Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lovely Professional University: Forging Ahead on Tie-ups, Incubation, & Scholarships

It's that time of the year when prospective LPU students rush to complete their application process with the hope of being part of the Punjab-based university's academic community. The application process is in its final lap with barely a week to go after which entrance tests commence from April for admission to its B.Tech, MBA, Law, Hotel Management, Design programmes. LPU campus in Punjab is buzzing with strategic activities across 360 degrees. A tie-up with Google, a start-up incubator, and global promotion of Ayurveda are only a few among the noted steps. The university welcomed a delegation from Monmouth University recently thereby bringing yet another US university within its radar. The campus is an enabler with full cashless facility, least expensive medical care, and not to mention one of the largest scholarship programs in the private space. No wonder then that discerning students are rushing in, and impressive companies are favouring LPU for placements. The university was also recently recognized by the ‘Higher Education Review’ as one of the best among 700-odd universities in India.

With the admission season just round the corner, universities have their task cut out. While a university like LPU may have very few reasons to worry about attracting reasonable students, it is still not a stretch to rule out the stiff competition that the Jalandhar-based University has been experiencing of late. 

However, LPU isn’t betting its money only on filling up its seats. The university has made some quick and innovative strides in the last one year while maintaining its competitiveness in the higher education space. From opening a startup school to collaborating with tech giant Google Inc, LPU has charted its future course in becoming a one-of-its-kind global university in India. As another stellar placement season for the university saw the likes of Qatar Airways, Air India and Hyatt Hotel USA offer lucrative packages, LPU would hope that the ongoing year would help stake their claim as a leading private university in India. 

Lovely Professional University (LPU) has been hogging the limelight recently for more reasons than one. After becoming one of the largest recruiters of faculty talent from India’s various IITs, the private university based in Phagwara, near Jalandhar in India’s Punjab State had set a high placement record in 2015-16. Students of LPU have bagged plum placements with top companies both in India and abroad. The remarkableness of this record was even more evident with the selection of 550 students in just a day by Cognizant! Among global placements, Qatar Airways offered highest salary package of Rs 20 lakh and Hyatt Hotel USA at Rs 15 lakh. Other top salary offering companies were Air India (Rs 8.5 lakh), Practo Technologies (Rs 7 lakh), etc. Cognizant once again remained the top recruiter across all the sectors and clusters. It was followed by TechM’s selection of 249 students.

While LPU’s strong showing in the placement front is no surprise, the University has truly gone a step ahead to make its presence felt globally. The year began with The School of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences of Lovely Professional University and one of the leading ayurvedic pharma companies, Shree Dhanwantri Herbals, collaborating to produce and promote ayurvedic products not only in India, but across the globe. The said pharma company is already producing and exporting dozens of herbal and ayurvedic medicines in many countries. For collaborative approach, LPU researchers will frame out a literature for the promotion of ayurvedic products, as it has been greatly realized that ayurvedic medicines are reliable alternatives to modern day medicines in their efficacy. This tie-up is also to strengthen academia industry relations for production and promotion of clinically-safe Ayurvedic medicines. 

Weighing in on the strategic deal, LPU Chancellor Ashok Mittal said, “Under this collaboration, LPU students will pursue important research projects to further enhance acceptability of herbal, ayurvedic and nutraceutical products. LPU students will also create a literature in this regard for awakening and awareness among people around the world for the great utility of age-old ayurvedic implementations of India in the health sector. On these lines, a lot of achievements have been made at LPU Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, and our students have researched hard for producing alternative medicines to cure and curb diabetes and even cancer.” Mr Mittal added, “As per the needs of global society and Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), LPU students and faculty members have already researched together to get many patents applied and published.”

The attempt at global reach didn’t end there. Earlier in the year, LPU made headlines when it announced a landmark tie-up with the technology giant Google Inc. Google and Lovely Professional University signed an MoU to offer courses with specialization in Android programming. For this, LPU is going to establish ‘Center of Excellence’ at its campus, and this center will be counted among very few centers across the world. LPU students will get Android certifications as a part of their syllabus and that too at no additional cost. Mittal made it clear that under this collaboration, the students will be trained through Google expertise and that for the best training results, the University would set up the state-of-the-art Google Center of Excellence with ultra-modern facilities and Google Chromebooks.

