By Rusen Kumar
Global standards of education at affordable costs were in line with Balachandran vision. He touched the lives of many and had mentored great leaders across the world. An eminent scholar, Bala’s life was filled with accomplishments and accolades of the finest kind.
Balachandran came up with the idea of a four-year undergrad degree to cater to the mandated minimum educational requirement of 16 years to pursue higher education in the US. As so he founded Great Lakes International University in Chicago, which would be a degree-granting university. He also envisioned a one-year global management programme as against a two-year programme prevent in those times. Global standards of education at affordable costs were in line with his vision.
Bala V. Balachandran had an illustrious career as a professor, consultant, mentor, author, entrepreneur and life coach.
Bala V. Balachandran, management guru, educationist and founder of the Great Lakes Institute of Management, passed away in Chicago. He was not keeping well for some time and died in his sleep at 4 A.M. (local time) on September 27 in Chicago in the United States. He is survived by his wife Vasantha Balachandran and sons Sudhakar Balachandran and Diwakar Balachandran. He was 84. Fondly known as Professor Bala or Uncle Bala, he was born at Pudukottai and completed his college education at Annamalai University, Chidambaram. Then he served in the Army briefly before going to the U.S. to pursue doctoral studies.
Bala Balachandran began his teaching career in 1960 while a graduate student at Annamalai University, India. In 1967 he moved to the University of Dayton and in 1971, to Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, where he taught management courses while working on his doctorate. In 1973 he joined the Kellogg School of Management faculty. He was Chairman of the Department of Accounting Information and Management from 1979 – 1983. In 1984 he was appointed Professor of Accounting Information and Management and was Director of the Accounting Research Center from 1985-2006.
Professor Balachandran’s teaching interests
Professor Balachandran’s teaching interests included managerial accounting, auditing, management information systems, and mathematical programming. He was one of three Kellogg faculty members who started the Information Resource Management Program (IRM) at Northwestern in 1974. He has authored more than 55 research articles and is currently writing a managerial accounting textbook with emphasis on cost management in an automated manufacturing environment. He was department editor in accounting for Management Science, associate editor for The Accounting Review and on the editorial boards of Contemporary Accounting Research, and the Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance.
Professor Balachandran’s research dealt with performance evaluation, cost management, audit planning, allocation models, and forecasting. His recent work included auditors’ legal liability and game theoretic cost allocation models with transfer pricing. His work has earned numerous scholastic honors, awards, and fellowships, and he served as a consultant to senior management in industry, as well as to the U.S. Air Force, in the areas of accounting, forecasting, and strategic decision support systems. He has provided executive education for various companies and the government and was the program director for “Managing Cost Information for Effective Strategic Decisions,” a three-day program conducted at the James L. Allen Center each year during the spring and fall.
From there began an illustrious career as a professor, consultant, mentor, author, entrepreneur and life coach.
He helped to recruit the first set of faculty members to the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore in the late 1960s, established the Management Department at the Management Development Institute at Gurgaon through a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Born in the Pudukottai district, Balachandran completed his studies at Annamalai University in Chidambaram.
Contribution to the world of education
He was instrumental in designing MBA programmes at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. There, he had chaired the committee to select the Dean and the faculty and curriculum committees. In 2004, he established the Great Lakes Institute of Management, which now has another campus at Gurgaon. He received India’s fourth highest civilian award — the Padma Shri — in 2001 for his contribution to education. A post on the LinkedIn page of the Great Lakes Institute of Management said, “With profound grief, we inform you of the passing of our beloved Founder and Chairman, Dr. Bala V. Balachandran. Uncle Bala, as he was fondly called, was an inspiration to many. An educator par excellence, he was the heart of our institute.”
“With profound grief, we inform you of the passing of Dr Bala V Balachandran, who was an inspiration to many. Although we will miss him dearly, we shall carry him in our hearts and live by the value system that he built for us,” Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM) said of its chairman and dean (emeritus), a Padma Shri awardee.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin and India Cements Ltd Vice Chairman and Managing Director N Srinivasan were among those who extended their condolences to the bereaved family members. “I am pained to hear about the news of Bala V Balachandran who excelled in the field of management and was also as an educationist,” Stalin said. “I extend my deep condolences to his family members and the students of Great Lakes Institute of Management”, he said in an official release. Srinivasan in his message, hailed professor Balachandran as an ‘outstanding thought leader’ and ‘management guru’.
