Prof. Raghuram – A Big Thank You
Professor G.Raghuram has been Director of IIMB since Feb 2017 and will superannuate from his current role in July 2020. Under his guidance, the institute has seen great changes and improvements with a grand vision for IIMB. His legacy will inspire and aspire us as individuals to do more and achieve more.
You may be a student for a few years or months, but you will be an alum for life…
What was your vision for IIMB and how far have you achieved it?
My vision for IIMB was to push it up the ladder of quality to be a global, renowned academic institution fostering excellence in management, innovation and entrepreneurship for business, government and society. To do this, I went along with the strategy captured beautifully in the Alumni tagline – Engage, Energize and Enhance. As Director of a mature institution like IIMB, the idea was to engage with various stakeholders, look for pockets of energy aligned with the vision, energize to unlock their potential, and enhance the outcomes and value. This I hope led to growth on various dimensions and provided for the aspirations of faculty. As long as the institution has been facilitated to continue to discover its ‘ikigai’..that to me, is what it is all about.
The true test of what I could achieve in my tenure would be to see the impact of the activities, projects, and result of those outcomes which only time will tell.
Some activities and initiatives I particularly enjoyed being a part of are:
- Leveraging the provisions of the new Act which enabled us to convert some programs to degree granting programs
- Setting up the India-Japan Study Centre and getting the Centre for Teaching and Learning started
- Initiating the NSR Pre-doc and growth in the Post Graduate Programme, with a focus on reserved categories
- Enabling the start of a new program – Post Graduate Programme in Business Analytics
- Launching of the new campus construction and in the current campus, the additional hostel blocks with 500 rooms to accommodate more students
- Setting up the History Project to document the legacy of this institution as we reach the golden jubilee, and the former faculty forum to engage with thoughts and ideas towards this legacy
- Increasing the alumni and development outreach
Where do you see IIMB in a few years?
Institutions like IIMB have a great deal of maturity so no major changes in the direction is really called for. I view our vision as providing a 3*3 matrix, where we need to leverage management, innovation and entrepreneurship for the target groups of business, government and society. All the nine boxes are important. There is scope to focus more on innovation for the three target groups.
Each box of this matrix can be operationalised through our research activities, program activities, or impact making activities. This will result in three major outcomes – Thought Leadership, Transformational Teaching Excellence, and Impact (ideas that make a difference).
Given our emerging strength in MOOCs, we are well placed for innovative programme activities for the three target groups.
I am confident that with our faculty, their energy and focus on excellence, the institute will rise to great heights and be respectable, and formidable competition, not only in the Indian context, but globally.
The Golden Jubilee of the institute in 2023.
The Golden Jubilee of the institute is coming up in 2023 and the idea is to mark this great milestone with documenting the legacy, history, and culture of IIMB. The History Project was set up. We had a great team who put in a lot of effort. The first publication titled ‘The Evolution of IIMB: Directors’ Perspectives’ has been brought out and is well received.
In the meantime, the team is working on another project, which will perhaps be in the format of a coffee table book, focusing on the architecture, nature, infrastructure, and culture of the campus. This has encouraged the team to dive further. So, you might see publications which focus on the evolution of the Programmes, and Research and Impact, etc. The seed has been sown for the evolution of the PGP and Research.
Where is IIMB headed with the disruptions caused by COVID-19?
Social distancing is the fundamental necessity in the current circumstances. Going online will be the most efficient method to handle the situation. Thankfully, in our line of work, our services are electronically transmittable. We were equipped and experienced in some ways prior to the crisis by means of our focus on MOOCs, and programs like PGSEM (the earlier avatar of PGPEM) which had been carried out virtually too.
We quickly geared up to prepare for launching our PGPEM, EPGP, and PGPPM online. The PGP and PGP(BA) will soon go online. Many Executive Education Programmes are being converted online. The main aim was to stay on track and not delay the courses, keeping safety as a priority.
IIMB has formed a project-oriented committee called Committee to Drive Digital Learning (CDDL) to equip the faculty in translating physical delivery into online synchronous mode. We are also in the process of upgrading the IT infrastructure in our classrooms and acquiring additional tools and equipment to function with maximal quality for learning effectiveness.
