The beginning of a dream.
I started applying my mind how the institute could build its brand and attain visibility at the national level after joining BIMTECH at its old campus in Pushp Vihar, New Delhi on September 2, 1999. Having known the growth trajectory of reputed B’schools in India and worldwide, I could identify one primary raison d’etre i.e. a residential campus with state-of-the-art facilities for students and faculty.
After wide consultation with leading management educationists, I prepared the ‘Vision-2005’ document and submitted it to the management. The major focus of this document was to build a residential campus with an objective of getting recognized among the top 25 B’schools of India by the year 2005. It was necessary because our premises at Birla Vidya Niketan, Pushp Vihar, New Delhi was very modest and without a residential character.
My predecessor, Dr C B Gupta, a legendary academician (ex-Principal, SRCC, Delhi and Founder Director, IMT, Ghaziabad) was designated by the management as the Advisor. He advised me to try with the DDA for getting a two acre plot in Delhi. DDA, being a typical bureaucratic body, was not willing to help us and scuttled the proposal with some flimsy legal objections.
I saw an advertisement in the India Today in January 2002 in which, the Greater Noida Authority (GNIDA) offered institutional land for educational institutions. The matter was discussed with the management and I sought their permission to submit our application. Our advisor, Dr CB Gupta, was not in favour of moving the campus from New Delhi to Greater Noida, due to fears of losing locational advantages of South Delhi. Meantime, for expanding the geographic base of our student population, we had started hostels in rented premises at Sarvapriya Vihar and Devri Road. It was a tough decision and full of challenges. I continued to convince our management that having a residential campus was a sine-qua non for a good B’school and there was no harm in setting up a campus at Greater Noida.
We submitted an application for getting institutional land from the GNIDA at the Knowledge Park in the last week of January, 2002. At that time there were hardly a few institutions at Greater Noida and reaching the city was also difficult because the Expressway was not ready and access through Dadri – Surajpur side was always cumbersome.
When GNIDA called us for a meeting and making a presentation about our plans for setting up a campus at Greater Noida, we identified a student of PGDM II year to make the presentation.
On March 21, 2002 the presentation was made. The CEO of GNIDA was very impressed by the presentation and he asked me about the presenter. When I told him that he was a student, it was a big surprise for him. That student was Anshul Verma, who later joined BIMTECH as a faculty and worked with us till 2013.
During 2003-04, our finance department did a lot of hard work in estimating the project cost and its short term and long term financial viability. Shri C S Chajjer was looking after this work. A series of meetings were held with Shri RN Jaju, Dr C B Gupta and Shri U N Vajpeyi. I used to visit ECE House, Connaught Place almost every alternate day for discussing the financial and other matters related to the Greater Noida Project.
Syt B K B Birla and Dr (Smt) Sarala Birla, our Founder and Patrons, took keen interest in the Greater Noida Project. They asked Shri Pratap Parikh, an eminent architect of New Delhi to take up this assignment. Since Shri Parikh had worked with BK Birla Group for a long time on several projects, he knew very well their aesthetic requirements. Both Syt Birla ji and Dr (Smit) Birla ji visited the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad in 2002 to meet Ms Vidula, their grand-daughter, who was at that time studying at ISB as a full time MBA student.
The visit of Syt Birla ji and Dr (Smt) Birla ji to ISB, Hyderabad opened many possibilities for us because the overall concept, design, layout, facilities at ISB, Hyderabad were liked by our Founders. They desired that before finalizing designs and layouts of the Greater Noida Campus, we should see the ISB Campus at Hyderabad. I accompanied Shri RN Jaju and Shri Pratap Parikh to ISB, Hyderabad. We saw its academic building, hostels and briefed the management about the architecture of the ISB Campus. The designs of the library, central atrium, classrooms and hostels were liked by us.Shri Pratap Parikh & Associates were engaged as the architects for the Greater Noida Project. They took more than eight months to prepare the architectural layouts and designs. On Ramnavami of 2003, a meeting was held at Mangalam, the Delhi residence of Syt BK Birla and Dr (Smt) Sarala Birla, where a multi-media presentation was made by Shri Pratap Parikh. On this auspicious day, final layout and design was approved by our Founders and Patrons.Before sanctioning funds for the Greater Noida project, Syt Birla ji, in the august presence of Dr (Smt) Sarala Birla, Smt Jayashree Mohta and Shri RN Jaju asked me whether I would work for a long time with the institute. I told them that my commitment for BIMTECH would be lifelong. It was a big commitment from my side and I was aware of its implications. For me, it was a great occasion to see the realization of a big dream.
