Remembering Prof Bala V Balachandran: ‘To his students, he was Uncle Bala’

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October 04, 2021 2:15 AM

Prof, Dr and Dean, he used to say, are based on a financial transaction. But an uncle is like a godfather

Bala V BalachandranBala V Balachandran (1937-2021)

Last week, the world of management education lost a guru and his students an uncle.

Bala V Balachandran, the JL Kellogg distinguished professor of Accounting & Information Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, US, and founder & dean of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai and Gurgaon, wore several hats.

During the course of his 60-odd year old career, he helped MDI Gurgaon professors train at Kellogg, and was in charge of recruiting the dean and faculty of the Indian School of Business Hyderabad, in addition to setting up Great Lakes.

But an accomplishment close to his heart was being called ‘Uncle Bala’, he had told me four years ago when I met him for breakfast in Gurgaon. These were his words:

“If not uncle, I might be addressed as Prof Bala, Dr Bala or Dean Bala. These are either titles or are based on a financial transaction. But an uncle, especially maternal uncle, in our culture, is like a godfather. There is a natural affection. Today, every student of mine can approach me as he would his uncle, on anything, any issue. ‘Uncle’ makes me highly approachable, yet a disciplinarian.”

To read the full discussion I had with him over breakfast, please visit: https://bit.ly/3BdGZkg

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