Located in the screen backdrops of Palakkad District in Kerala, LEAD College of Management is an epitome of student-run colleges in India. In fact, the state-of-the-art campus of the LEAD is essentially managed by the students through various LOTs (LEAD Operating Team). “LEAD is like a family where each member by default has a sense of ownership and responsibility. We believe that through participation in the various processes of the organization students will get hands on experience of decision making, responsibility and team building. Hence, at LEAD, students are the owners of various LOTs which have a specific set of responsibilities,” explains Dr. Thomas George, Director, LEAD College of Management.
At LEAD, housekeeping, maintenance, food and beverage, canteen, hospitality, security, accounts keeping, dealing with stakeholders, admission process, induction of students, internships and many more are upfront done by the students. However, faculty members of the institute always ensure that there is there is a voluntary participation from their side to augment respective support to each programme. For instance, Public Relation and Placement LOT of the institute, which comprise of students and faculty members takes the lead in all placement related activities for the students. Their responsibilities include maintaining contacts with eminent personalities in the corporate world and alumni. They provide placement assistance and prepare the students by organizing mock interviews and group discussions.
“The recruiters come back to LEAD again and again indicating the quality and the characters of the students they already hold in the payrolls. This gives us an immense satisfaction as the educators and the institution is proud in increasing the number of recruiters year after year by word of mouth and increasing the number of recruitments and package,” says Dr. George. As a result, LEAD today walks through the admission status well in advance in early May/June and has become an enviable organization for the contemporaries, while a vast majority of the institution suffer for MBA admissions.
Transforming Ordinary to Extra-Ordinary
A large number of students at LEAD are coming from backward and the most backward society. They are economically poor and study the program taking loans and other financial assistance. “They are the children of a wood cutter, daily cooli and the like who wage a war with nature and wrestle with their livelihoods. I am happy to see after the program a lot number of the students are well employed and therefore transforming their life and life of the family and perhaps the society. This is indeed my first moment of truth,” shares Dr. George.
Today, alumni members of the LEAD are working all over the world. The institute also has LEAD alumni associations in 10 countries, and they meet regularly and communicate frequently. “The alumni strength who are present across the globe are my next important moment of satisfaction, as those students not only have great name and fame with reputed organizations, but also help LEAD to recruit a greater number of students from every batch of LEAD year after year,” pinpoints Dr. George. Interestingly, LEAD is the only Institution under the University of Calicut having a sanctioned strength of 27 Foreign nationals for MBA.
“The two years at LEAD is about transformation. It not only imparts knowledge, but also reinforces in us the spirit of creative action. One is repeatedly confronted by hard questions and challenges which have no easy answers and a deep reflection ensues. We suddenly discover that we are capable of so much more than we had given ourselves to believe,” says Nithin Gosh, an alumnus of LEAD who is now working as Territory Sales in Charge at Reckit and Benkiser. Since its inception in 2011, LEAD has always ensured that their students get best possible education, which goes beyond the prescribed university curriculum. The institute encourages the students to take online courses in addition to the university curriculum whereby the students are mapped to the best of the management education like oursera, Code Academy, HubSpot Academy, Moz, Learn Vest, Niche consultant courses, edX, Khan Academy and MIT Open Courseware.
“By relying almost exclusively on the case method of instruction, students or participants are forced to move from dependency to engage in problem solving, critical thinking, and experiential group exercises that will help them make decisions not only in the classroom session but also in business settings. We have a dedicated room and technical outfits to engage with the smart classrooms across the world and shortly we are contemplating to have a separate IP too for virtual transmission,” explains Dr. George. In addition to that, LEAD has MoU signed with 25 institutions of heterogeneous type and size actively to interface our classroom teaching with that of the workplace knowledge. Dr. George adds, “Our students are constantly in touch with top notch companies and working in organizations like Amul, Redington, Vodafone, Airtel, EY, KPMG, Wipro, ESAF, Envestnet, Sundaram Finance, Nestle, Berger Paints, Soft-land India, Kitex, VKC, IDEA Cellular, OTTO, OYO, Bijus, Karvy, Impex, Arya Vaidhya Pharmacy, OPPO and many more to mention a few.”
