Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Prof. Krishna kumar Narayanan is the Joint Director of GITAM School of International Business. Prior to this, Prof. Krishna was Professor and Director of Chinmaya Institute of Technology, Kannur, Kerala (a Business and Technology School run by the world-wide Chinmaya Mission, which is AICTE approved and affiliated to the Kannur University, Kerala).
His academic profile includes Graduation in Commerce and Mathematics. He did Post Graduation in Management with specialization in Banking and Finance and is a Rank Holder. He also earned an ‘Advanced Diploma in Management Research’ from ‘All India Management Association (AIMA), New Delhi’. He was awarded Ph.D. in Business Administration for his work on “Risk Management” by the Central University at Aligarh, UP (Commonly known as Aligarh Muslim University). He earned colours by various other academic / research pursuits from Universities /Professional Institutes / Industry Association’s (including Indian Banks’ Association) through his Scholarship and fellowship.
He is an accredited trainer and Visiting Professor in Universities / Business Schools and Training Colleges of Banks wherein he regularly handles session on varied topics related to General Management, Business and Finance. He also holds Directorship in institutions and also consults in the field of Management (especially Risk Management), Restructuring, Business and Policy. Apart from this, he had consulted and had served as OD Consultant for IBRD / World Bank, SDC, UNDP and ADB assisted projects for Government of Kerala and Tamilnadu in the dairy and silk sectors. He has also served as Key note speaker in National and International Conferences / Workshops on more than 50 occasions and has designed, developed and organized more than 50 National and International Conferences, Workshops, Seminars, MDPs, Round Tables, and Summits during his career.
His area of interest includes Risk, Banking, Finance, Management, Strategy, Systems, Restructuring and he is an avid inter-disciplinary researcher having published more than 50 publications (incl. many Scopus Indexed Publications, Policy documents) to his credit in National and International Journals. He is also a member of many International Associations and is an Evaluator and Adjudicator.
Prof. Krishna’s experience in the education sector
I have come to education after more than a decade and half of experience in this sector at senior positions. Since then, I have further gained a decade of experience as a Professor and of about 5 years as Director. I like the engagement of interacting with students. As Alvin Tofler puts it, ‘illiterates’ of this country aren’t the ones who can’t read or write; but the ones who can’t learn, unlearn and relearn and contribute for the betterment of the country, world, and civilization. In a young country like India, there is so much you can learn, un-learn, contribute, co-create and raise human capital by engaging with the youth who are going to be the future generation. Many of our youth don’t know their own capability. To bring that out, a contributory and catalytic role of a mentor, teacher, professor, coach or guide is required, many times. Such contributions by the teacher and taught to enhance the aptitude and attitude can’t be codified in monetary terms and has to be ‘priceless’. I am passionate about that and probably that is the best part of being in the education industry and why people like me are in it.
Curriculum in GITAM School of International Business
None of our programs are run off the mill MBA programs. It has a distinct differentiation of global context and is in areas of International Business, Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management, International Banking and Finance, Business Analytics etc. In an era where much of business is international and much of industry is driven by data in the cyber-physical world, the curriculum blend has a meaning and follow best practices norm from Conceptualization to Actualization of learning outcomes. Further, the students get to participate and come face to face with many global leaders, corporate executives etc., through the many Conferences, Summits, Workshops, Seminars etc. that we are conducting in the School, yearlong.
Goals in mind for GITAM School of International Business
Our immediate goals are to work towards Pan- Indian students mix and also internationalization of our student mix. To this end, we are also working towards an International Accreditation and we are already an AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) Member for nearly 3 years. Currently, we attract students from around 20 states in India and a few international students, under exchange programs with International Universities. We will become more visible to the international students once an international accreditation is there, which in turn, will improve the learning atmosphere drastically. We are an institution which looks at improvements as a continuum and much of our engagement reflects it.
Quality of education in GITAM School of International Business
Being an institution with a legacy of more than two decades, our processes are rigorous. The educative part is kept at the highest pedestal by bringing in continuous changes. We are an institution working in symbiotic relationship with industry. Hence, we are closer to the needs of industry and that would be evident in all our processes of administering the program. There are many courses which are taught exclusively by practitioners from industry as well. We have a Business Analytics Program which is run along with IBM and we have an IBM lab in the house. Further, we have put in place an assurance mechanism across all our processes to ensure quality.
Environment/culture at GITAM School of International Business
We follow a faculty-driven school culture. Most of the world’s best-known B- Schools fall into this culture. All the critical processes – be it formulating programs, preparing syllabi, pedagogy to be followed, processes, evaluations or even recruiting a faculty happens only after debates and discussions in Faculty Committees, Faculty Council, and Academic Councils. Being a Deemed to be University, we are also part of UGC -NAAC accreditation (wherein we have an A+ grading which is the highest) etc., which serves as a peer-review mechanism. Such internalized systems contribute to a climate of assurance for students and learn in the correct learning environment.
Prof. Krishna’s relationship with the students
We have continuous dialogue with students by way of Mentor-Mentee meetings, which are documented. Further, we have access to professional counseling in many cases wherein it is warranted. Anti-ragging measures are highly internalized. In fact, we have ‘Parichay’ programs weeks after a new batch joins. Further, we do a lot of programs to shape/groom students by professional development, attitudinal profiling, readiness programs to make them ready for campus to corporate etc. Added to that, we have resolution and grievances mechanism as well.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at GITAM School of International Business
We always have 100% placement record. We are intervening to bring better and diversified companies and offer more choice, both in internships and placements. We are also working to improve Average Salaries Y-o-Y on a priority. Our dedicated placement office along with grooming intervention experts always try to schedule maximum interviews in areas that are of interest to students, and it is up to students to crack it.
Prof. Krishna’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
I am one practicing participative style of management and expect the faculty and students to understand their goals and come out with action plans to meet them. It is all teamwork at the end of the day and systems that should drive institutions beyond individuals. Further, I have a hands-on approach and approachable for any discussions be it counseling students, mentoring faculty or talking to media etc. More than style, I also feel, it is the stand that you take to various issues, that distinguishes a true professional from say a ‘lesser-professional’. One requires a lot of conviction for that. Playing gallery or taking decisions by orchestrating or taking a stand on issues after understanding which side of it is buttered, be it the issues of students or faculty are the ones, I detest the most. I validate all my decisions based on IQ, EQ, and SQ as well.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
My only advice is, do thorough evaluation of the institution wherever you are joining, not only by looking at the outside beauty of the institute, or advertisement or even the placement claims but by focusing to substantive issues like how good are the faculty; is it an integrated B-School (say with even scope to become an entrepreneur; or say to take a ‘patent’ for your innovations before you come out of the campus); is it in fitment to your career goals or can the institute contribute to your authentic swing etc., are the questions to be asked. Unfortunately, most students don’t do that and fall for low-hanging parameters say parameters which take care of their comfort zones, majorly - like is there a swimming pool in the campus; is non-veg food available etc.
Keeping that apart, I feel students should also focus on the institute’s curriculum which are international in nature and context. As going forward, 1 in 7 of the managerial talent for the world will have to be sourced from India. Hence, if you are taking an MBA from India, still you should have the competence and compatibility to take up careers anywhere in the world, be it Europe, USA or ASEAN countries, African countries or elsewhere.