To those who had seen K.S.Thyagaraj take the hot-shot corporate route on completion of his B.E in the year 2000 from National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, his current status as an Assistant Professor at KIAMS, would come as quite a surprise. After his B.E he embarked on a hardcore Operations profile, first with Mahindra and Mahindra followed by a stint at the Suphala Plant of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers.

“The first firm generally assembles to order, while the second firm belongs to the continuous process industry. During my B.E. days, I was also able to squeeze in a summer at Mukand Iron and Steel Ltd. (Heavy Machine Division) – a pure make-to-order firm.”

While many would, after 2 years of such viscous work experience, attempt to crack a top-notch B-school, K.S.Thyagaraj had different ideas. In 2004, he enrolled as an MTech student in Industrial and Management Engineering department at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and was later permitted to convert his program to PhD.

“My varied experiences have given me a deeper understanding of Operations. This helped improve the quality of my Ph.D. research from IIT Kanpur. This in turn makes me encourage my students in KIAMS to think and find answers by themselves; I merely help them channelize their thoughts and guide them through this process.”

Dr. K.S.Thyagaraj feels that good analytical skills and a clear understanding of basic concepts is a must for those who intend embarking upon a career in Operations. He often reminds his students in KIAMS, the importance of constantly questioning the ‘givens’ or the constraints placed upon operations. This requires the ability to coordinate with other functions within the company and with supply chain partners.

“Supply Chain Management or SCM is a vast field. Students should clearly understand the responsibilities they have as SCM professionals, and choose the electives best suited for them. No subject – particularly SCM – can be studied or understood in isolation. I encourage students at KIAMS to relate their learnings from each course and project work.”

Prior to KIAMS, Dr Thyagaraj, has himself done so with great success during his doctorate from IIT Kanpur. He had presented his research findings on ‘Coordinating design, production and marketing decisions to manage product variety with uniform guaranteed lead-time’ in the XI and XV Annual International Conference of the Society of Operations Management held at Symbiosis Institute of Operations Management and IIM-C respectively, and also at the 2nd IITK- Nanyang Technological University of Singapore Joint Workshop.

“I believe that how much you understand is more important than how much you read. It is something that I would like every student at KIAMS to remember. I am selective about the books I read and often read a good book more than once to improve my understanding.”