An interview with Saurabh Deshpande, a BMS faculty of Ghanshyamdas Saraf College.
Name– Saurabh Deshpande
College– Ghanshyamdas Saraf College, Malad (W)
Tell us something about yourself
I have completed BA and MA in English Literature from Sathaye College, University of Mumbai. I had always been interested in Arts, and broke a sort of convention of my time, when taking up Arts was for those who could not get admission anywhere else. I would urge my students too to choose an area that genuinely interests them, but only after they explore all options.
I like to read, write and surf the internet to keep myself updated with the latest happenings. I feel that a teacher is always a learner, and he / she has to update his / her skills and knowledge, and stay with the contemporary generation to connect with them.
Tell us something about your college
Rajasthani Sammelan’s Ghanshyamdas Saraf Girls’ College, S. V. Road, Malad (W) is an all-girls’ institution founded in 1983 to facilitate women’s education and to give them a good college education for their upliftment and development. Apart from BCom, the college runs BMS, BMM, BBI, BAF and MCom (Management and Accountancy) courses, all affiliated to University of Mumbai. The staff of the college is student friendly, and there is never a distinction between students belonging to different courses. Due to the facilities available in the college and the skills and qualifications of the staff, the college has received an “A” grade from NAAC.
When did you join the teaching profession? What inspired you to choose this line?
I had always loved books and dreamt of a profession where I could stay connected to books and reading. I also like to discuss and debate on various socio-economic-political issues. Teaching is a profession which allows me to do all this, in a very healthy and democratic manner. It is extremely gratifying to stay in touch with the new generation and its ideas.
I am glad to be in a profession which gratifies me every day, and each morning I actually look forward to go to work. I think this attitude of actually looking forward to go to work every morning isn’t commonly found amongst many people. Satisfaction at work is one of the best satisfactions.
Which subjects do you teach? What do you love most?
My basic qualification is in English Literature. Study of literature opens a door to other fields. One can never study literature in isolation, as to understand a work of literature; one must understand the historical, cultural, social, political, psychological, economic, philosophical, ethical atmosphere of the time, as well as the aesthetic aspect of the work. This gave me the scope to teach several subjects connected to arts, humanities, social sciences and soft skills like Effective Communication, Business Ethics, Public Relations Management, IMTP, Human Relations, History, Films, Creative Writing, Journalism, etc., apart from English Literature. My first love, still, remains literature though.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that a teacher, apart from being there to teach, is also a student’s friend and companion, one to whom a student can look up to and approach in times of any difficulty. I try to keep myself available for my students always, whether I am physically present in the class, or not. Teaching should not be restricted to the class room or a particular subject, but it goes beyond the class room, and beyond a particular subject to encompass life in general. I encourage my students to go out, and explore, and verify for themselves, and understand a particular topic from as many angles as they can and not to be satisfied with just what they study in class, or hear from me.
Do you believe in teaching should be full of ideas rather than stuffed with facts?
Ideas and facts are equally important. Ideas tend to be abstract, while facts are concrete. To understand an idea, one must understand the facts.
Can a student from Arts/science background also do BMS?
Of course. It is a myth that only those students who have taken Commerce at junior college level can do well in BMS. In fact, the University recognizes this, and has reserved 25 % of the total seats for students from an Arts background, and 25 % of seats for students from Science background. I have come across students who have come from arts, science, even home science and engineering backgrounds, and have excelled in Management Studies.
As a BMS faculty, what kind of projects do you expect bms students to work upon?
Projects are meant to expose them practically to the ideas they have learnt theoretically in class. Projects that require them to interact with people, like carrying out surveys, interviews and opinion polls give them that basic exposure. They can give a presentation about their project to the class. Presenting in front of the class helps them to overcome nervousness, shyness and helps build up their confidence. Discussing actual cases are also a good way to help them analyze various theoretical concepts
Do you think a BMS Student should participate in College fests and Industrial Visits? Why?
