Tete-a-Tete with Dr. Vijay Page on business leadership & ownership in MBA!

Jayita Ekka updated on : 24 Feb 2016
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Integration of technology, industry/ market sensitisation, entrepreneurship mind-set are some of the reasons to go to MET!

Dr. Vijay Page DG MET Institute of Management

A visionary, thought process leader and an academician, Dr. Vijay Page is the Director General, MET Institute of Management for over a decade now. He has over 3 decades of industry experience both in Public and Private sector. He has been in senior leadership assignments like General Manager of Delhi Cloth Mills, CMD of Konkan Development Corporation, Managing Director of Gondwana Minerals. He has worked as a Consultant and Entrepreneur in Agri-Business Ventures, Strawberry and Gherkin processing, Rubber and Oil Palm plantations, Dairy Development and Cattle Breeding etc. He is an alumnus of JBIMS (MMS 1968) and holds a Doctorate in Special Economic Zones. He is also a Guest Faculty with Michigan State University (East Lancing USA).

HTCampus.com chatted with this dynamic trailblazer on MBA and what should students look out for, if they choose to be in this domain.

How has been your journey in the education sector so far? 

There have been three phases of my interaction and involvement in the education sector: First being my own education process. Second being joining the professional work place, this is a continuation of the learning experience. The urge to share my learning with younger, dynamic generation brought me back to academics and I joined the B-school again, only this time, I was on the other side.
 
Two decades down, I am still amazed at the new challenges and the new pool of talent around. Believe me, with the kind of challenges faced by the new generation of professionals, every day seems as good as new - to acquire, accumulate, assimilate and share the learnings with them and continue the journey.  I would like to sum up my experience in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s words, “A journey is always worth making, though the end may not be in sight” – what one seeks is just the response from students to continue the journey regardless! 
 

What are your observations on teaching in the Indian higher education sector?

As innovations in IT spreads its roots deep and wide in every sector of the economy and as society transforms itself into a digitized global village, it is inevitable that education transforms into an e-empowered learning and skill development platform. As the speed and outreach of networks multiplies applications of new technologies, it is estimated that youth will spend almost entire span of their waking hours, enmeshed in the cob webs of the e-world. 
 
This has resulted in a paradigm shift in delivery of learning systems affecting the pedagogy and content of the academic programs. Since the higher education sector forms the apex of the education system in the country, this is an apt case for application of transitional management tools and techniques focusing on excellence at the application level to the satisfaction of students and the society – the ultimate stakeholders. 
 
So the optimum teaching methods of B- Schools include:
  • Heady mix of e-learnings tools and techniques
  • Video based academics 
  • Online study and assessments 
  • Deeper involvement of recruiters in shaping the students future 
 

What are the major challenges in the education sector that you think need immediate attention?

Firstly, the book and PPT based delivery of learning systems need to be replaced. Instead more focus should be made on case study approach and on business simulation, role play and experiential learning. 
 
Leading B-schools internationally are integrating laboratories like a market laboratory or installing dummy financial markets in the institutes to help students rapidly connect with business realities. 
 

Industry and academics should walk together to create opportunities for students and make them job ready. Your thoughts?

There is no denial of the fact that classroom academics and field work must go hand-in hand to ensure development of skill sets critical to the success of the professionals. I envy the medical colleges, which have the facility of an anatomy laboratory or cadaver to work with before the students experiment with live patients. Similarly, if B-schools are able to closely network with industry, then the students will have more opportunities to sharpen the skills before they cross their the corporate threshold. 
 

What according to you do students look for during admissions? What factors must a student base his/her choice of college on?

The state / central regulatory mechanism imposes its own norms controlling costs and intake which obviously puts limitations on the freedom of the institutions and issues like meritocracy, cosmopolitan composition of the students and global access are often compromised. 
 
We are witnessing a paradigm shift in the higher education system that will continue till we reach a scholastic equilibrium.
 
The top-mist factors that a student should keep in mind while deciding a college include: college ranking, academic experience, past placement records and affordability. And of course, feedback from alumni. 
 
In my experience, the students look for seeking admissions to the institutions which are able to: 
  • Deliver updated management inputs with balanced emphasis on theory and application
  • Offer prospects of high quality internships and summer placements, which eventually would fructify into attractive final placements. 
  • Have centralised locations with quality pedagogy
  • State of the art infrastructure 
  • Professional placement and mentoring team

 

 

Pursuing higher studies from a foreign university has become a popular culture. How important is global exposure for students at this stage? 

The world has become a global village it is critical that every management professional enters the business arena with extensive knowledge of the global market scenario. For e.g., as a student of finance, one should not only monitor the courses valid in the Indian market but also keep a track of critical global markets like NYSE, Nasdaq, Shangai, Hang Seng etc. so as to develop a better appreciation of the global financial situation.
 
However there is an unfortunate barrier in collaborating with international universities, since the regulation facilitating collaboration with foreign universities is pending before the Parliament. Hence only individual one to one tie ups with foreign institutions limited to exchange of certificates are possible.
 
As far as sending students abroad for acquiring under graduate and post graduate degrees is concerned, the cost is quite prohibitive and limited scholarships are available to a handful of students to cover the expenses abroad.
 

How important is networking for students?

Networking is very important since it helps the students to connect with the real world. Here one has to establish and sustain a multi-dimensional approach i.e. connecting seniors, alumni’s as well as visiting corporate and industry experts while staying closely in touch with classmates and the academic network of the institution.

