Alumni Take Up IIM Ahmedabad Reservation Issue With Partner Institute, Harvard School of Business

"As a leading global institution with exemplary focus on diversity and inclusion, we urge you to write to IIMA requesting them to implement reservations in their FPM programme."

The campus at IIM Ahmedabad. Courtesy: insideIIM.com

The campus at IIM Ahmedabad. Courtesy: insideIIM.com

New Delhi: The Global IIM Alumni Network – a group of people who graduated from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) – have written to the dean of Harvard Business School about the lack of social diversity at IIM Ahmedabad and the institute’s unwillingness to do anything about it.

Harvard Business School and IIM Ahmedabad are partner institutes.

Recent research carried out by Siddharth Joshi and Deepak Malghan, a fellow and faculty member at IIM Bangalore respectively, has brought to the fore the fact that 97% of faculty members in IIMs were from dominant sections of society – which account for only about 10% of the population. Based on this research, the Global IIM Alumni Network, along with Joshi and Malghan, have been writing to various IIMs and the government of India, urging them to address the issue. The Global IIM Alumni Network also recently decided to take IIM Ahmedabad to court for not implementing the constitutionally-mandated reservation policy in their doctoral programme.

In their letter to Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria, the Network has said:

“We understand that Harvard University has played a key role in establishing IIM Ahmedabad and the University has long-term collaboration with IIM Ahmedabad for sharing academic material and joint research projects. We are writing as a group of progressive professionals and intellectuals to highlight our concern regarding current administrative and academic affairs at IIM Ahmedabad, and seek your valuable support to achieving the equitable society.

…Due to the diversity deficit, IIMA does not have any focus on generating and imparting, management knowledge needed to manage the unique perspectives of Indian investors, employees, suppliers, partners, customers from the above communities, which constitute the majority of the Indian population. The knowledge generated and imparted by the IIMA to its students and research stakeholders may be biased towards the over-represented segment. We will be happy to provide examples of these if needed.

 We would like to request Harvard, being a key academic partner of IIMA, to reconsider the nature and form of your relationship with IIMA considering the above potential flaws to ensure that their diversity deficit, does not impair Harvard’s leadership role in diversity and inclusion in its own knowledge generation process.”

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Joshi and Malghan have pointed out that most faculty members in the IIMs are graduates of the doctoral programme within the institutes, called the Fellowship Programme in Management. To address the diversity deficit in the faculty, then, it is important to implement the reservation policy in the doctoral programme, they have argued.

“As a leading global institution with exemplary focus on diversity and inclusion, we urge you to write to IIMA requesting them to implement reservations in their FPM programme i.e. Doctoral programme as well as take other actions to reduce the diversity deficit and oblige,” the Network has said in its letter.

When filing a petition against IIM Ahmedabad in the Gujarat high court, the alumni had said that all their attempts to reason with the institute’s administration went unheeded and no changed were made.