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Ask Kamlesh Misra for Advice
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Kamlesh Misra
Kamlesh Misra

Kamlesh Misra


Auro University, Surat

Couple of years from now
Life for me has always been a constant search for truth and my goal in life has always been like a mirage, the closer I have got to it the further it has gone away from me. May be at this point in life I am not enamored by the material possession that one could acquire during their life time. The journey of life has always been an adventure for me and not knowing what is next for me has created so much of drive to continue to do what is the right thing to do without any expectations.

Holding a position of Vice Chancellor is the highest academic position that one can reach but then it is never the end of it but it is the beginning of a new dream. My work now is focused on creating something larger than life. I want to bring about a gradual revolution in the field of education by creating an island of excellence which can serve as a model for sweeping change. Hoping that every individual who leaves this island will create one somewhere else and some day we will have many islands.
My strongest skill
I firmly believe that whether it is a business organization or a university, the key to achieving success is its people. I feel I am blessed with the power to transform individuals into an effective Human Resource who can think from their brain but act from their heart. Every single individual has something that I can use in building something larger than life. Some times even the said individual may not know what that is. It is then my responsibility to ensure that I get the best out of that individual.

I feel that people skills area very important part of any management practice. I have been able to do that very effectively and create highly charged teams to take on any challenge. To a large extent this has been possible because I personally believe in creating success stories out of ordinary people. I enjoy success of others and some times more than I enjoy my own success. Ability to hear others, compassion, love, and fairness are other attributes that are close to my heart
Important decision
As I Said, I have lived life as an adventure but yes there have been many decisions that I took in my life that changed the course of my life and career. The first decision was to leave my Job in the United States and return to India after 14 years over there. I started my career in India with a Government job that paid me Rs.9000 and in two years all my savings were almost gone. This had a major impact of my life style and the ability to take care of family obligations. I was prepared for this risk so I kept going but then had to take my second major decision to leave a secure government job and venture into the private sector education which was just taking root in India. Being fairly adventurous, I took the second risk and have never regretted till today. Finally some decision which made me what I am today were to stand firm on the basic principles of life no matter what the consequences. I did suffer some setbacks but at the end there are no regrets as I came out as the winner.
Thoughts on Education system of our country
Education in India in general is not in a good shape. Although we still have some of the best institutions such as IITs, IIMs, and some research institutions, there is sign of decay that is becoming visible even in those places. The regulatory agencies and the government have to take the full responsibility for the degeneration in education. The University system is in a miserable state to say the least. Our Universities have stopped creating new knowledge, research has taken a back seat, there is no accountability left in the system.
The first measure that is required to recharge our universities is make them free from the clutches of the government and change their administrative structure. The best of the universities in the world have the freedom to write their own destiny. Vice Chancellors should not be appointed by the government but should come through a process of search committee of the University. People with political inclination should be kept out of University Governance.
Degree that I recommend
A good career in academic does require very high qualifications leading to a Ph.D degree in your area of specialization. You can have an entry into academics with a masters degree or such as MA, Ms.c or MBA but it will take you only to certain point and then the vertical growth will stop. Thus it is highly recommended that those that have an interest in making a career in academics especially in a university system should achieve the highest educational qualification. Having said that, it is important to understand that just a degree may not be sufficient qualification for making a name or success in this profession. One has to work hard in the initial years of their career to be an effective teacher, researcher and trainer. These experience add value to your profile and open new doors over a period of time. One other qualification is that one has to be ready to go through a process of life-long learning in the field of academics.
Influenced by
This is not an easy question to answer and I don't want to give you a Miss world or Miss India pageant answer. The fact is that my ideology and thinking has been shaped by different people at different stages of my life and career. I was highly influenced my teachers in the village in my early upbringing. They taught the basic principles of human values such love, truth, compassion, and Non-Violence. In my teenage years I was influenced by some of my friends who taught me the true value of friendship and relationships.
In my professional career I have learnt a great deal about administration from my father who was himself a Vice Chancellor at one point in time. Dr. Tarachand, the ex Dean of St. Stephen's college influence my academic thinking in the mid segment of my academic career. Interestingly, I have been highly influenced by some of my own students who through their own discussions showed me the value of a real teacher and that changes me as a person.
Important lesson learned
There are several lessons that I can share at this stage as they are more a confirmation of my belief system. First, always move out of your comfort zone and take the risk to challenge your own convictions. Life is an uncharted path and you will have to learn to move ahead no matter what the odds are before you. You will ultimately find the right path.
Second, never do anything for money, do it for the passion and the belief you carry. Trying to chase the money will take you to a number of short cuts. Follow your passion and money will follow you and it will always be there when you need it.
