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ICFAI University: Creating Value through Innovation

Sarath Syam K
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Sarath Syam K
Established with a broad objective of empowering citizens through world-class quality education, The ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education (IFHE)focuses on student-centric learning. Over the years, the University has made a significant mark in the Indian education system by adding values to the learner's understanding in an integrated manner, covering relevant knowledge, practical skills and attitudes. "Innovation in program design as per the market needs is in the DNA of ICFAI. This portrays institutional agenda of creating value through innovation," says Prof. J. Mahender Reddy, Vice Chancellor, The ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education (IFHE). Today, ICFAI Business School (IBS), a constitute of IFHE, is the third largest Case developer in the world after Harvard and INSEAD. In 2015, the cases from IBS were used by 870 business schools in 75 countries and the case studies from IBS have won eight Case Centre Awards since 2011.

"We are known for our case-based learning, in-house case development, a unique and rigorous PhD Program. As a pioneer and trailblazer in promoting higher education in the private sector,we produce cutting edge research, bring innovation in program design and adopt new technologies for academic delivery," claims Prof. Reddy. Since its establishment, the University has been undertaking proactive steps such as, adding new electives, improving/restructuring the existing courses in consultation with industry experts, recruiters and alumni in order to enrich the content of the programs from time to time.Today, the University is fully geared to meet all challenges and problems with excellent practices that enrich teaching, learning and research, and is backed up by the commitment to meet the expectations of students, faculty, alumni and all other stakeholders.

"As a self-financed institute it was always imperative to manage the expenditure judiciously by cutting down the costs wherever possible without affecting the core activities. This has brought in a lot of self-discipline, which is admired by the entire industry," says Prof. Reddy. ICFAI being a pioneer in higher education space in India over last 30 years, the management had to handle the scarcity of qualified and competent faculty members. ICFAI looked at this as a national problem and tried to address in their own way by starting a special institute for development of teaching fraternity, ushering in quality PhD programs, conducting knowledge sharing sessions across various colleges for training in pedagogy, engagement in the classroom and for motivation of teachers and students across the board.

"Our research strategy is dovetailed to meet the requirements of its mission, which requires faculty members to come forward with high-quality intellectual contributions that benefit the students as well as the university. We assign a premium value to intellectual capital and, to this end; faculty promotions and reward policies are linked to research output, apart from teaching performance," explains Prof. Reddy. The University has a well-qualified faculty pool of 238, comprising of 139 doctorates and a significant number having rich industry experience. With such experts on the board, the University has developed its own mechanism to hone the skills of the students round the year. It provides skill-based education to make the students acquire core skills necessary for employment and entrepreneurship. The ICFAI University has also introduced several skill development courses, namely Soft Skills, Business communications, Lawyering skills, Etiquettes and Personality Development to make the students ready for the industry.

In addition to that, the University's programs require all students to be fully conversant with the latest analytical and software tools that help in presenting figures and documenting and analyzing facts in a professional manner. It has helped the university to imbibe a research culture in the campus and has resulted in participation of students in international case competitions. "The consistently good placement record has helped us to build reputation and brand image in the marketplace," claims Prof. Reddy. The University has been successful in placing more than 95 percent of the students over the past three years as they prepare students to be industry-ready through grooming by faculty mentors, alumni and recruiting consultants throughout the year. At the ICFAI University, we can see a conscious effort to integrate personality development courses with regular program content so that the student gets the knowledge as well as the skills required to achieve career success.Today, the University has a growing alumni base of about 15,000 (only Hyderabad) who are currently pursuing fast track careers with 600 plus companies in India and abroad.

The ICFAI University students will also get many opportunities to interact with industry experts and recruiters from time to time. The interactive session's help students identify skill gaps and take suitable and timely remedial steps in consultation with the assigned faculty mentors. Industry interaction happens at various levels in the campus. They invite industry experts to be members of the Board of Studies and have entered into collaboration with industry bodies like IGIDR, MCX India Ltd., BSE India, Indian Econometric Society, C-TARA (Indian Railways), Intelligroup, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Virtusa and Indian Institute of Capital Market. The university has also signed signed MoUs with Genpact for on-campus student engagement program in the area of Financial Analytics and Parampara Family Business Institute of GMR Group (PFBI) in the area of Family Business Management.

In the coming academic session, the ICFAI University has plans to introduce many more programs including one-year PG Program in Business Analytics, M.Tech Program in VLSI and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, PhD Program in Basic Science and part-time PhD Program in Law, in addition to a full-fledged Incubation centre."We are fully committed to invest in building the intellectual capital that is required to carry out innovations in teaching methodologies, conduct research with meaningful industry and social impact and to undertake activities that allow the University to differentiate itself from the crowd," concludes Prof. Reddy.

Prof. J. Mahender Reddy, Vice Chancellor
As Vice Chancellor of ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education, Prof. Reddy has contributed significantly to the development of a research culture and good leadership at the University, enabling it to secure the 'A' grade from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Prof. Reddy got his Master's degree from the Delhi School of Economics with distinction in 1964 and a doctorate in Economics from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, in 1970.

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