In this exclusive interview, Mr. Aman Mittal, Additional Director – Lovely Professional University (LPU) talks about how LPU has been prepared to combat this pandemic, about their strategies and motivation to rank high among the best B-schools in the country, bringing in the best diversity in the country and a few valuable tips for the MBA aspirants, with Allwin Agnel, the Founder, and CEO of PaGaLGuY.
- To be competitive with other leading B-schools and private universities, and being a pioneer to have the largest single private university in India, what are your new experiential learning pedagogy that has been adopted?
Mittal School of Business – B-school of LPU has always focused on developing individuals with hands-on experience. As a Business School, we always wanted our MBA graduates to be at par with respect to learning within groups, partners, industry leaders and experts.
We get them some of the best projects to work on from across the country and also use our sizable connection across the globe.
Additionally, we also have our own “Retail Incubation Center”. We want our students to have their huge ideas attempt to market themselves, working out the best possible solutions, survey live on their products and services.
This gives them an extra edge over other candidates as they are well versed with their business ideas and are well equipped with hands-on experience. We are also talking to a lot of MNCs including the likes of Google, for our students to have hands-on experience on digital marketing.
We also promote numerous activities and entrepreneurship where the students can present and pitch in their ideas and we give them comprehensive and incisive feedback like the “sharks” would do. Our experience allows us to help them hone their business sense and also give them appropriate feedback.
- What are the reasons a student should choose you vs any other competitive B-school that a student is considering?
MBA is just not a degree but a wholesome experience. The kind of experience, exposure, diversity, experiential learning, industry interaction, kind of companies visiting the campus entrusts a great value for any student who is pursuing the course.
We offer that kind of experience and exposure where learning never ceases, opportunities are never stopped and most importantly the great ROI which a student gets by investing a modest fee. We have students coming over from more than 50+ countries across the globe.
The kind of network you build here parallel to your education and learning opportunities is phenomenal. We also offer a good set of scholarships to attract the best and great talent across the country and globe.
- With the recent pandemic attack of COVID-19, what are your views on the preparedness of the Education System in India (especially MBA / PGDM)?
When the pandemic striked the nation, it is bad rather sad that many of the institute were not prepared. And it is important to acknowledge the fact that most of the B-schools across the country were not prepared in the initial stage.
Education is a slowly evolving industry and this pandemic came as a wake-up call for all. It forced institute to think that this is the right time to change and embrace the new set of technology beyond the limits of what we have already been doing.
We will have to proactively change a lot of infrastructure and most importantly, bring a shift in thought process to go with the flow of this new evolution. LPU already had a massive investments in both hardware and software to enable us to make the transition to this new world.
- What are your thoughts on the New Education Policy 2020?
In simple words, it is a Great Vision Document. In the last 34 years, a lot of us have only been talking to get a change in the system, but the NEP 2020 is like a checklist which ticks all the boxes of changes mentioned, which we have been waiting to bring in for so many decades.
It talks about spending 6% of GDP which is exactly Double at the current situation. A significant amount of investment is required to get the NEP 2020 implemented in full swing and doubling the spend in the education sector is a vision for any developing country.
At LPU, we have already been following a lot of the recommendations and trying to meet all the details mentioned in the policy.
- According to the NIRF Management School Rankings, LPU has been ranked in Top 50. What motivates you to push your bar higher for the upcoming year’s ranking?
The motivation is to rank first in India. Being ranked high and on the top is a good feeling. This ultimately results in attracting better students, better faculty and better industry collaborations over the years.
The strategy to be on the top remains the same – work hard and work smart. In addition to it, we also look forward to getting the best consulting projects on the campus, motivating faculty to focus more on research papers, get the best faculty on-board and involve more students in research papers.
We want the students to take ownership of their learning journey and in turn enjoy the opportunity of working with finest corporates. This eventually leads to attracting a lot of Industry practitioners, guest speakers and guest faculty.
- Being the largest private university, do you think the intake for student admissions should be split in two cycles rather than one?
I believe that this decision should be allowed by the respective institutes or universities. They should take this into consideration depending on the operational capacity and their readiness.
We should not force them into a system unless they do not have the will power and capabilities to handle the massive operation challenges that come up from doing multiple cycles.
- What active steps have you taken during this pandemic situation for LPU, and what do you foresee are the new normal in education delivery?
When the pandemic began, we as an institute had a hard time to be frank. But the best part, we had a great physical and technology infrastructure to handle most of our concerns. Our learning management system, internal student mobile application were all in place. LPU always tries to be ahead of the curve.
We did not want our classes to be a regular Zoom Call session. We had a smaller batch size for every class. We enabled virtual internships for all the candidates. We tried and kept our students active and engaged throughout their journey.
