Research in motion

96Researchinmotion Bhanu Prakash Chandra
  • When it came to peer reviewed research, for long IIM A had the geographical disadvantage.

B-school is kind of a misnomer in the case of Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Its founders envisaged it as an institute of management education, something which has a larger role to play in society than a business school. Despite being a favourite of corporate job seekers and recruiters, it has been playing that role well.

Though easily India’s best known institute for higher education, IIM A wants to take care of one chink in its armour that stops it from being counted among the finest in the world—research. And it is well on track. “If you look at case studies, IIM A has historically been active in writing cases. Our library in cases is one of the largest in the world,” said Ashish Nanda, director of IIM A. Three years ago, IIM A set up a case centre with the aim of improving the quality of cases and giving centralised resources to researchers. It has started showing results. The numbers are rising, so is the quality.

When it came to peer reviewed research, however, for long IIM A had the geographical disadvantage. Not many quality journals were interested in research related to India. Also, not many researchers were enthusiastic about the developments in India. But it has changed now. “In the last five or ten years, there has been a lot of interest in India,” said Nanda. “A lot of journals value empirical data from India. There are a lot of researchers attracted by the vibrant economy of India and the experiments that are taking place here.”

Characteristically, IIM A’s expansion plans are not just about increasing the number of seats or the size of faculty. “Growth is the consequence of having an impact,” said Nanda. IIM A is planning to set up a school of public policy. “It will focus on research, teaching as well as public policy documents,” he said.

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