Interview: Dr Ashish Nanda, Director, IIM-Ahmedabad
Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad tells Abhay Anand that the current draft of the IIM Bill provides IIMs local autonomy, so critical for innovation and experimentation
Q. What are the positives of heading an institution like IIM Ahmedabad? Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad tells Abhay Anand that the current draft of the IIM Bill provides IIMs local autonomy, so critical for innovation and experimentation
A. One of the joys of heading IIM-Ahmadabad is that every day you feel that you are part of an enterprise that has significant impact; on students through their education, on a revered and high quality institution, on society through research and policy and practice prescriptions. Everyday, I experience new opportunities and new challenges, new experiences from which I learn. It is also very satisfying to comeback to an institution where I was a student 32 years ago and which has contributed a lot to who I am, and try and contribute back to the institute.
Q. You have been associated with Harvard Business School as well. So, how would you compare both these institutions?
A. If you look at pure intellectual brilliance, IIM-Ahmadabad students compare well with the best anywhere in the world, including Harvard. In fact, as a percentage of applicants, IIM-A is far more selective than virtually any other management school in the world, including Harvard. Commitment to inductive learning and seriousness with which teaching is approached is similar. When IIM-A was established five decades ago, it formed a collaboration with Harvard Business School (HBS) to imbibe HBS’ case method approach of teaching. That commitment to inductive learning has stayed at the institute over the decades. So, the method of learning and faculty commitment to teaching in IIM-A are similar to those at HBS. The three biggest differences are first, because at HBS they get students from all over the world whereas at IIM-A, most of the students come from India, the geographic diversity of the class is greater at HBS than at IIM-A. The second is that at IIM-A most of the students are younger than at HBS. Most of those entering class at HBS has several years of experience; the entering class at IIM-A has less experience. Third, the entering class at IIM-A is more weighted towards engineering undergraduates, whereas the entering class at HBS is more evenly distributed across various disciplines.
Q. Government plans to set up one IIM in every state. Will they get quality faculty?
A. It is good to have many good academic institutions in India. We have a large population; we are demographically a young country; our economy is vibrant and growing. But I worry that by focusing unduly on quantity versus quality and physical versus human capital, we may end up with a large number of subscale institutions of middling quality. In academic institutions, a small contributor to their success is the “hardware,” the physical infrastructure, the major contributor is “software,” eager students, brilliant faculty, a culture of learning. Motivated students, excellent faculty, and a vibrant culture create a virtuous cycle, with quality institutions attracting quality human resources, who further energize those institutions. Similarly, uninterested students, demotivated faculty, and a dull academic environment can create a vicious cycle that only leads to worse outcomes.
Q. What are your views on international accreditation like AMBA, AACSB?
A. The concept of having some sort of accreditation body looking at how an academic institution is performing is good, because it gives you an outsider’s perspective, exposure to best practices, and an opportunity to learn from others. Accreditation helps an institution remain in the flow of what other management institutes are doing, and benefit from the counsel of advisors who bring outside perspective but spend the time and effort to understand the institution. It is important, however, that academic institutions use the accreditation process for self-improvement rather than to simply collect trophies. In my mind, for elite Indian management institutes, being accredited by one or at most two of the three well-known international accreditation bodies is good enough.
Q. Is IIM-A operating with thin financial margins?
A. We are entirely autonomous in our operating budget; we do not take support from the government in day-to-day running of our institute; our revenues cover our cost. We have also kept our fee structure flat for past two years, while the inflation rate in India has been running close to double digit levels. That means we have been operating with thin margins. But we are proud that we have operated the institute judiciously, maintaining quality of the education and research without raising fees or seeking additional outside support.
Q. Is commoditization of the MBA degree a big worry?
A. No, not at all. Commoditization occurs when all the consumer cares about is the cost. What the IIMs offer is differentiation, not commoditization. Students coming to IIMA, for instance, are assured of getting a unique, quality educational experience which truly contributes to their well-being in the short run as well as in the long run. The solution to commoditization is that even as the number of academic institutions grows, the government should establish autonomous national accreditation agencies that maintain high quality standards and autonomous national ranking agencies that help potential students discriminate among institutions. Otherwise, there is a risk of a race to the bottom among MBA institutions in terms of quality.
