29 Oct 2019 20:36 IST

Balkrishna Doshi delivers Foundation Day talk at IIM Bangalore

Pritzker Laureate and architect of IIM Bangalore campus lauds institute’s commitment to excellence

“IIM Bangalore for me is a place of memories, of associations, of perseverance and faith, which is the story behind the building, and something that the school stands for”, observed Chief Guest and Pritzker Laureate Dr. Balkrishna Doshi, Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects and Architect of the iconic and award-winning IIM Bangalore campus, while delivering the Foundation Day Lecture at the 46th Foundation Day celebrations of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B), here today.

The theme of this year’s lecture was ‘Between Encounters and Dreams’, and the event was also attended by eminent architects and students of architecture, apart from the IIM-B community of faculty, former faculty, students, staff and alumni.

For Dr. Doshi, his visit to IIM Bangalore was tinged with nostalgia. “IIM-B for me represents knowledge, memory and associations. But when I go back in time I am also happy to see that it is not just a building made of stone. It is a place where continuous change and progress is happening. All these seem to say that we, at IIM-B, are as strong as the building.”

He said he was honoured to be granted a plaque next to the library. “I am grateful to be next to the treasure trove in the garden of paradise. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to revisit, cherish and enjoy the campus.”

Talking about his inspiration in building the campus, he said the idea was to move away from a typical corporate image and build something akin to a village, which also symbolises continuous growth, evolution, improvisation and improvement. “We wanted a place depicting eternal values and culture, change as well as dynamism. That kind of imagery gives us the optimism and courage to face life with its various challenges.”

Explaining how a campus like this can boost peace of mind, learning and knowledge, he said: “The campus is a story of collaboration and finding the goal which is still not finite. There is a power in silence. IIM-B represents that, and it is also wonderful to see an undercurrent of growth, and a willingness to accept challenges, goals an academic institute should always foster. There is love, appreciation and hope here. IIM-B has maintained, added to, and revitalised the campus,” Doshi said, charming the audience with his gentle smile and wise words.

Director’s address

In his welcome speech, thanking Dr. Doshi for creating iconic structures and spaces that continue to


inspire everyone who comes to the campus, Dr. G. Raghuram,

Director, IIM Bangalore, said: “IIM-B is delighted to have Dr. Doshi, a legend, who has shown how one can create sustainable buildings without the need for structural twists and material overload. At our campus, he has integrated buildings with the fundamentals of nature and climate. He has given us a living, breathing space ideal for a place of learning. Earlier today, we unveiled a plaque in honour of Dr. Doshi near the library, one of his favourite creations.”

Prof Raghuram said, “IIM-B will invest about ₹150 crore over the next two years to scale up the postgraduate and doctoral programmes, introducing a new Post Graduate Programme in Business Analytics and expanding Executive Education in a blended format. The Executive Education investments are in the new campus.”

He also thanked the Government and the IIM-B Board of Governors for their sustained support for the school. “I thank the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, for its initiative of the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship, a programme which IIM-B will design and deliver. This provides an opportunity for young, dynamic individuals to contribute to enhancing skill development and promote rural employment. I thank the Department of Science & Technology, for continuing to support our Women Start-up Programme. A special word of thanks to NITI Aayog for having provided scale-up support to NSRCEL.”

Appreciation for industry, alumni, student club

Thanking the industry for placements, and opportunities in case writing and consulting, among others, he said, “Your generous support is not only important to sustain quality research, it also sustains quality life on and off campus. The contributions of corporate donors have gone a long way in supporting our academic research, the incubation centre, our doctoral and pre-doctoral programmes, and our Centre for Supply Chain Management.”

He congratulated the students, faculty and staff for making the school what it is today. He mentioned the student-led club, Vikasana, for its contribution towards social causes.

Expressing his appreciation towards the alumni, he said: “I would like to thank the alumni representing various batches whose contributions have supported scholarships, not only for our students, but also for children of our staff. Some of your contributions, through the naming of classrooms, have gone into our infrastructure fund, supporting the growth of the institution.

