Professor Mohua Banerjee IMI Kolkata

Professor Mohua Banerjee is designated as the Dean (Placement, Corporate & Alumni Relations), Chairperson- Admissions and Professor – Marketing at International Management Institute Kolkata. She has nearly 16 years of teaching experience and is a recipient of "CMI Level 3 Award in First Line Management" from Chartered Management Institute, UK. Currently, she is actively working in the ‘UK-India Education & Research Initiative’ (UKIERI) Research Grant Project on agricultural value chains with Leeds Beckett University, UK. 

The academician has published various research articles and cases in international journals of repute. She is also a visiting Professor in: 

  • National: St. Xavier’s College (M.Com) and at the University of Calcutta. 
  • International: she has taught Marketing courses at the University of Bordeaux, University of Tours, University of Dauphine and Celsa-Sorbonne University in France

In an exclusive interview with Anindya Roy, she shares her views on the education industry in India, what makes IMI Kolkata better than others and more. Edited excerpts -

Thoughts on education industry and what makes it the best of the lot!

I have been in this industry for about 16 years. My experience says there can be two perspectives of describing this to be the best industry. Firstly, as an academic and researcher I enjoy the flexibility the work gives me. My background has been in retail marketing but currently, I am in a project where I am researching the agricultural value chain in India. This kind of flexibility and transition can only be offered by the education sector. Another dimension is that of a faculty where we are mentoring the youth and developing them on their careers. This gives us Professors immense satisfaction that transcends tangible benefits.

Leadership philosophy and style as a Dean of IMI Kolkata

I believe that the philosophy of leadership is predominantly inspiring others to do great things. An organization has enough potential for all its members to grow simultaneously. So, when each member is contributing and adding value, it helps to create a brand like IMI Kolkata. If you ask me, I primarily have a transformational leadership style. 

The modern business world is dynamic and goes through many changes – so do the skillset requirements of the industry. My role is to identify the changes, create milestones and guide my teams and students through the roadmap. I like to match up to the existing challenges and prepare my students to deliver effectively in the transition. 

Read about IMI Kolkata Courses & Fees

Challenges faced while establishing a name for the B-School!

As a founding member, I have faced innumerable challenges that are associated with the initial days of any B-school. To start with, industry practitioners would want to know whether we were doing the right things. Once it was established that we have the potential and our primary focus area was engaging ourselves in building the industry-connect through guest lectures, industry visits, technical workshops for our students, their absorption in the industry happened seamlessly. 

Initially, industry was also curious to know whether we were nurturing our Alumni members. Down the line, today we appreciate the fact that over and above Professors guiding students, Alumni members can effectively mentor them too. The Alumni are associated with the industry and between themselves and the students, they have an inherent bonding as seniors-juniors in different phases of the same life-cycle. 

IMI Kolkata Curriculum making the students industry-ready 

Like I mentioned earlier, it is all about our agility in transformation. To give an example, a couple of years back there was a trend of honing digital marketing skillsets for the students though now the focus has shifted primarily to data analytics, machine learning, and AI. So, we have to identify the market signals, get acquainted with the shift and accordingly prepare the students through our curriculum. 

Every two years, our curriculum is ratified by an industry expert and his/her suggestions are incorporated in our courses and specializations. Any requirement for industry workshops that is felt, is taken up separately and also provided to the students. In each course, one session is taken by a senior industry executive for providing the students with practice-oriented strategic insights.

Top qualities that a student must possess

I consider three qualities as paramount for a student. Firstly, integrity. Integrity makes students honest to the work they do, to their faculty, institute and most importantly, to themselves. Secondly, tenacity. To face the real-world which will not be cushioned, this quality will help them move forward even in aggressive times. Lastly, empathy. Students will need to work in teams and deal with a lot of people, so being empathetic will prove to be a virtue to them like no other.

Ideal school environment according to Professor Banerjee

An ideal environment would be the one that fosters learning among the students beyond academics.

Here, we have clubs, committees and various forums where we give students a free hand. So, even if something should go wrong, they have us to fall back on and learn from those mistakes. We leave the

planning and orchestration to the students so that they learn to take decisions on their own.

Methods opted to build a healthy relation with the students

As a Professor, it is about being there for your students when they need you, be it in their times of stress or when they need career advice. I am able to mentor and handhold them so that they can align themselves with the requirements of the industry to fulfil their end goals. Many times, these interactions become guidance and counselling sessions. 

Students come here from 19 states, so we have to be here for all of them, even at times if it is to resolve any interpersonal issue that might have crept up inadvertently. 

Placement Opportunities at IMI Kolkata

The Placement Team travels pan-India to build strong connect with the industry. It is like putting an ear to the ground so as to understand the attributes/skillsets the industry feels are necessary for the students to be job-ready. 

Next, it is about equipping the students with the required skillsets on campus. There is also a two-day management conclave conducted on campus every year that provides avenues for interactions/discussions between the corporate world and the students for them to get to know each other better. Such interactions pave the way for meaningful engagements like industry visits, live projects, etc. 

Click here IMI Kolkata Placement

Upcoming goals for the Institute

Well, we have been able to harness the full batch size and provide placement assistance to every single student. Going forward, we can focus on niche areas such as the automobile sector, or risk management profiles, in the next five years. Also, as we have had full batch strength in IMIK, further qualitative growth is the next phase.

Suggestions to the upcoming generations

I would advise them to make themselves aware – of issues that are of national/global importance, or relevant to any specific industry. This is because when the industry evaluates the students, they look for the hunger for knowledge among the candidates. Building such awareness is habit-forming and takes time to develop – it cannot be done overnight. So, it is never too early to start.