Last weekend I made a trip to my alma mater – IIM Ahmedabad. Prof. Arvind Sahay who teaches Marketing and is the Chairman of the PGP X program, invited all the entrepreneurs from my batch (and his). Ten entrepreneurs from PGP 89 came to campus and participated in various classes, panel discussions and presentations. It was great fun. With hugely successful entrepreneurs like Sanjeev Bikhchandani (naukri.com), R. Subramanian (Subhikhsa) and Rahul Bhasin (Barings Pvt. Equity) in the class, the students got a massive dose of ‘from the horse’s mouth’.
The night before we went to an old favourite gujju thali joint called Vishala. The bull session back at the Institute went on till 3am.
A few things I learnt over the trip –
- Indian businesses have started postponing hiring. The credit squeeze is hurting business. In export sectors, the hardening rupee and the interest rates are like a double whammy. Mr. Chidambaram, enough already.
- In a country like India where real estate is expensive and labour is cheap, a small format grocery retail chain like Subhiksha is far more competitive that a large format, push-your-cart-through-the-aisle one. In case you missed the Info Edge or Indiainfoline.com IPOs, here’s your chance to buy into the ‘futures’ of PGP 89 – watch out for the Subhiksha IPO.
- Ahmedabad has the best infrastructure in India. Broad, double carriageway roads. A massive airport. Sufficient power. They are doing things the right way over there. If we were to ever build another office outside of Mumbai, Ahmedabad would be a top choice.
A tragic event occurred last month. Prof. M N Vora, our Marketing professor at IIM, passed away. He was 73. He was a great teacher – much loved and somewhat feared by those of us who would occasionally land up in class not having read the case. He taught generations of IIM A grads who went on to do great marketing in leading Indian consumer product companies. He also did a lot of work with local Ahmedabad small businesses. He will be missed. I reproduce his obituary below which is on our alumni site but behind a user id/password wall.
It is with profound sadness I write that Prof. M.N.Vora who taught many of us while were students of IIMA passed away today morning due to a massive cardiac failure. He was 73 years of age. Even after his retirement from IIMA, he used to teach here as a Visiting Faculty.
Prof. Vora was one of the pioneers of marketing education in India. The first set of Indian case studies on marketing issues were written by him. He was an outstanding teacher and perhaps the most dedicated teacher that I have come across in my professional life. He never looked for personal glory in what ever he did; but always focused on helping his students learn better. Till the last days, he was active.
He came from a very modest background. Being a bright student, he pursued his education after 10th standard with the support of elders from his village. While studying, he has worked as a news paper distribution person and has taken tuition for school students to meet the study expenses. Be completed his B.Com from Gujarat University with first rank. He immediately joined H.L. College of Commerce as an instructor and while working, he completed his M.Com and Cost Accounting qualifications. He then went to the Wharton School for his MBA. On his return, he joined IIM Calcutta as one of the first faculty members. He joined IIM Ahmedabad as soon as the Institute started. He then went to Harvard for his DBA.
I, as his student, pray to the Almighty to give his family (his wife and daughter & her family) the courage to bear this loss.
Vora sir, rest in peace.