"Interview with Mr. Sushobhan Sarker, Director, NIA Pune"

Profile of Mr. Sushobhan Sarker

Mr. Sushobhan Sarker had a distinguished career spanning over 36 years with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and superannuated from the position of Managing Director (MD) of LIC. As Managing Director, his areas of responsibility included Product Development and Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Personnel & HRD, Corporate Planning and Organization Development, Corporate Communications,Investments and International Operations.

Prior to his taking charge as Managing Director, he had held key leadership positions as head of International Operations and Investment Departments of LIC. He was the Director & CEO of LIC Mutual Fund Asset Management Company Ltd. as well. Mr. Sarker is an Honours graduate in Physics and has a degree of Master of Financial Management from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, University of Mumbai. He has a rich experience of Board Governance having been not only on the board of LIC and its associates and subsidiary companies but also served on the boards of other assisted companies as nominee Director of LIC. At present he is on the boards of three well known companies.

Team MBA Rendezvous met Mr. Sushobhan Sarker, the Director of National Insurance Academy, Pune for a tete-a-tete. Here’s an excerpt :

Team MBA Rendezvous - Essentially MBA or PGDM is specialized education but in absence of research, the credibility is shaken and MBA has become another degree which gets you a job. But In ever-changing business scenario, how would you like to overcome the quality issue? Would it be through the route of curricula & pedagogy ?

Mr. Sushobhan Sarker - Today, the feeling is that MBA is one subject, but this is not so. Actually, it is a conglomeration of different subjects. It is an inter-disciplinary course. The second point is research that can be looked at in two ways

Firstly, research by students - Students, while completing their course within the stipulated time period also get a taste of research through projects and dissertations. The basic objective is to teach them research methodology and make them think deeply.

Secondly, research by the faculty - It is essential for the faculty to engage in continuous research and update their knowledge and know the latest changes happening.

Quality issues need to be taken care in terms of curricula and pedagogy. Even the top most institutes suffer from the shortage of quality faculty. With the changes and variety in pedagogy, I do think we can give back a higher value to the students.

Team MBA Rendezvous - As a senior Professional Academician, how do you visualize the future role of MBA Institutes, such as NIA which provides sector specific management education ?

Mr. Sushobhan Sarker - The PGDM course that we provide, imparts all basic core management principles, that needs to be provided as per the AICTE regulations. The course of our curriculum is common with any other management institute, only 25% course is insurance.

Team MBA Rendezvous - Since overall jobs are shrinking and Industry is not shying to raise the issue of employability with B Schools so how would you wish to rectify and reinforce skilled MBA pass-outs, for example, most of BKFS get in to sales of insurance ?

Mr. Sushobhan Sarker - These issues have existed in our country for a long time. For an institute such as NIA, the way we have designed our curriculum and the kind of faculty mix we have, should be the envy of everyone. There is a healthy mix between academia and corporate world. In insurance, specifically, there is a lot of potential in the coming years. Insurance, itself, is an important part of people’s life and the industry will always need professionals equipped to handle not just insurance but also the allied services.

Team MBA Rendezvous - If social behavioural skills are so critically demanded by the Industry, then how can institutes meet this demand ?

Mr. Sushobhan Sarker - All courses nowadays, include one or two modules on communication and behavioural skills. Apart from this, we give special inputs and arrange special lectures by experts and try to impart etiquettes and social skills to our students.

Team MBA Rendezvous - What will be your advice to students in areas of dream job, competition ?

Mr. Sushobhan Sarker - I would only say that students should have Passion for Excellence. If you have passion for something, then, commitment is a given, and if you have a passion for excellence, you will reach the pinnacle of success. Also, one should think in terms of contributing to the society.

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