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Category Archives: Faculty

Mr. Nobin Philips describes how SCMS Cochin School of Business works towards creating successful professionals and entrepreneurs of the future.

nobin k philip (1)With a proven track record in academics and industry both, Mr. Nobin Philips has been an important addition to the faculty team at SCMS Cochin School of Business. Mr. Phillips, who recently joined the institute as an Assistant Professor, has an MBA in Finance and Marketing from University of Wales. In addition, he has 7 years of solid experience in teaching management at different universities in the UK. After working with big name institutes internationally, Mr. Philips was keen on working with a top B School in India. He admits that SCMS Cochin was an obvious choice and his journey thus far has been fulfilling experience.

At the institute, Mr. Philips, with his dual specialization, is in a position to offer classes in both Marketing and Finance (Insurance). Moreover, he brings his experience teaching in foreign universities to the table. If you ask him whether he sees any big differences between students in the two countries, he replies, “The big difference is that students are more focused on learning abroad,” he laments. “I studied in one of the best colleges in the world but I was told there that their MBA wouldn’t guarantee us a job. It’s the opposite here and students are only working towards getting a job. This kind of focus has to change.”

According to Mr. Philips, students should look at management studies as a means to know more about business and how it works. This is something his institute tries to imbibe amongst its students. He believes that’s why you see a huge difference in students once they complete live projects and are ready to leave the B School. “I think any college can help the bright students learn and graduate,” he explains. “But you know the true education level of an institute when average students do well and I am proud that we have managed to do that here. We keep doing our best to encourage students towards their holistic and well-rounded development.”

However, the fact remains that Marketing and Finance is considered to be a lucrative domain of management, which is why it draws a large number of students. But does Mr. Philips think that career opportunities are reason enough for aspirants to opt for it? “There are so many misconceptions. One being that if you talk well, you are good for marketing; and, if you like numbers, you are a fit for Finance. None of this really applies when you are working in the real world,” he says. “That’s why we want our students to be managers, so that they can plan, strategize and have an all round approach to challenges. Aptitude is something that can grow in you.”

Mr. Philips also adds that most students know the specialization they want to pick after their first year. The institute also does its best to lead them in the right direction; however, for some, entrepreneurship might be the goal and SCMS Cochin encourages that as well. Mr. Philips sheds light on that, saying, “We have an entrepreneurship cell where we have only 40 students. We have conversations with them to understand what their goals are, and we organize conferences and seminars where they can interact with industry experts. We also ask them to come up with a business plan while working closely with start-up companies.”

Clearly these initiatives have been carefully thought out to give students of the institute the cutting edge advantage. Mr. Philips himself endeavors to ensure that they are not lagging behind, and he gives us insight into describes his approach to teaching: “We try to focus on case studies in the classroom and they learn to relate to concepts with their practical applications. So even if they don’t know the theories well, they gain an understanding of industry practices. We also have mentees at the institute and we try to ascertain what they lack in terms of education, whether it’s skill, motivation or any other factors. We then try to address these issues so that the students flourish in their two years with us.”

And it’s this personal approach and dedicated attitude towards teaching amongst faculty members that makes SCMS Cochin one of the best places for learning for management aspirants.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Faculty

 

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Mr. Sreekumar Pillai, Professor, Marketing, uses his 25 years of corporate experience to groom future management professionals at SCMS Cochin School of Business.

IMG_0712With his 25 years of experience in the corporate sector, out of which 19 were spent outside of India, Mr. Sreekumar Pillai never thought he would enter academia. But fate and personal reasons brought him back to his roots in Cochin and he came across the sterling work done by SCMS in the world of management. Impressed by the vision and mission of the institute, as well as the setup of the organization, he decided to join the B School as Professor, Marketing. He has taken to it like a fish to water and is excited about making a difference in students’ lives.