With respect to a promising career, what is more important - scoring high on academics only, participation in extra-curricular or a mix of both? 

A management professional has to develop a multi-dimensional personality in his interest, so it is necessary to motivate the students to actively engage in academic as well as extracurricular activities at the B-School. Apart from the classroom sessions and industry apprenticeship, the students must get opportunity to actively participate in debates, workshops both academic and cultural, quiz competitions as well as site visits within the state as well as country and global exposure. 
 
This will broaden their perspective and help them develop better appreciation of the complex corporate issues. A new dimension is exposure to social causes championed by NGOs working for the underprivileged sections of society.  With the new regulations regarding CSR projects, corporates are actively looking to recruit students with such exposure so that they are able to relate to a wider audience.
 

How does MET prepare students for the professional world? 

The market today is a highly competitive environment and there is intensive focus on not just the student’s academic score, but overall performance & personality.  This is why, MET maintains a delicate balance between classroom learning and hands-on learning. We give great importance to development of soft skills and job-related competencies, which are in-sync with changing market 
dynamics. 
 
Moreover, our academic time-table is structured in a manner that each student gets adequate exposure to the industries/markets of his/her liking. The institute encourages students to partner with successful entrepreneurs/ business houses to gain valuable insights and critical business skills hands-on. In fact, on a number of occasions we have had business houses sharing with us how our students have value-added to their business efficiencies and profitability. While we are conscious of the fact that businesses are getting more and more competitive, we have always tried to keep pace with the industry and its needs. Our aim, as an institution, has always been to provide industry with ‘professionals with the right skills’ so that they not only contribute to business from ‘day-one’, but also be an asset to the society.
 

Tell us some advantages which MET enjoys over other institutes in its league?

When MET conceptualizes and delivers a program, it is like a seamless fabric woven with intricate designs with finesse to match the form which the apparel could be worn or consumed as per market demand. Thus every initiative is divided to shape the dynamic professional who will need to meet the demands of industry while maintaining work-life balance to achieve sustained performance at the corporate level. Some of the broad contours of our program are listed below:
 
  • International Internships: Eight batches of students have pursued internships with the UN (ECOSOC) forum, New York, USA.
  • Sensitivity to Social Cause: Students and MET faculty are executing Project TRUTH (Total Rural Upliftment Through Holistic Care) in cooperation with the United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) Students through MET SEVA ensure development of social sensitivity towards problems of under developed and poverty.
  • Focus on delivery of lifelong learning skills for building critical professional competencies
  • Futuristic e-driven pedagogy and modules deliver e-commerce, IT and digital skills
  • Freeship awards for meritorious students
  • Excellent placement opportunities in India and overseas
  • Superior intellectual capital armed with knowledge and experience
  • Well-networked with the best of corporate in India and abroad
  • Outstanding Indian/global industry academia interface
  • Global faculty and international knowledge sharing modules
  • Experiential holistic learnings
  • Delivering latest e-commerce based on SMAC (Social Networks, Mobile Applications, Analytics & Cloud)
  • Alliances with reputed B-Schools from US, UK, China & Global Shapers
 

Can you tell us any 5 USP’s of MET Schools of Management?

While there are several areas where MET has a distinct edge over other institutions, but my pick will be: 
 
  • Integration of technology: We give secial emphasis to skilling our students with critical IT and digital competencies to shine in a business environment like internet/ cloud based, mobile-based and e-commerce 
  • International exposure: Our long list of academic and industry-based tie-ups with reputed international institutions like: Michigan State University, Tianjin University - China, CII - London, ACCA – U.K., Hawaii University, Valeur HR Forex Trading, Sprott Shaw College, British Coumbia – Canada, Global School of Management and Questkonnect – Australia
  • Industry/market sensitization: MET has a network of over 1500 companies in India and abroad where students and faculty have had work opportunities and on-the-job learning exposure during the last decade. In addition, there are over 10,000 alumina working with industry from Auckland to Vancouver and Moscow to South Africa, across the America and Euro countries, who regularly interact with us and share their inputs
  • Entrepreneurship mindset: We are inculcating in our students, entrepreneurship qualities and have tied up with National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) as well as National Institute for Entrepreneruship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), GOI who guide the students to create the entrepreneurial mindset. The institute also holds workshops with start-up promoting agencies in collaborations with Google, Microsoft, SAP, etc. to nurture self-employment mindset and build up self-confidence and venture supporting safety nets
  • Power of Networking: We stand by the adage, ‘Think Global and Act Local’ and have made every effort to bring global business heads, international educational institutions of repute, international thought leaders, and successful NRI business leaders into our campus. We have also encouraged students to work on CSR projects 

Please tell us more about the pedagogy followed at MET.

At MET, we are using innovative processes to kindle the spirit of business leadership and ownership amongst the young professionals, through the following:
  • Exposure to experiential learning process and business simulations, to imbibe the spirit of service before self,
  • Exposure to CSR initiatives and social entrepreneurship start-ups
  • Create an environment where students can use the strengths of business models to build sustainable social enterprises
 

Your advice to students who are looking for options in higher education?

I advise students to broad-base their learning and choose a profession which accounts for 75% of our GDP and also take half-a-step towards the industry sector which accounts for half of the balance GDP, thus ensuring that careers in business from production of goods and services to the ultimate consumer including the value-chain that leads to the re-cycling of the products will last the human pursuits in this millennium. 
An MBA program gives us an opportunity to get a holistic view of business which can be optimized in varying from business basics to business strategizing and its e-empowered journey to the global village! 
 

 

 

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