We are very different in giving experiences to a student or even a faculty, Says Professor (Dr.) Chavi Bhargava Sharma, Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, Manav Rachna International University
Conferred with a 5 Star rating by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Rating System in the area of Teaching, Facilities, Social Responsibility and Inclusiveness, Manav Rachna University is highly focused on the student. Chhavi Bhargava Sharma discusses how they make and send out good people.
The exquisite Iron Gate opened into a modern, planned and a vast 48 acres campus. The way paved to neat buildings and merry students, the last of which was my destination- Faculty of Management Studies – The MBA department. As I stepped towards the Dean’s chamber, I couldn’t help but notice the chitter-chatter of the excited students, discussing about their thrill in joining their first job. From the beautiful and smart attires leading to selfies, I could deduce it was the concluding day of the batch.o a modern, planned and a vast 48 acres campus. The way paved to neat buildings and merry students, the last of which was my destination- Faculty of Management Studies – The MBA department. As I stepped towards the Dean’s chamber, I couldn’t help but notice the chitter-chatter of the excited students, discussing about their thrill in joining their first job. From the beautiful and smart attires leading to selfies, I could deduce it was the concluding day of the batch.
Donald H McGannon once said, ‘Leadership is action, not position.’ It aptly applied to Dr. Chavi Bhargava Sharma, Dean of Management Studies and a Psychologist by nature, whom I could only hear. Literally, she is and always in action. In a conversation with BW Education, Dr. Sharma discusses what makes a good management department and how being a psychologist helped in understanding and managing the department.
What do you consider to be the most crucial element of a management programme?
I think its experience. We are very different in giving experiences to a student or even a faculty. When a student chooses a university, they shouldn’t just go with the brand but assess the kind of experiences the university will provide.
Conferred with a 5 Star rating by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Rating System in the area of Teaching, Facilities, Social Responsibility and Inclusiveness, we are highly focused on the student and relevant experience. I believe we send out good people.
Employability versus placement-based admission is today’s struggle of a management department. How is Manav Rachna ensuring it?
I always tell my students that we are not a placement agency since I believe academics always have a higher shelf life. Employability on the other hand is merely developing a good character. However, hardly anything is done to ensure it. In 2009, we started a course which we the then named STEPPES (Structured Training for Enhancing Personal Professional and Employability Skills). It is a mandatory 3 credit scores in every semester. We begin in the first semester with self-awareness, then we move on to team and group dynamics and the third of course is Group Discussions and Personal Interviews. I will not boast of our students having pay packages that beat IIMs. Being realistic, all our students get placed and do well.
You have a pool of 16 very efficient faculties in your department. 4 published books and a total publication in 24 journals are indeed some impressive facts. However, faculty attrition and motivation is something that many universities scuffle with.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to ever face this challenge. Most of the faculties in these 8 years joined a year after setting up the management institute. We do a lot of formal and informal activities to keep our faculties motivated and connected. FDPs to esteemed institutions like IIMs are regular activities. We also encourage research, publications being the obvious results. I am also particular about informal meetings with the faculties. We usually conduct our meetings based on six thinking hats to have faculties talk and discuss about different issues.
Industry- academia disconnect is another pain point. Is it for you too?
Usually management schools have guest lectures. We tried out team teaching. The case studies or the practical aspect are taught by the industry experts and the theory are taught by faculties. It worked really well. Moreover, most of our faculties are also from industry and some courses are owned by some industries. Our recent tie-up with the NHRD has strengthened this connect.
Which new areas of management are you exploring?
We have our core subject of dual specialization of HR and Finance. We have specialization in the usual subjects such as Marketing, HR, Finance, IT and others. Recently we have started MBA in Healthcare in partnership with Fortis. Under the mentorship of Dr. Pritam Singh, we have started a dedicated MBA in HR, in the honour of reviving the traditional human relationship salted with technology.
You have been a psychologist. How has it helped in managing the management school?
Psychology is in-built. However, the only thing that psychology has trained me with and what I do is that I listen. Most of the problem is solved with listening. Psychology helps me to understand another person, their strength and identify their skill strengths.
In classrooms, I believe in complete academic freedom, despite monitoring being good, but not extensive. You have to invest time in people. Also, what happens in the staffroom should stay in the staffroom. Administration is about decisions; some of them are nice and not so nice. I try to identify and combine the skills and passion of every faculty. That makes up a good, happy, motivated and a satisfied team, making my work as a leader much easier.
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