professor Bala Balachandran takes his own advice and begins
a new journey after a distinguished, decades-long Kellogg
not re-tiring. I'm not even tired," quips 71-year-old
Balachandran, and he says it with such good humor that
you laugh along with him, enveloped by his warmth and cheer.
this spirit, coupled with his insights into managerial accounting
and forecasting, that have made Balachandran an influential
member of the Kellogg faculty since 1973, when he arrived
with formal training in mathematics, engineering and industrial
administration. (Among his academic credentials is a doctorate
from Carnegie Mellon). This year, the J.L. Kellogg Professor
of Accounting Information and Management is stepping away
from full-time teaching to spend more time with family, but
he intends to remain engaged, in Evanston and elsewhere, as
he continues what has been a lifelong dedication to education.
people are equal, regardless of color, religion, whatever,"
Balachandran says. "We are all seeking knowledge."
addition to producing more than 75 articles and serving in
editorial capacities for peer-reviewed journals, Balachandran
has been broadly active in the Kellogg culture. His efforts
over the last 35 years include chairing the Accounting Department
(1979-1983), directing the Accounting Research Center (1985-2006),
promoting experiential learning initiatives like Global
Initiatives in Management (GIM), and helping start the
India Business Club and India Business Conference.
the global stage, Balachandran helped create Hyderabad's Indian
School of Business (ISB) — an initiative launched in
2001 that drew on resources from Kellogg and the Wharton School.
He is also founder and honorary dean of the Great Lakes Institute
of Management in his hometown of Chennai, India. That school,
whose motto is "Global mindset, Indian roots," opened
everywhere is my theme," Balachandran says. "Kellogg
is the seed, but the seed should not be eaten. It should be
cultivated and shared worldwide."
efforts have earned him distinction, as well as admirers from
among leaders in government, business and academia, such as
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Tata Group Chairman
Ratan N. Tata. For his contributions to education, in 2001
India honored Balachandran with its highest civilian award,
the Padma sri. In 2007, India Abroad named the Kellogg
professor to its list of "50 Most Influential Indian
longtime colleague Professor Robert
Magee: "Bala has provided excellent service to the
academic accounting profession ... and has been a true Kellogg
patriot." Dean Dipak
C. Jain, whom Balachandran "warmly respects and admires,"
pointed out the importance of the accounting professor's role
in chairing a strategic committee in 1985-1987 that influenced
the school's direction at a key time.
colleagues, including Donald
P. Jacobs, Kellogg dean emeritus, have led a campaign
to raise $1 million for an endowed professorship at Kellogg
in Balachandran's name.
his part, Balachandran considers the emeritus dean an inspiration.
"If I succeeded, it's because of Jacobs. He was the force
behind me, supporting those efforts."
efforts have been informed by a desire to make "nonlinear
jumps." Getting things done collaboratively is something
he relishes. In fact, he views networking as a critical leadership
skill but defines it in terms of nishkamya karma, or
action done for its intrinsic value.
don't try to get something for me," he says. "If
you network with a selfish agenda, the outcome won't be good."
that perspective that Balachandran is taking with respect
to the GIM trip — his last — that he plans to
lead in India next spring. He wants his students to meet Ratan
Tata, among others, and gain an appreciation for what it takes
to be a global leader.
you are at the top, everyone wants to take you down, so you've
got to keep inventing and reinventing yourself," he says.