S. Rajamohan - IHM Chennai Principal, receiving the National Award for Excellence in Hospitality Education from Mahesh Sharma - Minister of State for Tourism & Culture

S. Rajamohan is currently serving as the Principal and Secretary at Institute of Hotel Management – Chennai. In this exclusive interview with acadman.in he has talked about the Education System, Placements, Hostel in-timings, among several other things.

How your interest came into hotel management?

At that time I thought engineering would be the best choice but when I couldn’t get into engineering, I decided to go for hotel management. I thought that would boost my career and as expected, it happened.

How was your life at college?

I started my diploma in hotel management from Institute of Hotel Management – Pusa and passed out in 1982. I came second in the college. I was selected by various hotel groups like Taj and Oberoi. At first, I joined Oberoi and I worked there for 2 months then I joined Taj and worked there for 2 years. I had a flair for teaching. I wanted to be a teacher then I joined as assistant lecturer in Bhopal then I worked there for around 24 years and became the principal in-charge there then I was selected as a regular principal in an open interview at the ministry of Tourism at IHM Chennai.

Indian education system is subjected to a lot of criticism, critics point out that we focus more on the theoretical aspects and not on the practical aspects. What are your views on it?

Hotel management aspect is more on practical because we do about 60% of practical and 40%, so I disagree there because we always focus more on practicals. I believe in experiential learning rather than the learning in the classroom. It is always better to explore, I give a lot of opportunities to students to do the marketing, sales, cooking and housekeeping, so everything we do is kind of experiential in learning.

Many students of hospitality industry complain about writing journals. They feel it is very redundant. What is your view on this?

Journals are one of the things which are assets for students to carry throughout his life and the students should not think of it in terms of that it is something of a written document, it is very difficult for a person to remember each and everything. Journal is not a book, journal is only a short form of a book, it contain only the important aspect of the education therefore I feel journal is a must for every student so it should not be taken as a burden.

How you rate the potential of job creation in the hospitality industry?

I feel that hospitality industry has huge potential in terms of job creation. The reason be,  the government of India nowadays is stressing too much on tourism in India and this is not only International tourism it also includes domestic tourism. So I think in order to sustain this much amount of tourism there is going to be huge increase in the number of hotel all around the India. So I think this in turn will provide massive job opportunity.

Institute of Hotel Management, Chennai

Are you satisfied with the placement of I.H.M Chennai?

Yes, definitely, we have got about 260% placement record which means each student is offered close to 2 jobs.

Parents still stop their child from joining hospitality industry. What is your view on this? 

Initially when I joined the perception was the same.  But I feel we have to come out of that jinx. I think parents should get this thing out of their mind because this industry has a great potential and reward in this industry is also very good.

What is the gender ratio is the hospitality industry?

People still think that hospitality is not the right industry for girls. Parents still nurture reservation about girls in this industry. But all these things are gradually changing, initially there were 7 to 8 percent females in this industry but today this odd is 18 to 22 percent. So we are witnessing an improvement.

The in-timing in I.H.M Chennai for the first year students is not same as for the rest of the other year students and this something which the students of your college always complain of. What would you say about this?

They are allowed to go every time between 5 to 6 so that they can purchase any necessary items. They all are newcomers to the new city and when they go outside we send them along with the senior students because they don’t know anything about the city and we don’t want to leave them into something which is unknown to them. When they get accustomed to the city then we allow them to roam freely in the city.

What would be your parting message to the students?

The right kind of attitude is must. So I would say students should have knowledge, skill and right kind of attitude.