Published: 01st March 2019
Bengaluru-based AIMS Institute will soon establish a 50 acre campus at Chikkaballapur
Roja Reddy, Director of Admissions, AIMS Institute in Bengaluru speaks about how they have been working to make students work-ready and the long way they have come to become one of the top institutes
Established in 1994, AIMS initially introduced Bachelors in Hotel Management (BHM) and Master’s in Travel and Tourism Management (MTTM). From then till date, they have expanded to over 25 programmes for students. In order to make their students' industry-ready, they have been conducting a number of national and international events on campus in association with institutions like Alma in Italy, Hotelschool The Hague in the Netherlands, Etoile Academy in Italy, VATEL France, ICHM in Australia and so on. They will soon be starting another campus in Chikkaballapur which will be spread across 50 acres and will include a state-of-the-art centre to encourage more student entrepreneurs. Roja Reddy, who is a Director for Admissions in AIMS, is also an architect. She says that she takes a keen interest in designing the infrastructure for their new campus. Excerpts from the interview:
Recently, AIMS organised the fifth edition of Hospitality Week in Bengaluru. How was the response from students and industry experts? What was the focus of this event?
We have seen a phenomenal response, especially from the industry experts and the students who participated from different institutions across the globe. Every year, the participation from colleges outside the country in this event has been gradually increasing. For the fifth edition, around 25 institutions from different countries took part in the Hospitality Week. Our focus is to ensure that students get tremendous exposure in terms of interaction with industry experts including celebrity chefs, food critics and bloggers during this event. Hence, there were not only interactions between chefs and students, but a demonstration of how the hospitality industry works. This kind of exposure for students is a very rare sight in educational institutions.
What were the challenges that the team had to face while the institution was being set up?
We established this institution in 1994. Dr Kerron G Reddy, who is the CEO, is the brains behind starting AIMS. She has really worked hard to make it one of the top institutions in India. Initially, when we started it, we had only 60 students studying with us. Now, we have over 2,000 students. Back then, we only had a Hospitality programme for students. But as we went on expanding, we opened our doors to various courses and educational programmes. When we look back at those days of struggle, we feel happy and proud to have come a long way. The kind of hands-on experience that we are providing to students in all the courses, the certification and the value addition programme, collaborations with the foreign universities and so on have given world-class exposure to the students. This helped us gain top rank as an institution in India, which we have retained for decades.
Young leader: Roja Reddy is the Director of Admissions at AIMS Institute in Bengaluru. She has been with the institution since 2008
Education keeps evolving every year as new concepts are introduced. During your tenure as a director, what are the changes that you have noticed in the education system?
I joined this institution as a Director in 2008. From then till date, there have been many changes. Earlier, parents and students limited themselves to textbook learning. They were fine with what Bangalore University prescribed and our institution delivered the same. Textbook learning seemed to be more than enough for the students. But the trend has changed over a period of time. Both the parents and students expect industry inputs to be included when we teach them. Before anyone asked for it, we met with these needs of the students. Our process includes researching on the latest concepts in the education system and it has been happening from many years at AIMS.
Apart from this, as our education system improved in India, many students across the globe come here to study now. AIMS is one among those few institutions that have a Curriculum Development and Review Committee which works to bring in practical as well as theoretical exposure. For instance, if a faculty member has 40 hours of teaching, a majority of the time is spent on teaching our students practically and that's how our curriculum is designed. It varies as per the subject and the requirements of the students. We believe in the theory of Bloom's Taxonomy where students also have to apply their knowledge for solving problems and be creative with their skills
Many options: AIMS institute provides over 25 different education programmes and courses
Where does AIMS stand when it comes to social activities other than imparting education?
We have signed an MOU with Muhammad Yunus, who is a Nobel Peace Prize awardee, to support his initiative Grameen Bank. Our college is the official centre in South India wherein we promote social entrepreneurship. Taking his idea of Grameen Bank forward, we provide funding and give more importance to social enterprises which are run especially for the poor and needy. Apart from our institution, two other institutions in North India have been supporting this initiative. In this area, we support students who want to turn their idea into a business.
What are the future plans of the institution?
We are coming up with a new campus in Chikkaballapur which is on the outskirts of Bengaluru. It is a 50-acre campus where we will build state-of-the-art infrastructure. We want to make learning and education more innovative and progressive for students. Hence, we are researching to find out how world-class universities are making it possible for their students.