In her current role, Dr. Anupama Natarajan is the Principal of IFIM College situated in the electronic city, Bengaluru. The other institutions of IFIM are IFIM Business School, AACSB accredited and IFIM Law College affiliated to Karnataka State Law University. The IFIM College provides undergraduate and postgraduate programs and is an integral unit of IFIM institutions that carry a 23-year old legacy. The college is affiliated to Bangalore University, AICTE approved, ISO certified and accredited with NAAC A grade maintaining a high level of quality in curricular and co-curricular deliverance to its students. Widely travelled Dr. Anupama has worked in national and international markets with a rich experience of over 37 years.
Education is the lifeline of society. As an educator, you have a great moral responsibility as well because the companies which hire students, all of them place their trust in you and you can’t let them down. It is a very satisfying experience when you know that you have been instrumental in impacting the careers of thousands of students.
Education sector still has a long way to go. It is a dynamic industry and will have to keep evolving continuously with requirements of tomorrow. But the truth is, best exercises are unique to an organization and what is right for one required not necessarily be right for another. Our challenge as educators is to make path-breaking changes in the education system. This sector is competitive with any other and sometimes we end up benchmarking ourselves against best exercises of those who have tread this path previous in order to be as good or better than them. The dynamism and the impact of this sector on a society are what make it the best sector to be in.
I describe my leadership style as being ‘Entrepreneurial’. I have an open-door policy and am very approachable by students and staff. As a leader, I make every effort to ignite the confidence in my team to be leaders themselves. I am a “Students’ Principal”. I ensure transparency at all levels and foster trust and confidence. I believe one should aspire like royalty but be willing to strive like a commoner.
A strategy is the basis of sound planning and managing any business. It is essential for the meaningful and effective implementation of all ideas in businesses. It’s important in business and management studies can never be overemphasized! A strategy is imperative to improve and innovate to stay ahead of the competition and keep pace with the changing dynamism of the world market.
It is always a challenge to take over the reins and to know when, where and how to introduce changes to steer the institution to growth and improvements. As the Principal of IFIM College, I recurrent the institution and I need to balance the interests and expectations of all stakeholders alike. Administration involves competent and prudent interactions with all stakeholders at various levels and each day could bring you new challenges.
We welcome the thrust and boost given to the education sector by the current government which has made bold and beautiful judgments for the development of our economy in the international market. Our highly qualified and experienced faculty ensures that the learning procedure is student friendly and encourages their inputs. We augment the university curriculum with interventions that are required-based, practical and ever evolving. We network closely with the industries and keep updating our content to suit market demands. We understand youth energy and imagination. The IFIM curriculum is in sync with the current industrial trends.
Each year our student body is growing in numbers. We are constantly looking to expand our working relations with the industrial houses locally and elsewhere in the nation and outside national boundaries as well. Preparing our students for corporate readiness begins when they join us. Industry interactions, guest lectures, industry visits, research, live projects, internships etc. expose them to the real business world. The purposing and mentoring program helps them identify their purpose and goals early in their preparation for a professional life. A variety of opportunities identified by the placement office ensures each student the right kind of work profile that matches their speciality skills, strengths and interests. Feedback from the industry and our placement desk helps plan pre-placement training that is industry specific.
A business house has many departments and each one required is various and yet unified by the common thread of commitment to work, setting goals and achieving them and putting the interest of the company before all else. Change is healthy and is ironically enough, the only constant. Even a kindergartner has an opinion about everything these days. Each job profile required a set of skills in keeping with the rank and responsibility. A recent upsurge in the technology sector has redefined the education sector. Pedagogic teaching is obsolete and rightly so.
We at IFIM believe in making our students continuously employable. The curricular interventions like Individuality enhancement program, Social Immersion Program, Industry Immersion Program, Research incubation, Mentoring ensures holistic development of students. This also ensures that education does not stop at the College. They are encouraged to develop an appetite for continuous learning.
My interactions with my students are both at formal and informal forums. I encourage the students to search for responses and solutions. Even when I am not on the campus at times and they required to speak to me they are comfortable sending me messages and calling me on my mobile. My students feel comfortable talking to me and bringing their problems and concerns to me. I am available to them at all times. I take my students seriously every time and let them know I trust them. I make it a point to address immediate concerns. As I mentioned previous, I am a ‘Students’ Principal’ and I maintain a healthy rapport with them.
This is a very broad question. We as educators must respect that and facilitate this by motivating the youngsters and by shifting from teaching down to a collaborative learning exercise. Whether it is a higher secondary school, a junior college or at the undergraduate level or post-graduation, I believe that the teaching/learning procedure should be a two-way street. Today, students are looking for opportunities to explore and discover. At all times a student-centred approach is vital.
The current generation thrives on technology like we required air. Apart from the virtual platform, they required to sharpen communicative skills, interindividual relations, again, this is outside of social media chat rooms, problem-solving ability in the real world, staying grounded, ability to think and act quickly, taking responsibility for one's judgments, and the readiness to be a team puller. Required less to say, then they are already adept at using the web information corridors and other applications which feeds online schools.
Our IFIMites are already gearing up for the new challenges. The management makes every effort to make changes in the academic and non-academic environment which will help students to rediscover themselves in their own context which they would choose, which in turn would help them to focus on their strengths and improvements with confidence towards their goals.
Demographically, India is in an enviable position. Presently, we have the highest population of youth in the world. Young minds are full of good ideas and high energy; directing or channelizing this energy to catapult India to a leading position amongst developed nations is a task that would be both stimulating and rewarding. I appeal to the youth to use their energy constructively and create positivity around them.