Third, always enjoy the success of the people around you, coach them, train them, give them a hard time but open the doors for them to move ahead in life. Life will never be worth living for you, if you have not made the life of those who helped you serve the cause you so much believed in. Remember there is nothing you can achieve just by yourself, you need people with you so carry then with you.
Initiative to develop a country
The most important thing we all can do is to first become proud of India and its cultural heritage. Individually we may not be able to make all the changes that are required but if each one of can make a small difference in what we do and how we do, the change will come.
We will have to return to our cultural roots to guide us to move towards those values and ethics that made India a great country in the first place. This does not by any means imply that we must be closed to good ideas because they are not Indian.
I however feel that we need to change our work culture. There is a need to create a passion driven work culture that bring a balance between work and life outside work. We always have the tendency to say nothing will change just because of me and my response is please try it first and you will see that you can make a difference. Education is the only means to change the destiny of this Nation and that is where we need to focus.
My achievements
This is question that I have difficulty in answering because I never did anything with an intent of achievement. I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do. Nevertheless, I am very proud that I have been able to make a difference in the life of so many young minds of this country in my career spanning over 15 years in India. I have been able to transform them, change the way they look at life and most importantly made them productive citizens of this Nation. Students have given me more in my life by what they have become and its a great joy to cherish their memories. At a personal level I have been able to bring a fair balance between various aspects of my life from raising a family to leading people. The most satisfying part of my life has been that I do not carry any animosity against anyone, even those that were a barrier to my work. They all did what they think was right. At the end of the day we look at the world in the shade of the glasses we wear.
My family background
As I said earlier I come from a farming family but my father got educated and moved out of the village. Then every one in the family got educated. Today all members of the family have been in the field of education. My father was a professor and then worked for United Nations and then went one to become Vice Chancellor of a Leading University in India. My uncles and aunts were also in the field of education in universities and schools. All my brothers and sisters are in the field of education.
So now we are a family of second generation educationalist. My wife was a school teacher for quite sometime before she gave up to raise children. It has been a family tradition now to do some thing beyond self for the society we live and have got so much from.
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
There are several qualities that are required to be a successful leader and I will talk of these but not necessarily in any order. To be a leader people have to believe in you,have faith in your judgments, have trust in your abilities. This is achieved by making them feel you are one of them. As a leader never try to walk in front but just walk with them. They have to believe in the dream you asking them to see. One has to have the ability motivate and inspire others so that they can give their best. Power is not the objective of leadership, it is the ability to make the right decision that brings respect to a leader, thus leaders should not be enamored by power. A good leader is a good listener and provides confidence to his team and he is with them when they need him. The more involved he is the better he get to be an effective leader. They have to lead by example and creating a happy environment in the organizations they serve. A caring leader is a role model for all.
Ensuring success
Academic career is such that there is no defined boundary that you need to cross. The more get involved the less you know about it. Creating new knowledge is a challenging task and I will continue to do that in the times to come. But the area that interests me the most is mentorship of students and employees to make them good citizens of this country. I have a passion to ensure that all those who come in my contact learn to love this country and pledge to serve this nation with their heart and soul.
At a personal level I am learning the art of introspection and finding solutions to all problems from with in me. Trust me all the answers are there because there is truly no new knowledge, all knowledge is existing we just need to find it at the right time and use it for the betterment of humanity.
My role model
There are several people who would qualify to be in the list as each has influenced me in someway or the other. Some are well known and other who are known only to me. But if I were to pick one that everyone can relate to would be Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of the Nation.
He is one man who did what he asked other to do, he was a leader who carried his people with him and gave up everything for the cause of humanity. Seldom are born such people on this earth who can inspire such a large number of people world wide. What I like the most about him is the concept of Non-Violence which is a value system that can save the world for so much misery that we are facing today in all parts of the world. I have too much to learn from this great soul and I hope that the next few years will be a good time knowing him more closely through his writings.
Brief description about me
I was born in a remote village of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and had my early schooling till class four in a school under a large tree. Most of my teachers were from the local villages. Most of my life foundations were established there in the village with my friends who were from very poor families.

Opportunity gave me a new life and I moved out to the city and started my convent education. This is the time when I started to realize that life could have been as good for all of my village friends had they got the same type of opportunity to get out of the ocean of poverty. As luck would have I went on to do my University education at Allahabad University and then moved on to the United States to complete my Ph.D in economics. Today I have served in the field of academics for over 27 years and this has come naturally to me because I wanted to make a difference in the life of others and I find this profession as a very rewarding one for my life.
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