An interview with Dr. Ananda. S. , faculty at Dept. of International Business Administration

by Management Paradise on Wednesday 20 February 2013, 5:00 PM | Category: Interviews| View: 3415 views

Your Full Name: Dr. Ananda. S.

Institute you teach at: Dept. of International Business Administration

College of Applied Sciences

Ministry of Higher Education

Salalah, Sultanate of Oman

Tell us something about yourself and your institute?

I am a resourceful Doctor of Finance & Accounting with more than two decades of expertise in all the areas of management education.  I am presently serving in the Dept. of International Business Administration, College of Applied Sciences which is promoted by the Ministry of Higher Education, Sultanate of Oman.  I have also served before in the LIC Mutual Fund and Goa Institute of Management.  I am visiting professor at leading B-schools in Dubai, Germany, Oman and India.  My career has mainly been devoted to teaching and to a broad range of management responsibilities.  I have published (around 40) and presented (around 30) several research papers in national and international conferences, journals, magazines, newspapers and promoted concepts and ideas in various academic forums.  My research paper on Mutual Fund is one of the Top Ten downloaded papers in the SSRN e-Library.  I am Guest Editor, member of the Editorial Board and Reviewer for refereed International Research Journals. I have served as Faculty Advisor for Finance & Accounting club and also as Editor for College Magazine.    I offered my service as a member of the subject expert committee to review MBA/BBA curriculum in some of the State universities in India & Oman.  I have involved in establishing, leading and managing regional sales successfully in Asset Management Company.  I have organized various investors' education programme in association with leading Asset Management Companies of India.  My academic experience spans training and consultancy assignments in the areas of Investment Management, Mutual Funds, Financial Markets and Financial Services.  I have successfully organized more than 25 Management Development Programmes for leading companies in India and Oman.

When did you join the teaching profession? Why did you choose to be a professor?

I have started my teaching profession in July, 1991 soon after my Post Graduate degree in Commerce. I have chosen this profession as my career for the following reasons:
  • I could interact lively with young people throughout my career.
  • I have to acquire continuously new ideas and knowledge to lead success in my career.  This makes me to be a continuous learner which I enjoy very much.
  • Teaching is the best way by which we can actually serve a nation along with our profession.
  • I could possibly impact a person's life.
  • I have a passion for teaching and inspiring the students and guiding them into becoming a professional and ethical person.
  • I have lots of functional freedom in doing the right things

What about teaching at B-Schools inspire you the most?

  • B-School teach the business from the day one in a most professional and practical way throughout.
  • B-Schools are small in size and will have excellent infrastructure and learning environment
  • Class sizes are fairly small which enables the professor to give personal attention to all the students.
  • Excellent support system from the management, corporate, alumnus etc. for both staff and students
  • Motivation for research, training and consultancy along with teaching which helps the teacher to grow individually in a more balanced manner
  • Excellent networking with the corporate and community promotes healthy industry-institute interaction
  • Provide assistance to the students for placement

Which subjects do you teach? Which ones do you like the most?

  • I teach & taught - Corporate Finance, Investment Management, Bank Management, Financial Services, Derivatives, Mergers & Acquisition, International Finance, Mutual Fund, Wealth Management,   and Financial Accounting for Management, Management Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis – during the course twenty two years of my teaching profession.  

  • I like most teaching Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting for Management, Investment Management and Wealth Management

What is your teaching philosophy?

Teaching is my passion.  I want to say that I wholeheartedly love and enjoy my teaching profession.

I like to create an interesting class environment to see that the learning exercise is always a fun and pleasure to the students.   This would enable me to explain, instruct and inspire the students and also boost up their confidence level about the subject especially in complex subjects like accounting and finance.

My first goal is to create an atmosphere that encourages participation and involvement. As a teacher, I aim to perpetuate knowledge and inspire learning. My approach to student assessment reflects two goals. First, the student is expected to master a body of knowledge by demonstrating on exams a familiarity with those concepts studied in the course. Second, students are given the opportunity to reflect upon the material in written assignments that emphasize the skills of critical thinking and practical application of the concepts acquired during the semester.   

In total, my teaching goal is to enrich a student's ability to think, discuss, analyze and relate the same with the practice about the course with a new awareness of its significance.

Do you believe teaching should be more application based than theory? If yes, then how do you support it?

Yes, of course.  The learning outcome of the entire business education should have practical orientation. The teaching methods like ‘learning by doing', ‘soiling your hands' may be used to make the learning outcome be more practical.

More specifically, as an accounting and finance faculty, I introduce students to a project of Financial Statement Analysis projects of listed companies to develop the analytical ability and report writing skills of the students and also to bring linkage between theory and the practice.  I even ask them to submit reports on comparative analysis of Annual Reports of different countries to understand reporting practices of listed companies.  As a part of the Investment Management class, I conduct structured simulation fund management game with a hypothetical corpus to develop practical skills of fund management and also develop equity research skills and risk taking ability among the students.  As a part of this course, I involve the students to prepare a weekly newsletter of stock market activities and the same will be circulated among the alumnus, professionals and academicians for their valuable feedback.  This exercise not only helped the students to track the market but also helped them to network with the corporate.  The concept of students' workshop on their research work on Mutual Funds helped the students to work in teams effectively and articulating their ideas and implements their learning in the Mutual Fund course.  I seek a balance in my courses between lecturing to students and asking them to link it with practice with cases or simulation games discussed in the class.

