Prof. B.S. Sahay is an educator, researcher, and transformational leader who sets high standards to create world-class institutes with a global outlook and national focus. Prof. Sahay has over 37 years of experience in teaching, research, consultancy, and industries.

He is the Founder Director of IIM Jammu . Prior to joining IIM Jammu, he was  Founder Director of IIM Raipur, Director of Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, and Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad. He was also instrumental in setting up IMT Dubai and providing strategic guidance to IMT Nagpur. 

This discussion is a snippet from a detailed conversation between the Prof Sahay, and the Founder of PaGaLGuY, Allwin Agnel. Prof Sahay joined IIM Jammu as its Founder Director in October 2018 and has been working hard to position IIM Jammu as one of the best B-schools across the globe.

Amidst the pandemic situation, the interview was conducted on telephone and is an exclusive conversation revolving around Prof Sahay’s journey, vision, the future of MBA, and his innate quest of providing a personalized learning experience to each of his students.

  • Your vision is to emerge IIM Jammu as one of the finest business schools in the world. What are your plans for the same?

I love and enjoy institutional building, Tracing back my days of being the Dean at MDI Gurgaon; Director of IMT Ghaziabad; Director, MDI Gurgaon and then being the Founder Director of IIM Raipur, I have always loved building institutions.

It is more of a passion for me. I thoroughly enjoy the work that attracts me, and wherever I work and whatever knowledge I have is put to use. 

My idea and vision of positioning IIM Jammu  as one of the finest business schools in the world comes from the fact that I believe in excellence and achieving that in a humble way. Every small aspect should spell excellence in the campus whether it is infrastructure, teaching faculty, research, and everything that a business reflects.

In fact, the Jammu & Kashmir government has approved 200 acres of land at a location which is  very close to IIT Jammu for building the world-class infrastructure for IIM Jammu. 

Indian B-schools are now participating in World Ranking and we are proud as a nation to host some of the finest institutes. Indian B-schools have the capacity and competence to rank better. We need to have that determination and confidence and we undermine ourselves. We undermine the importance of publishing research papers and rankings.

At IIM Jammu , we will ensure that we do not undermine these factors and do the right to be one of the finest B-schools. I strongly believe in making a plan for 10 years, present it to the board, get it approved, and execute it relentlessly. 

  • What do you feel are IIM Jammu’s USP that a student needs to know before he/she joins the institute?

We strongly believe in

  1. Quality Education
  2. Excellent & Learned Faculty  
  3. Stalwart Board Members
  4. World-Class Infrastructure in the new upcoming campus

As per the IIM Act 2017, five alumnus of IIMs are required to be the member of the Board of Governors of IIMs with a minimum of 20 years of experience. Since we are fairly new, we have Board Members from the older IIMs (Ahmedabad and Calcutta). We have altogether seven Board members  from IIMs, many of them have IIT and IIM degree . 

  • With the recent pandemic attack of COVID-19, what are your views on the preparedness of the Education System in India (especially MBA & IIMs)?

Technology advancement is an important concept in the Education industry. We started our Online Classes to complete the MBA classes as we had to close down the Institute due to Covid-19. We immediately embraced the technology to complete the balance class of the third term of the MBA programme.

People talk about Smart Classrooms, but I believe that in the entire episode of Online Classes, justice has to be done to the faculty as well. They should be given the liberty to run their classes like a normal classroom.

They should feel encouraged to teach and deliver effectively. The system should be easy and cost effective. With help of the latest technology, we are trying to make online teaching a unique learning and teaching experience for our students and faculty members.

  • What active steps have you taken during this pandemic situation for IIM Jammu, and what do you foresee are the new normal in education delivery?

As I said earlier, we look forward to developing the technology to bridge the gap between the faculty and the students.

We want everything to be encompassed in the online delivery system including the likes of normal class delivery, conducting exams, evaluation, and also projecting every student’s face on the wall of the class during an ongoing lecture. The feel should be real and this should be the New Norm in education delivery. 

  • Do you feel that due to a potential economic depression situation, there will be less demand for business school education over the next couple of years?

COVID is going to stay with us for a longer time than anticipated. We will have to start learning to accept the new norm and method to lead our life personally as well as professionally. Last three months of lockdown have taught the world a plethora of new things. 

The impact on employment will be huge across the industries for some time. I don’t see there less demand for a business education as this is the time to learn a lot of new things and acquire a lot of skill sets. 

