The Hindu Business Line

Great Lakes’ Dean Suresh Ra­manathan wants to fur­ther re­search agenda

- VI­NAY KA­MATH Great Lakes · India · United States of America · Illinois · Institute of Technology · Chicago · Great Lakes Institute of Management · Illinois Institute of Technology · Babson College

Suresh Ra­manathan, who took over re­cently as the Dean and Prin­ci­pal of the Great Lakes In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment, in­tends to fur­ther the re­search agenda of the busi­ness school. “This is part of a larger vi­sion, not just for Great lakes, but for In­dian academia as a whole, to put In­dia on the re­search map. We def­i­nitely need to pri­ori­tise re­search and be at the fore­front of knowl­edge cre­ation,” he said em­phat­i­cally in an in­ter­view to Busi­nessLine.

While un­der­tak­ing top-class re­search en­hances the rep­u­ta­tion of an in­sti­tu­tion, one of the big­gest chal­lenges that In­dian aca­demics have is ac­cess to a net­work through which they can col­lab­o­rate with other aca­demics around the world. They also need the re­sources and the skills to pub­lish in top-tier jour­nals. “I re­ally want to make sure our pro­fes­sors are do­ing work that is rel­e­vant to or­gan­i­sa­tions and to so­ci­ety as a whole; we want to Suresh Ra­manathan, Dean and Prin­ci­pal, Great Lakes In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment

take on the big ques­tions,” says Ra­manathan.

To il­lus­trate, Ra­manathan ex­plains that one of the top­ics he’s in­ter­ested in is healthy eat­ing, which has been part of his re­search work. “Given the obe­sity and diabetes rates in our coun­try, and us­ing the re­search I have done, I want to fa­cil­i­tate largescale so­ci­etal change and pro­mote healthy eat­ing habits, part­ner­ing with other in­sti­tu­tions here and abroad. I would like our fac­ulty to push this kind of re­search agenda.”

Apart from the re­search fo­cus, Ra­manathan in­tends to take a closer look at the Great Lakes cur­ricu­lum and struc­ture of pro­grammes. “I will be look­ing at adopt­ing newer ped­a­gog­i­cal meth­ods and mak­ing some changes. We want to make our stu­dents com­pletely ready for a new global econ­omy,” he says.

Great Lakes al­ready has a clutch of tie-ups with B-schools in the US, and Ra­manathan in­tends to deepen that en­gage­ment. “We want tie-ups to have mean­ing and be mean­ing­ful to stu­dents and fac­ulty. The tie-up with Illi­nois In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (IIT) Chicago has been very pos­i­tive as the new MBA an­a­lyt­ics pro­gramme is a clear win­win for us and for IIT as well. We see more of those on the anvil. I want to ex­plore mul­ti­ple di­men­sions of th­ese as­so­ci­a­tions, and not just on the teach­ing front. We would like to cre­ate a net­work by which I can en­gage with different uni­ver­si­ties that can train fac­ulty and stu­dents, give them in­sights and chal­lenge them,” he elab­o­rates.

Great Lakes has just gone through to the next stage of the AACSB rank­ing which, he says, will def­i­nitely give it a lot of vis­i­bil­ity in the in­ter­na­tional space.

The other pri­or­ity is en­trepreneur­ship. Great Lakes has a tie-up with Bab­son Col­lege, which spe­cialises in en­trepreneur­ship pro­grammes. “It’s a ma­jor pri­or­ity for us to have fac­ulty who can teach that well as a lot of stu­dents want to be­come en­trepreneur­s,” says Ra­manathan.

Great Lakes also ex­pects to deepen the en­gage­ment with in­dus­try. “I can see that hap­pen­ing a lot; we al­ready have the an­a­lyt­ics and AIMLA pro­grammes in re­sponse to in­dus­try needs, as there is a big de­mand for peo­ple trained in th­ese func­tions. We will be happy to as­so­ci­ate with our cor­po­rate part­ners; if they say th­ese are the needs we have, we can al­ways look at cur­ricu­lum change, if need be. We see it as a per­fectly sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship; they get the peo­ple they need and we are able to pro­vide the train­ing that they re­quire,” ex­plains Ra­manathan.

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