Who in your life has influenced you the most?

My grandfather and my mother have influenced significantly in my life.  I have learnt a lot about life skills, the importance of values, honesty and ethics in life.

What suggestions would you like to make in the course of MBA?

  • Enrich the specialized knowledge and also develop functional area strength
  • Learning outcome should be relevant to the present need of the industry
  • Develop research, analytical, problem solving and entrepreneurial skills
  • Harness creativity and original thinking ability
  • Emphasize on group learning through field work
  • Build up the sense of social responsibility and work ethics

As a faculty, what kind of projects do you expect students to work upon?

Project work method is the best way to gain practical knowledge as it
simulates or put the students into real-life scenarios.  The theoretical knowledge gained by the students in the classroom may put it to work in order to understand the practical implication of the subject the following ways:

  • Consulting Project

  • Case Study Project

  • New Venture Project

  • Small Business Project

  • Scenario Analysis Project
  • Problem Solving Project
How are current technological advancements changing your teaching style?

  • Students no longer have to depend on professors for the acquisition of information

  • Easy to send-receive quick communication between the professor and students

  • Allow students to collaborate on projects and become more engaged in their learning process

  • Integration of technology (laptops, computers, internet, digital movies, satellite system etc.) into the classrooms has supported and enhanced the learning

  • Increased the opportunity to pursue more affordable degrees through online programs at convenient times without any disturbance to the present job.

What is the impact of mobile technology boom influencing your area of specialization?

Technology has become heavily influenced into our area of specialization. Today, we rely on smart phones and internet for everything whether it is sourcing academic information, stock search or investment.  The classroom activity will be live and practical only if we integrate the current technologies into our curriculum.  Internet based applications (Blackboard and Whiteboard) allows teachers and students to write on the screen at anytime from anywhere, so learning becomes more interactive and engaging.

How are social networks influencing your discipline?

The use of social media in classrooms has risen in recent times.  Social media platforms allow the students to interact more freely.  They also provide easy access to useful information which improves the students' overall learning experience.  By using social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and numerous other forums have encouraged the students' participation in the classroom discussions and learning.  Hence, teachers will have to integrate these platforms into the classroom to keep their students engaged.

How does the economy story of India change your discipline?

India is rapidly emerging as a global economic and political power. Hence, India is uniquely positioned to change business education system to take a leadership role in the global educational scenario.  A number of foreign universities have already expressed their interest in establishing a campus in India.  India has the opportunity to create a management education system that will spur the economic growth.  Business schools therefore, have to focus on innovative method to prepare the next generation of managers.   It is a time for reinvention of the management education system as pointed out below to meet the future challenges and change:

  • Harness the entrepreneurial spirit among the students

  • Develop cross-disciplinary management programs

  • Building global academic partnerships in educational programs

  • Use technology-based learning models (online mode) to reach a huge market

  • Customization, specialization and individualization of management programmes

  • International accreditation of institutes to meet the world class quality standard

  • Periodic review and restructure of curriculum to match the industry needs

What changes do you see on the horizon in your area of discipline?

  • Course contents of finance and accounting programmes may be aligned with the international professional courses (CFA, ACCA, CPA, CIMA etc.) to enable the students to get a dual degree at a time

  • Accreditation of finance & accounting programmes from international professional body to ensure the quality and international standard

  • Sector specific specialized programmes in accounting and finance may get more popularity

  • Industry partnership programmes in training, research and consultancy.

  • Cost effective high volume capsule short certification programmes to update the knowledge and skills of working professionals

One touching incident that happened to you in your teaching career?

The students' feedback about the practical usage of my course exercises (investment game, ‘money matter' newsletter, financial statement appraisal etc.) in their professional career.  I am happy that many of my old students have been updating me even now about the application of learning outcome of my courses in their corporate career.  

There is a shortage of eminent professors at b-schools. With more and more institutes offering the MBA course, do you think MBA will become just another degree?

The success of MBA programme depends upon factors like physical infrastructure, qualified teachers, learning environment, research, industry recognition etc.  These factors contribute equally in preparing a professional business graduate.  If an institute fails to maintain balance in these factors may end up with just manufacturing MBA degree.  We are operating in a highly competitive market and hence,  quality output always carries value in the market.  

Do you think the course curriculum is at par with industry expectations?

Yes, indeed.  Our customers are not students, it is Industries.  We have to prepare the students as per their expectation.  If curriculum contains redundant courses, our students may not be suitable for the requirement of the industry.  Hence, the management institutes regularly update their course curriculum in tune with the industry's expectation. Tire I autonomous institutes in India do such curriculum revision on a regular basis than University affiliated colleges.

If you hadn't been a professor, what would you be? What are your professional/career goals?

If I were not a Professor, I would have taken up a career in the Financial Services sector in the area of Finance or Marketing.  

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