Holistic research and quality education is our prime focus: IIITB Director

IIITB hosts international leadership program image

When it comes to higher education and research in IT field, few institutes in the country have better recognition than IIITB. Established in 1999, the not-for-profit institution thrives to contribute to the IT world by focusing on research, quality education, entrepreneurship and innovation. However, every student has second thoughts before joining any institute and IIITB is no exception.

Is the institute good enough? Does it offer enough research opportunities? Is the faculty at par with other top campuses? Will I get placed at the end of the course? These are only some of the questions that cross any candidate’s mind. So this admission season, we decided that the candidates deserve to hear straight from the horse’s mouth.

According to IIITB director, professor S Sadagopan, the building blocks of a great institute is the quality of its faculty and abreast curriculum. Professor Sadagopan firmly believes that there is no shortcut to success and the key is the fire in the belly. Read on the excerpts from the interview with a director, who welcomes students on campus with following statement.

“Welcome to IIITB. We offer degree in M.Tech, MSc in digital society, MS, Ph.D and Dropout…”

Q. How does IIITB give its students an edge over others?

Up-to-date curriculum and extraordinary faculty members are main strengths of IIITB. Placements over the years have been amazing too. IIITB is a research institute and students get guidance on building up a career in research. Last but not the least, the institute’s physical location is unrivaled. The campus is well connected to the industry.

Q. Where does IIITB stand w.r.t. research and technology?

We are not a traditional teaching shop and research is our prime focus. Since IIITB does not have departmental structure, projects and problems are looked at with holistic approach. While we have experts from the industry and technology background, we also boast of connoisseurs of sociology and public policies. When research is done with a holistic approach, outcome impacts millions. This impact becomes even more apparent at IIITB, as the institute gets students who are gifted with aptitude and attitude for research.

Q. How do you ensure integration of curriculum with industry’s current best practices?

Most of the faculty members at IIITB are from the industry and have spent reasonable amount of time there. They are aware of the problems and current developments. That apart, we have large number of industry-funded projects, partly through personal connections and partly due to favorable location of the institute. We have projects funded by Siemens, Philips, GE, Intel, Motorola and Honeywell, to mention a few. Furthermore, IIITB curriculum undergoes bi-annual review by Industry Affiliates Board that consists of CEOs from various IT companies. Having said that, we are industry neutral with curriculum. We take best practices from leading industry players and present it to the students. Besides, at any given time, around 20% of our adjunct faculty members comprise of industry experts.

Q. How does IIITB safeguards quality of education?

Quality is never incidental but always planned. We consider classrooms sacred and lectures are never rescheduled. All course outline and information are available for students’, as well as other faculty members’ reference. Faculty meetings are held at the end of every semester for evaluation. We also take students’ feedback on every course. The testimony of the quality of education is that we have had all major players like GE and SAP, recruiting our students across all 19 years.

Q. How have placements been over the years?

We have been recording 100% placements since first year of inception. However, our figure of merit is not necessarily salary package, but the opportunity to serve, grow and contribute. Mostly, companies that offer best of opportunities are best pay masters too, but it is not necessarily so every time. None-the-less, not every student prefers a Google. Some choose companies in narrow niche like ABB. We talk to students and make them understand that it is important to align their interest area with the companies’. We get over 300 companies that participate in placement process of IIITB. Moreover, our placement counseling is individualized. We also walk that extra mile to place students through networking.

Q. What are the options for students with entrepreneurial appetite?

Apart from guidance and encouragement, we have the facility to provide hands-on experience to aspiring entrepreneurs. IITB Innovation center, housed on the campus, gives the opportunity to learn about start-ups. Students get to experience both – glamourous and non-glamorous aspects of entrepreneurship.