Panel 13: Kamla Chowdhry and Prakash Tandon - Nurturing an Institution
Dr. Kamla Chowdhry (1920-2006) was a pioneering management educationist, institution builder, researcher in the field of organizational behaviour and the first faculty member of IIMA. After her education at Calcutta University (BA Mathematics & Philosophy, 1940) and Punjab University (MA Philosophy, 1943), she obtained her MA and PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan, USA (1949). She headed the Human Relations division of Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association, Ahmedabad in the 1950s.
In 1961-1962, Chowdhry spent a year at the Harvard Business School and worked with Prof. Harry Hansen on the academic and faculty recruitment plans for IIMA. She joined IIMA as Coordinator of Programmes in July 1962, served on the Board of Governors until 1965, and liaised closely with HBS and the Ford Foundation. She helped design IIMA's highly successful Three-Tier Executive Education Programme. She also served as Director (Research) and Director (External Programmes). She was the Hindustan Lever Professor of Management Practices at IIMA, the first chaired position in management education in India (1966).
She left IIMA in 1972 and after working with the Ford Foundation India Office for some time, moved on to public policy consultancy revolving around institution building, environmentalism, women's rights and Gandhian philosophy. She received an honorary doctorate from IIMA in 1988. Dorm-1 at IIMA is named after her.
Mr. Prakash Tandon (1911-2004) was one of the leading business leaders of twentieth-century India, a pioneer in professional management and the first Indian Chairman of Hindustan Unilever Limited (then Hindustan Lever Limited). He studied accounting at the University of Manchester and returned to India in 1937. He joined HUL (then Lever Brothers) as its first Indian manager recruited in India. In 1951 he became a Director and in 1961 he became the first Indian Chairman of the multinational company. He was later the Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab National Bank.
Tandon was appointed to the IIMA Board of Governors in 1962 and was the Board's Chairperson from 1964 to 1969. As a member of the Personnel Committee he oversaw the recruitment of the first batch of faculty at IIMA, and as a distinguished professional manager he contributed to the practice of management development.
"Most changes that have altered the course of history have begun with individuals... who by their example and actions did what many thought impossible. Underlying each one is a moral conviction, a fearlessness, that refuses to be subdued." - Kamla Chowdhry
"The essence of management is the ability to sort out the relevant from the irrelevant." - Prakash Tandon