MTech (Information Technology and Entrepreneurship)

Posted on November 30, 2013

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Author: Sanjay Goel,

http://in.linkedin.com/in/sgoel

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This concept paper presents justification and overview of the first interdisciplinary MTech program at JIIT, leveraging some of its existing strengths as well as in alignment with its overall vision and laid out generic objectives for its MTech programs as a response to the contemporary trends in IT industry.    On 23rd November 2013, the program and semester wise scheme has been approved by the academic council of JIIT for starting the program in 2014.

The first section of this paper gives an outline of the context of this proposed program by highlighting some relevant internal factors in the first two subsections, as well as external factors in the next three subsections.  Subsection 1.1 and 1.2 sketch the internal factors by recalling the vision of JIIT and generic objectives of JIIT’s MTech programs. Subsection 1.3 gives an overview of entrepreneurial ecosystem in India. Subsection 1.4 and 1.5 briefly outline international trends for technology entrepreneurship education and Indian initiatives respectively. Finally, subsection 1.6 concludes the first section by identifying the opportunity and our strengths wrt this proposal.

Second section provides an overview of proposed program by briefly giving details of program objective, curriculum framework, pedagogy and assessment, eligibility criteria, intake, required incubation support and board of studies.

1.     Preamble and Context

1.1 JIIT’s existing vision:  To become a Centre of Excellence comparable to the best in the world for producing professionals with leadership quality in technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, and management.

1.2 Objective of the M.Tech programs at JIIT:

  1. to promote specialized or inter-disciplinary work of an advanced nature,
  2. to bring into the Institute recently generated knowledge that has either already become part of the world of work or has the potential to become part of this world,
  3. to attract the best student talent for higher studies and,
  4. to build requisite academic flexibility for a student-centric programme in which students can learn at their own pace and which enables interaction with the professional world.

1.3 IT Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in India

With around 13 crore internet users, 90 crore mobile subscriptions, 3.5 crore smart phone users, and a very large pool of technical manpower, India is gradually emerging as a hub of IT entrepreneurship.  In the last few years, many Indian IT start-ups like flipkart, JustDial, naukri.com, EduComp,  snapdeal, myantra, makemytrip, bharat matrimony, Olx, etc. have already become household names in India.  In a way, many of these companies are providing alternate solutions to India’s poor infrastructure. Startups like inmobi, Zoho, and  MuSigma have been valued for more than US$ 1 Billion.

As per a recent estimate by Microsoft Accelerator program, there are around 4000 IT product companies in India.  Many of these are small and new. In the last 5 years, 500+ tech start-ups have come up in Bangalore and around 250+ in NCR.  In the  Last year alone, around 400 new tech start-ups were started in India.   Increasingly many IT engineers in India are aspiring for pursuing  entrepreneurship instead of taking up a job.  Few of our own alumni have created successful technology led ventures in India as well as in USA. Many more are also in the process of pursuing entrepreneurship.  Many large organizations are also encouraging their employees to take up the responsibilities of intrapreneurs to create new technology ventures within the larger organizations.   Entrepreneurial skills are in demand all around.

Many Angels/VCs,  e.g., Blume ventures, 500 start ups, Mumbai Angels, Nexus, DFJ, etc,  as well as Incubators/Accelerators, e.g.,  Startup village, Microsoft/GSF Accelerator, i-accelarator, The Morpheus, Venture nursery, etc., along with networks like National Entrepreurship Network, India Angel Investment Network, Indian Women Entrepreneur Network, Delhi Entrepreneur Network, etc., and also Government initiatives, e.g., DST’s National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB),  are already part of the start-up  ecosystem.   Several conferences and other events, e.g., Techsparks, Nasscom product conclave, Nasscom emergeout conclave, TIECon, Entrepreneur India, Microsoft/Morpheus days, Startup Saturday, Startup weekend, etc., are being regularly organized to boost up entrepreneurial activity in the India.  Many engineering and management institutes have opened EDCs and incubation facilities.

