2022 — “a Leap” Year for BITS Pilani WILP in Transforming Learning Experiences of Working Professionals

By Rajiv Tandon, Chief Executive Officer – WILP at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani

Never Mind, if the year 2022 did not have one extra day in the month of February to technically qualify it as a “leap year.” It was still “a true leap” year for us at BITS Pilani’s Work Integrated Learning Programs (WILP) division, during which we took many leaps and strides toward transforming the learning experiences of working professionals.

So, what were these big leaps taken by BITS Pilani WILP in 2022?
Year after year and for over four decades now, we at BITS Pilani WILP have remained committed to designing and delivering industry-relevant and engaging learning experiences for working professionals. Over 100,000 working professionals from diverse industry sectors have graduated from these programs; These alumni and their employers have continued to endorse the effectiveness of the unique work-integrated learning model. Career progression gained by the working professionals and the business benefits accrued by their employers has earned BITS Pilani WILP an enviable reputation. Some of the testimonials from organizations representing various key industries and our alumni (Industry Endorsements and Alumni Speak sections on our website) emphasize this aspect even further.

The calendar year 2022 witnessed BITS Pilani WILP take even further long leaps as part of its continuous effort to create the best and most preferred learning experiences for working professionals. These were as follows:
⦁ A leap in design and launch of new-age technology and techno-management programs to address emerging industry demands in many new technology domains.
⦁ A leap in the number of our industry collaborations saw some of the most admired and largest employer organizations collaborating with BITS WILP.
⦁ A leap in pedagogical advancement through the integration of many new innovative and enriching experiential learning parts to our overall learning model.
⦁ A leap in the expansion of our remote and virtual lab capacity
⦁ A leap in sharing our best practices with the wider community beyond BITS Pilani
Leap in the number of new programs launched in 2022 to address new age skills’ requirements

A priority that is least surprising and top of mind for almost everyone involved in the education system is about keeping up with the changing times and new and evolving requirements of sectors and industries. And as an institution, we at BITS Pilani WILP address this by constantly updating the courses in the existing programs and/or by launching new programs. The year 2022 saw the launch of many meticulously designed degree programs for working professionals in highly sought-after new domains, such as:
⦁ The MBA in Digital Business Program is suitable specifically for those professionals who are currently working for software or consulting organizations that aim to transform and digitalize existing business processes (of their clients).
⦁ The M.Tech. Degree Program in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, which aims to help professionals enhance their conceptual understanding and hands-on knowledge of various traditional and contemporary AI and ML techniques.
⦁ The M.Tech. Degree Program in Cloud Computing, which aims to impart thorough knowledge of Big Data, Distributed Computing, Network and Security in the Cloud, building Cloud-native applications, Cloud Economics, and other aspects of Cloud Computing.

2022 witnessed many new impactful collaborations among some of the leading employer organizations and BITS Pilani WILP

The year 2022 saw many leading organizations either begin new engagements or continue to collaborate with BITS Pilani WILP for their employees across various industries and sectors, such as IT, manufacturing, engineering, Quality Assurance (QA), and Supply chain.
There are multiple ways in which organizations collaborate or engage with BITS Pilani WILP to facilitate continuing education for their employees. One of the leading ways in which engagements materialize is when organizations choose to sponsor specific degree or certificate programs offered by BITS Pilani WILP for certain groups of their employees. Quite often, certain niche programs are also offered to specific employees (who help form a cluster) from different organizations.

Some of the new major and strategic collaborations in 2022 were with:
 A leading global IT corporation admired for its leading HR practices
 India’s leading steel producer that enjoys a global reputation for its technology prowess as well as its people-oriented policies
 A reputed global healthcare company
 A leading provider of Integrated Engineering, Industrial Automation, and Digital Transformation solutions.
 One of the world’s premier automobile manufacturers and one of the world’s largest tech companies.
 One of the world’s largest building materials companies.
 One of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers.
 A globally admired company in the electronics industry.

Some of the highly leveraged programs for these collaborations were:
 M.Tech. in Data Science & Engineering
 M.Tech. inSoftware Engineering
 M.Tech. automotive engineering
 MBA in Digital Business
 B.Sc. Pharmaceutical Sciences (for working professionals with 10+2 qualification)
 B.Tech. in Manufacturing Technology (for professionals currently holding diplomas).

