Interview by Yash Panchal
Currently working as Assistant Professor in IFIM Business School, Bangalore, Prof. Bovina Sunath has done BA. English(Hons), MA. (English) and PGDM (Journalism & Mass Communication). She was a visiting faculty in St. Xavier’s, Mapusa Goa, Zantye College Goa for a year. She also served as Assistant Professor at Don Bosco College, Panaji Goa for 1 year and T. John College Bangalore for 5 years.
She has been part of NAAC, NBA, AACSB accreditation process. She has also coordinated and convened student fests, seminars and conferences. Prof. Sunath has been a part of all the editorial boards of student magazines and research journals of the institutions that she has been associated with.
Her research areas include English Literature, Communication Skills, Language development and Journalism.
As a faculty in English literature, language and communication, she has imparted knowledge to so many vibrant students. Prof. Sunath has taught students from all over India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, from diverse courses. She believes in interactive class sessions and giving students the space to critically think, analyze and fearlessly state their opinion.
Prof. Sunath received a ‘Special Award’ for working with dedication and inspiring students to wholeheartedly participate in student events and fests as the Student welfare and Grievance cell coordinator. She is a voracious reader with keen interest in current affairs. She’s currently working on a short story and plan to take up writing as a full-fledged profession in the near future.
Prof. Sunath’s experience in the education industry
For a teacher, this is neither a sector nor an industry. It is a noble profession. This is the best profession as we impart knowledge, skills, and values. Though, l dabbled in journalism as a student, the only profession I ever thought of was teaching. The love and respect commanded by my teachers in college inspired me to take up this profession. I still believe if you are looking at the hefty package, perks, and cut-throat competition, then this is the wrong job to be in.
I started as a visiting lecturer in 2004 in Goa teaching English literature, Journalism, and Communication skills to students, then went on to become Assistant Professor. I came to Bangalore in 2012 and taught at T.John College, BA department for 4 years then joined IFIM Business School from December 2016.
You never stagnate as a teacher, as every year we get to interact and meet with hundreds of new faces, each vibrant and unique in their own way. I had the privilege of being appointed as Chairperson and coordinator Student welfare and Grievance cell, Women's Cell and events coordinator for various student-related activities. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was part of major accreditation process of all the institutes I joined. So, a faculty today has to be multi-talented.
Prof. Sunath’s philosophy of leadership
Everyone is a leader in some area or the other. A leader should lead by example and should be selfless and humble. Teams disintegrate when the leader is selfish and arrogant.
I am more of a team player; my leadership style is democratic and Laissez-Faire as I don't like micromanaging.
Significant challenges faced by Prof. Sunath as the Assistant Professor of IFIM Business School
Understanding the intricacies of the Bespoke program. The school has many unique and intensive programs like Social Immersion Project, Personality Enhancement Program, Research Incubation, Industry Internship program and Corporate mentorship. It does take some time to understand and keep pace.
The faculty are all very accomplished, and hence very humble and helpful. The top leadership are very accessible and cordial, so facing challenges is never a herculean task.
Insights about the initiative of Personality Enhancement Program (PEP) taken by IFIM Business School
The program comprises of two components: Life skills and Lifestyle. From communication to grooming to health, PEP covers all the aspects related to a student’s personality development. It is an experiential learning process and is part of the curriculum.
Time management by Prof. Sunath
Time management today is more about prioritizing tasks and executing it with dedication. At times, we have to really put ourselves out there when the occasion demands. For me, the institution is bigger than any individual. Never take on work more than you can chew as time management goes completely awry in this scenario. Maintaining work-life balance is very important.
Curriculum of IFIM Business School
The curriculum is very dynamic in nature and keeps abreast with Industry needs. The feedback and inputs from industry are incorporated into the curriculum design process held periodically. There is constant interaction with the industry happening real-time or otherwise, giving valuable insights of the practices in the Corporate world.
Changes noticed by Prof. Sunath over the past few years and the skillset required by a corporate in a student
Higher education today is about placement in India and institutes do everything that is required to meet industry needs to get a student placed and the success in placement has a direct bearing on the admissions. This is what parents and students look for, though personally, I like the old school concept of seeking education.
Corporates look for an employee with strong fundamentals and concepts with the right attitude to work. I believe institutes design their program trying to meet these expectations as they are poles apart but equally important.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at IFIM Business School
There is no better learning than on job training. The Internship program ensures a student is mentally prepared to deal with workplace rigors. Otherwise, you learn it the hard way. I would recommend an internship of a shorter duration in the first year itself along with our flagship Industry Internship program that we already have.
Prof. Sunath’s relation with the students being the Assistant Professor of IFIM Business School
As a PEP faculty, my task is cut out; personality development. Here, l customize my approach to the class and further on individual requirements. To communicate effectively, you need confidence and content. I give students enough chances to improve. I make it very clear to the students that these sessions are for them to improve and it is not about scoring better grades.
When I teach a subject like literature or English for university curriculum, my approach is different as it is more exam-centric. As a teacher, I am accessible to the students in person, through phone, emails. I am very particular when it comes to effort and approach. They can be very honest with me. At the end of the day, students are our biggest assets, their milestones and achievements become ours.
Ideal school environment according to Prof. Sunath and how she encourages that kind of culture
An ideal environment would be where one no longer has to use the carrot and stick method to get student participation in class or otherwise. I explain the importance of a course and activity to them, seek their feedback, answer their queries, share the timeline and deliverables in advance. Show them the various paths to achieve their targets. Make them responsible for everything including the scores they obtain. They make a choice, take decisions and live by it. The culture that I want to inculcate in them is one of mutual respect and a sense of ownership. These can be achieved through interaction and participation.
Top qualities that an aspiring Management Courses student must possess
Competency in the field chosen, effective communication skills with emphasis on the ability to discuss and listening skills and the right attitude.
Goals in mind for IFIM Business School for the next few years
I see an increased participation and exposure for our students at National and International level competitions. More accreditations and introducing newer courses in the coming years.
Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students
Cutthroat competition is passé. Today, we are witnessing people as young as 30 suffering from burn out phase. Collaboration is the key. Compete with yourself and stop comparing. Keep updating yourself. Enjoy working. For students, please opt for a course you are passionate about and not what the markets dictate. Or else we will have more engineers in the banking sector, Industry rejects and alternate income seekers in academics, an individual good in sales landing up with a marketing job. A fish trying to fly and bird trying to swim kind of situation.
Please respect your individuality and be inclusive. Greet your reporting officer and the janitor with the same disposition. Things are meant to be used, not people. This will hold you in good stead always. Best wishes to all my students in whatever endeavors they do.