Women have often been limited in India in their roles due to socio-cultural constraints, including politicization, rigid social norms, and expectations prioritizing family over career. Complexity in the social structure and a heterogeneous population of more than a billion varying in culture and religion have made it difficult for governments and institutions to implement policies that are inclusive and not gendered. But now, times have changed and the educational landscape has seen a considerable reformation in pursuit of empowering women leaders, who are now breaking barriers, while also making remarkable strides as capable leaders. One such exemplary leader is Dr. Manasa Nagabhushanam, the Director of Ramaiah Institute of Management, whose exceptional accomplishments and visionary approach have positioned her as a go-to leader in the realm of education.
Dr. Manasa Nagabhushanam, an experienced academician, education leader, researcher, writer, and consultant, boasts a remarkable 32-year career in the field. Throughout her journey, she has held prestigious positions as Dean and Director of several Business schools, demonstrating her exemplary leadership capabilities. Driven by her passion for education, she actively contributes to the dissemination of the National Education Policy through her articles, lectures, and webinars, aiming to create awareness and drive positive change.
As a highly respected figure in the educational sphere, Dr. Nagabhushanam has made significant contributions as a doctoral guide, successfully guiding and mentoring seven women scholars to complete their Ph.D. under her expert supervision. Recognizing her expertise and influence, she has been nominated as a member of the Curriculum Development Committee, working closely with the Task Force for the implementation of the National Education Policy in Karnataka. Additionally, the Government of Karnataka has appointed her as a member of an expert committee tasked with examining legislations related to the Right to Education Act within the state.
From the Scratch
Driven by a deep understanding of the challenges faced by the youth of the country, Dr. Manasa recognized the opportunity to provide assistance to those in need. Even prior to completing post graduation, she pursued a diploma in counseling, driven by her aspiration to become an educator and make a positive impact on the lives of young individuals. Throughout her journey, she observed that students often struggled with issues such as indecisiveness, procrastination, relationship challenges, and low self-esteem. This realization fueled her decision to pursue a career in academics, where she could address these concerns.
During her postgraduate studies, Dr. Nagabhushanam prioritized mastery of her courses, aiming to develop a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Subsequently, during her Ph.D., she immersed herself in research, driven by her ambition to contribute significantly to the field. Throughout her academic career, she has maintained a problem-solving mindset, focusing on finding solutions rather than dwelling on past mistakes.
Eventually, Dr. Manasa Nagabhushanam was drawn to the brand name Ramaiah when considering her career path. The institution’s reputation for open and transparent governance particularly captivated her interest. With a clear vision in mind, her goal became to propel MSRIM (Ramaiah Institute of Management) to be among the top thirty management institutions in India. This aspiration reflects her commitment to driving excellence and positioning MSRIM as a leading force in the field of management education.
Relentless Commitment to Education
As the Director, Dr. Manasa Nagabhushanam’s championed initiatives aimed at aligning teaching methodologies with the desired outcomes, collaborating extensively with industry partners to establish the BCIC Ramaiah Centre of Excellence, supporting startups, and forging global partnerships. Additionally, she initiated executive programs to cater to the needs of working professionals. These endeavors have fostered a sense of esteem among students, leading to a significant rise in the average salary package to 7.9 Lakhs per annum through successful placements.
Through her determined efforts, Dr. Nagabhushanam has transformed the educational ecosystem at her institution, ensuring a focus on outcome-based education and creating a more industry-relevant and student-centric approach. Her holistic approach has not only elevated the institution’s reputation but also empowered students to thrive in their careers by aligning their learning outcomes with the demands of the industry.
When we asked Dr. Manasa to talk about her most memorable experiences as the Director, she shared – “Our introduction of Live integrated projects with startups has been a successful initiative. Understanding the interests of our students, we made the around 150 students work in startups with support of startup mentors”. She continued – “The evaluation was not rigid and structured but aimed to bring out qualitative changes and learnings amongst the students. This initiative of ours won the national award as BEST Practice from the National Human Resource Development Network (NHRD). This is something I feel was a success”.
Knowing Dr. Manasa Nagabhushanam
Dr. Manasa Nagabhushanam believes that leadership is rooted in inclusivity, fostering the growth of each individual while earning the respect and collaboration of all. As a leader, she holds neither enemies nor friends, as everyone aspires to work alongside her, and values the freedom of thought and being fully present in the moment.
Dr. Nagabhushanam’s leadership extends beyond her institution, as she has served as an executive member of the Central University of Karnataka, Kalaburagi. Additionally, she holds positions as an internal advisory council member of Nripatunga University and an executive council member of the Centre for Education and Social Studies (CESS). Furthermore, she has been nominated to lead Women Empowerment for the Southern Region in Assocham and actively participates in sessions for CESS on the National Education Policy.
Lastly, a core principle in Dr. Nagabhushanam’s approach is being present and in flow, which she ardently follows. She believes that by immersing oneself mindfully in the present moment, answers to questions and guidance emerge effortlessly. She seamlessly integrates her personal and professional lives, as she sees no distinction between the two. By blending both aspects harmoniously, she effectively manages her responsibilities. Rejecting the notion of work-life balance, she emphasizes the importance of balancing the mind to achieve equilibrium in life.