XLRI - Xavier Institute of Management, Independent India’s first management institute – celebrates its Platinum Jubilee this year, the very year that marks the end of national celebrations of 75 years of India’s independence. Fitting, given that the institute was established in 1949 as a step towards nation-building.
XLRI has travelled a journey which reflects that of independent India – from a simple beginning to that of a formidable presence and power. XLRI’s contribution to the process of nation-building has been immense and immeasurable.
The enormous challenges that accompanied the attainment of Independence could only be addressed through education. Specialised education was what the fledgling nation need to power through to her true potential.
It was in this context that XLRI Jamshedpur was established in 1949 by the Society of Jesus, with help from Tata Steel, then known as TISCO. Jesuit education has been one of the pillars of modern India and XLRI is an especially distinguished illustration of this legacy of contribution.
XLRI has created and nurtured generations of thought leaders and captains of industry. Their placement figures – the ultimate report card of any professional institute – are exemplary. Its intellectual heft is unquestioned, with a thriving culture of research. Stakeholder engagement – with state and non-state agencies – is among the highest in the country.
Be it Diversity and Inclusion, governance, sustainability compliances, the ethical framework, XLRI is at the top of the curve across parameters of performance and success.
However, XLRI’s significance in the nation’s corporate-scape is more than just its numbers, as admirable as they may be. Its impact and influence has been of a different nature and level.
While the need for professional management education is undoubted, B-Schools are often unfortunately wrongly perceived as institutions churning out generations of corporate sharks. Except for XLRI.
XLRI is the one management institute standing tall in its perception as ‘different’, as an institute creating and nurturing professionals rooted in the human connection, and with the spirit of service. as well as citizens who work dedicatedly for the betterment of society in their own spheres.
What is it about XLRI that fuels this redoubtable reputation?
As we walked the shady streets of the XLRI campus from interview to interview, meeting to meeting, it is this question that we attempted to answer. More for ourselves than the purposes of publishing this issue.
The answer is as simple as it is complex. XLRI’s distinguishing factor is its unique culture. A culture that is not hierarchy-driven, is highly participative, thrives on individual freedom and responsibility, empowers the personal growth of its members, and fosters an unshakeable commitment to one’s fellow human beings and the greater good.
A transparent, open environment where anyone can raise questions. A comfortable compensation matrix – across faculty and staff. A policy of empowering its members’ academic endeavours, research focus as well as interest areas through generous leave policies, apart from financial grants. A committed, vibrant student body committed to the need to work towards more than self. And an environment where intellectual curiosity is actively encouraged.
The participative culture extends to participative governance, with all decisions being absolutely collective. This consensual-based system forms the bedrock of XLRI’s success. Faculty members who have worked in other premier management institutes affirm that the sense of community here is unparalleled.
All of these factors enhance stakeholder satisfaction, which in turn drives greater involvement. This makes XLRI a highly sought employer of choice, even above institutes with and equal status and significantly higher pay packages.
At the heart of this culture is the fact that XLRI is a Jesuit institution, managed by the Society of Jesus. Student after student, faculty member after faculty member has reiterated that the environment at the institute, driven by the Jesuit fathers at the helm, is one of safety, inclusion, intellectual endeavour and social consciousness and fosters a self-belief in achieving excellence, both individual and collective.
At XLRI, ‘for the greater good’ is more than just its motto. It is a way of life. And in this lies XLRI’s distinctive identity and its unique success.