Rendezvous with Dr. Harsolekar, Director – IES MCRC, Mumbai on what corporates want and what institutes are offering!
Is it a good thing that students have so many options of colleges to choose from? Does it open horizons for students with regard to MBA specializations, now that so many courses are up on offer these days? Foreign institutes opening centres in India – should management aspirants in India feel eclectic about it?
What is it about management studies? Instead of it getting simple, it seems to get more and more confusing to students with every passing day. And that is why, HTCampus caught up with Dr. Dinesh Harsolekar, Director – IES Management College & Research Centre, Mumbai to get clarity on the prospect of management education in India, the high’s and the low’s and preventive measures that an MBA aspirant can take to minimize their risks.
The 2015 management entrance exams are round the corner and it is perhaps, the biggest insight that an MBA aspirant can get from a visionary and leader with more than a decade’s experience under his belt.
At present, Dr. Harsolekar is the Director of Indian Education Society’s Management College and Research Centre, Bandra (W), Mumbai. He has about 35 years of industrial, teaching, research and academic administrative experience. Dr. Harsolekar has held various academic positions in the capacity of Senate Member at SNDT Women’s University and Chairman at Adhoc Board of Studies in Finance, Management Faculty University of Mumbai. He has also been the Member of Academic Council, University of Mumbai, Board of University Teaching and Research Committee, University of Mumbai, Research and Recognition Committee - Management Faculty, SNDT Women’s University etc.
Dr. Harsolekar has also published 2 books and written several articles and papers in journals, periodicals and newspapers.
Excerpts from the interview:
Such a vast experience in the field of education; how has the education scenario in India changed, say over the last 10 years?
There has been an explosion in terms of number of educational institutions as well as variety of programs. At the same time the complexity has increased because of different categories of educational institutions, viz. affiliated colleges, university departments, autonomous institutions, deemed universities, open universities and distance learning programs, private universities, so on and so forth. Students sometimes don’t understand all this and make wrong decisions.
Another important change has been the new avenues in education. Students do not have to confine themselves anymore to traditional programs in medical, engineering, computers, management, CA, ICWA, CS etc. and can explore other career options in fashion design and technology, digital and social media, entertainment industry, sector-specific management programs, hospitality industry, travel and tourism and many more. Some of these were available earlier also but students had more trust in traditional programs. The situation is changing and students have started opting for non-traditional programs. Competition has increased among educational institutions therefore students now have more options. Because of this many new institutions have to struggle a lot for their survival and growth. Earlier we would hear only about new institutions being started. Now we also hear institutions getting closed down because of no takers for their programs. Finally, the regulatory complexities have increased substantially which have forced educational institutions to spend a lot of time on non-academic activities. This is not good for the system.
As an expert in Finance and Banking, what would you say are some of the key differences in studying Banking & Finance VS studying Finance in Management?
The difference is not significant. While studying finance in management programs students get general exposure in variety of fields in finance like corporate finance, international finance, financial markets and institutions, equity research, investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, mutual funds, banking and insurance, corporate valuation, wealth management etc. As against this by taking up specialized courses in banking and finance students get a detailed exposure and inputs in the area of banking.
If a student is interested in pursuing a field in Banking & Finance, what are the subjects he/ she can pursue besides aiming for a management or CA degree?
Even before going for CA or post-graduation in management the students can pursue an under-graduate degree in Banking and Finance which is offered by many universities. At the post graduate level, there are two options.
- MBA or PGDM from an institute which offers specialization in Banking and Finance
- Pursue a completely specialized post graduate program in Baking and Financial Services
Such a program is offered by National Institute of Bank Management, Pune. The very fact that banks recruit general MBAs with specialization in finance shows that enough students with hard core banking qualification are not available. Therefore, if students go for one of the two options indicated, they will have bright prospects in Indian banks.
For banking and finance career the subjects students would study are commercial banking, financial services, banking law and practice, corporate finance, money landing process and practices, rural banking, money and capital markets, foreign trade and forex management, international finance, risk management, corporate valuation, wealth management, security analysis and portfolio management, investment banking and financial services, project financing, financial derivatives, banking operations and management etc. Besides these there would be some subjects in basic accounting and economics.
What are various careers in Banking & Finance, besides CA, CS?
Broadly speaking, the field of banking is divided into commercial banking and investment or merchant banking. Commercial banks are engaged in commercial banking activities in which corporate and retail banking has been their main activity. As part of this banks take deposits and give loans. This continues to be their main function. However, now banks are into many other activities. Some of these activities they carry out themselves and some other through their specialized subsidiaries. For example, forex dealing, fee based activities, mutual fund, facilitating stock market operations through DMAT accounts etc.
Investment banks are mainly involved in different types of financial services and consulting. These activities include managing share issue (IPOs) and all activities concerned with raising funds for corporate entities, corporate valuation, mergers and acquisition, wealth management etc.
What skill set is required to pursue a career in Banking & Finance?
The skill set required for banking and finance career can be developed by undergoing various courses listed earlier. Not all but some finance careers need a good proficiency in mathematical skills. One should be good at numbers. Students should focus on acquiring knowledge of basic finance concepts, and then move on to acquire knowledge in some specialized areas depending on their career interest like forex and international finance or banking operations or money and capital markets.
