Sterling placement result for SRM University – AP, Andhra Pradesh’s maiden batch cements its place as a new force in Indian education
Sep 30, 2020, Andhra Pradesh: First is forever, because it sets the benchmark for others to follow and beat. Not surprisingly then, all eyes in academia were trained on the placement results of the maiden batch of SRM AP, which was set up with the aim of being a world-class university. It has taken giant strides in a short span of time, raising the bar for higher education in the country. And the sensational placement results, in spite of this year’s circumstances, have taken it a step closer to cementing its place as the force to reckon with in Indian academia.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a spanner in the placement plans and outcomes for many universities across India. But SRM AP seems to have successfully navigated through the pitfalls by taking its founding batch to their dream job profiles. Its early placement run and seamless transition to online hiring seem to have paid off. Besides dynamic profiles, the maiden placement season for the university has exceeded expectations with its highest salary package of Rs. 29.5 LPA, which was offered to Sri Ritika Katragadda by global giant Amazon.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, HealthRx (Bajaj Finserv Health Ltd., Optum Global Solutions, Sahaj Soft, Sabre Corporation, Amadeus LabsCoviam Technology, Walmart Labs, Standard Chartered, Virtusa, and L&T Technology Services Ltd are some of the top-notch recruiters at SRM AP. It’s interesting to note that several of these renowned organizations have hired multiple candidates from the maiden batch, instating their faith in the University’s programs. IT sector in India, in particular, will now see a strong presence of SRM AP graduates as they make their mark from Pune to Bangalore and Chennai.
The multi-stream research-focused university has strived to create a transformative learning experience for its students. Its collaborations with well known International universities offer students a platform to groom themselves as global professionals of tomorrow. Faculty members too have strong International exposure, which helps students gain insights into best global practices and strategies. The maiden batch of SRM AP found fantastic opportunities to put their learning into practice through internships with well-known brands and organizations.
Sri Ritika Katragadda made her internship with Amazon count and bagged the plum placement as Software Developer. And she wasn’t the only one. Several students of the maiden batch bagged PPOs and placement cum internships, which speaks volumes about their training at the University that has led to a smooth transition from the classroom to boardrooms. They will now start their careers as Software Developers, Software Engineers, Solution Consultants, and Technical Support Engineers etc. charting their way to professional success and becoming glorious ambassadors for their university. As the first among equals!
“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat,” Steve Jobs
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the National Education Policy 2020 on India’s 74th Independence Day, he asserted that it was aimed to make the country more self-reliant. NEP will give special attention to National Research Foundation because innovation is at the heart of India’s progress. Approved by the Union Cabinet and helmed by the newly named Education Ministry, NEP 2020 is all set to usher in immense transformations in higher education. Change driven towards innovation sounds like the need of the hour. But what does it actually mean?
Ministry sources have reiterated that NEP 2020 has been designed to promote skills-based education to arm students with practical skills. Moreover, the aim is to shape lateral thinking professionals of the future through an emphasis on multidisciplinary learning. The Education Ministry intends to follow through on these goals through these proposed changes:
Setting up a large multidisciplinary college in every district by 2030.
Setting up a large multidisciplinary college in every district by 2030.
All higher learning institutions will teach languages, music, arts, and literature.
In fact, the clear demarcations in Science and Arts streams’ curriculum will be blurred.
IITs and other institutions will be encouraged to create a holistic learning experience.
There will be a strong impetus for practical training and skills development (internships will be imbibed into curriculums from sixth grade)
Every higher learning institution will have an International Students Office in a bid to make India a sought after destination for foreign students.
These are just some of the changes NEP 2020 set into motion after its implementation. They are expected to promote these broad changes in higher education in the country.
Students will be encouraged to gain practical exposure instead of simply learning theoretical concepts.
Students will develop research focus and will be geared towards innovation while gaining insights into Liberal Arts.
Value-based learning will come into focus as there will be a push for nurturing future professionals with a strong sense of ethics.
Overall, the proposed changes have the potential of transforming Indian colleges and universities and bringing them on par with the best in the world.
The announcement of NEP 2020 is probably one of the most unanticipated moves in the Indian education system. Several higher learning institutions are bound to be caught off guard and will be playing catch up for some time. On the other hand, universities like SRM AP will have the edge with its multidisciplinary approach and focus on practical training, already in place. The University is also leading the way with its emphasis on research and innovation as students get an enriching experience through numerous projects and internships.
