Dr. Vanita Ahuja is an Associate Professor and Program Director, School of Construction at the RICS School of Built Environment. She has over 20 years of industry and academic experience in the area of Construction Project Management. In the industry, she has worked on projects of varying nature such as residential and school projects, commercial projects etc. and has also provided consultancy to the Delhi Metro Project.
She shares with her views on the need for practice based approach to project management education in India.
Q. From the business stand-point there is an argument that there still exists a lot of disconnect between industry and academia in India? What are your views on this? Does it also hold true in the real estate and construction management sector too?
It is true that in India there exists disconnect between industry and academia. It is also a global phenomenon, but more evident in India including the real estate and construction management sector of the country. As a result of this disconnect, academic research primarily remains more theoretical and less applied in the industry. To resolve this issue, more interfaces are required between industry and academia. Industry executives need to participate in academic pursuits including teaching; academic teams need to have an opportunity to participate in industry activities and collaborative research needs to be undertaken. Such activities need to be recognized and woven in their work profiles.
Q. You provide training to executives across govt. and private sector in the area of Construction Management. What are the key skills that you try to instill?
Construction industry executives need to develop project management approach to executing projects and strategically this has to be implemented with a top down approach. Thus, while training for construction management, focus for senior management and middle level management is different. For senior management, focus is to create awareness of concepts and practice of project management. For middle level management and day to day supervision, focus is to develop skills for planning, scheduling, tracking and monitoring of projects, contract management, cost management and related functions and use of IT enabled tools for different project management functions.