“Let’s go on a vacation!”
Doesn’t this bring happiness just listening about the holidays? Yes, it not only brings in happiness but also brings about a pleasant change from the daily monotonous routine. Whenever people think about going out somewhere, they always look for the best hotel services in their planned destination.
In an economically developed era, hospitality and tourism have played a significant role in providing heartfelt human services and contributing to the global economy. For a few decades, hospitality has been one of the top fields in which everyone is interested. Moreover, many young talents are determined to work in the hospitality industry.
With the changing landscape, the hospitality industry constantly seeks qualified people to provide world-class guest service. Catering to the emerging need in the hospitality industry, hotel management institutes have raised their educational standards and are providing world class education in hospitality.
Among other renowned institutes, the Institute of Hotel Management, Kolkata Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, in their pedagogies, helps the students understand the use of technology in hotel management.
It is one of the premier hospitality institutions in Eastern India. The institute emphasizes on imparting quality education in the hotel management sector, imbibing value-based holistic learning, and making the institute ‘The centre of excellence.’
While hailing the 2023’s Excellent Hotel Management Institute in India, we crossed paths with the Institute of Hotel Management, Kolkata, and interviewed the Principal-In-Charge, Mr Ashok Kumar Prasad. In an interview, he highlights the institute’s journey since its inception and its vision, mission and future plans.
Dive down for insightful reading about the institute.
Historical Background of the Institute
Institute of Hotel Management, Kolkata, was founded in 1963 with its temporary campus at the Central Calcutta Polytechnic College at 21 Convent Road. The Founder Principal was MR (LATE). P. A. KOSHY. It started only with 16 total students. Gradually, it gained popularity, and the number of students grew in leaps and bounds over the years. In 1980, the institute was shifted to its new building, a campus at P-16, Taratala road. The campus is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure with top-class residential facilities.
IHM, Kolkata, is one of the premier hospitality institutions in Eastern India, under the authority of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Since its inception, it has focused on imparting quality education by preparing young minds for imbibing value-based holistic learning, thereby making it ‘The centre of excellence’ for decades.
It is a co-educational Institute offering master’s and bachelor’s degree programmes in Hospitality and Hospitality Administration accredited jointly to National Council for Hotel Management, Noida and Indira Gandhi Open University, New Delhi. Moreover, it also runs several short courses in Food Production, Food & Beverage, Accommodation Operation and Front Office.
IHM’s Stalwart Souls
In 59 years of existence, the institute doesn’t owe its success to one, but many stalwarts associated with it, from the founder principal Lt. Mr PA Koshy, to the following principals, Lt. Mr Suranjan Chatterjee, Mr Ranjit Chaudhury, Mr Nisheeth Srivastava and the present Principal In-charge, Mr Ashok Kumar Prasad.
The institute has reached its zenith of success because of the whole-hearted and active contribution of its present and past faculties and the strong alumni base.
Values Serving Its Objectives
When we ask Mr Ashok about the vision that drives the institute towards its goal, he says, “Our Vision is to be established as one of the best hospitality institutes in the entire South East Asia, providing hospitality training of Global Standard.”
Sliding down the institute’s mission, Mr Ashok states, “Our mission is to provide total quality training to aspirants of the service industry, impart core values of hospitality and inculcate a sense of professionalism among them.”
After sharing the primary objectives of the institute, he also mentions the institute’s core values, “Our objective is to train and educate students to a level of all-round competence in the various operations of the hospitality industry. We develop students’ abilities to initiate and manage change by confronting them with contemporary issues and challenges that the industry faces today. The environment at the institute promotes awareness and understanding of national and cultural differences and encourages students to work together in a team to improve interpersonal skills. Graduates from IHM, Kolkata may therefore embark upon their careers confidently, armed with knowledge, necessary experience and interpersonal skills which allow them to overcome career challenges.”
“The motto ‘SERVICE BEFORE SELF‘ create a platform for students to explore their creative potential and nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship and critical thinking,” further he adds.
Since its inception, the institute has faced many challenges regarding technological advancements, modernization of industry standards and updating the curriculum. The everchanging dynamic environment has advanced the mindset of the students.
Coping with the same is one of the biggest ongoing challenges for the institute. Then like the rest of the globe, the institute was hit too during a pandemic and changed the whole dynamics of hospitality education.
The institute had brought significant reforms in its pedagogical methods. Having said that, running day-to-day operations in the institute with more than 1200 students is challenging. However, IHM seamlessly overcame these challenges and ensured that the show must go on, leading to success at the end of the road.
