Dr. C. Joe Arun - Director, Goa Institute of Management
Published : Saturday, 18 October, 2014 01:21 PM
When it comes to expertise in Consumer Behaviour, Social Entrepreneurship, and Crosscultural and Conflict Management, Reverend Dr. C. Joe Arun is peerless. Now at the helm of affairs at Goa Institute of Management – an established ‘Top 20 B-school’ – it is not surprising that Dr. Arun is already looking beyond rankings and surveys. A Doctorate in Anthropology (PhD) from Oxford University (London), Dr. Joe Arun has single-handedly built institutions (Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions or IDCR, and XIBA, Palayamkottai in Tamil Nadu), and evolved an Indo-French model of educational and cross cultural leadership at Loyola College, Chennai. His experience in education lists institutions like XLRI, IIT Madras, and Loyola Institute of Business Administration. Much of his world vision toward Business Education springs from his teaching experience at ISEG School of Management (Lille Catholic University, France), Angers University (France), and as a Professor of Crosscultural Management at an Audi plant in Ingolstadt School of Management (Germany), and Department of Textile and Fashion Technology, Fujen University (Taipei, Taiwan).
In a freewheeling chat, Dr. Joe Arun, Director, Goa Institute of Management, talks about the fundamentals that young management aspirants will do well to embrace and embody.
1. Start Early. Start with the basics.
It’s the first rule of thumb at Oxford, Cambridge or Harvard, that a general first education should be the first priority. Anybody who goes for a specialization in these institutions must go through first aesthetics, philosophy, logic, and a general understanding of the world. If I do not know all of this, I cannot be a good student of chemistry or physics or whatever you do. Foundational education is very important. To anybody aspiring to pursue a career in management, I would recommend General Management first, and then, based on your interest, you can go after a specialized diploma/ certificate course.
After a 2-year general MBA, you will come to know all that is under the umbrella of the field of management. But if you proceed directly on a one-and-half year specialization in, say, Marketing, you are likely to end up saying to yourself “I do not know any other thing, apart from Marketing”. At times, management graduates tend to block themselves like this. It’s like a disproportionate human body, where the legs are too big, and the head too small. Grind yourself into theory and practice in all possible aspects of management in a two years general management course, and then you can specialize.
2. Be it an individual or a B-School – what matters most is the core.
A core education is what you should judge before deciding on a B-school. These 3 should be central to your decision:
a) Diversity – At GIM, we like to like to keep both the students and the faculty in diverse groups.
b) Excellence – We at GIM follow the principle of Magis (pronounced Mah-gis), which in Latin means ‘more’ or ‘better’. It is a Jesuit principle of performance management. Look for a B-school that is not satisfied with mediocre Performance, but is always striving for the better i. It is the principle of Magis on which Fr. Romuald D’Souza founded the Goa Institute of Management.
c) Infrastructure – Despite all kinds of budgetary constraints, GIM today is established on 50-acres of beautiful landscape. We’ve shifted from our Ribandar campus to this sprawling Sanquelim campus just about 4 years back, and ever since, GIM has been recognised among the ‘Top 10’ beautiful campuses in the country. We have been working consistently on the quality of our faculty, and now that we have a world-class faculty of 35 – 36, we are focusing on doubling this strength to 70.
In these ways, we have always looked on areas by which we will always better ourselves… and the basic set of values that we would like to promote among our students.
3. It might be a B-School, but you still have to place Education above Commerce.
Liberalization in India (early nineties) made an impact on management education in India – and life in general– it was looked at more in the light of commerce and markets. Educational institutions became shops for jobs It is not the Indian way of thinking, which has always looked upon education as building character and learning to be cultured. This was lost to globalisation; and management studies was the epitome of evaluating people as ‘salary giving’ objects. . MBA students should develop an amalgam of different areas. You must be physically fit, emotionally mature, and intellectually sharp and spiritually sound. PQ, EQ, and SQ are all important. Above all, look for an integral education, so that you are integrally developed as a person.
4. You are out to build a career. Academic rigor has to be the top priority.
I suggest that students first look at the academic rigor of the B-school. Say to yourself, “I am not going there for fun. My learning can be fun, but only when there is academic rigor.”A good faculty and a well thought out Programme are crucial. Next comes the Infrastructure that contributes to your learning; and only then, the placement and the salary.
5. Connect to industry produces the best.
A company like Tech Mahindra will go to the best campuses, select the best students, train them for a year or two and make them fit into their company. Individuals are made into ‘Mahindra subjects’’, similarly every B-school has an emphasis or an approach to learning that forms the character of students in that way. If this process is connected to industries, every B-school will be able to form leaders with competencies needed for different roles in a counter.
6. If you are looking at a ‘specialized’ MBA, don’t go by rankings.
B-schools have similar courses. What makes one stand out is the emphasis. If your emphasis is in Marketing, then you’ve got to go to Harvard. Going by rankings will get you nowhere,. Rankings are all about perception. For example, a person who has not come to GIM at all, and does not know anybody who has studied here, will still speak of its beautiful campus because he or she has read it somewhere. The media constructs an impression based on what they call ‘identity construction’. Social realities are always constructed. When the rankings are done in metros, small cities with amazing B-schools are often not viewed. So do a complete research before taking any decision. . Be extremely rational and have your facts in your file that leads to a discerned decision
Doing an MBA means that you are getting grounded on basic and foundational principles of business. For that you need a proper environment and competent faculty to accompany you with the process of formation. Leaving aside the rankings, you should look for a B-school that forms you to become competent, committed, creative and compassionate persons.