Maria Fernandes | NT Kuriocity
Of the many hospitality institutes and colleges in the State, only a handful can be considered ‘good institutes’ that impart education of excellent quality, have the right infrastructure, churn out leaders and hence are worth joining. To be able to cut through the clutter and identify these ‘top institutes’ it is necessary to know more about them in order to evaluate, differentiate and arrive at a decision regarding the appropriate ones to apply to.
A centre for excellence and achievement, IAM was originally started in Kolkata in 1989. With its mission to provide world class education and training in hospitality management through innovation and state-of-the-art methods of training and research, IAM Goa was launched in 2004.
IAM offers a degree in Bachelor of Tourism Studies from IGNOU and BA in Hospitality Management through University of West London, UK; as well as a three-year advanced certificate programme in Hospitality Administration. In addition there is a one-year certificate programme in Hotel Operations, certified by NSDC for students who do not want to pursue a log course. The three courses offered by the institute are recognised by UGC.
“All the programmes we offer are focused on practical knowledge besides meeting industry requirements. We ensure that our students get maximum training through classes, practicals as well as hosting events,” adds principal of the institute, Shabnam Jana.
Hundreds of students have passed through the portals of this institute and the alumni are spread worldwide in senior positions. The list includes chef Rahil Rathore, Radission Blue, Dubai; restaurant manager, Merwyn Pereira, Mumbai Mansion, Scotland; junior sous chef Neha Rajiwal, Vakkaru Maldives; director of operations, Asvil Correia, Renaissance Concourse, Atlanta, USA; Suraj Malage, front office, Government House, Auckland and others.
One of the important things required for a hotel management institute to function satisfactorily is the availability of necessary infrastructure in terms of state-of-the-art kitchens, dummy room, training restaurant, reception lab, high-speed internet connectivity, well-stocked library, playground, conference hall and classrooms that are spacious and furnished with audio-visual aids to name a few.
The institute has four large air conditioned classrooms with AV aids which can accommodate 30 to 60 students at a time. There is a training restaurant cum bar, training kitchen, training bakery and a front office lab. The spacious computer lab is used to teach students the basics besides how to operate the Fidelio software that is used in the hotels. “Our training restaurant is of 55 covers and is stocked and fitted with the latest equipment, and we also utilise up-to-date teaching techniques,” says F&B instructor, Praveen Bansal. “For us each student is unique and we treat them accordingly. Our focus is teaching and training our students with the required knowledge and relevant skills so that they go into the industry ready and are able to face different challenges and become successful,” he adds.
Internet connectivity is available in the college for students who also have access to the well-stocked library which houses books, journals and reference books. Volleyball is a game that students enjoy on the well-kept ground and for those who do not wish to venture outdoors; there is always the large games room with table tennis, pool tables, carrom, etc, besides the swimming pool and gymnasium. The large conference room/hall can accommodate 200 persons in classroom style and is utilised to host many of the institute’s events. An advantage that the institute has is that it is attached to a 3 star resort with 32 rooms which enables students to gain hands-on experience and knowledge. “My time at IAM was one of the best times of my life, simply unforgettable. The environment at the institute was homely and very welcoming and also we had a resort on the campus which made learning effective and also fun,” says junior sous chef, Trident Oberoi, Mumbai, Jatin Gautam.
In order to provide wholesome education to students, the institute has initiated several programmes hand-in-hand with the academic curriculum. The students’ council, sports’ council and cultural council ensure that there are activities planned throughout the year and encourage students to participate in various fields thus giving them an opportunity to explore their talents.
The institute has exchange programmes whereby students can opt for Kolkata or Guwahati. They can also choose to complete their final year at Napier University, Edinburgh or University of West London. These programmes give exposure to a wider range of experiences, activities, people and knowledge.
In any institute the quality of education imparted depends entirely on the quality of the faculty. Most top colleges and institutes have a judicious mix of full-time and part-time faculty members. The full-time faculty team provides the continuity and monitoring that is needed, and guides and supports students whereas the part-time or visiting faculty give students the much-needed external exposure. The faculty at IAM are not just well qualified but bring with them their years of experience in the industry. The visiting faculty are respected and prominent personalities in their fields who impart practical knowledge that is vital especially for a hotel management student.
It is not just books for students of IAM as they are encouraged to participate in a variety of projects, inter-collegiate fests, competitions and technical seminars. Goa Future Chef- for higher secondary school students; International Food Festival, Teachers’ Day awards – felicitating outstanding teachers from different schools across the state, International Hospitality day – felicitating outstanding hospitality personality from different hotels, Foundation Day, Induction day, IAM Star Chef, Football and Cricket Matches, etc, are some of the events the institute organises.
The college has a strong industry connect with hotels like Taj, Oberoi, Hyatt, Cidade de Goa, Alila Diwa, Leela, Jet Airways, J W Marriott, Four Seasons, etc. Placement is nearly 100 per cent and students are placed not just in the State but throughout the country and overseas as well. “We give a lot of importance to placing our students in good and lucrative positions. We also help students who want a change in their jobs provided we know of an opening. At IAM training, teaching and placements are all given equal attention,” says food production and programme leader, Sangita Biswas Fernandes who is also in-charge of placements. “In addition we also give the student the choice of interning for a year in USA after completion of the course,” she adds.
“IAM was like my second home and the faculty and staff were like family members. I am what I am today because of IAM and am very grateful to the institute,” says Nikhil Ginde who is interning at present in the kitchen of Big Cedar Lodge, Missouri, USA.