Interview by Yash Panchal
Ms. Sanmitra Chitte is the Dean of School of Management at the World University of Design. She has experience of 14+ years in various sectors. She demonstrates great skills in integrating design & innovation within the corporate business. She holds a Master’s in Strategic Design Management and a Degree in Commercial Arts (BFA). She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Management- Sustainability from IIM. She also holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She is a trained Z-MET (Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique) Interviewer and Analyser.
Ms. Chitte has previously held various positions in reputed companies. She has presented her research papers in conferences and her papers have been published in reputed journals. She has in-depth knowledge of Branding, Print Design, Photography, Web Design, etc.
Ms. Chitte’s experience in the education industry
The Education industry is very versatile. It has a very important factor – of giving, of contributing in building the new generation into stalwarts. It is full of new challenges with so many stakeholders one is answerable to. As an educator, one is answerable to the students, junior staff, the management, the curriculum designed and above all this, to the society. It has turned into an industry now, but I prefer calling it the sector.
I believe in Creative freedom.
I believe a leader should be handholding her peers to pull them up for the greater benefit of the organization rather than of an individual
I believe in growing together, hand-in-hand. I take interest in the growth of the organization as a whole. I love to create opportunities for the juniors so that they can soar skies with me. Creating opportunities for co-learning irrespective of the position is very important.
Today, the generation gap has reduced considerably and a leap of 5 years also may make someone obsolete. Hence, it is utterly essential that one should keep learning. This learning can happen from anywhere, be it seniors, juniors, students. One should be open to such learning opportunities always. Otherwise, it becomes lonely at the top!
Views on the Strategic Design Management & Retail Business Management undergraduate program
The program is a very new and one of its kind program. We offer an undergraduate degree in Strategic Design Management & Retail Business Management. These programs have been evolved out of collaborative planning, integrating industrial know how & academic theory. The programs along with teaching the subjects also focus on enabling students to be equipped with the impact of new streams that are evolving per day. Today, there is a lot of knowledge available. But it is a task to curate it to suit the capacity of the youngsters trying to learn basics so that they can build a foundation for the rest of their journey. This is the first one of its kind program offered at UG level in India.
Market trend shift towards Design courses in India
Design education is in demand for a couple of decades. There was a time when Design was taken up as a career by a select few people. But today, it has been adopted in almost all the industries and conspicuously omnipresent. That makes Design important on various levels. India is awakening to the concept of Business Design, Service Design. Today, Innovation is imperative for any industry to survive.
The designers produced in India are far lesser than the other countries currently. We need to produce more designers to serve the market need. Today, the Design courses are also becoming specialized. There are new disciplines within the realms of Design Management, Communication, Product, Fashion that are emerging and are becoming more relevant.
Curriculum based on deep thinking and expert advice
The curriculum has been set up with deep thinking, industry collaboration, and expert advice. The amount of research done to come up with a right mix of Management & Design strategy so as to suit the relevancy and need of the market. Along with the right academic curriculum, it is essential to give the right exposure to practical learning. We, at the World University of Design believe in learning by doing. We have collaboration in the form of MoU’s with various industries. We seek classroom projects via these associations and imply on to the students that help them learn on the project. The students then benefit via the experience to get internships and prospective job offers.
Various lectures & talks from the industry experts are arranged per small intervals, which helps the students to connect with the live industry people. Also, there are various global events arranged wherein the students work on actual projects and problem statements together. This not only allows the students to get exposed to various industry people but also to understand the new challenges. Along with the placement opportunities we see to it that students visit conferences and various hackathons/ similar events and participate in the same.
Being available for the students as the Dean of the university
Being the Dean of this college has its own challenges. But I believe in continuous conversation with the students and faculty. This motivates students and we also get to learn new things as educators. The core subjects and practicals are taken by key people. Formulating the curriculum to upkeep with the industry also involves the reach and ability of the students. Hence a continuous conversation with the students along with the subject learning is essential.
Ideal school environment for students
We have a transparent studio environment which enables co-learning within students. There is a system called Open electives which enables students to do a few subjects that don’t belong to their field of study.
We have an open door culture to the students wherein students can communicate and converse with their faculty as and when required
The library is a good mix of the physical & digital library.
Goals in mind for the institute
Every university is built the reputation that the students bring to it. We want to see the World University of Design as the first choice of the students who want to make it big in Design. We want to see the students Win with WUD.
Suggestions for the youth and the aspiring students
I would like to say that design is a very dynamic space. No one retires here. A designer can work throughout one’s life and create a positive impact. I want to welcome the Design aspirants to this interesting world. It is very easy to get here. One just needs to use his/ her creativity to the fullest.