Interview by Yash Panchal

Dr. KS Srinivasa rao, IBMR Business School

Dr. K.S. Srinivasa Rao is currently the Director General, IBMR Business School, Hubli, Karnataka. Prior to this job, Dr. KSS Rao has taken a short assignment and worked as Professor in Alliance Business School, Alliance University, Anekal Campus, Bangalore. Dr. K.S. Srinivasa Rao has got his M.Sc. (1984); M.Phil. (1988); and Ph.D. (1992) in Statistics from Andhra University-Visakhapatnam (AP).  He took training from Institutions like Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata on Statistical Methods and IIM Ahmedabad, and IIM-Kozhikode on several aspects like Management Case Study and Decision Support Systems.

Dr. Rao worked earlier with several Institutions like IFIM Business School, Bangalore; Acharya Bangalore B-School (ABBS) Bengaluru, Aditya Global Business School (AGBS, near Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh),  Sankara Academy of Vision (Sankara Eye Hospitals, Coimbatore), Institute of Health Management Research (IHMR-Bangalore), etc.
As a Faculty, Dr. Rao taught courses like Business Statistics, Research Methodology, Operations Research, Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Marketing Research and Industrial Analytics. As a Trainer, Dr. Srinivasa Rao offered several FDPs/ MDPs on Research Methodology for Faculty, Management of Adolescence Issues for Teachers, and Management of Management Institutions for Principals / HODs/ Directors. As a Researcher, Dr. Rao is interested in the areas of Banking Sector Analysis, and Issues and Challenges in B-Schools.  

Dr. Rao presented papers at various national and international conferences and also expressed his views on Banking, Education and Healthcare sectors in media – both print and electronic. As an Administrator, Dr. Rao is very much interested to bring reforms in B-Schools in terms of Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Assessment that give benefit to the students in terms of placement offers. Dr. Rao, as a Consultant, has given Strategic Business Solutions for Schools by considering the four levels of a school – Teachers, Administration, Students, and Parents. As a counselor, he gives Career counseling and Family counseling and handled several cases.

Dr. Rao’s rich education industry experience

Education basically is not an Industry but due to various changes place in the environment, education also became an industry. I am with this industry for the last 3 decades and contributed to the development of the Industry as one of the stockholders. Interesting point is that when we work with the Sector, every year the student crowd changes and when we addressing them, we will be motivated with new energies. Batch to batch, student ideas are different, learning is different, exposure is different, and hence we will be charged with positive energies all the time. That is the greatness of the sector. Moreover, customers (the students) leave the Campus after their program but they come back to their Alma mater as Alumni and comes with a Tag of Industry where we can be proud of them. These Alumni, coming to the Campus for Campus Placements in a different position not as a candidate that they had undergone years back, but now as a Representative of Corporate and selecting their juniors. This is a great honor to any Institute and stakeholders.

My experience as a Faculty is that I use innovative Pedagogy along with contemporary curriculum every year. Giving Assignments, Mini-Projects, Quizzes, Technology-based Examinations makes the students alert and updated in the Domain Knowledge. My experience as an Administrator at the / Director Level is different, as I have seen their style of operations. Also, I have seen several B-Schools in India during my tenure in different geographical regions. Each Institute, its own is managing the business and comparison may not be possible due to various factors. One has to notice the changes happening in Education Industry in terms of Government Policies, Controls from Regulatory Body, Shift in Student Choices, Lack of Skill Training, Job Opportunities, Penetration of Digital Education through Flip and MOOCs, etc.

Dr. Rao’s transformational leadership philosophy

With the changing scenario, throughout the world, Autocratic Leadership Style has lost its flavor in all sectors.  Democratic Leadership is the order of the day and will be more suitable in the Educational sector, as faculty members are academically qualified and knowledgeable.  But, for an Institution like IBMR which is in the Education Sector for the last two decades, the more appropriate one is Transformational Leadership.  I will be developing “Quality Circles” as nodal hubs and through them, we will reach all Employees and Students. Transparency is the first aspect of governance. 

