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Students should come out of their comfort zones –  Dr. A. A. Attarwala, Director In-charge – Kohinoor Business School, Kurla

Dr. A. A. Attarwala, Director In-charge – Kohinoor Business School, Kurla, shares his views on management education and the passion for teaching and learning with Knowledge

He has a passion for teaching which has led him to win 16 national and international awards, including the prestigious Bombay Management Association Award for the Best Management faculty in February 2015, presented at the hands of Ratan Tata. With over 38 years of experience with undergraduate and post graduate students, he has an unparallel passion for teaching, and is currently a research guide for 11 PhD students. He is none other than Dr. A. A. Attarwala, Director In-charge – Kohinoor Business School (KBS), Kurla.Excerpts from an interview.

How do you motivate the students at KBS?

To motivate the students, besides academic and other work outside the classroom, it is extremely essential to provide them with a glimpse of the real world. We at KBS offer our students realistic ideas on job profiles that exist in the market today, and offer them role models, including our chairman Mr. Manohar Joshi and how he has come up in life.

We also take our students out for field and industrial visits so that they have a fair idea of the operations of the industry. We invite guest lecturers so that they can hear the needs from the actual working professionals.

Can you tell us some of the ways in which students of KBS benefit from the guest lectures, apart from getting an opportunity to network?

Guest lecturers usually come and share industry experiences with our students, and often narrate their own stories. Most of them have started from scratch and reached extremely high positions in life. Often, they advise the students to not deny any job offer they get. For instance, you see, if a student gets a job profile where he has to work on improving the sales of credit cards, he may hesitate in taking it up. But after listening to such eminent professionals and their stories, they are motivated to take up the opportunity. These professionals explain to our students that they have to start somewhere, and only then they will be able to grow. They have to look at their first jobs as a platform to come into the field and then learn the practicalities from there.

Can you point out how the PGDM course offered at KBS is different from ones offered at other B-schools?

At other schools, there is a trimester system, where the subjects are taught as per the trimesters. At KBS, the PGDM is a module-based programme. It is a very unique system. We take up different modules based on different aspects and take up the subjects according to that. We have modules on learning, application, case-based studies and fundamentals, among others. Once we take up a module, the entire teaching structure revolves around that particular module.

What is the main advantage of such a system, according to your experience?

The main advantage is that they stay with the subject continuously for 30 hours over the learning period. As against that, say in other colleges, if the business statistics subject is taught in a particular trimester, then the lecture would be held once every week. That way, students lose touch with the loss of connectivity. At KBS, the students are immersed in that subject continuously, so they stay with the subject more consciously. That motivates the students to attend regularly, because they don’t want the link to break. We have seen that the attendance has improved tremendously due to this.

Another unique feature of this programme is the Industry Immersion Project (IIP). We look out for the students’ specialisation preferences from the first year itself. For example, if a student is interested in the banking sector, we offer him reading material on the same. We encourage him to concentrate on the field and he conducts his projects in that field. He sort of becomes a knowledge expert in the field by the time of placements as we try and get the internship also in banking. With this IIP, the placements have improved.

 Can you tell us about the placement packages in the current year at KBS?

I can tell you that just today we have received the first offer for a student from ITC. We now have known and major companies coming for campus placements, companies like ICICI, HDFC Bank, MRF Tyres, among others. It is quite an achievement for a school as young as KBS, since recruiters wait for a few years for a school to prove its mettle. As far as the package is concerned, the average is about 4.5 lakh per annum. This past year, we had a student placed internationally at about 15.5 lakh per year, whereas the highest domestic package was 6.5 lakh. Every year, about 80% of the students are placed on campus. The others opt to join their family businesses or already have other plans.

Can you tell us about the Vision MBA initiative started by KBS?

This is a session and training we conduct at four centres located at Borivili, Thane, Dadar and Vashi. We invite students who are in the final year of their graduation degree and give them detailed information regarding the MBA programme and what it needs. It is a free service that we conduct for the benefit of the students. We also train them for the entrance exams needed for the MBA programme. In this manner, they become familiar with the idea of MBA and whether it is a programme that would suit them in their future studies.

How do you find time for teaching sir, even after so many years, when you have so many other responsibilities at KBS?

I have been teaching for 38 years, and teaching is my passion. It is my USP, I can never leave it. I will, therefore, find the time anyhow to do it. I have a different way of teaching, and for that my students appreciate me a lot. When my students accept me, I feel encouraged to go on. In fact, I would say that in a few subjects, students all over the city photocopy my notes and study from them, so I am happy to say that I am helping them directly or indirectly, like Guru Dronacharya. I am also very research oriented and have published 25 papers in known journals. I would like to tell the students to work hard and come out of their comfort zones to achieve their goals.

You were talking of a book that you had a few thoughts on. Can you share that review with us?

Yes. The book is ‘Behavioral Finance’ by Dr. Prasanna Chandra published by McGraw Hill Higher Education. I would say: The discipline of Finance underwent rapid developments in the twentieth century. The Portfolio Theory, Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), Efficient Market Hypothesis (EFH) and other similar theories played a significant role in this development. The subject ‘Behavioral Finance’ emerged in the context of the developments in Finance Area. The subject captured the focus, when one of its founders, Robert F. Shiller of Yale University   was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2013.  Dr. has knit together the rich contributions of the scholars in a lucid language and presents in a candid style. The discussions in the book are organized in these themes:

  • Review of market efficiency theory
  • Difficulties in arbitrage
  • Influence of bias and heuristics in investor decisions
  • Rational investing in inefficient mar kets
  • Measuring of investor sentiment and investor psychology

Though in the western world, this book received the due attention, the books written earlier may not be suited to the beginners/ students of MBA/ PG programmes in India.  Recognizing the lacunae, Dr. Chandra has brought out the book under review. The book shares research findings, case discussions and reflections. The concepts and techniques as presented by the book are also useful for corporate managers, investment analysts, market regulators and others.


Original: http://www.freepressjournal.in/education/students-should-come-out-of-their-comfort-zones-dr-a-a-attarwala-director-in-charge-kohinoor-business-school-kurla/985966
By: FPJ Bureau
Posted: December 12, 2016, 12:02 am