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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prof Anil Gupta

It sounds weird to write a tribute to a living person but if any one deserves it, it is Prof Anil Gupta. He is a mix of contradictions(A Gandhian in all but name, an organic food lover who likes his occassional wine, a traditional knowledge proponent who uses state of the art Ipad and Sony Vaio netbook)-the list can run on for yards and still would not do justice to the person. At IIM-A, he teaches electives on strategic management of intellectual property rights(SMIPR), managing technologies for sustainable agriculture(MTSA), GRIIT-co taught with ex President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Azad, a trek into rural remote areas with India aka Shodh Yatra. But his teaching just scratches the surface. His engagement with the Govt and private sector has led to NIF, GIAN and other institutions. The lead recruiter of a prominent European bank is rumoured to touch Prof Gupta's feet during his visits to IIM-A-that tells you the power of the person. While attending his lectures, some interesting points I've noticed are
  1. Passion to create knowledge:-He sometimes conducts class discussions and generates mind maps on the board, which he then photographes for possible use later. This is just one example how he aims to generate new knowledge from whatever he does
  2. Quest for new ideas:-The insistence on sharing ideas etc shows this
  3. Zeal for practical ideas which pushes thing forward. He invariably mentions that he would give good grades for things that are pilots, help new ventures etc.
  4. Rarely taking attendance:-He does this typically only if there is record absentism but otherwise he does not use the Academic Office generated attendance sheets!
  5. Giving water to sleeping students instead of sending them out. This is not something which many other professors do, but it shows his Gandhian approach to things.
  6. Using both ipad and netbook for taking notes in class
  7. Teaching with modern technological aids like videos, softwares etc
  8. Prolific in research, writing and engaging with policy makers
  9. Globetrotter-he has travelled to France, Ecaudor, Mali etc to name a few
  10. Passion for open source innovation:-his setting up the 'National Innovation Foundation' practically demonstrates this aspect!
  11. Belief in the inherent goodness of people-which he has practically experienced. 
  12. Integrating various fields-he shares this in common with Prof Sebastien Morris
  13. Intellectual humility-despite his great knowledge base(backed by a Phd no less!), he is still open to new ideas and student questioning and openly acknowledges good ideas.
  14. Institution building zest-Unlike others who may be content with building their brand name which will die after them, he has built multiple institutions, which he hopes will persist after him.