Dr. Thomas. T. Thomas is the Director of Guruvayurappan Institute of Management. He has obtained PHD from SMS CUSAT and post-graduation in Master of business administration (MBA) in 1979 -1981. He has been working with Guruvayurappan Institute of Management since 2006. In the following interview he brings into picture the perception of education not as a business but as a service. It is important for an institute to grow if they are offering education as a service and giving students a top priority. He shares his ideology of having an open mindset while dealing with the young minds. The youth are capable of everything they want to achieve, but it is the duty of mentors to guide them in the right direction. At the end of the day, the smiles on the faces of everyone, after their efforts and accomplishments, brings in rewards. He shares how the institute has progressed over the years and acquired mentors who are working towards achieving all that the institute stands for. Talking about the institute, he says it is the synergy of many factors that come together to make the Institute unique. At the end, he shares his valuable piece of advice to utilise all the energy to accomplish the goal, but enjoy the ride all the way.
The perception of education as a business takes away from the noble objectives that education is expected to deliver
Education should be viewed as a Service more than as a profit oriented Industry. The perception of education as a business takes away from the noble objectives that education is expected to deliver. Being part of the education process as the Head of GIM, a Business School, has been enriching as well as humbling. Working in this field makes you realise that you will be a student forever, because you can never stop learning.
It is pivotal to have an open mindset while dealing young minds
When you realise that you are working with young minds, packed with dreams and aspirations, energy and hope, anxiety and dare, you learn to keep your mind open too. There is no place for prejudices and judgments. Rights and wrongs will emerge as the play progresses. Understanding what each person is trying to accomplish, how strongly he needs it and how willing he is to strive for it, are the keys to making the whole process effective. You just have to be the facilitator or the catalyst. This approach has helped me abundantly.
At the end of the day, the smiles on the faces of everyone, after their efforts and accomplishments, brings in rewards
I have tried to give every student and every Faculty member a level playing field. Broad boundaries are defined and intimated in advance. Objectives are informed and the rules are laid out clearly. It is then for the leader to facilitate the performance of each individual. Some would need to be patted, some admonished, some cajoled and some hand-held. Different strokes for different people! At the end of the day, the smiles on the faces of everyone, after their efforts and accomplishments, bring in your rewards.
We make sure that the real-time developments and requirements of the industries are exposed to the students regularly
The institute is affiliated to the Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. The curriculum is predominantly what the University prescribes from time to time. The required modifications are made by the University in tune with the needs of the emerging industrial scenario. But at the Institute’s end, we make sure that the real-time developments and requirements of the industries are exposed to the students regularly through various means, and motivate them to have close interaction with the practitioners so that they get rich insights on how to manage dynamic organisations.
Pitching the deliverables to all the students in one go is never feasible
Students come to GIM from diverse backgrounds and with varying aspirations and skill-sets. Pitching the deliverables to all the students in one go is never feasible. This necessitates the Faculty to have close interaction with the students and understand individual preferences before the approach and delivery are made. A deliberate mentoring programme has helped us to meet this challenge and help every student to voice their fears and anxieties, which we could address effectively.
Students will build a relationship with you, if, and only if, you are ready to listen to them
That is easy. I make it a point to engage classes for every batch of students. There is nothing like interacting with the students in the classrooms where they are at their lively best. Moreover I also have one-on-one sittings with the students, especially the ones that need a helping hand or a broad shoulder to cry on! Students will build a relationship with you, if, and only if, you are ready to listen to them – in every possible way!
It is the synergy of many factors that come together to make the Institute unique
It is not one or two ingredients that make GIM stand out. It is the synergy of many factors that come together to make the Institute unique. A dedicated Faculty team, adequate and appropriate infrastructure, a focus on people and not systems, and a concerted effort to reach out beyond the syllabus; make the institute an exciting campus. Moreover it is a single programme Institute which makes the ambience truly MBA-student focused.
Over the past, we have developed a very articulate and cohesive team working towards achieving all that we stand for
My first impression about the Institute was that it was an energy packed, dynamic place with a lot of potential to excel in the field of Management education. Over the past 14 years as Professor, Principal and Director, I am glad that we have developed a very articulate and cohesive team working towards achieving all that we stand for. We stand among the first three MBA colleges in the Bharathiar University for the past many years. We have a pass percentage of 95 or more over the past six years. Our placement record is exemplary with everyone looking for a career getting placed. And we have a wonderful and discerning Alumni spread across the globe in diverse fields.
We publish the GIM Journal of Management, which is a peer reviewed resource for Management students and faculty. GIM also is an approved Research Center for PhD. and MPhil. in Management.
It is necessary to to define the purpose of your existence to prioritise and strategise
There has never been a dull day at GIM. Every day has been different, exciting and challenging. From the estate, infrastructure, resources, people, stakeholders and nature, challenges have been aplenty. But once you define the purpose of your existence, it becomes easy to prioritise and strategise. For us the students come first, their knowledge base, capability enhancement, transformation, grooming and skills acquisition, determine the teaching-learning process. Moreover, we place much emphasis on research and publication in Management.
Our promotion has always been low profile. The alumni of the Institute act as Brand ambassadors, providing GIM word-of-mouth promotion. Print media, social media and audio-visual media provide us the visibility that is required.
The youth, although possess energy, but are distracted
Today’s young men and women have a lot of energy in them. They appear to be in a hurry, but many are distracted. My appeal to them is simple. Have realistic goals in life and have passion to achieve them. Have a Plan A, and a Plan B. Utilise all your energy to accomplish the goal, but enjoy the ride all the way. Hiccups and hurdles will certainly come your way, but never lose hope. And do not quit, because your destination may be just around the corner. It would be ideal to learn from others, especially your elders who have been through much. It helps.