Prof. Dheeraj Sharma is an acclaimed Management Professor and Director, Indian Institute of Management Rohtak. He is also Professor at Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (on leave). He is Academy of Global Business Advancement (USA) distinguished global thought leader for the year 2019. In experience of over twenty years, he has taught at numerous educational institutions in Europe, Asia, and North America. Prof. Sharma has a doctoral degree in business administration with a major in marketing strategy and a double minor in psychology and quantitative analysis from Louisiana Tech University, USA. He has published more than 100 research papers and 10 books. He is well known for his research, advisory, and training work in the domain of forces.
He is serving as an independent Director on the board of prestigious organizations such as IRCTC, NABARD, Punjab MilkFed, Alkem Laboratories among others. He is also advisor to Govt. of Punjab for prison modernization. He is a visitor’s nominee to Tezpur University and Honorary Professor of University of Delhi and external member of academic council of NITIE-Mumbai. He is member of Economic Advisory Council of Government of Haryana. He is also a member of the standing committee for degree specification of UGC. He is editor in chief of Emerging Economies Case Journal and former associate Editor of Journal of Marketing Channels.
Q1. IIM Rohtak stands as one of the premier Institute in India and has been ranked 7th among all IIMs by The Week B School Ranking 2018. How far has IIMR grown as a center of excellence in different aspects of management education from its establishment?
The primary purpose of IIM Rohtak is to provide the nation with management experts who can serve as business leaders, managers, and policymakers and exhibit superior work ethics, high commitment to work, and a positive attitude. With my continuous interactions with business corporations, government bodies, and policymakers, I understand that it is essential to create a learning environment that will have a unique ability to blend old and new practices in imparting management education. I recognized this need for training cutting edge professionals in business management. Hence, during my journey with IIM Rohtak, which is nearing four years now, I have focused on providing the highest quality of management education to the larger student community across various domains and sectors. With this, apart from strengthening our flagship program of PGP (MBA) to compete with the world’s best MBA programmes, I have also introduced several long and short duration programs that will support the increasing demand for trained management professionals in the country. Long duration programmes like Integrated Programme in Management (IPM – BBA+MBA), PG Diploma in Sports Management (EPGDSM), PG Programme for Working Executives (ePGPx), and Certificate Programme in Business Management (CPBM) along with several short duration programmes in HR Analytics, Data Analytics, Project Management, Entrepreneurship, among others.
Q2. IIM Rohtak has started a specialized program in “Sports Management” for experienced professionals, sports graduates, and sports enthusiasts. What is the scope of Sports Management in India?
Ever since the inception of professional league in various sports and its growing popularity across India, the sporting industry in India has transformed to a certain degree. Indian athletes are faring well in the global sporting competitions that gives confidence to the young sportsmen to go for more professional training and world-class sporting facilities. With this, there has been a massive demand for professionals who can work in sports marketing, sports law, financials of sports, event management, sports infrastructure management, sponsorship, and sports organizations, among others.
Witnessing this rising demand in the sector, IIM Rohtak envisioned an academic program in the sports management domain. Participants of the program are offered an innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum that is at par with the best in the world that will ensure professional development, networking, and skills across various sports industry domains. As an extra step, IIM Rohtak also has the provision of scholarships for programme applicants who have represented India at Asian/Commonwealth/Olympic events. Furthermore, the institute has collaborated with Ulster University, UK,and the participants of Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Management at IIM Rohtak will be eligible to obtain Masters in Sports Management from Ulster University, UK.
Q3. How does your educational module guarantee the best practices of Industry? How do you look at reducing the gap (Student – industry interaction) at IIMR?
We regularly review the curriculum in view of industry expectations, latest management concept, and the dynamic global business environment. Regular interaction with Industry, management thinkers, experts and faculty ensures that the most optimal curriculum is developed and implemented. Faculty members regularly explore new trends or demands of the Industry and ensure that the latest courses are added to the curriculum accordingly. We also introduced simulation-based learning using live data to augment decision making in our student. Simulation allows the application of theoretical knowledge in business decision making, thereby immediately extending its relevance. Finally, these simulation-based exercises further help students keep themselves in check with the industry expectations at the time of placements. Institute conducts at least three to four management conclaves, three to four expert lectures per month, and several webinar each quarter to have impactful and frequent interactions with industry.
Q4. COVID 19 has disrupted every sector, including Higher Education. How has IIM Rohtak adapted to it ?
COVID – 19 has disrupted the education system like never before, affecting over one billion students globally. This disruption shall continue for quite a long time now. Hence, immense effort is required from the educators to ensure that the crisis doesn’t stop the students from learning and moving ahead. At IIM Rohtak, we ensured that the students’ academic rigor is not impacted due to COVID. We were the first institute to start its academic schedule well on time since it already had the required technological infrastructure ready to start the curriculum via online mode. We hope that we will give our students exposure to the industry and its practices in online mode. We are organizing regular webinars, leadership lectures, and field visits in virtual mode. Moreover, a continuous assessment methodology has been adopted wherein students are assessed on their daily learnings to facilitate the constant learning process in online mode. Our faculty and staff have done a great job in harnessing technologies and leveraging it, and using it to impart education in new and innovative ways. For example, some of the online platforms allow break rooms, which are an excellent way for students to get a chance to put forth their ideas and engage in meaningful discussions.
Q5. What are your perspectives with respect to the current Education framework in India? What are the big challenges in Higher education in India?
A significant challenge of India in management education is to make the learning more practical and Industry-focused. It must be customized and holistic, which will minimalize the gap between industry requirements and academic delivery. More focus is needed on learning through simulation games, industry visits, live projects, and internship programs. Another major challenge is being faced in the form of redundancies in the curriculum. We need to not only have a continuous process of improving the curriculum in line with the industry needs but also go beyond the current needs to develop course that are futuristic in nature. Faculty must think deeper and into the future to anticipate changes in the business and business environment and start research in that domain. The research can then lead to offering of elective courses in the degree programs.
It is essential to develop a holistic framework, which will eventually help overcome the fundamental issues of faculty shortage, governance and accountability, significant regulatory body, quality of research and publications, innovations, industry-academia interface, and most importantly, employability of B-school graduates. The research output should be meaningful and implementable in Indian context. The development of a sustained research eco-system within the management institute across all management areas also plays a vivacious role in defining the institute’s output. Another requirement for management education is to be more context-specific. There is an uprising demand for acute specializations, which can furnish to the organization’s specific needs, with the emphasis being shifting to data analytics, business analytics, AI, digital marketing, risk management, and HR analytics, among others.