Taking Goa Institute of Management from 'Top 20' to 'Top 10'

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Goa Institute of Management

Published : Thursday, 02 July, 2015 04:21 PM

When it comes to expertise in Consumer Behaviour, Social Entrepreneurship, and Cross-cultural and Conflict Management, Reverend Dr. C. Joe Arun, SJ is peerless. Now at the helm of affairs at Goa Institute of Management – an established ‘Top 20 B-school’ in the country – it is not surprising that Dr. Arun is already looking beyond rankings and surveys. A Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.) 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 leadership at Loyola College, Chennai. His career in education includes stints at institutions like XLRI, IIT Madras, and Loyola Institute of Business Administration. His world vision toward Business Education springs from his tenures at a wide range of B-schools: ISEG School of Management (Lille Catholic University, France), Angers University (France), Department of Textile and Fashion Technology, Fujen University (Taipei, Taiwan), and time asa Professor of Crosscultural Management at an Audi plant in Ingolstadt School of Management (Germany).

In a freewheeling chat, Dr. Joe Arun, SJ, Director, Goa Institute of Management, talks about the reasons for the sudden rise of GIM over the last 3 years, the phenomenal placement record this year, and the future of GIM.

Question: What are your thoughts on the current management education scenario in the country?

Dr. Joe Arun: Management education is going through a systemic and substantive change. The focus is not just a degree from a reputable B-school. Instead, what a student learns and develops in terms of character formation, skills and attitude, gets him or her not only a suitable job but also helps the student live a meaningful life. Management education should produce leaders, not just managers.Managers manage things, but what we need today are leaders who can relate to people across cultures to achieve goals of growth and development. With international exposure, B-schools are increasingly trying to measure up to international standards by reviewing their curriculum and recruiting competent faculty. Moving away from chalk-and-talk pedagogy, the use of technology and using case studies in the delivery of quality education helps B-schools to stand out from the competition. 

Question: As Director of Goa Institute of Management what are the expectations attached to you? How are you planning to take GIM to the next level?

Dr. Joe Arun: The mandate I have been given by the Board of GIM is, among other things, to ensure that GIM is among the‘Top 10’ B-schools in the country. GIM, at its foundation, is not interested in making money and there is no investor whose interests direct the governance of the institution. GIM is interested in creatingleaders committed to the growth of this nation and the world. Therefore, the focus of my leadership is on the formation each student’s character.  It is a learner-centric and learning-centric education. I believe that the quality of life lies in the values we live. Ethics should govern, at every level, the life and work of a GIM student. The way you earn money and how you use it should be directed by the values you live with. At the end of 2 years,the students of GIM should not just be capable of becominggood employees, but capable of becoming employers who create jobs and contribute to the growth of the country. Peter Drucker once said that effective leadership must be defined by the results, not by the attributes. I am purpose-driven and I am committed to realising the goals we in GIM have set. 

Question: To that end,what changes/ developments can we expect in academics at GIM?

Dr. Joe Arun: Academic rigour is my major focus. Oxford, where I did my PhD, follows the tutorial system of education, wherethe faculty guides students in their learning process and challenges them to excel. At GIM,in addition to teaching ideas and concepts, we have effectively begun helping our students think critically and independently. Leaders need to “Think Clearly”, and write and speak their thoughts powerfully.At GIM, learning is not going to be book-centered – instead, students are introduced to innovation and critical analysis. From the time the faculty and students get up in the morning, until they go off to sleep, the focus will be on the foundation of management concepts and leadership qualities. 

Question: How much can we adopt from the western hemisphere in terms of teaching practices? How much of your experience of doing a PhD from Oxford University do you feel can be applied to the Indian context – GIM in particular?

Dr. Joe Arun: Never before has India needed to adapt the educational experience of Harvard and Oxford, as much as it needs to do today. Oxford’s tutorial system is set on imbibing in students skills in thinking, understanding and arguing a case, more than memorising concepts and theories. Learning is student-driven, not teacher-driven. What a teacher can and should do is to accompany the student in the learning process and make it interesting.  I will try my best to introduce these best practices.  

Question:How do you view discipline in management education?

Dr. Joe Arun: I do not think that we can achieve anything without discipline. Academic rigour demands a certain kind of discipline. Overcoming inordinate desires, students and faculty members at GIM must focus on learning and on the ways they achieve it. Set your goals in learning and in teaching, follow a pattern of achieving them, deliver the results and evaluate the process to correct any deficiencies. 

Question:What role do you see for Research in the future GIM?

