Padma Shree Dr Pritam Singh

He was a great diagnostician of people and would empower, give opportunities to leverage their potential.

Dr Pritam Singh has been an institution by himself and his leaving for heavenly abode is a great loss to management education in the country. He has been institution builder as he transformed MDI Gurgaon and IIM Lucknow as Director, IMI Delhi as Director General and contributed significantly as academician par excellence at XLRI, IIM Bangalore, ASCI Hyderabad and as a management advisor to a large number of institutions in the corporate world as also academics.

I had known him for over 3 decades and worked closely with him as Dean, faculty member, a colleague on Board of Directors, international and national level conferences design and implementation, executive education and in institution building and consulting projects. 

When he joined MDI in 1992-93 as Director,  MDI was not known much and did not figure among top 300 academic institutions and had hardly 12 faculty members with the poor financial health of the institution. He collectively built vision to Build MDI as a world-class business school to figure among top-five institution in the country. Within six months the faculty size grew to over 30, each carefully chosen, with a lot of persuasions and telling newcomers if u have the will we have the way. Within three years MDI was among top 30 institutions and could bid for AMBA, international accreditation. Financially also MDI came to good health.

He had a great ability to influence members of BOG on debating and deciding policies which can help the institution grow. He himself used to lead by example and demonstrate a commitment to the institution. His famous quote has been "people get tired when they find the job uninteresting. If a job is your hobby you can work tirelessly for long hours. At MDI he created opportunities for all.

On many occasions, I had seen him leaving from class to the airport and arriving from the airport straight for a meeting or class in executive training. Often he would invite faculty to sit in his classes and seek critique and he too would sit in classes and give constructive feedback. On many occasions, I have seen him in student hostel at midnight joining birthday celebrations of students.

Every executive programme design by faculty members he personally used to sit in design meeting as a member and bring fresh ideas to the discussions. Dr Singh believed that in academics people need to be managed and respected for their value creation and contributions rather than title or attendance.

He was a great diagnostician of people and would empower, give opportunities to leverage their potential. As a thought leader, he often generated debate on national and international management issues and encouraged faculty members to work on those issues taking up research or conduct of conferences, seminars. He was a resource provider and also a generator. On leadership, he led research studying Indian corporate leaders and published a book on leadership. During a debate, we wanted to know what value creation business schools do in the life of incoming students during their education for 2 years and initiated research which helped in shaping policy for MBA/PGDM education.

Dr Singh was a great communicator and was spending more than two hours each day speaking over phone nationally and internationally with policymakers, corporate leaders, academicians, alumni, students and colleagues. Many wellwishers said they had a conversation with him in the last one week. 

He was very particular in yoga and meditation each day without fail. 

He was very kind and helpful. He used to say, people can have a good time and also a bad time. Bad time is an opportunity to help. He helped many people. Ge was also generous in introducing people projecting the positive pat and encouraging to build positivity.

Whoever he came in contact with got energised.

His death has created a big void which would be difficult to fill but he will be remembered and missed.

- Article by Dr CP Shrimali, Former Director, MDI Gurugram

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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