There’s a huge gap between the kind of skills and the kind of competencies that are required by industry and those being supplied by the institutions of higher education. Time and again, industry and academia interactions do happen, but these normally touch only the soft issues. More than often, they may cover issues like visiting faculty from industry going on to the academic world or students being given summer internships in organizations and so on.
Continuously bridging the gap between Academia and Industry to make their students potentially industry-ready when they graduate, Anil Surendra Modi School of Commerce (ASMSOC) updates the course contents regularly and uses different teaching pedagogy and tools like SAS, Ms- Excel to deliver their sessions and helps the students enhance their IT-enabled skills. “Students undergo rigorous Soft skills training to help develop their skills in Communication and Personality. We also develop their technical skills through industry-based projects, assignments, and research papers. These are designed by faculties to enhance the student learning and research abilities”, states Prof. Sangita Kher, Dean, ASMSOC.
Having developed a strong industry connect, the Board of Studies at ASMSOC comprises Senior management from leading corporates like ICICI Bank, EY, CRISIL etc. Industry experts are invited as Guest Speakers for many courses. Experts from across different industries are invited as Panel members to evaluate the Student Business Plans, Dissertation, and Project Viva`s.
Blending Education with Innovation
SVKM’s NMIMS Anil Surendra Modi School of Commerce was established in 2007. The college imparts under-graduate and post-graduate management education and currently offers a three years full-time undergraduate programs along with an M.Sc. Finance program, which is a two years full-time post-graduate program. ASMSOC aims to develop graduate attributes of domain knowledge, Value education, and lifelong learning attitude among the student community. “we want to position our school as a leading undergraduate business school, delivering high-quality education in the field of management, finance & marketing”, opines Prof. Sangita.
Winning many awards and rewards in academics and the extra-curricular field, ASMSOC houses a mix of young and experienced faculties from academics and industry. Core faculties carry experience ranging from few years to more than 30 years of experience. 21 Faculties have completed their PhD, and the majority of the remaining are currently pursuing PhD in their areas of expertise. Regularly involving themselves in research activities, the faculty members have published their research papers in top journals along with collaborating with faculties from universities abroad. “Many of our faculty members have received awards in Research Seminars and Conferences, and they have been appointed at Board of Studies members as subject experts in various colleges, along with being invited as guest speakers at different forums like OECD meet and TEDx”, adds Prof. Sangita.
Developing and implementing a Mentoring Eco-system for the students where the Mentor guides them for their career pursuits, ASMSOC provides one-on-one mentoring sessions to meet the specific needs of the students. They are informed of the career options which can be pursued along with their graduation and programs that can be pursued post their graduation. Both Formal and Informal interaction takes place for the students regularly in matters relating to their careers. Information about various certification courses, Chartered Programs, etc., is shared with them. “Our senior faculty members meet the Second Year students to guide them for their electives in Finance and Marketing. They provide a detailed presentation of the different industries and job profiles available to students after their graduation”, says Prof. Sangita.
The college has 13 Clubs/Associations, which provide a platform for the students to develop and display their creative skills and talent. Clubs like Social Responsibility Forum help students to discuss and find solutions to social problems, Montage enables the student to display their skills in the form of art and dance, Onlooker magazine provides the student to develop their writing skills. Similarly, the flagship event of VAAYU, which is coordinated by more than 300 students of the school, provides them with a platform to develop and create new management events and games. “For our Marketing students, a 1-day real-life-like bazaar is modelled in which various groups of students develop their own business and actually buy and sell goods and services similar to a real-life situation. They compete with each other to sell their products. Students innovate in terms of the goods and services to be bought and sold, be creative in terms of branding, marketing and pricing. This helps them understand the business better”, points out Prof. Sangita.
Sailing through the COVID Storm
The entire education industry faced a challenging task during Covid 19, which was followed up with a National lockdown. Due to this, the education sector had new situations to deal with. Student learning, Lecture delivery, Extra-curricular activities, Examination, and Evaluation were impacted. ASMSOC also faced the brunt of these challenges. However, the School authorities were prompt to find quick and effective solutions for the same. The students were sent back home as lectures in the physical mode were not possible. The entire teaching and learning mode shifted online.
Adaptability was the key, and immediate steps were taken to ensure the smooth execution of the teaching, learning, and evaluation process. Lectures were started using Zoom and MS-Teams licensed version software, which was procured for online lecture delivery. “Examinations were conducted through various modes like NMIMS Student portal, Google Forms, and Mettl. Viva`s were conducted through the Zoom platform. Further teaching pedagogy was customized course-wise to ensure student interactiveness for a better learning experience. Innovative methods of Internal Continuous assessment were introduced like MCQs, Breakout Rooms, Polls, etc.”, adds Prof. Sangita.
With students entering the workforce in a technology-based environment, ASMSOC is ensuring that they not only develop their managerial and technical skills but also groom their technology skills like teaching Business analytics using SAS software. Many courses are taught through MS- Excel, which is extensively used in the industry. This is further supported by training students in programming languages like R and Python as per their requirements of the program.
Making Students Job-Ready
A large number of students at ASMSOC are from a family business background, and after they graduate, they generally tend to join their family business. Many pursue higher education either in India or abroad. Of the others, the majority of the students who opt for placements have secured jobs in companies like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Nomura, Duff & Phelps, HDFC Bank, Barclays, D.E. Shaw, Edelweiss Finance, Godrej & Boyce, JP Morgan, ICICI Lombard, AC Neilson, Tata Starbucks, Tresvista and many others.
Encouraging entrepreneurship, ASMSOC has an E-cell (Entrepreneurship cell) wherein students participate in Start-Up related activities. The E-cell provides a platform for students with ideas to develop them. The Club also has Start-up mentors from the real world who run their Start-Ups and they provide Mentoring and guidance. “At the University level, Atal Incubation Centre provides funding for Student Start-Ups across different Schools of NMIMS Since the Inception of E-cell in 2015-16, around 20 Start-ups by students have come into existence”, says Prof. Sangita.
Online teaching is stirring at an untested & unprecedented scale. Pandemic has interrupted conventional learning and destabilized all educational methodologies, strategies and has brought inability among students in paying their tuition fees and educational related other expenses. Technology adaptability will be a key element for the teaching community. Dealing with constantly changing technologies will be a challenge. Leaving no stone unturned, ASMSOC has designed its courses, projects, presentations, and assignments in a way that the students can explore different avenues to present their work more innovatively. “We are planning to develop and launch new courses along with improving the effectiveness of online learning and teaching and creating an eco-system for research”, concludes Prof. Sangita.
About Prof. Sangita Kher
Prof. Sangita Kher is in the field of Academics and Administration for more than 40 years. She has held senior positions in NM College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai, and is currently the Dean at NMIMS- Anil Surendra Modi School of Commerce. She has nurtured the school from its initial years to being a top-ranked School in India for the BBA program, within few years of she joining the school as the Dean in 2011. She is a role model, and faculties and students look up to her, for inspiration, motivation, and knowledge.