1. Objectives of the Practice
Ever since the institute was founded in 2010, it has made conscious efforts to inculcate two significant attributes in students’ viz. (i) Developing them for leadership roles and (ii) Mentoring Students, through the following two initiatives:
A- Leadership Development Program (LDP)
B- Mentor-Mentee Relationship (MMR)
These initiatives have been devised after intensive deliberations with Faculty Council, Board of Studies and Academic Council. Major objective of Leadership Development Program (LDP) is to equip students with an ideal fit to serve industries in effective leadership role. The Mentor-Mentee Relationship initiative is designed to facilitate student-faculty relation in order to understand every student’s background, need, and priority and accordingly develop a suitable learning environment for him/her.
2. The Context
Leadership Development Program (LDP) was developed and curated after interactions with the employers and alumni to understand the needs of key stakeholders and it was found that there was scope for further development of skills such as ability to perform advanced analytical research or tasks on excel, SPSS, etc. Employers further reported the need to refine business communication skills. Based on feedback, the institute designed LDPprogram with the help of industry experts to make students job ready. This initiative is in addition to developing knowledge, analytical and decision making skills through classroom academic learning using combination of student centric contemporary pedagogy.
DSIMS has built a very unique fabric of Mentor-Mentee Relationship (MMR) between student and faculty, right from its inception. The institute believes in the philosophy that each student is unique and has some hidden abilities. Having realised this fact, culturally every faculty member internalises this while interacting with each and every student. The institute has a structured student – faculty model within the system. The faculty members make adequate efforts to ensure the students’ two years journey – be it academic or non-academic is fairly smooth – from the beginning till they go out of the Institute with flying colours.
3. The Practice
Implementation of Leadership Development Program (LDP) is rather methodical due to close observation and research of every year progress.
LDP comprise of following modules:
1. Resume Writing
2. Interview Facing Skills (through series of mock interviews)
3. Oral and Written Communication
4. Basic and Advance MS Excel
5. Aptitude Tests
These modules are offered to students in a structured manner apart from their regular management related courses.
The selection of such courses takes place after many consultations with employers, alumni, current students and faculty fraternity. The institute officially designate an experienced professor as chairperson LDP who leads this department with the help of a dedicated administrative and academic team. Leadership Development Program (LDP) team regularly invites professionals and trainers to discuss and understand their fitment. Later, all such courses are delivered in different modes such as in lab settings, class room lectures, one to one personal sessions, workshop formats, seminar modes and so on.
Similarly, the institute has designed a formal mentor – mentee relationship (MMR) reporting system under which all faculty members are assigned a set of students as their mentees. As DSIMS, customarily, get students from diverse backgrounds the institute puts in plenty of efforts to understand each and every student’s profile through different psycho analytical techniques, which is largely carried out by the department of Human Resource faculty members during the pre-academic sessions in the form of Special Engagement Program and Boot Camp. The mentor – mentee relationship, within the institute as well as outside the institute is curated and developed both formally and informally. The formal mentor – mentee relationship is recorded periodically and the progress of the student is officially recorded for the purpose of academic analysis. Alternatively, the institute encourages each student to feel comfortable to connect with concerned faculty member for any academic help or to the faculty with whom he/ she is comfortable to discuss any personal issues. Generally, the institute encourages every student to spend time with faculty members on all Thursday afternoon. No sessions are therefore schedule during Thursday post lunch. During the mentoring sessions faculty mentors record profiles of each student and different aspects of students’ personality are analysed. Based on the above analysis, series of meetings and conversations take place between the faculty mentors and their mentees. Faculty members offer mentoring, coaching and counselling service to students as the need be. Every possible issue, both personal and academic are discussed with students with the view to strengthen their academic achievements, aspirations and build confidence. These mentoring sessions make students interpersonally and emotionally strong to face the harsh corporate world.
Both LDP and MMR are unique practices in the context of Indian Higher Education as both the practices are designed with the view to carve DSIMS students as ideal fit for the industries so that once the students join the organization they would be able to sync their personal goals with organizational goals and excel in their professional careers. Also this seamless integration will help them to develop themselves as leaders of tomorrow and achieve success in all personal and professional aspects of their lives.
