“One of the most important skills we try and instill in management students is Time Management,” says Prof. Prashant Gupta, Area Chair & Professor, Operations Management & Strategy at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur. That’s something the award winning Professor and author has done himself in his career spanning over four decades in both industry and academia. We talked to him about his experience and expertise in the field and tried to get into the mind of the Perfectionist.
The President’s Award winner has also bagged the Best Professor in Operations Management’ in Asia’s Best B-School Awards, by CMO, Asia in 2011. Prof. Gupta has tried to achieve perfection in everything he has done in his career but remains modest when he says, “It was something I was taught early in my life by my teachers. My industry career was with companies that produced defense equipment and precision products like watches. It was a combination of organizational requirement and self-motivation that guided me.”
He has brought the same approach to management education where he has worked with renowned B Schools that required continuous updation of knowledge, and excellence in contents and delivery. He elaborates on his stream of expertise and teaching practices. “Operations and Strategy areas are dynamic in both content and practice, which requires frequent changes to the course. I start every session with News of the Day to relate it to concepts, use case studies, discussions and projects that require industry inputs to keep things relevant,” he explains.
Prof. Gupta also talks about the constantly evolving world of Supply Chain Management and the opportunities it offers to new graduates. “Today competition is not just between organizations, but supply chains as well. Globalization, shortening product life cycles, proliferation in variety of products, and customization are putting great pressure on organizations to manage their supply chains effectively. That has led to an increase in employment potential in the field with FMCG, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Quick Service Restaurants and other sectors,” he says.
According to Prof. Gupta some of the job profiles in the field that management professionals can aim for include Operations or Manufacturing Manager, Logistics Manager, Warehouse Manager, Production Planning Manager. He also mentions the consulting roles with companies like IBM, Accenture, Infosys, HCL and TCS. “The opportunities will grow in the coming years. You have to know that engineering background is desirable but not necessary. Having basic knowledge of Operations and Marketing management, ERP and business analytics is helpful,” he suggests.
And how does Jaipuria Institute of Management prepare its students to meet the demands of the industry? For Prof. Gupta it begins with revising the syllabus every year with industry, academician, alumni, faculty and student inputs, but goes way beyond that. “We focus on regular industry interaction through guest lectures, seminars, conclaves, field projects and corporate visits. There is emphasis on discussion on current cases, research papers, videos of lectures to be reviewed by students, experiential learning through time spent at retail outlets and industry internships,” he draws out a map of strategies that groom successful professionals of tomorrow.