As Cochin University of Science and Technology’s School of Management Studies (SMS) completes 50 years of existence, it is also the golden jubilee of management education in Kerala. Established in the year 1964, under the University of Kerala, SMS became the first management school in the State.
SMS initially started with evening classes and all the students were working managers nominated by their companies, for the two courses, namely PG Diploma in Business Management (PGDBM) and PG Diploma in Industrial Management (PGDIM). People who held high managerial posts in various organisations were appointed to part-time teaching positions.
At present, there are 180 full-time and 30 part-time seats offered by the School in courses like MBA (Master of Business Administration), MBA IB (with specialisation in International Business), MBA TT (Travel and Tourism), Part-Time MBA, MPhil and PhD programmes. It took a good five years before women started applying for the courses, and today, more than half, 53 per cent, of the students are women.
SMS also conducts Management Development Programmes (MDP) and undertakes consultancy projects. Currently, the School offers electives in the areas of Marketing, Finance, Human Resource Management, Information Technology Management, Production and Operations Management, Sales Force Management, International Business, and Travel and Tourism. For the 210 students, the teaching faculty consists of 18 permanent teachers and six teachers on contract-basis.
“We are encouraged to come forward with our views and opinions. All the faculty members here are given the freedom to conduct lectures and workshops and to be involved in consultancy,” says Anila Mathew, who teaches at the college.
Real-life corporate exposure
The in-campus learning of the students is through lectures, seminars, and case studies. The summer internship with various companies after first year, which includes organisational study and routine work, and a problem-centered project in the final semester provide real life corporate exposure. This is coupled with the students’ initiatives, ‘Talentime’, a management and cultural fest hosted by the SMS students, and ‘Go Green’, organised by the Travel and Tourism department to promote eco-friendly tourism.
Pramatha Prasad, a student, says, “The department’s activities and events help in personality development of the students. Talentime gives a lot of exposure to the real world scenario. The teachers are highly qualified and are always available to clarify doubts.”
In the past five decades, SMS has produced business leaders, management professionals, renowned educationalists, civil servants and entrepreneurs around the world, and the strength of the alumni of the school is over 5,000 members. Every year, they meet at ‘La Nostalgia’, the alumni meet organised on the campus. The alumni members, most of whom own companies or hold high positions in various organisations, provide internships to the students.
The School has been authorised by the Kerala government to provide consultancy to public sector and small scale enterprises. Its services have been availed by the Department of Industries, the Civil Supplies Corporation, Planning Board, Small Industries Development Bank of India, India Post, Kerala Metals and Minerals, Cochin Port Trust, the Guruvayoor Devaswam (the management board of the temple), Kerala State Financial Corporation, Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Cochin Refineries, Cochin Metro and others.
The college is located on the main campus of CUSAT and includes the teaching and research departments, hostels, university library, post office, bank, health centre, guest houses, a visiting faculty complex, coffee house, Centre for Information Resource Management, playgrounds, courts and gymnasium, seminar complex, a students’ amenity centre, separate hostels for women and men, with a capacity of around 2,000, and Aditi Bhavan for international students, besides the main administrative building.
“As the school completes 50 years, our focus is on three things. First, as research in this field is rare, it will be promoted along with faculty development. Second, the existing courses — MBA International Business and MBA Travel and Tourism, which are relatively new, will be strengthened. International collaborations are next in line. We are planning tie-ups with institutes in the US, Australia, Japan and France, and to conduct exchange programmes for students and teachers,” says M Bhasi, Director of SMS.