Pedagogical Reforms in Hospitality Sector
After knowing the institute’s challenges, we ask Mr Ashok about the educational reforms in the hospitality sector; he asserts, “The first pedagogical advancement that a hotel management institute needs to bring immediately is to stop the chalk and talk culture. They need to change their mindset of just being teachers and take a step forward to being facilitators because we deal with young adults.”
“Faculties need to engage the students more through audio and visual stimulations to bring out the information from the students through questioning techniques rather than simply delivering lectures. And not to forget, activities are a must as a part of class work. The more engaged the class will be, the better the learning will be. Another important aspect the hotel management institutes should consider is the regular revision of curriculum as per the changing trends in the hospitality sector to keep the students updated about modern trends,” stated Mr Ashok.
Memories From the Tunnel that Leads into and Out of a Human Body!
The institute organizes a lot of intra and extra-curricular activities for the students to enhance their personality and boost their confidence to face the industry. Some of the notable ones are listed below:
- Weekend training programs for students in various star hotels within the city.
- Vocational training programs during students’ summer/winter break.
- Organize skill-based workshops on towel art, coffee and latte art, cigars, cocktail sessions, hygiene and sanitation sessions, personality development sessions by ICFAI & INCODE and many more.
- Field visits to industrial kitchens, vineyards, and heritage sites, exploring local tribal cultures and cuisines.
National and International Exposure
IHM Kolkata provides several platforms for international exposure to its students. To name a few:
- Seminar by international hospitality personnel to groom the students.
- Visit by notable chefs in the global platform like Vikas Khanna, Ranveer Brar and Parvinder Bali.
- Participating in various global chefs’ meet to interact with chefs worldwide.
- International placements for students.
IHM’s Remarkable Deeds
Being one of the leading hospitality institute in the country, it has achieved many awards and accolades since its establishment, which has been mentioned below
- Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India awarded the national academic performance award.
- National awards for Placements – awarded by Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India.
- Rated A+ institute by a survey conducted by NCHMCT, Noida – 2021
- Rated A+ institute by a survey conducted by NCHMCT, Noida – 2022
- Best Institute of Hotel Management – Eastern India by GHRDC award
Other Awards and Accolades:
- Champions at International intercollege hospitality competition named Atithya organized at AISSMS, Pune
- First prize at inter-college event organized at Ranjita IHM, Bhubaneswar
- First prize at a Football tournament organized by NIFT, Kolkata
- Various awards at an intercollege event organized by NSHM, Kolkata
- First Prize at Cookery competition by Pilan group of Institute, Kolkata
- First Prize at Non-Gas Cooking Competition held at Calcutta Medical College
- First Prize at Chef Competition organized by IMI, Kolkata
- First Position at Chef Competition organized by ESIC Medical College, Kolkata
- First Prize in culinary quiz contest organized by Indian Culinary Institute, Noida.
- Host for All India Chef’s Competition which eminent celebrity chefs of the country judged.
Words to Budding Hotel Managers
Becoming a successful hotel manager doesn’t depend on luck, but sheer hard work and perseverance is the key to being a successful hotel manager. A hotel manager should have a determined mindset and a set goal for the things they want to achieve. The students should possess the right attitude towards the hospitality industry and be ready to face all challenges at work.
While sharing his valuable advice with us, Mr Ashok postulates, “The students have to be flexible in their approach and should be approachable to their staff. They need to be a leader in their team and not just a boss. They also need to be sharp in their communication skills because communication is the key to smooth operations both from the view of guests and staff.”
“The students should be good multitaskers taking care of different verticals simultaneously. A good leader should also be practical in their approach as they need to set an example for their subordinates. Last, they should always be updated with their knowledge base. They are working in an industry as dynamic as hospitality, which is both daunting and ‘exciting. You will meet many new people of different cultures, religions, beliefs etc. Thus, keeping your technical as well as general awareness updated will help you strike a better relationship with everybody in your team,” added Mr Ashok.
IHM Holding the Future
When we ask Mr Ashok about his vision for the institute’s future endeavour, asserting to the same he notes, “The institute is already leading in the academic and placement front at the national level, and the institute hopes to continue being at the zenith of its success with the help and support of the faculties, staff members and its robust alumni network spread over the globe.”
“The institute also hopes to develop its infrastructure and make it state of the art with the government grants sanctioned to us. It also aims to keep up with the modern trends of the hospitality industry and accordingly modernize the labs as per technological advancements with the institute capital and continue this as a continuous ongoing process like the present as the environment is ever dynamic and change is the key to thrive better in the industry,” Mr Ashok concluded.