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The business of management

Prof. Bala V.Balachandran's dream will come true when The Great Lakes Institute of Management becomes operational in Chennai

Pic. by K.V.Srinivasan

IF CHENNAI is well on its way to boasting of a world class business school soon, the credit must go to Prof. Bala V.Balachandran, legendary teacher of management at the Kellogg University, U.S., mentor to some of the leading leaders in the industry, and advisor to governments across the globe.

Enthused by the success of those of Indian origin in top business schools in the U.S., Dr. Bala embarked on the idea of establishing The Great Lakes Institute of Management, which has tied up with the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Stuart School of Business. Since the faculty both of Indian and American origin come from the Great Lakes area, he chose that name.

"This is the best time economically speaking. Chennai is the Detroit of India and has some unique talent in industries. Not having a business school was a major shortcoming," he adds .

The one-year course ("I want to call the programme Master of Business Readiness rather than MBA") will have more contact hours and courses, and has been so designed that students get into the job circuit without delay. The programme will focus on subjects such as Marketing and Strategy in the first half, while the second half will focus on practical training. The faculty in the second six months will see professionals (as opposed to Ph.D types) prepare the students to take a plunge into the real world.

The school will offer Chinese as the "a boom in the job markets in the South East, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, etc. is expected, and knowing Chinese will be an added advantage." Selection will be based on an entrance exam besides group discussions, essays and other tests to evaluate the candidate's EQ (Emotional Quotient ) rather than IQ.

"I want people who are passionate about entrepreneurship. I want an eclectic group of students capable of eclectic thinking, not a bunch of engineers or CAs," says Prof. Bala. Analysing the merits of Indian students, he says, "While Indian students are strong on left brain activities and are good with numbers, they don't use their right brain enough. They are shy, can't communicate effectively, don't have the right body language and don't know how to negotiate. Students from Kellogg can sell anything but they are afraid of numbers." Prof Bala has been voted best teacher many times not without reason.

Delivering a lecture at the Madras Management Association, he is all charged up, witty and there was never a dull moment. Working "like crazy" to give GLIM a headstart, Prof Bala says. "I want a simple gurukulam type of atmosphere where education is more important than brick and mortar."

SUDHA UMASHANKER

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