To integrate the Indian education system we require a relevant structure that caters to the various industry standards and gives higher education a much-needed boost of elasticity and compatibility. Thus, at CollPoll we aim at helping and guiding the institutions through the experience, opinions, and advice of academic thought leaders.
In this candid chat with the CollPoll team, Radhika Shrivastava, the Executive Director at Fortune Institute of International Business (FIIB), shares her thoughts about the current state of the higher education system in India, the efforts of FIIB to imbibe the right kind of skill sets in students, and the use of technology in transforming education on a larger scale. As the Executive Director of FIIB, she has been providing strategic direction and vision to the institution since 2009.
Q1. You had a glorious stint in private equity but planned on switching to the education sector. How has your journey been from climbing up the ladder in private equity to constantly striving to improve education in India?
There were a few things that excited me. Firstly, the intellectual curiosity about the technology trends and the latest events that were taking place in the industry. Secondly, the power education holds to transform. These two things motivated me to switch to the education sector.
As a consultant & private equity investor, especially in social impact projects, I gained a lot of opinions on how people were adding value financially, economically, and socially. And it was a great learning experience as well. The idea of making an impact socially seemed quite exciting. This thought of making a difference by doing something that would add value to other people’s lives motivated me. I wanted to use my education to educate other people. Therefore, this idea of imparting my knowledge and skills to the business school which was very closely linked to the terminal degree that prepares people later to join the workforce was a great opportunity. The impact was tremendous and visible.
Also, at the international finance corporation, I came across a lot of entrepreneurs who were making difference in many ways. This is where the seed was sown and eventually grew into a tree. The education industry has gone through a lot of transformations and the experience overall has been very exciting. I’ve entered academia from a very non-traditional route. However, my experience in different fields has exposed me to diverse ideas.
Q2. FIIB is focused on imparting the right kind of skill sets and making the students employment-ready. What major steps do you suggest other institutions should take to help generation-Z unveil their potential & prepare for today’s workforce?
I believe, that preparing students for digitalisation is not an option, it’s here to stay. Besides this at all levels of education, it’s the responsibility of administrators and faculty members to incorporate technology into the curriculum. Even though it might look different for each level, the principles are the same – more exposure to time-saving technology.
Earlier the job industry was going through change, and one person was required to handle multiple tasks. However now, technology helps individuals do a lot in one go. So, I think the kind of skills we need to teach is what companies are looking to drive growth in their organizations. This can only be achieved if the person has potential. Potential itself is a meld of knowledge, skills, and abilities. And technology is changing the way these three things happen.
At FIIB, we encourage students to think about the platforms like articulating or debating to practice the art of communication / public speaking and learn how to express their opinions. This promotes their ability to work with other people, accept their opinions, and respond in a way that makes sense. Today, the classrooms are being transformed into digital platforms. This is where partners like CollPoll are important – to take a 360-degree view of the institution and use technology to bring the required changes.
Q3. Please tell us about FIIB’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). How is this platform endorsing the spirit of entrepreneurship in today’s generation?
At FIIB, we do not only look for making entrepreneurs out of students but we work on embedding an entrepreneurial mindset in each student. We want them to go out with innovative qualities and proactiveness. In the world of work, three qualities are very important:
- Being proactive
- Being ready to take a risk
- Getting the work done
Radhika Shrivastava says, “Companies grow because they are ready to take risks.”
An individual should be prepared to take initiative, have curiosity regarding their work, and should be ready to take risks. The whole idea of starting this centre was to make students understand the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset. We do this by – offering some core courses and elective curricula to students.
The other idea was to stimulate the ecosystem of entrepreneurship outside FIIB. So, we started to inculcate extra-curricular activities, inviting guest speakers to speak to the students. However, our focus area going forward over the next three years is – to open our doors to the local community and become a centre of research and promote entrepreneurship.
Q4. At Business Schools, time management is a significant skill, as students have so much to accomplish in such a short period of time. What role technology can play here?
FIIB’s most popular executive program is on time management. Time management is an issue across almost every industry. There is too much to do in very little time. There are two most important things about time management:
- The whole idea of prioritizing tasks – Sometimes, we skip what is important & urgent to do something that is urgent. Take a step back to see what you are doing at the expense of something else, is it really important.
- How do you go about prioritizing tasks/doing them?
At FIIB, we try to make an impact on both sides. Several tools can be used to prioritize tasks/and create a task list. We make sure students are aware of all the tasks. And with CollPoll being implemented as the Learning Management System, students have all the institutional information at their fingertips. So, this way technology keeps students updated and ready for all the upcoming tasks/events. This also makes it easier for students to do any work or perform any action.
We have used technology to enhance academic efficiency, deliver more information to the students, and even make them aware of mental wellness by giving nudges at the right time.
Q5. What is your advice to institutions who are looking forward to leveraging technology to bring an everlasting change in the process & quality of education delivery?
There is only one solution to this – 360-degree adoption of technology. Bringing everything that you do from the old academic and administrative activities, things should come under the purview of technology. The technology has to be seen as an enabler and the IT strategy should support the business strategy. That’s why comprehensive systems like CollPoll make a lot of sense. The platform helps in efficiently managing several operations from fees and dues to placements and internships and a lot more, all under one roof.
The other way is to plan for technology as if you are planning for 10-15 years ahead. We are unaware of tomorrow’s situation and planning just for today is not a smart move. And make technology work for you rather than chasing it. This is where CollPoll, as a partner helped us a lot. By making all the operations digital, it is now easier to impart education without worrying about the physical space.
Thank You Ms. Radhika Shrivastava for such a wonderful conversation, we look forward to having you again!
Keep watching this space for more interviews of CollPoll on higher education status and emerging trends