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IIM Bangalore celebrates its former Doctoral students with a three-day alumni meet

Commemorating IIMB’s Golden Jubilee anniversary, the event is being held in tandem with IMR Doctoral Conference 2024; alumni book release and panel session highlights of Day One 

2 February, 2024, Bengaluru: The FPM/PhD alumni meet, celebrating the reunion of former students of the Fellow Programme in Management/Doctor of Philosophy of IIM Bangalore, is being hosted on 2nd, 3rd and 4th of February 2024. This year’s Doctoral students’ alumni reunion is one of the milestone events commemorating the Golden Jubilee anniversary of the institute, and is being conducted in tandem with the IMR Doctoral Conference 2024 (IMRDC 2024), hosted by IIM Bangalore’s flagship journal IIMB Management Review (IMR) and the Office of the Doctoral Programme of the institute.

On Day One, Prof. Ananth Krishnamurthy, Chairperson, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and faculty of the Decision Sciences area of IIMB, welcomed the guests, calling the event “an academic family reunion” celebrating the achievements of the Doctoral programme, its students, alumni, faculty and staff. “Your presence in such numbers makes this a grand success”, he added.

The event has been put together by former and current Doctoral students Antra (2019), Prof. Kshitij Awasthi (2011), Prof. Abhipsa Pal (2014), Akshay Dhuria (2019) and Himanshu Shekhar (2019). 

Book release

The day’s events started with the official release of the alumni book, ‘Reminiscences: Doctoral Programme’ by Prof. Rishikesh T Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore. The book chronicles the IIMB journey of FPM/PhD alumni. Prof. T A S Vijayaraghavan, an alumnus of IIMB’s Doctoral programme (1982) and currently faculty and member of the Board of Governors at XLRI Jamshedpur, has created some of the illustrations for the book. He was presented a memento by Prof. RT Krishnan. 

Prof. K Kumar, former IIMB faculty from the Entrepreneurship area, who also led the History Project of IIMB, spoke about the evolution of the Doctoral programme at IIMB. 

Panel discussion

The morning session included a panel discussion, ‘Flashback – Doctoral Programme at IIMB: The early days, how it evolved and the future’. The panelists were: Prof. T Krishna Kumar (Retd.), Prof. Chiranjib Sen (Retd.), Prof. K Kumar (FPM-87), and Prof. Gopal Mahapatra (FPM-82), faculty of the Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management area of IIMB. The session was moderated by Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan (FPM-89), Chairperson, Digital Learning and faculty of the Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management area of IIMB.

Prof. T Krishna Kumar explained that the programme has undergone significant transformation over the years. “Previously the programme’s premise was to be better than PGP since it involved training teachers in management. Only after the FPM Review Committee was formed that the programme got structured. I have to thank the first Director of IIMB Prof. Ramaswamy for the sectoral diversification. I also contributed to the research culture by pushing for a research journal.”

Prof. Chiranjib Sen said that the constant effort to renew and restructure itself with the goal to excel is the reason for the success of IIMB’s Doctoral programme. “IIMB’s FPM started with a focus on the Government sector to improve management in that sector. It did not succeed as the system was unable to absorb the inputs given as public sector did not have the mechanism to incorporate this. There was a lack of match in terms of knowledge and skills we were offering as the Government sector was not ready yet. However, subsequently transitions took place. I could contribute to academic design; we tried to balance the demands of sectors and management.” 

He also spoke about the challenges faced at that time and how he tried to meet those goals. “As businesses expanded, we could deliver, and FPM could catch on. I am happy to note that now academic demand market has expanded. Actually, each phase has distinct ideology and stakeholders and post 2009 the institutions have a different ideology and different set of stakeholders, that is, business, government and society. Institutions now need to chart their own course and we need to look at programmes that fulfil the current situation. They should be aligned to interdisciplinarity and perspective, and work towards creating trust.”

Prof. K Kumar provided a crystal clear picture of the evolution of the programme by dividing it into four distinct phases. “The first phase from 1976 to 1986 was foundational, dedicated to developing context-specific content. There were challenges of early scaling up. Moreover, students did not have the background of management. The next phase from 1986 to 1998 saw the first change to open out the programme beyond the confines of sectors. Primary focus was laid on business and industry and policies were streamlined. In 1991, the FPM Office was set up.”

