When I was studying in the college during early 2000, as a student I was not at all aware of my future and my goal in life. I was totally unaware of the demand of the market and what corporate culture will ask from me. I just wanted to pass my graduation and masters degree so that I can become eligible to appear for an interview and hence can proudly tell people that I am doing a job! How easy it was for me to just get out of the college after degree and do the job! The industry was not so demanding and students like me would get some time to get acquainted with the industry demand after spending some time in the job. The story is not same and the industry-academia collaboration is the utmost demand these days and if both the sides of this society will not start working on this need, India can never become the superpower.
Recently on 24th February 2018, one of the most prestigious universities of Gujarat, Uka Tarsadia University (Malba Campus, Bardoli) organized one full day Industry Academic meet in the university. There were 250+ delegates from different industries participated in this event to discuss the need and what solution we all can bring to bridge the need for the industry and college education. Though mostly all acknowledged the existing gap, many could not think about the solution. The idea of this meet was originally brought by Provost of the University Shree Dinesh Shah sir and he was highly supported by the Training and Placement department and all the faculty members of all the departments. Students were more excited to listen to some renowned names of their respective industries and also some government officials. The different talk shows in different streams of education were organized to enlighten the students about job opportunities in their fields. The panel discussion was arranged to get insights from different experts in the field as well.
While I am associated with this university from the last couple of years now, I believe the university is carrying a great responsibility to place their students once they complete their education. I have been invited by SRIMCA (department of management and IT) frequently to talk on subjects of digital marketing and social media. I have always discussed the issues of lack of proper planning and execution by both industries and academic institution with Head of the Department Dr.Prashant Joshi. He is the leader with great vision and always worries for the better future of his students. He wants to bring the change in the ecosystem and he is working really hard in the direction. Recently, he invited team Josh Talks from Delhi to inspire his students to do big in the life. I was fortunate to go there once again as an invited speaker of Josh Talks but the idea was to motivate the students of SRIMCA to think big and achieve bigger. Even during that talk to the students, I emphasized in understanding the needs of the industry and work accordingly for self-development.
Such activities are need of the time and this is what MBA department of Uka Tarsadia University is doing consistently. It means university and institutes are doing their part to bridge the gap between industry and academia but what industry people are doing to bridge the gap? Well, frankly speaking, not much.
When I got an opportunity to speak on this “bridging the gap” topic during this meet, I was so frustrated by the industry people for only exposing the gap but not providing any concrete solution. I wanted to speak on this topic for a long time and when I got an opportunity, without any doubt in my mind I presented the solution on my behalf.
I was very open and blunt in providing my views and solution:
1) Industry must not blame the college, university, and students only for lack of attitude, knowledge, and values. It all starts with the school where students spend 13-14 years and if the base is weak, college cannot make an overall change in 2-4 years. Parents are also the culprit. Their aspiration never allows students to do with their liking and choice.
2) Companies must recruit few people in their company just for the bridging the gaps. The role of these employees must be to go in different colleges to learn what is lacking in them and the same companies must invite the students in workshops or small industry oriented courses so that students can learn the practical aspects of the corporate life.
3) Industry must train the professors. If they are been regularly trained by the industry people for everchanging technology, faculties would surely pass the knowledge to the students back in college.
4) Companies must collaborate with the institutions to develop the students. Run small industry oriented courses on the college campus only and train the students. Give maximum internship to the students to make them acquainted with the corporate culture.
5) Go as guest lecturers in maximum college to inspire the students. Ask them to connect with you on social media so that they can follow you and your working style. Students will at least learn something from there as well.
It is so easy to pinpoint the gaps but difficult to work towards filling those gaps. If every industry people start following the solution, in a couple of years we will not see any gap between the industry and academia. I run a digital marketing company in Surat and believe me, I am already working towards the solution. I will keep working till this gap is not fulfilled at least in my field of work.