Interview Insights: Dr Sheena Chhabra

Dr Sheena Chhabra is Assistant Professor in School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, India. While her specialization is in Financial Markets, she teaches courses such as Corporate Finance, Engineering Economics, Total Quality Management, Organization Behaviour, Human Values, IPR and Human Rights, Economic Analysis and Value Engineering and Humanities for Engineers. She has published few research papers in reputed journals and written some book chapters in the area of Finance. She has also worked on Technology Adoption and Management Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs in the Food and Beverage Sector. You can learn more about her work here: http://www.thapar.edu/faculties/view/Dr.-Sheena-Chhabra/MTc5/MTI= .

What are your primary research interests? What prompted you to pursue those specific areas?

My area of research is Financial Markets, primarily equity markets. I am an engineer in Electronics and Communication Engineering. After that, I did my Masters in Business Administration where I got interested in trading of stocks as this is a fascinating subject. Since childhood, I have loved to play with numbers and thus got into this area. It is quite interesting to analyse the trends in the financial market and factors influencing the performance of stocks.

How would you explain the working of financial markets to a high-school student? What advice would you give to a student who is interested in delving into your subject?

It is necessary to gather information before investing your money because best decisions come out with information. I would suggest the students explore the performance of a specific sector (of their choice). The logic is very simple. You need to keep an eye on the performance of financial instruments (equity, mutual fund) where you want to invest. Start with a minimal amount; try to withdraw your principal amount back once you get expected returns. For example, if you invest Rs 10,000/- and the expected return is 20%, try to withdraw a part of the principal amount back once the value reaches Rs 12000/-. I strongly recommend students to start with a minimal amount which you are ready to sacrifice (equity being a risky instrument) for the learning. Many people continue investing more money due to greed which many times leads to loss.

In all your years of providing education, what can you say your students have taught you in return?

I have always considered myself a learner. To accumulate more knowledge and information, it is always better to be at the receiving end. I have learned a lot during my journey as a teacher. To be an effective teacher, I have learned to be empathetic and an active listener, which is indispensable to create a bond with the students. During my interactions with students, they always come up with innovative ideas for a business problem which broadens my perspective.

How can we, as students, learn to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and the practical applications of the theories and ideas that we learn in the classroom?

I believe in the concept of student centered learning (SCL) which is followed by many western countries. There is a paradigm shift in Indian education system as well. The role of a teacher is to act as a guide/mentor/supervisor for the students and help them have a hand on experience. With SCL methodologies, students get more knowledge while implementing the theory into practice through experiential learning.

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt. Can you share a life experience or anecdote where your academic journey changed unpredictably? How would you encourage your students to take failures in the right stride?

I have a personal experience to share in this regard. In my opinion, failure is a part of success. During my doctorate, I have experienced it but I would not call it a failure because that phase acts as a strong base for my accomplishments. I had to publish my research papers before thesis submission. One of my research papers was rejected several times by different journals (many of them provided their reviews/comments) which ultimately helped me to improve it and finally it got published in a reputed international journal. I would advise students, not to be afraid of your failures. Rather be a strong individual and work hard to achieve your goal.

How would you describe your teaching style in one word/sentence?

Interactive

What additional resources would you recommend to someone who wishes to delve into your field?

In a techno savvy environment, it is the internet. Try to explore investopedia.

If you had to choose an alternate career, what would it be?

Singer. Singing is my passion. 

What other academic or non-academic subjects interest you?

Finance of course, but these days, I am exploring the area of astrology. 

What is your success mantra?

Try and try hard until you succeed. Hard work is a key to success. 

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