In February this year, the Chennai-based Great Lakes Institute of Management registered 100 per cent placement for its management graduates, in its third year of operation. Additionally, the average salary offered to GLIM grads jumped to Rs 9.3 lakh per graduate (about $20,000), up from Rs 7.3 lakh (about $15,000) just a year ago.
On the campus of the Kellogg School of Management, Chicago, Professor Bala V Balachandran probably cracked a rare smile -- it was at his initiative, and with his backing, that GLIM was founded in the home town he left 40 years ago.
At the Great Lakes Management School, about 32 per cent of students are women and everyone is asked to learn Chinese as part of their course. He has taught two full courses at the institute, and asks students to call him 'Uncle Bala.'
Starting educational centers of excellence comes second nature to the man. He also helped found the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Balachandran, who joined Kellogg in 1973, joined two other faculty members a year later to start the Information Resource Management Program at Northwestern in 1974.
From his position as JL Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Accounting Information and Management, Balachandran has mentored a steady stream of top flight graduates in this area; his expertise has seen him draw consultative positions with senior management in industry, as well as to the United States Air Force in the areas of accounting, forecasting and strategic decision support systems.
Balachandran in many ways typifies the American drive for knowledge -- his byline appears on over 55 research articles and he is, besides, associated in an editorial capacity with journals that are bibles for accounting, auditing and finance professionals. The Indian side of him manifests in a willingness to take on additional responsibilities, within and outside campus. Consulting with the US Air Force is just one among those responsibilities; Indian businessman Adi Godrej, chairman, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, was so impressed by his ability that he co-opted Balachandran onto his board of directors.
'We benefit tremendously from his presence on the board,' Godrej said. Four generations of students have been saying likewise.