Mr. Pillai’s impressive resume includes a stint with Britannia Industries as a Commercial Manager; in addition, he was a Resident Manager with Conagra MCAPBV, a joint venture company in Rotterdam. He also worked in Cashew Operations in Unito Holding, Director of Legal and Finance of Star Nut and Food International B.V. Capelle A/d Ijssel. His vast experience is now being leveraged as an academic: “I am now focusing on my career as an academician while I await my Ph.D. I also want to get exposure through socially oriented programs.”

A member of SCENSER, the research organization of SCMS Cochin, Mr. Pillai is reveling in the encouragement he has received from the institute. “We have a lot of management developmental programs that we offer to governmental organizations like India Post, Kerala government,” he says. “I am very interested in these programs, which is why I have chosen to combine my teaching with research and social development processes.” Despite these goals, Mr. Pillai’s highlighting achievements are his time spent with students and the brilliant feedback he receives from them.

Clearly, like all the faculty members of the institute, Mr. Pillai is dedicated to the cause of offering a high-quality education to students and making them industry-ready. Discussing the main attributes of SCMS Cochin that enables it to give its students the edge, he says, “Of course, the faculty base is rich in experience. Moreover, the program is industry driven, which ensures that our students keep up with the latest trends and strategies in the real world. This also benefits me as a faculty member of the institute.”

And how does he use his own industry experience for the benefit of the students? Mr. Pillai ponders before responding, “Whatever concepts I teach I am able to relate them to industry experience, which is appreciated by the students. It makes my teaching more credible and students stand to gain a lot out of it. I am also involved with III sessions, an industry institute interaction initiative where we have experts coming to the campus to deliver talks every week. With my network of contacts we manage to draw some big names.”

It’s interesting to know how, according to Mr. Pillai, these initiatives benefit the students. He offers us insight into the present scenario in management education to explain the impact these sessions can have: “We have seen common deficiencies amongst students. Since most of them lack the vision and focus, they get a reality check from industry professionals who have been there and done that. They give students valuable tips and draw them a roadmap of what to expect from the industry. They also learn what the industry expects out of them.”

So what is expected out of future management professionals with a specialization in marketing? Mr. Pillai reminds us of the changing face of marketing in today’s digital environment and also focuses on retail management, which, according to him, is a subset of marketing. “We make things interesting for students through realistic projects rather than just classroom learning,” he explains. “We talk about interactive, affiliate marketing and students need to make the most out of it because that’s the way forward. Marketing in India is getting more sophisticated and you have to be up for the challenges that come along with it.” In his concluding remarks, Mr. Pillai illustrates his value as an educator – and student will surely benefit from his knowledge and industry experience.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Faculty

 

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SCMS Cochin School of Business now under the able leadership of Dr. Filomina P. George

FilominaDr. Filomina Parayil George has a long list of qualifications to her name: Masters in Business Administration,Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK, and a Fellow Member of Zambian Institute of Certified Accountant, Zambia. She has done her doctorate in Financial Economics from M.G.University.

Dr. Filomina has almost 2 decades association with SCMS Cochin School of Business. She first joined the institute as a faculty member and HOD of Finance. Later, she was Dean (Admissions), and now the Director.

In her endeavour to raise the standards of SCMS,she studied the job market and concluded that there is a huge expectation gap between industry expectations and employee/student deliverables. She opines that perhaps this is due to the increasing number of students becoming more complacent and taking the system for granted. SCMS bridges this gap in various ways. The first of them by making the students and faculty aware of this gap, since awareness and acceptance are the first steps to improvement.Secondly, she focuses on bringing about innovations in training and pedagogy. She claims that “The programs have been redesigned to reach the average student and make them more inclusive. Mentoring programs for the students is also given more focus with the active involvement of the mentors”. Language skills, which is essential to good communications, is also another area of focus.The first step is to identify the students who need significant help in communication – then, they undergo an extensive training program.In the endeavour to bridge the industry expectations and delivery gap, the faculty has also been assisting by ensuring that a hierarchical system does not act as a barrier and that the students work as a team. Today, the student-faculty relationship is very strong, which extends beyond the standard 9 to 5 hours and builds relationships that evolve into personal friendships.

