Ques 1: As Director and Professor, and being a key essence to the IRMA legacy, how do you visualize an IRMAn?
Ans: Having been associated with IRMA since 1995, first as professor and now as its Director, I have come to appreciate its ethos of empowering the rural sector and reaching out to the grassroots with end-to-end solutions. I, hence, expect a typical IRMAn to be empathetic and down to earth while being a go-getter with regard to output. Such a person, according to my vision, is a good team person who does not believe in simply being a cog in the wheel but works for the good of the team while rising above petty, individualistic considerations. Such a person is an able leader, in my opinion, armed with the latest techniques, tools, and theories. A true facilitator, in other words.
Ques 2: With a one of its kind Post Graduate Programme in Rural Management, IRMA focuses on a very niche curriculum. How do you position IRMA in the over-all Business Education?
Ans: Unlike other B schools where fast decision-making is the most important thing we at IRMA go the extra mile to instill values of empathy, creativity, honesty, and integrity in our graduates. The reason for our belief is owed to IRMA’s commitment to knowledge creation that has led to its being re-invented as a knowledge institution as opposed to a mere teaching hub or research centre. This is the only institute where a dream job is to work for the furtherance of the development (also read rural) sector as opposed to earning high figures at a US-based multinational company. It is as Dr. Kurien said, “We have traversed a path few have dared to. We are continuing on a path still fewer have the courage to follow…”
Ques 3: With your plethora of knowledge and diverse industry experience, where do you see IRMA scaling with your expertise?
Ans: While focusing on SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) I hope to ensure that everyone does the same. My way of functioning is through integrative means. I hope to have in place a high level of coordination through better communication across the various functional areas of the institute. I hope to get all the stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, recruiters, alumni, governing body, and regulators – on the same page with a sense of pride in their association with IRMA.
Ques 4: What, according to you, is the core strength of IRMA and how do you view an IRMAn progress among others in the corporate world?
The core strength of IRMA lies in its underlying belief concerning making a difference. This has been accomplished by integrating management and development. This integration takes into its ambit a strong sensitization to bottom-of-of the-pyramid issues while dealing with the same aided by a wholly professional approach. It is this rich perspective that sets IRMA apart from other B schools. I can say this with confidence since several of our alumni and faculty members have made a tremendous difference in their areas of work and touched millions of lives.
This attitude of wanting to make a difference is what an IRMAn starts out with. Our coursework and three internship segments encourages this attitude while honing attributes like adaptability, flexibility, lateral thinking, ability to identify and resolve issues quickly, and people management skills. That is the reason most of our graduates, starting out in functional areas of, say, finance, marketing, or operations rise to the position of SBU heads and then CEOs within a relatively short time span.
Ques 5: For aspirants enticed by the unique curriculum and keen to become IRMAns, what would be your message to them?
Ans: My message for such aspirants would be: Getting enrolled at IRMA is not a destination in itself but the beginning of a journey that necessitates hard work, an attitude encouraging open-mindedness with regard to new experiences and learning from them, and the desire to touch lives in fruitfully empathetic ways.
Aspirants need to bear in mind that our two-year PRM programme is very different from other graduate programmes requiring, as it does, spirit and grit to help one meet the challenges while treading the unconventional, untrodden path.
I invite IRMA’s aspirants to become part of its unique journey and add value to society and mankind.