Free Press Journal

An exclusive interview with Dr. Sunil Rai, Director, Goa Institute of Management

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Pune, Goa, Maharashtra, India :

This year, Goa Institute of Management (GIM) has made a big impact in two of the most renowned ranking charts for B-schools in the country. While the surge in the rankings is a marker of the fresh initiatives taken by the institute, its placement record remains rock solid too. Clearly the institute is making the right moves and more importantly, in the right direction.

Dr. Sunil Rai, Director, Goa Institute of Management, talked about everything the institute seems to have got right, and its plans for the future, in an exclusive interview.


The 2013 rankings of GIM reflect a distinct lift compared to the last two years. From Outlook‘s 2012 rank 21 to 19 this year, and from Business Today‘s rank of 28 to that of 24. Clearly, a lot of factors must have contributed to this steady growth. Would you elaborate a bit on them?

In my opinion there are primarily three factors that have resulted in this distinct improvement. First is the improvement in the pedagogic methods, second is showcasing certain important activities that we were doing, but not actually presenting in the form in which they should have been presented. Finally, increasing industry involvement in all that we are doing at GIM has really helped. Let me elaborate on each one of these.

In the pedagogical methodology, we have increased the component of experiential learning and simulations with the result that it has increased our research output and publishing. Now the students get more involved in undertaking research as part of their experiential learning projects. All this knowledge creation gets documented by faculty. This, together with the consulting work being undertaken by the faculty, creates a lot of published research. Also, the different social initiatives the students and faculty are involved in – with Goa government and with NGOs – have actually thrown up a lot of data which we actually showcased.  There have been a lot of publications that have come out and as a result, our work has been appreciated.

Secondly, some of the initiatives which we were already involved in are now being showcased by us. For example, in the ‘Give Goa’ initiative we are helping a lot of farmers, as well as people who have come out of mining and don’t have sources of livelihood. These are the kinds of things which we have always been doing, but now we are presenting them and that is also being liked by the corporates.

With the industry interface, the big difference we have made from last year is that- every course will have at least 20 per cent being taught by people from industry. This is particularly true of the elective courses in the second year, and now we have made it a compulsory thing to do. So if somebody is teaching Consumer Behaviour and it is a 20 session course, then four sessions have to be taught by an industry expert.

In addition, we are involving our alumni and industry practitioners more in curriculum revision. Next year, in the month of January, we are holding a two-day conference where members from industry will get involved with us in curriculum revision. So they don’t just come to us as guest speakers or participants in internships and placements, they are very much part of the course delivery and design. All this is being appreciated by the corporate world.

Q. How does it feels to come so far and to see GIM making its own place in the management world?

A. It feels great, because we feel our efforts have borne fruit. It’s important to do good work and also important to let people know what you are doing. When you find the institution being overlooked due to a lack of communication and not getting its due, it’s a feeling of satisfaction and achievement to turn that around.

Q. We have seen that the placement record of GIM has always been very steady and students have been satisfied for years now. Would you like to comment on the placements as well?

A. It’s a very good point about the steadiness of our placements. Here again there are two things. First, fluctuations happen if you are pushed around by market forces. When the market is good, there are many good jobs and when the market is sloppy, then the salary packages drop. This is actually a market driven or a market sensitive placement activity. But what has been happening at GIM is that when the market is being too bullish, our packages have not touched very high figures, but at the same time when the market is down, our packages haven’t gone down either. We have maintained the balance steadily.

This happens at GIM because there are some things which have really become part of our DNA here. Basically what happens is that at the time of placements, students have to make a choice between three things – the company, the package and the role.

What we have seen at GIM is that our students are picky about the role they will have in an organization. They would like to follow a graph where they are very successful, rather than go for a company’s name or package. GIM students have actually focused more on the role than on the other two aspects, because that is the feedback they are getting from the alumni. For instance, if you have a choice between being a sales executive in a company with a bigger brand and better package or being a business development manager in a smaller company, the business management role in the lesser known company makes more sense, because you will see greater growth.