Assessing each employee on their Strengths and giving the right opportunities to them gives better output

Understanding the limitation of each employee and giving proper Training / Counselling and converting the weakness as strength is the objective of mine. I will be working on the TRACT Model where Teaching (with a Quality Improvement), Research & Publications, Academic Administration, Consultancy, and Training (TRACT) which was basically adopted by IIMs. This gives Autonomy with Accountability to each stakeholder.

Read more about IBMR Faculty

Challenges that Dr. K.S. Srinivas Rao face and his role as the Director-General of IBMR

Basically no, but each organization is different in its culture. As a new entrant,

I should first understand IBMR culture and customize my ideas and models which I want to bring into the system

 Then only any leader will be successful.  It is like an experienced Air Craft Pilot having 25,000 Flight Hours on his credit, but how safely he is doing the Take-off and Landing of the Aircraft which I am traveling as a passenger is important and if that is not happening, all his past experience is useless.  Basically, IBMR as a Group of Institutions headquartered at Hubli, Karnataka has its branches in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Delhi.  My assignment is basically focused on the developmental activities at the Institute which is completing two decades of its dedicated services to the nation in Education Sector.  I am having 30 years of experience in the Educational Sector and mainly with B-Schools. 

As a Student, Faculty: Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor, Coordinator for an Activity, Chairman to Program, Chairman to the Functional Area, Dean for the Program, Dean for Academics, and Director for the Program, Director for Planning & Development etc. I have played ‘Dasavathara’ in my career, so that I can understand the issues & challenges at each level.  When I work with the Faculty & Staff, knowing pretty well their difficulties, I show empathy and I will be guiding them as a Mentor with all my experience. This way my new ‘Avatar’ as Director General is a different role, as I have to include all employees and take them to the next level of Institutional Development. In Management language, it is like Product Lifecycle and redefining the Product with New Features. Keeping in mind the Brand Image, I have to redefine the product so that again it should reach the consumers with more credentials.

Read more about IBMR Placements

Dr. Rao on IBMR’s latest curriculum

IBMR Group of Institutions is well known for its MBA Program as affiliated to Karnataka University, Dharwad. As per the University curriculum students have to take up (a) Internship through Summer In-Plant Project (SIP); (b) for Dissertation through Major Concurrent Project (MCP) where they have to work in association with Industry.

In order to maintain the contemporary Industry requirements, we started MBA + PGPM where students will be getting the Certified course, by adding additional specialized Skill Training Courses through PGPM Certification from IBMR B-School, Top B-Schools in India. The PGPM Certified Courses offered this year are (a) Fortune 500 Companies, (b) Entrepreneur Development Program (EDP), (c) Social & Rural Marketing and (d) Digital Marketing.  Every year, the PGPM Courses will be reviewed and revised by the Panel of Experts from Industry and Academics to bring Contemporary Curriculum. These additional courses not only give the students a better Domain Knowledge but also would make them relevant and ready for the industry.

IBMR B-School offers Paid Certified Courses like Advanced Microsoft Excel, Tally ERP 9, SAP, Business Analytics, Six Sigma, SPSS, etc. where Trainers from Industry will impart Training on an additional cost. The curriculum incorporates a Foundation Module that is designed to equip the students with Professional Skills of Communication, Decision-making Skills, Design Thinking and Business Awareness which prepares them to understand the Philosophy of Management Program. This will make a student an all-rounder and ready for a Corporate Job, in addition to the Specialization he/she opts into like Marketing; Finance; and HRM.

In addition, the MBA + PGPM that we are offering all these years, we have introduced an International Business Management Program where a student can choose any of the seven contemporary verticals as additional Electives.  These Electives are partly offered here along with the exposure to local businesses and the remaining credits will be offered in other select foreign countries along with the exposure to the International Businesses.

