Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Prof. Anand has a Masters in ‘Behavioral Sciences’ from BITS-Pilani and has done an Executive Program in ‘Strategic Brand Management’ from IIM-Calcutta.
His areas of interest include Brand Strategy, Global Branding, Marketing Communications, Consumer Culture, Shopper Marketing and Business Strategy. Prof. Anand teaches courses in these areas with consistently high student ratings. He publishes articles regularly, conducts executive development programs and consults with companies.
He was a full-time faculty at IFIM Business School, Bangalore for close to 5 years and served as ‘Dean-Planning & Development’, as well as ‘Area Head -Marketing’.
He has rich cross-category experience having navigated brands for leading Indian and Global corporations such as P&G, Nestle, Dabur, Tata Tea, ITC, Britannia, Cavinkare, Mother Dairy, BPL, Sony, Samsung, Hyundai, TVS Motors, Hero Motors, Epson, Benetton, Tata AIG, HSBC.
In 2005, he was rated among the ‘Top 25 Brand Marketing Professionals in Asia-Pacific’. He is a member of ‘The American Marketing Association’ (AMA) and has won a host of Marketing Effectiveness awards including ‘2 Cannes’ and ‘3 EFFIES’. He also set up India’s first Shopper Marketing Consultancy with Madison Media World.
Besides branding and teaching, his other passion is cooking and travelling to explore the food and drink of various regions of the world.
Prof. Anand’s experience in the education sector
After working in the corporate sector for 25 years, I decided to give back to society, and education was a natural choice. It gives me an opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with young people. It helps me to keep learning and stay young at heart. Teaching for me is ‘self-actualization’.
Prof. Anand’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
My style of leadership is based on two words- ‘Inclusiveness and Inspiration’. Include every student as a partner in learning and inspire them to grow.
Significant challenges faced as the Professor of IFIM Business School
For any teacher today, the biggest challenge is how to engage with the ’Smartphone Generation’- who have access to the world at their fingertips. Today’s youngsters have short attention spans and are easily bored. Unless you create new ideas to engage with them and make the content and delivery of your courses exciting, they tend to switch-off. You have to move from being a ‘sage on the stage to being a guide on the side’.
Prof. Anand’s experience as Dean-Planning & Development as well as Area Head-Marketing at IFIM Business School
As Dean-P&D, I was primarily involved in brand building for IFIM. With over 4,000 Business Schools in India, the challenge was to be able to stand out from the clutter and create a positive share of mind amongst key stakeholders. Over the last 5 years, IFIM has been able to move into the Top 30 Private Business Schools in India and among the Top 10 in the South. As Area Head- Marketing, the focus was on creating and developing a contemporary and industry relevant curriculum. Today, our Marketing curriculum is among the most robust and concurrent and the ‘Marketing Major’ is highly sought after by our students.
Curriculum at IFIM Business School
IFIM follows a ‘Bespoke Curriculum’, along with the lines of Ivy League B-Schools, which empowers a student to customize his/her own learning path to align with his/her career goals. We do not believe in a generic ‘one shoe fits all’ approach. There are 5 ‘General Learning Goals’ (GLGs) which are aligned with our mission and the curriculum is built around these. Students can select from a wide basket of Majors and Minors. In addition, several ‘Practice Courses’ like Industry Internship, Corporate Mentoring, Social Immersion, Research Incubation and Personality Enhancement, help supplement classroom learning. We whet and update our curriculum regularly through a ‘Board of Studies’ comprising industry experts and eminent academia.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at IFIM Business School
Our mission is focused on ‘Continuous Employability’ and not just one-time employment. With the ’Bespoke Curriculum’ a student ends up making more informed choices on the type of industry/ company they would like to work in. The idea is to match the students’ learning to their career goals and create the best fit for placements. IFIM looks at a ‘segmented’ approach to placements and we keep working towards sharpening this.
Important skills according to Prof. Anand, that a corporate student must possess
A corporate aspirant today must be a great communicator, an efficient doer, an insightful thinker, a savvy networker, a constant learner.
Prof. Anand’s relationship with the students
By following my philosophy of ‘Inclusiveness and Inspiration’ and being accessible to them 24x7- through a combination of physical and online interaction. An effective way has been to create a virtual interaction platform by forming closed groups for courses on Facebook@Work, as a forum for discussion, learning and sharing.
Ideal school environment according to Prof. Anand, and how he encourages that kind of culture at IFIM Business School
The ideal school environment in my view is ‘where everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student.’
This requires all of us to develop a fire in the belly to keep learning, a spirit of co-creation and an attitude of caring & sharing. This is actually embodied in IFIM’s Spirit, ‘Inspired Family. Igniting Minds’.
Top qualities that an aspiring PGDM/MBA student must possess
Realize that a degree alone is not enough. How much you know (knowledge), what you can do (skills) and how you behave (attitude), is what will make you sought after.
Goals in mind for your institute for the next few years
As a teacher, my focus is on getting the best out of my students, by following our mission of ‘nurturing holistic, socially responsible and continuously employable professionals’. If all of us at IFIM can do this-this, all other institutional goals will automatically be met.
Suggestions for the current youth who are going to become the future managers
Add value to business and society. Have high integrity. Be an inspirational player.
Suggestions for the present youth and the aspiring students
At the cost of sounding philosophical, ‘Find joy in your life. Make others find joy from your life.’