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MANAGING AN INSTITUTION OF EXCELLENCE: REFLECTIONS ON MY YEARS AS DIRECTOR OF IIMA – Prof. V.S. Vyas

 

 

Prof. V. S. Vyas delivering the lecture, while Prof. Varun Arya and Magsaysay awardee Waterman Mr. Rajendra Singh are sitting on the right

 

 

Shared by Mr Varun Arya (PGP 1983), “This write up sent to me on 15 November 2007. Prof. Vyas was IIMA Director in my first year as a student (1981-83). He was the first one to agree to become a member of the Board of Governors of our Aravali Institute of Management when it was set up in the year 1999. Prof. Vyas is no more with us. He passed away on 12 September 2018. However, when he had sent this article to me, he had written for me to use it in any manner where people could benefit from it.”

 

(Based on the Lecture delivered at Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) on October 24, 2007. Then credits to Kamal Swami for transcribing the recording and to Janaki Abraham for editing the script.)

 

Prof. V.S. Vyas, Director, IIMA (July 1, 1978 – September 30, 1982)

 

I am thankful to, Dr. Vivek Bhandari, for inviting me to share my experiences as Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA). I am delighted to see a few other friends who were in IIMA during my time sitting before me. They can corroborate what I have to say.

 

At the outset let me make you aware of two limitations of my presentation.  Firstly, what I am going to say is not based on serious research on institution building or institution development. It is largely based on my personal experience. You will have to pardon me if there is too much use of first person singular! Secondly, my experience as Director of IIMA pertains to the late 70’s and the early 80’s. However, on this score, I am not too diffident. If one agrees that there are certain principles of management, as of good governance, which are of lasting relevance, then I think that the experiences that I shall be sharing with you have some value.  I also had the good fortune to be involved in the governance of some other institutions in this country and abroad. Those experiences have further emboldened me to say what I am going to narrate to you.

 

Let me begin by giving some background about my professional career. As Vivek told you I was trained as an Economist and specialized in Agricultural Economics. After doing a Ph.D. in Economics, I started my career as a lecturer in the School of Economics in Bombay University. Within a couple of years, I got an appointment as a Reader in Economics in Sardar Patel University, which was then known as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vidhyapeeth. Soon after my joining the Department of Economics in that university, the Agro – Economic Research Centre (AERC) covering two states, Rajasthan and Gujarat, was established in Vallabh Vidhyangar. Since I belonged to Rajasthan and was working in Gujarat, H.M.Patel who was then managing the affairs of Charotar Vidya Mandal and had a major say in the affairs of the University thought that I was the right person to head the Centre. But I was, according to the norms of those times, not of the right age to be appointed as a Director.  I was 28 or 29 years old. H M Patel found a way out and made me Deputy Director and Office-in-Charge. After two years, I was promoted as Director.

 

Vallabh Vidyanagar was a wonderful place, and it was wonderful time to be a part of that unique experiment in bringing quality education to rural areas. At AREC, I could assemble a very good team to work with me. We started from scratch, but within a short period, the AERC Vidyanagar was recognized throughout the country as a good Institute in the area of agricultural economics and rural studies. Known scholars and policy makers from India and abroad visited Vidhyanagar and interacted with us. I am proud to say that over a period of time most of my colleagues of those days have become well known in their chosen areas.

 

It was during that time when Ravi Mathai, the Director of IIMA, sent D K Desai who was chairman of the Centre for Management (CMA) in IIMA, to invite me to join the institute as a professor in CMA. By that time, S V Vidyapeeth had already promoted me as Professor in the Department of Economics. I declined Ravi’s offer and told D.K. that I was very happy where I was. A couple of years after that my very good friend Dharam Narian who had become chairman of Agricultural Prices Commission, APC, now known as CACP, came to Vidyanagar and insisted that I should join him as Member in APC.  The Green revolution had taken off. And he persuaded me that it was the time when we could make some contribution in furthering the process. I resisted for some time but in the end he convinced me, and I went to Delhi as a member in APC and spent two very challenging years, from 1970 to 1972. This was the time when the green revolution was spreading over large parts of the country, and price policy really mattered.

 

But after a couple of years, I had developed some differences with the approach to the price policy by the then government. The breaking point was the government’s decision to make the minimum support prices synonymous to the procurement prices, which I thought was a very bad mistake. I told the same thing to the Minister – In those days it was easy to have access to the ministers.  The Minister and his deputy were very able persons. The Minister of Agriculture at that time was Fakkruddin Ali Ahmed who later became President of India; Minister of State was Anna Sahib Shinde who was more or less of our age. Both of them tried to persuade me to stay on but I insisted that I wanted to go back to academics.

