Interview by Pratyasha
Dr. Jamila Varawala is currently the Dean of Ecole Intuit Lab, Mumbai. She has a Ph.D. in Sequential Thinking and Visual Communication (Arts) with a work experience of over 35 years. She has worked at various capacities in many organisations and has an outstanding contribution in setting up various academic institutions pan India. Starting her career from being a Graphic Design teacher at Sophia College, Mumbai to now being a stalwart in the Academic-Industry, this Design Diva has authored multiple publications with Tata Donnelley and has been honored for her participation in Rio Summit. Apart from her work experience in India, she has also been associated with various International colleges like Cambrian College, Canada, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom and the University of Arts, London.
In an exclusive interview with collegedunia.com, the academician shares the journey she has had in the education sector and unravels the secret to handling challenges that one faces in real-time scenarios.
My Journey with Ecole Intuit Lab
Ecole Intuit lab wanted me to be a part of their journey from the very beginning. Back then, I was the first and the only permanent academician. Over time our institute has only grown tremendously. Our teaching faculty now comprises of a group of young and enterprising individuals; acclaimed professionals and entrepreneurs from the work world. This gives us our students great exposure, as theory is well balanced with practical learning.
With the changing trends, we have equipped our students for the digital world by introducing User Designer Experience (UX) and now proceeding towards the gaming vertical. However, this industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and to equip our students with the required knowledge and skills, I have introduced the culture of going for international trips and workshops, participating in fests such as Design Yatra, Goa and many more.
Leadership style and philosophy
My Leadership style is not somebody who leads from the front, rather I am more of a shepherd who stands right at the back and motivates even the last sheep of the herd to move forward. I like to give my students a holistic view of the industry which gives them the understanding and freedom to specialise in a career of their choice.
No matter how fast and well-fueled a plane’s engine may be, it cannot take off for its destination if it doesn't have direction. In the same way, I believe that it's absolutely essential to make sure students have direction and are thoroughly aligned with their goals. Of course, discipline and innovative thinking are imperatives for such alignment.
Having an international exposure, I still prefer Indian values and earnestly try to expose my students to the same. Although, as an academician, I respect and understand the thought process of young generations too.
The Quality of education in India
Indian aesthetics are very different from international aesthetics. Our curriculum and structure differ in many ways but the good news is that many new-age institutes in India, like Ecole Intuit Lab are rapidly moving towards a progressive way of thinking, thereby raising the bar of education delivered here. The amalgamation allows us to pick the best from both cultures.
I am proud to say that institutes like Ecole Intuit Lab and many more in India are tirelessly working towards bridging this gap. Ecole Intuit lab understands the potential of the Indian market and is committed to creating ‘industry-ready’ students to meet the tremendous market needs. We achieve this by embedding real-life, professional exposure for the students into the academic curriculum.
Our Faculty has been increasingly occupying themselves in the professional work world. This gives them an edge over regular teachers as their exposure gives them a fair idea of what the market really requires. The processes are improving, the commitment towards building a stronger work culture is shining forth and the thirst for exposing young minds to lateral forms of thinking is growing.
Read about Ecole Intuit Lab Courses & Fee
Difference in Indian and other countries Curriculum
Every day comes up with a different challenge, which for me is exciting. I have been exposed to Canadian, British, and French curriculum but not the Indian curriculum.
Canadian are open, structured, and humble. British are Comfortable, and French are Fluid as well as think a little differently. This creates a bit of a problem for me in terms of perspective. In India, people are not open to changes. Education institutions, here, are following traditional practices. However, changes are happening here in the nation.
At college, I follow an admissible policy with my students. Whether it’s a new student who comes at our doorstep, a faculty member who needs to discuss their assignment briefs with me, an ex-student who comes back home or any student who needs help with their careers and placements - my doors are always open to all. I make sure that everyone feels free to approach me with any ideas, concepts or grievances they have at any given point of time. In the digital lingo you may say, I’m always online!
The Industry is at our doorstep
Whether it's the professionals who teach our students or the events we hold and participate in, the industry is always at our doorstep. Over a period of time, we have established good relationships with a number of advertising agencies, design houses and corporate companies which helps our students receive the right kind of exposure.
We also host an event named Designxt; a creative hub for students to interact with design professionals for job recruitment and displaying their portfolios which are then seen by Industry experts, parents and friends alike.
We have a mandate of 2 internships integrated into our academic semesters. The first is aimed at giving students an insight into the industry and the second allows them to choose a specific stream for their specialisation. A realisation of whether they are ready or not for the real work world dawns upon them at this time, which increases their motivation to give their hundred percent focus and attention back at school.
The Students Story
With the advent of technology, students nowadays are more collaborative and think big. They are not jealous of each other, and I really like that spirit. They take every task as a new opportunity and explore various methods to accomplish the same. They also use their time wisely. Of course, they do take up jobs for a while but I strongly encourage them to spend the rest of their free time doing research and other things they are passionate about.
I often tell them to discipline themselves and come on time for class. In fact, I am always there before the students to set the right example for them and I think that it has rubbed off on the culture of our school students. They do respect another person’s time and have thus become good with adhering to deadlines.
People often ask me about how we do our placements but I’ll have to give the credit of this one to their students. Placements have been growing organically and that’s because most of the times, our own ex-students come back to hire their juniors for the companies they work for. They can vouch for the quality of work and that makes me proud of the education we deliver here. Our goodwill comes around in a full circle.
Click here Ecole Intuit Lab Placement
Integrating Today’s Technology into our curriculum
Technology plays a very important role in the design, gaming, UI, and UX which is why we have made sure the facilities provided at the institution are always up to date. Our students avail of the same to improve their coding skills create apps, logo designs and a bundle of other new-age products.
The future of Design in India
I wish to see Indian Designers not just copy patterns from the western world but create their own creative wave with original and innovative ideas that can take the world by storm. Let’s stop echoing other’s work and truly establish a niche in design for ourselves.
Do you really think a person pays 250 bucks just for a coffee? No, they pay for the brand, design, and experience the company gives. The world is a hub for various business organizations and to sustain, one needs to plan, strategize, think deeply, and research.
Message to the Millennials
Set a goal! Don’t only think but Work towards achieving it. Don’t just think of the idea, implement it! Mistakes will happen, don’t be scared and keep moving, ever forward.