Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Dr. YLK is currently serving as the Dean and Director for GITAM-HBS, Hyderabad. He brings with him 27 (23 years in Tamil Nadu) years of experience in industry and teaching.
A graduate in Commerce from Guntur, Dr. YLK is a rank holder in MBA from Nagarjuna University, Guntur and obtained his Doctorate from Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Ananthpur in the area of Brand Management. He did his Essentials in Management Consulting from CMC- Canada in 2008 and attended Master Teacher Program at ISB in 2015. Dr. YLK attended Innovating for Excellence: Program for leaders in Management Education at IIM A in 2010 and became an alumnus of IIMA. He has launched several successful brands nationally in Pharmaceutical Industry during his 9 years in the industry. His current research interests are in Brand Management.
Dr. YLK has carried out many training and consultancy assignments for various organizations such as BHEL, India Post, Mypol, NAC Jewellers, LIC, MIDHANI, HAL, HSL, GSL, DRDO, BEL and BEML, etc., More than 1000 executives got benefitted out of his programs.
Dr, YLK worked as Marketing Professor and Placement Chairman at BIM during 2000-2008. He was instrumental in achieving 100% placements for 8 years, by improving the quality of companies and improving average salary of students. Apart from this, he addressed CII in Campus Connect in 2004 and also taught marketing courses at IIT Chennai and IFMR Chennai during 2006-2014. He travelled to Manila on behalf of Rotary Club GSE Member, to study best practices in Business Schools and to Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and U.S on different assignments.
Dr. YLK is visiting faculty at IIM – Vizag. He worked as Dean and Director at Park Global Business School and Vels University, Chennai. His last assignment before joining GITAM HBS was with Woxsen School of Business as Program Director and Director at EThames Business School, India. Dr. YLK has published several articles in the area of Marketing and Brand Management.
Biggest hurdle faced by Prof. Lakshman as the Director of GITAM Hyderabad Business School
Keeping students receptive and motivated across subjects due to various distractions especially from the digital world is a challenge. Next is getting quality faculty and retaining them. Striking the right chord across students from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds is another challenge.
Prof. Lakshman on how he looks at enhancing student-industry interaction at GITAM Hyderabad Business School
Application-orientated approach to curriculum makes interaction with industry is a necessary part of our pedagogy. We draw guest faculty from industry so as to cover about 25% of syllabi through them, thus bringing industry experience into the classroom.
There are regular guest lectures by eminent practitioners in various verticals in the industry for students to get an understanding of current issues in the industry. Industry visits are organized for the students to see how the concepts they learn in the classroom take a practical shape. Apart from this, an eight-week summer internship and a 12-week major project in the curriculum ensure that students get hands-on experience in the industry even before joining it full time. Also, in the regular courses, the faculty members provide opportunities for carrying out or participating in mini, macro, and mega projects.
Our Executive MBA program, in which even senior executives from industry enroll, is an opportunity for our regular MBA students to interact with them and get to know the pulse of the industry and gain insights into its workings.
Prof. Lakshman on time management
I follow the PPE (Prioritizing, Planning, and Executing) model. At times, time management can become quite a challenge when I need to indulge in micro-management. But my focus is always on execution (thanks to Larry Bossidy’s insights).
Difference noticed by Prof. Lakshman, between the Indian education system and the education system in other countries
The education system in any country is deeply influenced by its culture. In India, unlike in western countries, students depend upon and respect their parents for a longer time, which can be both good and limiting. On one hand, they imbibe certain ethical attitude from their parents. But on the other hand, they are also likely to be influenced by the parents’ aspirations instead of discovering and pursuing their passion. Traditionally, in India teachers are venerated and respected as ultimate authorities on knowledge. Teachers as facilitators of learning is a modern concept and do not imply hierarchy. Of course, due to ICT revolution, there have been radical shifts in our traditional perception of students and teachers in keeping with the times.
Qualities, which over the years have helped Prof. Lakshman and the entire management, to create a brand name for GITAM Hyderabad Business School
GITAM has, over the years, become synonymous with discipline, individual attention to each student, well-qualified and passionate faculty, excellent infrastructure, and a commitment to ensuring a bright career for every student. With alumni working in top positions across companies all over the world, and with research and consultancy projects by its faculty, GITAM has also established a sound and live relationship with industry. As a constituent of GITAM (Deemed to be University), GITAM Hyderabad Business School has created its trusted brand with the same qualities.
Message for students pursuing higher studies under the influence of their peers or society
I definitely advise them to follow their passion, since only that will truly instill a sense of responsibility and a sense of accomplishment among them.
Top qualities according to Prof. Lakshman that an MBA aspirant must possess
An MBA aspirant must be ready to soil his/her hands, in the sense that they need to get on to the field and face the reality and the challenges it poses, rather than restricting themselves to their comfort zone, between the four walls of their classroom or office.
Prof. Lakshman on the growth of B-schools in India
There is definite growth. But the challenge is constantly adapting to changing the environment, technology, and knowledge in management areas. One should be ready to change with times to ensure growth and update oneself faster than the competitors.
Goals and plans for the future growth and expansion of GITAM Hyderabad Business School
Updating curriculum and increased interaction with industry, introducing cutting-edge courses taking into account the ‘disruptive world’, fostering an institutional capability for adapting to change.
Message for students wishing to join GITAM Hyderabad Business School in the near future
Choose a B-School which focuses on curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, with a focus on rigorous academics and grooming the students for industry.