 

When I was in Delhi, in APC, Samuel Paul, then Director of IIMA met me and repeated the offer that Ravi had made, i.e., that of the senior professor in CMA.  Although I did not say no to him but I was postponing the decision to leave Vidyanagar. I came back to Vidhyanagar and took over as Professor and Head of Department of Economics, and was also elected as Dean Humanities and Social Sciences. By that time my children were growing up, and my wife and I decided that Ahmedabad would be a better place for us. Of course, the prestige of IIMA was an important consideration. After spending a year, I told the University authorities that I would be resigning my post and joining IIMA. This is how I came to Ahmedabad.

 

At that time, I had no idea that after a few years I will be asked to head the Institute. I was invited to join CMA as a Senior Professor and was happy with the thought that I would be able to contribute to the research and teaching in that area. Soon after I came to Ahmedabad, the GSFC established a chair in Agriculture Policy in CMA. The Board on the recommendation of the Director made me the GSFC Chair Professor. Later, I was made Chairman of the Research and Publication Committee of the Institute and was invited on several occasions to serve on the Selection Committees for recruitment of faculty. Prof. Paul and other senior colleagues from the very beginning made me feel that I was a valued colleague. It was very nice to get recognition from persons for whom I had great respect for.

 

After a few years of my joining IIMA, Prof. Samuel Paul decided to step down and offered to continue as a professor, a tradition that Ravi had established. The Institute was in search of a Director. My name was also included among the prospective candidates.  It is important here to appreciate, how a person whose background is in economics, and specialization in agricultural economics, could be considered to head the most prestigious management institute of the country.  When my senior colleagues asked me whether they could propose my name for the Director’s position, I being very realistic told them that probably I was not a suitable person as my background, qualifications and experience were in different areas. However, I was told that neither Ravi nor Samuel Paul, the two former directors, had a formal degree in management. According to these friends, formal qualification in management was not a pre condition for leading IIMA. What was important was to have a Director whose profile met the then existing requirements of the Institute. It was felt by several faculty colleagues, and later by the Board that I met those requirements. They thought I had leadership qualities and I enjoyed respect among academic and government circles. In short, leadership qualities and respect in the wider world was considered important for a person whom they would like to select as the Director.

 

There is a lesson, which I feel is worth underlining. At different points of time, decision makers have to be clear as to what kind of person they would need as a Director. Quality of leadership is of course important, but the type of leadership needed in different circumstances will differ. At that time the IIMA board, and the faculty were searching for a Director who was known in policy making circles, and enjoyed respect among academics, including of course the IIMA faculty. They thought that I met these requirements.

 

Let me end this portion of my talk by saying candidly, though in all humility, that there were certain things, which I could do, and there were certain things, which I could not do. There were successes and failures. In narrating these also, I believe, I will be pointing out some facets of the management of an institute of excellence.

 

At the outset, let me emphasize that the Post Graduate Programme (PGP) of IIMA was excellent at that time as it is now. My job in that regard was to ensure that we adhere to the high standards for which IIMA was justly famous, and do not allow any slippage. The individuals who worked as Deans during my time, particularly Mohan Kaul, Raghavachari and Narayan, made this task easy for me. They are all stalwarts in their subjects and uncompromising in maintaining standards. Because of these friends, I could spend more time in non-PGP type of activities.

 

I could establish much greater contacts with the non-corporate sectors. With the corporate world, the Institute had very good contacts right from the very beginning. But the relationship with central and state governments, with other academicians, with the civil society institutions needed to be strengthened. I could break invisible barriers. I invited people from different walks of life who had significant achievements to their credit to share with us their insights and interact with the faculty.

 

As a part of that strategy, I encouraged work in the area of management of public systems.  We had a Public System Group (PSG) comprising of very capable individuals. They were making noteworthy contributions in their own areas. But unlike CMA, the Public System Group was not gelling as a group, although the need to develop PSG as a group was keenly felt.

