Not strategies, but 'sanskar' is strength for Kellogg dean

Wednesday, 28 May 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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EVANSTON: It was an unusual speech by the Indian American dean of a top rated business school who focused not on strategies to forge ahead but on 'sanskar', or cultural values, to weather turbulent times.

Giving the concluding remarks at the India Business Conference, Dipak Jain, dean of the Kellogg School of Management, spoke of how his Indian sanskar helped him.

No sooner had he taken over in July 2001, Jain said, than one bad news led to other - the economic slowdown, the September 11 terror attacks in the U.S., corporate scandals, geo-political instability and the SARS epidemic.

His sanskar, Jain said, helped him withstand the setbacks. "This sanskar or Indianness is embedded in us. We are very fortunate in having been brought up in this culture of caring and innovation. It is our greatest strength."

Going down memory lane, Jain recalled the first Alumni Reunion dinner he attended after joining the Kellogg School in 1987. Almost immediately after entering the dinner hall, he was confronted by the then dean Don Jacobs who admonished him publicly for "partying" instead of focusing on his research.

A chastened Jain took his advice to heart and published a number of papers for the next eight years. Soon thereafter, Jacobs chose him as his associate dean.

Jain who is known for accessibility, has travelled several times in the pilot's cabin on his numerous flights within the U.S.

"That was before September 11," he said, adding that he saw similarities between his job and that of the pilot of a commercial airliner. "Our main job is to anticipate turbulence. As a dean, it is my job to anticipate market changes. I am a big believer in being pro-active rather than reactive."

Under Jain, the Kellogg School has been ranked as the top management school in the world by the Economic Intelligence Unit, a sister company of The Economist, and by Businessweek magazine.
Source: IANS
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