The Indian Institute of Management Sirmaur held the first Industry Advisory Board meeting of MBA-Tourism Management.
Leading experts from the tourism sector, Mr. Amit Chanana, Managing Director, Dnata; Mr. Brijesh Modi, CFO, Thomas Cook; Mr. Manoj Nair, National Marketing Leader, FCM Travel Group; Mr. Chirag Agarwal, Co-Founder, Travclan; Mr. Manoj Samuel, CEO and Director, Riya Travel; and Mr. K.D. Singh, Founder and President Travel Bullz, Mr. Ashish Sidhra Co-Founder at alike.io, and Mr. Aditya Gupta, Business Head, Cordelia Cruise, along with IIM Sirmaur Director, Dr. Prafulla Agnihotri.
Dr. Prafulla Agnihotri, Director, IIM Sirmaur, welcomed the guests and commenced the meeting. He expressed that IIM Sirmaur aims to make the program of Tourism Management have a global appeal and should effectively fulfill the industry’s needs. To give a broader perspective of the course, the director explained that the program curriculum has been made rigorous and appropriate for the industry needs to prepare students for securing leadership positions in the corporate realm. While briefing about the curriculum, he added that domain-specific courses remain ingrained in the initial terms, including terms two and three in the first year of a program to give students inputs of both core MBA programs and sector-specific knowledge. Hence, they remain prepared for their summer internship projects. It was also apprised that the second year opens up options for electives from a rich basket of courses offered from various areas alongside domain-specific core courses.
After the director’s opening remarks, industry experts deliberated on the meeting agenda. As per one of the experts, owing to the rising opportunities, emphasis on teaching courses in travel services was suggested, in addition to the extant focus on tourism. Members added that technical aspects, like the global distribution system (GDS), must be touched upon from the airport and travel services side so that students can have greater knowledge of functional elements of the business. The experts also suggested focusing on the business management value system and reflected that corporates are looking for leaders with business acumen. For the same, Six Sigma and life-cycle management topics were suggested.
The curriculum should also focus on governance, compliance, and awareness aspects to understand the present and future of the industry. Experts also recommended covering the customer lifecycle and customer relationship management in the curriculum.
Members expressed that industries need help with the right strategy to scale up globally. Therefore, courses on product management and category management covering the aspects of digital transformation and change management were cited as helpful. A member opined that a greater percentage of tourism management graduates would likely be absorbed in the hospitality and airline sectors; thus, electives may entail respective functional competencies.
To regularly gain new perspectives, industry experts recommended that the institute launch upskilling programs as well as executive degree programs. Dr. Agnihotri welcomed the suggestion and replied that, as per the need of the industry, customized programs like management development programs or hybrid degree programs with online/offline classes on Saturdays and Sundays may be offered. The Director also suggested some electives that may be taught by industry experts. Members welcomed the suggestion and also expressed willingness to offer live- projects to students under the supervision of faculty members. The industry advisory board opined that if students are given the right inputs, the output shall also be valuable, also that the students, thus possessing the right skills, aptitude, and attitude, would find it easy to secure well-deserved remuneration.