Nishtha Shukla Anand is a mom, an accomplished journalist, a digital entrepreneur, and an influential figure in the world of education. With extensive experience in prestigious global and Indian media houses, she has established herself as a seasoned professional. As the founder of Techthirsty.com and recipient of the Google Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award, Nishtha has made a significant impact in digital publishing. Her leadership as Executive Trustee of the Foundation of Life Sciences and Business Management and Director of Shoolini University has helped shape the educational landscape. Additionally, she offers content marketing services through Pen Pundit, supporting startups and blue-chip companies.
As Director of the School of Media and Communications at Shoolini University, Nishtha shares her vision of the media school and how it will change the skill development and employability of Shoolini students.
What are the key features and unique aspects of the School of Media and Communications?
The School of Media and Communications comes from a space where we feel digital-first is the way to create better skills among professionals in all areas of life. It comes from the belief that quality content is integral to any media. As communication becomes more rapid and dynamic, the mode is evolving quickly. The need of the hour is to upskill students to keep up with these changes and create and disseminate information in new and innovative ways. That’s where the concept of the new Media School, where creativity meets technology, took shape.
What is the motivation behind the School?
The decision to establish the school at Shoolini University stemmed from a meaningful conversation with a young mother who sought to restart her professional journey. She expressed her interest in pursuing a digital marketing course, enquiring about my journey in the field.
This made me realise that our generation had never formally studied digital marketing. Instead, we acquired knowledge through practical experiences and self-learning. So, I wanted to launch programs that empowered individuals to enhance their skills in content creation and the digital space. When I started my first venture, PenPundit Media, in 2006, I recognised the immense potential of providing remote work opportunities for women. Witnessing firsthand the flexibility and numerous possibilities that proficiency in technology and content creation can offer, I was motivated to establish a media school that would equip individuals with the necessary skills to thrive in the constantly evolving digital landscape.
How does the School curriculum align with industry standards and emerging trends?
We incorporate two essential pillars into every course offered by our media school: Technology (specifically digital advancements) and Entrepreneurship. As I witness the ever-changing landscape of content creation and media, along with the emergence of technologies like AR, VR, META, and others, it becomes evident that we must equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in this new era. Our goal is to engage students in a curriculum that combines entrepreneurship, technology, and data analytics while fostering their innate creativity and enabling them to produce compelling content in this dynamic space.
Are there any partnerships or collaborations with media organisations or industry professionals to enhance the learning experience?
Absolutely! We are actively engaged in discussions with the BBC to explore a potential partnership with their renowned diversity program known as 50:50. Additionally, we are in talks with The Economist to collaborate on compelling data programs that can be implemented at Shoolini. We are also exploring partnerships with various industry verticals in India to offer specialised event management, gaming, and animation courses.
What are the career prospects for graduates?
Our students can pursue diverse and exciting positions as creators, analysts, and editors across various industries and media platforms. They can pursue careers in anchoring and news reading, content writing, scripting, etc. These skills help them showcase their communication skills and engage with audiences through television, radio, newspapers, and other traditional media outlets. Moreover, with the ever-growing digital media, our graduates will thrive in the digital-first landscape, making a mark on online platforms.
How do you prepare students to adapt to the rapidly evolving media landscape?
We have an engaging and dynamic Advisory Board that actively contributes to developing our hands-on learning experiences. Our aim is to provide students with up-to-date industry insights and guidance. Recognising the rapidly evolving nature of the media industry, we regularly update our program and curriculum, ensuring that students acquire relevant and practical skills. Our goal is to offer a current and immersive educational experience, equipping students with the necessary tools to succeed in the industry.
Any scholarships or financial assistance?
Our admissions process involves a comprehensive entrance test. In addition to considering grade 12th results, we evaluate exceptional students for substantial scholarships. We will provide talented individuals with the necessary support and financial assistance to pursue their education at our institution.
Where do the faculty members come from?
Our faculty members bring diverse backgrounds and expertise from various fields within the media industry, including television, print, and more. The work experience they bring to the classroom is crucial for providing hands-on and practical learning opportunities. We also have highly qualified academic faculty who understand the specific requirements of media education. To further enrich the learning experience, we invite renowned experts for specialised programs. Students are mentored by professionals from renowned media organisations such as Yash Raj Films, Sony Entertainment, Colors TV, The Indian Express, Aaj Tak, NDTV, India TV, Reuters, Lehman Brothers, and others.
How do you engage with the local community and contribute to the media ecosystem in the region?
We have recently introduced News Cafe, a website dedicated to sharing news and information specific to our region. As part of our expansion plans, we aim to organise various events that cater to the needs of the community. These events will foster intellectual stimulation and contribute to the growth and development of anything near the university. One of the events we organise annually is ‘Creators’ Fest’, where we invite top content creators in various fields such as technology, education, fashion, enterprise etc. They interact with our students and deliver lectures on content creation. This powerful platform allows creators to engage with their followers/subscribers and connect with a wider audience.
Any plans for research and development?
At Shoolini, we strongly emphasise integrating research into all fields of study. So, we are committed to enhancing research opportunities within the media school as well.
How is the new School of Media and Communications different from the existing one at Shoolini?
Initially, our institution focused solely on journalism with a touch of media. However, we have recently rebranded it as the School of Media and Communications. This change reflects our dedication to encompassing a broader range of media streams, including films, gaming, anchoring, journalism, and various other aspects of media and communications.
How is the School different from similar institutions in the region?
One of the key distinguishing factors of our curriculum is its practicality and industry-focused approach. We are committed to providing students with hands-on experience and ensuring that our curriculum aligns with the needs of the industry. In addition, we are investing in high-end labs and incorporating advanced technologies. We also prioritise training students on various software applications to equip them for future endeavours in any media organisation.