Q. What is your take on the IIM Bill?
A. The government has been sharing proposed versions of the Bill with the IIMs, seeking the comments of the IIMs, and incorporating them where appropriate. Some elements were missing in the early drafts of the Bill; IIMs had misgivings about some parts of the draft. We pointed out the missing pieces and the clauses of concern. For the most part, the Ministry has adjusted the draft to accommodate those concerns in subsequent drafts. The current draft of the IIM Bill attempts to balance between taking advantage of having multiple IIMs in coordination and best practice sharing but also providing the IIMs local autonomy so critical for innovation and experimentation.
Q. What has been the reason for low research output in India and how to improve it in Indian institutions?
A. Management research tends to be empirical. Empirical research is data-driven and field-based. That makes such research expensive. Academic institutions in developing economies are at a disadvantage because of the cost of conducting such research. Another challenge historically has been that most of the well-known management journals were in the West and tended to value research done in the West as being more relevant. Historically, research done in India found it difficult to get high quality outlets. You also need to give capacity to faculty to have time to do research. In India, primarily because of economic reasons, faculty has been quiet stretched in teaching, leaving little time to do research. So, for all these reasons it has been difficult for Indian institutions to really make a mark in research. The realization has also been growing in policy circles and among administrators of institutions that for an institution to have an impact over the long term it is important for the institution to have a vibrant research agenda. The government is also seized of this issue and is positively inclined to investment in research.
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Questions related to IIM Ahmedabad
can I get admission in iim Ahmedabad after bsc agriculture in ananad agriculture University, Gujarat
Yes you can apply for CAT and get admission in IIM Ahmedabad. IIM Ahmedabad is the top Institute for MBA and it's cutoff is very high every year.
Since you are from bsc which is a non engineering background, extra points are given by the Institute for maintaining academic diversity. This is an advantage for you.
For more information on criteria for CAT and IIMs you can visit the following link:
Hope this is helpful.
is IIM Ahmedabad offer integrated program of management
Hello there. Hope you are doing good. I would like to tell you that IIM Ahmedabad does not offer integrated program of management. Among all the IIMs, only IIM Indore offers integrated program in BBA + MBA. IPMAT is the entrance exam conducted by IIM Indore for getting admission into its integrated BBA+MBA program.
I hope this solved your query. Good luck for your future.
Sir Im an average student and i want to get admission in IIM Ahmedabad. But i dont have good enough marks in my 10th & 12th. I got 70% in 10th & 76% in 12th. So sir is it possible for me to get admission in IIMA even after getting good percentile for my CAT entrance test.
The admission into IIM Ahmedabad is itself a great victory and let me inform you that there is nothing like the involvement of previous exams, even the students of Engineering undergraduates go for MBA programs in various colleges. So coming to the point, I would like to suggest you that forgetting about your previous marks, which are not much bad, you must focus on the CAT examination because you can get Ahmedabad only if you are under 99 percentile student and yes it's quite difficult to achieve but if you try to work on the the portion of examination then obviously in one year or two you can crack CAT.
Also after cracking the CAT examination it's the interview part which makes sure that you will get admission in IIM Ahmedabad because the interview part is quite tough you need to be rebuilt your personality your speaking skills which are very much simpler important for any candidate who is appearing for the cat interview examination. I hope you understand what my concern is about. All the best!!!
can I take admission in iim Ahmedabad after veternary in Anand agriculture University
Yes you can go for MBA (Master of Business Administration) after doing your graduation in veterinary.
Duration of MBA : 2 years.
There are many exams which are held at national level,state level and university level for admission to MBA degree.For pursuing MBA at IIM (Indian Institute of Management) ,Ahmedabad you have to give Common Admission Test (CAT) exam which is a national level exam ,so prepare well.
You can visit this link for further information: https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/www.careers360.com/courses/mba-master-of-business-administration/amp?espv=1
All the best!!!
What should I fill in "year of passing" in 12th field in CAT form 2020 if I passed 12th in 2016 and appeared for Improvement in all subjects in 2017 ? Also I have improved my percentage so which marks should I enter? Please Help. Remember I passed all my subjects in 2016.
It is a tricky situation but the answer is simple. You passed the senior secondary exam in the year of 2016 so you should mention 2016 as the year of passing. You are saying that you secured more percentage in improvement, then you can mention the improved grades in the form. But at the time of interviews, you will have to carry both the marksheets . Only The one with the more percentage , shall be considered valid. Which is the improved one in your case.
And lastly, dont worry . This does not affect the admission criteria .As long as you have cracked the entrance exam and proved your caliber for the respective exam, you are pretty much good to go.