Prof. Jeevan J. Arakal is the Chairperson (PGDM Program) of the T.A Pai Management Institute. He has 15 years of experience in the academic sector. He is also the Co-Chair for executive education of TAPMI. He believes in developing core values and skills that present an individual with a strong foundation.
What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
“Delegative leadership is the way to exercise effective leadership”
Leadership is an important issue, however, there are so many facets to the same. I see leadership as being able to rise to the occasion, based on an assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses. A leader should be able to communicate clearly, must create trust, and promote autonomy among followers. When I reflect on my leadership style, I often feel that I need to delegate more. I try to build a consensus. It can slow down decision making, but on important matters, it can achieve better outcomes.
How do you strategize about the key programs and plans for the marketing and administration of your college?
“A collaborative effort with careful planning based on the current market scenario”
Strategy at TAPMI is orchestrated by key functionaries at multiple levels. The board and management committee assess the strategic plans laid out by the Director. The Director is assisted by the Strategic Planning Group (SPG) of the institute which consists of Deans and Activity heads. These plans are also shared with the faculty at both the conceptualization and the roll-out stage. Program chairs actively participate in this process and are accountable for the rollout of key initiatives. As far as branding issues are concerned the institute has a Chairperson – Branding who develops a holistic marketing program for the institute. The programing includes all touchpoints like admissions, alumni relations, corporate engagement, and accreditation.
In your experience, what can an inbound student gain from studying here in your institute?
“A meticulous learning process with an updated curriculum”
TAPMI already hosts students from prominent European business schools. We are also located in the educational hub of Manipal which has attracted students from all over the world. International students will benefit from a curriculum that is rigorous and deeply embedded in the context. The rich cultural diversity of the region will be an engaging and stimulating environment for students. We are also in a select group of management institutes in India which are accredited both by AACSB & AMBA. These global accreditations are a testament to our program rigor and benchmarking. International students from AACSB & AMBA-accredited schools will be able to seamlessly acclimatize to our academic processes.
How does the curriculum of TAPMI ensure the best practice of industry?
“Exposure to key trends, skills, and traits valued by the industry”
The director of TAPMI Dr. Madhu Veeraraghavan initiated a renewal process for the flagship PGDM program called PGDM 2.0 in 2018. One of the pillars of this renewal process was enhanced industry interface, the institute has launched several initiatives to sharpen the quality of industry interface:
- Industry deep dives to get a detailed understanding of how key companies operate and appreciating industry dynamics, for example, we run workshops by prominent organizations like KPMG & Deloitte
- We run coaching and mentoring sessions for students by senior alumni and thought leaders from the industry.
- Signaling to the faculty at TAPMI to make changes in curriculum, as and when necessary- we are constantly engaging faculty to keep in touch with the industry to make appropriate changes to courses.
Any insights into how your college could be more welcoming to students of different races or economic backgrounds?
“Making sure that no aspiring student is deprived of the education they need”
The institute always had a national character. We have students from virtually every state in India. You will be happy to note that meritorious students who come from disadvantaged economic backgrounds have access to scholarships worth nearly 2.5 crores. The Dr. Ramdas Pai Scholarship enables 30 students to get a waiver of at least 30 % of the tuition fees.
What do you think your roles and responsibilities to the college and the students are?
“To provide an environment where students get the exposure they need to develop”
As a faculty, you are expected to contribute to three key dimensions – teaching, research, and service in terms of key administrative responsibilities. Teaching and service have a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of students. As a faculty, the aim is to offer a rigorous and relevant curriculum using innovative pedagogical processes. As a program chair, I am working towards the successful completion of key initiatives. For example, we took 332 students to Dubai for an international immersion program. This is part of the internationalization theme identified by our Director as part of the PGDM 2.0 initiative.
What do you think should be TAPMI's top priority over the next 10 years?
“To be recognized as a center of exemplary education”
Our director has outlined the strategic priorities of the institute in areas of research, rankings, and accreditations. We want to fortify our position as a top-ranked business school on the back of cutting-edge research and corporate engagement. In the next ten years, we would also want to strongly establish ourselves in the executive education space.
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When you first came to TAPMI, what was your vision for the institute? Has it evolved over time, and how far along in implementing that vision are you?
“Being an institution that is ready to cope up with the change that comes along”
I have been at TAPMI for a relatively short period of two and a half years. The institute has maintained its core ethos of being an institution known for academic rigor and discipline. This has stood the institute in good stead for many years. The institute is very innovative and flexible in its approach. We are one of the few institutions to run a completely student-managed investment fund. We are currently setting up a consumer research lab. As a member of the team, I try to contribute to the growth and development of an institution that embraces change.
What would you like people to know about your institute they may not know?
“The alumni’s commitment and dedication towards the betterment of this institution”
This is something that people may know, but I want to take this opportunity to highlight the same. The student and alumni community have a strong commitment and feeling of ownership towards the institute. They actively support all key initiatives of the institute; they also rally around the institute in times of need. They have been proactively supporting final and summer internships for years. The presence of several marquee recruiters at TAPMI is a testimony to the alumni’s efforts.