1. Can you outline your career path? Did you ever think that you would be the Dean of IIMA when you were studying there?
It gives me great pleasure to respond to some of your interesting questions as an IIMA Alumnus (PGP 82) from the Chair of Dean (Alumni and External Relationships), a newly created position to which I was appointed w.e.f. 10th August, 2010. In the light of expansion of activities and initiatives, the Institute decided to appoint two additional Deans – Prof. Ajay Pandey as Dean (Faculty) and me as Dean (Alumni & External Relationships).
Post IIMA (1982), I joined Calico Mills, Ahmedabad as Staff Office in Executive Vice Chairman‟s Office. Then onwards, I had several moves during 1983 to 1999, lasting from 46 days to 50 months. Worked with Arvind Mills, Indian Rayon, Bombay Dyeing, P.T.Texmaco Jaya (Jakarta), Mafatlal Industries, Prateek Apparel, NIFT/ACME, and Hindoostan Spg. & Wvg. Mills. I worked in the area of Marketing, Project Management, Designing MIS, SBU Management and Corporate Planning. I used to undertake visiting faculty assignment or guest lectures at various management institutes, while I was in the corporate sector.
Then I joined full time academics, in September 1999, as a Faculty member of SJMSOM, IIT Bombay, which seems to have given me more stability. It provides wide opportunity to work in variety of areas, interact with academia and industry both and there is some respect from a large part of the society. In 2008, I joined IIMA in Business Policy area and have continued since then, on lien from IIT Bombay.
Like most of the major events in life happen by accident, getting into the position of Dean (Alumni & External Relationships) is also one. I probably never thought of joining IIMA as a faculty member or becoming one of the Deans, when I was a student. But it is an exciting experience to be on the other side of the table after more than 25 years.
2. Now that IIMA is ranked 11th in the global ranking, what is it that you are doing differently to keep up the rank?
IIMA having ranked 8th in the FT Global ranking for its PGP and 11th rank for its PGPX has created tremendous excitement among all the IIMA community members and other stakeholders. As we have found our rightful place in the global management education, our expectations and aspirations have only got enhanced. We have started looking at various dimensions. Those are being considered for ranking and started looking at the gaps that we need to bridge. Among these dimensions, where we can probably focus on, are international students and international faculty, women students, research work and publication. While many of our faculty members are carrying out research works which are more relevant to the country-context and having high impact value to the society, this may not be published in some of the international journals. Therefore, we need to strike a balance between publishing in international journals of repute at the same time working and publishing relevant contextual work that impacts the society at a much larger scale.
3. What is the most preferred industry/location among the current batch? Is there are preference for working in India over international opportunities?
From last few years placement trend, it is quite clear that the students have preference for working with international firms and roles that give them international exposure, so international opportunities seem to have preference over domestic offers. A large majority of students prefer to work for global banks and consulting organizations which apparently are driven by attractive packages, international opportunity and career prospects.
4. What efforts does IIMA take to connect with the global IIM alumni base?
IIMA makes efforts to connect with its global IIMA alumni base by meeting and interacting, as and when any faculty visits any country based on his schedule and convenience. Last few years, since the start of PGPX, a group of faculty members have been visiting US and EU for the selection process. During that period also they make an effort to contact the alumni in that city. Alumni Reunions including Silver Jubilee Reunion provide alumni and faculty as well as current students to get in touch with each other and also interact over two to three days when they visit the campus. During this alumni meets, we also get opportunity to exchange our ideas and share our concern with the alumni. As part of the Golden Jubilee Celebration, our students have taken an initiative to organize an International Case Study competition for which they are trying to contact alumni in academics including those who are abroad to involve them as judges.
5. What advice do you have for fellow alumni looking for a career in academics?
Last couple of years we have been observing few IIM Alumni are thinking of switching over to a career in academics. Even if a small percentage of our Alumni opt for a career in academics, one of our major current challenges – overcoming faculty crunch in academics can be taken care of. IIMA needs such alumni support much more than any time earlier. In fact, through a recent communication after the Golden Jubilee Alumni meet, we have communicated to all alumni who are willing to get involved in teaching at IIMA, can look at the list of current electives being offered and find out any possible gap that they can bridge by even coming to IIMA for a short period and offering a course either by oneself or jointly with few others. All they need to dois to send a mail to the Dean(Faculty) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof Atanu Ghosh
Dean (Alumni & External Relationships), IIM Ahmedabad