Industry and academia – partners in success

India is a growing economy and has the attention of world players for investment and expansions. This brings about a need for ready-for-the-job people. On the other hand, there is a large set of employees who need to be skilled, re-skilled and up-skilled to meet the needs of the changing dynamics. This is only possible through the active role of industry in sharing the know-how and academia in developing the programs and solutions to fill the void.
The need for industry academia tie-ups is becoming more pertinent. Industry pursues competitive excellence, academia brings in thought leadership and the two together can foster best practices and environment that will make us ready for the business challenges of tomorrow. The two must come seamlessly together.
Academia, in the past, has been able to provide the knowledge but individuals find themselves incompetent as soon as they are hired at different financial houses on the various skill sets required to perform at the corporate level. Further, they are not really able to co-relate the knowledge with the actual dynamic environment which a working environment presents.
Academic curricular does not prepare individuals adequately for work place requirements such as behavioral, communication and performance management. Industry and academia tie-ups give them the necessary exposure to hone their skills.
In the given scenario how can companies and educational institutes interact, so as to make individuals more industry ready? There is a need to think innovatively about how corporate and industry can interact more. Some of the ways of doing so are making corporate interaction a must via guest lectures, industry visits, improving the focus of corporate interactions & embed them in theoretical classes, developing case studies based on challenges and opportunities in the local market and adding rigor to internships and summer projects and evaluate them seriously.
Corporates should be forthcoming and engage students on campuses. They need to share their insights through interactions, case studies and early involvement in organizational issues. Short project stints, industry visits and similar activities can make corporate life less intimidating for students. They should be able to think of offices as their laboratories to learn.
Keeping this in mind, HDFC Standard Life, in March last year, tied up with Manipal Education to offer a three-month certificate program in Insurance and Management.
This year, they enlarged their scope and tied up with several institutions to reach out to the young population across the country. Some of these institutes include — MIE Educational Services Pvt Ltd to cater to North, East and Central India, T John Management Institute and Manipal Universal Learning Pvt Ltd to penetrate the Southern states, and Seed Insurance Academy for Maharashtra. The objective is to create a ready pool of insurance-trained sales professionals for the company, who are well groomed both theoretically and practically, well before they join them.
International Institute of Financial Markets (IIFM) has an institutional wing which aims at bridging the gap between academia and corporates. At the institutional level, IIFM operates financial cells within colleges on the ‘Intel Inside’ principle to bridge the gap between industry and academia. At the corporate level, they conduct programs for working professionals and tie up with various financial houses. They also conduct various training programs for banks, insurance companies, wealth management firms and trading houses and have tied up with IndusInd bank for their nation wide training program DEAL (Drop Everything and Learn).
At the retail level, IIFM has also started courses like MyTrade which is an industry cartel course for students who are interested in making their future in trading, and MyAssurance which is an insurance industry backed course for students wanting to make a mark in the insurance sector. Both these courses are rich in knowledge and have industry trainers who train the students on the skill sets.
Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) offers several courses for practicing managers. LIBA also offers one-year diploma programs in Financial Analysis, Banking, Supply Chain Management, Retail Management, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Marketing Management and several certificate programs in Finance, Sales and Marketing, Information Security, Controls and Audit of Business Information Systems, Software Testing, etc.
Industry today needs professionals who are well versed with the prevailing technologies in various areas. The underlying challenge is that most of these professionals do not have knowledge and understanding of industry domains. This drives the need for industry to be an active partner in curriculum design and work closely with academia.