Prof. (Dr.) Sanjiv Marwah is currently Director at JK Business School and has been an academic leader as a Director at MM University, Mullana, and Era Business School. He has been a Professor and Head of Marketing at Apeejay School of Management while spearheading the CRC which was developed and nurtured as a Business School Innovation. Management Trainee till Regional Head from DCM to Onida writing success stories in the corporate sector in India before leading to academic life at the age of 32 after 10 eventful years. As Founder Dean of School of Management and allied departments at MM University, he expanded undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level programs. In an exclusive interaction with the Higher Education Digest, Dr. Marwah discusses the current state of academic research in India, the need for professors to be continuous learners, the importance of academic collaboration with the industry, many more.
- Many experts in the education sector and industry claim that a culture of research is missing in Indian institutions. What is your take on that?
In our country, academic research and industry research are viewed as two different activities. Academic research is for the sake of research only, which at best could end up in a conference presentation, or publication in a reputed journal. Whether, the recommendation of the researcher, is actually considered for application, is not a quality attribute of academic research. Corporates have their own research teams, but they seldom collaborate with the academic world, sometimes citing excuses of data security, and missing out on the valuable inputs from the eminent researchers. So, unless the goal congruence is appreciated by the industry and academia, research will continue to suffer.
- Do you consider the lack of quality faculty members to guide research aspirants as one of the major issues in the Indian higher education sector today? Please tell us about the challenges Indian institutes face while promoting research inside the campus?
Research demands-resources in terms of data, software, expertise and most importantly, time. Research is a risky proposition as well because even after the deployment of resources, it might not deliver the intended result. The experiments are always prone to failure, however professionally they are designed. So, the institutes must have the mindset to invest in research activities. The strategic plan should consider the employment of experienced and competent faculty members dedicated solely to research. Academic Institutes offering technical education can only survive if they can keep themselves updated with the needs of the industry and the changes through which it continuously passes. It is an excellent opportunity for the companies, to get exposure to the multidisciplinary team of researchers of the institutes who can open up new solutions to their long-pending problems.
So, the startups and small business houses can collaborate with the B- grade technical institutes towards a win-win solution to both. Thanks to open-source software, which has made data analytics doable by all.
So, a culture of research, now is possible which was earlier confined to the premier institutes only. The challenges of yesterday can be converted to today’s opportunity by hand holdings of entrepreneurs, professors, and students.
- Why is it important for Indian institutes to collaborate with global universities to foster research and innovation?
The definition of openness has changed altogether. Knowledge is such an asset that multiplies on sharing. So, the internet has emerged to be an ocean of information. But when it comes to academic research, unfortunately, researchers are still working in silos. Research topics are often repeated, and in order to differentiate, a phrase with local significance is added to the title. E.g. “The Impact of Stock Dividends and Stock Splits on Shares’ Prices: Evidence from Egypt”. Instead of having research on any topic in piece meals, global level research can be conducted by senior and experienced academicians. Many of the research scholars become directionless in want of proper guidance. They end up losing their time, resources, and in utter frustrations. MOOCs have brought to the students a world-class teacher for any subject one wishes to learn. A similar model for research can be designed, that will bind all researchers working in the same area under the guidance of one or more supervisors.
The advantages are:
- Cross-Pollination of Ideas
- Grouping of researchers involved in similar research
- The structure and methodology is well defined
- Timeline is fixed
- Research is conducted under global experts
- The global perspective of any problem can be aggregated, thus excludes local bias
- A win-win situation for all the researchers and supervisors
- What do you see as the key to academic institutions turning their intellectual capital into marketable products?
A marketable product is something that has the value to satisfy some human needs. This must be the very basic objective of any activity, and research activity for that matter. So, intellectual capital must be channelized in such a way to fulfill someone’s requirement. Otherwise, it gets dissipated on its way. The objective of any research should be linked to the development of some marketable products or services. Otherwise, any research is of little or no value at all.
- What according to you is at the core of industry 4.0? What should educators need to know before preparing the students to embark on this journey?
Educators should themselves be continuous learners. The pace with which technology is advancing, every new day introduces a new concept. Faculty members should keep themselves updated to these changes and take their knowledge to the classroom, modifying the curriculum at the same pace. Failing to comply with this need of the hour is in a way suicidal.
- What are your views on leadership? How should education administrators ensure that their faculty members and students transform into world-class leaders?
One of the key qualities of a leader is empathy. Empathy not only means to put one’s feet in other’s shoes, but it is also about walking a mile in those shoes. Faculty members should overcome the barriers of the generation gap, educational superiority, and other egos and feel one with the students. They need to respect their students and trust them to see them as future India.
The students should learn to understand their employers, colleagues, and customers and maintain a healthy ecosystem around them. The soft skills of effective communication and interpersonal skills are essential for one to evolve as a successful leader.
- What advice would you give to staff and students regarding their involvement in the country’s and the entire world’s affairs?
Be the change you wish to see in the world. You are the one with immense power. Start taking baby steps and be consistent in your efforts. Drops can accumulate to form an ocean. I trust that Honesty is not only the best policy, it is also the easiest one. Honest and sincere efforts are always successful.