Professor Shalini Nandwani is one of the finest examples of the diverse backgrounds from which SCMS-Cochin draws its faculty members. A great asset to SCMS-Cochin for nearly three-and-a-half years now, Professor Nandwani has practised Human Resources in extremely challenging conditions, as a Lieutenant Commander in the Indian Navy for 12 years. Prior to joining SCMS-Cochin she was Chief Manager, Human Resource Management Group, ICICI Bank Ltd.
“While working with Officers and Sailors in the Navy, I realised the importance of training in Human Resource management, and also my passion for it. On moving into the corporate sector, my role was not limited to training alone, but a major part also included recruitment. It was during campus recruitments at engineering, management and other specialised institutions that I felt I could make a difference in the academic sphere.”
With a Masters in HR from Pondicherry University, Professor Nandwani has a PG in Business Administration from MDI Gurgaon. She believes that with the advent of technology – especially the internet – students today have a much shorter attention span, and “prefer not to understand in the class”. Therefore, before every class, she has adopted the simple policy of scanning the net space for what’s happening in the business world related to that session. She further bolsters her classes with copious use of audio–video media, case studies, webinars, etc.
“A quality-conscious B-school like SCMS-Cochin updates its curriculum annually to remain effective. At SCMS-Cochin, the HR department goes to great lengths to find out the latest global academic practices, and seeks expert opinion from eminent industry practitioners to keep the curriculum up-to-date. When something new emerges in the field, beyond-the-curriculum classes or forum hours by industry experts are introduced through the Institute Industry Interaction programme. Seminars, workshops and discussions are also used to provide students with real-life inputs. It is for this reason that I encourage students to carry out field studies and mini projects, and interview professionals from concerned domains; all this is apart from giving them creative assignments.”
Professor Shalini Nandwani is of the opinion that the responsibilities of the HR department will continue changing and become more diverse and complex.
“Technology is changing continuously… and changing everything. Work culture in a knowledge society is yet to stabilise. Organisations are growing from rags-to-riches in no time, and vice versa. The dimension of working population is changing. With all this come a lot of challenges for HR managers. Organisations today expect their employees to deliver results from day one, and employees expect more from organisations in terms of rewards, recognition, freedom and flexibility. While successful organisations have realised the importance of HR as a department, HR itself – in most places – needs to understand the nuances of business and develop its capabilities and strengths.”
Professor Nandwani advises her students at SCMS-Cochin that the best way forward is to work hard on being a subject matter expert, but apply equal stress on gaining knowledge about the business.
“It is the only way of being efficient and effective from day one,” she concludes matter-of-factly.