Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Mr. Kamal Kumar is currently working as the Director of LBIIHM, an ISO 9001:2000 Certified Hotel Management Institute in Delhi. As a Founder Director of the Institute, he nurtured it as a baby and brought it to the present standing. LBIIHM has won a number of awards during this period.
Mr. Kamal Kumar’s educational qualification includes Certified Corporate Directorship (Master Class for Corporate Directors), 2006 conducted by Institute of Directors, India & World Council for Corpo Governance, UK and PG Diploma in Business Management (MBA), 1997 from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. He has completed BA (Hons.) Economics in the year 1995 from SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi University and completed 10 +2 (Science) in the year 1992 from B.J.B. College, Bhubaneswar.
Before LBIIHM, Mr. Kamal has worked as an Executive Producer in Headlines Communications, New Delhi. He also has experience of work as Administrative & Finance Officer in BHPE KINHILL.
Experience in the education industry
My association with Education Industry goes back to 2002 when we decided to establish LBIIHM in Delhi. In the last 15 years, I have observed changes in the expectations of both students & parents. Impact of technology is visible. Education has seen a paradigm shift from “Service” to “Industry” and Colleges/Institutes have become “Service-providers”. Students are no more “Knowledge seekers”, they have become “Consumers” of services and facilities provided by colleges/Universities. Guru-shishya relationship is largely gone and it is more of buyer-seller relationship.
Despite this sad and unfortunate reality, education is one of the best industries to work in as it provides a unique opportunity to work with young minds. Technology has made the job more challenging as students are more aware & tech-savvy. If one needs respect, one has to be up-to-date in all aspects of education. Young minds give new, disruptive ideas. At the same time, I get an opportunity to tame these young minds and inculcate the habit of discipline and inquisitiveness. Education has become an ever-changing industry in terms of methods and approach yet retaining the core value of imparting learning. This is what I enjoy the most.
Mr. Kamal Kumar’s philosophy of leadership
Every educational institute has an immense responsibility to provide learners with quality education and leadership plays a significant role in the same. As the Director of the institute, I constantly strive to create a sound educational ecosystem for our students enabling them to learn, grow and reach the pinnacle of success and lead a victorious and happy life. Participative leadership enables all stakeholders to partake in the overall development of an institute.
I believe that considering the well-being of the stakeholders is one of the most vital responsibilities of a leader, hence their participation is also must. Leadership and staff meet ensure regular supervision and evaluation of policies that result in academic success and improved professional practices. Being approachable and available to students, parents and staff create an affirmative atmosphere that leads to inclusive success.
Significant challenges faced by the Director of LBIIHM
Our infrastructure is small in comparison to the Big Campuses mushrooming across India. So, my Biggest challenge was to convince parents that we can do justice to limited infrastructure. Initial 2-3 batches, it was a huge concern but now as parents see our placement records, this point does not bother them much. Rather our weakness has become our strength as we can focus well on students because of compact space that we have. We can monitor their classes, practicals etc. very well.
Curriculum at LBIIHM
Considering equitable learning opportunities to students and ever-changing industry needs, we have developed our curriculum in a way that it provides students with challenging and comprehensive learning experiences that ensure they have ample opportunities to develop thinking and life skills, in addition to subject-matter expertise. Curriculum, instruction and assessment practices are monitored, reviewed and revised at regular intervals to match our students’ needs. Our curriculum is a blend of internationally acclaimed best teaching & learning practices and innovative pedagogies. Our research-based curriculum poses as a bridge between campus to industry for students. For overall development of our students and their successful placement, we have designed the curriculum that is a combination of subject matter, theoretical & practical knowledge, and soft skills which make them industry-ready.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at LBIIHM
Since 2003, LBIIHM has been on a mission to create and nurture future hospitality leaders. Placement of our students has always been the top priority, along with providing quality hospitality education. We start preparing students for the industry right from day one, focusing on their attitude, aptitude, communication skills, and overall personality development. Specialized communication and soft skills sessions, in addition to regular theory and practical sessions, industrial visits, guest lectures, role plays, Industrial Training, Individual Presentations, Group Presentations and other extracurricular activities ensure our students smooth transitioning from campus to industry.
Our strong national and international network with renowned hospitality brands, developed over a period of 14 years, enables us to support students with best of the job opportunities across the globe. It fills me with immense pleasure and pride that our alumni are present in more than 27 countries. Most importantly, I very strongly believe in inculcating entrepreneurship skills in students and envision contributing to the hospitality industry with some really talented future entrepreneurs.
Relationship with the students
As rightly said by Mr. John.F.Kennedy "The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth", I believe our youth is our future. Youth is full of energy and this energy has to be channelized constructively. To show them the right path, it is my utmost responsibility to first build a strong rapport with them.
My involvement with students starts from the day they are enrolled in a program. Interaction sessions with students are organized at regular intervals, to understand their needs and queries. I involve in reviewing their projects, presentations, and assessments in every semester. I always strive to motivate students in some way or the other. I ensure that they are completely aware of what are industry expectations so as to be prepared well in advance for facing the real world.
We have also developed a mechanism through which our students can write to me directly. Parents being one of the most vital stakeholders of the institute are also encouraged to visit for meetings with the management. Cultivating understanding with parents is of paramount importance as they play a major role in the overall development of their children. Parents are apprised of their children's learning progress.
Ideal school environment according to Mr. Kamal Kumar
An ideal school environment is where a pool of never-ending opportunities is available to all stakeholders to learn and grow. At LBIIHM, we are committed to promoting the essence of quality learning and teaching methods for students to achieve academic success.
We aspire to encourage innovation and continuous improvement in teaching practices. An impeccable school environment provides students with exposure to the industry needs and global education environment. An institution must review and revise curriculum, instruction, and assessment to give the competitive edge to students. Faculty must engage students in the learning process through innovative and interactive teaching methods. For creating better synergy with today's competitive world, relevant knowledge and competencies should be inculcated in students by the faculty.
We, at LBIIHM, encourage this culture by implementing varied effective systems for smooth administration. As Hotel Management programs are practically oriented courses, students are given ample practical experience along with theoretical knowledge. State-of-the-art infrastructure, well-equipped Food Production lab, F&B Service lab, Housekeeping lab, Front Office lab, a library with hundreds of subject matter books and journals, spacious computer lab, air-conditioned classrooms with audio-visual aids etc. make students' learning experience comfortable and enjoyable at LBIIHM.
Top qualities that an aspiring candidate must possess, if inclined towards Hotel Management
About two decades ago, people were apprehensive about making a career in hospitality, however gradually they started realizing that the hospitality industry has enormous scope nationally and internationally alike. Hotel industry poses as a gateway to discovering new countries, people, and culture. Not only it is one of the most lucrative industry, it has some of the most vivacious, fun-loving and spirited people as this industry welcomes people who have a friendly personality.
The competencies and traits that a candidate must have would include, however not limited to; confidence to face the world, communication skills, patience to work under stressful situations and polished interpersonal skills. He/she must possess people skills and must know how to empathize with guests. Being hardworking and a good listener goes without saying. He/she must have analytical and critical thinking skills and must be a team player
Goals in mind for your institute for the next few years
God willing, LBIIHM wants to develop itself into a Hospitality University doing research on regional cuisines.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
Students who aspire to make a career in hospitality must realize that hard work, dedication and patience would lead to success. They can make the way up the ladder rapidly if they are sincere, committed, enthusiastic and know the significance of taking initiatives. If they are ready for a challenging yet fun-filled career, then the hospitality industry would welcome them with open arms.