Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. S. Jeyavelu is currently serving as the Dean of VSB, Amaravati. He is a Fellow of IIM Ahmedabad, Organizational Behaviour Studies and Former Faculty Member of IIM Kozhikode.
Dr. Jeyavelu on the changes that he has noticed in the field of education in his 15 years of experience in Management Education field
The idea of lifelong employment and single profession has almost disappeared. “Settle down” or “get settled” is no longer the mantra for every youngster. People are open to meandering around, have interests in multiple fields and engage in many diverse activities simultaneously. Work as we knew does not exist now. It has become more flexible and to some extent intrusive. Entrepreneurship has become mainstream. The utility and half-life of professional skills have progressively reduced. Organizations and industries have morphed to the extent that it is difficult to define what is an organization or which organizations belong to an industry. Ola, Flipkart, Airbnb and even TCS are such examples. If we look at management education, employability has become a major issue, specializations are shifting from functions to industries, there is a recognition that curriculum needs to be designed based on the student’s profile and one size fits all approach of copying IIMs won’t work.
I see a future where there will be super specializations in Management education and general management will again gain importance. General management which is grounded in the current technological and socio-cultural realities will help managers face the dynamics of the environment with ease. Super specializations will be the backbone of future organizations and professions.
Dr. Jeyavelu on concepts from IIM that he would like to feature in other Tier-2 institutes as he has himself taught in various IIMs
There are many best practices from IIMs that would be relevant to any B-School. The case method, professors as facilitators, group work and overall living experience differentiate IIMs from others. The essence of case method is preparation and analysis, before class and discussion of decisions during class. The professor takes the role of a facilitator of learning and not a lecturer. Group work is integral to most courses and students gain insights from working on time-based, high impact tasks with members assigned randomly to the group. Various clubs and activities/events are fully conceptualized and executed by students. This lays the foundation for professionalism, leadership, and excellence. What makes an IIM unique are Hostels with very little restrictions, mess/canteens open till 5 AM in the morning, 24 hours’ library, and submission deadlines at 23:59, etc. I believe an IIM student is branded for life.
In VIT-AP School of Business, we plan to give extensive real-life experience in a controlled environment to ensure our graduates can strategize and implement with equal grace.
Time management of Dr. Jeyavelu
I know many people who are better and best at managing time! I do a few things to be productive and effective. Whenever a decision is taken, I try and identify all the related tasks and inform the relevant people appropriately and well in advance. I keep a mental list. Every day, I complete the critical tasks as early as possible, keep routine tasks at specific times or when I want to take a break. When I am relaxing, I do visualization and this helps in acting fast when the need arises. I don’t like firefighting style of working, so I plan and finish tasks well in advance so that real crisis situations can be given an adequate time when they occur.
The toppers in the best institutions in the world are not that different from the next 10 or 20 percentile of the class. The toppers are basically better at managing their time and prioritizing. Hence, one can never talk enough about the importance of time management.
Top qualities that an aspiring student must possess
One of the most important expectations of Engineering & Management aspirants is to maintain a sense of curiosity and openness to new experiences. Don’t lose touch with fun and play! We have noticed during IIM interviews that the best students are those who continue to engage in their hobbies and sports. This helps in building stamina, relax from stress, maintain fitness amongst many other benefits. Some of the other qualities that students need to enhance are grounding in one’s roots, self-awareness, willingness to take the risk, interpersonal and social sensitivity.
Some pointers for choosing the right program and right college: Do your own research on the specialization, the college, and the leadership. Spend time to understand your preferences, likes, and dislikes. You are likely to do well in a field which is exciting and engaging for you than in a field which is seen as having best career prospects but you don’t have that much interest. Register and make the best use of sites like Collegedunia.com as they provide most of the relevant information in a single location.
Views on how Engineering Students make the best Entrepreneurs and how VSB is ensuring more Entrepreneurs to the Indian Economic system
Engineers learn logic and problem solving as part of their training. Best Engineering institutions also ensure that students learn soft skills. Engineers who are business minded, or with a deep desire to solve social issues use their training and create businesses. You must note it is very rare for a successful entrepreneur to start by saying that I want to make money. Usually, there is an overarching desire and passion for something, which gets converted into successful enterprises. Money is incidental.
At VSB, we give exposure to diverse frameworks and theories, and contexts. We believe with the variety of experiences, the probability of identifying one’s passion or be touched deeply by a problem and get caught with ‘bee in the bonnet’ to find a solution will increase naturally.
Dr. Jeyavelu on establishing world-class education at VSB
We are integrating Liberal Arts with STEM as a foundation for BBA, for the first time in India. This would open up the minds of the students to multiple realities and possibilities. The diverse set of courses help gain a much more granular picture of reality than any one specialization can. For example, anthropology, sociology, psychology, literature, economics, theatre and natural science together provide a much more comprehensive set of frameworks, models, theories as well as epistemology and ontology than any one field. We prefer to err on the side of breadth than depth at the foundation levels.
Our curriculum would also provide enough space to pursue depth in any chosen topic through guided research. We have unique workshops curated from the best institutions in the country and elsewhere – discovering leadership, globalization and culture, playback theatre, creative problem solving & design thinking, and many more. We are also planning field trips and internships – rural immersion, cultures of India, fieldwork with NGOs and interning in startups. Faculty who teach in the best institutions in the country including IIMs and faculty from UMD will be visiting us. We would like to see the BBA program as a laboratory for the students to experiment and experience without having to face consequences. Experiential learning and the total living experience will be the hallmark of VSB BBA. Needless to say that all the usual functional management courses will be covered, using the best practices from IIMs and UMD.
Message to the current youth
BBA is a choice and the first step to a career in Professional Management or Entrepreneurship. We believe a strong foundation at the UG level will make a huge difference in later years and make the transition to professional career or running family business smooth. If you enjoy using both right and left brain, looking for challenge and rigor, and most importantly a quick start to a management career, then you should consider BBA at VIT-AP School of Business.