As per the rules notified under the IIM Act this week, future directors of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) may not be required to have established academic credential or a PhD.
According to a report in the Indian Express, industry executives, who have held senior management roles for a minimum of 15 years, will come under the eligibility criteria from now on.
Although there have been past instances of the prestigious business schools being headed by executives from the corporate sector, they are notably of times when the institutes were in the periods of infancy.
The new rules, which have codified the terms and conditions of service of directors at all 20 IIMs, state: “The applicant shall be a distinguished academic with PhD or equivalent having at least fifteen years teaching or research experience and shall have worked as a full Professor at a reputed institution for at least seven years; or shall have industry experience at a higher level for at least fifteen years,” according to the report.
A proven record of experience in academia besides a having a PhD, have been essential prerequisites for the post of director, even as there were no fixed guidelines or rules for recruitment of a director prior to the IIM Act coming into effect in January.
For all the 20 IIMs, the new set of rules have codified terms and conditions of service of directors, that state "The applicant shall be a distinguished academic with PhD or equivalent having at least fifteen years teaching or research experience and shall have worked as a full Professor at a reputed institution for at least seven years; or shall have industry experience at a higher level for at least fifteen years.”
According to the report, justifying the decision to enable those who lack academic credentials for the post of director, R Subrahmanyam, Higher Education Secretary said "These are institutes of management. They prepare people for the management role. Someone who has been an Executive Director or Managing Director can prove to be invaluable to an IIM”.
The developments are significant as the IIMs occupy a place of utmost importance in higher education in India. Every year thousands of students pass out of the institutes to take up leading positions in the corporate sector. Any change in their governance structure has to satisfy the concerns of all the key stakeholders.
However, not everyone is pleased at the development, and some have on record to express their doubts over the new arrangement.
According to the report, Errol D'Souza, director of the IIM-Ahmedabad, often rated as the country's topmost B-school, said that he believes it is drafting error, saying “I believe it is a mistake. It seems someone messed up in the drafting."