Even as India's new Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian took charge, his alma mater the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is confident the country's economy is in safe hands.
A 1979-81 batch PGP alumnus from IIM-A, Subramanian is remembered as a bright, research oriented student who was deeply interested in economics and finance.
Among Subramanian's batchmates were the likes of Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes, Lalit Bhojwani of Origin Consultants and Nayan Parikh, president of IIM-A Alumni Association while former IIM-A director Bakul Dholakia and former RBI governor C Rangarajan were some of the distinguished faculty members who had taught him.
"This is a positive development for the IIM-A fraternity. Raghuram Rajan as RBI Governor and now Arvind Subramanian as Chief Economic Advisor are going to make significant contribution to the Indian economy. To begin with, highly established and talented faculty member like Rangarajan became RBI Governor, followed by Rajan and now Subramanian. IIM Ahmedabad is making a significant contribution in the building up of the Indian economy," said Dholakia, who is now the director general of IMI.
Remembering Subramanian as a "bright student", Dholakia said: "He was deeply interested in economics and finance. We had a compulsory course on macro economics called 'Economic Environment and Policy' which C Rangarajan and I used to teach. He had a research bent of mind. He was not interested in pursuing a corporate career. He was much interested in academics and research."
Seconding Dholakia is Abhinandan Jain, faculty member at IIM-A, who remembers Subramanian as a dedicated student focused towards economics and finance research. On the other hand, for Parikh, Subramanian was "down to earth and under stated".
Moreover, Parikh fondly remembers Subramanian, Menezes and Bhojwani among others buying a second hand car, a first in the campus in those days, from their summer internship stipends. "I remember that after summer training, some of them including Arvind Subramanian, Ivan Menezes (of Diageo) and Lalit Bhojwani had bought a second hand car out of their summer assignments' money. Often it would not start and other batchmates would be called to push the car," Parikh recalled.
Meanwhile, Dholakia said that Subramanian was one of those students who had a keen desire and was focused about pursuing research and doctorate.
"Late 70s and 80s was the time when there was a great deal of diversity in the PGP class where some guys were very clear that after finishing PGP they will become civil servants and there were also people who were absolutely clear they wanted to pursue PhD and academics. You had a reasonable proportion of people in those days who later on became faculty members in American B-schools. Arvind had an academic bent of mind with a keen desire to pursue research and pursue doctorate," Dholakia added.