 

Another area where I took initiative was the development of management faculty in different institutions. I was convinced that even with its Fellow program the IIMA would not be able to meet even a fraction of the demand for teachers required by a growing number of management institutions. Management departments of the universities were, generally, very weak.  Most of these departments were erstwhile Commerce Departments, they had only changed their signboards – instead of Department of Commerce, they were designated as the Department of Management! I thought we should do something about this. We had a short-term Faculty Development Programme, of the duration of ten days or so. It was more of an orientation course, by whatever name it was called, and was not taken seriously either by us or by the institutions sponsoring the trainees. With the help of senior and experienced faculty, we designed a regular Faculty Development Course (FDC) of nearly 9 months duration, oriented to the needs of small universities and colleges. I went to UGC and requested that when the teachers from these universities or colleges come for faculty development course in IIMA, the sponsoring institutions may be supported by some grant to enable them to make alternative arrangements for teaching. Most of the sponsoring institutes had two or three full time faculty, and when one of them came for FDC, it was difficult to manage the department. Fortunately, the UGC agreed to this arrangement and the department, which sponsored their teacher for this course, could employ some substitute instructors so that their programme was not disturbed. We took this programme to Nepal in collaboration with the Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.

 

We started a summer training course for students who had been given admission from ST, SC quota, most of whom had difficulty in English and Mathematics. We organized a residential course for them in English and Mathematics during the summer vacation.  I went to a few known industrialists and said that they were getting well-trained managers from IIM; they should also reciprocate by providing fellowships to these students to cover all their expenses. They all agreed. As a result, anyone who came to attend the summer course got a fellowship.  The course was of seven to eight weeks duration. Apart from improving their knowledge of the subjects, participating students developed courage and confidence.

 

I tried to expand the infrastructure of the institute. We had a plot of land more or less adjacent to the main campus, which now is the second campus. It was a disputed land. The government of Gujarat thought that IIMA had no claim on that land and we asserted that we had a claim. The dispute was going on for years. Fortunately, I could persuade then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Babubhai Jasbhai Patel, who was Vice-Chancellor of Sardar Patel University when I was the Director in the Agro Economic Centre, to settle the dispute and give this land to us.  We built MDC and named it after Kasturbhai Lalbhai, one of the founding fathers of IIMA. Instead of organizing management development programmes mostly in hotels as we used to, I thought that there should be a facility in the campus itself where we could organize most of our MDPs.  There were other infrastructural facilities, transit houses, more faculty housing etc., which were developed during my time.

 

I was keen to forge international linkages. So far our relationships with the institutions of the western world were one sided. Every year a few of our students or faculty used to go to these institutions for higher learning, mainly to pursue Ph.D. programs. I wanted to make a two-way traffic. I went to Paris and forged that sort of relationship with INSEAD, one of the leading management institutes of Europe. As I had worked with FAO and World Bank, I could persuade them to locate some training or research projects in IIMA or award consultancies to the faculty.

 

These are some of the areas where I can claim some success, some achievements. But there were a few failings as well. For one thing, despite my best efforts, I could not encourage much research, and as all of you know, if we do not have a good research output the standards of teaching also suffer. All my efforts were frustrated by endless discussion on what could be considered relevant research in management, rather than doing something about it. It was a serious disappointment for me because before becoming the Director I had acted as the Chairman of the Research and Publication Committee. There were few individuals who did good research in their areas; many more were engaged in case research; but I could not create an atmosphere conducive for research.

 

My second failing, which I feel is faced generally by all the institutes like IIMA, was in managing consultancies taken on by faculty members. Partly because of the nature of this activity, partly due to lack of surveillance, whatever the reasons, there were leakages. What was worse, it created problems among the faculty. It led to a sense of disenchantment among some and factionalism among others. I faced this type of problem later even in a much smaller institution.

 

A major failing was my inability to manage the discontent among the administrative staff, especially in the later part of my tenure. To some extent the conflict with staff is inevitable. We in the faculty believe that academic institutes are faculty-centered institutes, but other employees have also their aspiration, which they genuinely feel are neglected. This is what happened in IIMA. We neglected research and administrative staff. Anyway discontent was brewing. It got aggravated due to external factors; some of those were largely beyond our control. Some individuals had captured unions of the administrative workers of some of the most prestigious institutions in Ahmedabad, e.g., IIMA, NID, PRL etc. They were nihilistic in their approach and were bent upon wrecking these institutions. They were not prepared to have any constructive dialogue with management. The situation was tough enough but persons like Kurien in Anand, later I G Patel in IIMA, faced these problems and tackled them more or less successfully. In my case, I believe our failing was that we did not anticipate those troubles and did not take the necessary steps. I consider this as my failure.

