Ex-Amul Leader Talks About His Teaching Experience at SCMS Cochin

Mr. Sudheer Sudhakaran, Asst Professor – Marketing at SCMS Cochin School of Business, has had 15 years of professional experience working in Sales and Marketing, Business Development, Distribution Management, Administration and HR Functions. His last stint before turning to academics was with Gujarat Cooperative Milk Federation (GCMMF) Limited as a Regional Head in Kerala. But, he admits that throughout his professional career a role in training functions “chased him”. That’s how his passion for teaching grew – today he is a man on a mission to offer an innovative learning experience to his students at the institute.

After completing his Masters in English Literature, Mr. Sudhakaran did his PGDRM from the Institute of Rural Management. However, in spite of his interest in teaching, his move toward education happened to him by chance. “My ex-Managing Director at Amul just asked me one day to start a Marketing program for employees who weren’t from the field. Since then I have coordinated several programs and given guest lectures at institutes,” he explains. “But full-time teaching only happened after I came back to my home state of Kerala and saw this opportunity with SCMS Cochin. I knew that if I wanted to be in academics full time, this is as good as it gets.”

Mr. Sudhakaran adds that he was excited about the fact that he was moving from an institution under the patronage of Dr. Verghese Kurien to one guided by Dr. Subramanian Swamy. He also compares the experience of joining the institute to Indiana Jones, as he looks at it as an adventure and looks forward to explore the possibilities in teaching at SCMS Cochin. “As a professor you need to earn the respect you get,” he says. “The industry experience that faculty members have gives them an advantage because they can complete the classroom teaching with examples and anecdotes. That’s something I intend to build on.”

He then goes on to talk about the learning experience at SCMS Cochin and the different initiatives it has for its students to ensure that they come out at the other end of their two-year academic stint as industry ready professionals. “SCMS is unique because we look at contemporary issues and give ample opportunities to students to move out of classroom learning to go for real life experiences,” he explains. “The Integrated Management Learning Program takes the stage fright out of the students. Right from conferences to workshops, students take part in several initiatives focusing on everything from entrepreneurship to environmental issues.”

Mr. Sudhakaran also talks about different electives offered by the institute, and how building a knowledge base in different streams can actually help the future prospects of students. According to him, “At various points in time, depending on the needs of the business, people have to engage with different teams, or move out of teams for that matter. That’s where your skills in multitasking come into the picture. Moreover, you are expected to adjust quickly and make these mental and emotional switches. The dual-course specializations are in keeping with industry thinking.”

With his own experience in different streams, from Sales to HR, Mr. Sudhakaran understands the challenges of the industry and what it expects from future managers. He also talks about the opportunities that lie ahead of them, saying, “Today, the business process is more sophisticated and the entire scenario will require new skills of a higher order. A whole new world of jobs will come up and young management students need to take multiple experiences to understand how the new business will function in the future. They can look forward to a bright future if they are passionate about what they do. Concluding on an positive note, Mr. Sudhakaran sees a bright future for new graduates.