Saturday, September 19, 2009

Interview with Dr. Sajal Kabiraj:Study days @ IIITM Gwalior : A jaunty Journey …

Name: Dr. Sajal Kabiraj
Batch: PhD
Location:Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

First of all i would like to congrats you on being first PhD alumni to volunteer for interview .Your Intro ? (the first question for every IIITMite in so called intro )
Thank you for your nice words and for inviting me for the IIITM Alumni meet during August 29- 30, 2009.
Sajal is presently serving as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. King Saud University is the no. 1 ranked premier university in the Middle East and is ranked 197th in the world. Sajal has an adjunct faculty position at the University of Applied Sciences, St. Polten, Austria and teaches during the summer semester every year to Executive MBA students.
Dr. Sajal Kabiraj is a PhD (Information Technology & Management), MS (International Logistics and Supply Chain Management) from JIBS, Sweden - IIM Ahmedabad, India and a MBA with specialization in Marketing & Operations Management and a Chemical Engineer (BE, Chemical Engg.) with specialization in Biotechnology & Biochemical Engg. Sajal also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Foreign Trade from the World Trade Institute and has pursued advanced courses in Statistical Methods and Business Process Re-engineering.
Q. Define IIITM in your word?
IIITM is an institution which is committed to nurture and seed professionals who can deliver in tough times against all odds and obstacles. IIITM provides
a) the rigour in terms of high standards of faculty and academic inputs,
b) knowledge which is industry relevant, practical and current and
c) produces results which can be measured and quantified in terms of research output and projects.
IIITM thus stands for Rigour, Relevance and Results.
Q. The most memorable moment @ IIITM ?
I made some friends for life at IIITM, who still continue to inspire and instill confidence in me. I consider myself lucky to have Prof D.P Agrawal Sir and Ma’am Dr. Deepali Singh as my PhD research supervisors. Not only they did they put up with me during my years of PhD but always constantly motivated me and encouraged me to learn new things. My supervisors gave a fresh approach and direction to my thesis by providing me with new vistas of thinking and channelized my thought process. I guess the learning I had at IIITM gave me a new insight to reach where I am today.
Q. Technology and Management in your words, how it becomes more special when it comes for IIITM ?
Technology and Management are two synonymous words in the IIITM business parlance and both co-exist with each other in the IIITM curricula, the campus and the way of doing things. It is this infusion of technology in management which makes the IIITM brand unique from other institutions offering courses in management.
Q. Your experience and strategy @ in teaching so far: how did you develop your skills from null to pointer, please give us a biographical detail ?
IIITM provided me with the initial platform where in I got an opportunity to teach courses in management to the post graduate students and also a part of the course in the Faculty Development Program. It helped me build my foundation and then there was no looking back for me. I have now taught in leading universities in Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Malaysia, UAE, Germany, Austria, India and Saudi Arabia. My strategy is that teaching has to be made enjoyable and the students should be imparted with skill sets which would make them readily employable in the industry. Country specific and region specific examples should be highlighted first and then a global perspective should emerge as a consequence of the local insights and methodology drawn and not vice-versa. Experiential project based learning which the students can experience, feel, sense and respond at the same time is my aim and I am working towards the same.
Q. How dose teaching methodology in gulf countries is different than that of India ?
Teacher has to be very sensitive while addressing the students in class and also while quoting examples in gulf countries. Great care must be taken not to discuss sensitive issues in class which are religion centric, anti-Islam and pro-American. Classroom teaching in the gulf countries is a more formal affair where the students respect the faculty and expect the same amount of respect in return from the faculty. Faculty often plays the role as academic advisors and counsel students about their academic performance.
Q. A message to your all juniors, (specially for those who are aspiring for higher education/ Research) …?
The higher education sector is all set for a boom in India for the next 15 years and one can make a good career here. The education sector would also offer good remuneration in the coming years.
Q. Things are changing at IIITM, is it justifiable right now or we need more time to say something concrete ??
Things are changing at IIITM and change is always a welcoming sign. As is said, ‘Change is Happiness’ – the new Videocon tag line.
Q. How does teaching is different from research ? Can both co-exists simultaneously ???
There are some faculties in the US, North America, UK and Europe who only teach and are often termed as instructors. Then there are tenure track faculties who teach a certain number of subjects in a year and devote the rest of their time towards research. There is great demand for both instructors and tenure track faculties. But more than often tenure track faculty positions are permanent positions and are paid more in salary than instructors. So, it is better to start one’s career being an instructor and then gradually move up to a tenure track faculty position. The ideal situation is one where both teaching and research to co-exist simultaneously.
Thanking You!
Dr. Sajal Kabiraj, PhD (IT & Mgt), MS (Intl Logistics & SCM), MBA, B Chem Engg, PG Dip in Foreign Trade
ICFAI Best Teacher Award – 2008 (Association of Indian Management Schools)

Assistant Professor
Department of Management,
College of Business Administration,
King Saud University
(No. 1 Ranked Premier University in the Middle East)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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