1.4 International Trends for Technology Entrepreneurship Education

Internationally many universities offer masters programs and courses in technology entrepreneurship.  Some of these are – MIT, University of Texas at Austin, RPI, University of Michigan, University of Rochester, St. Mary’s  University,  Lehigh University, University of Notre Dame, in USA;  Eastern Macedonia & Thrace Institute of Technology in Greece;  Institute of Technology Blanchardstown  (itb) in Ireland, UTM in Malaysia, etc.  Stanford University also offers an online postgraduate certificate on innovation and entrepreneurship for experienced professionals. While at some universities, it is the sole responsibility either of business school or engineering department, at most universities it is a joint program between the two departments.

1.5 Entrepreneurship Educational Programs in Indian Engineering Institutes

The importance of entrepreneurship in technical education cannot be overstated.  ‘Inculcating entrepreneurship’ has been included by AICTE in its mission statement and  ‘Entrepreneurship Development Cell’ is listed among its major functions.  Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras offers a two year program, MS (by entrepreneurship), in which the students are expected make significant contribution towards the technical feasibility of the product/process proposed and also the commercial feasibility of the venture.  Their BTech students are also given option to spend one extra year and complete this program.

Though entrepreneurship programs are not yet common in Indian engineering institutes, however, it is not uncommon to see many examples of interdisciplinary postgraduate (MTech) programs wherein the curriculum has technical as well as managerial oriented courses.  Recently Govt. of India has established a new deemed to be university named, ‘National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management’.   This institutes offers five MTech program, all combining selected aspects of food technology and management.  Following are some more examples of such postgraduate programs at few CFTIs.

  1. IIT Kharagpur – ‘Industrial Engineering and Management’.
  2. IIT Delhi –   Telecommunication Technology and Management – MTech as well as MS (R)
  3. IIT Kanpur – Industrial and Management Engineering
  4. School of Planning and Architecture – ‘Building Engineering and Management’.

AICTE’s list (2013-14) of approved degree titles of postgraduate programs in engineering and technology already includes following degree titles:

  1.  ‘Master in Engineering and Management’, ‘Master of Engineering and Management’
  2. ‘Communication Technology and Management’,
  3. ‘Construction Engineering and Management’,   ‘Construction management’, ‘Construction Planning and Management’, ‘Construction Project Management’, ‘Construction Technology & Management’,  ‘Construction Technology and  Management’,  ‘Structural Engineering and Construction Management’
  4. ‘Energy Systems and Management’,
  5. ‘Environment Engineering and Management’,   ‘Environmental Management’, 
  6. ‘Infrastructural Engineering and Management’,  ‘Infrastructure Management’,   
  7. ‘Industrial Engineering and Management’
  8. ‘Manufacturing Engineering and Management’,   ‘Manufacturing Systems and Management’ , ‘Production Management’, ‘Production Technology and Management’
  9. ‘Project management’,
  10. ‘Product Design and Commerce’
  11. ‘Quality Engineering and Management’
  12.  ‘Transport  Engineering and Management’
  13.  ‘System Management’

Further, AICTE’s list of approved degree titles of postgraduate programs in management already includes following degree titles:

  1. Entrepreneurship
  2. Business Entrepreneurship
  3. MBA (Information Technology)

1.6 Opportunity and our Strengths

This kind of inter-disciplinary master’s programs, integrating technology and entrepreneurship, are largely missing in India. With India’s large number of engineering graduates in IT disciplines aspiring to create their ventures around their own innovative IT products and services, there is an immediate need to start such specialized and interdisciplinary master’s level programs combining elements of IT as well as entrepreneurship.

a.   The program is proposed to be jointly offered by department of CSE/IT and Jaypee Business School (JBS) at Jaypee Institute of Information Technology.  Based on the expertise within these two departments, we are in reasonably good position to take us this initiative.  A summary of these two departments is given below:

Department Year of est. Doctoral candidates Present Faculty   strength Academic Programs Alumni count 

CSE & IT

2001

Approx. 50

Approx. 80(2 campuses) BTech (CSE),BTech (IT),MTech (CSE),

PhD

Approx. 3000.Currently 550 graduates/annum

JBS

2007

Approx. 50

Approx. 20 MBA,PhD Approx. 1000.Currently 200 graduates/annum

b.    Our location in NCR, which is the second largest hub of IT companies in India with a large number of start-ups, gives us an additional advantage as we can leverage these companies and experts to associate with us in arranging visiting/adjunct faculty and speakers for seminars, students mentoring, project co-supevision, consultations, and also for arranging full time and part time internships for the students.

c.   Some of our own alumni have already started their own technology ventures and have shown keen interest in supporting this program.

d.    JIIT’s JBS and our sister university JUET, Guna, had taken membership of ‘National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN)’ and we can surely revive it and leverage the strengths of this and other such networks.

e.    Our founder, Sh. Jaiprakash Gaur is himself a highly successful first generation engineering entrepreneur.

