Harnessing Tech for Education can ensure success

Dr.Hari Krishna Maram, Chairman and Founder CEO – Imperial College

Having worked for more than a decade with leading Pharma Co Novartis, Dr. Hari Krishna Maram set out to further his interest in academics and social causes through Imperial College. He is also a part of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Committee, the only grant-giving agency in the country. He has published a wide range of books, research papers, co- authored a number of textbooks, presented numerous paper on management and contributed to various papers and journals all over world.

Besides being an excellent academician and educationist, Dr. Maram is also involved with a large number of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities .He is the District Chairman of Lion’s International and trustee of Lions Super Specialty Eye Hospital & Lions District Servicing Foundation. He is also the chief Mentor of the initiative “Bangalore Green” which aims at environmental Conservation in Bangalore. Below are more intercepts shared with Team ABT.

Tell us about your Institution – Imperial College and its unique features.
We at Imperial College believe in Nurturing Tomorrows Leaders. For this we have to create an opportunity for students to discover themselves, doing what they like and the role of us is making their dream in to reality, by proper mentoring. In the last 9 years of our journey till today, we have never advertised in newspapers or participated in any exhibition because we believe in spending the same money on developing students and giving quality education.

What is your opinion on the changing dynamics of Higher Education in India?
Today in India we have more than 40,000 colleges, 750 Universities along with institutes of excellence but still we do not make it to the list of top 100 Global Universities of the World. If you look back at the Education system of the World, the roots are very much in India. We have heritage institutions like Nalanda, Takshashila, Shantiniketan etc where students from across the World used to study at times when there were no transportation available.

I strongly feel that in coming years India will again become global destination for Quality Education with the help of the knowledge power we have. More so because most of the Leading Management in Global Companies are Indians. That shows our ability to reach higher inspite of the lack of proper support system back in India & the varied rules & regulations.

Highlight the major challenges faced by you. How did you tackle them?
We started our journey 9 years back when there were 4000+ B Schools in India. Our aim was to make a difference in the field of management education in the country and we felt we will do things differently unlike traditional Colleges. We strive to be at the forefront in this field .We have failed at times and learned the wonderful lessons. Today we have started offering wide range of programmes apart from regular programs like online, distance learning, executive education, certification programs and are able to cater to all genre of students who are looking for education & learning.

What is your future road map?
We believe in reaching large number of students across the World by offering innovative programmes and at same time, our interest is not creating campuses by constructing buildings. We feel that the best way to achieve this is by using the most advanced technology. We would like to engage smart phone users with relevant content, in local languages. There is huge scope with over years 5 billion mobile phones users with speed of connectivity is going to improve with anywhere Wi-Fi connectivity at free of cost this provides a great opportunity to achieve the dream .

What’s your views on the recent closure of many B-schools?
Yes in the last 5 years more than 500 B- Schools have closed, the reason being people are not focused in using the available opportunities to venture in to revenue generation and have new programs by using technology. The other reason is most of these institutes were started as a business and eventually when they were unable to maintain the quality and attract students, they decided to exit, without waiting further or putting in quality measures to enhance their standing.

Do you think the Government policies in India are restricting growth and expansion of Education Institutions?
Not really because gone are the days where we needed everything from the Government. Today education industry has become more customer driven. If the institute offers quality education with relevant curriculum & great future prospects, then we are successful. We need to work on innovations & new age methods implementation and with the support of the Govt. in these areas, we can do better than what we are now.

What are your views on franchising in higher education?
If a great idea or service can be multiplied through franchising in all fields why not?  In case of education this is more relevant as it helps reach the masses. It is not easy to build an educational brand as it takes long years & the efforts will be fruitful if we can expand in multiple locations with likeminded partners, offering the same quality. I strongly feel this is the best way to grow in the field and this will be the future.

How do you see the future of B-schools in India?
There is a great scope for management education in India, the reason being, unlike other programs management education is aligned to all the specialization that students pursue in their graduation. Management Education develops the overall ability of the person and makes them a leader. Looking at market estimates which indicate that India is going to become a $ 2.2 Trillion economy by the end of this year, I foresee ample opportunities for management graduates and hence management programs will be high in demand.