“Srikanth is an amazing professor who cares about the needs of his students. He makes learning material fun and easy and is always very flexible in his teachings. Srikanth focuses on applying concepts learned in class to the real world and often relates back what he teaches us to his research.” – Julian Alegre, student
Srikanth Parameswaran, 33, is Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at Binghamton University, where he’s been since 2018.
He has a PhD in Management Science and Systems and a MS in Management Information Systems from State University of New York at Buffalo, and a BE in Computer Science and Engineering from Anna University in Chennai, India. He currently teaches Web Mining and Social Network Analysis, and Database Management Systems.
His research interests include IT innovation, gamification in healthcare, social media and networks, and user-generated content mining. His work has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Information and Management, and Journal of Information Privacy and Security.
He won the UB Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creativity from the State University of New York at Buffalo and was a Doctoral Consortium Fellow for the International Conference on Information Systems. He was a Best Paper Award 1st Runner Up at the Americas Conference on Information Systems.
“Professor Parameswaran is not only super passionate about his field but he cares about his students’ wellbeing and desire to learn. He makes sure that every class is as interesting and thoughtful as possible,” writes student Judy Li in her nomination. “He is a professor that goes above and beyond in every aspect and can turn something like database management into an interesting course.”
TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I got the first opportunity to work on a serious research project as a master’s student and realized what an exhilarating experience research could be. Research is one of the best things one can ever do. It is cool that professors do that for a living. As a teacher, you get the opportunity and the fulfilling experience of making a positive difference in your students’ lives.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My research interests are in the areas of (a) IT innovation, (b) user-generated and web content, and (c) technology-mediated health outcomes. One of my studies investigates the role of online social support on patient self-care behavior in an online health community dedicated to HIV patients. We found that beyond a threshold, online social support had a deleterious effect on self-care behavior.
If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… still wearing at least one of the multiple hats that I wear now: a data scientist, a counselor, or an entertainer (maybe a stand-up comedian).
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I strive to reduce the distance between a student and a professor. I believe I have been successful in this pursuit by being friendly, caring, warm, funny, approachable, and available. By reducing the distance, I develop a connection with my students to facilitate a smooth flow of knowledge. Our classrooms can get serious at times. So, I rely on the power of humor.
My classes include market-essential skills such as programming, analytics, and data modeling. Although business school students know very well that it is important to learn these skills, there seems to be a barrier to begin. I remove this barrier by empowering students with a host of easily consumable learning modules and hands-on learning sessions to enable each student to feel confident to begin. Additionally, I insist on engaging students in debates and discussions to stimulate them intellectually and challenge their assumptions.
One word that describes my first time teaching: Gravitas. Determined to succeed not fail.
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: I will have to constantly customize and reinvent my instructional design while keeping in mind the inescapable diversity of a business school classroom.
Professor I most admire and why: My Ph.D. advisor Prof. Rajiv Kishore. His class was the first I stepped in when I joined the master’s program at SUNY Buffalo. I was in awe of Dr. Kishore’s depth of knowledge and captivating presence. He has all the traits of the perfect Ph.D./life advisor. Not only did he shower care and concern on me as I navigated the Ph.D. life, but he was also deeply invested in my success. At the same time, he put me through a rigorous learning regimen to ensure my competence in both theory and statistical methods. Alongside my dissertation, he presented me with the opportunities to work on his own projects.
TEACHING BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?
(1) Joy: The joy of helping students pick up new skills and watching them apply these skills in the business world.
(2) Lead: Leading students to get excited for a subject the same way I got excited when I was a student.
(3) Self-actualization: My day is made when a student writes to me saying that they built something new (a website or app) or solved critical issues at their workplace based on what they learned in my class.
What is most challenging? Teaching is a tight rope walk that must be constantly adjusted, keeping in mind what the student knows already and how much more the student would like to know. There is a diversity in student concentrations, and it is hard to generalize how much students know coming into your class. So, there is a trade-off between covering the basics and introducing more advanced material. If you do not hammer the basics, you lose their interest early on. If you cannot cover the advanced material, as a teacher, you feel that the students miss out on all the cool things they could do.
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: inquisitive, virtuous, diligent
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: entitled
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies? Poetry, cooking, cricket, badminton
How will you spend your summer? Driving to and exploring new places and tasting their local cuisines.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: My hometown
Favorite book(s): Diffusion of Innovations, Bhagavad Gita. Additionally, I love learning new tools and techniques that help my research and teaching. So, I am into any research methods book. I am constantly looking for new books that lay a healthy balance between underlying theory and implementation (using software packages).
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? The Shawshank Redemption: shows the power of hope, resilience, friendship, and intelligence.
Baashha: It is an Indian Tamil movie. The first reason is that Rajinikanth, one of my favorite actors, plays the lead role. This movie is filled with magical moments, and the lead actor Rajinikanth’s heroism, screen presence, and charisma are out of the world. The movie traces the life of simple youth who is forced to lead the life of a Robin Hood-ish gangster until one day he disappears to leave his past behind.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I listen to Indian film composers A.R Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja. Rahman’s songs are unique, evergreen, and touch you deeply. Ilaiyaraaja is a true genius. His compositions are very intricate.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…Lay the utmost emphasis on the fact that each student is different, wherein the institution works towards identifying the strengths, weaknesses, uniqueness, and natural talents of each student and honing them perfectly to make them ready for the job market and life.
In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at…Employee mental health, work-life balance, and acknowledging the intricate balance between human and environmental well-being.
I’m grateful for… the love, support, and sacrifice I received from my family—parents, wife, and sister—to pursue my career; my friends, family, and colleagues for being there for me all the time; my alma mater for investing in me; my students for all the cooperation, feedback, and acceptance.