10 Apr 2018 16:45 IST

Looking at new specialisations: IIM-K Chairman Vellayan

'We now have a forward-looking board and their thinking will be different'

A Vellayan, Executive Chairman of the Murugappa group, has taken over as Chairman of the Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, with a vision to take the institution to the top three in the country in the next three years. The institute ranks sixth in the country now, according to a recent survey conducted by the HRD Ministry. Vellayan says his involvement as Chairman of the 15-member Board of Governors, has come at an opportune time when the government has decided to give autonomy to all the IIMs.

In his view, the decision provides both opportunity and responsibility, as the Indian Institute of Management Act 2017 empowers the institution to attain standards and global excellence in management.

Interacting with BusinessLine on the sidelines of the 20th convocation in Kozhikode, Vellayan reveals his plans to engage with both the board and senior professors to look at the areas of specialisation for IIM-K for the present and the future. Edited excerpts:

On the appointment of a full-time director

People think that the institution is headless as the post is lying vacant for nearly four years. This will be settled hopefully by June. We have started the search process by constituting a committee and also decided to put ads in newspapers.

We have now a forward looking board and their thinking will be different.

On his plans to make IIM-K stands for something special

Top management institutes in the world are known for their specialisation like Wharton School in the US for Finance, Kellogg School of Management for Marketing, and Harvard Business School for Business Strategy. Likewise, we are looking at 3-4 areas that are going to be critical in future. It would be good for India when one institute became best in one area and the others in different areas.

We have identified a few specialised subjects such as Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Entrepreneurism for this purpose. The board of governors and senior professors would identify specialisation in which IIM-K can stand out in this era of disruptive business models.

The aim is to make right area of specialisation and create a linkage. As we are competing with other IIMs after autonomy, we have to live with our own strength and capabilities. Unless we stand for something, how can we compete? If you take a specialist route, there is a chance to win. We have to do this in the area which is more relevant today. One of the students in the outgoing batch got placement with a remuneration at ₹57 lakh because of his entrepreneurial capability.

On engaging alumni

It is my intention to actively engage with the alumni, who are sizeable in number, well accomplished students who are doing well in their career. Any organisation is built on the strength of alumni and they play an integral role in the development of the institution.

At IIM-K, I look forward to leveraging this resource in the next five years by inducting four alumni in the Board. We would also like to bring thought leaders in the areas of technology, sports for regular interface. I also intend to involve local business community, government officials etc for the development process of IIM-K.

On the job scenario and the reported glut of MBA graduates

The job scene world over is relatively reasonable and it is different at operational and workers’ level. The average salary today is ₹17 lakh. However, there is more demand for specialisation and we have a big shortage of people. There is no surplus in MBA graduates. There are quality and non-quality MBAs. But the need remains for skilled management in higher areas.