Learning business management is a complicated enough exercise with experts divided on whether management is science or art, or both. In the current era, the complications are compounded by the pace of change. Theories and frameworks are getting outdated rapidly, and textbooks can be obsolete by the time they reach the student’s desk from the printer. In this scenario, how does a student ensure that the business studies course is keeping him or her future-ready? The answer is not easy given the situation, but there are 5 universal aspects that few would dispute.
1. Practical experience
Many business studies courses are geared towards freshers with limited to no work experience. If the class itself offers no avenues for practical experience, then the student graduates with a skill handicap. Look for courses that provide hands-on business experience during studies. This can be in the form of industrial projects from real companies, internships, assistance on faculty research projects for companies, or even simple opportunities for interaction with the real business world. Being in actual situations, facing real problems of real people shapes your world view and the sooner you can gain this experience the better. For this, look for institutions that have tie-ups for such opportunities with their recruiters and other corporates.
2. Soft skills
Multiple surveys of companies show that one of the most significant handicaps campuses hire suffer from is poorly developed soft skills. This includes presentation skills, workplace etiquette, grooming, and general communication. All of these are essential requirements for workplace success and for moving into leadership roles. Some institutes have begun to focus on soft skills and developing the behavioural aspects of students. Conducting exercises and workshops on etiquette, grooming, communication, art, and team exercises are some of the means. Innovatively, some of this is being achieved through training in theatre or focus on the liberal arts.
3. People matter
In a networked and ever-changing business world, no one can function in a silo. Effective teamwork is essential in an era where multiple perspectives are needed to solve complex problems. And this means people need to be effective at working together. Empathy, accommodation, appreciating diversity, understanding and working with differences, and sensitivity are the critical skills that need to be developed for success and these are timeless. Institutes that build in teamwork and people dependencies into course work will help groom managers who can work effectively and efficiently with any group of co-workers. This is why many courses involve a large volume of team assignments, presentations, and projects.
4. Global perspective
Globalisation is a reality that no business, big or small, can ignore and this will only compound in the future as trade and people mobility go up in future. Even an entry-level business manager needs to be mindful, aware and prepared to work in a complex and interlinked world. How do you achieve this when many entry-level managers have not even stepped out of their city of birth? Developing the ability to work with different nationalities, being comfortable in foreign environments, and being able to blend into the unfamiliar is going to be must-have skills for the future and preparation needs to begin early. Courses that offer foreign language courses, cross-cultural collaboration opportunities, international exchange programs, diverse pool of international students, and opportunities to learn from visiting foreign faculty are one way to prepare for this business reality.
5. An entrepreneurial approach
Some theoretical concepts are timeless, while others whither away. However, new approaches to solving old problems and developing abilities to deal with new issues are always evolving. After all, many of the challenges and opportunities are seen today did not exist even 5 years ago. How would a graduate from then cope today and how will he/she deal tomorrow? The dynamism needed to face unique situations and problems come from developing an entrepreneurial mindset in students from an early stage. This mindset can be developed through a pedagogy that focuses on doing, experimenting, failing, learning, unlearning, and taking responsibility for one’s efforts. Courses that spoon-feed will soon disappear into the sands of time, as will the students who learned with such approaches.
Bear in mind that there is no course which will teach you all the skills you will need in the future. A course can provide you with timeless skills, some of which are listed above, and it can provide you with a mindset of flexibility, entrepreneurship, ownership, responsibility, and risk-taking. If you have these, then your skillset is indeed timeless.
At SRM University, AP the curriculum structure and pedagogy is designed to incorporate all of the above aspects. In addition to this, regular feedback from industry and recruiters is obtained to keep education relevant. Moreover, campus life, extracurricular activities, and the work involved in running the students clubs and societies provide students with exposure in all of these must-haves.
“Evening is a time of real experimentation. You never want to look the same way,” said fashion guru Donna Karan. You think, the Queen of luxury fashion is talking about appearance and personal style presentation, when you have another kind of display on your mind. The one you have to make the next day. Many young students are bogged down by presentations, case studies, assignments and deadlines every day of their college life. But that’s all the more reason to let your hair down, experiment, rejuvenate, and live your life to the fullest in the evenings. SRM University AP campus is the sanctuary to do just that.
Evenings are the perfect time to take stock of your day. They offer you the breather to unwind, relax, and rejuvenate. They are also a precursor to the promise of the night, which brings with it a new dream. It is the beautiful cusp of a moment and at SRM University AP you can shape it exactly according to your interests. They say, some of the best evenings are unplanned, random, and spontaneous. We say, plan your evenings and make the most out of the avenues we have in store for you. Here are 6 fun, cool, exciting things you can do under the campus skies after 6 pm. And we assure you, the sky is limit for the creative, cultural and culinary satisfaction you can get on campus.
Walkabouts are in
Designed by Perkins + Will, American architecture firm, the name behind some of the visually stunning educational institutions around the world, SRM University AP is a sight to behold. The natural beauty is enhanced by eco-friendly spaces that create a soothing ambience perfect for leisurely strolls. Go for a walkabout exploring the hidden gems on campus or head for evening walks with friends and make memories to last.
Time for a Gym-jam
All fitness enthusiasts and beginners can band together in state of the art gymnasiums on campus. It’s time to throw your weight behind your overall wellness. Pushups, pull-ups, cardio, aerobics; you name it. Go for the workout of your choice and engage with fellow fitness fans. Then there are Yoga rooms to channel your energies, meditate and recuperate from the daily rigours. Sources for your physical and emotional wellbeing are thus covered on campus.
Display your sporting attitude
Don’t see yourself working out in the gym? No sweat. SRM University AP campus boasts of the best facilities for sports including badminton, basketball, volleyball, athletics, cricket, soccer, table tennis and more. Want to pick up a new game or want the best platform to showcase your sporting prowess? Dive into the avenues we have in store for you and be a good sport!
Mentoring – Extra innings
The residential campus of SRM University AP is home not only to students and scholars but to many of our experienced faculty members. You can pick the free time in the evenings to engage with them on topics of the curricular and beyond. Our approachable and affable faculty members have been the guiding force behind many transformative journeys. Now you get to have an extra helping of that mentorship while building lasting relationships too.
For Foodie two-shoes
Extra helpings remind us of all the delicious options you can devour on campus. The lip-smacking delights available at the night canteen will satiate all your culinary cravings in style. You can also hop over to the truck shop to get your supply of foodie goodies packed with chips, cookies, chocolates, cold drinks and ice creams. Now can there be a more mouthwatering prospect?
And we are only talking about student clubs that create exciting platforms for you to pursue your interests. Passion-photography society, drama club, dance club, music room, sessions of next tech lab, python in pyjamas, debate sessions, women in Machine Learning, movie screenings are just some of the engaging outlets you can enjoy. The Night League by the Gaming Club is a raging success amongst our shining Knights.
We told you life after 6 on campus is all fun and games with enough food for thought!
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.