Many leaps in pedagogical enhancement with heightened focus on state-of-the-art experiential learning
Experiential learning gives working professionals the opportunities to address real-world or simulated problems at the workplace, thereby helping them put the concepts (that they would have likely learned about in theory) into practice — via hands-on assignments, such as assimilations, modeling , and other practical assignments that involve use of hardware and software.
We at BITS Pilani WILP understand this and have been an early mover in various innovative learning methodologies to create state-of-the-art remote and virtual labs, through which learners from across the globe can practice their skills on real equipment, hardware, and software. Not just in new-age technology areas, such as IoT, AI & ML, Big Data, analytics, and automotive engineering, the working professionals can also excel in the areas of analytics, finance, and general management by accessing our remote and virtual labs from the comfort of their homes or workplaces.
The year 2022 was quite progressive for experiential learning at BITS Pilani WILP. We are currently focused on further enhancing the live lectures, by leveraging Information and Communications Technology (ICT) even more. We intend to go far beyond video conferencing and make it highly interactive and engaging. The next area is experiential learning in sophisticated engineering domains, such as digital manufacturing, automotive electronics, FinTech, etc.

Setting up of Analytics, Finance, and General Management labs | Significant enhancements in other labs
BITS Pilani WILP launched three labs in the areas of Analytics, Finance, and General Management. These labs have been set up on the Hyderabad campus of BITS Pilani and the lab resources are accessible remotely by WILP students pursuing various programs, including MBA programs.

The Analytics Lab hosts all the relevant software and tools required to perform cutting-edge business analytics. The software and tools available in the lab include SPSS, Stata, @risk, StatTools, Eviews, Anaconda Navigator, Python for analytics, and Tableau and PowerBI for data visualization, among others.

The Finance Lab hosts the Bloomberg Terminals that capture real-time information of the financial markets as well as the financial statements and valuable business information of the industry. The Finance Lab would help the students undertake projects related to financial accounting, management accounting, corporate finance, derivatives trading, portfolio optimization, equity research, behavioral finance, and FinTech, among others.
The Management Lab is equipped with software, simulations, and digital resources that students can leverage in core areas of management. The simulations would help improve decision-making skills, and business competence and integrate the application of learnings from various courses.

Our Electric Vehicles lab was fully commissioned and deployed. This lab in alignment with the India growth story focuses on battery management systems and electric mobility. In addition to the registered students of BITS Pilani WILP, the lab attracted research scholars from other institutions as well.

Our Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) lab, which started in a humble way in 2021 made good progress to include a vehicle simulator and testing of rudimentary sensors, such as camera, IMU, GPS, and Radar. We also developed a roadmap for the next two years to build an autonomous vehicle of level 2.

With a clear plan to expand our lab infrastructure in ADAS, IoT, Automotive, and Cybersecurity, the year 2023 is going to be even more exciting.

A Leap in sharing some of our best practices with the world beyond BITS Pilani
We as an institute realize that we need to constantly engage with organizations, their key stakeholders, HR professionals, working professionals, and other people from a wide range of industries and sectors. This helps us to continually discuss, learn, and share more about sectoral nuances and challenges, which in turn aids us in addressing such challenges and further enhancing the education system and learning experiences.

Accordingly, the year 2022 saw BITS Pilani WILP participate in several leading conferences (primarily focused on human capital experience, upskilling, and reskilling) that further enabled such interactions and engagements.

We even collaborated with the Government of Telangana to share our expertise. The State Board of Technical Education and Training (SBTET), a board created under the authority of the Government of Telangana, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BITS Pilani WILP, in an effort to design, develop, and deploy Technology Enabled Laboratories (TEL) for polytechnics and engineering institutions in Telangana.
As an Institution of Eminence, BITS Pilani will be sharing some of our best practices and expertise in this domain.

Well, all these leaps in the year 2022 have set up just the kind of momentum needed to help us make an even greater impact in the new year, 2023. While it is 2024, which is technically the next “leap year,” we at BITS Pilani will strive, as always, to make even 2023 yet another “leap” year of educational innovation and rich learning experiences for working professionals.

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