My two year stint at IIMB will rank as one of the great periods of my life.For one thing I enjoyed the academic environment a lot more than at Guindy besides I was more at home with the curicullam. I never was cut out for hard core engineering.Being in the very first batch meant academic freedom for the faculty to fashion courses in very innovative ways.For instance we had sessions conducted by Prof Valecha every Thursday night post dinner at the hostel. Topics covered included Ann Rynd’s philosophy,based on her books; yoga discourses from the guru’s in our batch,Amarnath Bhatt & T Vishwanathan among others;mob psychology … fun don’t you think !!!We had the economics courses covered most innovatively by Vinod Vyasulu and Bharat Jhunjunwala,they made economics come alive. And so on .. The faculty got us thinking;got us to see the ideological biases in newspapers,magazines and books.The ruling ideology of the day was left oriented which was in keeping with the focus on public sector for the first batch.
IIM was a place I found myself again and self belief in some measure returned.I liked our batch mates .They were a mature lot all with engineering backgrounds and at least 2 to 5 years of experience.The experience profile was also largely from Public Sector Undertakings such as IPCL,HPCL,IISCO,HMT,ITI etc.This batch was not expected to join the classical MBA recruiting organisations such as the foreign banks, HLL ,Procter & Gamble , Coke and Pepsi.Our curriculum was likewise not heavily weighted in favour of marketing,advertising,quantitative methods and finance. We had heavy doses of economics, organisation psychology, Industrial Engineering besides courses in marketing, finance and quantitative methods. The curriculum was weighted in favour of preparing us for socially conscious jobs in the public sector.Our batch was therefore more down to earth and in certain ways less flamboyant and less snobbish than what one would have expected to see in traditional management schools of that era. This suited me.I was happy to be in this batch and happy to be associated with an institution which attempted to be socially relevant .
The hostel as I said was a new experience for me and I liked the experience very much. I had a great time with a great friends circle. Ramanan,Arun Balakrishnan,Shekar,Swapan Ray,Radhakrishnan ,Abhishek Mukerjee,Bramachari, R Srinivasan ( Chinu), Yeshwanth,TV,N Srini are some who readily come to mind. There was a lot of bonhomie within the group and we had good times no matter which group we were in.
There were great outings such as a 3 day stay at Aurobindo Ashram & Auroville at Pondicherry as guests of the Auroville Foundation.It was a great and moving experience.If I remember the group that went included Mike Manohar, Surya Rao ,Amarnath Bhat,Ramanan, Chitty from the Library and self. Ramanan and I had a great experience staying together at Prof Vyasulu’s house when we went away for 3 months on an assignment. We had a rip roaring time. On one occasion SK Ray cooked what I thought was the best chicken we ever had for dinner. I can go on but I’ve made the point.
An event I can’t forget was when I was thrust into the role of a compere for a cultural evening. It was event that brought together the first two batches. To my own surprise and possibly several others I did a fairly good job.I fortify myself with a couple of stiff pegs of brandy before the event and this worked !!!!
Several of our batch mates went on to hit the top slots in public sector giants .. Zayed is currently the CMD of HMT International,Arun Balakrishnan has just been appointed as CMD of HPCL. Some of us went on to take on fairly responsible positions in the Private sector,Abhishek Mukerjee was the MD of Compaq in India, Anil Nayar was on the Board of the Bharati Group,Shekar was a Sn VP in the Citi Group, I was an Ex Director with Xerox and now Exec VP with HCL. Some like N Vishwanathan & Ramanan went abroad and joined academic institutions, some like Chinu established themselves very well in consultancy. Some like Surya Rao, Mike and Amarnath Bhat & TV set up organisations /training establishments of their own. Radhakrishnan was the Director of NRSA and a renowned Oceanographer and part of the Prime Ministers Committee on the Tsunami disaster. Later he was appointed the Chairman of ISRO. He was the most accomplished in the batch. The list goes on …We as a batch did reasonably well and fulfilled the basic purpose for which the Institute set out to achieve.