Anybody who sees her working on her laptop on the XLRI campus would mistake her to be a student, but 25-year-old Sheetal Bharat is fast getting used to delivering lectures rather than attending them.
Sheetal, who completed her graduation from Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Delhi, and did an MA in development economics from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, is today the youngest faculty member at XLRI.
“The rest of the faculty is much senior with PhDs. I am the youngest of the lot, yet to get a doctorate and, hence, a lecturer, not a professor,” says Sheetal, looking comfortable in her sprawling cabin at the faculty wing of the B-school.
Anybody would be curious to know how Sheetal managed to get a plum offer so early in her career. “It was last year that I started assisting Veena Paliwar, a senior economics professor here. Not only did I help preparing teaching modules but also attended her classes along with the other students. It was when she left that I was asked to replace her,” says Sheetal.
An alumni of Sacred Heart Convent and Loyola School, Sheetal considers her classes with Paliwar a learning experience. “During those days I had to teach a few students the basics of maths and economics. Gradually the word spread around when they did relatively well in their exams and one fine day I was asked to join as faculty,” recalls Sheetal.
Within her short span at the B-school Sheetal has conducted classes via satellite for two batches of XLRI students spread across the 56 centres in India. She also visited Dubai in November last year to conduct a two-month management course for working executives.
While taking satellite classes for the first time, Sheetal sure was a bit shaky, but found her ground soon. “The initial days of satellite classes were a little awkward because I had to speak to the camera. But gradually I got used to it,” says Sheetal.
What adds yet another feather to Sheetal’s cap is an elective course on development economics she has designed and introduced in the B-school.
“The entire structure and syllabus of this course has been made by me. I am already through with my first batch and would start my next session in June,” says Sheetal confidently.
Though at a young age, all the glories have not come easy. Daughter of leading city medicos R. Bharat and Vijaya Bharat, Sheetal has worked with many international agencies before returning to Jamshedpur last year. “I have worked with the Centre for Communication, Investment and Regulation (CCIER), Consumer Literary and Trust Society, International (CUTS) at Jaipur and Equitable Tourism Options (Equations) in Bangalore.
Sheetal has also organised an international seminar on the behalf of CUTS in Hanoi, Vietnam. “At present, I am also working on a research project with Jusco on water provision and pricing in Jamshedpur and have concluded another survey on 13 polytechnic colleges in Jharkhand for a state government project,” said Sheetal.
But is she a strict teacher? No, she smiles. “I am a friend to my students, most of whom are much senior to me. But when in class I try to maintain discipline,” she says. With so many experiences in her kitty, Sheetal will soon head to the US to pursue her PhD in California. “I have one more batch to finish before I leave for the States,” she signs off.