“I am saddened by the loss of my good friend Dr. Bala Balachandran. I consider him as an outstanding thought leader and management guru. In early 2000 when Chennai was emerging as a top investment destination, Bala made Chennai and Tamil Nadu proud by establishing the premier b school, Great Lakes Institute of Management…,” Srinivasan said. Great Lakes Institute of Management has become a temple of learning not only for management students but also for the future leadership development programme of leading corporates, he said.
“GLIM has firmly put Chennai on the international management education map. It will remain his landmark contribution to the city he loved the most,” Srinivasan, also the Managing Director, India Cements Ltd, said.
Serving to Army
He had served in the Army briefly before moving to the United States to pursue his doctoral programme. Balachandran had played an instrumental role in establishing many management institutes in the country.
In 2004, he set up the Great Lakes Institute of Management at Manamai, about 45 km from, which is one of the popular business schools in the country now. An eminent scholar, Bala’s life was filled with accomplishments and accolades of the finest kind.
Words of Wisdom by Dr Bala V Balachandran
One of the cornerstones of the Great Lakes learning experience is our Karma Yoga or care-share activity. We are huge champions of the inclusive growth principle and our goal is to ensure that every student that graduates from Great Lakes internalizes this. We have adopted 20 villages around our institute which is situated at Manamai along the East Coast Road, off Mahabalipuram.
Our students regularly visit these villages and remain of service and assistance to the people in various areas such as education, health and safety, self-help etc. The benefit for the rural areas is that they have the choice of leading a better life in their own localities instead of migrating to the cities where they may be forced to live a life of poverty and without dignity. As for the students, this is one of the ways in which they learn to practice transformational service leadership. Further, Leadership is practiced as a servant and not as a boss – by enhancing the self-esteem and self-efficacy of the villagers. The ultimate goal of our initiatives is along the lines of our former President the hon’ble Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam’s PURA mission – that of Providing Urban amenities to Rural Areas. It is a well-documented fact that more and more people are returning to the villages and indulging in farming to live a life that is peaceful and healthy and removed from the hustle, bustle and pollution of the city. Consequently, improved connectivity and infrastructure development in the rural areas will see an increased focus in the years to come allowing the people there to enjoy urban conveniences without the associated nuisances. The combined result is that the villagers will lead a better quality of life. (Source)
PhD, 1973, Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University
MS, 1963, Applied Statistics, Annamalai University
MA, 1961, Mathematics, Statistics, Annamalai University
BS, 1959, Mathematics, Statistics, Annamalai University
Some Academic Positions
Director, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 1985-present
J.L. Kellogg Distinguished Professor in Accounting, Information, and Management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 1984-present
Professor of Accounting, Information Systems and Decision Sciences, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 1979-1979
Chairman and Professor of Accounting, Information Systems and Decision Sciences, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 1979-1983
Associate Professor of Decision Sciences, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 1973-1976
Assistant Professor, University of Dayton, 1971-1973
Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Dayton, 1970-1971
Instructor, Industrial Engineering, University of Dayton, 1969-1970
Assistant Professor of Statistics/Mathematics, Department of Statistics, Annamalai University, 1960-1967
He was honoured with the ‘Padma Shri’ award by the Centre for his contribution to education.
Kellogg Alumni Professor of the Year Award, Kellogg School of Management, 1997
Sidney J. Levy Teaching Award, Kellogg School of Management, 1996-1997
Bala, as he was referred to, was J L Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Accounting & Information Management (emeritus in service), Northwestern University. A passionate teacher, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001 for his contribution to education. Born in Pudukkottai, Bala completed his college education at the Annamalai University, Chidambaram, served in the Army briefly before heading to the US for Doctoral studies. From there, began an illustrious career as professor, consultant, mentor, author, entrepreneur and life coach.
He helped recruit the first set of faculty members to IIM Bangalore in the late 1960s, set up the management department at the MDI at Gurgaon through a joint collaboration with UNDP, Wharton and Kellogg. Working closely with N Chandrababu Naidu when he was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Bala’s vision for a one-year-fast-track MBA program for working professionals was realized with the ISB in 2000. In 2004, he set up Great Lakes Institute of Management which today has another campus at Gurugram.