FLAME University organizes Industry – Academia Interaction Session

FLAME University organizes various events that bridges theory with practicality. One such event was the industry academia interactive session which was held on 28th January 2016, at the FLAME University campus. The session was followed by a networking dinner.

FLAME University has always worked closely, and has been extremely successful in placing its students with the most reputed organizations. Taking this relationship forward, they invited a host of big names. The session was attended by 35 participants from the industry, which included MDs, CEO/COOs, Functional Heads and senior professionals from diverse industries, i.e., manufacturing, IT/ITES, banking, financial services and audit / consulting. They represented companies like Accenture, IBM, Cognizant, Credit-Suisse, Deloitte, ShareKhan, Yes Bank, Abu Dhabi Bank, Kirloskar Pneumatic, Precision Camshaft and Divgi Warner. Faculty members and students from FLAME also participated in the session.

The objective of the session was to discuss the areas of common interests and to develop an actionable plan to implement common projects across various activities like MDPs, Training, Research and Consulting. The collateral gains of this initiative was building the FLAME brand and to facilitate the placements of students.

The session that lasted for over three hours was divided into three parts –

  1. Outlining the FLAME vision and mission and the need to collaborate with industry which was addressed by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Devi Singh.
  1. Brief presentation by the Provost, Prof. D. S. Rao, on the University including the academic structure, infrastructure and the key differentiators of FLAME.
  1. Panel discussion on the Role of Educational Institutions in building Organizational Capability to meet the Challenges of the Future which was moderated by Chair – MDP & Consulting, Prof. Sujay Joshi. The esteemed panelists were –
    • Sunil Lund, Head Centre of Excellence, Credit Suisse (India) Pvt. Ltd.
    • Kaushik Majumdar, MD, Principal Financial Group
    • Hemant Joshi, Partner, Deloitte
    • Anand Khot, HR Leader, IBM
    • Yatin Shah, MD, Precision Camshaft Ltd.
    • Sameer Mulay, Senior VP, Yes Bank

The panel discussion opened with Prof. Sujay Joshi orienting the panel about the topic of discussion. The diversity in the experience of the panel brought about a range of points and gave the audience an insight into the topic that was put forth.

The first point raised was that of preparing the students and future managers/ leaders of tomorrow with the ability to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity. The panelists urged to spark the spirit of entrepreneurship in the coming generation of leaders. In order to help organization build capacity and capabilities, it requires that the faculty of such educational institutions interact with the industry more so as to understand the industry’s pain points. Lack of industry orientation in the curriculum may make excellent managers but not excellent entrepreneurs.

An extremely interesting point that emerged was about what businesses look for in the people that they are recruiting. Today’s businesses look at four capabilities – ability to understand numbers, ability to deal with human capital from multicultural and across geographical boundaries, understanding technology and understanding industry. He also spoke about the coming of the digital age. Hence, any education system needs to focus on classroom learning, technology, content and e-learning.

The importance of holistic education in the students and not keeping them bound within functional silos was highlighted. This would go a long way in building capabilities of dealing with risk, uncertainty and ambiguity that was talked about earlier. It was stressed upon that the students must be encouraged to take up subjects and fields of study beyond their career goal and objectives without having the fear of failing. Likewise, in organizations, managers need to be encouraged to take up tasks beyond their comfort zone. Failure should not be looked at negatively but a medium of learning and experience. This requires creating an environment which helps creativity and innovation thrive without having the stigma of failing.

For any business to exist, it requires satisfying a need that makes it relevant in the value chain. The industry and academia need to be geared up to meet these evolving needs of the consumers. The course curriculum needs to be made more concurrent and relevant from an industry perspective. The educational institutes need to build in their students the ambiguity tolerance and not looking at their functional specialization in a silo but in conjunction with other functions, thereby creating an understanding of interdependency and overlap between functions. There is no end to learning. At every step in your career, you need to have the temperament of learning, unlearning and relearning. Educational institutes needs to develop an attitude in the students of embracing change in organizations, in work and adapting to such change.

Dr. Devi Singh appreciated the points that were put up by the eminent panelists. He stressed upon the idea of industry partnering with academia to solve problems that they are facing. There is a mismatch between the expectations from the students and that of the industry. The students need to be made aware and prepared for the grinding they are to go through once they pass out and join the industry. With these thoughts in mind, the discussion was called to an end.

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