The interiors of the main building are elegant and impressive. The IMI Director Dr CS Venkata Ratnam’s self-professed focus on accessibility and freedom between the students and the faculty seems to be implemented into the building itself. Unlike other MBA institutes where the Director sits somewhere inside a multi-layered administrative tower of power, the IMI Director’s room is just adjacent to the reception and so are the Registrar and other important officers’ chambers. The faculty rooms on the upper floors are similarly accessible for students.

Dr Venkata Ratnam in an informal conversation with said that IMI had 40 fulltime faculty, half of it foreign-educated, many of whom have formerly headed top Indian B-schools as Directors or Deans. Few institutes in the country today can boast of the ability to retain that much faculty. The Director attributes it to the freedom that each faculty is given. They are allowed to consult, teach, work on projects or go on international trips as much as they want to in a year, provided the teaching back in IMI does not suffer, he says. Many write regularly for reputed business newspapers and magazines.

This is a culture many first-rung B-schools could learn from, because not all of them can boast of giving this level of due respect to top academicians on their rolls.

“The reason we are able to retain so much good quality fulltime faculty is because we give them complete freedom and that one thing is what they value the most,” says Dr Venkat Ratnam.

The Director, who attributes IMI’s rise this year mainly to word of mouth marketing, says that students too are made part of this free culture and unlike in other institutes where meeting a faculty outside the classroom can be a labyrinthy process involving appointments, IMI faculty are freely available off-classroom hours for all students. The trend has been increasingly loaded towards students with work-experience and would continue to be so, adds the Director.

The amphitheatre located in the center of the IMI campus is the hotbed of all activity, including the Kritva festival and its jam sessions, rock shows and movie screenings. The cafeteria cum mess resembles a modern coffee shop.

The one area where IMI needs to improve is their hostels. After the impressive academic block, the hostel rooms fail to make a mark. With an MBA program schedule that is as gruelling as any other in India, students deserve a better pad they can go to at night. Doing away with double occupancy rooms can bring living conditions at par, if not better, with IMI’s neighbour in the Qutab Institutional Area, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.

With a little effort, IMI has the potential to easily be at par with MDI-Gurgaon and then from there soar higher.

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