 

I am narrating these because I learned lessons from successes as well as failures. I will like to underline these as I proceed.

 

Now, let me leave aside this autobiographical part and see what makes a good academic institution, an institute of excellence. People have given thoughts on it. Udai has written on it, my former colleague Ranjit Gupta had written on it, Tushar has given an excellent paper on it. I must admit that I have not done any systematic study.  What I am telling you are my own reflections. And I take IIMA as an example of the institute of excellence. First thing which impresses one about IIMA is that it is an institute which could maintain the reputation for quality education for the last forty years or so. How could it maintain this reputation consistently for all these years? There are several institutions in our country known for the quality of their teaching or research for some years, even for a decade or two. There are several such examples.  Some of you might have also come from a university or an institution, which had its hour of glory, but what factors have sustained the reputation of IIMA for all these long years. I believe excellence is ensured by instituting certain procedures and practices on the one hand, and the role assigned to, and played by key individuals. On the former, I will suggest eight commandments (!) again, taking IIMA as an example.

 

First, there should be clarity about the mission of the institution, especially among the founding members and their commitment to achieve the goals without compromising with the quality. This should be reflected in the preparatory work, in the people hired for meeting the objectives, and resources provided to accomplish the tasks in adequate manner. People like Vikram Sarabhai and Kastubhai Lalbhai were clear about the type of management education they wanted to provide, they sought the right persons, such as Ravi Mathai and Kamala Choudhary, to accomplish this task, gave them necessary resources and full backing to organize the programs.

 

Second, the institutes have several constituencies. It is important to have a sense of discrimination, i.e., a sense to decide which are important constituencies and how much weight should be accorded to them. Successive directors nurtured the relevant constituencies, the industry, government, academics, without being subservient to any of them. In time of need, the Institute could receive support from one or the other, sometimes from all of these constituencies.

 

Third, the Institute should evolve continuously. For an Institute of excellence, say in the area of management, training managers for the corporate sector is not enough. Adding to its core competence, it should extend to new but relevant areas. Thus, IIMA, a management institute, started with a Centre for Management in Agriculture, decided to work with Public Systems, took up newer challenges, e.g. a separate course for the management faculty in different institutions, a course for top bureaucrats and so on.  If an institute does not evolve, and just continues to do more of the same, it stagnates and then decays. An institute of excellence makes constant efforts to extend its horizons, without losing sense of its mission.

 

Fourth, another prominent feature of such institutes is a very strong sense of autonomy. You can see this in the case of IIMA.  During last two years, when efforts were made to bring greater government control and interference in the functioning of institute, it is not only the Board that resisted such move, the faculty was equally agitated. It is not of much consequence if only a section prizes autonomy. It should be a shared as a value by all concerned.

 

A minimum, but by no means a sufficient condition, to ensure autonomy is the financial self- reliance. You know, one who pays the piper calls for the tune. If you are dependent on the government, or on a particular section of society, autonomy can be easily compromised. When I was the Director the Institute’s relation with the government, both at state and central levels, were excellent. It was easy to get additional grants from the government. We were, however, careful not to have more than 49% of our budget from government grants, because at that time, if the Institute was earning 51% of its budget from its own sources, it was not subjected to CAG, i.e. Central Government, Audit. With government audit comes the government culture, which is not good for an academic institution. The moral of the story is that even when IIMA was a favoured institute, it opted to earn a large part of needed resources from its own efforts. This was a contributory factor in maintaining autonomy of the Institute. (I am painfully aware that financial independence is no longer a guarantee for institutional autonomy.)

 

Fifth, the institutes of excellence have the ability to attract and retain good faculty. Nowadays, it is not easy because there are competing offers, a qualified faculty may opt for some other organization or leave at the slightest pretext. When you see the total number of positions in the IIMA and the number of people who have continued to work, the proportion of those who are staying on is very high. Of course, at the margin there will always be some movements, and for good reasons. Sometimes, such movement is desirable, otherwise the environment will become stale. I was Director of an institute, a much smaller one, IDS Jaipur, where we started with fifteen faculties. The same fifteen faculties continued for over two decades. They all grew, they all developed and made contribution in their chosen areas but nothing new was happening in the institute. There should be some movement but it should not be a large-scale exodus.  When some faculty leaves, the institute should have the capacity to attract equally capable person. Even today, with substantial higher salaries offered by private sector, IIMA is able to attract very good people. There are good students to teach; there is good environment to work; there are good opportunities for consultancy; and of course, there is lot of prestige attached for being associated with IIMA. It is difficult but not impossible to emulate these conditions.

