‘Diversity needed in IIM student body’

Virendra pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on August 23, 2013

Ashish Nanda, Directordesignate,IIM-Ahmedabad

“Unlike the IIMs, where most students have an engineering background, Harvard students come from diverse fields”

“Had I still been a student, with what I hear of the percentages required for admissions in top professional colleges, I wouldn’t have got admission now.” That startling statement was made byProfessor Ashish Nanda, Director-designate of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), while addressing the media on Friday.

Incidentally, Nanda, among other things, is a gold medallist both from IIT-Delhi and IIM-A.

Nanda, who will head IIM-A from September 2, said he would strive to make it one of the top B-schools in the world. He has been on the campus since August 15, acquainting himself with staff, faculty, students, and, of course, the issues the institute faces.

“I wanted to give back to the institute and society. My family and even my Harvard Law School dean supported the idea. My mother, who passed away on August 5, was equally excited,” he said.

Nanda was the Robert Braucher Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. He has taught both at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School and was Faculty Director of Executive Education at Harvard Law School and also Research Director of the school’s Program on the Legal Profession. Unlike the IIMs, where most students have an engineering background, Harvard students come from diverse fields, said Nanda. He believes the IIMs should likewise have diversity in their student body, particularly in terms of geography and academics. They also needed to network more with alumni for holistic development, besides increasing the focus on research, he said.

About the economic scenario, he pointed out that not only India but many other countries, including the US and European nations, face similar problems. Recent steps by the US Federal Reserve have led to an outflow of money and impacted exchange rates in India and elsewhere, he noted. But these problems are short-term ones, he added.

Long wait

After remaining virtually headless for 10 months, IIM-A announced on August 13 that Nanda would be its new Director. He will succeed Prof Samir K. Barua, whose five-year term ended in November 2012.

This is, perhaps, the first time that the institute, established in 1961, has had to wait this long to anoint a successor.

India’s premier B-school had, for the first time, advertised globally seeking experienced applicants for the Director’s post.

Published on August 23, 2013

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