Prof. Samir Barua, M.Tech (IIT Kanpur), Fellow of IIMA (1980), was born on September 23, 1951 in Raipur. He joined the Institute in 1980 and was the first alumnus to become Director. The initial years of Prof. Barua’s tenure coincided with the global financial crisis—the Institute was not immune to its negative effects. When many institutions struggled with placements, IIMA’s credibility and the special efforts of the faculty members in charge of placements helped the Institute tide over the crisis. IIMA became an EQUIS-accredited institute in 2008. The Institute also managed to do well financially, with operating surpluses being generated for the first time in 2010-11.
The first significant feature of Prof. Barua’s tenure was the expansion of the postgraduate programmes and attention to funding needy students. Beginning 2008-09, over a three-year period, the institute implemented a challenging 54% increase in its postgraduate intake under the policy of reservation for students belonging to the Other Backward Classes. By 2010-11, the intake in the two postgraduate programmes had touched about 450. In 2008-09, when the fee was Rs. 450,000 per annum, the Institute moved towards a graded fee structure, with the fee being based on the annual income of the family of the student—those with family income of Rs. 100,000 or less studied for free, and those with incomes up to Rs. 600,000 were eligible for partial tuition fee waivers. Efforts to coordinate with banks for loans were also stepped up. Over the five-year period 2008-13, the Institute spent a significant Rs. 386 million in supporting needy students.
The second feature of Prof. Barua’s tenure was a cementing of the internationalization of the Institute’s activities. The Institute’s postgraduate programmes entered global rankings; in 2010-11, the PGP became the first programme from India to enter the top-10 list of the Masters in Management rankings of Financial Times, and the PGPX entered the MBA rankings of Financial Times. The programmes would move up and down the ladder in later years, but they continue to be recognized internationally. The PGP in Agribusiness Management was ranked first globally in the Eduniverse rankings. In a unique partnership with three other institutions, IIMA offered an innovative ‘BRICs on BRICs’ programme in 2013 for participants from Brazil, Russia, India and China. The Institute celebrated the silver jubilee of its association with ESSEC, Paris in January 2008.
The Institute took a new turn towards more rigorous faculty performance assessment. In 2012-13, a comprehensive Performance Management System was introduced for the faculty members. In 2011-12 a formal Performance Review and Appraisal System was introduced for the staff. Another key direction the Institute took, particularly through the motivation provided by CIIE (Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship), was towards entrepreneurship. By 2012, CIIE had achieved significant recognition. IIMA also took a few administrative initiatives relevant for other management schools: the ‘Placement Reporting Standards’, which ensured that transparent and reliable information on placement was placed in the public domain; IIMA took the lead in computerizing the Common Admission Test in 2009, thus making the 34th edition of the test the first to use computer-based testing; workshops on the Method were conducted for other institutes.
Prof. Barua took a keen interest in reviving the Institute’s association with the ‘Jawaja experiment’, initiated by Prof. Ravi Matthai in the 1970s as action research project to transform the lives of weavers and leather workers in one block of Rajasthan. A group of five individuals formed an Advisory Board to work with the artisans.
The year 2010-11 also marked the golden jubilee celebrations at the Institute. A series of events in which alumni and former staff participated was held during the year. Three books and a movie were brought out and since IIM Calcutta was also celebrating its golden jubilee year, the two institutions organized a series of five conferences on management education at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Coimbatore. Prof. Barua retired in September 2016.