Ashoka Institute of Engineering and Technology

Dr. Hafeez Basha is the Director of Ashoka Institute of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, Advisor / Expert at Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Mentor-of-Change at NITI-Aayog. Having a rich experience in the education sector, he talks about his passion for teaching and research which keeps him connected to the domain. He shares the qualities of an effective leader and the institute inspires students to become future global leaders. He goes on to describe the marketing strategies that the institute inculcate along with the changes and significant improvement in the education system of India. He emphasizes the fact of taking the road of entrepreneurship and how students can create employment opportunities. He shares the vision of the institute to become an autonomous Private University, which will be deciding and framing its own curriculum. In the later segment he emphasizes the fact that young minds have stupendous ideas and carry potential to become innovations and enterprises. But these ideas are actually being lost because the students are not putting it on paper but keeping it in their mind, which they eventually forget

My passion for teaching and research keeps me connected with the education sector

I started my career while still pursuing my Bachelors at a research and development organization. After graduation I worked with multinational companies. I was also supported for my higher education by the company to complete my Masters, but I had a strong desire to do a Ph. D and eventually decided to switch to academics. I got scholarship from Japanese Government to do Ph. D at Kumamoto University and even got Dean’s Award for Research Excellence during convocation. 

After returning to India I held significant positions like Dean R&D, Director – Training & Placements, Director – Foreign Relations, CEO – Technology Business Incubator, etc. and was able to mentor students for their effective career. I enjoy sharing my own experiences of visiting 13+ countries without spending any money from my pocket which really inspires the students. Though I keep getting offers from the Industry for product development and other engineering roles my passion for teaching and research keeps me connected with the education sector.

An effective leader focuses on the organization’s growth simultaneously grows the team as well

When a person becomes successful and the development and progress of others happen because of him, then in my view, that person is a leader. Group Discussion is conducted in most of the companies during their recruitment process in order to identify the leadership qualities in prospective employees. At the bottom level itself it is important to have leaders who will later climb the management ladder with everyone; not only for the organization’s growth but also by taking care of the entire team. Whenever the students come to my office, I always make them sit with me and discuss unlike most of the Professors who make them stand and when I talk to the students I come down to their level and try to address their issues.

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Our own students at campus are brand ambassadors of the institution where promotions happen through the word-of-mouth

The year 2020 was announced as the year of “Artificial Intelligence” by the Government of Telangana and it is at the same time when Ashoka Institutions started offering the programs B. Tech in CSE with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, B. Tech in ECE with Data Science, PGDM (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning), PGDM (Marketing and Business Analytics), PGDM (Fintech and Block chain) and PGDM (Human Resources with HR Analytics).

In order to enable students to solve the problems of tomorrow, strategies such as beyond academics are planned where apart from regular teaching by highly qualified and well experienced faculty, weekend classes will be conducted by the experts from Industry. We also have MOUs with IITs, NITs and Industry for continuous hands-on-training through workshops, seminars, internships, industrial visits, etc. In order to further strengthen the administration we have on-boarded CEOs of GMR, DSCI, and other prominent multinational companies in the Governing Council of the institution.

As far as marketing is concerned, our own students at campus are brand ambassadors of the institution where promotions happen through the word-of-mouth. We also have an effective social media and content marketing team in-house for the admissions. The campus is often utilized for the conduction of Government Examinations, Mock Tests, etc. where students get a chance to visit the campus amenities and interact with faculty.

In recent years there is significant improvement in the education system of India where the outdated syllabus is replaced with latest trend

Japan is the most technologically advanced country and has the world's best Universities but on the other hand India is leading in Information and Communication Technology. The top scores in English tests like IELTS / TOEFL are secured by Indians over other English speaking countries. In recent years there is significant improvement in the education system of India where the outdated syllabus is replaced with latest trends. Students are encouraged to go for higher education abroad with scholarships to get exposure in foreign culture, education, science and technology.

Ashoka Institutions signed MOU with University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Amherst, USA for the program Masters in Science (Electronics and Computer Engineering) where the student can study one year at Hyderabad in our campus while pursuing final year of the Bachelor’s degree and after graduation travel to Amherst to join the second year and get a Master’s Degree from UMASS. Even the first year classes will be taken by foreign faculty through a virtual reality classroom which is first-of-its-kind in India at our campus in Hyderabad for the benefit of students.

