Interview with Karman Khanna
Assistant Professor at GIM
Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey with us?
I have taken several detours in my journey up until today. Having completed my HSC as a science student, I was pretty sure of not wanting to pursue engineering or medicine. I was passionate about Architecture and would envision myself in J.J School of Arts sketching and designing unconventional buildings for the future. Waiting for my Architecture entrance exam results, I thought it would be wise to have a back-up, just in case. Hence, I started coursework at Vivekanand Education Society, Chembur in the Mass Media department. A couple of months into the coursework, having secured a seat in J.J School of Arts I decided to take a sharp turn from my initial journey plans and continued with Advertising as a Mass Media graduate. Post my graduation I was ready to take up the real world, the corporate life. But 6 months at two organizations each and the realization that a 9 to 5 is not my calling hit me hard.
At around the same time I came across MICA’s FPM program. The rigor of the doctoral program and MICA’s brand value tempted me to apply. I needed a Master’s before that and Mumbai University was my next academic stop for 2 years. Completing a Master’s in Communication and Journalism, now I was all set to reach MICA. I got through their doctoral program and the 3.5 years transformed me as an individual. From the exceptional mentoring to the opportunities to experience cultures of different countries, MICA helped me grow and secure a job at Goa Institute of Management.
On Mondays when I look forward to the week without the blues, I am reassured that my journey is on the right track at GIM. I have been with institute for almost 3 years now and the excitement and enthusiasm hasn’t dipped one bit since the day I joined.
Q2. GIM is one of the best management Institute. Which features of GIM attracted you to join it?
You only sense a vibe in the first encounter. And it was during my interview interaction at GIM that I sensed an extremely encouraging vibe from the various stakeholders I encountered. Working full fledged with the institute only confirmed my initial observations. The management shows confidence in each and every individual associated with the institute. The institute is true to its philosophy of “The Learning Never Stops” and hence you can always become a better you than yourself yesterday.
Q3. What was your doctoral thesis about and how was the experience at MICA?
My doctoral work explored “human-object communication.” It is not only humans that humans share intimate relationships with. There are people who are intimately involved with objects too – some even going on to marry objects like monuments. I looked at the communicative dimension of these relationships which highlighted the belief of an animate and conscious world of objects capable of communicative capabilities. I believe there is no other place than MICA in India that could have supported and believed in the potential of an offbeat thesis idea like mine. The experience surely had its fair share of highs and lows but in the process, I learnt to see the world around me from a perspective different than the one I had before my doctoral endeavor.
Q4. How do you excel students in their academics and career at GIM?
At GIM I learnt that “to teach” and “to facilitate learning” are pretty different processes and require a different recourse to get better at. My efforts are always to facilitate learning as it makes the student the focus of the process. My role then is not just to be updated with my course content but also with the contemporary learning style of students, their trends, and preferences. At the end of my class, I feel satisfied if my students leave with curiosity – the curiosity could be about Pastafarianism, Synesthesia, just about anything. I believe a good teacher knows two things very well – their subject and their students.
Q5. What kind of challenges have you faced in your journey and how did you overcome them?
I thank the universe for I believe my journey has been pretty smooth sailing. However, my fickle mind prompts of end minute change of career decisions has been one challenge which I managed with a support system of family and close friends. If it wasn’t for the confidence of my family folks and friends, I would not have taken the leap of faith from architecture to advertising. I am pretty sure that wouldn’t have been a bad journey either, but I think I am the happiest today, in this moment, where I am.
Q6. Tell us about one of the moments which changed your perspective towards life?
When I look back, three months seem like a moment now. I attended sessions on “Listening” by Dr. Ronald Gordon at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo during my three-month foreign immersion as part of my doctoral studies. Conversations with Dr. Gordon made me realize the importance of Listening as a skill and I strongly believe my perspective towards life has changed ever since. I realized everyone around me has a story to share but very few who actually “listen.” I have ever since worked on being an active listener and promoted the skill at any given opportunity.
Q7. Which one skill do you like most about yourself?
Patience. I think it helps me stay afloat rather than give up in the most difficult times.