COVID has also given us an opportunity to consider if we can design diploma programs that are exclusively available in online mode so that the same quality of education can be made available to a larger audience. A committee is already working on this and maybe in the coming couple of years, some new programs might be introduced. This is a time to analyze how convenience can be leveraged and to understand how to make virtual learning effective. The CDDL is also working towards newer areas in terms of evaluating ‘work from home’ possibilities, interviewing process, engaging with international scholars, engaging with alumni, etc. among other non-program activities.
In a nutshell, Covid might have just opened opportunities rather than be a limitation.
Your Message for Alums.
In case you are not able to view the video, please click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMeqZWUezQM
What are your ideas on Alumni Engagement & Development?
First, let me congratulate the organisers of the first online Anusmaran Bangalore 2020. It was a good effort, given the circumstances.
Alumni mean a lot to us. There is a lot to learn from them in terms of feedback, programs, placements, case study opportunities, consulting opportunities etc. We gain a lot in engaging with alums. I hope their sentiments resonate with ours. I am particularly happy with the naming of a classroom after Professor Vatsala Nagarajan. We are closing in on naming of another classroom. All this is possible because of the warmth of the alumni.
Also, there is the Athithi program, where the incoming international exchange programme students get a chance to stay at the home of an alumni over a weekend. A simple but significant idea. We have also initiated various programs like Back to School in the Executive Education Programmes where alums get the chance to reskill themselves.
We wanted to share our plans about the golden jubilee at the originally planned Anusmaran events this year. It was stalled due to the pandemic. But I do hope that the Alumni Committee will make a concrete proposal for alumni involvement in development funds and take it forward.
I would personally congratulate Professor Kumar (Dean Alumni Relations & Development), Mr. Parthasarathy (Head Alumni Relations) and Mr. Suresh (Head Development) for their efforts. Thanks to their collective efforts, we could raise money for various initiatives.
Overall, in terms of alumni engagement, my philosophy has been that alumni ‘may be a student for a few years or months, but will be an alum for life…’
About your family.
I have a son, who is married and lives in the US, following his passion of teaching and creating music. My daughter just graduated from IIMC and has been working in Bangalore for the past year. She has been living with us at the campus for the past year which has been nice. My son will soon be completing his Masters in Video Games Design and will be looking out for opportunities. My wife has been freelancing as an article writer and editor for a few magazines. We have a pet Labrador, called Bliss.
In many ways, the staff in my office have also been like my family. With their support, I feel I have been spoilt in a manner that I have to regain the ability to do many essential tasks on my own.
Living on the Campus.
My family and I have enjoyed our stay in the campus. During my non-work time, we have enjoyed our walks around the campus, often with our pet, watching movies in the close by malls, and socialising with friends and relatives in the city. But most importantly, I enjoyed thinking about the institution and the tasks around it. In the process, I may not have fulfilled all expectations of my family.
The wonderful life on campus became evident during the Covid period. We were all in lockdown but living in the campus never made us feel so. We were able to pursue our lives quite normally with a few protocols. We were lucky that all programs got over just before the lockdown. Given the hostel availability, we were able to accommodate the required essential services staff in the campus. We were thus able to ensure a safe and normal quality of life for all residents. During this period, I could spend more time with the family, and simply catching up on reading and television.
What are your plans post retirement?
I plan to move back to Ahmedabad. We have a house there. Having spent 31 years of my life as a faculty at IIM Ahmedabad (and a few years earlier as a student). There is a certain sense of familiarity that beckons. I am also on the Board of some academic institutions and companies in Gujarat, connected with my interests in transport infrastructure. I am also associated with IIM Vishakhapatnam. I believe there would be some teaching and advisory opportunities too. All this will keep me active.
Apart from these, as of now I do not want to engage in any demanding roles. I would like to get back in touch with myself. I also want to travel (Covid permitting), something I have enjoyed all these years.
Is there an email id where one can contact you in the future?
My email ids will remain operational. I would love to stay in touch. I can be contacted on either:
Sir, LSquare takes this opportunity to thank you on behalf of all the IIMB Students, Alums, Faculty and Staff for providing us with the light of your wisdom, simplicity of thought and power of determination. These life lessons will always stay with us.