We have also seen that when students join smaller companies, there are numerous problems which they need to solve and there is no real support from anywhere. It’s like they have been thrown in the deep end and they may have to struggle. The initial profile may not be great, but in the long run they are extremely happy because they are running their own company or heading very top positions. We have seen that with a lot of GIM alumni. I was in Delhi recently and I met alums from our earlier batches, who have now turned successful entrepreneurs because of the roles they chose in the beginning, and the amazing exposure they got.

Entire placement process at GIM is student driven. The placement committee is elected by the students and, like the parliament, they are required to explain their actions at a general body meeting every month to the entire batch. They themselves collect the money for whatever expenditure is involved in placements. The committee has created a bank account and everything is very transparent. It all happens in a democratic manner, so we only get involved when they want some guidance. This is why this culture has been passed down from batch to batch.

Q. The ranking parameters show GIM again scoring high when it comes to faculty strength; would you like to comment on it?

We actually have two kinds of faculty and this is done by design. One lot are actually vibrant young faculty members, who are qualified researchers; they know that unless they are published and do research they will not be able to compete in the industry, so they chose to be avid researchers. They have 10 to 12 years of experience. Having read all the literature, they bring a lot of analytical stuff to the table, so 40% of the faculty at GIM happens to be young vibrant researchers.

The other pool is that of the ones having very high industry experience. They may not be researching but they came with the variety because they are already bringing a lot of insight from the corporate. For example: the CEO of Boost India is one of the marketing head researchers, ex-NTPC head is our operational head and the Director of Government of GOA who is known for his communicative skill is heading a particular field. We have an excellent combination of experience and scholarly brilliant people- one says why you should do it and the other tells why you should not do it. Remaining 20% is the mixture of both.

Q. What would be your message to the aspirants of GIM?

A. I would like to convey to them three things that I have picked up from Dr. Seth of AMRI – my guru. The first thing is believe in yourself, especially in this fast-changing, internet connected, technology driven society, which is creating different kinds of challenges. I say this because today, in the age of information explosion, when you confront twenty sites you will get twenty different types of information. In such a situation, it is highly important to have confidence in your own self; the beauty of life is to take a decision and live with it.

The second thing I would like to say to youngsters is that they should remain patient. Fast food is not really in our culture and if you want a biryani, it takes two hours to make! The same way, true success takes time; it is the eastern ethos and that is what has saved us.

Lastly, I would say that- don’t take things too much for granted. Whatever you choose to say or do should be a result of informed choices. Whenever you take a decision and whenever you believe in something, always use data and analysis. The day you start declining is the day you stop analyzing; great people always analyse what they do and they keep challenging their own decisions as well.

About Goa Institute of Mangement (GIM)

Located at Sanquelim as well as Ribandar, the business school was founded in 1993 when Romuald D’Souza (ex Director – XLRI, Jamshedpur and XIMB, Bhubaneswar) moved from XIM, Bhubaneswar to create a centre of learning and excellence in Goa. The autonomous school is governed by a Board, and offers a full-time MBA (PGDBM) program (2 years) and executive MBA (3 years) and also is a resource centre for PhD programs in management for Goa University.

The Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) is the flagship programme of GIM. It is a two year, full-time residential programme. The first year comprises a core programme consisting of compulsory courses on the basics of every discipline in management aimed at developing a common foundation in management theory. The second year of the course consists of electives designed to cater to students’ interest and to develop proficiency in the area of their choice. Students need to select one Major and one Minor specialization from among the following offered – Marketing, Finance, HR, Operations. The coursework also requires the completion of an internship between the two years lasting for a total of eight to nine weeks. The current intake of the PGDM course is 240 students per year.

 Media Contact Details
Ms. Jennifer Fernandes ,  Goa Institute of Management ,  +91(832)236670432