Siddharth Deshmukh graduated as a "first MICAn" in 1996 (first batch of MICA’s two-year flagship PGDM) and returns back to his Alma Mater in a new capacity. Siddharth will lead MICA's foray into the digitally enabled world – through the “Digital Platform and Strategies” Area. He has been teaching at MICA for last three years in his capacity of an adjunct faculty. He co-created MICA's Digital Communication Management (DCM) Specialization along with other MICA faculty. He has mentored over 50 students to convert their ideas into prototypes and potential ventures (this is a six-month project for MICA’s second year PGDM students in lieu of dissertation). He also teaches foundation courses in Digital Transformational Frameworks and User Experience Design. Besides these, Siddharth has taught various other digital and non-digital courses across institutes.
Siddharth's first two jobs were with Sony Entertainment Television and AT&T (before it became Idea Cellular). He has, since that time, been an entrepreneur and digital venture/product development evangelist for over a decade – with his earlier UK based company, Cohezia. He remains on Cohezia's Advisory Board and the various ventures it develops and grows.
Ques 1: How does it feel to be graduated as a "first MICAn" in 1996 and then coming back to the university with a totally different role of being the Associate Dean?
Ans. I know understand how much fun it was to be a student- something I never realized back then! MICA itself has undergone a radical transformation and has become a very strong brand, known for cutting edge curriculum and industry & alumni connect. This wasn't the case back then- MICA was in its nascence- so it feels great to experience this strong MICA and see the power of a truly different learning experience work its magic.
Ques 2: What are the qualities, which over the year have helped you and the entire management, create a brand name for MICA?
Ans. In our digital world, brand building has shifted from image building campaigns to continuous conversations and experiences that it can provide to stakeholders. Brand MICA has doubled down on making a unique learning and life experience for its students. We have so many innovative professors and classes, and such wonderful industry interactions that go beyond the placement drive! This focus on walking the talk has helped MICA management to develop a strong brand for itself.
Ques 3: You have been an entrepreneur and digital venture/product development evangelist for over a decade with Cohezia. Tell us about the struggles behind starting your own venture and some advice/suggestion for the aspiring entrepreneurs of our country
Ans. As an entrepreneur, the only truth is that there are no formulas. Add to this, especially in India, society always looks down on failures- which means that you need to have a lot of courage to step in this direction. The key is to budget for a lot of failures before you succeed. I'd like to tell every budding entrepreneur to look at entrepreneurship as a career instead of as only an adventure. That's when things become real and you can focus on getting that ever elusive first purchase order/first user and not get distracted by your own ego.
Ques 4: Apart from being an entrepreneur and the Associate dean of MICA, you are also an author! Tell us about your books ‘The Map that Matters’ and ‘The Gift of the Gab’.
Ans. "The Map that Matters" is a nonfiction book based on a Eureka moment, when I realized how the human mind functions. Once I got this insight, I lived with it for a decade before writing a book on it. It was published in the US. "The Gift of the Gab" is what I'd call a management fiction story about a typical born manipulator- the political animal who tries to survive and succeed in today's cutthroat business world by his silver tongue. It is about this guy's meeting with a crazy mentor, who knocks sense into him.
Ques 5: How do you look at enhancing student-industry interaction at MICA?
Ans. Students have to interact with Industry in a non-transactional way, in order for Industry to recognize their true value. So, at MICA, we keep it as learning based and not just transactional (read placement driven) through MICAMINDS, our student driven consultancy wing, and through MLS (our MICA LEADERSHIP series of lectures) and many more things like these. Interestingly, this is when Industry starts respecting MICA students much more and results in better placements and careers!
Ques 6: What is your view on the growth of B-schools in India?
Ans. It is a dangerous situation. We have too many MBA institutes mimicking each other. This results in students coming out of such institutes with absolutely no differentiation whatsoever. Also, managers today are expected not just to manage, but also actively do- and I think MBA institutes are not innovating enough to include these new inputs and ways of learning into curriculum and pedagogy- they just pay lip service. MICA has strongly fought this trend and you see the difference that our alumni have brought to the table wherever they are. They enjoy both the journey and outcomes of their careers.
Ques 7: Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
Ans. Unlearn first- Unlearn all the wrong things you may have received from society- how to cram for exams, how to focus solely on money, how to showcase class participation rather than actual learning, how to attend for attendance sake rather than discovering a new thing. Then, learn to enjoy learning. Don't become a middle aged cynical person at the age of 25. Rekindle wonder. Learn from everybody.Last Updated - 26 Jul 2017