A Wonderful Trip Down Memory Lane


When I was a student at Kellogg starting in the Fall of 1977 (I know, it is hard to believe that was 43 years ago 😉 ), one of my favorite professors was Professor Bala Balachandran. Professor Balachandran taught accounting, information systems, and management! I even remember him teaching my class in Fortran programming!! (How many of you remember Fortran programming and IBM punch cards???)

Professor Balachandran and I have stayed in touch over the years. He truly is an amazing person with many academic accomplishments, including a masters degree in engineering, and an MBA and PhD in Operations Research. Over the years I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker in several of his classes and executive programs. He also helped me write several business articles and encouraged me to consider teaching when I stepped down as the Chairman and CEO of Baxter International.

In 2004, in addition to being Professor Emeritus at Kellogg, Professor Balachandran founded the Great Lakes Institute of Management in India, with the first campus in Chennai. The second campus opened in Gurgaon, Delhi NCR in 2011. The school includes full-time and executive programs in management.

Professor Balachandran (now Great Lakes’ Dean Emeritus) and current dean, Suresh Ramanathan, called me last month and asked if I would give a virtual lecture on the topic of Values-based Leadership to all of the Great Lakes students. I was honored to do it, and I had a fantastic time interacting with the students and faculty.

It was clear that Professor Balachandran’s energy level is as high now as it was in 1977!!! Rather than introducing me with a short verbal introduction, the Great Lakes team put together a fun video that included pictures of my family and teaching:

I hope when we make it through the COVID crisis I will have the opportunity to travel to India and visit the campuses in person!!! Thanks, Bala!!!

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