Friday, August 22, 2014

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Life as a New Business Faculty at MUM
I came to MUM a couple of years ago, to become a faculty member in the business school. After my education at top engineering and business schools, I had spent about 30 years working in industry and academia. I had taught at many good universities in the US, and had worked for 20 years in industry including 9 years at IBM. But I was hungry for something else. I came to MUM to pursue my own ‘moksha’, my enlightenment.

There is an unmistakable vibe of tranquility in this place. Everyone is very friendly and compassionate. People who have been living and meditating here for a long time show a strong glow on their faces. All faculty and staff are here to pursue their own evolution towards enlightenment. They are very reverent of Vedic knowledge and the practice of Vedic techniques.

Most of them have been around for a long time. I learned TM about 30 years ago, as a graduate student in India. My wife and I learned the TM-Siddhis program together here at MUM last year. We now enjoy doing our meditation and Sidhi program in the Golden Domes. I am learning more of the pure knowledge of Veda here. I often joke that this place is full of Indians, … and they are all white! Inspired by the spirit of this place, my wife and I decided to visit the auspicious Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad in 2014. An illustrated travelogue is available here.

As business schools in the US go, it is a smaller one. This allows greater interaction between faculty and students. The business school has some very talented faculty, many of whom have earned their PhDs from prestigious schools. We are an accredited PhD granting school.

However, there is much more focus on teaching, and on serving the students. I teach courses in Management Information Systems (MIS) area. My wife is also studying in the business school towards her MBA degree. With a joint appointment across business and computer science schools, I am privileged to teach the Computer Science graduate students as well. I teach a total of about 4-5 courses every year.

I also had an entrepreneurial opportunity here to start a new Online Graduate Certificate program in MIS. The program started in Fall 2013 and is going very well with 9 students in the first cohort. We are looking for a new cohort to begin in Fall 2014 (see mum.edu/MISCertificate for more information and to apply).

We are also starting an MIS Concentration in the MBA program, from Fall 2014. We signed up with IBM’s Academic Initiative program to provide cutting edge tools to our students, for the emerging fields of Big Data and Data Analytics.

There are students from over 70-80 countries on this campus. I volunteer as the faculty sponsor for the South Asian Heritage Club. We hold great celebrations on the big festivals of Diwali and Holi, and events like Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. There are students from all countries of South Asia, including India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. 

Most of the students are very talented, motivated and industrious. Every student on campus is a meditator, and some are also Siddhas. They enjoy a balanced Conscious-based Education, and then look forward to enjoying a meaning and productive life of freedom and prosperity in the US.

MUM offers strictly organic vegetarian food, and is a drug-free, smoke-free and alcohol-free campus. My family feels completely at home in this environment. Everyone eats fresh meals at Annapurna, unless one chooses to cook at home.

We live on campus itself. Everything is at a walking distance. The Golden Dome market is a great on-campus store that serves healthy food items and other necessities. The two Golden Domes are a unique resource for meditation and self-realization.

Most of the university buildings are designed around the health-giving Vastu principles. There are many Vastu houses on campus. We do wish that we can get to live in Vastu housing in due course. We have been enjoying good health, and pray for good health for everyone all the time. For a small town of only about 12,000 people, Fairfield has a lively art scene with many plays and events in the conference center, as well as a monthly Art Walk. There are many different kinds of ethnic restaurants, and there is a wonderful long walking trail. It is also a vibrant entrepreneurial town with many start-up companies in the high-tech area. 
 
Any downsides? Sure. During the winter, we miss the warm weather of Austin TX, where we lived for many years. When needing to travel, we miss the convenience of O’hare airport in Chicago, where we lived for a few years. I sometimes also miss the hustle-bustle and the facilities, of a big city, company or university. 
 
Could MUM do better? Sure. We could evolve our processes a little faster while holding firm on the Vedic bedrock of Consciousness-based Education. Serving on MUM’s Teaching and Learning Committee (TLC), I get to contribute my ideas towards helping move the university’s pedagogical practices forward. Being a newbie on campus, I can effectively act as a change agent. If I can also help in others’ enlightenment, that is a privilege and a bonus.
 
MUM is one of the most pure places in this country. If one loves inner peace and enlightenment, this university is a God’s gift in the form of Consciousness-based Education.

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