Transition in the Education Industry over the years

Students have to understand one thing when they join any program, be it undergraduate or postgraduate, they should work hard and give their best. When the student gives his dedicated time for academics now, he/she can enjoy his career of 40-50 years, because of the developed strong foundation of the Domain Knowledge.  If a student relaxes now during the time of learning Academics, he/she has to struggle every day of his/her 40-50 years of career.  The one important change is happening in Industry is Big Data and Analytics. This is like a Game changer for businesses and hence for the Educational sector. Students should have knowledge of Analytics.  Analytics have taken into all verticals / Specializations (a) HR Analytics (b) Financial Analytics and (c) Retail Analytics.  The next important thing is Communication.  Students have to improve their verbal communication and also written communication. 

They should participate in activities like Mock GD & PI to get a better exposure before attending Campus placements. Next one is ‘Attitude’; the student should have the learning attitude rather “I Know Everything”. If the learning is not happening in Academic Institutes, the student finds Corporate is a different world and learning at Academic Institute is useless. The team concept is to be practiced but when students form groups based on their liking a person in the group, learning won’t be there.

Your skills in managing the different personalities are important rather than your friends

 Decision-making skills are important and the courses related to that should inculcate such skills among the students in the form of case studies. Faculty should appreciate students with ‘Out of the Box’ thinking.  Faculty should use traditional Teaching with a mix of Flip/ MOOCs gives more exposure to the students. Students should develop an interest in Reading habits and Report writing and faculty should create their assessment around these two and encourage students which give more mileage when they go to Corporate.

Maintaining a healthy with the students and sparing time for them

First of all, as a Director General, my responsibility is to see that each of the Stakeholders is comfortable in the system. Out of all, ‘student’ is one of the keys through which the business is encircled. In the Group of Institutions, we have Academic Heads for each of the Programs. When we streamline the system and bringing Autonomy and Accountability, I assume that all the customers will get the benefit of such developments.

As a Director General, by position, I have to meet the students of each program periodically in various Functions and Activities and I will be addressing them for various issues – Academics and other Student related also. I will give feedback and will rectify the system, in case required, periodically. In addition to that, after the class hours, any student can meet me without any appointment – this is for initial six months – and then I will be fixing the Student Visiting hours – 5 to 6 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the campus and off-campus anytime they can reach me.

Targets to achieve for IBMR

  • First, I will try to understand the existing system and try to streamline the same, wherever professionalism required
  • Second, I will focus on Quality in all activities by identifying Benchmark
  • Third, I have to see the viability of introducing the expansion plans in terms of Developmental Activities. This requires assessing the current manpower, giving them any Training, if required, and procuring additional manpower in the future to reach the goals
  • IBMR as a Brand is completing its 2-decade footage in the field of Education, this is the time to develop other verticals like International Programs, Executive Education Program, Training Activities, more focused Research in terms of Funded Research Programs, Digital Education to reach more audience through Flip / MOOCs, etc.

Tips for the current youth

The current youth basically are free birds and they know what they want to do. They are not going to do what elders or parents are either suggesting or forcing. They want to exhibit their talents and they want to enjoy life. Few suggestions are:

  • Pay attention to academics.
  • Schedule your activities and give time for academics and also to your hobbies.
  • Fix a Goal for your career and plan your activities accordingly.
  • After graduation, you may get a job. Take any of the two routes – (1) Join the Job and work for 2-3 years then come to second route (2) Join for Masters and complete it and take a job.
  • Don’t look at salary first, look at the exposure you get at the entry level jobs. After 5 years of experience, you start working for designations and more salary.
  • When you are studying, learn academics in the Class from the faculty; also take faculty time after the class.  Some faculty can clarify doubts on a one-on-one basis more comfortably, as in the class they may be pressurized on just coverage of the syllabus. Also, learn outside the class from your peer (friends and seniors); learn practically by doing Mini-Projects; doing some week-end field-based Surveys, depending upon the Course requirement.
  • Develop personally in terms of Soft Skills and Life Skills and build up your Physic by regular exercises at Gym as working tomorrow with corporate requires Physical Strength to handle the work on a full-day basis, should have pleasing personality through your soft skills training, and should have decision-making skills and crisis management techniques from your Life Skills training. On the top of it, you have to communicate your Domain Knowledge and exhibit your grip on the same and hence the learning from the Class
  • Aspirant Students can contact me for any such career counseling @+91 9620559612 (M) or