Interview by Arjun Verma
Shri Sanjay Kumar Thakur is currently working as the Principal at Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology & Applied Nutrition, Hyderabad. He has completed his graduation in Hotel Management from Institute of Hotel Management-Bhubaneswar in the year 1988.
In his experience, he has won various awards and titles such as ‘Unsung Hero’ award by the Accor Hotels International and Rotary Club recognition for providing Top Class Education.
Mr.Thakur on his experience in the education industry
Hotels and Restaurants are segments of the Travel and Tourism industry. Travel and Tourism industry is growing @ 12% in India. Whereas rest of world is at 07% which itself makes it one of the best industry to work in. On an average 2,40,000 job vacancies are coming up every year and supply is only 60,000, which means that there is a huge gap between supply and demand.
Since the supply and the demand gap is quite high, anyone joining travel and tourism industry which includes Hotels, airlines, airports, cruise liners, restaurant chains; shopping malls and retails, the growth is very fast.
Even an average performing student with lots of common sense can think of excelling in the hospitality world. I graduated in Hotel Management in 1988 and then onwards worked in star hotels for a decade. My experience as a Restaurateur as well has made my teaching job very interesting. I am able to link the hospitality education with industry without many difficulties. Imparting education through case studies has made my work easy and interesting.
Enhancing student-industry interaction through workshops and seminars
IHM-Hyderabad on average invites 30 Guest Speakers from Hotels and other related organization in an academic year to deliver lectures and presentations. We organize and participate in different workshops, panel discussions, seminars, and competitions. We have a tie-up with reputed hotel chains where our students attend and provide service in high profile banquets. One semester in the second year of B.Sc. in Hospitality & Hotel Administration is dedicated to industrial training where our students are attached to a 05 star hotel for a period of 21 weeks to learn and understand the hotel operations.
On our Board of Governors, we have 03 General Managers from Hotels who continuously guide the college towards excellence. An IAS Officer, Secretary (Tourism), Government of Telangana is the Chairman of our Board. And the Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is the Chief Executive Officer. IHM-Hyderabad is an active Member of Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India, Telangana State Hotels Association, and South India Hotels & Restaurants Association.
Mr.Thakur on his time management
For me as a Principal Time Management is not clock management but life leadership with clear objectives. Time is never a constraint.
A comparison between the Indian education system and abroad education system
Travel & Tourism industry in Europe and America are very well developed. Students joining hospitality colleges are well exposed to 05-star hotels and their work culture. Few of the educational institutions abroad make it mandatory for any student keen to join hospitality education to have a minimum of one-year hotel work experience which makes the students adopt fast to the college curriculum. Their campus has students from different countries studying together which is again a great advantage.
In India, the hospitality industry has not even grown 50% of what it is in America. Majority of students lack knowledge of the hotel operations and its culture as such they take a lot of time to adjust in the hospitality schools in India. In fact, around 10% quit the course in between. Students who are poor in spoken English has to struggle more in order to survive and excel.
Education abroad is more on assignments and group activities based. Whereas in India it is still based on classroom lectures and practical’s in the laboratories. Since the pay package and other perks are very attractive in other countries, highly qualified professors join the hospitality schools.
Creating a brand name for IHM
We at IHM-Hyderabad are quality conscious and focus on delivering all-round education consistently. IHM-Hyderabad is the only college to have a Start-up outlet. An ISO certified Institute with many unique facilities. Encouraging self-discipline, commitment, salesmanship, and problem-solving skills has helped our students and the college to excel and create a Brand.
Democratic and autocratic leadership
A desire to live for students and making them good human-being is the philosophy. Living by example, setting examples and creating an environment of positivity are the main pillars of my leadership. I firmly believe in a combination of democratic and autocratic leadership.
Ensuring placement opportunities for students
Since IHM-Hyderabad was established in 1972 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, job placements for our students have never been an issue. Our Alumni are spread all over the world and they are doing extremely well for themselves.
As such, there is continuous support from our Alumni as far as education and job placements are concerned. Our Campus job interviews start from July end every year and go on till March next year. With more than 40 companies coming in for Campus Recruitment, our students are happier to have more than one job offer.
Facts that make IHM different from others
IHM-Hyderabad is the only Central Hotel Management Institute in Andhra Pradesh and the Telangana States approved by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. It is Central Government Autonomous Institute with National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Noida as an apex body. The admissions to IHM-Hyderabad happens through Joint Entrance Examination conducted by the National Council for HMCT and Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
A message for students
There is absolutely no doubt that the Travel and Tourism industry is growing very fast in India and is the second largest employment generating industry. Any student willing to join IHM must first find out the hotel work culture and ensure that they are physically strong with good communication skills, high on self-discipline and commitment.