Dr. Bala V. Balachandran (1937-2021), a legend in management education and a successful edupreneur, who founded the Great Lakes Institute of Management, will continue to make his presence felt through a memorial built in his memory and honor at Chennai campus. The memorial offers homage to Professor Balachandran, while serving as a space for visitors to sit and spend time highlighting the heritage and legacy he has left behind.
Born in Pudukottai, Professor Balachandran completed his collegiate education at the Annamalai University, Chidambaram, and served in the Indian Army briefly before departing to the US to pursue his Doctoral studies. From there began an illustrious career as a Professor, Consultant, Mentor, Author, Entrepreneur, Life Coach and so much more. He helped recruit the first set of faculty members to IIM Bangalore in the late 60s, set up the Management Department at the MDI at Gurgaon through a joint collaboration with UNDP, Wharton and Kellogg. Working closely with N Chandrababu Naidu, his vision for a one-year-fast-track MBA program for working professionals was realized with the ISB in 2000 where he was on the Dean-search, faculty and curriculum committees. In 2004, he trained his sights on his native Tamil Nadu to set up Great Lakes Institute of Management which today has another campus at Gurgaon and is one of the best b-schools in the country. He received the 4th highest civilian award – the Padma Shri in 2001 for his contribution to education.
Lakshmi Narayanan, Former Vice Chairman and CEO of Cognizant, who recently inaugurated the newly constructed memorial admired Professor Balachandran and his legacy. Speaking of his legacy at the event Mr. Narayanan said, “His passion to bring research minds together to collaborate and work on initiatives, ideas and innovation resulted in the Government putting together a platform to bring research institutions, industries and NGOs together so that ideas can be worked on collaboratively. This is driven by the Principal Scientific Advisors Office at the Government of India.”
Dean & Principal, Professor Suresh Ramanathan, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai said, “The simplicity of his approach, the way he could articulate what he wanted to get done and then have everybody embrace that and share his vision is noteworthy. ‘No’ was never in his vocabulary, ‘Yes’ we will get it done would always be his approach.” He also added “I owe a deep debt of gratitude to him, and I am truly blessed to have worked with him”.