The advent of efficient and cost-effective technologies has created a huge impact across industries. Apparently, many academicians in India are unaware of some of the most exciting advancements in digital operations that are taking place behind the scenes in factories, warehouses and the like. Vikash Kumar Singh, Chairman and Group Director of Annex Group of Institutions – a young entrepreneur who has made his mark in the field of quality Education and training from the age of 20, however, has always been continuously updating himself with developments in digital transformations that are disrupting the traditional Pedagogy of education and business. Vikash Kumar says, “According to me, the core of Industry 4.0 is innovation. This can be done by the optimal analysis and utilization of the 6 Pillars of Industry 4.0; Big Data Analysis, Industrial IOT, The Cloud, 3D Printing, Cyber Security, AI and Autonomous Machines.”
Innovation in sectors like manufacturing has exploded, thanks to Industry 4.0. The term was coined to reflect the increasing trend towards the use of technology, automation and data acquisition in manufacturing. Companies can now integrate their operations vertically and horizontally, leveraging previously untapped data analytics to get a handle on every aspect of their Operations cycle. “Universities should assimilate the nuances of each of these pillars, keeping in mind that each has a cost for usage and implementation. This has to be mapped on to the ROI for it to be functionally operative and acceptable. Consequently, in all courses, the precepts of Industry 4.0 should be analyzed, illustrated and imbibed seamlessly and in stages. All this must be with Innovation as the guiding principle,” explains Vikash Kumar.
Annex College of Management Studies (ACMS), an ISO 9001:2000 Certified Institution involved in disseminating the highest quality of professional education in Kolkata over the last 29 years, was established under the benevolent guidance of St. Teresa and other distinguished luminaries. Many stalwarts have bestowed their invaluable inputs, advice, insight and guidance which form the core standards and philosophy of the institutions under the Annex Group. “We have been conducting Workshops, Panel Discussions and Lecture Series on all the 6 Pillars of Industry 4.0 since 2015. We organized these through experts, Institutes and organizations who had started the knowledge quest and practice sessions much earlier,” shares Vikash Kumar.
Imparting the latest concepts can be challenging, especially when an intuition is bound to follow the stringent curriculum prescribed by the affiliating University. The updated exercises carried out in ACMS were non-credit courses, as the universities did not have regular subjects as a part of the courses approved by them. Vikash Kumar states, “We developed course content and course material parallelly and started communicating with the university for their review, all the while applying for their kind consideration for inclusion of these as credit courses. As a result of the efforts of our college and the university, we have got five of the six Pillars included as credit Courses. 3D Printing is being discussed and is in the final stages of review.”
Undoubtedly, preparing students for the industry has been the philosophy of ACMS since its inception in 1990 and continues to be so. ACMS is currently associated with CII-Eastern Region, All India Management Association (AIMA), New Delhi, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICC), Public Relations Society of India(PRSI) National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), Birmingham College, UK, JIBS, Sweden and several other professional bodies. “Being an active member of CII and National Entrepreneurship Network, we are able to expose our students to the activities of Innovation Club of CII and help them to participate in Competitions and Workshops on Innovation,” pinpoints Vikash Kumar.
For the last two years, ACMS has been exposing the students to Webinars conducted by various institutions like All India Management Association (AIMA), CII, IIMs, IITs, AON and several other organizations specializing in the 6 Pillars of Industry 4.0. Vikash Kumar adds, “The Webinars have been well received by our Faculty and students and have been instrumental in raising the knowledge bar. We are now in the process of establishing linkages with the most renowned B-Schools for our students to benefit through V-Sat Communication in Virtual Classrooms for Lecture Sessions and Workshops conducted by internationally reputed thinkers and faculty.” The Boards of Governors and the Advisory Councils constituted by ACMS, which include industry experts and academicians of repute, have been instrumental in bringing such latest teaching techniques to the classrooms of ACMS. These Bodies meet once every quarter to review the progress of studies, placement, strategies for development in the light of the rapidly changing requirements of the industry in India and abroad.
“Every Thursday, we conduct Industry-Institute-Interface Session with the active participation of professionals invited from the industry. These are 1-hour lectures followed by Question- Answer Session and Interaction with the speaker(s). This improves bonding with the industry, professional relationship with the individuals and a continuous feedback of the students from industry experts,” explains Vikash Kumar. ACMS also has a Mentorship Programs, where three students are assigned to an Industry Professional. The mentees work at the office of the Mentor on designated projects/Jobs during Saturdays/Institute holidays/Inter Semester breaks. This gives them an insight into the actual situation in Industry. Vikash Kumar proudly claims, “During the mentorship program many students are given Pre-Placement offers. We also conduct Placement Drives, Continuous Interaction with Industry, Customized Training for specific Organizations, ‘Employability Programs,’ to achieve 100 percent placement every year.”
Today, many ACMS alumni are occupying positions of decision- making in their respective organizations. “We feel proud when our Alumni come to the college and interact with the present students to share their experiences, how they ‘made it’ and how their juniors can also achieve their goals and ambitions,” says Vikash Kumar. On the other side, ACMS uses the exposure from Innovation Club of CII and National Entrepreneurship Network very extensively to hone the Entrepreneurial Talents of its students. ACMS also organizes Entrepreneurship Competitions and Seminars to identify Bankable Projects for infusion of Venture Capital. “Over the years we have identified a number of viable Ideas, helped to incubate them and four of these have been developed into Entrepreneurial Ventures, which are working very well. The efforts are continuing, and we are trying to convert as many students as possible to ‘Job Givers’ instead of ‘Job Seekers,’” shares Vikash Kumar.
ACMS is now interacting extensively with top universities and colleges abroad to keep abreast of the upcoming changes in the environment – both Industrial and Academic. “We are simultaneously trying to communicate with the university to include new courses, subjects, chapters and topics in the curriculum so that the knowledge platform of the students is improved. More intensive interaction with the Industry is being done to modify the pedagogy to suit the future needs of industry. Alliance are being done with institutions and organisations to expose the students to a rapidly changing world of the future,” concludes Vikash Kumar.
Vikash Kumar Singh, Chairman and Group Director
Vikash Kumar Singh has grown up in the education industry which he entered at the adolescent age of 20. He has widely travelled across the globe and at each port of call he analyses the systems and course contents of each Educational institutions with an objective of identifying courses, pedagogy affiliation and linkage to world class education system – both for content as well as systems. With a Graduate Degree in Commerce followed by a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management during his working Career at Annex, Shri Singh has served in various sub-committees of All India bodies set up for furthering the cause of Education. In recognition of the invaluable services rendered by him to the cause of education, Vikash Singh has been awarded the prestigious Rashtriya Ratna Award in 2002. He has also been awarded Society Icon 2017 by Society Magazine.