Recession will hit the whole world. India is not an exception. This is a good time to learn and upskill. Getting jobs will be a bit more challenging next year. I foresee that most of the students will prefer becoming entrepreneurs and start their own ventures as against looking for a job. 

  • We have noticed that students find it tough to engross their attention in online programs – what are your suggestions or ideas to create more engaging online programs?

Faculty members play a very significant role not only in teaching and research, but adopting and embracing new technology. Faculty members traversed extra miles to engage with students and the whole class online through case studies, chats, online assignments, and messages.

You need to engage the class. Initially there was some teething problem, but now faculty members and students are enjoying online teaching. Everyone needs to follow the basic protocol and discipline.

  • During an interview, what are the pivotal things you are looking for in a candidate? 

Institutions are built around two things, quality of faculty and quality of students. We are very selective when it comes to Faculty Recruitment. Whole process of recruitment is very transparent. There is no question of using discretionary power in appointments.

Recruitment is done as per the recruitment policy duly approved by the Board of Governors of IIM Jammu. Recruitment Policy has been prepared as per the guidelines from the MHRD. The shortlisting is done purely on Merit and reservation policy is followed as the Government of India rules. 

We have been able to attract a very good set of students across the country. They are second to none and giving their best inside and outside the classrooms. We feel proud of them. This year, we are receiving overwhelming response in both our MBA and Ph.D. programmes. More than 30% of the applicants are female candidates and we have got a huge response from SC, ST and EWS category as well.

  • What are the pros and cons of being situated in Jammu?

Since I am a very positive person, I see only Pros of being situated in Jammu. Jammu is a small and very peaceful city. The locals here are very nice. There are some misconceptions about the security concerns in Jammu, but they have been taken care of by hiring the best security for the campus. 

I feel happy to inform you that we are receiving tremendous response for admission in MBA programme this year. Connectivity is good in terms of Rail, Air and Roadways.  

  • What are your thoughts on how students should view the safety situation in Jammu?

We have one of the best security agencies on the campus. We have hired a security agency approved by the  Director General Resettlement (DGRS), Ministry of Defence. Our Security Personnel are Ex-servicemen and they know they duty best. We assure all the students and parents that the campus is very secured and it is our responsibility to keep them safe. 

  • Do you have challenges in attracting companies and faculty to Jammu?

Not really. In fact, we have been able to attract some of the great minds as our faculty members. We have decided that 20% of MBA classes should be taken by Industry experts to blend theory and practice. Further, we invite faculty members from across the world. 

We organised a Leadership Summit and HR Conclaves. Many CEOs, HR Directors and HR Heads participated in these events. This has helped us in projecting Jammu in the right perspective to the industry and all stakeholders.

  • Would you recommend the aspirants to join the MBA program this year or defer their plans for the next year? 

If aspirants are planning to pursue your MBA from India, join the programme this year. However, if aspirants have plans to do MBA from abroad, then defer your plans to next year. We are starting our new batch from 15th July 2020. The classes will take place online till the time the Government gives permission to open campus for students.

  • Do you expect the MBA aspirants count to go up or down due to the current situation?

The CAT and MBA aspirants numbers may increase or remain the same as last year. All IIMs have increased their seats to accommodate more talent. This is a very good sign for the aspirants and the nation as a whole.

  • Any last minute suggestions for aspirants preparing to appear for competitive exams this year? 

I would suggest that students prepare with an open mind. This is a great time to study and focus on building your career.  Read a lot of books and journals to enrich your knowledge. Keep yourself updated with the happenings around the world.  Acquire general knowledge as much as possible & think and talk about our great nation.

  • In the next three years, where do you see IIM Jammu? 

We are very positive towards our progress in the next 3 years. We will move to our new campus. We have started the process of international accreditation and hoping to get accreditation soon. We would also like to participate in the business school rankings. 

We will  increase the number of Faculty to sixty in the coming three years.  We would also increase the number of students pursuing Ph.D. and MBA programs. We want our students to get international exposure. We have signed MoU with many universities and business schools across the globe for students and faculty exchange.

We are also starting Online Post-Graduate Diploma and Certificate programmes. While doing the above, we would like to maintain quality across every aspect of the campus 

To know more about IIM Jammu,  join IIM Jammu MBA Admission Queries [Batch 2020-22]

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