Set up 14 years ago by two friends with big dreams, the NIPS School of Hotel Management is today in a league of its own. The institute, started by Vivek Pathak and Ashif Shah with only 17 students, won the Gurukuljyoti Award 2006, making it one of the five best institutes in India. "Both of us come from a hotel management background. We had big dreams for the institute but we never dreamt of making it this big. Today, all the best hotels are eager to recruit our students," says Shah with immense pride.
Set in the sylvan surroundings of Salt Lake, NIPS is close to the new business hub of Calcutta yet far away from the noise and the pollution. The infrastructure and facilities provided by the institute is of international standards, tailored to meet the specific needs of its students. The institute offers a BSc in hotel management in affiliation with Punjab Technical University and a BHM course that is affiliated to West Bengal University of Technology (WBUT), giving students the chance to opt for the course of their choice. The faculty members are well-known professionals who understand the needs of the industry and teach their students accordingly.
Students interested in joining the institute have to appear for an entrance examination and a series of interviews. Based on the overall performance, candidates are selected for the course, which costs around Rs 95,000 a year. Despite the fees, a large number of aspirants flock to NIPS every year. "I did a bit of market research before opting for NIPS. The course contents, annual programmes and internship facility provided by the institute are of a high quality. That apart, the placement cell of this institute sees to it that their students get the best deals," sums up Gaurav Rohira, a third year student of NIPS.
Keeping the zeitgeist in mind, the training programmes are tuned to be in sync with the need of and trends in the global market. NIPS is one of the very few institutes from Asia that has been invited to be an associate member of Eurhodip - an association of leading hotel management schools in Europe. It also is an approved centre of City & Guilds, London - one of the key players in the field of vocational education and training. "A City & Guilds certification guarantees quality. It gives the students an edge over their contemporaries. However, it's an optional certification," says Sonali Sarkar Mukherjee, principal of NIPS.
What really sets NIPS apart from other run-of-the-mill hotel institutes is its holistic view of education. "Our approach is to develop not only competent professionals but nurture a complete individual - with skills, a wealth of knowledge and creativity," says Mukherjee.
And the institute takes great care to ensure it fulfils the promises made. The campus is always under surveillance so that no mischief occurs. It also seems to be quite tech-savvy as students have to get their attendance marked via a thumb impression detector. A fleet of buses picks up and drops off students at strategic points (Karunamoyee and Chingrihata) every day.
To ensure that its students don't become dull Jacks and Janes because of all work and no play, NIPS organises food festivals at Swabhumi every year. "During the annual fests we highlight the cuisine and culture of a particular country. This year the chosen countries are Bangladesh and the Emirates," explains Mukherjee. College fests apart, the students take part in various sports and all sorts of hospitality contests.
The institute offers two types of scholarships to deserving students - one is a cash award (12,000) that is given to the best student by the National Restaurant Association of India and the other a 45-day internship at Vatel Institute, Nimes, France, which goes to the two most deserving candidates.
NIPS has one hostel for the girls, two for the boys and a students' lounge on campus. Some of the faculty members stay nearby and the students are free to consult them at all hours. The founders of NIPS expect that the placement record of the institute will continue to improve with students getting placements in the best hotels, shipping companies and airlines. Their dream is to see a NIPS alumni heading every important hospitality establishment in the near future.
• WHAT IS IT? It is a hotel management institute.
• WHO’S THE BOSS? Vivek Pathak and Ashif Shah are the directors.
• Does it have a placement cell? Yes, and it claims to have had 100 per cent placement. Now it plans to avail placements in hotels across the globe.
• Where to stay? There is a hostel for girls and two for boys. The hostels are just a few minutes walk from the institute.
• Where is it located? Mahishbathan, Sector V, Salt Lake, Calcutta-700102. Telephone: 23675127 / 28 / 29; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org