Bids were invited from civil contractors during early 2003, and finally, the contract was given to M/s Omax Ltd, a reputed real estate and construction company. The foundation stone laying ceremony was organized on July 30, 2003. Smt Jayashree Mohta performed elaborate Puja and laid down the foundation stone in the presence of Shri Nawab Singh Nagar, UP Minister, Shri RN Jaju, Shri Pratap Parikh and a large number of faculty, students, alumni, etc. It was a rainy day but marked by exuberance, excitement, euphoria and exhilaration about a new beginning.In December 2003, we decided to start the next academic session (2004-05) from the new campus. Accordingly, faculty and students and admission aspirants were informed . Civil work at Greater Noida was running at good speed and hundreds of laborers and engineers worked day and night to reach the target of completing projects on time. The finishing work (electrical, flooring, air-conditioning, networking etc) had taken more time than estimated. Ultimately the campus was not ready in all respects to launch the new session by August 1, 2004. We postponed the launching to August 19, 2004. The new batch (2004-06) joined at the old campus in Pushp Vihar, New Delhi. Eminent scientist, Padma Vibhushan, Dr R A Mashelkar, the then Director General, CSIR delivered the Commencement Day Lecture at INSA Auditorium, Delhi on the topic of “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”.Before shifting to Greater Noida, major faculty recruitment drive was launched since some of the existing faculty decided not to shift due to personal reasons. Dr AK Dey and Prof V Shekhar (Operations), Prof PN Singh, Dr Shashi Balain, Dr Manosi Chaudhuri (OB/HR), Prof Sanjay Chandwani (Marketing), Prof KK Krishnan, Prof HK Moria (Insurance) and Prof Sujoy Dasgupta (International Business) were inducted as the new members of the faculty team. At that time, hostels in Delhi were being looked after by Dr Shilpi Mohan and Dr Avinash Pandey as wardens. For Greater Noida, three new wardens were appointed viz. Dr Shashi Balain, Dr Manosi Chaudhuri and Dr Anshul Verma
The realization of the dream
Creating awareness about Greater Noida
Creating awareness about Greater Noida has been a decade long exercise. We were very keen to bring eminent people to the new campus. Many a times, industry people from Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida were not willing to visit the campus due to logistic reasons. There was a psychological barrier in the minds of visitors due to poor awareness about the development of the Greater Noida as an urban destination. We had to devise different means and methods to get people to the new campus.
During the last 10 years, we could invite some of the thought leaders from India and abroad to visit the campus and address our students and faculty. The list includes His Holiness Dalai Lama, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Shri Yashwant Sinha, Dr Subramnaian Swamy, Shri Jai Ram Ramesh, Shri Oscar Fernandes, Shri Jagdish Khattar, Shri Venu Srinivasan, Shri Vinod Rai, Smt Kiran Bedi, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Dr Prakash Amte, Shri Mahesh Bhatt, Late Farukh Sheikh, Shri Santosh Desai, Shri Hemant Kanoria, Late Dr Abid Hussain, Shri Deepak Puri, Dr Pritam Singh, Dr Jagdish Sheth, Prof M R Rao, Shri Pramath Sinha, Dr Rishikesh T Krishnan, Prof Yashpal, Shri R S Pandey, IAS, Dr Santrupt Mishra, Shri Sam Ghosh, Shri Yogi Shriram and Dr Kiran Karnik.
We have also organized many programmes on performing arts, culture and literature. In partnership with SPIC-Macay, VIRASAT – 2009 was organized in October in which very eminent artists like Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, Pt Chhannu Lal Mishra, Pt Ronu Mazumdar, Smt Uma Sharma, Guru Singhajit Singh. On many occasions, we have invited eminent artists like Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pt Rajan- Sajan Mishra, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Late Habib Tanvir, Shri Asgar Wajahat, Shri Rajendra Nath, Shri Arvind Gaur etc.
Vision 2021- The road ahead
BIMTECH is one of the few B-schools in India which has used vision building very successfully to plan its future. The first vision building exercise started in the year 2000 which took shape as the Vision – 2005. The missions under this vision were to have a residential campus and to be counted among top 25 private B’schools in India. In 2003 itself, we were ranked 17th by Business Today – AC Nielsen Ranking Survey while the Greater Noida Campus was launched in August, 2004.
In 2006, we started another exercise to draft a new vision. After discussions with all stakeholders, we could formulate the Vision-2011 which stipulated to become one of the top 10 B’schools in India and obtain the status of a Deemed University.Again in 2011, we initiated a year long vision building exercise under the leadership of Prof A Sahay. This time leading deans, directors, researchers and industry experts of the country were also involved along with faculty, staff and alumni. A new Vision-2021 came out of these deliberations. This was published as a document titled “Vision Mission & Values”.
Since 2008, we have started working to make our institute a Deemed University. The rigid regulatory norms of the AICTE were not allowing us to grow fast by adopting innovation and experimentation. An application was submitted to the MHRD in 2008 for granting us status of a Deemed University. Due to Lok Sabha elections of 2009, it got delayed and later the new minister at MHRD, Mr Kapil Sibal, decided not to issue new approval for deemed university.
New campus at Bhubaneswar
Since 2008, we were simultaneously thinking of setting up another campus for making us a pan India B’School. We approached state governments of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana for allotment of land.
When in 2009, we met Shri Narendra Modi, the then CM of Gujarat, he promised us allotment of 100 acres land at Dholera, a new city being developed by the state near Surat. Shri B S Hooda, CM, Haryana has offered us land at Rajiv Gandhi Educational City, Sonepat and the Government of Rajasthan offered us land at Jaipur for setting up a campus. Lo and behold none of them fructified ! Something else was destined. Dr B K Das joined as an Advisor in 2008. IMI, Delhi was allotted land at Bhubaneswar, which prompted us to ask Dr Das to explore possibility of getting land there. We had submitted an application to IDCO, Government of Odisha which very quickly allotted 30 acres prime land to us at Gotapatna Institutional Area, Bhubaneswar.In 2010, our management cleared the proposal to start the campus by 2012. We started construction of a new campus in Bhubaneswar on April 5, 2011. The foundation stone was laid down by Smt Jayashree
Mohta after an elaborate Pooja arranged by a priest from Puri. However, due to inordinate delay in construction work, we could launch the Bhubaneswar Campus only on August 2, 2013.In September, 2011, a document was prepared by Prof K C Arora, Dr BK Das and Dr Rahul Singh for setting up a state private university at Bhubaneswar. At that time only one private university had been set up in Odisha, i.e. Centurian University. Our Advisor, Dr BK Das took up the onerous task to pursue Government of Odisha for its concurrence to set up the Birla Global University. He was ably assisted by Shri Janardan Dash, our Consultant at Bhubaneswar. In a nutshell, it can be said that liberal support of Birla family and the collective envisioning by the faculty, staff and alumni have always helped us translate our dreams into reality and scaling new heights.