Tributes Pour in for Dr. M L Shrikant, Visionary Educationist and Former Dean of SPJIMR

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tributes and messages have been flowing in for Dr. M L Shrikant, the guru of management education under whose visionary leadership the S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) rose to become a top rung B-School in India.

Dr. Shrikant passed away at his weekend home at Khandala near Mumbai on Friday, October 16, 2015. He was 79. He had stepped down last year as Dean of SPJIMR and as the Chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Andheri campus.

The SPJIMR family will gather for a remembrance meeting on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, at the SPJIMR Auditorium from 7-8pm along with alumni.

As the Dean of SPJIMR for three decades, Dr. Shrikant worked tirelessly to integrate the idea of service to society and responsibility into the MBA curriculum. He designed several pedagogic innovations and non-classroom learning methodologies that have been recognised as pioneering steps in building value-based leaders.

Dr. Ranjan Banerjee, the current Dean of SPJIMR, said: "Dr. Shrikant was way ahead of his time in conceiving and executing an original, value-based, uniquely Indian perspective on management education. Innovation in recruitment practices, introduction of unique non-classroom activities which strengthen values and attitudes, a modern and practical view on spirituality were among his many significant contributions."

"He leaves behind an entrepreneurial, deeply authentic institution and we will carry his legacy forward," Dr. Banerjee added.

S Sriram, the Founding Executive Director (Emeritus), Great Lakes institute of Management, wrote in The Hindu Business Line newspaper, "Dr. Srikant Datar of theHarvard Business School wrote a book on management education being at the crossroads, for which he researched the top 100 business schools in the world. Some 75 per cent of what the book talked of were things Dr. M L Shrikant used to emphasise in the early 1990s. That's one of the main reasons why he can be called a giant when it comes to defining management education."

SPJIMR alumnus and former faculty member Prof. A Srinivas Rao said: "'The pearl is the biography of an oyster' remarked the Italian filmmaker Fredrico Fellini and I think SPJIMR is that biography of Dr. ML Shrikant. I would imagine that behind every great institution is a simple idea, a nucleus or germ that contains within its possibilities its manifest destiny brought to flower by one man who embodies its spirit. I would be hesitant to articulate that as not all can see the farthest ken of his vision. But unto that spirit we offer our salutations, and are united by that loss."

SPJIMR alumnus Ram Narayan Iyer, who is Group Director - Retail, Sales & Marketing for Microsoft India, said: "Dr. Shrikant represented everything a truly visionary leader should be. You would all agree that Dr. Shrikant had left an indelible mark on many of us who passed out of SPJIMR. His life was guided with a rich blend of management thinking from the likes of Porter and Drucker along with spiritual thinking from the Bhagwad Gita and Vedanta... saddened by the loss of a great leader, mentor and guide for many."

SPJIMR alumni groups across the globe have been active with messages and tributes being exchanged on various platforms. Many were messages reflecting on the contribution of Dr. Shrikant to SPJIMR and how he personally impacted them as Professor and as Dean.

The innovations under Dr. Shrikant included initiatives like Abhyudaya, DOCC and the entire gamut of non-classroom learning methodologies that helped change the focus from frameworks and models as taught in the West to a sharper focus on individual and personal growth and values.

As Dr. Shrikant himself noted recently: "We teach that material success is important but it can ring hollow without an understanding of the deeper purpose that must guide our decisions and a spirit of service that must lead us to action."

In another interview, he had said: "Practice, values and service - whatever we have done in the last several years, the underlying logic is captured by these three words."

Apart from other initiatives, Dr. Shrikant conceived, nurtured, built and delivered the course 'Science of Spirituality', combining his unique blend of education and experience of leading business organisations along with his study of the Vedanta for the last three decades.

His strong knowledge of the theory of management and the theory of Vedanta opened up new insights, helped redefine performance and brought alive the idea of lasting success for managers in their professional and personal lives.

The result was a differentiated offering that stood out and over time attracted a growing number of students, faculty and industry leaders who regularly come to hire on campus, driving SPJIMR's superior placement records.

The entire effort positioned SPJIMR as a B-School with a difference, noted for a good mix of Western efficiency and Eastern ethos within an ecosystem that encouraged performance with purpose.

Dr. Shrikant's efforts saw SPJIMR grow from a little known Institute into a B-School that has consistently been ranked among top 10 in India in the last five years and has now moved into the top-five league.

Prof. Abbasali Gabula
Deputy Director (External Relations & Administration)
S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR)

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