Mr. Vikrant Pande is currently the Provost (Vice Chancellor) of TeamLease Skills University.
Mr. Vikrant Pande has spent more than 25 years in the corporate sector. This is his first foray into education as a full-time Provost (Vice Chancellor) of TeamLease Skills University. He is a Mechanical Engineer and has earned an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. He is an accomplished translator of books and has published four books with HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan. Some of the well-known ones include translations of the classics Rau, Bajirao Mastani and Shahanshah, the Life of Aurangzeb, both from Marathi into English.
A Skills University has a different DNA in which it does not pray to Saraswati but to the god of employer hence it was necessary that the person heading the University came from a corporate background, having trained and recruited hundreds of employees.
We are more than happy to be able to serve as a platform for student aspirants for sharing Mr. Vikrant Pande’s inspirational words with them.
Ques 1: Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
Ans. I have been associated with TLSU for the past three years. I like working here as it does not work but passion! TeamLease has a vision of ‘Putting India to Work’ and I feel I am doing part of it.
Ques 2: Being the provost of TeamLease Skill University, what is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
Ans. I believe in leading from the front. We have a very transparent culture where hierarchy does not stop people from doing work. I believe in giving direct honest feedback to the individual concerned rather than to anybody else about some other individual. We believe that we can be direct without being rude, assertive without being aggressive and have an individual point of view without being adamant.
Ques 3: Any of the significant challenges you faced as the provost of TeamLease Skill University?
Ans. Getting students to believe that we mean what we say, getting parents to understand that without hard work and extra efforts put, one would not get the right job and getting faculty, which believes in our vision of ‘Putting India to Work’, which means being connected with Industry and not just academics.
Ques 4: How does your curriculum ensure best practice of industry?
Ans. We have members in all our Board of Studies who are from industry and they give an honest feedback on our curriculum for each subject. We take their feedback and make the changes immediately.
Ques 5: How do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available at TeamLease Skill University? How do you wish to push the envelope further?
Ans. Our students are getting offers in 2nd year of their 3-year program! We believe placement is not a challenge to our students. We are pushing the envelope by starting programs which are ‘learn while you earn’. We have a hospitality program where the students get stipend and work experience from day one. They come to campus one day a week each week for 3 years and then get a degree at the end of three years. We are trying to get more employers to believe in this model. We are already running a very successful National Employability through Apprenticeship program NETAP as part of the NEEM regulations (National Employability Enhancement Mission). We have more than 26,000 NETAP trainees enrolled in different employers across India.
Ques 6: How do you tend to establish a relationship with the students being the Provost of the university? How do you make yourselves available to them?
Ans. I am available most of the time on campus and off campus as well. We try and arrange a lot of guest lectures where we interact with students. We also have a lot of other interactions like days of celebrations, sports’ meets etc.
Ques 7: What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
Ans. A high level of discipline, higher number of classes especially for soft skills, IT skills are essential. A complete one semester of on the job training and in some courses, complete 3 years of learning while you earn.
Ques 8: Provost’s position requires intense time management. How do you manage your time?
Ans. One cannot manage time. One cannot only manage oneself and life! I think there is enough time in 8 hours of work time in office if you focus on outcomes in meetings rather than discussions and keep the discussions very small. Similarly, if responsibilities are clearly defined, job gets done. Committees required for decision making has to be quick and not delayed.
Ques 9: What goals do you have in your mind for your university for the next few years?
Ans. To become the largest university in India in terms of online courses. To be the pioneer in offering a combination of apprenticeships, employability and jobs. To be a 1/3rd Campus, 1/3rd Apprenticeship linked program and 1/3rd Online campus.
Ques 10: Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
Ans. Without skills, a degree in hand is not worth the paper it is printed on. Students have huge opportunities to learn a wide variety of skills while in college in each stream. Each stream offers employability linked skills courses. If the college does not teach, they have to learn on their own. Investing these 3 or 4 years is crucial for a career.Last Updated - 29 Jul 2017