Dr. Pradip N. Khandwalla completed his MBA at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and then his Ph.D. in Industrial Administration and Organisation theory at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He joined the Organizational Behaviour Area at IIMA in 1975. The beginning of Dr. Khandwalla’s term also marked the beginning of the Institute’s journey towards financial reliance. In November 1991, the Government of India announced a freezing of the recurring expenditures at 1991-92 levels—this at a time when annual inflation was around 10%. For the first time in the Institute’s history a fee increase was introduced—the PGP fees which had been fixed at Rs. 500 per annum in 1964 went up for the 1992 intake to Rs. 6,000 per annum, plus Rs. 1,500 as computer fee! The following year the fees further went up to Rs. 13,700 and the computer fee to Rs. 2,500. The mess and living expenses went up from Rs. 2,700 to 5,700 per annum. Executive education fees also went up. A 10% cut in administrative positions was announced and a freeze on fresh staff recruitment applied—the faculty to staff ratio in any case was about 1 to 7. In general, frugality was seen to a good value to stress; for example, paper that been printed on one side was recycled into small spiral-bound notebooks for staff use. Resource mobilization for capital grants—the government had also announced a cut in this—was initiated for the first time after the early years. These steps coincided with trends in the broader environment—a tough economic situation followed by liberalization. That Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh were the convocation speakers in 1993 and 1994 indicates the new role that the Institute was fashioning for itself in the early 1990s. In 1994 the Government came up with an innovative ‘matching grant’ scheme under which savings on recurring grants and other surpluses transferred to an Endowment Fund would be matched. Such measures alleviated the financial crunch to some extent.
However, in spite of the shock to its financial systems, the Institute continued to strengthen its academic activities. The well-established faculty-driven procedures for curriculum renewal and new courses and programs continued without interruption. Three new groups to research entrepreneurship, international management and industrial policy were set up.
The Institute also started to pay attention to globalization. A one-year international management programme for executives was proposed, but not implemented. With liberalization, the executive education programmes started to attract more corporate participation—in 1994-95 only about a quarter of the participants were from the public sector. At the same, the focus on ‘priority sectors’ continued, with research and advisory work being undertaken in public systems, education and health, among other areas.
The year 1994 also saw IIMA’s postgraduate programmes getting rated—in a poll of recruiters IIMA was rated the best, and a Singapore-based magazine rated IIMA among the top-three in Asia. The focus on computer infrastructure continued with IIMA getting V-SAT connectivity from the government in 1995.
The various transitions that Dr. Khandwalla’s tenure oversaw—towards a leaner and more financially self-reliant organization, adjusting to a liberalizing and globalizing environment while trying to anchor the educational programmes in what Dr. Khandwalla saw as social relevance—involved some stress on managing the human resources of the Institute. But the transition had been made, and future directors and the faculty members could build on the new direction that the Institute had taken.