That’s one of the primary goals for NEP 2020, and SRM AP is already on it. After all, it has come into being with the purpose of becoming an Indian University that truly is at global standards; a while before NEP 2020 made it a mission.
From the classic Blade Runner to iRobot, Her to the eponymous AI, our fascination about Artificial Intelligence has been detailed in many blockbuster movies across decades. But curiosity too breeds contempt. In this instance, it has led to the fear that AI will make human workforce redundant in many industry sectors. But it’s a fear that has been assuaged by many global experts. In fact, the World Economic Forum has gone as far as to predict that AI may lead to a net increase of 58 million jobs globally.
“Some people call it Artificial Intelligence. But the reality is, this technology will enhance us. So, instead of Artificial Intelligence, I think we will augment our intelligence,” claimed Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM. At any rate, AI has the potential of causing the most powerful industry disruptions and innovations. We are already seeing popular examples in the form of self-driven cars, diagnosis and surgeries in healthcare, and the presence of robotic assistants in people’s homes. The opportunities are bound to be limitless.
Why AI and new technologies are integral to modern higher education
According to an Ernst & Young report, more than half of senior AI professionals believe there is a skill gap in the recruitment of new scientists, which has led to a talent crisis. New technologies including AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain will see a growing demand for professionals in times to come. Hence gaining knowledge and practical exposure in these areas has to be seen as a way of future-proofing your careers. It’s interesting to note that the careers in these new-age technologies are not reserved for students with tech background alone.
“I don’t think we need to prepare all students to be programmers or developers. But even future MBAs should be able to communicate with tech professionals with some insights into the area,” says Prof. Allen Huang, HKUST, MBA. He cites the example of top listed companies and the majority of economic drivers, which largely belong to the tech industry. The revolution of new technologies is here. And higher learning institutions can serve their students well and keep them ahead of the learning curve by introducing cutting edge courses into their curriculum.
AI careers of today and tomorrow
INDEED, a leading global job site, reports a whopping 344% growth in jobs for Machine Learning Engineers from 2015-19. Robotics Engineers, Computer Vision Engineers, and Data Scientists jobs have seen a rise of 128%, 116%, and 78% respectively in the same period. Some of the industry sectors that offer significant career opportunities for professionals with knowledge of AI and new technologies include Cyber Security, Healthcare, Supply Chain Management, IT, Construction, Transportation, Education, Retail, and of course IT.
But besides the burgeoning opportunities, it’s the quality of careers that these technologies offer that make them a hugely appealing prospect. “Unlike careers where a path has been laid out over decades, AI is still in infancy. It means you can form your own path and be creative,” said Dan Ayoub, General Manager for mixed reality education, Microsoft. So the top guns Microsoft included like Google, Amazon, and Apple can be just the starting points in your careers. The scope AI and new technologies offer your careers, is tremendous, to say the least.
AI education in India
Though in its nascent stages, AI and new technologies have found their place in programs and curriculums in India. It’s interesting that relatively new universities like SRM AP, that are leading the charge by incorporating new-age courses and labs on campuses. Its M. Tech in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is designed to give students the edge in their specialized careers of tomorrow. But that’s not all; as a University that focuses on a multidisciplinary approach, these courses find their place in several programs including MBA.
Industry oriented courses in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, Distributed and Cloud Computing can be chosen by students across different domains. SRM AP also runs the Next Tech lab to encourage, enable, and shape future game-changers. Designed to catalyze innovations the lab is a platform for incubation of ideas and gives students the opportunity to work on projects with industry names. It clearly understands that the time is now. AIther you keep up or be left behind.
“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world,” Malcolm Gladwell.
Prof Vajja Samba Siva Rao, a visionary and the new Vice-Chancellor of SRM AP commenced his quest for knowledge as an avid researcher at BITS Pilani, India. He re-imagined the world of education, envisioning opportunities that were invisible to others. It is this foresight he brings to the New Age University- SRM University AP- Andhra Pradesh.
Prof. Rao’s academic achievements began at BITS, Pilani as a student of M.Sc followed by CSIR Junior Research Fellow and continued in various capacities for over four decades. It led to the foundation of BITS Pilani, Hyderabad campus, which made giant leaps quickly and earned him the glory as an institution-builder.