2.     Program Overview

2.1 Program Objectives:

This two year program is designed for graduates with good IT background who are interested in pursuing information technology centric entrepreneurship or taking leadership positions in innovative technology-based start ups and other organizations.  The success of this program will be assessed based on technologic centric entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial engagement of its graduates within few years of their graduation. It is hoped that 40% graduates of this program will be able to start their own technology ventures within 2 years of their graduation and another 40% will play a key role in some existing startup venture.

2.2 Learning Outcomes

As per JIIT’s MTech ordinance, the output profile of an M.Tech. graduate states that students should be specialists in their area of specialization having the capability to conceive new systems/applications. They should possess some of the following characteristics.

  1. Independence in work and thoughts.
  2. Ability to engineer requirement/system to carry out systems integration.
  3. Ability to explore the latest technology and its applications.
  4. Be a technology manager.
  5. Capability to deploy appropriate technology paradigm for given tasks.
  6. Ability to form and lead teams.
  7. Ability to build convincing technical cases for approval/demonstration of initial ideas by conducting experiments and forming examples.

While complying with all these generic outcome requirements wrt the discipline of information technology, this program will especially aim to develop following competencies:

  1. A demonstrable understanding of critical functions of a technology centric business including technology, finance, marketing, HR, etc. and ability to strategically think about appropriate courses of action for capturing, sustaining and maintaining entrepreneurial ventures.
  2. Ability to critically assess and creatively think about business models, entrepreneurial opportunities, information technology applications, and future trends to generate new ideas for transforming experiences into design and business problems.
  3. An ability to combine knowledge, ideas, and technologies to innovate and design new or significantly improved user centric IT or IT enabled products, services, processes or business models tailored to the specific needs of a business or social scenario.
  4. An ability to manage complex IT projects with consideration of the human, financial,  environmental, legal, and ethical  factors and an understanding of risk management processes, as well as operational and policy implications
  5. An ability to negotiate and communicate effectively with both technical and non-technical stakeholders.
  6. An ability to transform innovations into viable business solutions that can be presented to the market, scaled, and will be sustainable.

Through this program, the student will network with successful ‘role model’ innovators, entrepreneurs, and enterprise development experts, develop an investor-ready business plan and also obtain a masters qualification based on the experiential learning process.

2.3 Board of Studies  and Panel of Industry Advisors

Keeping the special needs of this program, we should formulate a special BoS for this program that will have experts from the two departments and also some IT entrepreneurs.  External faculty members to be invited for this BoS will be selected based on their dual interest in both information technology as well as in entrepreneurship.  In addition, a panel of industry advisors and mentors will be created to regularly guide  this program and mentor the students.

2.4 Eligibility Criteria and Intake

The students will be selected on the basis of their technical knowledge, general knowledge, and aptitude for innovation & entrepreneurship.  Up to 30 students will be admitted every year.    The program will be open to the following graduates:

  1. BTech (CSE/IT)
  2. MCA
  3. MSc (Computer Science)
  4. Other BTech graduates, e.g. BTech (ECE) etc.,  can be considered provided they have good IT skills and have taken at least six IT courses during their graduation

2.5 Pedagogy and Assessment

In order to ensure the successful achievement of program objective and learning outcomes, the pedagogy in this program will emphasis experiential learning and project workThe courses will engage students in project activity.  Conventionally styled fixed duration written examinations will not be the main instrument for assessment. Student assessment will largely be based on several other instruments like – assignments, seminars, proposal writing, design work, development work, evaluation tasks, network creation, etc.  Guest faculty from industry who are well experienced in technology entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship will play a key role in the delivery of this program.  They will be engaged as advisor and adjunct/visiting/guest faculty to deliver full courses, part courses, invited talks, and also for mentoring students.  In all courses, efforts will be made to incorporate guest lectures by industry experts.  

