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Interview Corporate engagement for MBA students Dr DK Batra From Asia Pacific Institute of Management shares his views

By : Guest on 28 June 2012 E-mail Comments     Print Print  Report Abuse

We are here today with the inspiring leader Dr. D.K Batra, Director, Asia Pacific Institute of Management.


Dr. D. K. Batra is Ph.D. in Management and M.B.A (Marketing) from Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi. He graduated in B.Tech (Textile Tech) from Technological Institute of Textiles. M D University. He has also been to Fashion Management Dept FIT, New York University and was a UNDPP Research Fellow.He has held various prestigious positions at a number of B-schools, and has been Advisor and Consultant to various Private and Public Organizations. Various awards and honors accolade his efforts and contribution.


MBAclubindia would like to thank you for taking out your precious time to share your thoughts with our members. 


1. Every education program should be backed by a clear career objective. But many students do various courses, without knowing why they should do it. How could the students be guided on this?



Dr.Batra: The most important way is counseling. Most institutions incorporate students into a PGDM program without giving them proper guidance. Now a student may have an affinity towards Financial services, International Business, Marketing or HR, it is difficult to ascertain in the beginning. So there are two ways it can be handled- one is take a general PGDM program and then opt for specialization after one year and after internship. The other method is take counseling in the beginning so that you are able to determine may be its financial service is something which I want to do.  It is also very important for the student to check the website and the accreditation of the institution and then visit the institution by themselves and interact with the faculty. Faculty would give a different perspective than the admission office.  Somebody walking into my room or dean’s room would get a different kind of understanding on what he should choose. Clearance of objective doesn’t happen. For instance if we make it mandatory that they ( students ) will meet the faculty even before they come for GDPI, so they must exploit the chance of meeting faculty members. Faculty members can guide them like counselors, rather than counselors who sit in the admission department who might not have the acumen to the bridge the gap. So solution is a student must first get the information from the website, and match it by meeting faculty members of the institute as well as meet the Program directors. 


2. If an MBA wishes to do a PhD, how should he reason himself and orient his career goals?


Dr.Batra:  You do PhD program for two or three career opportunities. One of it is doing research in international business or research for domestic company or join a research organization. The second kind of career option is become a teacher or become a faculty not just as a teacher /faculty in terms of giving and digging information. For both it is important for the person that he or she must start writing , publishing and then decide whether he or she wants to do a PHD or not. For instance we have a PHD program with JAMIA HAMDARD. There are two kinds of students we get- one is the faculty members who have applied to Jamia; the next is the faculty members who have applied here and then Jamia. There are also third kind of students who are not sure they want to become teachers, they are come from corporate with sufficient work experience. There is an IAS officer who came to us as he wanted a mid career change. So for a PHD program, a person should have a research orientation. A person should have an orientation to publish articles and journals a person should have an orientation to contribute to international articles, seminars and conferences. Anybody who wishes to understand PHD they can meet the dean and the research cell.


Praveen-  So you send students from here to Jamia?


Dr.Batra: We have an MOU with JAMIA where they would get degree of JAMIA and this will be the study centre. One Jamia Hamdard guide would be there and one guide from AIM would be there.


3. ‘Career in one line of profession/Industry Vs Career with varied profiles in different Industries’- What is your take on this point?


Dr.Batra: This has been always debated and this can never be solved. As Paul Getty (Founder- Getty Petroleum- 2nd largest petroleum company in the US )  writes in his book, he was not an MBA or a doctorate. He goes contrary to popular thinking. ‘I can sell a pin or I can run an aircraft company, if I am a successful executive I can take any line.’ And the whole book demolishes the myth that if you chose let’s say infrastructure sector you can’t do banking- its wrong.


Praveen- So it means we can diversify ourselves at any time?


Dr.Batra: Absolutely, however if you see the last five year trend it is a trend towards specialization. Corporate are do not want general management executives they are demanding workforce with specializations. But if you look at 50 years of corporate history this is only a small trend which will break over. I feel in the long run if you look at 50 years of working span one can adopt different lines. Specialization is only a recent phenomenon and it doesn’t mean it will remain forever.


Praveen: So you are saying it is the overall knowledge which can suffice the pure need of development.


Dr.Batra: Yes, absolutely.


