‘The first IIM to have labs for big data’ | Ahmedabad News

You recently completed your first year as IIM-A director. How do you see the past year?
It’s been a hectic year, mostly on regulatory front. The IIM Act has passed, the debate around it took a year. We also focused on getting infrastructure within the institute in place, including the restoration (of Vikram Sarabhai Library).
How do you see the impact of IIM Act? Would it affect IIM-A’s development plans?
I think it has two sides. It has given more autonomy and it has also asked for much more responsibility. The act has not changed the way we would go about our plans. Let’s put it this way – there was an understanding on how the institute functions. Now, that understanding has been formalized as an act.
How is IIM-A contemporizing its courses with emerging areas such as IoT, AI and big data?
Just this year, we have put in place a high-performance computing lab. We are the first (IIM) to have it. It’s a massive investment in infrastructure which will allow us to work on big data. It’s going to be used as the foundation for starting a programme on business analytics. We already have courses around cryptocurrency, IoT, big data, etc. from the view of marketing and other areas. We are also strengthening it as that’s the way the organizations in future will operate.
The JSW School of Public Policy is coming up at IIM-A. Can you elaborate the idea behind it?
For a long time, faculties were involved in policymaking bodies including SEBI, Monetary Policy Committee, RBI and so on. We thought that we should take that experience and leverage that. The idea is not just to work with business organizations but also with regulatory bodies and the environment in which businesses flourish. The JSW School is being set up with that perspective. We performed the ground-breaking ceremony on April 1 and it should be up and running in 24 months.
What are the expansion plans for the institute?
We are going to see a new academic block with new classrooms, faculty and research associate offices. We are also going to have eight new dorms where 384 people can be accommodated. It is required for future growth and also to manage the current restoration programme on the old campus.
How will the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota impact IIM-A?
We are doing more than what the quota asks us to do – we have close to 132 students who meet the criterion of family income of less than Rs 8 lakh per annum which is way above 10%. We are giving all these students freeship for past four to five years. My sense is, the number is similar in IIM-B and C. So I don’t think EWS is going to affect us much. We, however, will have to expand in order to get the seats.
Do you plan to implement it from the next academic year?
We will look at how to accommodate EWS quota students when we plan for the admissions later this year.
What’s your broad take on management education and challenges ahead?
Management schools have to be relevant by maintaining a fine balance between looking at the challenges in the present and staying relevant for the future. (Management) Schools across the world are reporting a decline in number of applications – they will have to reinvent. We are actively watching these trends. We require faculty members not just to do research but to interact strongly with the world of business, to understand their problems, and use that experience back in the classroom.

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(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2019-05-04 22:48:00
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