4. Evidence of Success
The Chairpersons of LDP, Corporate Relations & Placements, Academic Programs, along with Dean and Directors discuss various proposals related to LDP to enhance the placement record. Based on previous year placement record, Chairperson-Corporate Relations proposes desired targets of students required skill sets to be developed.
The performance of individual students is recorded and based on that the students are graded under well designed, objective, dynamic and transparent grading system. The grading system has 50-50 weightage of academic record and overall development of students (including LDP performance).
Rigorous monitoring and inclusion of new modules and experience of their execution and interaction with industry professionals have yielded desired success year on year. The last five years placement record is given hereunder:
The placement results have indeed reinforced the belief of DSIMS about constant intervention of new courses after close monitoring.
Similarly, the MMR has blossomed and evolved into many further shapes. The institute regularly witness numerous alumni participating the institute’s meet-the-expert counselling sessions wherein DSIMS alumni eagerly visit the institute to meet students to offer many career based advice. Further, the mentor-mentee has built a strong relationship with the placement department. Alumni, conventionally, bring their employers to recruit students from their alma-mater. Not only that, senior alumni continuously handhold the new recruits and guide them through out their career journey. The mentor mentee relationship is long lasting. Many of the past students connect with the faculty members to seek guidance or help in solving the problems faced at their work place. Further, due to the strong bond that is created because of mentor-mentee relationship, passed out students visit DSIMS as career counsellors, communication expert, guest faculty and so on and deliver numerous sessions voluntarily on pro bono basis. The alumni and the Chairperson-Alumni Relation customarily meet every fortnight, alternate Saturdays and plan many things to help the institute and strengthen Corporate-Campus relationship.
Every year DSIMS gets numerous students based on referrals and word of mouth from alumni and senior students. Students of DSIMS and alumni have opined their positive experiences of faculty relationships in leading MBA portals such as Shiksha.com, MBAUniverse, College Dunia, Career 360 degree, registering their pleasant experiences with faculty members. It is very common to witness comments related to faculty support extended to students while studying alumni relationships, career guidance and placement support.
5. Problems Encountered and Resources Required
There were few bottlenecks for the smooth conduct and delivery of LDP. Initially students were not prepared to put in extra efforts to learn the new development modules due to their academic pressure. However, after regular counselling and realisation that it would enhance their placement prospects,students happily adopted LDP as part of their academic journey.
The second Problem encountered was to identify suitable resource persons from industries to instil required skill sets as per the policy norms and expectations of LDP team. Constant search, survey, interviews and personal examinations have yielded results.
Financial resource requirements were indeed taken care by the Director’s office. Annual budget incorporates the requirements of LDP expenses. The requested/allotted budgets are approved by Governing Council for smooth functioning of the LDP activities.
Dean’s office has created grading systems which included their developmental performance through leanings from LDP modules. The grading system is quite dynamic and provide a competitive environment. It provides better opportunity of placement to those who are placed in higher grades.
Similarly implementation of a robust MMR can only happen when students feel free and without any inhibitions approach faculty mentors for counselling sessions. As management students are hailing from diverse demographic backgrounds, sometimes they feel apprehensive and shy to approach faculty mentors for counselling. Under such circumstances all faculty members keep on discussing, in many faculty council meetings about different ways and means to connect with every student/mentees and address their issues, if any. The institute also brings clinical psychological career counsellors regularly to the institute to conduct workshops. Mentors are also advised by senior colleagues to be watchful about any abnormal behaviour of students either within or outside the classrooms; the same is reported in faculty council meetings. RSET has exclusive counselling centre Ramdhar Maheshwari Career Counselling Centre, which has dedicated professionally trained counsellors. Whenever, mentor decides to refer a particular student on account of any specific abnormality, the same is done by maintaining complete confidentiality and the mentee is offered professional counselling support. On many occasions, mentees are encouraged to bring their parents for such counselling, if needed as part of personal counselling. Right from the beginning, the institute encourages very transparent relationship between the faculty mentors and their student mentees which grossly helps in strengthening faculty student bond which is the core of a successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship.