Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Mr. Kaushik Akiwatkar is currently working with Rishihood University as Director for Development and Operations. In the past, he has worked with Gujarat Technological University (GTU), Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) and Youth Connect Magazine. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and PG Diploma in Management with Marketing as specialization. The academician is also on board of academic council of Swarnim Startup & Innovation University to help develop the course curriculum. Having nearly five years of experience in Marketing and Business Development in Media, he has helped student with their startups. Later he was appointed by GTU as Project Officer (Entrepreneurship). He played a crucial role in framing – (i) Startup Policy and framework for Students of Technical Institutes under AICTE, (ii) GTU’s Student Startup Policy, (iii) Policy & Procedures for GTU’s Technology and Business Incubator and (iv) Framing Course for Minor or Specialization in Technology Entrepreneurship course for engineering students.
In his career, Mr. Kaushik has delivered more than 70 workshops and seminars at various academic institutes. Have also authored 2 research papers and 45 case studies, to name few,
- Understanding Structure of Business Incubators, Startups and Government Policies (Fostering Entrepreneurship Culture) In Indian Context and
- The Role of Government Policy in Fostering Entrepreneurship and Innovation Culture and case studies in the field of Innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Case Studies of 45 Schools from Banaskatha, Chhota Udaipur, and Vadodara district of Gujarat State on Improving Quality in Public Schools: Strengthening School Management Committees.
Mr. Kaushik experience in the education industry
In my life journey till today, either I have studied, or I have taught. I believe education is not a profession, but a passion that pushes you to make a difference in society. Certainly, this industry is one of the largest in terms of size, the country has more than 1.5 million schools with over 260 million students enrolled and about 751 universities and 35 thousand colleges.
With such a large number, there sure are challenges one come across. Two major challenges in this industry are –
- gross enrolment ratio in conjunction with the quality of education. The number of students in college in comparison with the number of students who should be in college is just 19% in India. Just to hire one software engineer, companies take hundreds of interviews.
- the quality of education with increasing GER, one reports says by 2020 India’s GER will be 30%, which means adding another 22 million students to the higher education system. And if we apply normal student-teacher ratio, we are talking about millions of teachers which is a huge number. How will we find them?
If you are entrepreneurial at heart and challenges motivate you at work, then this is the industry you should be in.
Viewing responsibility as an ultimate ‘Challenge’
Leadership, according to me, is about helping others rise. Greatness comes not from the position but helping someone build a future. All of us in the position of power have the obligation to pull others up. Last month, as I took the office of Director at Rishihood University, I look at my responsibility not as accepting a position, it was more of accepting a challenge. My focus was to make it possible for people, passionate about the work are in at the university to achieve the level of greatness so that they can be on leadership position sometime in the future.
Time Management is not about creating time but managing it efficiently!
It is said you cannot create time, but you can manage it. Managing multiple projects at the same time has always been difficult but at some point, you learn by self-experience. And IT tools like Trello, Google Keep, and others also help you to manage time efficiently.
Methods opted to create a healthy relation with the students
Speaking their language, including the same kind of terms they use in their day to day conversation you have already developed a connect. Apart from this, my door is always open to them. I have made each student clear that they can communicate with me without any hesitation. My contact details are available to all the students who have attended my lectures, seminar or talks. Many of them are connected with me on Facebook and other social media platforms. Personally, I like to interact with young students as they are full of enthusiasm, creativity with all vivid imaginations.
Read about Rishihood University Courses and Fee
Mr. Kaushik take on the growth of Indian economy via student startups
Entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking ability are key to the growth of any nation. Potential entrepreneurs are too precious to be missed out. They need to be identified, supported, nurtured and leveraged to success for the benefit of all in the society. Since they are the only sources of new value creation, innovation, new wealth creation, and most importantly new jobs generation, their role as agents of economic growth, can never be overstated. Students have the minimum amount of risk (in management terms we call it as de-risking) during college days if they want to start on their own as an entrepreneur they have very less to lose.
Encouraging students with ideas to achieve their goals
Spreading entrepreneurship in scale is always a challenge – a challenge that is worth taking. But how we really do that?
In my tenure at Gujarat Technological University, we analysed and innovated ways to how final year engineering students did their projects. We encouraged students to visit industries, villages and rural India (we called it Shodhyatra) and asked them to observe with the help of Design Thinking methodology. Based on the observations students were asked to work on one problem from the pools of many, they identified during Shodhyatra. After completion of the final year project, students who were interested in taking their project further were helped with raising funds for prototyping. University would fund some projects and help them with incubation space and other facilities. Some projects which had social inclination would be helped through crowdfunding.
Suggestions for the current youth
My only suggestion to students is to choose the program of their interest, do not get influenced by your friends or family. It is necessary to know who you are and what your interests are, not knowing this will never help you. Apart from this, never stop learning, try to read as much as you can, all of this will help you in the future.