We tried and worked with every individual student and had set up counselling teams to address any concerns faced by them. We had taken into consideration every aspect for the classes as well as the exam.
Proper proctored examinations, negative markings in case of any suspicious movements or activities. We did not have only MCQs exams and ensured we conducted a proper examination set up despite the challenging times.
Our motive is very clear, “Education should not Suffer” and our students should be job ready once they graduate from LPU given any situation.
- Do you feel that due to a potentially recessionary situation, there will be less demand for business school education over the next couple of years?
I don’t feel that the demand for business school education will suffer or minimize in the coming years due to recession. Recession will happen. It’s cyclical in nature. As a result of this, people will resort to post graduation. And this is the time the aspirants should be cognizant while selecting the B-school for pursuing his/her post graduation.
They should follow a long-term plan. People graduating in 2021 will face serious challenges due to the continued pandemic state and job situation. They should be very careful and cognizant of the fact while selecting their specializations to match the skills and competencies required for a recovering job market scenario.
At LPU, we have already started focusing on offering the best possible combinations of specialization to suit the market demand in a few months. We will have to give them more options rather than the conventional ones. We have to make them Recession – Ready rather than Recession – Proof!
- We’ve noticed that students find it tough to engage in online programs – what are your suggestions or ideas to create more engaging online programs?
The faculty should have a detailed plan for student involvement, student engagement and student participation. There should be a professional environment created to impart proper learning throughout the sessions.
Having a proper Learning Management System eases a lot of stress. We also use AI tools to track the user engagement where we keep track of user behaviour and also ask questions that pops after every 10/20 minutes in all the classes related to the live discussion happening in the class.
This keeps the engagement high and also elevates the level of discussions and conversations in every class.
- What are the pros and cons of being situated in Phagwara / Jalandhar?
A lot of aspirants are willing to relocate and travel to metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore for their higher education. And the reason being – exposure is good. I respect that but exposure is good and high at LPU too.
Giving exposure and bringing in diversity lies with the institute and not the city. City is not the barrier at all. The kind of exposure given here at LPU is unmatchable. Students come here from more than 50+ countries. We have excellent academia and almost every day we have industry leaders interacting with our students.
Initially when we were setting up we had challenges in terms of recruiting the best faculty and attracting the best talent across the country. But now, we are an established brand name and we have overcome that con too!
- How do you deal with the challenges in attracting companies and faculty to LPU?
LPU today is a large corporate but yet an educational ethos brand. We do not push people to meet the targets. We want to offer a balanced lifestyle and this automatically attracts the companies and faculty to us. It was a challenge 7-8 years ago, but not anymore.
- Would you recommend the aspirants to join the PGDM program this year or defer their plans for the next year?
Definitely join! By the time you graduate in 2022, it will be a good year. Companies will be prepared to hire the best talents again with great skills. You should definitely not defer your plans.
- Are you introducing any scholarship to ease the admissions process during this pandemic?
To support COVID-19 situation, to appreciate and encourage all our COVID-19 warriors, we have announced up to 100% scholarships to close kins and relatives of all the COVID-19 warriors which includes healthcare workers, government officials, police officers, bank officials, etc. We have reserved the scholarship amount of INR 20 crores.
We believe that only saying “Thank You” is not enough. We are proud of them and would like to support them. We are also being innovative by reserving a fund of USD 1 Million to invest in fighting COVID -19 or live with COVID-19.
- Do you expect the CAT/MBA/ LPUNEST numbers to go up or down due to the current situation?
My assumption is that the numbers would increase this year. More people would want to upskill and improvise their resume to make them more employable in the competitive job market.
- You have students from more than 50+ countries across the globe. What’s your secret for maintaining diversity at such a massive level?
There are no secrets as such. We have more than 3500 international students studying in our campus. They are a mix of Under-Graduates, Post-Graduates and PHD students. We have gotten a phenomenal response from SAARC, Africa, Thailand, South Korea, etc.
The only reason why we have students from different countries is because diversity adds richness to their education. This motivation kept us going throughout. We kept challenging ourselves that why a student would come to Jalandhar and be devoid of opportunities.
We wanted to give the international edge to our students. We also strengthened our International Student Exchange Programs.
- You have an MBA (Hons) with 6 different specializations. Any plans to add more specializations in the bucket?
We would like to add specializations as and when there is a requirement from the industry. If we come across a trend or a demand for any specialization, we would be happy to add them into our bucket of specializations.
To know more about LPU join, [Official] Lovely Professional University (LPU) | MBA Admission Queries 2020 – 2022