Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

He is always in the news. Either for his management institute that dares to take on the IIMs, for his books that sell like hot cakes or for his blasé views. In a chat with Society, Arindam Chaudhuri is at his candid best

When it comes to studying management in India, the first name that possibly strikes any mind is the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), the hallowed chain of management institutes in the country. However, one institute that may not have taken over completely, but has definitely challenged this prestigious chain of IIM, is the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), currently headed by management guru and dean, Arindam Chaudhuri. Over the years, the institute has received mixed reactions from people within the industry, but that really hasn’t deterred the spirit with which Arindam Guides and moulds the institute. After all, he is the dean of an institute where he studied once. Speaking about his journey with the IIPM he says, “Though the IIPM was started in 1973, I formally took over in 1996 and these 14 years have been great! I was a student at the IIPM from 1989 to ‘96, doing my MBA and fellowship, During this time I realized that the institute was giving the best possible education, while in India the perception was still that the IIM, were the last word in management education.” Exuding confidence at the quality of its education, he continues, “The big thrust came when in 1996 we decided to go aggressive with our marketing to convey that education at the IIPM was decisively superior to that given by IIMs”

One thing led to the other and Arindam Chaudhuri felt the need for a firm that would facilitate the IIPM with management consultancy in India. That’s how the Planman Consulting Group was born. Talking about the venture, he says. “The decision to aggressively market the IIPM actually gave rise to the Planman Consulting Group. We realized that while our courses were far more in content than those at the IIMs, where we lacked, despite our strong research orientation, was our industry interface. Then of course, one thing led to another and Planman today is one of India’s largest multi-interest consulting groups.”

From IIPM to Planman and then to films, Arindam, conscious of dabbling in myriad fields, speaks about his skills not only as a professional but also throws considerable amount of light on his multi-tasking skills. One wonders then, was the move to constantly try out new things a well thought decision, or was it a case of accidentally putting his fingers into many pies? He explains. “To start Planman we had to get good people and these people often wanted to do their own thing. So to get those good people on board, wherever we saw them, we started various activities that they were passionate about. One such person is Shubho Shekhar Bhattacharjee, the CEO of our film company. He said he was willing to join us if we were ready to get into advertising agency business since he was creatively inclined.” He continues. “Though the ad agency didn’t quite get a great start, he landed up getting an offer to produce a film in Bangla which was at a budget of only 40 lakhs, something that we could afford then. We took an instant liking to the film and made it. It was a huge hit. That was in 2002 and there has been no looking back since then.”

Speaking about films one cannot resist asking Arindam Chaudhuri about the way he criticized the celebrated Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionair, while it not only got India its Oscar but also placed Indian cinema on a world pedestal. He laments, “Slumdog Millionnaire only exploited India in a lopsided, negative manner which in the times of western financial meltdown, the western people loved watching, because India was defying the meltdown and was being looked upon as the next big thing. It was amazing for them to sit and mock our growth story. I didn’t find any reason to enjoy that.” Continuing his tirade against the film, he says, “It was an intelligently made British film and in that sense India didn’t win the Oscar for it. A couple of Indians for their work in the film got the Oscar and I am proud of them.”

It’s not only movies that have miffed arindam, he is straight forward at criticizing the new Indian media and magazine culture for misleading the readers. So did his unhappiness with the existing magazines lead him to start his own? He clarifies, “Magazines are a natural extension of our teaching process. If in classrooms we can teach thousands, then through books we can teach lakhs and through our magazines we can teach crores every week.” Continuing about his issues with other magazines, he says, “Of course, I have very strong issues with the way the new Indian media loves highlighting issues just to make readers a dustbin of useless and misleading information, with amission to make them morons. Today, there is plethora of news all around and to me the job of a news magazine is not to give news all over again but to analyze news and give readers a perspective, an analysis. That’s what my magazine The Sunday India aims to do and that is why it is available in 14 languages because English readers have mostly lost their ability to get charged up. India lies in its interiors and that is where we hope to create a difference.” Arindam Chaudhuri’s inclination towards literature and books is evident. About the books he has written, he proudly says, “My books, both, Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch and The Great Indian Dream sold the highest ever in their respective categories of Management and Economics. My latest book Discover The Diamond in You is on success. It has sold more than 1.5 lack copies since its launch in 14 Languages.”

For someone whose opinions are razor sharp, we cannot resist but ask him his take on journalism and the media in general. To which he readily says, “Journalism is a different ball game. It’s more vision driven. As viewers and readers mature and become more educated and initiated, they will throw away the crass journalism that you see on TV, specially dished out for our illiterate masses. “He continues, “We need to spread education among the masses then journalism of catering to vested interests and illiterates will automatically start disappearing.” And about his future plans, especially with regards to the management scenario, he divulges, “My future plan is to consolidate all that we have started over time, no expansion is on the cards. The future of management education is great with more and more private players coming up and giving established names a run for their money.”

Speaking about boring and lethargic patterns and norms, for anyone who has had one good look at Arindam Chaudhuri will vouch for the fact that change reflects not only in the way his institute runs but also in the way he carries himself Breaking away from the mundane and monotonous corporate look, Arindam’s style is indeed futuristic. About his unique pony-tailed look, he shares, “I don’t know if I am unconventional. I think I speak very direct and plain and there are sections that get affected by it. Yes I do often hit out at status quo when I see them passing off without being questioned, like the IITs and the IIMs. But it’s a free country and every intelligent man as well as a joker has the right to free speech.” He continues, not before signing off, “And as for my dressing style, I think, though 38, I am still young at heart and love to experiment.”

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.
IIPM Related Links
Follow Arindam Chaudhuri on Twitter
IIPM B School on Twitter
Management guru Arindam Chaudhuri’s latest blockbuster book, Discover The Diamond In You

Detail of all IIPM branches
IIPM - Admission Procedure

IIPM 3-year full-time Integrated (MBA BBA) Programme
IIPM 2-year full time Programme (leading to the award of the MBA degree from IMI)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Arindam Chaudhuri is an eminent author, I read his book "DISCOVER THE DIAMOND IN YOU", its outstanding.