Why you should work as an Associate/Assistant if you want to build career in Academics. | Kalpeshkumar L Gupta


Why you should work as an Associate/Assistant if you want to build career in Academics.
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Why you should work as an Associate/Assistant if you want to build career in Academics.

Why you should work as an Associate/Assistant if you want to build career in Academics.

- by Dr. Kalpeshkumar L Gupta (Former Associate in Business Policy Area at IIMA, 2010-15)

For long time I wanted to write on this subject but lingered for long. Nevertheless, I am sharing my experience as an Academic Associate at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

I did LL.M. in year 2008 and was looking for admission in Ph.D. (Law). I started working from 2004, worked with Advocate, CAs, Tax Consultant, Company in various position till 2009. As I was looking for Doctorate degree and for that getting into academic institution was ideal choice. I was working in textile engineering company looking after foreign trade aspects in the year 2009. I was reading The Times of India and came across advertisement for the post of Academic Associate at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. I was not much aware about the said position. I applied for Academic Associate position in Business Policy Area and Economics Area bearing Ph.D. dream in mind in January 2010. I got a call for interview from Business Policy Area and appeared for interview on March 31, 2010. I got a letter stating my selection as an Associate within a week. I was delighted to see that. For 2-3 days, I was top of the town. After 3-4 days, one thing came to my mind, survival in Ahmedabad with less salary. I was reluctant to join with that salary having many constraints in mind. I consulted my teachers and they advised me to work at least for one year being life time opportunity. I got convinced with the same and joined IIM Ahmedabad on May 11, 2010. I started assisting faculty allotted in respective courses on law and management. I started learning abcd of academics. I started writing small pieces gradually and was looking for Ph.D. admission. With some effort I got my Ph.D. admission in Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar in the year 2011. In year 2012, I came with idea of National Court Management Authority for better court and case management in Indian Judicial System. I prepared a booklet also which was sent across Judiciary, Ministries, National Law Universities, Law Schools, IIMs etc. (This small exercise helped me to make Court Management Authority Bill, 2017 which has been acknowledged by Department of Justice, Govt. of India) I started writing papers for state and national level conferences/seminars as a sole author. Gradually, I started writing with fellow associates from other areas. I remember when some associates wanted to write for seminar/conference/publication but did not have previous experience, they approached me regarding this. We deliberated and came up with 6 papers with associates from different areas. This was the best part of academic learning. I wrote, presented 10+ papers/academic writings in my tenure of five years at IIMA. I also completed my thesis and submitted the same to university. I got the Ph.D. degree in year 2017. Till date I have written more than 25 plus academic writing plus policy papers, projects.

This was my journey as an associate. There are many associates from IIMA who got excellent opportunity at national and international level in terms of better job and higher studies. Being Associate/Assistant in good academic institutions really helps in long run. Earlier people used to join academics immediately after the completion of master degree without having much experience. Being an associate/assistant you learn nityy-gritty of academics before jumping into real world of teaching and research where you are not expected to make much mistakes, excuses.

Earlier prominent institutions like IIMs/IITs were having Associates/Assistants inspired from foreign institutions, nowadays other tier 2, 3 institutions also started recruiting Associate/Assistant for enhancing overall learning experience. I request you to join as an Associate/Assistant/Fellow in good academic institutions and work for at least two years dedicatedly. I am sure this will change your career.

I am sharing some experiences of my mentors, friends who served at IIMA.

"Working as an Academic Associate at a top institution gives you a lot of exposure to different writings, attending course work and working with professors in projects. It helps in one's future career."
(Prof. S Manikutty, Former Professor in Business Policy Area, IIMA)

"If one wants to be a successful academician in future, one should start his/her career by being an academic associate or research associate with an institute like IIM-A. I have been benefited tremendously by attending the classes of the eminent professors in my area." 
(Payal Trivedi, Former Associate Marketing Area, Presently doing FPM from MICA, Ahmedabad)

"The position of an Academic Associate will nurture your dream of becoming an Academician. It's like learning a bicycle before you start racing your bike."
(Nirav Mehta, Academic Associate Finance Area, IIMA)

"The role helps learn the other side of the podium, while we have lived all the while just as students. As an associate you get to learn on curriculum making, delivery, feedback mechanisms, learner characteristics and correct assessment methodologies."
(CA Ankit Shah, Former Academic Associate Finance Area, IIMA)

"My journey from an Academic Associate to an FPM student was wonderful. I was in Business Policy Area, the area and faculties taught me a lot, they encouraged me to apply for FPM, they stood by me in my good and bad days, I owe my growth and journey to Prof. N. Venketeswaran who always guided and mentored me. I developed family relations with academic and administrative staff. They always helped me during my stay in IIMA. IIMA is my second home which is always welcoming and has accepted me with my weaknesses and strengths." 
(Abrar Ali Saiyed Former Academic Associate in Business Policy Area, He is an FPM from IIMA and currently working as Assistant Professor in Ahmedabad University)

"Getting into IIMA as AA/RA opens up various career paths. Joining as AA/RA at IIMA not only benefits to those who want to pursue a career in academics but also to those who want to pursue a career as a high quality researcher. I joined the institute as an AA and further rejoined as a RA at IIMA. Working as a RA motivated me to pursue my doctoral degree."
(Sumeetha Natesan, RA, Production & Quantitative Methods, IIMA)

"Working as an associate at institutes like IIM Ahmedabad is extremely helpful in making your foundation strong for academics. Apart from the classwork and research projects that you are involved with, you become a team player and build your confidence and have become equipped with tools and understanding to tackle any type of problems. My stay with IIM Ahmedabad gave be ample opportunities to grow and gave me tools for channelizing my thoughts and understanding and helping them to make them globally competent. I would strongly suggest to work as an Associate, if you want to see yourself as a stronger and successful Academician."
(Bhushan Kankal, Former Research Associate in PSG Area, IIMA, Presently FPM Scholar at MICA, Ahmedabad)

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