4. How would you rate learning on- the- Job versus learning in Campus.


Dr.Batra: I think learning in campus is extremely crucial. After my engineering, I worked for a company called PARCO glasses. Doing MBA was not very popular then and I did my MBA from FMS. But after my MBA, I was getting jobs which were less paid than what my engineering job had been offering  me. So MBA was my lucrative time in terms of money but still I chose to do MBA why? Because it gave me a wider perspective it made me understand that technology is not the only thing, it made me understand finance, economics are also important to be learnt, it made me understand grooming was also very important, it made me understand the importance of research. This if I had not done my MBA I would have still learnt, but it could have taken 20 years to do so.  So going to campus adds as a catalyst in learning. Learning becomes fastee. MBAs are able to see things in a very comprehensive integrated manner. By Doing an MBA or a post graduate program, a person gets the leverage to learn across streams. Many companies hire students for backend work by paying those higher salaries, but a students needs to evaluate growth perspective versus to higher pay. You will not easily leave a high paid job.  It is a good thing for economy but come to the think from perspective of a professional. He or she would have done very well if they had done PG in management, opened their perspectives towards different aspects of business and then he take a lesser paid job -it doesn’t matter. Salary is not as important, job is not important, Career is and growth is! Wealth is important not money.


On job training can help you in the short run. So I personally feel education is very crucial. Education pays in the long run.


5. Not many MBAs are ready to take up jobs in the Government Organizations. The affinity is more towards MNCs. We wish if you can share some of your rich insights to inspire them for such alternate career opportunities.


Dr.Batra: The trend is changing in the last two-three years banks and public sector banks are hiring so many people. Some of the MBAs have started choosing financial services profiles even with Public Sector and Nationalized Banks. I don’t think there should be any career discrimination between Government and Private Organizations. Of course, the culture is different but both are doing business. So we encourage students equally. Public sector organizations have done very efficiently whether we talk of GAIL, ONGC, or SBI. Every organization works very hard, there are lots of professional opportunities and they pay very well in PSUs too.


Praveen: After MBA apart from these two options what other options are there for students?


Dr.Batra: One other option is to go into research and do your PHD second option is to set up your own enterprise. We have a cell which we call entrepreneurship. We are a member of National Entrepreneurship Network. It has 15000 professionals and lots of angel and venture capitalists. We train students to do business and how to get banking support.


Yesterday the NSIC chairman was here to speak and he announced that an incubation centre will be setup by them at AIM. With their network of banks and with soft loans, they will help students to set up their own business.   


6.What is that you enjoy the most in your current association and work profile with Asia Pacific Institute of Management as a Director?


Dr.Batra: Most important is to oversee that academically the student should do well. They have do corporate engagement. We have called 40 speakers for the Orientation Program. Our major focus shift is now towards the experiential learning rather than classroom learning. We want a manager to become more interdisciplinary and not just specialized. Specialization is important but a marketing manager must learn finance and finance manager must learn marketing and HR. This is very significant shift in our thinking which is more experiential learning; project based learning, integrated learning, and interdisciplinary learning. If these four are fit-up you will become very different. So this is a challenge we have to fulfill  and on the other hand, we also want corporate engagement so instead of just going to them for placements we started calling them right from day one, so that the students understand corporate expectations. Taking up this challenge is what I like.


7. Asia Pacific Institute of Management provides Student Exchange Programs. Are all students a part of it? And how does it help the students?


Dr.Batra: No, the best students who do academically well, they are shortlisted and they are interviewed by the institute. Similarly their (France) students interact with students here. There is a provision of exchange of 10-15 students.


Praveen: And how does it help students?


Dr.Batra: It helps to get them international exposure, they become brand ambassadors of our country, they also do online projects, and Industry visits one and learns about cultural exchange, study exchange. Faculty Exchange is also a provision. So there is a greater degree of understanding and knowledge sharing.


Praveen: Why only France, why not any other country?


Dr.Batra: Because any other country would demand a fee for student exchange, it’s not that other countries don’t do exchange. We are looking for exchange opportunities with Canada also. French Government is encouraging Indo-French exchanges. And because we don’t want to impose the financial burden on the student France comes as a viable choice.


8. An inspirational book that you would like to suggest to our Members along with a message?


Dr.Batra advises- I would suggest-The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence, it is the latest book by Tom Peters. Tom Peters is one of my favorite authors and he writes on innovation, leadership and experiment.  My initial favorite was In search of excellence. But recent work of Tom Peters is really exciting.




I think innovation is next that will pay in the long run. Whatever you become you must be very thorough in your work. Pursuance and detailed orientation is very important. And I feel India will shine if our managers with highest level of humanity, integrity, discipline and knowledge will work. These are the four things which are very important.  


On behalf of MBAclubindia Team, I thank you again for your time and sharing your views with our fraternity.


Praveen Sharma

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