What makes great institutes great? In particular, what makes great educational institutes great?
I have often thought about both these questions since the time I studied Organizational Behavior. My Professor, a thorough Englishman, had a very humorous way of teaching a boring subject like OB. He talked about organizational Structure and Culture and how the “invisible”, intangible culture is built through visible, tangible factors – mainly people.
Few years later I had privilege of studying at IIM-A, one of the most respected educational institute in India. Till then I had heard great stories about IIM-A and illustrious alumni and wondered what made IIM so great. Yes, it has beautiful campus, but many other institutes have it too. Yes, the incoming students are way above-average, but that doesn’t guarantee that they would leave institute brighter and wiser.
What makes an educational institute great is the teachers. And IIM-A has been blessed to have some truly great professors! I was overwhelmed by at least 3-4 such professors and they have made a deep impact on the way I think/interpret the world.
Funnily enough, when I talk to some of the older alumni, they wouldn’t know any of the recent professors who I was in awe of. But they have their own professors to quote. I have experienced this with at least 3 different generations of IIM-A alumni. Which means, in every generation IIM-A continues to have such great professors! And that explains why IIM-A is so great.
The reason I thought of writing this is the sad news I heard recently. One of IIM-A founding faculty members, Prof. Mote, passed away recently. I never had privilege of knowing him or interacting with him. Some retired Profs do visit IIM-A and interact with students, and I too was lucky to interact with a couple of such legends. But not Prof. Mote.
I didn’t know anything about him. So it was great to know him better from the article written by Rama Bijapurkar (who taught us one course at IIM-A), who happened to be his student. Here is the article from today’s Hindu BusinessLine:
I then thought of requesting Ramana Sir to share his memories. Interestingly he had already written a blog post in 2012 which I had not yet read. Here is his tribute to the great teacher.
Both articles were wonderful! They made me feel even more unfortunate that I couldn’t be his student. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people start writing about their experiences, memories (while they are fresh and vivid) about such Professors so that they inspire the future generation of students, and professors alike.