Iam sorry to say that your observations about IIM-K have been highly biased and devoid of a due recognition to the major activities of the institute.
Training Dalit students in soft skills is not the main activity of IIM-K; it’s only one of the supportive activities. IIM-K has been one of the fastest-growing IIMs in PGP (post-graduate programme). In just three years, the intake has gone up from 60 to 180 and is further expected to grow.
IIM-K started the pioneering satellite-based working executive programme in India and that is is now in the seventh year. Many of the students in the programme are senior-level executives in the corporate sector. It has become so popular in India that other institutes have also been motivated to start similar programmes. IIM-K conducts several sponsored and open MDPs (management development programmes). It’s a leading centre in conducting faculty development programmes for other management teachers in the country. We have an active student and faculty exchange programme with leading foreign schools. The per-capita publication of IIM-K faculty is higher than many other institutes. We conduct multiple conferences and seminars every year.
In our training programmes and courses, there is participation of corporate senior executives as speakers. The demand from industry for training and consulting services of IIM-K is so much that many times the faculty members are not able to respond favourably. IIM-K has also contributed significantly to Kerala’s local development activities.
On connectivity, Calicut is connected with Mumai by Jet, Indian Airlines, Air India (domestic leg of foreign flights) flights. Air Deccan flights, trains, and scores of sleeper coach buses connect Calicut to Bangalore. Calicut and Chennai are connected by Indian Airlines flights and trains on daily basis. Because of such good connectivity, we did not find much problem in getting resource persons (industy and academia) from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi.
As you mentioned, IIM-K would have been better off if there was a strong industrial base at Calicut.
But what is important is how IIM-K is performing despite the disadvantage and how it’s leveraging on its ability to create and utilize opportunities. I think it’s not necessary to ridicule IIM-K’s contribution and performance in order to prove your point that IIMs should ideally be set up at industrial towns. The existence of these problems, however, needn’t cloud the efforts and performance of IIM-K.
P. Rameshan, professor of strategic management and chair, doctoral programme in management, IIM-K.