Name – Dheeraj Sanghi

Age – 52

Gender – Male

City – Kanpur

Profession – Professor

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/dheerajsanghi/

Insights

1. Being a Professor, one may not be paid as well as a corporate professional, but one will have immense respect in society.

2. It requires lot of passion for education and research to do well in this profession.

3. It requires one to put in a lot of effort and time into his/her work.

4. It comes with its own set of perks and challenges.

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in New Delhi and did my schooling in Delhi. After completing my 12th class, I moved to Kanpur for college education (IIT Kanpur).

What is your family background? Who all had the most influence on you and how?

My father was a school teacher. My mother was a home maker. We were four siblings. My father have had a huge influence on me. He relentlessly pursued excellence and told us to do everything in the best possible way, whether it was studies, or sports, or anything else. Also, in those days, teaching job meant financial challenges. All six of us lived in a one room, and yet my parents were the most hospitable persons I have known. Many of our cousins have studied in Delhi, while staying at our home. As a result of this, I believe I too like to help, to have people come over, etc.

Please give us a summary of your career, chronologically, including organisation names and your role/designation. (not required, if LinkedIn has complete info)

After completing my PhD from the University of Maryland, I decided to return to India and I joined IIT Kanpur as an associate Proessor. I was a visiting faculty in IIT Bombay for one semester from July — December 2000. Also, I have headed LNMIIT as the Director from 2008–10. And was made the Dean of Academic Affairs at IIT from December 2011–14. During this period I taught at Ashoka University for a semester. For two years, I was in IIT Delhi serving as the Dean of Academic Affairs and Dean of External Affairs.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

I am a Professor. To be in this profession, one should do his/her under-graduate studies from a college which is good for the discipline in which you want to become a professor. And then you need to do research and earn a PhD from a university which is doing excellent research. So the institutes will be different depending on the discipline. In Computer Science, the five old IITs at Kanpur, Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Kharagpur are the best for both under-graduate and graduate education, and research.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?

Undergraduate programs typically have tuition around Rs. 2–3 lakhs a year, and another Rs. 2 lakhs for hostel/mess and other miscellaneous expenses. And the program is for four year. So about 18–20 lakh rupees. However, lots of scholarships are available to people who cannot afford this much. During graduate and research programs, one typically gets financial assistance which is enough to take care of all costs.

What are the typical entry level jobs in this profession?

One joins a university as a Lecturer or an Assistant Professor. But one is not limited to that. Some people having decided that they’ve had enough of corporate job turn to the academia for more opportunities. They are mostly guest lecturers or visiting faculty.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?

Above figures are indicative figures and may vary from person to person

Describe your work as Professor? What do you typically do on a normal workday?

On a typical day, I prepare for my class, I teach, I grade assignments, etc. I read research papers, discuss the problems with my students. I look at some of the administrative issues within the department or in the institute. Also, I do some outreach, interact with people from industry, government, etc. Typically I like any other Professor spend about 50–60 hours of working in a week. This includes everything from teaching, grading, reading up material etc.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider career/job as a  Professor?

You do what you want to do. There is really no boss. I choose what problems to work on. My timings are flexible. I get to read a lot. I work with young people who are generally more innovative and positive. This is also negative but there is an immense amount of satisfaction involved when you are able to keep up with the way technology changes its face and work on it. I feel one of the biggest perks is how you inspire students into doing something that makes them happy. They are the change makers and nothing gives you more happiness to see them taking up matters in their own hands and changing society by doing their bit.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering career/job as a Professor?

Teaching and research are things that one needs to be wanting to do. Since there is no one looking over your shoulders, it is very easy to lose momentum and one day you find that your peers don’t respect you at all. Sometimes it gets tedious to keep up with the way technology is moving so quickly especially in the Computer Science department. Also, we may blame the students for the lack of motivation but even we as Professors need to be motivated every now and then.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding premium in your job profile?

There is such shortage of professors in almost all disciplines that anyone with good academic and research record who want to be a professor will be in demand. But still I think people in Science and Engineering are in greater demand today.

What kind of person would be happy as a Professor?

Someone who loves to teach and loves to solve problems.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned? Would you pursue another profession or a passion perhaps?

Not really. I am very happy with my profession. I really don’t think I would have been happier in any other profession.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?

Work hard. Follow your passion. Don’t lose track of Excellence.

Liked this Interview? You might want to check out our Interaction with Neeta Acharya, Professor at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.