Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Mr. Anand P. Mishra obtained his Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) and Master of Law (LL.M.) degrees from the Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi and qualified UGC-NET in Law. He has spent over a decade in the field of legal and higher education in both administration and teaching. For last six years at JGU, Mr. Mishra has been leading efforts on admissions and outreach and now works as the Deputy Director & Head of Admissions of Jindal Global Law School (JGLS). He is also a Fellow at the International Institute of Higher Education Research & Capacity Building (IIHEd) of JGU and teaches courses in Labour & Industrial Laws and Legal Methods to LLB and BALLB students.
Experience in the education industry
I don’t think education should be called an industry. Education is a service and it is different from an industry or business or any for-profit endeavor. The mainstream education in India is legally and compulsorily ‘not for profit’, whether it is a University or a school/college.
Now, a university is always a great place to work if you are really keen and passionate about education and shaping student’s careers and lives through your work. Also, a lot of trained lawyers or professionals like me choose to work in the academia for the simple reason that they love being a student or a teacher or a part of the teaching-learning ecosystem their entire life. The same is true about schools and other educational institutions.
I think we must make our Universities, Schools and educational institutions as more attractive and lucrative workplaces! Universities and schools must be among the best and most sought-after workplaces in the country. Only then we can be a truly developed society and country. To some extent, we have been successful in doing this at O.P. Jindal Global University.
Mr. Anand Prakash Mishra’s philosophy of leadership
I believe in having a benevolent leadership in any organization, and particularly in a University. Also, the kind of leadership where the leader leads by example. I believe in what Lao Tzu said way back that “a leader is best when people barely know that he exists. He is the teacher who succeeds without taking credit.” Also, a University or educational institution is different from a company or corporation. Leadership styles of corporations will not work in Universities.
Biggest hurdle faced as the Deputy Director and Head of Admissions of JGLS
I don’t think I ever had any setback or hurdle in my role as head of admissions at Jindal Global Law School. Actually, we as a law school and University are blessed in certain ways from the very inception. To start with, we received a generous funding from our Chancellor Mr. Naveen Jindal to start the University and that too in a purely philanthropic and not for profit manner. You may not believe but he doesn’t have one seat in the law school or the University. Our University does not have a single seat in ‘management quota’ or for that matter any quota. All seats in the law school are filled purely on the basis of our entrance exam merit i.e. LSAT—India exam scores. Then, we arguably have one of the finest, youngest and most dynamic Vice Chancellor and Law School Dean any University or Law School can think of. Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar and his infinite passion and insatiable spirit have indeed been the driving force behind our University and law school’s success.
Also, JGLS is India’s largest and most premier law faculty with over 150 full-time faculty members coming from some 20 different countries and jurisdictions. That’s a faculty of 3-4 or more law schools combined as per Indian standards. Today if you compare JGLS with any law school in South Asia including with those in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Mainland China, you won’t be disappointed. We are as good if not better. In less than 8 years, our law school has grown from a 10-member faculty to 150-member faculty and from 100 law students to over 2000 law students! Our faculty members include four Rhodes scholars and most of them are graduates of world’s top-ranked universities and law schools.
This year in 2017 admissions, we had almost 10 applications for each seat in our 5-year BA/BBA LLB (H) program and 60% of the candidates who wrote our entrance exam i.e. LSAT—India 2017, could not receive an offer of admission from JGLS. Anyone securing 60 percentile and above in LSAT—India 2017 exam could only get an offer of admission from us.
So, there is nothing I could say as a setback or hurdle. But, of course, in the initial few years e.g. 2009 & 2010, we struggled with getting good students. Sometimes, we had to lower down our cut-off to admit students but those are things of the past.
Student-industry interaction and placements at JGLS
JGLS started a faculty-led Career Development & Placement Division (CDPD) since our inception which assists students in securing internships and placements. Unlike most of the law schools where students organize themselves to form a coordination committee with little or no help from the administration, we at JGLS have a dedicated office and staff led by faculty members for this purpose.
Our CDPD ensures at least one 4-weeks internship during each of their term breaks during summer and winter. The internship program at JGLS is designed and administered with a vision of broadening the horizon of career opportunities that the students are able to seek upon completion of their legal education and ensuring that all the students can leverage on the internship program towards fulfilling their unique career aspirations. Students are guided from their first day at the law school to understand the kind of internships they should be working towards and hand-holding is provided in understanding nuts and bolts of securing and succeeding in such internships. The CDPD also supports JGLS students in securing internships at their hometowns and various cities around India through a large database of recruiter contacts regularly maintained to ensure availability of diverse internships to cater to each students’ specific needs and requirements. JGLS students also receive mentorship in building their recruiter contacts and developing necessary soft and hard skills by becoming student representatives at CDPD, thereby gaining an edge in furthering their career objectives. The CDPD at JGLS also runs a robust career mentoring and counseling program that comprises of JGLS faculty members from various walks of practice, helping students in appreciating different career paths and choosing the right one for them. JGLS has entered into multiple MoUs and collaborations facilitate internships and placements for JGLS students and graduates. JGLS also has extensive ties with the government, businesses, and civil society, which are used to assist in placing our students and graduates.
Relationship with the students being the Deputy Director of JGLS
We follow an open-door policy at our law school and University. Starting with our Vice Chancellor to the faculty members and staff, everyone is accessible to the students and parents as per their working hours. What helps us the most is being a fully residential institution where all the students and almost 80% of faculty and staff stay on campus or in the official accommodation provided by University near the campus. So, everyone is there for the students whenever there is a need.
Culture and climate among the diverse family of JGLS
Yes, it is a very diverse student and faculty population at JGLS. We admit students from almost 29 states and union territories and over 20 countries in different programs of our University. Almost 20-25% faculty members in our different schools are non-Indian nationals coming from some 20 different countries. We establish a healthy culture by maintaining international standards in whatever we do. The campus environment, facilities, and culture are truly global here are Sonipat and I believe one needs to visit our campus to understand our University and law school in a comprehensive way.
Goals in mind for JGLS
Our law school has already made its mark in India and entire Asia and even internationally with over 180 academic collaborations including student and faculty exchange programs with world’s leading universities. In my understanding, our vision is now to get into the global ranking of law schools. QS has been bringing a list of world’s top 200 law schools for past five years. None of the Indian law schools have ever been included in the list though there are many from China or from small countries like Singapore, Hong Kong or Taiwan. Also, from the admissions perspective, we wish to become more selective and competitive. In near future, students with much higher percentile in LSAT exam, say at least 80 or 90 percentile will only be able to join our law programs.
Suggestion for the youth and the aspiring students wishing to join JGLS
First and foremost suggestion is – To write LSAT—India 2018 Exam. No admission at JGLS is possible without writing and qualifying LSAT exam. Also, one must put their efforts in preparing for the exam. This year in 2017, 60% of LSAT test-takers have not received any offer of admission from JGLS. This number is only going to increase in the future. So, one must work hard for the entrance exam to secure a seat a JGLS. Good luck!