Clarifying information about Indian business schools

I was surprised and delighted to read the April 21 article, "India's B-School grads now rake in the big rupees." I was on the faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, for over 15 years. I moved with my family to Cambridge, Mass., more than a decade ago and have been a visiting professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for many years.

The article gave an excellent overview of India's IIMs, but it did have just a few factual errors.

The first is that the various IIMs are referred to in the story as "branches" - this is quite incorrect. Each IIM operates autonomously as a distinct organizational and legal entity. My belief is that this autonomy was critical in enabling them to fulfill their mission of modernizing Indian management.

The second error is in the statement: "The institutes worked closely with the Harvard Business School." IIM, Ahmedabad, is the only one that worked with the Harvard Business School. IIM, Calcutta, was set up in close collaboration with the Sloan School at MIT and actually predates IIM, Ahmedabad.

Finally, I think the article does not do justice to the visionary role played by the Ford Foundation in setting up both the Ahmedabad and Calcutta institutes when it says that the government of India started them. Without the pivotal funding and organizational support of the Ford Foundation, it is unlikely that the pioneering Ahmedabad and Calcutta Indian Institutes of Management would have succeeded.

The other IIMs were set up more than a decade after the Ahmedabad and Calcutta institutes had demonstrated the value of management education in India.

A measure of the enterprising spirit behind the Ahmedabad and Calcutta institutes is that they were set up before the London School of Business, or the business schools at Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the UK.
Nitin R. Patel
Cambridge, Mass.

Bay State bill won't fix healthcare crisis

Regarding Daniel Schorr's April 14 Opinion column, "In Massachusetts, a nonpartisan good deed": To refer to this Massachusetts-mandated healthcare legislation as a bill that provides "almost universal [healthcare] coverage" is a bit of a stretch.

And it's interesting how much the mainstream news is touting it as so miraculous in between slick pharmaceutical and health insurance ads, because it is those corporations that will really make out best from this legislation.

A mandatory health-insurance bill like this will not solve the national healthcare crisis, any more than mandatory auto insurance has solved the problems of runaway auto insurance premiums and other related difficulties in states such as New Jersey.

This will still put too much pressure on those who are already being squeezed economically and who will also be forced to ante up payments to cover high health-insurance costs. True, this move will take some of the costs off the states, but the problems inherent in this "mandated" system are sure to be legion, and the bill does not even touch the central core of the problem of the stratospheric and unaffordable price of an inflated, for-profit healthcare system where the seller always determines the cost. And the person forced to purchase the coverage (by necessity and circumstance) is forever stuck at the losing end of the deal.

Nice try, but they really need to go back to the drawing board in Massachusetts and work out a plan that benefits people more than institutions.
Diane Beeny
Westfield, N.J.

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