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Finance unplugged – Dr Babita Jha casts new light on Finance

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Dr Babita Jha, Assistant Professor,Finance at the Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur, talks about her novel approach to teaching subjects that are considered intimidating by many students.

Born and raised in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, Dr Babita Jha’s father was the Dean of the Government Veterinary College in Mhow. Dr Jha, however, did not follow the medical route. She graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, did her MBA in Finance and Marketing and followed this up with a PhD in Commerce.

Dr Jha who joined the Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur as Assistant Professor, Banking and Finance, says that even though her subject areas (banking and finance) are considered intimidating by many students, her teaching approach ensures that students stay involved and interested. She says that she does this by “Extensively using cases and case-lets which bring alive a real world situation in the classroom and which students can also relate to.” She further ads “I also bring the latest financial data of companies into the classroom and then help students to analyse and interpret them. Since these are companies they have usually heard of, it makes the whole exercise very interesting.”

In her experience, she has observed that as students start analysing situations and interpreting them from a finance point of view, they become more interested and confident and increasingly want to build their careers in the financial side of a business. Those wanting to go into the banking sector get a better handle on the industry. They develop “the ability to think outside the box, solve problems, and predict and avert problems that have not yet materialised” Dr Jha explains.

Coming back to the complexity of finance as a subject Dr Jha explains that there are several students at the Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur – as there are at B-Schools across India – to whom the study of finance during their PGDM can be difficult. However, as Dr Jha says, these students, mostly from non-commerce streams, think that finance is only about money, but that is not the case. It is therefore the responsibility of the faculty to “showcase the importance of the subjects and also their relationship to other specialised areas. Again, Dr. Jha’s focus on real world case-studies and problem solving helps students in understanding this.

Dr. Jha has been doing research in the area of finance and its application to solving real-world problems. That’s what motivated her to write a paper entitled ‘Micro Finance and Women Empowerment in India.’ Microfinance, as she explains, helps in the reduction of poverty and leads to the empowerment of women. However many women in rural India, including those who are poor, are unaware of the several initiatives taken by Micro Finance Institutions. “My paper focuses on this.” Currently Dr Jha is working on a paper relating to the Micro Insurance sector in India.

Dr Jha, who is glad to be part of the faculty at the Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur, says that the Jaipuria, Jaipur experience helps in “equipping students with new knowledge, new skills, attitudes, mind-sets and values. It has the best of quality infrastructure that leads to the overall growth in individuals. The Institute’s main area of thrust is on research and training, which is imparted to the faculty members and students on a regular basis.” The topmost B-School in Jaipur, the Jaipuria Institute of Management “believes in imparting quality education to its students,” says Dr Jha emphatically.

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