Prof. Rao’s dream of making a difference through Deep Industry Engagement to education lies at the core of his philosophy. This passion, coupled with his vast experience, constitutes his productive wisdom culminating in winning many accolades which includes the Eminent Educationist Award by Indo Global Education Council.
Amongst Prof. Rao’s many pioneering initiatives, was, the establishment of a University centred on its industry relationships. As the President of NIIT University, he pioneered the implementation of new programmes and digital learning approach and simultaneously fostered several industry linkages that have benefitted the students immensely.
Throughout his career, Prof. Rao has been committed to knowledge creation through research. He has guided PhD scholars and students in their research pursuits and published papers around the world. He was invited by the German Foundation for International Development for a training programme in Vocational Education and obtained a certificate in Educational Planning and Economics from the University of Bielefeld, Germany.
Currently, Prof. Rao is on the advisory board of several institutions and universities across the country. He is also a member of many prestigious national and global committees. As SRM AP embarks on an exciting phase with its growing reputation for innovation, cutting edge research, and interdisciplinary studies, Prof. Rao has the experience and the vision to make it a globally connected, nationally relevant, and regionally transformative university.
The Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly had a substantial impact on the placement season this year. Many recruiters, big and small, have stalled new placements, deferred on previously offered positions. However, as experts at the recent Outlook India conclave themed ‘Would the Covid pandemic impact campus placement?’ reiterated – “There is no lockdown on opportunities.”
In fact, young universities like SRM University – AP, Andhra Pradesh have upped their game to harness the novel opportunities of the new world for its students. Online and remote placements are the answer this year. Remote interviews are certainly different from in-person interviews. They have their unique challenges, and hence your preparations have to be unique, and in keeping with the demands too.
Here are five steps that will help you ace online and remote placements
- Remote interviews can be done over the phone or video calls. Either way, before the interview make sure you have picked an interference-free spot. If the interview will be held over Skype or Zoom call, ensure that the spot you pick looks professional to make the right impression.
- Some of the interview preparations will remain unchanged. For example, you should do your research about the organization and the role. It’s also a good idea to have a printout or a handwritten version of your CV handy. Going over different tabs on your screen during the interview is not a good look.
- It’s also important to have access to a good webcam and microphone for the interview. You might want to test the equipment before you get on the call. Be ready and in position for the interview a few minutes before the designated time. You don’t want to seem rushed when you begin.
- Dressing up for the interview will put you in the right mindset, so make the effort even if it’s a phone interview. Pay attention to details like whether the device is charged, mute all notifications to avoid disturbance. You can put a sticky note under the webcam so you know exactly where to look and make eye contact with the interviewers.
- Work from home is the mantra in the new world. Your online interview is the perfect platform to showcase yourself as a candidate who is accessible and responsive. Show that you are someone who revels in taking initiative, are self-motivated, and can be efficient with minimal mentoring.
These strategies formed the crux of specialized online and remote placement training SRM AP offered its students. It paid dividends as students got placed with names like VIRTUSA Corporation, AB InBev, Sahaj Soft and more. Students have bagged attractive offers and are stepping into the professional arenas in dynamic roles that can lead to rewarding careers in the new world.
Economies and businesses have been in a constant state of flux and disruption, especially since the start of the 21st Century. Globalisation, technology, automation, and outsourcing are some of the factors that have contributed to this trend.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given new meaning to the term ‘disruption’! The world has literally changed from what it was merely 8-10 weeks ago. As the world looks towards a reopening and recovery, skill sets, ways of working, methods of collaboration, and urgent economic needs…everything will undergo a transformation and will require significant adjustments from everyone.
At SRM University, Andhra Pradesh we have always focused on imbibing skills sets in our students that can help them compete and contribute effectively in a dynamic world. This approach comprises of several distinct interventions that are embedded into what is taught and how it is taught, including:
The University follows a high technical qualification standard for students applying to either School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and School of Liberal Arts and Basic Sciences (SLABS). There is equal emphasis on the personal interview process also. This process looks for achievers and keen learners who display both a strong track record of achievement as well as a desire to grow through learning. Besides this, we maintain a standard of diversity in the batches, which serves as a source of learning as well as preparation for the diversity seen in real life.
