A Humble Educationalist: Dr. Shridhar Dash
A financial expert with an amazing analytical mind, a thinker and an extremely soft-spoken, down-to-earth personality, Dr. Shridhar Dash is a professor in Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. He was one of the guests who visited the campus during the annual techno-management festival, Innovision’15. Team MM caught up with him for an enlightening interaction, the essence of which follows below.
MM: Going back to the beginnings, tell us something about your early life.
SD: I did my BA in Economics from Utkal University and went on to pursue a master’s degree from University of Hyderabad. I completed my PhD in finance from Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research at 25 years of age. I lived in hostel throughout my school life. I studied science in the beginning and then took up economics and history.
MM: From being the Project Leader at GE Capital: Analytical Centre of Excellence, to serving as Vice President and Director of several firms, how has your experience been in the corporate sector?
SD: Let me tell you something about my first job. I am a person who did a lot of quantitative modelling. I could predict human behaviour. I was trained in maths and statistics so I got this job of quantitative modelling. The first task that I got was to figure out the errors in a main frame programming file. Interesting part is I didn’t know anything about programming. I only knew how to calculate equations, mathematics and statistics and stuff like that. You think I would have enjoyed my work? No. But that is the best job I have ever done. That gave me tremendous amount of knowledge.
This is the challenge for today’s younger generation. They are extremely choosy about their career option. You never know what is going to happen next. Nobody knows what is going to happen five or ten years down the line. So why to waste your present worrying about the future! Your present will define the future.
I do advise people to plan for the future but in the process, don’t forget to enjoy your present. You can only get what you want by accepting what you have at present.
MM: The start-up culture is quite popular now-a-days, considering many people choose entrepreneurship over corporate jobs. You are working on projects that aspire to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Odisha. Can you tell us more on how it would help the future entrepreneurs?
SD: There is no ecosystem for the entrepreneurs in Odisha at present. They need an environment wherein they are provided with mentors, adequate funds and other likeminded people to interact with. If you look back, there have been hardly any successful start-ups from the state so it’s basically a cycle continuing. My projects at XIMB deal with interacting with students, organising events which includes entrepreneurs and mentoring them to be the future ones. Till now, it’s a private initiative but I hope that the government would invest in it soon.
MM: One of the downside of entrepreneurship is that young minds refrain from pursuing higher studies. Considering that you have a doctorate, how do you think it is going to affect the research sector in the coming future?
SD: Entrepreneurship itself is a creation. Our conventional education trains us to manage what already exists; on the other hand, entrepreneurship is about creating something from nowhere. This creation can either be a copy or something innovative which is actually knowledge creation and entrepreneurship enables it. So definitely it’s equivalent to research.
MM: You have reached the echelons of success in your professional life. Has it ever hampered with your personal life? Do you have any regrets?
SD: I don’t think I’m successful. I was highly inspired by my mathematics teacher at school and always wanted to be a teacher like him. I had applied for the post soon after my PhD but was rejected by 10 schools. It was then that I joined the corporate sector. But my biggest regret is that I was not able to spend sufficient time with my son during his childhood.
MM: On a lighter note, what is your favourite pastime?
SD: I like playing different sports like badminton, tennis etc. I am fond of playing cards. I am a bridge player in it. I also like to read in my free time.
MM: What does the future hold for you both on a professional and personal level?
SD: Honestly speaking, I’m satisfied at present with my professional life and owe my present status to sheer luck. On a personal front, I definitely want to spend more time with my family, especially my son.
MM: Any message that you would like to convey to the student community of NITR?
SD: Always strive to be better than what you were in the past and at the same time, be humble and do care for others.
A special message for the final year students sitting for placements this year,
Always remember that if a company doesn’t hire you, then it is their loss and not yours. This will boost up your confidence but at the same time make you look arrogant. This arrogance should not be reflected on your face. You should have that much skills and talent to say the above lines with full humility.