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Acharya Bangalore B-School - [ABBS], Bangalore

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Interview: Ajitesh Basani, Executive Director, Acharya Bangalore B-School, Bangalore

 

Ques 1: The vision for ABBS is to create an environment of learning for students in line with the changing world and technological advances making a more profound presence in the educational sector. How do you see this vision materializing in the coming years?

Ans: Management education is evolving rapidly today and technology has a huge role to play in molding the learning environment. Right from attendance to internal communications, real-time reviews to case studies- technology will be a major factor in unfolding this new platform. Artificial Intelligence will become mainstream in learning and testing procedures, I envision such an environment where learning is accessible and tailored to every unique student here at ABBS. The idea is to create a hassle-free experience for our students from day one, and this is possible when technology is hardwired within learning that a student knows what to do when and how.

 

Ques 2: Your profile is predominantly focused on creating a positive digital presence for ABBS. What are your views on having a strong digital presence for an educational institute? Why is it important to have a digital platform for educational institutes?

Ans: I think today digital is everything. Digital presence speaks volumes about your institution, values and reputation. It is a transparent platform where a student can find out details about ABBS without having to actually visit. Having a good digital platform can separate you from your competitors and reach out to students and parents at different nooks and corners of the world. More importantly, communicating with the outside world is what attracts the right students, because it all comes down to having the same frequency.

 

Ques 3: As an Executive Director, your role also includes partnering with foreign universities. What is the role that these universities play in the academia at ABBS?

Ans: Our goal is to have high collaborative partnerships with foreign universities, as this helps us in focusing on specific academic areas. We have student and faculty exchange programs with foreign universities, as well as international conferences and research collaborations. Partnering up with foreign universities is an opportunity to share ideas and values across many disciplines. We also relearn from one another. The idea of collaborating is also to have a different perspective on familiar things like strategic management or operations.

Ajitesh Basani

Ques 4: What is your mantra to create a positive academic culture at ABBS?

Ans: We believe in nurturing our students and encouraging them to learn and take up different academic activities outside the classrooms. It is important to not limit the interaction within the walls of the classrooms. So, to switch things up, we involve students in live projects, interactive sessions like debates, industry seminars and case studies. We support students to write research papers in their areas of specializations and participate in conferences. This fosters interest and creates a very positive learning platform.

 

Ques 5: These days, every premier institute in the country has implemented digital technologies for classroom teaching and is experimenting with the methods of teaching. What are the new modes of teaching, which ABBS has introduced at its campus, and how do you think it has helped students at ABBS to be prepared for the professional world?

Ans: We have integrated quite a few interesting platforms for our students. Having an online student activity registration form for events help us reach out to students with varied interests. We have a full-fledged video conferencing setup that is often used to run lectures from different parts of the world. The attendance and grading system is all on our ERP, which tracks students’ performances.

 

Ques 6: What are your views about the digital revolution, which has embraced our country in the last few years?

Ans: I think the digital platform has taken India by storm in the recent years, and higher education is a big part of this revolution. Today, we have more than 60% of web browsers through mobile users and lesser people by the day reading print media. It creates a transparent platform for students, since communication on the Internet is two-way. Clarity in fee payments and a uniform structure for everyone has been possible because of this digital revolution. There are lesser discrepancies now than before and students can evaluate institutes before joining. So, moving towards this digital platform has had a positive impact on finding the right college.

 

Ques 7: In the recent times, there has been an upsurge in online learning resources including those on mobile platforms. How do you see their integration with ABBS’ overall vision?

Ans: Online learning resources are great tools to facilitate with classroom pedagogy- it keeps learning interactive and interesting. We integrate MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) into our existing curriculum so that students don’t have to miss out on important concepts and methodologies. Accessibility is the key selling point of online learning resources. This will be integrated at ABBS in various disciplines using different stimuli for learning. With the current trend that online learning has, my only concern is the completion rate of online courses being less than 9%. But, to reiterate, I still believe this is a great arena for students if it is used at the right time in the curriculum.

 

Ques 8: What is your overall take on the current scenario in education domain? How do you see the education industry growing along with the technological revolution in the next decade?

Ans: Frankly, I think the education sector is at a stage where the focus is shifting towards industry and specializations. The options are ever growing. Niche areas of study are becoming more acceptable and students are venturing out and trying new things. Technology influences education but cannot replace education entirely, it will always be a supplement for the system. But there is an urgent need to evolve and use technology in the right manner for the education domain to grow. Growth in education needs to be organic and multidisciplinary, and this is possible when technology is in place.

 

Ques 9: While managing the digital presence for a dynamic institute like ABBS, what are the challenges you have come across and how have you resolved them?

Ans: Finding the right people has been the biggest challenge. The competition for space on the Internet has become high and this comes down to strategic planning. We have regular workshops to upgrade our skills and stay updated with the digital scenario. Having an IT team is crucial for an institute because it helps propel the organization in one direction. Doing too much too soon is also a challenge- this could be a bad thing. I think focusing on a few areas first is better, and having a strategy in place is necessary instead of venturing in untouched waters.

 

Ques 10: While technology may be old, digital marketing is a relatively new field. What qualities have helped you lead your team in wading through this new and unknown territory successfully?

Ans: Digital marketing for higher education has blown up in the last couple of years. This has helped us understand students and their interests better. It helps us reach out to various parts of the world since we believe in a diverse student population. Navigating through this new territory has been interesting and we are discovering various facets of digital marketing. In the end, our goal is to reach out to students with similar principles and interests; digital marketing is a tool that bridges students and institutions with the least amount of hassle.

 

Last Updated - 20 Feb 2017

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