Interview by Pratyasha
Sarada Challa is the Founder and Director of Sarada College of Hotel Management. Her qualification includes Masters in French and has pursued Goldman Sachs Program for Entrepreneurship. Having spent almost two decades as a lecturer in the Hotel and Hospitality Industry, she has enormous experience of 15 years as an entrepreneur in the education industry as well.
Ms. Challa is also an active member of Invent for India, an association for entrepreneurs. Her success is beyond doubt and many of her articles have been featured in The Hindu, The Indian Express, Andhra Jyoti, and many more.
Journey in the education industry was no less than a rollercoaster ride for Ms. Challa
The education industry is very active in terms of its activities and participation from the students sides. What impresses and amazes me the most is the atmosphere that the industry provides. Although I have experience of teaching for almost 8 years, my heart was in entrepreneurship from the very start. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and never liked working for someone else.
Before starting this college, I observed that an average student can excel very well in the Hotel Management industry. I have only seen the best of the students receive the opportunity but this industry has its doors open for all. After starting this college, I learned that there are various things needed in an institution apart from teaching. Initially, we provided only certificate programmes, but in 2005, the college got affiliated to Osmania University. I have gained a huge amount of experience in setting up this college and the journey was no less than an adventurous ride.
Changes witnessed in Hotel Management Industry
With the introduction of new technologies and trends, the industry is undergoing a lot of changes on a regular basis. As an educational institution, it is our duty to remain aware of the changes happening around in the world. College is not just about infrastructure or faculty, technology also plays an important role in the development. Initially, the college was a little outdated in terms of awareness about the changes. We, therefore, started calling eminent people into the college to talk or provide suggestions about the changes required in our college. We have been regularly inviting scholars for the events till now.
The college has taken a crucial step to enhance the skills of faculty members of the college. Every summer, all the faculty members are required to attend the training sessions organized in association with hotels. They work there as employees and then share their experiences with the students in the college. Books cannot teach everything in this industry, practical knowledge is necessary here since the clientele rate has been constantly increasing in this industry.
Managing time being a Director of the college
As I usually do not participate in day-to-day events/ activities happening in the college, it gives me time to look after more important things i.e. placements, admissions or arranging events. I personally handle all those things since they form the core of our institution.
Also, I teach French to 1st-year students only which keeps me connected to them. By doing this, I can learn about their needs or suggestions for the college. I believe interaction with the students is more important than teaching.
Ms. Challa take on Indian and Western education
In India, we are more serious about the quality of education provided to the students and checking their performances regularly. We keep a personal eye on every student and regularly monitor them.We are preparing the students for the outer world.
Here at, Sarada College of Hotel Management, we provide personal service to each and every student. The students are investing more and more time in learning. The main motive of every student who comes here is immediate placement.
Read about Sarada College of Hotel Management Placement
Though, our education system is much more interference in terms of support. But with the conservative mode of teaching, we can provide proper guidance and support.
Steps taken to build a brand name for Sarada College
Placement is my first priority and I am very clear about the whole process. Also, I am very particular about inviting 5-star hotels only to the college. In this industry, the standard of the hotels decides the kind of exposure a student will receive after getting placed. If you look at any fast food joint, there is no exposure that one can receive there apart from a particular outlet or department.
The right amount of exposure is essential for a better future of students. Apart from spending 3 years on their degrees, it is necessary for them to witness the real changes happening in the industry. Usually, it is seen that the higher the brand, the better exposure, I always tell my students that one should not focus on salary but on the amount of exposure you are getting. Also, getting into big brands is not easy but we have trained our students rightly.
Communication skills play an important role in Hotel Management Industry and students find it a difficult task to accomplish. For this, the college has proper training sessions and we provide every single tip from grooming to everything.
Philosophy and Style of leadership
As a leader, I feel that working with people is more important than giving orders. I have witnessed that when you give some essence to your work and you do not tend to monitor it regularly, the work will not take place. Monitoring and working with people are two qualities that are required in a good leader. You must ensure that you are in sync with the team and work with them.
How is SCHM different from other colleges
I have observed that most of the colleges put minimal concentration on the activities. A hotel management college should have a proper curriculum and regular training for the students. Our college is very particular about providing training sessions to both students and the faculty. We are very strict towards implementing the changes as well. Sarada College has a very good and experienced team in the kitchen and service areas because these are the basic department of the hotel industry.
We are the only college which provides direct abroad placement to the students. The college is directly associated with 4 groups of hotels i.e Hyatt Group of Hotels, Hilton Hotel, Symphony Group of Hotel and Citymax Hotel. The process of interview takes place directly through Skype and I have placed many students with these group of hotels.