Dr. Joe Arun: Recently, we have put in place a finance lab with ten terminals, which is rare in B-Schools in India. Our faculty must engage in relevant research that contributes to the growth of the country by finding solutions to pressing problems. The outcome of research should be disseminated first in GIMclassrooms for critical reflection and later it should be published in international journals. While allowing academic freedom to our faculty, their research must be subject to norms and standards of high-quality research. GIM will maintain a research environment that is crucial to the standard of quality education. We will continue to enhance our library, laboratories, and infrastructure that support research at the highest level. 

Question: The median pay package in GIM placement this year stands at a phenomenal 8.8 Lakhs PA. Every student was placed by April – even the students of the 1st batch of HCM. Where does GIM go from here in terms of placements?

Dr. Joe Arun: Helping its students get a suitable job is key to the success of a B-School. In GIM, placement is a student-driven affair, although it is assisted, supported, and monitored by the School. We are making serious efforts to increase the average salary package by showcasing the quality of our graduates and building the correct perception of GIM in the corporate world. We’ve got a good network with top B-Schools in Europe and US. We will increase and extend this to premier schools in UK and Australia. Faculty and student exchange and collaborative research are going to be one of our strengths in the coming years. I hope to bring to bear my international exposure and connect to assist this cause.

Question:Can you give us the specifics of potential ties with foreign institutes for student exchange programme that you are exploring?

Dr. Joe Arun: We plan to tie up with premier schools, such as London Business School and Oxford Said Business School in UK and some schools in North America.  This is in addition to what we already have with University of Antwerp, Belgium, Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Portugal, and Hochschule Ingolstadt, Germany.

Question: Given your objectives, what is going to be your faculty retention and recruitment philosophy?

Dr. Joe Arun: To create leaders is no easy task. Our workforce – the faculty – will have to be supremely competent. We are looking to increase our faculty strength from 45 to 70 and,if need be, more. We will develop the recruited faculty by providing faculty development programmes. We will make efforts to retain competent faculty by providing proper and appropriate compensations. Our Star Faculty Programme (SFP) empowers GIMto invite reputable faculty from anywhere in the world to teach in GIM. In the days to come, GIM will bring in corporate leaders within our faculty folds, so that our students are exposed to concrete reality while they learn. It’ll help our students become skilled and knowledgeable in order to take up jobs with ease.  

Question:What are the challenges in this and how are you going to deal with it?

Dr. Joe Arun: Recruiting competent faculty is the biggest challenge. In my experience, it isdifficult to get faculty who are excellent teachers as well as quality researchers. They are eithergood teachers, but not keen researchers,andvice versa. To offset this challenge, our recruiting strategy will look for good researchers and good teachers separately. This will allow researchers to do quality research that will generate the content for good teachers. This collaborative and complimentary approach will serve the purpose of updating our education practices. 

Question:Any new course or specialisation you'll be launching at GIM?

Dr. Joe Arun: We are considering a course on Leadership. This course will help potential leaders develop theirindividual visions, rally the organization behind their visions, motivate people to turn the vision into reality, and make changes to perform at the highest level. We are also toying with the idea of introducing a course on Managing Value Creation. This course aims at guiding leaders to turn intoValue Creators, by influencing the behavior and decisions of those in theirworkspace.  It is a course that reflects the values of GIM.

Question:What other pedagogical innovations are you planning at GIM?

Dr. Joe Arun:We are looking to set up a full-fledged Quality Assurance Cell that evaluates what is taught, and what is learnt. GIM must go through an academic audit in the areas of subject knowledge, understanding, and skills that a student has acquired. To do this, we need to have benchmarks for every level of the teaching-learning-evaluation process and the quality of the education we provide must be measured against strict academic benchmarks. We have evolved a Perspective Plan in this regard, outlining 24 Critical Success Factors that need to be actualised through cohesive strategies.  This would help us determine exactly what a GIM student has learned.

Question: How would you describe your style of leadership?

Dr. Joe Arun: I like to see myself as a shepherd. The shepherd lives with his flock, understands the inner longings of students, faculty and staff, and empathises with them. I am not here to order people around. Instead, I want to dialogue with students and faculty and persuade them to align themselves with the vision of GIM and motivate them to achieve their individual goals and organisational goals. 

Question:What, according to you, will management education be like in 2020?

Dr. Joe Arun: Education will become truly personal and portable. Online educationwill redefine - not replace - the role of physical infrastructure and of teachers.  Witha PAD (Personal Access Device), one will be able to connect with educational content in order to tailor the most effective approach for an individual student’s education. Virtual reality and simulation will remove lecture methods. As online education expert Stephen Downes envisages, synchronous conferencing systems will become more widespread. These systems will consist of a basic platform from which users can opt toconference using a variety of tools: video, audio, text based chat, and whiteboard. In that sense, the whole approach that focuses on classroom teaching will become obsolete, although the role of a teacher will take different forms.

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