Interview by Yash Panchal

Mr. Gajendra Pal Gautam

Mr. Gautam’s experience in the education industry

We have been in the industry as an institute of hotel management for the last 10 years. We started offering Degree course in the year 2008, and since then we have been offering Degree, Diploma and Certificate courses in hotel management. These courses offer a wide range of career prospects for the students. We are able to have 100% placement for last 8 years. Students are joining in various capacities, right from entry level to management trainee. The demand for short-term courses had increased drastically over the last few years.

Students once enrolled more into degree courses, but now they also pursue short-term courses like a diploma and certificate courses. The industry has helped students by recruiting the students who are not graduates still and they can pursue their further studies by distant learning. Since last 3 years, we have been offering the short term courses through NSDC. This year, we are starting new courses which are Bachelor in Vocational Studies in Hotel Management and Bachelor in Vocational Studies (Bakery and Cookery). The bakery and cookery is a degree course only for kitchen students. They will be getting more time to understand concepts related to bakery and cookery.

Mr. Gautam’s philosophy of leadership

If we talk about leadership in hotel industry, it comes from the fact that students are taught to handle and manage situations, and they are exposed to the industry in a way that they become equipped to understand these skills and by the time they are exposed to industry, they gain practical exposure and are into real-time situations, they develop as managers. A leader would understand what are the skills that he/she is expected to, and adopt all those skills when he/she enters into the industry.

Significant challenges faced by Mr. Gautam as the Director of Indian Hotel Academy

There were challenges in the way. We started with a collaboration with Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education courses. With these courses, there was a territorial jurisdiction clause which UGC had put in. Now most of the universities outside Delhi, are not offering courses in Delhi. So, we have limited options. If we talk about grooming standards of students, it becomes little challenging to incorporate these skills amongst the students. Adaptability and flexibility is a problem too.

Curriculum of Indian Hotel Academy

Our curriculum is a mix of practical and theory. The students are with us for 8 hours. Morning hours are for practical, whereas theoretical classes are taken in the evening. The 3-year course comprises of the practical and theoretical knowledge at the institute level and then at the industry level, wherein they are able to understand in a better way what the industry is all about and how to implement their knowledge in the industry level. These are the few key points that help them become the kind of individuals required in the industry.

Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Indian Hotel Academy

Fortunately, in the Indian hotel industry, there are more hotels coming up. The top brands have entered Delhi/NCR and other parts of the country. So, placements have never been a challenge. We have got hotels that are ready to hire our students which is why the placements here are 100%. Their only requirement is a particular skill set, hospitable attitude, good communication skills and a welcoming personality.

Mr. Gautam on his relation with the students and his availability for them

We have a team which comprises of the lecturers, trainers, faculties, all having an experience of over 10 years. These skills enable them to train the students in such a way that they get the best hands-on experience, best expertise and are able to be trained and disciplined accordingly.

Ideal school environment for Mr. Gautam

My ideal school environment depends on what the industry requires. The industry might require decision-making skills, situation handling, communication skills. So, the ideal school environment should be such that would encourage an atmosphere where such skillset is promoted/inculcated. When the students know these things and follow these things in their curriculum, they later find themselves to be better equipped as per the required skillset.

Top qualities that an aspiring candidate must possess

Attitude is the main parameter required in our field. Selfless giving and hospitable behavior add on to the skill set. Patience is another important quality that an aspirant must possess because, in this industry, growth doesn’t come in that quick. Patience is extremely important. Apart from this, the other qualities include confidence, good communication skills.

Goals in mind for Indian Hotel Academy

Ever since we began the vision was to create the best of the individuals for the hospitality industry, I believe with little of our efforts, we shall be able to fulfill this goal. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the hospitality industry.

Suggestions for the current youth

This industry can give the students a great growth scope, the only thing is that a little patience is required. The students should not be skippers. 5 -10 years in the industry are required in order to create a firm base for oneself.