Located at a distance of 123 km from Kochi, Kuttikkanam is one of the exotic hill stations in Kerala nestled in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 3500 feet above sea level, in the rural district of Idukki. Like Munnar which is also part of the Idukki district, Kuttikkanam is also one of the sought after destinations for tourists from different parts of the world. With a vast forest reserve area, breathtaking waterfalls, dams, wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, and spice gardens, to name a few, Idukki never fails to remain in the top of the wish list of the tourists who decide to explore the God's Own Country- Kerala. The colossal mountain ranges and the lush green carpet of tea plantations are the other attractions that make Idukki the adventure lover's hotspot. Further being the first district in India to get connected with a superfast broadband system as a part of Digital India, it will not be wrong to assume that this district which mostly comprises the rural area, is in the forefront even in the GOI plans of developments.
"The Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management takes immense effort while designing the curriculum considering the changing and dynamic nature of the Hospitality & Tourism industry"
Given the growing popularity of the district as a tourist spot, it was in the year 2003 that Marian College Kuttikkanam which is an autonomous institute initiated its Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management, particularly in the response of NAAC Peer Team recommendation for focusing on generating skilled hospitality & tourism manpower in the district. "Established in 1995 in a rural setting of an educationally backward area of Idukki district, Marian College Kuttikkanam came into existence to quench the thirst for quality education in the region. Run by the Catholic Diocese of Kanjirappally, the College over the years has evolved as an epitome of excellence," says Rev. Dr. Roy Abraham P, Principal, Marian College Kuttikkanam, who envisioned the establishment of the Dept. of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Marian holds the pride of being the youngest accredited college in India in 2003 and presently is reaccredited with A grade and CGPA 3.52/4 by the NAAC. The College also was honoured with the status of the College with Potential for Excellence from UGC in 2009 and 2014.
Started with offering 3 UG programmes, the College now conducts 20 UG and PG programmes. The Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management of the college every year welcomes 25 students as per the guideline of the Government for a Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) programme. MMH is a fulltime four-semester government- aided master's programme in hospitality and tourism. "Additionally as an add-on certification, the department offers PGDHO - (A 2 year PG Diploma in Hotel Operations) Â designed and delivered by the Industry experienced MMH faculty, pinpoints Joby Cyriac, Head Dept., of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Although the College strongly motivates students from the rural parts of the region to pursue their education at Marian, owing to its quality of education, annually the College witnesses the application of students from metropolitan cities of the country and foreign countries as well. This makes Marian campus encompassed with state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure a perfect multicultural and vibrant place to obtain education that too in the tranquillity of a rural setting.
A Temple of Wisdom
The Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management takes immense effort while designing the curriculum considering the changing and dynamic nature of the Hospitality & Tourism industry. "The courses at the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management that are strategically prepared by the faculty are finalized only after proper consultation with the industry veterans and academic experts", claims Sajan N Thomas, the Tourism faculty of the Dept. Assuring to deliver education only with the most updated and industry-synchronized curriculum, the department selects each of the students on the basis of merit who meets the requirement of the score obtained in the national level management entrance examination like MAT, CAT, CMAT and so on, including discussion and personal interview.
"This course is very unique in terms of being multi-discipline oriented, that brings together the discipline of management and social sciences, targeting to develop the students in a way that will help them to become the horse of the long run and demonstrate the best performance in their respective work-places," opines Joby. Regarded as the backbone of the department, the faculty members play a significant role in moulding the futures of the next-generation hospitality & tourism workforce. They are not only highly educated but also holds extensive industry experience which helps in intensifying the learning experiences of the students in and outside the classrooms. The faculty members act more as a facilitator and know each student by their name. Stress is given upon enabling students to become autonomous learners and boost their research skills, in the account of which they are assigned individual and group tasks. Also the faculty members' tries to create an environment of collaborative and active learning coupled with promoting the effective usage of ICT.
Mr Jacob Bose who is a faculty in the Management area adds, "One of the highlights of our hospitality and tourism programme is the 6 months internship policy where every semester the students are encouraged to complete an internship with reputed organizations." This period is extremely crucial for the students as they get to witness the real professional scenario and also by getting the opportunity to work for the different industry in multiple internships; they become capable of understanding their interest towards any particular industry followed by choosing their desired career route ultimately These internships prove to be great exposure for the students and earn a great network with the industry giants along with adding 6 months of experience in their respective resumes which captivates the attention of the recruiters consecutively.
"Today the recruiters' hunt for candidates who can perform from day one of their joining and gaining 6 months of experience, our students stand up to this expectation aptly," pinpoints Jacob. The students during their course tenure go through rigorous grooming where the department invites industry professionals from different cities for sharing their knowledge and also conduct model interviews and provide specific individual feedback. Right from the soft skill training to psychological supports, the department assists the students in every aspect.
Unique Learning Experiences
The students of Hospitality & Tourism Management are felicitated with exclusive international tours that help them to understand the industry with a global perspective. "To date our students have visited countries and cities like Dubai, Thailand, and Malaysia, to name a few. With already having MoU signed with Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Dubai, we are constantly striving for signing more MoUs with international reputed organizations for the smooth functioning of the international exchanges, tours, and internships," shares Fr.Shaiju KS, faculty of Sociology and Research area of the Dept. . The department also has the record of placing its students in organizations in India and abroad such as Jacob's Garden Hotels & Resorts, Ramada and The Taj, The Leela, and many more. Arun George, another faculty member, adds, "The specialty of these international tours lies in its entire process- from preparation to evaluation is done by our students, enabling them to acquire the great level of experience and essential skills." Moreover, the department shares a cordial relationship with the industry and have industry internship linkages with establishments like Taj, Marriott, The Leela, Cox & Kings, just to name a few.
Giving utmost importance to not just theoretical concepts but also to practical training, the graduates of Marian Hospitality & Tourism Management department emerge to be favourite candidates for recruitment in the job market. The department since the last few years has been able to achieve the benchmark of cent percent placement rate by placing each of its students except few who prefers to go for higher education instead of starting their career. Marian proudly says, "Considered as the brand ambassadors of the department, our alumni are spread over varied verticals of the industry and we share a very strong bond with them. Since they are from indutry, they often visit their alma mater to share their knowledge and views with the on-going students. They also go the extra mile by staying connected online and inform if there are any decent job openings," opines Joby. The students of the department enjoy regular mentoring both from the faculty members and the seniors.
Besides earning academic excellence, the students of Marian are also known for their wholesome development as the College always motivates them to participate in extra-curricular activities throughout the academic year. On the flipside, the College has placed an incubation centre that looks after honing innovation and ideation among the students. "Standing tall on our motto Inform, Form, Transform, in coming years, with our undying dedication we are looking forward expanding in terms of launching more courses and gradually evolving into a University," concludes Joby.