INDIAN INSTITUTES of Management (IIMs) got a ‘wake-up’ call late on Saturday night.
Sunil Kant Munjal, MD and CEO of Hero Corporate Services Limited, the service business arm of the $ 2.8 billion Hero Group, posed several queries to IIM bosses on the second day of the 18th convention of the Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS). Queries, that many agreed, were uncomfortable, yet pertinent.
“I know IIM-L has brilliant infrastructure. Great library. It is one of the leading IIMs of the country. And I hear that its student intake is among the highest.
But, is the student intake of 300 odd (per batch) sufficient for a country as big as ours? We often talk of IIMs as centres of excellence, which they are. But, then how many such centres do we have? Six? Is that sufficient?” he asked the management teachers, deans and directors who have come from the country’s premier management institutes for the AIMS convention.
Arguing that the present environment required new rules to be crafted, he advised the management educators in general and the IIMs in particular to play a leading role in changing the work ethos, the ‘chalta hai’ syndrome of a greater number by enhancing capacity and capability to churn out a larger number of management grads.
He added: “I sit on the board of Indian School for Business (ISB) and it alone would have more alumni than all the IIMs put together very soon. So, we need to realise the need to expand and expand dramatically at that. Can we think of having 50 IIMs? Scores of trained leaders, who are not just managers, are required to bring about a turnaround and perch the country on top. So, can we think of raising the number of IIM grads to 30,000?” He wasn’t through yet. “We are not doing enough research in our B-Schools at present. I guess faculty-industry exchange at regular basis should be encouraged,” he said.
It wasn’t clear if what Munjal said next was in defence of the pro Mandal II brigade or just simple, blunt observation. But this is what he said: “I heard about the great reservation debate. We as a society haven’t yet learnt to be inclusive. You, the IIMs, are the best amongst the best. But, can’t we give every Indian the same dignity that we expect ourselves?”
Advocating the need for changing mindsets, he said the reason why companies, who prospered in the licence raj and faltered later was because they were unable to adjust themselves to the changing environment.
“Our PM talks of 10 per cent growth. A few years ago no one would have believed it. Now even 12 to 14 per cent growth can be made possible if only we believe in ourselves. It is here that B-schools would have to play a difference,” he said.
Stressing that people must be ready to bring about a change in the mindset, he said, “Competition can come from unforeseen quarters.”