An industry veteran, Dr Bajaj has rich and varied industry experience in diverse professional capacities in national and international organizations in Real Estate & Construction sectors. He is a Fellow of the coveted Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for the past 12 years and chairs the Assessment Panel in India & UK at RICS. Before joining RICS SBE, he has worked in project management, construction, real estate and facility management sectors of the industry. Dr Bajaj, an alumnus of MIT, Mangalore University, holds a PhD from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia and was himself an outstanding student. He is passionate about knowledge sharing and has been associated with higher education in the Built Environment sector for the past 30 years.
The purpose of education is to prepare well-rounded individuals, equipped with relevant skills, attitudes and knowledge, who can integrate into society by making a meaningful contribution. Higher education has one main objective, which is to make students ready for real life and the industry or profession they choose. However, a concern that has often been raised is whether a monotonous syllabus is appropriate for every student, irrespective of what career area they would want to explore? Can a one-size-fits-all approach cater to the needs of all students across diverse streams?
This creates a need for career-specific courses and degrees. A generic curriculum undoubtedly teaches basic concepts and values that are needed as a base and which can be built upon in the future but a specific knowledge repository that is needed to cater to the skill requirement of an industry can only be worked upon when we have focussed courses and curriculum for distinct and diverse fields.
In the past few years, we have seen a rise in professional courses that focus on providing a curriculum that is specific to the requirements of a particular industry and preparing industry-ready students for the field. This is helpful for students as whenever they step into the industry, instead of being clueless or needing intensive training, they are ready to kickstart their work-life by seamlessly stepping into new roles and responsibilities.
How do such higher study courses make students industry ready?
Courses that are designed with a special focus on specific industries offer an immense advantage to students. Interactions with industry leaders provide the institution insights into the current needs of the industry and the skills that students require to meet those needs. The teachers and professors in such industry-led courses are either part of the industry or trained well by industry experts to teach the students. Such courses include industry visits, guest lectures by industry veterans to complement the theoretical studies with practical relevance and application with case studies and references. Also, short-term internship opportunities that the courses provide in collaboration with industry partners, offer hands-on experience of future profiles, tools and opportunities to students. They conduct pre-placement seminars with industry representation and well-placed alumni of the school to prepare them for the job market. Various boot camps are organised for the final year students on domain-specific real project case studies to prepare and create confidence in the graduating cohort for job readiness. The institutions have great linkages with industry and their placement teams which makes it possible to get the dream companies on campus for the placement round and ultimately the students get jobs.
How does this help students?
Employers often look to hire people who have relevant skills and knowledge so that once they join, they can start contributing and performing directly on the field, rather than employ their time resources in training less skilled candidates. New jobs need new skills which is the primary challenge due to evolving technologies and changing job roles and responsibilities. Right-skilling facilities from these professional courses provided by the forward-looking institutes instil confidence in students about their capability to perform practical and this can then do wonders when they enter into a real job. Students who undergo such courses are more competitive in the job market and have higher chances of getting hired, performing better, and earning higher wages than their peers.