The university was also an early adopter of digital technology and wholeheartedly embraced the idea of cashless payments at academic campuses through a strategic partnership with Paytm. History was created when Paytm created the first cashless campus at LPU. Mind you, this was months before the demonetization move and subsequent promotion of online transactions by the government. Mr Mittal felt that for a state-of-the-art university like LPU, it was imperative to bring the cash transaction in the campus to a minimum.

“After talking to Paytm and implementing their system, all our fees are coming online and even all our vendors such as the hostel canteen etc are also accepting money through Paytm solution.  This has really helped parents and students to understand their spending pattern.” Upbeat about the “cashless campuses concept”, the institute is implementing wallet-based payments in different styles by bringing out various offers for its students. There are cashbacks, contests and discounts in association with various brands in the campus.

At a time when the digital wave had gripped the nation and the entrepreneurship fever among the youth reached a crescendo, LPU went forward with the inauguration of its startup school in early September. On the occasion, Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley spoke about the need to emulate the tech hubs like California in the US and countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and about how each one of these countries were advanced in technology and research and have grown rapidly by targeting global market. His clarion call was to the LPU students to become ‘disrupter’ entrepreneurs. Mittal said that their primary mission was to ensure that no startup idea stayed just an idea. “While working for LPU students, LPU will also be building a community for the larger Punjab by working closely with the local entrepreneurs. Our goal is that every year, at least, 500 startups are launched, 100 are funded and make 10 of it to the series ‘A’ level. For this, LPU startup school will be providing mentorship through industry experts and academicians related to the fields,” he added. 

Recognizing the rising cost of healthcare due to the complication of varied medical products and intricate processes, the institute has tied up with 18 top hospitals from across the city to ensure the best and cost effective healthcare services to LPU students, faculty, staff and their family members. Mittal believes that this effort will indeed touch thousands of precious lives by bringing better and more scientific cost control in providing healthcare service. The participating hospitals include BBC Heart Care Pruthi Hospital, Capitol Hospital, Cardinova Hospital, Johal Multi-Speciality Hospital, Chhabra Neuro Care &Trauma Centre, Nasa Brain and Spine Centre, Sikka Hospital, Thind Eye Hospital, Bhatia Mann Scan Centre, Dr Ruby’s Path Lab, Apex Hospital, Ghai Hospital, Kamal Hospital, Satyam Hospital, Sacred Heart Hospital, Doaba Hospital, Pasricha Hospital etc.

Besides the significant gains made in fields ranging from the startup ecosystem to healthcare, LPU is renowned for its comprehensive financial aid and incentive program for its economically under-privileged students. By offering India’s largest private scholarship program, LPU has been continuously endeavoring to provide quality higher education to all meritorious students regardless of economic condition. Scholarships are applicable to almost all the 200+ programs offered by the university. The benefits of this program has already been reached to 30,000+ meritorious students over the last 6 years. A student can avail up to Rs 7 lakh depending upon the program opted and the performance of the student in the last examination as the base of admission.  

In the last couple of years, LPU has been recognizing not only academically strong students but also candidates who have performed at state, national or international level sports, cultural, co-curricular activities, social services, bravery acts or research & development works. This culminated in instituting a cricket scholarship in the name of India’s former skipper M.S Dhoni for international level cricket players, Ranji Trophy probables and inter-university finalists. The duration of the five prestigious MS Dhoni-LPU scholarships is for three years. The scholarship includes tuition fee, residential accommodation and food charges. In effect, a student with exceptional cricket can take up a subject of his choice and study at this prestigious private university free of charge and avail all the facilities there is on its state of the arts campus. “Our academics are valued everywhere in the world, we need to bring the same excellence to sports and one way to do this is to institute scholarships and chairs for sportspersons.” said Mittal.

LPU student, Hansjeet Singh Duggal won the 1st runners up award in Students’ Emmy and bronze medal in Student Oscars. Presently, he is settled in California as a qualified ‘Visual-Effects (VFS) artist. Hansjeet’s artistry proved winning at 43rd Student Academy Awards, commonly known as ‘Student Oscars’, held in California. These awards are presented by Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences (US) for excellence in cinematic achievements.

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