Interview with Dr. Abhishek Sharma
Dr. Abhishek Sharma
Assistant Professor (Psychology)
Associate Dean, Faculty of Management and Behavioural Sciences
Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey with us?
I have spent my childhood in a small village (Nirmali) of Bihar and had my initial education there. I have completed my Secondary (in 1998) and senior secondary (in 2000), with Sc. and Math., distinction in mathematics) education from Govt. high school and Govt. Inter college. I have also qualified for Novodaya (District topper) and Sanik school admission examinations. I couldn’t go there because of some family and immediate pressing issues.
After completing senior secondary, I decided to go out for my higher education but had no clue about that. My childhood friend Rajesh studied in Darbhanga (a famous city for education near my village) and was aware of various good higher education institutes and their admission procedure. He only told me about Banaras Hindu University (Varanasi) and Allahabad University. I appeared in the entrance examination for both BHU and AU and qualified for both. After visiting the campus, I have decided to pursue my higher education from BHU only.
I have completed my graduation, Psychology (Hons.) with sociology and history as subsidiary subjects in 2004 and secured the First position. I was awarded the Govt. of India Merit fellowship for my achievement in UG. Further, I decided to pursue my post-graduation from BHU only. I have secured the First position in the entrance examination for that and completed my M.A. in psychology from Deptt. Of Psychology, BHU in 2006. Till then, I had a clear motivation of joining academics and doing a Ph.D. I participated in the entrance examination for Ph.D. in Psychology from BHU and stood First in that also. I have completed my Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology under the supervision of Prof. Manisha Agarwal in 2011.
With a clear mind to contribute to academics, I joined Banasthali University as faculty in Psychology in 2010. After serving for almost one and a half years, I joined Mody University in 2012 and served there for nearly a year. In 2013, I joined the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur as faculty. I was given charge of Area chair, OB & HRM also. I learned a lot in every institute and was cherishing my professional; achievements in teaching and research.
Because of some family reasons, I left IIM Raipur in 2014 and joined Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice Jodhpur (SPUP) in 2014. I am currently serving as Assistant Professor (Psychology), Associate Dean, Faculty of Management and Behavioural Sciences at SPUP.
Apart from regular teaching and research, I have Substantial experience in developing and delivering efficiency development training sessions (Behavioural skills, soft skills, managerial skills) for middle and executive-level employees of various private and public sector organizations (under initiatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Commerce & Industries, and Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home affairs, GoI).
Q2. What did attract you towards teaching instead of any corporate job?
The credit for developing my interest in psychology teaching goes to my professors, specifically to Prof. R.C. Mishra. Prof. Mishra Sir was teaching psychology, like telling real-life experiences and stories. That was the experience that motivated me to learn and develop a goal for having a position to share stories and experiences. That time only I realized that psychology is all about us, every one of us, and I want to learn more and more about this any will value this as my profession.
Q3. What kind of hurdles did you face in your journey?
Initially, it was a challenge for me to understand social science philosophy, but gradually I developed an interest in that. Being a Hindi medium student was the second issue. I had to work a lot to read and understand books written in English, specifically Psychology books written by foreign authors.
Financial issues were also there, and I gave tuition to encounter that to some extent. On some occasions, I realized that my computer illiteracy and less awareness about possibilities/ opportunities for academic advancements were also challenging.
Q4. You are a Behavioral and Soft skills Trainer too. What is the importance of these skills in any student’s or person’s life?
As a Behavioral and Soft skills trainer, I strongly feel that knowledge is essential but communicating what you know is crucial in today’s era. We are human beings and work and live with human beings of different kinds. Understanding and managing human factors related to self and others are of utmost importance to live peacefully and contribute successfully.
Q5. How do you excel students in their academics and career?
I try my level best to impart updated and applied knowledge to every student. I also try to motivate them to prepare themselves for today’s era and emphasize holistic as well as individualistic development. I try to support my students by igniting a fire within them, help them in realizing and improving their potential, and develop faith in my availability.
Q6. Tell us about one of the moments which changed your perspective towards life?
During my graduation, once I lost the entire amount of monthly spending. I felt helpless in managing it in full and was hesitant in asking from parents as I knew the financial issues. This helplessness was a lesson for me, and I realized that the only pragmatic way to come out of any such issue it is to study and establish myself.
Another experience is a little apposite. After one month of my joining at IIM Raipur, I got a handsome amount as my salary. The same thing happened for the next 2/3 months. While looking at the account statement, a thought came to my mind that what I should do with the amount. My wife was earning well and taking care of my parents; we did not have kids, I did not have any expensive interest/hobby and no dues to pay.
That moment was eye-opening, and I realized the relative, not absolute, importance of material for happiness. I also learned the significance of meaning and purpose in life.
Q7. Online education is growing rapidly. How do you see online education in the Post Covid time in terms of education?
Online education is facilitating an addition to the existing education system. It has given us a chance to get information from distant sources with flexible time possibilities. A country like India has a lot to do to adopt it as a mainstream tool for education. It shouldn’t be seen as the replacement for regular teaching and learning.
Q8. Which one skill do you like most about yourself?
I love talking, connecting, and observing people. It is very informative and helping for me to see the another side of issues and serve as a Psychologist and life skills & well-being coach.