“Engineering gave me the analytical bent,” said Prof. Manickavasagam Sivagnanasundaram, professor of Marketing at the Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies. “The practical exposure that I gained during my practice as an engineer helped me to grasp the concepts of management in a better way,” he said.

 

It’s this blending of practical experience with academic learning that has boosted KIAMS ranking among top MBA schools to a level it truly deserves.

Prof. Manickavasagam began his academic career by earning his BE in civil engineering from Madurai Kamaraj University, and, after several years in engineering, went on to earn an MBA in marketing from that same university, followed by a PhD in marketing from the National Institute of Technology at Trichy.

With a firm understanding of both industry and academia, he wanted to share his knowledge with future generations and joined the teaching staff at KIAMS.

The move has been interesting and challenging, said Prof. Manickavasagam.

At KIAMS, he said enthusiastically: “We have students from all over India having different cultural backgrounds. Identifying a common platform for discussions and examples is interesting and challenging. The students at KIAMS demand more practical inputs than theoretical knowledge. The students create an environment which is conducive to intellectual stimulation and results in two-way learning.”

Faced with publishing papers in journalistic reviews and international publications, addressing conferences and teaching, it seems an academic must wear many different hats. But Prof. Manickavasagam said: “Though it appears to be different fields, they are actually intertwined.

“The teacher needs to get to know the ground reality by carrying out research,” he said, and that research has to be forwarded to fellow teachers and industry.

“The conferences offer the platform for deliberating the research ideas with fellow teachers,” said Prof. Manickavasagam, noting publishing in journals puts the research out to an even wider audience.

Aiming to boost the KIAMS marketing department’s standing over other B-Schools, he said: “Industry exposure gives much visibility to any department of a B-School” and so more consultancy assignments are planned.

“Above all, the student participation in various management forums and events will enhance the visibility manifold,” said Prof. Manickavasagam, “but for that, the students need to be trained and encouraged to participate in such events. We are in the process of doing so.”

When asked about how he feels India compares with the rest of the world in regard to E-services, he said India is a pioneer in adopting electronic voting machines and noted: “E-CHOUPAL is another success story,” and “E-governance is getting momentum now.”

While Internet banking and mobile banking have so far had a lukewarm reception, Prof. Manickavasagam predicted: “Innovative approaches limiting the risk exposure of the consumer will increase the usage.”

As final words of wisdom to students at KIAMS, he advised: “In today’s competitive environment one has to run faster to stay in the same place. Knowledge and exposure will give you the energy to run faster. Keep your eyes and ears open for acquiring knowledge and be always prepared to carry out experiments that give you the exposure.”

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