2.6 Incubation support

Subject to their satisfactory performance in developing the prototype and business plans, these graduate entrepreneurs will be allowed to use our facilities and support system for up to one year, after the completion of their curriculum.  An incubation facility is almost a necessary requirement for excellence and sustainability of this program. Hence, we shall also make efforts to create our own reasonably good incubation facility for these graduate students. We shall also create some kind of a partnership with some angels, angel networks, accelerators and incubator. In order to ensure continued mentoring, graduates who succeed in launching their ventures will be encouraged to attract their mentors as their board members.

2.7 Curriculum

The program can broadly follow the newly approved MTech curriculum structure at JIIT with some modifications.  The broad curriculum framework is proposed below.

2.7.1 Framework of the Curriculum (70 credits in 4 semester and  summer between 2nd and 3rd semesters)

  1. Courses Work (36 credits, in 1st and 2nd  Semesters)
  2. Industrial  Internships (16 credits, in 1st and 3rd Semester)
  3. IT Entrepreneurship Project (18 credits, in 4th Semester)

2.7.1.1 Courses Work (36 credits in 1st and 2nd  Semesters)

Student will have to earn a minimum of thirty four credits through regular course work. There are seven IT courses (4 core + 3 elective) and seven entrepreneurship management courses (5 core + 2 elective).  The italised courses are proposed as core courses, others are electives.  The courses have been chosen based on their potential contribution for facilitating the learning outcomes as listed in subsection 2.2.

Information   Technology courses (18 credits)

Entrepreneurship   management courses (18 credits)

All core courses in this stream are compulsory.

  1.   Activity Centered Design and User Experience (3 credits)
  2.   High performance Software Engineering (3 credits)   (including Risk Engineering)
  3.   Requirement Engineering and Agile    Development (including Prototyping, Testing) (2 credits)
  4.   IT Product Innovation and Creativity  (2 credits)
  5.   Mobile Systems Design
  6.   Web services and Cloud computing
  7.   E-Commerce and Social Web
  8.   Business Intelligence
  9.   Embedded Systems Design
  10. Pattern Recognition   and Machine Learning
  11. Any course being   offered to MTech (CSE)
  1.   IT Venture Creation (3 credits) (including  Lean Startup   Methodology,   Business Process Incubation, and   Business Plan)
  2.   IT Product Marketing and Sales (3 credits)    (including Demand Generation)
  3.   Financial Management for New Ventures (3 credits)  (including   Financial Models, Fund Raising, Earning, Cash Flow, Valuation)
  4.   Behavioral Skills for Entrepreneurs (2 credits) (including Leadership, Business   Ethics, Negotiation)
  5. 5.        Business Environment and Legal Issues (3 credits) (including Business Plan)
  6.   Talent and Cost management
  7.   Entrepreneurial Business Models and Strategy
  8.   Managing Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  9.   Developmental Economics
  10. Social   Entrepreneurship
  11. Few more electives will be added.

 

2.7.1.2 Industrial Internships (16 credits in 1st and 3rd Semester)

Internships with technology led startups and mentorship by industry experts will play a key role in this program.  Hence, a total of sixteen credits are proposed for two industrial internships to be held in the 1st (2 credits), and the second internship (14 credits) to be held in 3rd semester and the preceding summer. In order to facilitate these internships in the first semester, their classes will not be held on one working day per week so that students can spend that day with industry preferably a startup company or a new venture of an existing company.

  1. Industrial Internship –I  (2 credits, in 1st sem, to be extended in the mid-term as well as winter break)
  2. Industrial Internship –II  (14 credits, 6 months full time in 3rd semester and the preceding summer)

The Industrial Internship –II should involve an active participation in an incubation activity.

The internships will be jointly assessed by industry experts and faculty.

2.7.1.3 Entrepreneurship Project (18 credits in 4th Semester)

Entrepreneurial project in the final semester will require the students to engage in following activities:

  1. Idea Generation & Opportunity Recognition
  2. Product Proposal & Business Plan Development and partial launch
  3. Prototype Development & Business Strategy
  4. Production, Marketing & Sales
  5. Exploring Patent identification
  6. Networking with funding sources

Students will be encouraged to start few of these, activities, especially idea generation, in their earlier semesters itself so that they can focus more on implementation aspects in the last semester.   It will be mandatory to have a well experienced co-supervisor from industry.  The project will be jointly assessed by the faculty and industry experts for the technical as well as commercial aspects.   The credit distribution is proposed as follows:

