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IHM Mumbai: The temple of hotel management in India

As the first institute of hotel management in South East Asia, Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition (IHMCTAN), alias IHM Mumbai has been focussing on the overall development of the student, while adhering to a curriculum in-line with the latest trends of the industry. Arun K Singh, principal, Institute of Hotel Management-Mumbai shares glimpses of the institute’s history and how it has upgraded its training modules to make its students industry-ready

Arun K Singh

The Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) Mumbai was established in 1954 in Bhartiya Vidyabhavan Andheri from where it was shifted to the premises in Dadar in 1966. Decoding the history of the establishment of this institute that set the chain rolling for other IHMs across India, Arun K Singh, principal, Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition (IHMCTAN) says, “This was the first institute of hospitality education of South East Asia started by the All India Women’s Central Food Council. It was later on taken over by the Government of India’s Ministry of Agriculture, which developed it into a full-fledged Institute of Hotel Management. Since at that time, there was no technical knowhow about the hospitality industry in India, the Ministry of Agriculture tied up with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The expert of that organisation, Sir Belfield Smith, was sent to India for seven years to develop hospitality education in India. He then moved to Delhi to develop IHM PUSA and IHM Chennai and IHM Calcutta, and nine food craft institutes in different locations like Hyderabad,
Bengaluru, Lucknow, etc, which would help train and provide the required manpower for the entry-level job roles. The manpower requirement for supervisor, senior supervisor, and the managerial level was fulfilled by the IHMs. We have a total of 21 Central Governmental Institutes of Hotel Management which are affiliated with the National Council of Hotel Management – headed by the Secretary Tourism,
Government of India. Along with that, we have 22 State Institutes of Hotel Management which have been developed by the state governments with financial support from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. They are also affiliated with the National Council of Hotel Management.”
He adds, “We have a large base of about 70 Central, State, and some private institutes, under the National Council of Hotel Management. We conduct a joint entrance examination for the students to be placed in a different institute in the country. India is one of the leading countries in the world, at present, which has supported hospitality education so much. A large number of the infrastructure of manpower training is available in India which mainly deals with the training at the senior supervisor or management at trainee level, and as well as for the entry-level requirement of the hospitality and allied industries.”

Supplying quality manpower
While the growth of the hospitality industry in India has been bullish year-on-year, the key concern that still lies today in this leading services industry is quality manpower. When asked about IHM Mumbai’s efforts to prepare the students for quality work, Singh replies, “We are not just a hotel business school, but a hotel management institute which focuses upon operational management. In the US, Cornell University and some other known institutes are hospitality management institutes. They deal with managerial subjects like marketing, HR, etc, among others. We at IHM Mumbai are dealing majorly on training our students in the core operational management topics and also the managerial aspect to some extent. Our focus on students mainly is on four factors i.e. attitude formation; personality and communication; knowledge and skills; and to upgrade the students time to them so they can connect with the ongoing industry trends for years to come. Since technological advancement in the hospitality industry is too fast, all the hospitality institutes need to understand it and upgrade their training infrastructure from time to time. All our Central IHMs are getting funds from the Government of India to upgrade the infrastructure. For example, the software is used by all categories of hotels irrespective of being a standalone or chain-based property.”
IHM Mumbai has IDS software and others too in which the students are trained. When they are selected for industrial training exposure scheduled in the second year for 17 weeks or during the job placement, they have the basic skills, thus making them equipped for on-field operations. However, he also points out that quality manpower is a very competitive thing where the demand for it is more but the challenge is the reduced supply.

New job profiles
Speaking about the ongoing trend among the millennial generation of seeking new-age jobs in mixology, etc, Singh says, “Along with the traditional jobs, nowadays other interesting job roles like mixology is also coming into this field. Though a limited number of students are interested in it, they move ahead and develop themselves. We are tied up with some organisations who host knowledge sessions imparting knowledge about wine, whisky, etc. They visit our institute to train the students. We also recommend to the students certain institutes specialising in training them in the skills of their interest to help them excel in the same. In our institute, 70 per cent of placement happens in the hospitality industry, whereas 20 per cent students go on to pursue a career in allied industry, for which we permit one or two leading players in the retail business space, travel and airline firms along with hotels & restaurants, so students who are seeking a specific field, can get at least one job. Every year about 30 companies visit us.”
When queried about the vocational programmes that IHM Mumbai hosts for non-resident aspiring hospitality professionals, Singh explains, “The government is fulfilling its responsibilities in not only training youngsters in management programme, but it also came up with the programme called Hunar Se Rojgaar, in which the entire cost of the programme is borne by the Government of India. It is in the field of food production, bakery, housekeeping, and F&B services.” He revealed that there is also another programme unveiled for skill upgradation through skill certification which is a week-long programme. During this programme, more than 2000 railway employees were trained in food handling safety at IHM Mumbai. The institute also conducted a programme for the street vendors, to make them aware of food hygiene and safety while handling which is highly important. It has already done two programmes with the Street Vendors Association.
“So starting from the managerial level to the lower level, we are conducting various programmes which are needed for which the government is giving due support. The only thing that the people must identify is the area of interest keeping in mind their qualification, personality, and communication and if they come through, there is a lot of opportunities which they can explore,” opines Singh.
The syllabus is being prepared at the national level and it takes three years to change it as such. With the inputs of FSSAI’s move to encourage people to consume healthy food through the Eat Right India movement, the IHMs are inviting more and more industry stalwarts to address their students, who would then become the brand ambassadors for eating healthy as they join the industry. “We also did some programmes with FSSAI wherein about 60 students have been trained by FSSAI in food hygiene and other related aspects. Time to time, we upgrade ourselves; call the industry experts to share their knowledge with the students, most of them who are our alumni,” he adds.
“In our vision ahead, we are slowly shifting towards the managerial input along with the operational education as we intend to maintain a balance between both. We are trying to keep a tap on it to ensure that the students passing out of our institute are flexible to do the job as demanded by the industry. We are also trying to exclude certain things that are obsolete now. Furthermore, we are improving the infrastructure and revising the curriculum so that the right kind of education is being given to the students,” concludes Singh.

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