Because of competition to get business now-a-days many banks and finance companies also expect that students should have good selling skills. Generally, students interested in making career in banking and finance do not focus on selling skills. It is better if they develop these skills. Many banks and finance companies recruit people on the position of Relationship Manager or similar other positions. These positions have been created to increase business by developing new customers and retaining old customers.
What will be the USPs of IES? What is the flagship course of IES?
At IES we try to maintain academic rigour coupled with industry exposure, deep sense of discipline, significant emphasis on values and ethics, soft skills and finally inculcation of leadership and team skills.
We have two main programs – MMS of Mumbai University and PGDM .
What is the difference between MMS and PGDM programmes?
Can go for higher education like Ph. D
Faster revision of curriculum
More up-to-date program
More experimental in nature, since permission is not required
Pharma Marketing seems to be a new and interesting field. Can you throw some light on the course and its career prospects?
Pharma marketing is not really a new program but many students are not aware of this. IES offers PGDM in pharma and healthcare. Students who have completed their B. Pharm. or B. Sc. in life sciences or those who hold medical degree are eligible to get admission in this program. The focus of the program is pharma marketing and healthcare management. To become eligible for admission students have to appear for the same aptitude test for which other MBA/PGDM aspirants appear like State CET, CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT and ATMA. Students completing this program can get jobs in pharmaceutical companies and big hospitals. In pharma companies, they can get jobs in sales, product and brand management, quality, international marketing, logistics and supply chain. There are cases where our PGDM pharma students have also made career in pharma advertising.
What has been the average package offered to students @ IES last year?
The average package has been around Rs. 5 lakh.
Since Management is such a dynamic sector, on what basis are academic programs assessed and developed?
Management programs are developed keeping industry expectations in mind. A good management program tries to see the current needs of industry. Depending on that some institutes even develop programs which are focused on specific industry like the one which IES offers PGDM in pharma and healthcare. The other aspect is that good institutes try to ensure maximum possible industry exposure for their students and accordingly some components are built into the curriculum.
Institutes are trying to collaborate with companies to arrange training and projects for their students which are in addition to the conventional two month summer internship.
Because of increasing criticism from industry, many institutes have made subjects in soft skills, ethics etc. credit courses. That means students are evaluated in these subjects along with other subjects in management. Many institutes ensure good involvement of industry executives in the development of course curriculum.
The course curriculum in many institutes is validated and assessed by the students, alumni, faculty members and corporate executives. The process of curriculum design is executed taking into consideration the inputs given by these stakeholders.
What should be the Top 5 things that one should keep in mind before getting into an entrepreneurial venture?
There are many traits required to plunge into an entrepreneurial venture. Some prominent ones are as follows.
- A person should be able to develop innovative ideas.
- He should have good leadership skills.
- He should be able to take risk.
- He should have good networking skills.
- He should be able to handle stress and maintain his temperament in adverse situations and should know how to come out of such situations.
A suggestion is that unless a person is from a business family, he should not get into any entrepreneurial venture without getting some experience in the field where he wants to start his venture. Of course, there are examples where without experience some people have succeeded in their business by trial and error method and learning through their mistakes. But such examples are not very common.
Please share you vision of MBA in India for the next 5 years. How will it change the dynamics of the market and therefore employment?
The growth of management institutes has been very fast and haphazard in India in the last 15 years or so. Gradually this picture will change and consolidation will take place. We will also see lots of changes such as:
- The number of institutes offering management programs will come down and only those who are fit will survive.
- The involvement of industry in all aspects of management education will substantially increase.
- In fact, some of the big corporate houses may themselves enter in this field.
- There is a strong possibility of some of the foreign players setting up their shops in India. This will increase competition.
Competition always helps improve the quality of service. But if the government does not offer a level playing field to India institutes then they will have the same fate which many of the Indian industries had after the Indian economy was opened up in 1991.
Also, the government must bring radical changes in the education system otherwise we shall be left far behind on the global standards. Excessive standardization and control is killing creativity in our education system including management education. Therefore, institutes must be given good amount of flexibility in terms of forming their academic, administrative and financial policies.
- Companies would like to recruit management graduates who have global exposure.
- Therefore, institutes which are able to give such an exposure to their students will be in demand.
- Industry may also like to recruit more and more MBAs with previous work experience. This will lead to more short term (one year to eighteen months) MBA programs and they may replace many traditional two year programs.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for a student readying for the job market?
Students need to learn the importance of honesty, loyalty and integrity. Corporate world is suffering very badly because of very low existence of these values in gen Y. They should come out of their obsession for money and stop too much of job hopping. Their belief in finding short cuts is also dangerous. Students should try to learn corporate culture and etiquette while they are still students. This is another important area the corporate world is worried about. Last but not the least, students should believe in a continuous and never ending learning process.
Advice to our students for their education & career? How should they go about it?
A simple principle they should follow is to make well informed decisions. The current generation is very fortunate to have the information of the whole world on their fingertips.
- They should collect as much information as possible about the career they want to choose.
- They should take guidance from seniors and experts before making their choices.
- Depending on their career choice they should select the education stream which they should pursue.
- They should carefully analyse their strengths and where their interest lies.
Interest is nothing but their passion. Their strengths and passion are the two most important factors in deciding the career options.