 

Sixth, another important thing is the question of accountability. You will find that in good institutions there are inbuilt systems of accountability.  It is not that every one has to pass a litmus test.  But there are various ways by which people know who is doing what, and the rewards and punishments are distributed accordingly. And both the rewards and the punishments can be substantial. I had to ask a very bright faculty to tender his resignation as he was prevaricating in submitting his teaching plan for the following term, which was a generally accepted practice.

 

Seventh, the most important feature of an institute of excellence, in my view, is the peer culture. It is the faculty, which takes upon itself the task of maintaining high standards. During my directorship at IIMA of nearly five years, I never issued a memo to any one. This is because if there was some thing not proper, immediately there will be corridor talks. I remember, once two instructors switched their classes, a person was busy and asked his colleague to take the class.  Of course, the students were up in arms but, additionally, it became talk in the corridor, faculty was saying, “What is happening, people are switching their classes”. Now, this type of peer pressure is a good guarantee to ensure excellence. The tradition of peer pressure has to be consciously encouraged. For example, we used to have monthly meeting of faculty where all faculty members would be present. In these meetings, a newly recruited Associate Professor could challenge the Director. He could say “What you are saying does not make sense.”  The Director would not say “Shut up, don’t talk nonsense.” He was more likely to say “No my friend, I am saying this for the following reasons.” Now, this type of respect for the peers, and peers taking their responsibility seriously is extremely important.

 

Finally, one thing, which we did not have at my time, but later I realized, was very important, is an internal mechanism for conflict resolution. Conflicts are bound to arise even in the good institutions. But systems have to be designed which ensures that the conflict are resolved expeditiously and on the principle of subsidiarity, i.e., you try to resolve the conflict at the level it arises and do not allow it to fester and go on to progressively higher level.

 

These are the important features, which characterise an institute of excellence. These distinguish them from the pack. If you agree that these are the prominent features of an institute of excellence, then we have to ask ourselves as to who determines that they are not compromised or tampered. To manage an institute of excellence and keep it on the right course, I believe, three entities play a decisive role: the Director, the Faculty and the Chairman of the Board. Let me say what my experience in IIMA has taught me in these regards.

 

To be acceptable and respected, a Director of an academic institution should have a reputation as a scholar in his own discipline. His/her peers, within the institute and outside should recognize him/her as a serious scholar.   If you do not have a reputation as an academic, then however good a manager you are, you cannot continue to get respect of the faculty in the type of institution I am talking about.

 

The second very important characteristic of a good Director, in my view, is that he should have the capacity to bask in the reflected glory of his colleagues. Sometimes, this becomes a problem when a very young bright person is invited to become a Director.  If they are not able to appreciate the successes of their colleagues then things fall apart. A Director should be proud to say that his faculty has been able to achieve this or that. He should be able to admire the achievements of his colleagues, certainly not be jealous. I have seen in many institutions in India and abroad, the Directors feel insecure and they start behaving as competitors rather than mentors of their colleagues.

 

A Director should also build a reputation of fairness. It is not enough to be fair but should have a reputation of being fair. If one fails on that count then the faculty, students, and staff will discover it very soon. If there is an element of unfairness in the dealing, whichever way it manifests, the respect of a Director gets diminished. The Director should have an image of someone who is even handed, who does not discriminate.

 

The other important characteristic, which I find lacking in many heads of institutions in our country, is the courage. Courage is very important. There will always be people who would like to dominate or ask for undue favour. On such occasion, the Director has to take courage in both hands and when there is need to say “no” he/she has to say no. Let me give an example.  In IIM Ahmedabad, the most important thing then, as it is now, was to get admission.  I did not have the problem of someone pressurizing me for admission from the government of Gujarat, or the industry because IIMA had already built a reputation that nothing could be done to facilitate someone’s admission without due process. But once I got a call from Prime Minister’s office and a senior officer from PMO said that they would like to have the son of the speaker of the Assembly of a friendly country admitted to PGP in IIM Ahemdabad. I said that to get admission, foreigner or Indian, everyone had to take the examination. The officer was holding a high position in PMO and was close to the PM.  He said that what he was asking was in our national interest. I told him, “Sir, there are several ways by which we can serve our national interests.  Giving admission in PGP to someone who has not completed the process is not the best way to serve our interest”. I was quite firm but he continued to argue. Then I said, “Alright, give me in writing what you would like me to do and I will put it before my board. I will request the Chairman of the Board to call a special meeting of the Board and discuss this matter.”  Of course, nobody gives such instruction in writing. And that was the end of the story. The Director should have the courage to stand firm however influential the person is.