Besides boasting of an international faculty, like Dr.Subraniam Swamy who visits twice a year, SCMS also has an international student tie-up, with students exchange programs.SCMS has accreditations and certifications with renowned bodies like AICTE, ISO 9000:2000, NBA, and ACBSP (USA). In addition being equipped with modern teaching aids, SCMS has all the facilities like library, computer centre, and provision for staying in campus.Under co-curricular activities, the Management Students’ Syndicate is an entity formed to facilitate effective interaction with the corporate world. Its functions include organizing seminars by inviting experts from the industry and arranging visits to organizations to understand their day-to-day functions. Under its aegis, students also undertake specific assignments on behalf of the industry. The faculty lends the needed support.

Most often when the students are with us, they are at the receiving end of the pressure, so cannot experience the sheer pleasure of being a part and parcel of SCMS. “It is only later in their career that they value their time with us”. I experienced this recently when I met an ex-student who is today and achiever in her own domain, exclaimed, “Ma’am, what I built is with the foundation of SCMS.’’

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Faculty

 

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Mr. Justin Joy tells us how his industry experience has been used to benefit students at SCMS Cochin School of Business.

IMG_0717Mr. Justin Joy is an Assistant Professor in Systems and Operations at SCMS Cochin School of Business. But as is the case with several of the faculty members at the institute, he has solid industry experience to boot. The Mechanical Engineer went on to do his Master’s in Business Information Technology from Newcastle Business School before gathering 11 years of work experience with some well-known organizations. It was during the last couple of years of his industry career, when he was handling a training role, that he developed an interest in teaching. The rest as they say is history.

Today, Mr. Joy is quite pleased with the way things have turned out, and uses his industry experience to his advantage in his new role. “When I was working in the training role as an industry professional, I realized that I really enjoyed it,” he explains. “So, joining SCMS Cochin was the next logical step for me, since it’s such a reputable institute. Now I try to use my industry experience for the benefit of the students. I know that whatever work experience I have, helps them in the classroom as I can make things more relatable to them.”

Mr. Joy’s industry experience is quite impressive and includes a stint as a Business Area Manager for Educomp Solutions Limited. He also worked as a web and business development manager, and head of computer applications at IFCR India, a Canada based research organization. Was leaving such a prolific career an easy decision to make? He responds without batting an eyelid: “When you know what you want to do, the decision becomes a lot easier. I was very keen on getting into academics and found a right fit with the institute, so I took the plunge.”

He calls SCMS Cochin the right fit for him because the institute is known to encourage research, something Mr. Joy, who is presently doing his PhD, is clearly very interested in. But he admits that it’s also because they have the same vision for training students and creating industry ready professionals. “The idea is to give students a practical understanding of things as well so that they can use it in their careers,” he says. “My own industry exposure allows me to focus on the practical applications of theoretical concepts, which helps students too.”

So how exactly does he do that in Systems and Operations, and what does he make of the field in terms of career prospects? “Everything we do, from classroom exercises to assignments, we focus on the practical world rather than theory,” he begins. “For example, if I am teaching databases, it will be about databases for a particular industry. We ask them to implement ideas in keeping with the needs of an organization, which gives them practical insight. It is a field with tremendous opportunities and we prepare students to make the most out of them.” A solid education and exposure to industry practices – this is what SCMS Cochin strives to instill in its students. So, it makes perfect sense for Mr. Joy to part of the renowned faculty of the institute.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Faculty

 

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“You need to gather more information about your areas of interest and consider the consequences before making any career decisions,” suggests Ms. Cuckoo Joy, Manager, Centre for Excellence, General Electric Company, Texas to students of SCMS Cochin School of Business at their latest III

Cuckoo JoyStudents of SCMS Cochin School of Business recently had the privilege of listening to Ms. Cuckoo Joy, Manager, Centre for Excellence, General Electric Company, Texas. She is a renowned professional who has made giant strides in the industry and is a much sought after speaker. Therefore, her talk held on the 12th of March attracted students in large numbers. The fact that the session revolved around student aspirations and the challenges they face while realizing them, made sure that the audience had plenty of takeaways at the end of the day.