Yes. College festivals and Industrial Visits connect them to people and culture outside their own college. An all-round development of students is only possible if they interact with a large number of people within, and outside their college to broaden their mental horizons.
People say BMS is 70 % of first year MBA. After BMS, is work experience important for MBA?
Some students prefer to take a break after their graduation, while some prefer to continue their studies without a break. A student who takes a break and works for some time becomes more aware of the world outside, and is able to opt for a Post Graduate specialization in a more aware and mature manner. He / she is more sure of what he / she wants to go into. But some students feel that if they take a break, then it may be difficult for them to continue their studies again later, for whatever reason. It is true that it may be difficult for some to pick up their studies after a large break. The student has to use his / her discretion here after proper thought and consultation.
There is a shortage of eminent professors at bachelors’ level management. With more and more institutes joining the professional courses bandwagon, do you think BMS will become yet another Bcom?
I prefer not to comment on this issue as this decision lies with the University. Doing BMS from a good college has several advantages over BCom though.
What should BMS education mean to a student?
It’s a jungle out there, and the competition is severe. A student who successfully completes BMS course should possess knowledge of basic management and administrative concepts and acquire the basic skills. He / she has a lot to learn later.
Do you think the course curriculum is at par with industry expectations?
This is again for the Board of Studies members to decide. I prefer to discuss it at a more appropriate forum. All I can say is that the syllabus has to be updated as per changing times, and it has been done till now. Any shortcomings or requirements are periodically discussed and implemented.
Today, we often come across students committing suicide out of failure, depression or tension of exams. What do you have to say about this?
There may be a lot of pressure on students because of unreasonable expectations, unhealthy competition, or just too much of stress. Such things are to be avoided by the student as well as by those who are connected to the student (teachers, parents, peers). I would suggest that the student de-stresses himself / herself routinely by taking up hobbies, exercising, or doing Yoga or meditation
Who in your life has most influenced you?
Great leaders, both, historical as well as contemporary, have influenced me. These leaders can be from any field: politics, economics, science, social work, sports, spiritual or commercial. To name a few, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, Indira Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. Leaders who have stood up for their ideals, for what they believed in (in a good way) have always impressed me.
What are your professional/career goals?
I wish to continue in the academic field and do my PhD in an area connected to management and literature. It can be Corporate Communication, Simple English, or Management Concepts as found in works of William Shakespeare. I am particularly fascinated by various modern concepts of Management that are repeatedly found in works of great litterateurs.
Do alumni come back and tell you about life after bms?
Yes, and it is always a pleasure meeting them.
A famous quote says “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others”. What would you like to say on this?
I would rather compare a teacher to a flame, which passes the light and fire, but does not get extinguished itself.
Who would you call as the best student so far in your memory?
I wouldn’t call anyone as “the best” or “my favourite” student. All my students have been good and excellent too, in their own particular way. They all are my favourites.
One touching incident that happened with you in your teaching career?
A student whose mother contacted me after many years told me how once one small talk with her daughter gave her a direction in life. I had forgotten the incident, but it reminds you of the responsibility you carry on your shoulders. What appears as a very small thing to you may a major statement for the student.
What suggestions would you like to give to Mumbai university for amendments in the BMS course?
Again, I wouldn’t want to discuss this issue here, but at a more appropriate forum.
How do you find BMS.co.in? What help should it provide in future?
It is a great website designed for BMS students and it will bring together those who wish to pursue BMS, those who are pursuing BMS, and those who have already completed their BMS. It also is a great forum to share and discuss issues related to Management.
What message would you like to give to the bms students?
Remember that BMS will give you the basic management concepts and skills. But always keep upgrading your qualifications and updating your skills. Go for an interview with the attitude, “I know the basics of management. But I am prepared to learn further.” Believe in yourselves, you can do wonders. All The Best.
Thank you so much for giving us your valuable time. I’m sure reading this interview would be a great help and inspiration for the students.