 

The other important role of a Director, which I admit is a little bit controversial, is that a Director has to act as a  ‘gate-keeper’. A gatekeeper on two counts. Firstly, he acts as shield for his faculty, his colleagues, to protect them from any onslaught from outside. Secondly, he has also to see that some matters, which are strictly internal to the Institute, do not get leaked out or used for giving a bad name to the institute. In that respect his/her role is also that of a monitor.

 

The role of the faculty is critical in several ways. After all the reputation of an institution is largely built on the quality of the faculty. It is not enough to attract good faculty. There should be constant pressure, by the students, by the Director and by peers, to improve capability. Reasonable opportunities should be provided and should be availed by the faculty to interact with the peers. An important way to do this is through publications. I do not believe in ’publish or perish’ and can also concede that an exceptionally good teacher may not be able to publish much. However, this cannot be permitted as an alibi by all and sundry for not publishing anything.

 

Apart from qualities as a teacher and a researcher, a positive attitude is equally desirable. Faculty should have pride in the institution. A cynical group of faculty can do as much harm as an incompetent one. They have to take responsibility to maintain high standards not only in academics but also in their personal conduct. I have talked earlier about the peer culture. Now, that culture places an important responsibility on the faculty. The personal traits as much as academic achievements should guide the entry and subsequent progress of the faculty if the institution has to maintain excellence.

 

The chairman has an equally important role. In several quarters, he is the ‘face’ of an Institute. The status of the chairman in his own field should be that of a senior and respected leader. It adds to the reputation of the institute. Though very senior, he/she should be easily approachable, and should have a genuine interest in the activities of the institute. There are institutions where very high-ranking people are chairpersons, but they are unapproachable, nor are they really interested. It is difficult for the director to get an appointment to meet them. Such chairmen are more a liability than an asset to the institute.

 

Easily approachability should not mean interference in the day-to-day functioning. Let me recount my own experience in this regard. When I took over as the Director, the first thing I did was to go to Bombay and meet Keshub Mahendra who was then Chairman of the IIMA board. I told him that I had taken over as the Director, and I would need his guidance and advice. He said “Vijay, don’t expect any guidance or advice from me.  If you have any problem, you are most welcome to come and discuss with me. You can see me at any time.’ He called his secretary and said that “Whenever Prof. Vyas comes to meet me give him the priority”. Then he said, “It is for you to decide when you would like meet me and ask for help.  I am not going to tell you how you should run the institute. It is your job, you have been hired for that.” That is the type of Chairman, any Director will look forward.  One who has high standing, approachable, but non-interfering.

 

The other important thing for a Board Chairman, which sometimes one does not find in otherwise well qualified persons is that a Chairman should be in control of the Board. He/she should really shepherd the Board. The chairmen who are otherwise good in themselves but cannot take their board with them really do not serve the institute well. I had good fortune of working with some very good chairmen, with H M Patel in Vidyanagar, with Keshub Mahendra in IIMA, with M M K Wali at the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur. I also had the privilege of working on the Board of Trustees of the International Food Policy Research Institute, when Sir John Crawford was the Chairman of the Board, and on the Board of Governors of the IDS, Sussex, when Gordon Conway was the Chair. The way in which they used to conduct the meetings of the Board was a pleasure to observe. In large institutions, people with different backgrounds, with different interests, with different qualifications serve on the Board. The competent Chairman handles such Boards in a manner that members are brought together, consensus is reached on key issues and no factionalism is allowed. These are the things, which one should expect from a Chairman of an institute of excellence.

 

Well, friends, these were some stray thoughts, I will not call these as considered or well-thought-out views, that I wanted to share with you. As a faculty of another institute of excellence, you may find some of the things I have said be of relevance to you. Whatever role you are destined to play, I do hope all of you, without exception, be able to maintain the exacting standards that the institutes of excellence demand. In doing so, the lessons which I have learned may be of some use to you.

 

Thank you very much.

 

 

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