Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, inaugurated a memorial for founder Bala V. Balachandran on Thursday. The memorial offers homage to Prof Balachandran, while serving as a space for visitors to sit and spend time taking in the heritage and legacy he has left behind.
This space was unveiled by Lakshmi Narayanan, Former Vice Chairman and CEO of Cognizant, who praised Prof Balachandran and his legacy. Speaking at the event Narayanan said, “In Cognizant’s early days, we wanted to do something in the company that was different from the rest of the industry. Dr. Bala and the team delivered a five stage workshop to us that Cognizant continues to follow to this date. The leaders of Cognizant even today distinctly remember him for this workshop he organized.”
Continuing, he said, “His passion to bring research minds together to collaborate and work on initiatives, ideas and innovation resulted in the Government putting together a platform to bring research institutions, industries and NGOs together so that ideas can be worked on collaboratively. This is driven by the Principal Scientific Advisors Office at the Government of India.”
Dean & Principal, Professor Suresh Ramanathan, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai said, “The simplicity of his approach, the way he could articulate what he wanted to get done and then have everybody embrace that and share his vision is noteworthy. ‘No’ was never in his vocabulary, ‘Yes’ we will get it done would always be his approach.” He also added “I owe a deep debt of gratitude to him and I am truly blessed to have worked with him”.
Born in Pudukottai, Prof Balachandran completed his collegiate education at the Annamalai University, Chidambaram, and served in the Indian Army briefly before departing to the US to pursue his Doctoral studies. From there began an illustrious career as a professor, consultant, mentor, author, entrepreneur, life coach and much more. He helped recruit the first set of faculty members to IIM Bangalore in the late ’60s and set up the Management Department at the MDI at Gurgaon through a joint collaboration with UNDP, Wharton, and Kellogg.
Working closely with N Chandrababu Naidu, then CM of Andhra Pradesh, his vision for a one-year-fast-track MBA programme for working professionals was realized with the ISB in 2000 where he was on the Dean-search, faculty and curriculum committees. In 2004, he trained his sights on his native Tamil Nadu to set up Great Lakes Institute of Management which today has another campus at Gurgaon and is among the best B-schools in the country. He received the fourth highest civilian award – the Padma Shri in 2001 - for his contribution to education.