Prof. Dhruva Ghai, Pro Vice Chancellor at Oriental University – Indore, emphasizes that teaching about finance and the basic economy of the nation is important for our students. With the Education Post’s Tanay Kumar, Prof. Ghai, shares his viewpoints on the importance of research.
Please tell us about your inspiration for pursuing Executive Program in Management (EPGP) from the IIM Indore after your second last formal education in 2009.
One must keep on growing in their profession or career. I completed my PhD in Computer science and engineering from the University of North Texas, USA. So, a decade of my early education was spent in the laboratory, running the simulations, conducting experiments, followed by my brief stint at nano Dragon LLC and other technical roles. I joined Oriental University as Dean (Engineering and Technology). As I became part of decision-making process in the university, I realized that budgeting, balance sheets and management are indispensable part of any business or organization. I had spent more time in engineering, not in finance, and I realized that I was behind in these areas. And I thought, there is still time that I could complete a crucial formal education, so I thought of choosing an Executive Program from IIM Indore.
I am a sincere believer in efficient education. I thought that investing one year in management education might give me an edge, and I was right. The experience I would have gained in industry in five years, I gained in one year at IIM. It delights me I did that course when I look back.
Being an engineering graduate, you were a runner-up in the Bulls and Bears competition during your stint at the IIM Indore. Would you please share your thought that engineering or any stream student should be taught stock markets intricacies in the Indian academia?
I was eventually part of a team, and I was accompanied with another person. My partner was well-versed in the stock market, so I also learned some essential knowledge of the stock market. Now he is working at HDFC Bank. Though it was not a big competition but yes, I had to do my homework.
Stock market or market analysis is more about numbers, charts, data and information analysis. Micro and macroeconomics both come into the picture for decision-making. I believe that everyone should know how the stock market works. People must understand the value of compounding and how to make money work for them.
Moreover, reading about the economy of the nation keeps one in the sync with the current happenings of the world as well. There are many laws that we should be aware about as a citizen. I strongly believe that even school students must also be taught about finance. Everyone must try to read business news and current affairs every single day. Do read business newspapers.
You had done your PhD from the University of North Texas, USA. Would you please enlighten us about the rational academic and non-academic (both) practices you found there?
It was the most gruelling but rewarding time of my life, but it resulted in teaching me some great lessons in academics and life. I used to go to my lab in the morning around 8 am and used to leave around 8 pm. I used to take the first bus to the campus from my residence and used to catch the last one going back.
Research Park is a separate campus at the University of North Texas campus. Now it has been renamed as “Discovery Park”. The building was acquired from Texas Instruments, a renowned semiconductor company. American education is really an eye-opener. One gets to choose the subjects that one wants to study and choose a professor in your area of interest/ research. Majority of the professors are research leaders in their own domains.
Access to the humongous online and offline repository was given to all students. The laboratories are at the cutting edge of the cutting edge. So, it would only be an individual who would hold oneself back from gaining the knowledge. Now India has its new National Education Policy (NEP) that mandates Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) which resembles the American education system. Sports facilities at the campus were equally great.
You have been a very active member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Please share the lessons, insights and practices from this prestigious organization that you’re trying to incorporate at the Oriental University.
I started at IEEE as a student member, I became a member upon graduation and now I am a senior member of this prestigious organization. I have been publishing papers under this organization since my time as a doctoral student. Not only does it support publishing research papers but also conducting conferences. The main goal of this organization is the promotion of research.
At Oriental University, we have an online repository of IEEE CSDL papers for students. If any topic or research area has already been covered in any paper, it helps students get insights from those published papers. Our students keep collaborating with many senior members of IEEE in their studies and publish their results and research as well.
Oriental University has a full subscription of this platform and the organization also helped Oriental during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students keep participating in various competitions under the banner of this organization.
There are two very interesting policies at the Oriental University, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy and National Innovation and Startup Policy (NISP) -2020. Please shed some light on how these policies help in placement opportunities for the students.
The entire thrust of our government is on job-creation as the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the job market scenario. Many of the startups have taken off and are doing great for the nation’s economy.
Keeping in mind ‘job-creation’ for our students, we devised these policies. Our students are also bright, and they can do great if they are given all the encouragement. One student on our campus is working on creating salted dates (dry fruit). He came and gave me a sample of his product and it tasted good. And it was a bit surprise to me that he was a pharmacy student. So, we supported him via our incubation facility.
Our incubation centre has all the requirements for the students. Incubation officers support the students in every possible way. Office space is a big essential requirement when one starts any venture. It costs not only the place’s rent but also the bills of electricity, internet, computer systems, chairs, table, security cameras and all the things that you can see in a normal modern office. Oriental University doesn’t charge anything for these facilities.
Further, Oriental University has tie-ups with several multinational organizations around the world, ranging from corporates to think-tanks as well. These organizations, e.g., MSMEs, Indo-German Tool Room, keep conducting workshops under these two policies at Oriental University that further help our students. We also have an intellectual property rights cell that supports students and faculties with filing of their patents.
Please share some international collaborations the university has attained.
There are two types of tie-ups; one is university-level tie-ups and the second is professors’ or scholars’ level tie-ups. Many of our professors have research collaborations with professors abroad. They keep conducting seminars and insight sessions for students for knowledge-exchange. The university has many tie-ups in the African continent, and we are aiming towards having fruitful collaboration in North America as well. Plus, we have a good collaboration with renowned Linux organisation, RedHat, BOSCH which is well known in the mechanical field, Juniper Networks etc.
Oriental University has some vocational and very potential branches like Library and Information Science. Please tell us about the ambition and future aspirations of the university.
We completely understand the importance of libraries in our lives, which is why we have this course as well. Data is the new oil. So, when we talk about the universities and academic institutions, the library is the place where the largest amount of data is stored. So, one must know how this science works. European and American universities realize the importance of this course and with the rampant digitization, online libraries have become more important.
We are working on complete automation and digitization of our library services. Oriental University has around 77 acres of land and we are increasing or infrastructure facilities, laboratories, and more digitization in this vast land that we have. We already have a B.Sc. Agriculture program in place and students enrolled in this course will get a vast area of land to practice as well. In agriculture, field and grass is their classroom. So, students would get more enhanced facilities, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and more tech-savvy campus at Oriental University.