IIM-A director Ajay Pandey gets an extension

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) current director, Ajay Pandey has got another extension for three months. Prof Pandey’s stint as acting director was scheduled to end on June 30 and the new director expected to take over from today, July 1.

The delay appears to be from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) end. According to sources, the name of the new director Harvard professor Ashish Nanda has been sent to the MHRD but the Prime Minister’s Office is yet to take a final call. PaGaLGuY did correspond with Prof Ashish Nanda who said that he has yet to receive an official communication from the ministry or IIM-A over the appointment.

Prof Pandey was appointed acting director in April this year the institute’s incumbent director Samir Barua’s extended term had ended on March 31. Prof Pandey, who bears a shy and unassuming personality is a finance and accounting professor, having completed his B.E. from IIT Roorkee followed by a fellow program at IIM-A.

Prof Ajay Pandey

In an earlier interview to PaGaLGuY.com, Prof Ajay Pandey had told Lajwanti D’Souza that he prefers being a dean and is waiting for his term as acting director to get over. Below is the interview.

Prof Ajay Pande, Dean (Faculty) of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A) is holding temporary charge as director. After much hullabaloo that accompanied the appointment of the new director, Prof Pande seems just the right balm. A simple and carefree person, Prof Pande is not one bit awed by his temporary glory and actually wants his transient position to end soon.

An informal chat with Prof Pande who PaGaLGuY.com bumped into at an event.

You are acting director in the most crucial months – admissions, new batch?

Yes, it has been an interesting phase. The job is pretty much like what I used to do earlier but additional responsibilities thrown in. Actually, I wish I was not around when the new batch came in. It should ideally be the new director’s job.

Honestly, would you have not wanted this designation for keeps?

No, no. I was never in the race. I had not listed my name either. I have come into the picture only because as Dean Faculty this job comes to me till the actual person takes over. I could not say no to this and had to step in. I am fine with Dean of Faculty, never aimed for the director’s chair.

Why did the appointment of the new director be mired in so much controversy?

I think it was more or a media creation. Yes, the transition could have been smoother and faster but things do not always play out as planned. I guess media wanted a lot more information than what was provided and that created some problems.

What have you learnt holding this post last two months?

There are two sides to being a director – an external one and an internal one. In an external role, his job is to play ambassador to the institute – to other institutes, other stake holder etc. An internal role in within the campus and institute, to co-ordinate with other faculty, to carry on the task. There has been no discovery as such in learning, no element of surprise.

Do you think IIM-A makes good use of its alumni base?

Our alumni base is strong. They do help with their contacts and with placements and academic help with lectures etc. But yes, if you are talking about how alumni are used in schools abroad, no we are nowhere there.

Did you do anything to reduce the animosity between IIM-Calcutta and IIM-A, which carries over to the students.

Oh no, there is no animosity. We are the best of friends as faculty and other staff, we get along very well. Yes, between the students there is but that is fine. Students compete in a different playing field, competition between them is fine. The administration is independent of students.

June 30th is your last day in this role. What plans thereafter, holiday?

My job as director ends in June 30. But due to my prior commitments, I will be at the institute till August, post which I have plans. Yes, a holiday could be one of them.