He went on to say that Phase 3 was between 1998 and 2009 when the programme started focussing on quality, both on the input as well as output side. “There was diversification in the pool of students and the curriculum was streamlined. IIMB was gaining prominence at the global level and emphasis on research was enhanced. FPM increased rigor and research output. After 2009, FPM achieved distinctive status and became a top-quality research programme. The responsibility of FPM was decentralized to areas. The duration of the programme was extended to five years. As a result, the programme from 2010 onwards has reached maturity. It has had a great impact on the careers of graduates and contributed significantly to sectors. On the personal front, what stands out for me in all this, after coming back to academics, is tremendous peer support."

Prof. Gopal Mahapatra reminisced that although in his initial days in research he had faced diverse challenges, he received a lot of support from IIMB and his peers at the institute. “There was no dilution of quality, and we contributed substantially to management. From being part of the crowd, we academicians gained prominence and evolved in the process. Staff played an important role, and the institute always had its doors open for alumni. The shift happened as industry professionals were brought into academia.” 

Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan summed up saying, “The FPM history shows us how we have been able to adapt ourselves and how far the Doctoral programme has come. Some of the aspects still relevant are the role of teachers, relevance of teachers/research, what more we can bring to the table, etc.” Regarding dealing with tension she said, “Faculty support has been an enduring part of FPM.” She wrapped up the session saying, “Today’s discussion has provided valuable insights and shown us how to put our feet forward. We have the commitment and capability to shape the future.”


Prof. RT Krishnan felicitated the panel members, which was followed by felicitation of former Doctoral Programme Chairs for their outstanding leadership, even in the face of challenges like Covid. Also felicitated were former and current staff of the programme as well as ‘Milestone Markers’ – 50th, 100th, 150th, 200th, 250th and 300th. Prof. T Krishna Kumar presented the memento to Prof. RT Krishnan. Utanka Sarma, Head – Alumni Relations, IIMB, also addressed the audience.

The day also saw participants enjoying photoshoots, a treasure hunt and the Music Nite by Sunil Koshy. The event involved a lot of networking and camaraderie between the FPM/PhD alumni and the participants of IMRDC 2024. 

What Day Two has in store: Day Two of the FPM/PhD alumni meet will include a Birding Tour to be conducted during the early hours of the morning, led by Yogesh Marathe and Prof. G. Shainesh (FPM-92, faculty of the Marketing area of IIMB), followed by Alumni Tree Planting and Director’s Interaction with Alumni. Also on the cards is the Alumni Panel Crossroads – Trailblazing non-academic careers, with Dr. K P Krishnan (FPM-99), Dr. Raj Kumar Upadhyay (FPM-07), Dr. Divya Tiwari (FPM-2000), and Dr. Pankaj Bagri (FPM-98), to be moderated by Prof. Sourav Mukherji (FPM-98), Dean, Alumni Relations & Development and faculty of the Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management area of IIMB. This will be followed by the Breakthrough Alumni Interaction. 

The day will also include a Campus Architecture Tour with Kiran Keswani, author of the book: ‘The Making of a Campus: IIM Bangalore’, which tells the story of the architecture of IIM Bangalore and of the people who have inhabited its ‘spaces’ and made it into the ‘place’ that it is. It shares how this campus came into being and how it has been experienced over time. The book includes narratives built from talking to IIMB’s faculty and staff as well as tells the story of the design and planning efforts of Chief Architect Dr. Balkrishna Doshi, Architect Achyut Kanvinde and Architect Sanjay Mohe towards the making of this campus. The book is designed as a visual commentary on the architecture of the IIMB campus and is illustrated with colour photographs. 

A concert will be presented by Dr. Radhika Joshi, an FPM-11 alumna.

Apart from these, Alumni Reunion sporting activities, including Frisbee, Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton, Billiards/Pool, Table Tennis, Squash, Chess and Carrom, are being held on 2nd, 3rd and 4th of February. A visit to the Bannerghatta National Park is planned for 3rd February and to the IIMB Jigani campus has been arranged for the concluding day - 4th February 2024.

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