Autonomy of IIMs should not be tampered with: Kumar Mangalam Birla

In keeping with the line of thinking of his predecessors, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on Friday said the autonomy of the IIMs should not be curbed.

Commenting on the draft IIM Bill, which looks to reduce the IIMs’ autonomy, Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, said: “I haven’t seen the bill draft as I am new to this world. But the autonomy of institutes like IIM-A should not be fettered even to the slightest extent.”

Talking about his role as chairman, Birla said he looked to strengthen the existing academia-industry bond at the premier B-school.

“There is a linkage between industry and academy (at IIM-A), which has to be made stronger. My role in this position is to create an even stronger bond so that both academia and industry can connect and learn from each other. I would like to contribute by trying to build an ecosystem that marries the two and brings them closer,” he said.

When asked about improving the ranking of the institute, Birla said: “Rankings have many components, which necessarily all Indian institutes may not want to score very high on. One element of rankings is the number of international students that one has on campus. When you have such a dearth of quality management education in our country and when you have the youngest working population in our country as compared to anywhere else in the world, as an Indian I would feel proud to head an institution that imparts knowledge to our own youths. This way, we can reap demographic dividend advantage. Doing things just to go up in the rankings doesn't make an institution a great institution.” 

Before Birla L&T Chairman AM Naik was chairman, followed by Cadila Healthcare chairman and managing director Pankaj Patel, who held the post in the interim period.

Meanwhile, the institute is working on its demonetisation plans. Chief Administrative Officer Manoj Bhatt said the institute was working on ways of going cashless.