Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Solai Bhaskaran is currently serving as the Director (PGDM) at ABBS. He obtained Post Graduate Degree in Administration, Degree in Law, LL.B., and Ph.D. from. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. He has 2 decades of corporate experience in a senior Leadership position in various industries in different states. He has also served the Academic management institutes and training organizations for the past 15 years.
Dr. Bhaskaran’s experience in the education industry
There has always been a good scope to contribute to the education industry, be it in the current globalized knowledge-based industry, digitalized economy, millennial employees’ potentiality and aspirations.
The Role profile either as a subject specialized Faculty with a strong research background or as an Academic Administrator – provides an opportunity for self-growing besides making a strong impact in maximizing the learning by students and facilitating their growth professionally in a holistic manner.
Dr. Bhaskaran’s leadership style
My style has been of CONSULTATIVE pattern and I take all the stakeholders’ and perspectives and at the same time being very assertive in executing effectively. I drive and encourage them to be more productive, innovative and be the pioneer in academic achievements. I have to be patient but I help them in coming out of approach. Again, I lead by example of personal productivity and be available to them for any help and support to contribute significantly.
Significant challenges faced as the Director
The Faculty needs to improve their managerial effectiveness in undertaking institutional service and also be innovative in assuring learning with fun besides effective teaching. They have to move from ‘A SAGE ON THE STAGE TO A GUIDE ON THE SIDE’.
Curriculum of ABBS
We benchmark the global and contemporary curriculum pattern, guidance of best model suggested by the Regulatory and accreditations bodies, industry requirement, emerging areas like analytics and a strong Board of Studies recommendation.
Dr. Bhaskaran on the growth of students through placement opportunities available at Acharya Bangalore B-School
We need to primarily align the whole gamut of academic; co-curricular, extra-curricular activities with strong industry connect from the beginning of the session. We have to enable students to clear few value added certificate courses that are currently in demand from Industry. Each Faculty should teach not only subject knowledge but also the soft skills on a continuous basis. We should improve Industry connect from all perspectives by involving them in guest lectures, mentoring, internship guides, BOS, workshops, conferences.
Dr. Bhaskaran’s availability for students being the Director of the Institute
I start taking classes for them from the Induction and continue to take few sessions in all the semesters and this is one effective way of connecting with them. Most of the days, they are most welcome to see walking by from to and in case of emergency, they can meet me any time.
They can connect with me through group WhatsApp as well as individual WhatsApp number. I respond to them in 30 minutes up to 11 pm in the night. I attend to all the functions and celebrations organized by them to create togetherness.
Ideal school environment
Student and Student, Student and Faculty, Student, Faculty and Director interaction should be open, transparent, encouraging and supporting for the big noble cause of academic achievements in a holistic manner. Various forums and committees should be provided to facilitate such formal and informal interaction.
Top qualities that an aspiring manager must possess
Diagnostic problem defining, identification and solving in multiple perspectives should be one of the main competencies besides effective communication, working in a multi-cultural team. Driving to be productive and adjusting and handling the change management situation could be another major set of qualities they must possess.
Goals in mind for ABBS Bangalore for the next few years
The immediate goal is to get accredited to the best global bodies like SAQS, AACSB and institutionalize the total quality in overall academic design and delivery in an inclusive manner. Selection, Retention, Development of competent and qualified Faculty with strong research and industry background. Grooming the diverse background students in a holistic manner and get them ready for employable with attractive remuneration.
Suggestions to the current youth and the aspiring students
They need to learn the framework of various management disciplines like a consultant and apply these concepts in an experiential manner through various projects and internships. They should read and analyze at least 200 case studies along with the best contemporary articles from best journals like Harvard Review besides the learning from prescribed books during these two years.