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Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies

Prof. Venkateswaran uses more than dry facts to connect with KIAMS students

Posted on: October 19, 2011

He has a wealth of industry and academic experience, but Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies’ Professor R. N. Venkateswaran knows it takes more than that to connect with students.

His main goal in moving from the boardroom to the classroom was “transferring my knowledge and experience” to future managers, but for that transfer to take place, classes must be kept interesting.

To achieve that goal, Prof. Venkateswaran, who friends would describe as “friendly, jovial, pious and quant-savvy,” develops a personal rapport with students, interspersing the necessary facts and figures with humour and relating personal and acquired experience. He also adopts ‘Roleplays’ to help the students to understand the concepts better.

This approach to teaching reflects his personal philosophy on preparing students for the working world.

While he has been consistently developing course materials for KIAMS, Prof. Venkateswaran says: “I personally feel that course materials have a limited use in meeting the students’ academic-learning requirements. The students, before taking the plunge into the corporate world should equip themselves with an exposure, beyond the course material.

“They have to go through the additional reading, apply themselves more seriously while preparing for case-discussions in classes.” he says.

With new, expanding roles developing for operations managers in the corporate world, learning will be a continuous process.

“The operations manager today is equipped with a variety of software tools, and the power of desktops” Prof. Venkateswaran says, “managers should henceforth develop an interest for BI (Business Intelligence) and use decision support systems for improving their operational effectiveness.

“Effective use of available data, beyond one’s normal mental comprehension – which has limitations – should be their priority,” he thinks.

The message he would like to drive home to his students in these days of rapid change is:- They should constantly update themselves in the field of their choice – in knowledge and applications. They should also look at acquiring professional qualifications in their chosen field.

Prof. Venkateswaran knows whereof he speaks. After earning his degrees (B.Tech -Electrical; D.I.I.Sc.), and a PG Diploma in Industrial Engineering through NPC (National Productivity Council), he served more than 30 years in industry, working for such firms as Lakshmi Machine Works, Hindustan Motors (Earthmoving Equipment Division) Asia Brown Boveri and the NPC. He also did a six-year stint as Business Partner with NIIT, the IT giant, before settling down for full-time academics at KIAMS.

He has nine years in academics, teaching courses such as Production and Operations Management, Quantitative Methods (statistics), Decision Models in Management, Marketing Research, Research Methodology, Management Consultancy, Japanese Operations Improvement Techniques, M.I.S. and Knowledge Management.

Prof. Venkateswaran has also published more than 25 papers in national and international seminars. While his first paper won a ‘Technically Excellent Paper’ in 1981, in a Jamshedpur Conference, the recent one titled, “Change-Readiness Among Young Executives, A Multi-Variate Analysis In An Indian Environment”, was awarded the ‘Best Paper’ at the 4th Asian Business Conference organized by the World Business Institute, Australia, held in Dhaka last December.

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