Ms. Joy opened the engaging session by asking 20 students to share their aspirations. She then made them open up about their fears regarding meeting these goals, before offering helpful advice to each one of them. According to her, “You need to gather more information about your areas of interest and consider the consequences before making any career decisions. It’s very important that you understand the nature of the risk involved before jumping into something new”.

That’s something the seasoned professional would know a thing or two about. Ms. Joy shared some of her experiences in order to shed light on the risks she is often faced with: “There are two major roles for me: Risk Manager and Contract Manager. The Risk Manager takes care of identifying the risks involved and mitigating them. The Project Manager claims a leadership role and supports the managers to identify risks and to deal with and settle issues with clients. Planning and interacting with co-workers helps in coping with a multitude of risks.”

The aspirants in the gathering were interested in knowing what the industry looks for when hiring new professionals. Ms. Joy offered them insight into employers’ minds by describing three qualities she considers important. “Integrity, Temperament and Presentation are three qualities one must possess in the corporate world”, she stressed, hoping to drive home this point. “Integrity is the most important of all and it’s something you just shouldn’t compromise on. It adds to your credibility”. Adding to that, she urged to students to avoid corruption, and said that if you are faced with it, you might want to change jobs.

Talking about the significance of wholesome involvement in different aspects of an organization, Ms. Joy said, “You shouldn’t miss a single opportunity to volunteer. That’s because every interaction is a learning experience.” This interaction with her was definitely turning out to be a huge learning experience for students, who were then introduced to Ms. Joy’s own aspirations. The much-accomplished professional hopes to work with underprivileged children. This was a point that made students realize the importance of giving back to the community and the larger society.

Being a top rung woman professional isn’t always easy, as one has to wear several caps. But Mrs. Joy had a strong message during the Women’s Day week as she believed nothing was impossible for women. And what’s her advice to management hopefuls? “Have a dream, aspire for something in life and just go for it. You must do what you want to do to, and know what you really want,” she added thoughtfully. Ms. Joy concluded her session with a rendition of “I too have a dream” that left the gathering inspired to make their own dreams come true.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Faculty

 

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Professor R. T. R. Varma, HOD of marketing at SCMS Cochin School of Business talks about the constantly evolving world of marketing and explains why Digital is the way forward.

IMG_0757“Teaching is all about academic discipline..” These are the words of Prof. R. T. R. Varma, who is also the HOD of the Marketing department at SCMS Cochin School of Business and one of its most senior faculty members. With over 25 years of industry experience in Senior Management positions in Marketing and General Management in both the public and private sector, he is able to offer students a wide range of knowledge in important marketing concepts and business trends.

Prof. Varma believes that industry experience for academics can go a long way in helping bring students a corporate perspective on things they learn in the classroom. “It’s particularly true in areas like Marketing where your experience in the industry setup can be brought to the classroom to make things relatable to the students”, he explains. “I constantly try to do that at the institute because I want the students to understand how they can use their classroom learning in the real world when they become professionals”.

Clearly, Prof. Varma has a lot of insight into the world of marketing, while also seeing it evolve over the years. So, he strives to help his students keep abreast with the latest trends in the industry: “IT is changing just about everything in the industry. Recently, we had a seminar on how it’s even transformed a creative area like advertising as the whole process can now be digitalized. In fact, digital is the way forward because that’s the demand of the consumer – you just cannot avoid it.”

