student feedback mechanism, providing sufficient latency periods while questioning students (latency is the amount of time that elapses between the moment you give a student a response opportunity and the moment you terminate the response opportunity), correcting students in a constructive way, preventing and reducing frustration and stress in students through proper counseling, demonstrating care, developing positive overall environment and providing quality ‘campus life’ are some of the efforts put in by us to establish positive relationship with students.
Dr. Jagwani’s leadership style
Higher education scholars have consistently identified leadership style as being amongst the chief contributing factor to successful institutional change. In my opinion, the true essence of leadership lies in empowering the faculty, supporting staff and students to be leaders in their own capacity, so that all contribute towards the accomplishment of the vision and mission of the institution. Though I believe that a true leader is the one who should first demonstrate the desired behaviour and then inspire others to do even better by looking ‘beyond the horizon’, different combinations of competencies can lead to different styles of leadership, appropriate in different circumstances, producing transformational leaders in situations of high complexity and transactional leaders in situations of low complexity. My leadership style is influenced by a mix of four competencies that determine leadership performance – cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and motivational.
Suggestions for the current youth
My suggestion to the current youth and aspiring students is to identify their passion, follow and visualize their dreams, target nothing but excellence in whatever they decide for themselves, be prepared and committed for putting in a lot of hard work coupled by smart work and proper research, develop analytical skills, identify and avoid distractions in a volatile, uncertain and complex environment of today, not be afraid of failures, read lots of motivational best-sellers & real-life success stories of others, focus on healthy eating habits and practice Yoga!