Dr (Col) A Balasubramanian, a well-known educationist from Pune, died of cardiac arrest on Saturday. He was 75 and is survived by his wife, two sons, daughters-in-law and five grandchildren.
From a gritty Indian soldier to a visionary educationist with dedication, discipline and determination, Col Balasubramanian’s life was an inspiring one, recalled his close associates.
Son of a poor farmer, he hailed from Kandithampettai village in Mannargudi tehsil, Tamil Nadu. Col Balasubramanian was the first Indian to be honoured as the Indian Army’s Honorary Colonel by the President for his pioneering work in management education.
“He is the first Indian educationist to launch a business school for the Indian Defence Forces’ personnel, officers and their children, thus opening up a second career on the Civvy Street of the corporate world. Another ‘first’ in his glorious life is the highest civil honour which was given to him by the Malaysian government in 2017. Today, the alumni of his Sri Balaji Society are posted in senior positions in leading national and multi-national corporate companies,” a close associate of the educationist said.
Col Balasubramanian served the army for over 28 years. He was a war veteran who had participated in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.
He did DBM from Institute of Management Development and Research. He then completed his MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management. From a subedar in the army, Col Balasubramanian switched to the education field following his early retirement.
“He voluntarily offered to take the rector’s role at Symbiosis International Hostel. He also volunteered to be responsible for the hostel security. This impressed Dr S B Mujumdar, founder of Symbiosis. Col Balasubramanian gave the proposal to start a separate MBA college exclusively for the armed forces personnel to Dr Mujumdar. Dr Mujumdar agreed to the idea and thus was born Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies. Col Balasubramanian took over the reins as its director,” said another associate.
Col Balasubramanian then went on to start an educational institute of his own.
Over the years he established a college at the Agrasen School at Yerawada, Pune, with 100 students. Balaji Institute of Modern Management, which operated from the same rented place for four years, was another achievement of Col Balasubramanian.
“Gradually three new management institutes for telecom, international business and human resources – BITM, BIIB and BIMHRD – were established. With the help of students’ fees and a bank loan, a new campus was built in 2000. The USP of all these institutes of the Sri Balaji Society is that they function 365 days, without any weekend or holidays,” said an associate.
In 2019, Sri Balaji Society achieved the status of a private university, while Col Balasubramanian served as the Chancellor of Sri Balaji University, Pune, and the editor-in-chief of Corporate Citizen, a fortnightly business magazine which he founded five years ago to pursue his passion for journalism.
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