“For the first time, the Alumni Relations and Development Office has brought out an Alumni Relations and Development Report that gives a focus on their activities, the Distinguished Alumni awardees, the contributions that we have received, donor messages and the scope for giving to IIM-B. This is a good complement to the ‘Udaan’ giving policy that we evolved in 2017. More recently, we have also been discussing and finalizing issues related to naming and due diligence.

“Over the years, IIM-B has been engaging with alumni to strengthen their connect with their alma mater. Alumni have responded in a number of ways, including organizing batch reunions, sharing guiding thoughts during orientation, speaking during special events, sharing experiences as guest faculty in courses, organizing chapter-wise Anusmarans, opening their homes to our international exchange students as ‘Athithis’, organising IIM-Bue – the one-of-its-kind leadership conclave, and many more. Our alumni have been with us every step of the way as donors, partners and energizers.

“To our Distinguished Alumni gathered here, I say being able to highlight your wonderful achievements when speaking to prospective students really makes a difference in my conversations. You enable us to extend the reach of the IIM Bangalore community across continents.”

Vinita Bali’s address

The Director’s speech was followed by an address by Vinita Bali, IIM-B Board member, who is a global business leader with extensive experience in leading large companies

both in India and overseas. She has worked with eminent multinationals like The Coca-Cola Company and Cadbury Schweppes PLC in a variety of Marketing, General Management and Chief Executive roles in the UK, Nigeria, South Africa, Latin America and the US, in addition to Britannia Industries Ltd. in India.

She brings a global and pragmatic perspective to strategy, marketing, innovation and operations, having worked across countries and continents, with responsibility for global and regional roles. In India, Ms Bali serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of Crisil Ltd and Syngene International; is an Advisory Board Member of PwC and chairs the CII National Committee on Nutrition. She was on the Board of Titan Company Limited from October 2006 till March 2018.

In her address to the IIM-B community, Vinita Bali said that the campus reflects the character of the institute, which is one of openness and inclusiveness, with an aim of bringing the environment as part of the institute. “This is also something that attracts the students from all over the world, and for this, we owe Dr. Doshi.”

Academic excellence

Talking about the IIM-B Board of Governors’ policies towards enriching knowledge and learning at the institute, she said the Board places equal importance on the quality of environment at the school, as it does towards pursuing academic excellence and practical experience. “The Board aims to invest more in enhancing the overall facilities; the renovation of the library is one such example. It is our belief that to make IIM-B iconic, we need to focus on building people’s character with the best work ethic and sense of governance and enhance the quality of values…we will uphold that at all times.”

IIM-B celebrated its 46th Foundation Day with a plethora of events and activities on campus. There were cultural programmes and felicitation of staff and faculty who have reached milestones at the B-school. Children of the IIM-B community, who have excelled in various fields, were given prizes. The Foundation Day event on October 25 saw the award of the PGP Merit Scholarship Awards, EPGP Merit Scholarship Awards, Young Achievement Awards, and distribution of SRC prizes.

Book launch

A very special book, The Evolution of IIM Bangalore: Directors’ Perspectives, was released on the occasion. An important aspect of institution building is a record of the institution’s growth trajectory. The task of documenting the journey of IIM-B since its inception in 1973, through a series of publications and outputs, leading up to a comprehensive history of IIM-B ahead of its Golden Jubilee in 2023, was mooted by Prof Raghuram, in June 2017.

It is only fitting that the first output from the IIM-B History Project should be a record of the experiences of the former Directors of the institute, those who have been at the helm and have led from the front. In the book, successive Directors have spoken about their subjective engagement with the institute, the defining moments of their tenures and the challenging they faced. Interviews with the former Directors have been brought out in the form of a compendium, which was unveiled on the Foundation Day.

“We believe the volume to be a richly rewarding account of the journey of the institute as told by its visionary leaders, from its fledgling days to its present stature as a leading international institution of management studies, consistently topping the rankings,” said Prof. K Kumar, Dean, Alumni Relations & Development, who leads this project along with Prof. N Bringi Dev, Chair, Centre for Management Communication, and Usha K.R. from the IIM-B History Project Team.

The evening concluded with the presenting of Long-Service Awards to faculty and staff.