Mentoring at its Best
LEAD has an impressive faculty strength having a combined wisdom of about 300 years of experience and exposure. “Mentoring and enduring with life skill practices are the hallmark of excellence at LEAD. The Mentorship program is offered to support students in their self-development, confidence building, to equip them with all the skills required to complete the MBA program and to assist in the transitioning from campus to corporate life,” states Dr. George. Each faculty member of the LEAD act as a mentor to a group of students and guide them throughout their academic years with their career and interest and personal well-being. Dr. George explains, “As our students are from different educational backgrounds, diversified cultures and practices, they face different issues and problems as they get accustomed to the college. Mentoring acts as a platform for the students to discuss and interact with faculty members, seek advice, develop judgment skills and strive to achieve their long-term goals effectively.”
Life skill programs at LEAD is a unique feature of the organization wherein Breakthrough and turning points are the two vital components. Break through is a three-day adventure camp for professionals and youth to get in touch with the true spirit of life through exploration of nature. The trekking and mountaineering camp will be an exhilarating experience in one’s life which he/she can cherish throughout their lives. The focus areas are Recreation, Excitement, Confidence building, conquering fears, Risk Taking traits, Instant Decision Making, Team building and Challenges your limits.
On the other side, LEAD is now focusing a lot on enhancing entrepreneurial capabilities of its students. The institute conducts Entrepreneurship Awareness Programme in the first year following by Entrepreneurship Development programme in the second year. As a part of these programmes, LEAD will organize several activities including Entrepreneurship meet, Entrepreneurship awards, National Conference on Entrepreneurship, Journal on Entrepreneurship, Trade exposition, Sandhaio9 (learn while you earn), Seminar by funding agencies like MSME + 1-FDP on Entrepreneurship, Startup NIDHI activities and industrial visits. “We are expecting incredible outcomes such as starting of 20+ companies by students in the locality and outsiders availing the facilities of the LEAD and having a minimum of five enterprise inside the campus,” shares Dr. George. LEAD’s 2019-20 academic plan is largely outcome oriented and its methods and contents is based on three essential concepts or philosophies; enterprising behavior, the entrepreneurial process and the student’s self-knowledge of their own competences in relation to carrying out entrepreneurial processes.
Over last 7 years, LEAD has made outstanding contribution to Indian Education Sector and received extolment from various governmental and non-governmental agencies. LEAD could achieve this position under the able direction and guidance of the Human Engineer, Dr. Thomas George an international trainer turned entrepreneur who received “BEST INSTITUTION BUILDING” award by the National Institute of Personnel Management, India for his outstanding performance in developing LEAD into an enviable position among the MBA institutions in Kerala. “In our way forward, we want to provide 100 percent employability/entrepreneurship initiatives to all aspirants who join with LEAD. NBA accreditation in 2020, International accreditation like AMBA, AACSB and EQIS, starting strategic alliance with national and international B Schools and more corporate, and energizing industry 4.0 initiatives and industry/industry associations’ interactions are also in pipeline,” concludes Dr. George who is striving hard to elevate LEAD to become one of the top 10 business schools in South India by 2030.
Dr. Thomas George, Director
Dr. Thomas George K had his Engineering Degree in Electronics and Communication and did MBA in Systems, further he pursued M.Sc. in Applied Psychology, M. Phil in Psychology, M.Phil in Management and obtained his Doctorate on the thesis ‘Enhancing Competencies of Engineering and Management Students’ from Bharathiar University, Tamilnadu. In 1994, he started his professional career as an entrepreneur of a startup computer firm called Prompt Computers which mainly dealt with the sales and services of computers and accessories in Palakkad, Kerala, Southern state of India. Prompt Computers has developed India’s largest touch screen network for Indian Railways. Later in 2002 he opted out a career as a soft skill trainer focusing mainly among the youth and students. Then as the time passed by, he became an “International Trainer” of JCI wherein he has visited 35 countries for training.
He is currently the Chairman of NIPM (National Institute of Personnel Management) Palakkad Chapter, Executive member at ASMIK (Association of Self-Financing Management Institutions in Kerala, Secretary at AMICU (Association of Management Institutions under Calicut University) and Treasurer at VISWAS (Victims, Sensitization, Welfare and Assistance).