The Institute

The First Decade

Management before the IIMs

Before the 1950s, formalized management education was absent in India and businesses were run either through family-based management or a small cadre of foreign-trained managers in the managing agencies that had controlling stakes in leading enterprises. Commerce degrees were offered by various Indian university departments but they were much narrower in scope than management degrees. Elsewhere, formalized management education had begun in North America and Europe, sporadically in the 19th century and more systematically in the early 20th century.

Dr. Douglas Ensminger and the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation was created in 1936 by Edsel Ford (1893-1943), the only child of Henry Ford (1863-1947), as a non-profit organization for public welfare, with a gift of $25,000. For the first decade, its activities mainly revolved around Michigan, USA, where Ford Motor Company (estd. 1903) was based. Following the death of both Edsel and Henry Ford in the 1940s, the Ford Foundation became the largest philanthropy in the world due to their bequests.

Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai

The illustrious physicist Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai (1919-1971) was the honorary, part-time director of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad during the initial years of the Institute. He was born on August 12, 1919 in a family of industrialists. He completed his Natural Sciences Tripos at St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1940. He received his Ph.D. in 1947 from the University of Cambridge. On his return to India, he founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and the Ahmedabad Textile Industry Research Association (ATIRA) in 1947.

Dr. Jivraj N. Mehta

Dr. Jivraj N Mehta (1887-1978) was a renowned physician, freedom fighter, administrator and the first Chief Minister of Gujarat.

He was born on 29 August, 1887, in Amreli, studied at the Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital in Bombay and lived in London from 1909 to 1915, where he completed his FRCS and MD. After suffering a personal setback in health, and practicing for the Tata’s and the Baroda State, he assumed the position of the first Dean of KEM Hospital in Bombay in 1925.

Shri. Kasturbhai Lalbhai

Kasturbhai Lalbhai was one of India’s pioneering industrialists of the twentieth century who played an active role in public policy and the establishment of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

Dr. Kamla Chowdhry

Dr. Kamla Chowdhry was a pioneering management educationist and institution builder.

Harry Hansen and the Harvard Business School

The Harvard Business School, earlier known as the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, was created in 1908 to impart management education during America’s managerial revolution. HBS focussed on general management and in 1924 adopted a unique pedagogy called the case method as the primary method of instruction. HBS began using the case method even in its executive education programs for senior managers and the Advanced Management Program (AMP) that it launched in 1945.

Shri. Prakash Tandon

Mr. Prakash Tandon (1911-2004) was one of the leading business leaders of India in the twentieth century, a pioneer in professional management and the first Indian Chairman of Hindustan Unilever Limited (then Hindustan Lever Limited).

Prof. Ravi J. Matthai

Prof. Ravi John Matthai (1927-1984) was the first full-time director of the IIMA. His family had strong connections with economics and teaching; his father, John Matthai was a professor of economics at the University of Madras who served as independent India’s first Minister of Railways, and later as Finance Minister. Prof. Ravi Matthai received his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics from the University of Oxford. After a stint in a private firm in Kolkata he became professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. In 1965, he was invited by Dr.

Louis Kahn and the Campus Architecture

When IIMA started its administrative office in June 1962, it was operating out of a rented bungalow in Shahibaug, Ahmedabad. In the same year, the Government of Gujarat purchased and transferred 65 acres of land worth over Rs. 25 lakhs to IIMA and the governing board began to scout for a world-class architect to build a campus that would match the vision it had set for itself.