Educational institutions need to bridge the gap between academia and industry – Interview of Dr. Lalit Arora

Dr Lalit Arora

Dr Lalit Arora, an alumnus of Apeejay Institute of Management and Engineering Technical Campus (AIMETC), says colleges should encourage guest lectures by industry experts to give exposure to students.

By Disha Roy Choudhury: From an MBA to a PhD in Finance, and from being a corporate employee to a professor, AIMETC alumnus Dr Lalit Arora’s impressive career has been all about resounding achievements.

But Dr Arora, who is driven by the urge to acquire knowledge, says there is no end to learning and that is what keeps him going.

Years later, Dr Arora also returned to his alma mater as an Assistant Professor and taught there for six years, between 2013 and 2019.

In an interview, Dr Arora, faculty, State Bank Institute of Credit and Risk Management (SBICRM), State Bank of India, talks about his time at AIMETC, job opportunities in Finance, and more. Edited excerpts:

You did an MBA in Finance from AIMETC. Tell us about your experience.

I joined AIMETC when it was among the very few institutions wherein a good MBA course was offered. It was among the most sought-after institutions.

I was very glad to get admission there. As far as my experience is concerned, it was a mix of academic and overall development, which helped us grow as individuals.

We participated in various extra-curricular activities including annual events. Apart from the good experiences, we do remember bunking some classes as well (laughs).

How was the faculty back then?

The faculty was really good and better than most institutions at the time. Many of them who taught me have left the institute by now.

What was it like when you went back to teach at AIMETC? How was your bond with the students?

It is always a good feeling to be able to work as a faculty member at an institute where you have also been a student.

Of course, a lot of things had changed by the time I became a professor there; AIMETC has the potential to achieve a lot more.

The bond with the students was excellent. One of the relationships that I value immensely is that with my students. I will never forget them.

From MBA in Finance to Human Resource Management and PhD, you hold many degrees. What inspired you and kept you going?

I was always interested in academics. Although not the topper, I have been a good student throughout my life.

One of the things that I aimed for was higher studies and to go for research. I worked at corporate firms for about five years after completing my MBA.

But I soon realised that what drives me is my passion for knowledge, which is what keeps me going.

There is no end to learning; it is a life-long asset. Even now, as someone associated with a bank, I am learning a lot of practical aspects related to the ones which we had studied in theory earlier.

So, how do you view your overall professional journey?

While I am not dissatisfied with my journey, I am still aspiring for some more stimulating and challenging positions in my career.

Can you share some tips for students planning to pursue a career in Finance?

Most of the time, the students do not have enough knowledge about their career options. To solve the problem, I would recommend college faculty members take a step forward and bridge that gap between academia and industry.

Institutions should encourage more guest lectures by industry experts. Students need to be equipped with all the information they need on their road to success.

I would like to advise students to stick to the basics. Do not get distracted by what others are doing.

Pursue what you genuinely like and understand. There are many jobs in the market—from techno-economic analyst and investment banker to debt syndication or business valuation manager, among other roles–that students are not even aware of but all of them are eligible for. 

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