Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani : Interview with Prof. Anil Bhat

Prof. Anil Bhat has obtained his doctorate (fellowship) from IIM-Bangalore, and has been trained at international workshops conducted by Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley and STVP, Stanford. Prof. Bhat  has  more than fifty publications to his credit and has conceptualized, designed and conducted many MDP’s both for private as well as for public sector companies. He is presently Professor and Head  Management Department, Member Research Board and Faculty advisor, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) at BITS-Pilani

What are the your objectives in getting BITS Pilani recognized as one of the top MBA programs in Asia? 

The goal of this MBA programme is to create leader managers for an increasingly technology driven globalized workplace.

Is the BITS-Pilani MBA program equally selected by engineers and non-engineers? What according to you is a good mix or diversity?

Ideally any MBA Program should aspire to be very high on heterogeneity in terms of background of the participants in order to leverage rich multi-perspective viewpoints during classroom interactions as well as simulate team structures realistically. While doing so we can’t be lax in terms of the quality of the students In Indian context, the engineering degree being  still a first choice for majority of bright students and this reality of lopsided mix in favour of engineering students is hence reflected in the composition of the  class of a Top MBA Program. 

Typically like other top MBA programs in the country, BITS Pilani MBA program co-shares their attribute of being lopsided with participants with engineering background. Our eligibility condition stipulates either a bachelor’s in engineering or a Masters in science /Arts/Commerce. We don’t admit candidates with a bachelor’s degree in Art/Sciences/Commerce.

We realize as more and more quality undergraduate programs in social and behavioural sciences are floated in the country and these become a first choice for quality students, we will have more participants in our MBA programme from these backgrounds. In short and medium term we will be happy to have a ration of   95:5 { Engineers vs Non-Engineers} decrease  to 85:15 in favour of non-engineers.

What role do MDPs play in improving your regular MBA program? Do your students get access to knowledge from such programs?

MDP’s have a indirect role in enriching the learning process. 

First  the involvement in MDP’s  keep faculty in constant touch with the corporate word to validate his/her academic knowledge so that he or she can confidently explicate theory in the class in terms of its relevance.

Second  he/she  comes  to learn of the latest practices. It is in the nature of Management discipline that sometimes the practice could precede theory.

Third the networking  of managers helps getting some of the managers share their experience face to face with the MBA class. 

Fourth, the  involvement in MDP’s helps faculty fine tune their courses in terms of relevance, and get relevant inputs to float new courses and programs.

Last but not the least participation in MDP’s helps create a network that helps the students placement process which is also a critical antecedent for attracting quality talent.

What are the critical skill sets that you personally want students to work on, that would make them relevant in today’s corporate world?

Whether working in a team setting at the office or working with colleagues and clients across borders and cultures, the ability to articulate and present your case succinctly and persuasively is very critical. 

Thinking strategically as well as attention to the detail is the hallmark of a leader-manager. That is the skill I want students to work on. They should not get stuck with either but be able to change from one perspective to another.

Analytical Skills they include data-collection, data analysis and decision making skills. Students should employ hypothetico-deductive methodology and practice evidence-based management

Synthesizing Skills, Systems thinking and Design thinking are the three complimentary skills (to analytical) that they need to imbibe for creating solutions that will be robust.

They should be able to understand and interpret the new changing social realities with their threats and opportunities, including technology.

Ability to act with character, responsibility, integrity and honesty. They should be able to work on their emotional competencies continually.

And finally develop flexibility and Openness and ability to constantly learn, de-learn and re-learn.

What is the ideal profile of student that you would recruit for your program at BITS- Pilani?

Intellectually curious and emotionally strong with a consistent good academic record preferably with some work experience along with a good command over written and oral English language skills. He/She should possess sound analytical ability as well as an ability to think creatively. He should aspire to create impact in organizations he chooses to work for and communities he live in. 

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