  1. IT Entrepreneurship Project (18 credits, in 4th  sem)

2.7.2    Scheme

FIRST SEMESTER

S.No Course Contact   Hours Credits
No.               Title L     T    P    Total
1. Xxxxx Activity Centered Design and User Experience 3 3 3
2. Xxxxx High   Performance Software Engineering 3 3 3
3. Xxxxx IT Product Marketing and Sales 3 3 3
4. Xxxxx Financial Management for New Ventures 3 3 3
5. Xxxxx IT Venture Creation 3 3 3
6. Xxxxx IT   Elective – I 3 3 3
8. Xxxxx Industrial   Internship – I   (80 hours to be   extended in winter break) 8 8 2
TOTAL 18 8 26 20

SECOND SEMESTER

S.No Course Contact   Hours Credits
No.               Title L   T      P    Total
1. Xxxxx Requirement Engineering and Agile    Development 2 2 2
2. Xxxxx IT Product Innovation and Creativity 2 2 2
3. Xxxxx Behavioral Skills for Entrepreneurs 2 2 2
4. Xxxxx Business Environment and Legal Issues 3 3 3
5. Xxxxx IT   Elective – II 3 3 3
6. Xxxxx IT    Elective – III 2 2 2
7. Xxxxx Entrepreneurship   Management Elective – I 2 2 2
8. Xxxxx Entrepreneurship   Management Elective – II 2 2 2
TOTAL 18 18 18

 THIRD SEMESTER

S.No Course Contact   Hours Credits
No.               Title L   T      P    Total
1. Xxxxx Industrial   Internship -II (6 months full time, to start in summer break) 40  40 14
TOTAL 40  14

FOURTH  SEMESTER

S.No Course Contact   Hours Credits
No.               Title L   T      P    Total
1. Xxxxx  IT Entrepreneurship Project 50 50 18
TOTAL  50 18

 

Information   Technology Electives – I, II and III

Entrepreneurship   Management Electives – I and II

  1.   Mobile Systems Design
  2.   Web services and Cloud computing
  3.   E-Commerce and Social Web
  4.   Business Intelligence
  5.   Embedded Systems Design
  6.   Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning

Any course being offered to MTech (CSE) 

  1.   Entrepreneurial Business Models and Strategy
  2.   Online Marketing and Sales
  3.   Talent and Cost management
  4.   Social Entrepreneurship
  5.   Global Entrepreneurship
  6.   Managing Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  7.   Organization Design and Human Resource Management

Few more electives will   be added.

Acknowledgements:  Very special thanks for following academicians as well as IT entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and other experts who have reviewed the concept paper and/or  contributed valuable ideas for developing this proposal:

  1. Prof. Sartaj Sahni, University of Florida, USA
  2. Prof. Dinesh Manocha, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
  3. Prof. Vasudev Verma, Dean (R&D), IIIT Hyderabad, CEO, IIITH Foundation & co-founder SETU Software Systems Pvt. Ltd.
  4. Mr. Mukul Jain, Co-founder and COO, MTree, Noida, India
  5. Mr. Arvind Jha, Co-founder, Pariksha labs, Gurgaon, India
  6. Mr. Rajeev Razdan, Founder, Technofast Consulting Ltd, UK
  7. Mr. Ajay Goel, Assistant VP (Engg.), Aricent
  8. Dr. Abhinav Mathur, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Spice Global, Noida, India
  9. Mr. Shiv Kumar, Senior Manager (L&D), Aricent
  10. Mr. Nikhil Wason, Alumnus of JIIT and Columbia University, Cofounder, Cardback, Noida, India
  11. Mr. Siddharth Batra, Alumnus of JIIT and Stanford University, Twitter,  USA (He co-founded a startup, Mine)
  12. Mr. Umesh Sachdeva, Alumnus of JIIT, Co-founder, Uniphore, Chennai, India
  13. Mr. Akshay Agarwal, Alumnus of JIIT, Co-founder, Scrapbotics, New Delhi, India
  14. Mr. Deepak Singh, Alumnus of JIIT, Co-founder, YatraFinder, Gurgaon and Noida, India

The whole hearted support extended by JIIT’s Chancellor, VC, Director, Deans, and HoDs and faculty is highly appreciated.

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