Liberal Arts Education
All SEAS and SLABS courses have common emphasis on liberal arts education. This approach towards higher education consists of a focus on four primary areas: the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The approach towards teaching all subjects is a blended one wherein influences from one sphere are used in another. This is useful since real life problems do not come compartmentalised and their solutions usually draw upon other apparently unrelated areas. Eg. a production constraint in operations that needs to be optimised through the labour force will need to employ an understanding of psychology. Or take the example of biomechanics, which draws upon medicine, biology, and robotics. At SRM University, Andhra Pradesh our inter-disciplinary programs facilitate flexibility in learning, which ultimately leads to broad thinkers with depth in their chosen field. Our six foundation courses across all our undergraduate program enable critical thinking and encourage becoming a thought leader. More formally, our students can opt for Minors in completely unrelated areas to broaden their knowledge and explore personal interests.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I learn” – Benjamin Franklin.
Students have a real need and desire for applying their learning. At SRM University, Andhra Pradesh various initiatives such as industry-driven Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP), capstone projects, industry internships and a technology-enabled active learning environment enable our students to implement their learnings in real life settings. This enables them to prepare for complex problems right from the undergrad level.
Initiatives and modules such as FabLab, Next Tech Lab, and IDEA provide our students with a novel and hands-on learning experience. While the emphasis is on theory, the ultimate objective is problem solving abilities. Needless to say, the world is going to need more problem solvers and fewer theorizers in challenging times. Students also have an option in their 4th year to undertake certificate or diploma programs in India or abroad.
Besides this, several international collaborations provide our students with valuable opportunities to benefit from some of the premier institutions in the USA and other countries. In a world unified against a common threat, world-class international exposure will go a long way in preparing professionals for the challenges ahead.
These are only some of the specific initiatives at SRM University, Andhra Pradesh targeted at providing students with not just a degree, but an education. Making them not just job seekers, but real thinkers.
COVID-19 stifled activity across the globe in an unprecedented manner. Most industries in almost all countries have been massively impacted but education was disproportionately impacted as schools, colleges, and universities shut down and remain subject to severe restrictions even as reopening begins.
However, given the importance of continuity workarounds were soon found and we now see several courses from secondary school education to post-graduate programs moving online. This has not happened only as a fall-out of the pandemic. Two critical factors are contributing to the spread and popularity of online education:
Need: All full-time courses are time-bound and suspension beyond a few days is not sustainable. Besides, students in on-going programs would prefer to stick to their schedule and be prepared with their qualifications in time for the post-pandemic economic revival.
Availability of resources: With widespread acceptance of laptop, computer and tablet for study along with the affordable data access are acting as catalyst for their learning. Rise of video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Webex, skype etc made it fairly easy to connect students to classes and peers. All these resources have empowered their learning
The move has come with challenges. Nonetheless, everyone seems to have adjusted quickly and quite well to the new normal. This is thanks to several advantages, of which the most significant is that it keeps people at home and safe. Besides this, 5 primary advantages are:
- Reach: Online education obviously has a much wide reach as the constraint of classroom capacity is removed. This helps content and instruction from the same faculty size reach more students. SRM AP has proactively joined what might be the world’s largest remote learning experiment, collaborating with Zoom Platform where they host online classes. At present, over 40-60 classes are being conducted online daily.
- Recall: Webcams used in online sessions keep a focus on the student and a check on attention. Besides this, recordings of the session are usually available to quickly recap what has happened and students can also take screenshots of sessions for future reference. At SRM AP various LMS platforms – GSuite Classroom, Moodle, etc. are being used by the faculty to share the reading materials with the students.
- Extending use of media: Online classes at SRM AP use high end media to ensure continuous engagement between faculty and students. To make a classroom engaging, faculty members have started adding YouTube videos related to topics, diffusing knowledge through storytelling.
- Promoting reskilling and retooling: With rising joblessness and underemployment, there are several potential students across the world right now. They are keen to reskill and retool in a downturn so that they are well-equipped for the revival. Online education provides such students with depth and breadth in choices. Wider recognition of online courses by employers has also helped.
- Encouraging self-discipline and responsibility: Students have responded with a high degree of self-discipline in attending live classes and shown the responsibility to complete assigned course work despite the lack of supervision. The benefit of this obviously extends far beyond the completion of the program. It creates a value system that can benefit the students for the rest of their lives in all spheres.
Given the nature of this pandemic, online education is now not a matter of choice. And just as well – barring a few minor inconveniences (which too will be overcome with time, some effort and practice), this medium offers several advantages pandemic or no pandemic.