India’s top B-school needs a hefty dose of funds

Vinay Kamath Chennai | Updated on December 18, 2014

Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA.   -  Supplied Pic

Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA.   -  Supplied Pic

IIM-A taps alumni and corporates to invest in infrastructure, restoration

India’s premier B-school, IIM-A, is raising funds needed for a revamp of its infrastructure, for student life, and for faculty and research. Apart from capital grants from the Centre, IIM-A is looking to raise money from its well-connected alumni as also by inviting the corporate sector to invest in its campus by offering them naming rights for its buildings.

Ashish Nanda, Director, IIM-A, in a recent interview, said the B-school’s classrooms have to be upgraded to modern-day smart class-rooms. Sports and recreation facilities need a makeover; there are plans to put in a swimming pool as well. Scholarships may be offered to students who graduate and opt for careers in non-traditional areas.

“We are encouraging our alumni to offer funds to cover loans the students may have taken for their management education,” Nanda added.

Faculty chairs

The second prong of its fund-raising drive is to promote research through the creation of faculty chairs. “We have already raised funds for about 10 faculty chairs. These are funded by institutions such as ICICI, Nabard, the RBI and JSW. The ICICI Chair is in the area of strategy, the RBI Chair in finance and the Nabard Chair in agri-business, while JSW has sponsored a chair on inclusive innovation.

In addition some alumni, such as Chandrika Tandon, have offered funds for a fellowship in entrepreneurship and strategy. The funding will go towards raising faculty compensation and providing research funding. Bank of Baroda is supporting case research in finance and the financial sector,” said Nanda. Top on the IIM’s agenda is the restoration of its over 50-year-old red-brick buildings, designed by American architect Louis Kahn.

“We are hoping to take the help of public corporations that will support us with funding. We have initiated conservation and restoration to maintain the original beauty of the buildings. But the process is expensive. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has said that if any organisation puts money in this, it can be treated as a CSR activity. We would give them the equivalent of naming rights for doing this,” explains Nanda. The restoration alone is expected to cost ₹50-75 crore.

“People have come forward on their own to offer support. We will likely announce a fundraising drive some time next year,” he added.

Doctoral programme

Nanda plans to scale up the doctoral programmes as well. “Our doctoral programme is vibrant but clearly under-sized. It requires two things: one, a great deal of faculty attention and, two, funding support. We have approached the government and offered to scale up the programme. If the government can provide funding for students, we are willing to double our doctoral programme overnight,” he said.

Published on December 17, 2014

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