Professor Cedric Serpes emphasizes the importance of creativity in hand-crafting managers at Goa Institute of Management (GIM)
Professor Cedric Serpes of GIM has had a successful career in Advertising where he worked with some of the best brands and talent in India and the Asia Pacific region. He was Creative Director at Lintas. He left the industry at the top, as Executive Creative Director, Grey Group. His passion to work with "future caretakers of the Nation" led to an almost eclectic academic career, which saw him teaching at some of the premier educational institutes in the country including NID, IIM - Udaipur, IIT- Jammu, IIT-Gandhinagar and IIIT- Kota. But it all began at GIM, where his "points of difference were cherished and he was given the freedom to help create opportunities for creative practice".
From advertising to brand GIM, his passion for teaching, and the significance of creative programs for future managers, we get Professor Serpes (Associate Professor and also Chairperson of the Centre for Creativity) talking in this freewheeling chat.
You reached great heights in your two-decade-long career as an Advertising guru. What were the highs for you and the challenges you faced?
Brands are like people. But unlike people, they need us to keep them relevant, exciting, and connected to the user. That is the real challenge that gave us the high. Also creating marketing history each year made us want to keep giving it our best shot.
You quit your industry career at a high point. Was that a tough decision to make and do you miss being an advertising professional?
As Executive Creative Director with a top firm you are responsible for high profile International Advertising. It gets demanding. Extracting consistent quality from professionals, who are essentially rule breakers, is stressful. But yes, I miss it because it's in my blood.
You say it was time to pursue other creative dimensions like music, writing, and film. How did that align with your academic move to GIM?
I love teaching and working with young people. It's thrilling to be part of their formative years. At GIM my creative pursuits were used constructively. Today there are a number of creative cells delivering content that is out of classroom learning. At GIM, the learning never really stops.
At GIM you take rather interesting courses on short film making, lyric writing, music production, face and hand casting, etc. How are they value additions for future managers?
Creativity is the root of everything we learn. The challenge is to make all stakeholders see the connection. Theatre, film making, and photography teach empathy, meaning and value, discipline, observation, team spirit, and storytelling. Painting and music are also about observation, framing, and imposing order on chaos. These skills are needed to solve problems, connect with users, work with colleagues, and design better brand experiences. Students aren't expected to be professionals in these fields after these courses. Here at GIM we hand-craft managers.
Can you tell us more about your role as Chairperson of the Centre for Creativity at GIM and the initiatives of the centre? What are its plans for the future?
It was created as part of Centres for Excellence, the core of the learning process at GIM. We have worked on various workshops and activities so far and are looking at a community radio station run by students. It will give them hands-on experience, and can offer useful information on relevant topics to farming districts in the areas. We should also be collaborating with NID and the IITs for cross-learning experience in new product designs.
You are already associated with some of the top educational institutes and have become a renowned academic. What keeps you going?
The institutes I work with put a high value on creativity and innovation like GIM does. My industry and now teaching experience puts me in a unique position to play a meaningful role with these institutes. I enjoy the diversity of the experience immensely. It is also interesting that no two batches I work with are alike. We connect, mutual learning happens, and they move on. We anticipate the next batch.
Posted on 18th January 2018