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Prof. Sushil Kalyani reveals the secret behind 'first day first hour' job ready graduates shaped by NIIT University

March 26, 2020
"What education world deals with is historic while corporate is futuristic. Industry practices change every day and if academia is not interacting with corporate, it results in unemployable graduates" - Prof. Sushil Kalyani

The year was 2017. According to the data revealed by AICTE, more than 50% MBA graduates couldn’t get campus placements. That year saw around 2,00,000 MBA graduates from over 5000 B Schools in the country, and the drop in placement percentage for PG diploma holders was 12%. The same year, NIIT University received the ‘Best Institute for Promoting Industry-Academia Interface’ award at the 10th ASSOCHAM Higher Education Summit 2017. It also showed an impeccable placement record, which has been maintained year after year. Are the placement results directly related to NU’s B School’s industry-connect? We investigate through a conversation with Prof. Sushil Kalyani, Area Director – Management at NU.

The University is one of the few in the country known for its Industry Linked Programmes, which include names like ICICI Bank, Federal Bank, WNS, NIIT Technologies Limited, United Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra. How instrumental is it in bridging the industry-academia gap, often seen in India? Prof. Sushil Kalyani, Area Director – Management, NIIT University informs, “I think it’s about timing. What education world deals with is historic while corporate is futuristic. Industry practices change every day and if academia is not interacting with corporate, it results in unemployable graduates.”

The seasoned academic is not one to mince his words. After all, he has experience in both spheres including his International industry stints in Benin and Dubai. But Prof. Kalyani is an academic at heart, who keeps himself and thereby his students, abreast with the latest industry skills at the University. “Our continuous industry connect has resulted in courses like Business Analytics, Digital and social media Marketing; Finance, banking and fintech as part of the curriculum. They are delivered by blend of academician and industry practitioners, who help students know what’s happening in real time,” he explains.

The B School is also known to offer its students pedagogical tools like simulation games, real time case studies, activities involving market surveys, campaigns that give them a feel of real-life scenarios. Prof. Kalyani throws light on the curriculum of Industry Linked Programmes, which has piqued our interest. “It is designed by a group of people coming from the partner industry and faculty members after discussions in terms of requirements for Knowledge, Skills and Attitude. The idea is that the student who goes out of the university campus is ‘first day first hour’ job ready,” he says, determined about the end goal.

This curriculum is frequently updated with inputs from faculty members and practitioners from eminent bodies. But NIIT University doesn’t just set its students on a solid career path but does it sooner than other B Schools with its 4-Year Integrated MBA Programme. What’s the secret? “We have been able to include all essential courses in the 4-Year Programme. The structure is such that students get long term perspective and understand the importance of foundation courses for advanced levels. So, the transition from UG to PG is seamless. The last semester is dedicated to Industry Practice, which gives them valuable hands on experience,” says Prof. Kalyani before surmising that the year saved can be used to build advanced skills or gain job experience.

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