Ever since the mushrooming of private colleges and universities in India, the academic research and innovation in education has been a widely debated topic. Indeed, India needs to build an ecosystem that endorses quality research and institutes that imparts intelligence. Dr. S. Sudhakara Reddy, Principal of Malla Reddy Engineering College, opines, “It cannot be denied that a culture of research is missing in many Indian institutions for varied reasons. Lack of sufficient exposure to proper research practices and models at school and UG level is one of the chief reasons. Research is viewed as a worthwhile activity only at PG level.”
However, Dr. Reddy, a visionary and a dynamic leader who has rich teaching and industrial experience for over three decades, believes that the situation is gradually improving. He adds, “Many institutions are encouraging students to undertake projects and research activities. Both UG and PG students are motivated to take up even live industry projects.” Established in 2002, Malla Reddy Engineering College (MREC) is an epitome of institutes that foster practical innovation inside the campus. Dr. Reddy and him team at MREC have instituted several measures inside the campus to improve research that include the establishment of a Research and Consultancy Cell.
“We have put a lot focus on recruiting faculty with PhD qualification, motivating non-PhD holders to take up PhD programs, encouraging the ones pursuing PhD with incentives such as on duty allowance, giving financial support such as paying up to Rs. 10, 000 per published paper for Scopus, SCI, and Web of Science indexed journals,” shares Dr. Reddy. The combination of a well-structured Research and Consultancy Cell and a highly supportive college administration has helped MREC to grab 10 minor research projects worth Rs. 25 lakhs from the UGC. Dr. Reddy adds, “We have applied for new research projects worth nearly Rs. 2 Crore for various funding agencies like DST, FIST, SERB and many more.”
Making Meaningful MoUs
MREC is perpetually in motion when it comes to collaborating with international universities and industries. MREC is a consortium member of Indo Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE), receiving diversified webinars in the areas of best practices, research and innovation, and outcome-based education. “Forming global partnerships will go a long way in preparing student communities with global character.On the other side, we have given a lot of emphasis on collaborating with industry players,” pinpoints Dr. Reddy. For instance, MREC has signed an MoU with Tech Mahindra, Hyderabad. Under this, Tech Mahindra offers in-house training to the students and also conduct FDP program for faculty members.
Dr. Reddy shares, “We have signed an MoU with IBM. Under this, the college receives training for faculty and students using IBM Software, orientation and guidance for faculty and students towards free product certification and technology products and services for training programs.” The institute’s MoU with Focus Academy for Career Enhancement (FACE), Chennai helps the final-year students get trained in CRT. SAP, HP Microfocus (First of its kind in the state of Telangana to impart training on DevOps), CISCO, Red Hat Linux, Amazon Web Services, Oracle Academy and National Instruments are some of the other important MoUs MREC has singed till now. “These MoUs help us in providing training for students and staff on emerging areas like Cloud computing, Big data analytics, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and so on,” claims Dr. Reddy.
Today, there are numerous takers for MREC students in the industry. In addition to that, MREC’s Placement and Training Cell and Entrepreneurship Development Cell work untiringly to provide employment and entrepreneurial abilities to students. “We are proud of our excellent placement record. Many students have received higher pay and multiple offers from leading recruiters,” states Dr. Reddy. MREC has seen over 533 placements in the year 2018 – 19 with Rs. 10 Lakhs as highest salary package from BYJU’s. Impressively, over 100 MREC students got multiple placement offers. Dr. Reddy adds, “We also have 10 students who cleared CLAD (Certified LabView Associate Developer) exam in the first attempt. Two students are offered Advanced training on LabView (worth Rs. 1 lakh) at NIT campus, Bengaluru. Four students from Mining Engineering Department topped a course ‘Drilling and Blasting Technology in NPTEL and were given an Internship opportunity by the Professor at IIT Kharagpur.”
However, MREC is not only focusing on sending its students to industry as employees but also producing entrepreneurs of high quality. Entrepreneurship Development Cell is a flagship initiative of the college that produces a pool of prospective entrepreneurs. The cell operates in association with JNTUH EDC in order to inspire and develop entrepreneurial abilities among the students. Under its wing, several programs and workshops are organized to train students in developing skills and capabilities required for starting small scale businesses. “It encourages students to come up with ideas for setting up of businesses and provides mentoring from real time entrepreneurs. The cell networks with best funding agencies and venture capitalists that could provide requisite financial support and guidance. Our student Kasturi Santoshi Lata has designed and initiated Big Wig Technologies Pvt Ltd, employing 150 people,” explains Dr. Reddy.
Many MREC students participate in online and offline hackathons organized by government and private enterprises. In TASK Telangana State Smart City Hackathon 2018 program, 22 students from MREC were selected and they received hands-on training from industry experts on available technologies and tools for prototype development. Dr. Reddy adds, “Our students from Mechanical Engineering have participated in different Go-Kart events since 2017. They design and fabricate their own cart along with a business plan, which describes how the team can start an enterprise to market the Go-Kart manufactured by them.”
With state-of-the-art infrastructure, meaningful tie-ups and cutting edge research facilities, MREC ensures its graduates to have several qualities when they go out of the campus. It can be summarized into 12 graduate attributes – Knowledge base for engineering, Problem analysis, Investigation, Design, Use of engineering tools, Individual and team work, Communication skills, Professionalism, Impact of engineering on society and the environment, Ethics and equity, Economics and project management, Life-long learning. “Our day to day practices help the students achieve all these graduate attributes. In the coming years, we have plans to establish research centers of excellence in every department, increase tie-ups with industry players and form global partnerships, secure Major research projects and provide training in emerging areas,” concludes Dr. Reddy.
Dr. S. Sudhakara Reddy, Principal
Dr. Reddy has been instrumental in acquiring accreditation status for most of the institutions that he has worked with. He has spearheaded the transformation of the institution from an ordinary engineering college to a ‘Centre of Excellence’ to produce globally competent engineers. A distinguished scholar with lofty ideas, Dr. Reddy has played a significant role in revamping, restructuring and reorganizing the system at Malla Reddy Engineering College (Autonomous). He obtained his B.Tech Degree in Mechanical Engineering (Production) from Kakatiya University, Warangal, M.Tech Degree in Design and Production Engineering (Machine Tools) from N I T, Warangal and M.B.A (Human Resource Management) from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from S.V. University Tirupathi. He has authored three textbooks and published 20 technical papers in national, international conferences and journals. He is a life member of various Professional bodies.