He further elaborates on the importance of digital by saying that it works because it has made things easily accessible; in addition, it enhances value by reducing cost. Prof. Varma is also of the belief that the profile for marketing professionals is changing in today’s times. According to him, it is due to the changing demands of the consumer: “Today, it’s all about the orientation of the customer and not just marketing to him or her in the traditional, age –old ways. Therefore, the roles in the industry are changing dramatically. This is exciting in many ways, including the fact that it offers a new scope for future professionals.”

But of course, those who want to make a place for themselves in the dynamic marketing domain need to have certain skills and competencies. Prof. Varma sheds light on these skills, saying, “The first thing is that you need to be information-savvy to make the most out of marketing. Since customer behavior is changing a lot, you need to try and understand it to build trust and, above all else, loyalty. That’s the reason the emphasis should be on long-term approaches and tactics rather than crisis management.”

Prof. Varma, self-admittedly, is not a “conventional” academic and doesn’t like the use of the chalkboard in the classroom environment. Over the years, he has devised his own strategies and gotten into a comfort zone with PowerPoint that effectively replaces the conventional chalkboard. “I would never want my students to think that anything I am telling them is from some heavenly waves. I work hard to source and prepare my material as I present it to them,” he says with a smile. Given his popularity amongst students at the institute, his methods are clearly working.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Faculty

 

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Ms. Dipti Lunawat, SCMS Cochin School of Business, clears misconceptions about Finance and talks about the opportunities it presents young management professionals

IMG_0761A Chartered Accountant by profession, Ms. Dipti Lunawat has gathered valuable industry experience, having worked with some of the top names in the field of consultancy. But, she admits that she was always interested in teaching, and that it was definitely her true calling. She already embraced teaching during her articleship as a CA, but her first B School assignment with SCMS Cochin School of Business is what has gotten her really excited. Here, the Assistant Professor talks about her forte: finance and how things are changing for those who want to make it big in the industry.

For starters, Ms. Lunawat believes that students who do their management programs from reputable B Schools definitely have an advantage. According to her, this is due to their ability to keep up with changing trends: “Firstly, they are more aware about current affairs. As a B School student, you will be updated about the latest trends in the industry. There is also a lot more focus, which in my opinion is appealing to the industry. Yes, there might be some issues with the fundamentals of Finance but that’s where my or any teacher’s role comes in play”.

However, Ms. Lunawat has words of encouragement for students who might be intimidated by the thought of the high-level of number-crunching involved in Finance. She believes it’s more of a mind game and there’s no reason for beginners to develop a phobia about it because there are means like computers, calculators, etc., to offer them respite. “Irrespective of your background, you can excel in Finance if you develop an interest in it”, she says. “At the end of the day, Finance is about analyzing different situations and how you focus on solving problems”.

Ms. Lunawat is also of the opinion that a specialization at the PGDM level is important because it lets budding professionals express themselves in their areas of interest. It could be finance for some, while for others it’s the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. The good news is that the institute strives to prepare them according to their interests. “It’s true that many of my students want to become entrepreneurs”, she states. “I give them projects and ask students to ponder the issues in them. They can then apply all the concepts they have learned to come up with effective solutions”.

Ask her about an important aspect of learning for students at the institute, and Ms. Lunawat replies without batting an eyelid: “During the two years of their program, students have to work with deadlines constantly and that’s the best thing they learn. That’s because when you look at professionals in the corporate world, many of them struggle to keep up with deadlines. The mentorship program at the institute is also beneficial to students because they can find out ways to deal with the challenges that they might face.”

The mentorship program is taken very seriously by the faculty members who devote their time every evening to answer student queries. Ms. Lunawat encourages students to make the most out of this program and other opportunities offered by the institute. “SCMS Cochin is a great place to learn things because the institute tries very hard to equip you with all the skills required to make your place in the corporate world”, she says. “The two years’ residential program also lets you develop your personality and grow as an individual”.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Faculty

 

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