If students succeed in their journey of entrepreneurship, they can create employment 

Unemployment is one major issue faced by youth of today and the only solution to this problem is “Self-Employment”. If students are self-employed then they are not unemployed anymore, and if they really succeed in their journey then they will be able to provide employment to four more others. Students need not become entrepreneurs immediately; they can consider it even after gaining sufficient work experience or can have it as a secondary source of income.

However at Ashoka Institutions students are encouraged to consider Entrepreneurship as a career option. There is an active Entrepreneurship Development Cell which is entirely managed by a student committee and every year cohort of start-ups is incubated at Ashoka Innovazi Inc. the Technology Business Incubator of Ashoka Institutions. They get support in the form of mentoring, networking, seed-grant and access to investments by Industry leaders who are on-boarded as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. 

Some of the successful start-ups produced by Ashoka Institutions include xPark (Graphic Design, Web Development & Digital Marketing), Sampradaya (Traditional Products & Event Management), Robogyaan (Niche-Technologies), Kaanthi (Electrical Safety Products) where the co-founders went on to even receive the prestigious Commonwealth Youth Excellence Award at London from the British Government. 

We help and support the students from economically weak backgrounds and nurture them to develop and grow 

Ashoka Institutions, since its inception in 2009, is having more than 90% of students from backward communities and economically weaker sections, supported by the fees reimbursement scheme of the State Government. Moreover the promoters of the Institution have been giving additional scholarships to meritorious students through Ashok Sailaja Educational Society along with free hostel and transportation facilities. Employment opportunities are also being provided to them as teaching and non-teaching staff. 

In order to further empower the students, special attention is given to their English abilities and Communication Skills, which they lack before joining the institution. All the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in the campus are conducted without collecting any fee from the students. Also, the academic projects should be performed in-house by utilizing the research laboratories and centres-of-excellence thus avoiding the readymade projects sold by predatory companies. The International Center at campus provides information on Scholarships and Free Education Opportunities abroad that will keep them away from the private overseas consultants.

The top priority will be to become an autonomous Private University which will be deciding and framing its own curriculum 

The vision of Ashoka Institutions is to deliver the world class facilities that support brilliance in research, teaching and learning, which it intends to fulfil through the pursuit of education at the international level of excellence. Infrastructure and quality of faculty were the priorities of the institution from past ten years which it has already achieved by providing facilities and recruiting doctorates from IITs & NITs. Since new programs in the niche technologies will commence, there is a huge challenge of skilled facilitators for the students who are yet to join the institution.

Faculty Development Programs for up-skilling the teaching staff to handle programs like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, etc. are currently under way and involvement of industry experts when they are on their weekly offs to teach both faculty members and students are planned. The immediate next step of the institution is to set-up Centers-of-Excellence in Cyber Security and 5G with support from DSCI, NASSCOM and Reliance JIO respectively to facilitate innovation.

The top priority over the next ten years will be to become a Private University which will be autonomous in deciding and framing its own curriculum rather than following the syllabus of the University to which it is affiliated to. Provision of credit-transfer with foreign universities for short-term programs so that our students can spend one semester abroad at a Partner University and those credits easily get transferred to us, integrated programs, concept of finishing school at industry, etc.

Leadership team and the campus amenities are the two great strengths of Ashoka Institutions 

Leadership team and the campus amenities are the two great strengths of Ashoka Institutions where the promoters are highly educated personalities. Faculty members are senior academicians with Ph. D from IIT’s, NIT’s and Foreign Universities along with both industrial and teaching experience.

Ashoka Institutions is having a track record of 100% placements in core companies; distinguished alumni who are at prestigious positions; Incubation Center is supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India; Robotics Research Lab is supported by IIT-Bombay under the eYantra scheme of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India; Embedded Systems Lab by IIT-Hyderabad; ICT Teaching Learning Center by NIT-Warangal; etc.

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Young minds have stupendous ideas and carry potential to become innovations and enterprises

Young minds have more ideas, in fact crazy ideas and those ideas will have potential to become innovations and enterprises if they are properly harnessed. But these ideas are actually being lost because the students are not putting it on paper but keeping it in their mind, which they eventually forget. My suggestion to students is to inculcate the habit of writing (be it a research paper or a patent) at the bachelors level itself which will protect their ideas and also help them in their career.

Most of the students go for jobs and the one who fail to get one go for higher education and only few think about starting something on their own. I was able to do all the three simultaneously and moreover I even got married soon after my bachelors. This is my personal message to the students that nothing is impossible if you work smart. Every student will have a unique talent and they have to only identify it and make it their strength, and from there nothing can stop them in their journey of success.