Dr. Deepti Dabas Hazarika has been a part of Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies for the past 14 years, serving in different roles throughout her tenure. As the Director of Faculty of Management Studies, she has led the institute through many changes and challenges, with a focus on innovation, excellence, and student-centered education. In this article, we delve into her journey at Manav Rachna, her insights on the field of management education, and her vision for the future.
1. It’s been almost 14 years since you joined Manav Rachna. What motivated you to stay with Manav Rachna for such a long time, and how has the institution changed during your tenure?
Teaching has been known as a noble profession. The association with Manav Rachna is an opportunity provided to me by life to manifest this noble cause. Moving from one orbit to another, Manav Rachna has made a mark in the lives of countless people- students, their parents, faculty members and other associates. It has been a movement of excellence with the vision of creating better human beings, where each student is a success story that we take pride in.
Identifying with the pillars of our philosophy of ‘character’ and ‘competence’ at Manav Rachna, deeply ingrained into the system by our founder visionary, Dr O P Bhalla, it has been a privilege to see Manav Rachna grow from strength to strength. Today, it is a coveted name in teaching, research, industry connect and community service. It has provided several platforms for me to develop, meet and interact with academia and industry and, most importantly, to work for student support and growth. Deriving delight every day from these experiences is real gratification! This attitude of service is the Manav Rachna way.
2. What challenges have you faced as the Director, and how have you overcome them?
As the Director of the School of Leadership and Management (SoLM), it is living the VUCA and BANI times, i.e., volatile-uncertain-complex-ambiguous as well as brittle-anxious-non-linear-incomprehensible. However, often the challenges and solutions go hand in hand. We understand that our main focus is working with students to develop them as leaders. Pursuing this goal, we are continuously innovating and working out ways to identify student competencies and areas of development to work on them for improvement.
Today, the industry is more demanding than ever before. Thus, we need to keep pace with the change. Offering new areas of specialization, bringing in experiential and hands-on learning to class and making learning fun for students is much required.
As a team at the SoLM, we work with the industry through our associations with the All India Management Association, National HRD Network and the esteemed MREI Strategic Mentoring Board. They provide us insights into creating synergies with the industry in terms of skilling and training. Industry representatives are usual visitors to the department. They are the real key to learning for our students, bringing slice-of-life experiences to them.
In this critical pre-career phase of their lives, students need support and guidance. The faculty team hand-holds them to realize their potential and to nurture them towards success.
3. What is your vision for the School of Management Studies at Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies, and how do you plan to achieve it?
The School of Leadership and Management at MRIIRS: I envisage it to be an institution with global acclaim for developing leadership acumen in students so as to prepare them for handling multicultural roles.
In order to achieve this, we need to work with students at the core of the effort, strengthening the edifice with support from faculty members as the main drivers and with industry as essential support. With a progressive, encouraging environment and opportunities provided to all at the school, linkages for learning, development and research are being worked on. Fortifying our core processes of academics, student support, mentoring, counselling, and industry connect further, we seek to build an environment where a strong faculty team guides an aspirational group of learners in contemporary domains, with apt industry exposure and outreach. We seek to combine teaching-learning, research and outreach, student support, leadership and governance to deliver on our best practices of ‘strong student connect’ and ‘robust industry connect’.
4. What are the reasons a student should choose you vs any other competitive B-school that a student is considering?
The School of Leadership and Management at Manav Rachna is an institution with a difference- to make a difference.
Our multi-pronged approach towards overall student development distinguishes us from the competition. Our MBA program is a student-centric, stakeholder-driven program.
All round development for leadership roles
5. How does your Manav Rachna ensure its students are well-prepared for the workforce upon graduation, and what kind of support is provided regarding internships, networking, and career guidance?
Students are prepared to build integrated knowledge of the various disciplines of management and be equipped with skills in applying management theory and practice for real-life problem solving, along with becoming well-informed, ethical and committed corporate citizens contributing to the industry and community at large. They are also encouraged to acquire entrepreneurial capabilities for their own ventures or their employer organisation.
The University has a dedicated Corporate Resource Centre (CRC) along with the departmental Training and Placement team. Since the beginning of the MBA program, students are provided training for overall personality enhancement through courses on business communication, professional competency, employability skills and general aptitude. They are provided specific inputs for group discussions, interviews, case and situation-based selection processes, psychometric analysis etc. The Career Development Centre provides in-depth analysis for each student through test series and analysis of scores thereof.
The plethora of industry personnel visiting the department is a window to the real corporate world. Students interact with them at events and conclaves/ during lectures, to seek guidance and understand about industry requirements.
6. What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing a career in management, and how can they best prepare themselves for success?
Life offers vibrant opportunities to us! Many of these may come through a change, as change is, in fact, the most permanent phenomenon of our times. We are fortunate to witness landmark disruptions & circumstances which shall shape the future. For students at the higher education stage, this is the time to nurture & attain their aspirations! As students move into a determining phase in pursuit of success in a career in management, they must commit themselves to being groomed as leaders and professionals who shall lead the way with their managerial acumen. They must opt for programs with academic rigour, real-life situational analysis, working with industry & organising & participating in events. Thinking critically and analytically but ideating creatively should be the way forward. They must embrace newness and technology, unlearn older ones and learn new ways. By understanding how industry is evolving in the geopolitical environment of today, students must choose a field for building expertise in. Along with domain knowledge, it is imperative for them to work on team skills too.
An open mind, a positive attitude of sincerity, a go-getter approach and focus are the keywords.
7. Finally, what are your plans for the future, both personally and professionally, and how do you see yourself contributing to the field of management education in the years to come?
Management education is fast evolving into leadership training. In times to come, I seek to continue working with students by developing ways in which we may understand them better at the institutional level and subsequently may work out development paths for them too. It will be interesting to see the trajectory that students travel on after such intensive intervention. If we wish to develop human capital for the future, working with individual students is the need of the hour. I look forward to investing myself in this cause by ensuring streamlining of basic operations at the institutional level. Thus, I consider student development and academic operations & administration as areas where I may contribute. The role of information and management will also be important here, which I seek to understand better through analysis and empirical research. This will further help us to delve deeper into student engagement and the deliverables of academic programs in general.
As Dr. Hazarika continues to lead Manav Rachna towards greater heights, her commitment to excellence, innovation, and student-centered education will undoubtedly inspire future generations of leaders in management and beyond.
Admissions are open for MBA with Dual Specialization for the year 2023. To apply, click here.