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Glass Ceiling Broken: Meet Anju Seth, the First Woman Director Of India’s Oldest IIM

Interestingly, Seth is an alumna of the same institute and had pursued her MBA from 1978-79.

Despite being the oldest B-school in the country, in its five decades of existence, the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C) has never had a woman at the helm of its academic affairs.

Well, that is all set to change now, as last week the institute announced that it had appointed its first-ever woman director.

Professor Anju Seth, a celebrated academician from the pedagogy of business administration and management, is the woman who finally cracked the glass ceiling, and took over from its incumbent director, Saibal Chattopadhyay, on Friday.

Screened by a search panel that was appointed by the board of governors of the institution, Seth was a frontrunner amongst the shortlisted academicians, before she was finally confirmed.

Professor Anju Seth. Source: Virginia Tech.

“We are indeed delighted that Anju will be the first woman director of the IIM-C. She was the unanimous choice of the search-cum-selection committee and the Board of Governors,” said Shrikrishna Kulkarni, an IIM-C board chairperson, reports PTI.

Interestingly, Seth is an alumna of the same institute and had pursued her MBA from 1978-79. After receiving her doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1988, she briefly taught at the University of Illinois before joining the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech as a Professor of Management and was eventually appointed as the Head of Department between the years 2008 and 2013.

With her critical areas of interest ranging from corporate strategy, acquisitions, restructuring, strategic alliances and joint ventures, corporate governance and ethics, to globalisation and strategy in emerging economies, the academician has an illustrious career graph of over 25 years and has received multiple awards and recognition for her teaching and research.


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“It is an honour and privilege to be appointed to serve IIM-Calcutta in the position of director. I look forward to working with faculty, staff, students, governors and all other stakeholders to build on the institute’s strong foundations and accomplish new heights of eminence,” Seth said.

As Seth returns to her alma mater, we hope her innings as the director of the institution will be memorable and fruitful.

While she has indeed charted a new era in the history of IIM-C, she isn’t the first woman to hold the directorial position at the IIMs. In fact, eminent academician Neelu Rohmetra, a US State Department IVLP Alumnus, USIEF Fulbright Fellow and a Post-Doctoral Commonwealth Fellow of Lancaster University, created history when she became the Director of IIM Sirmaur (IIMS) last year.

She has also been involved as member of AICTE committee for developing policy guidelines and benchmarks for grading AICTE approved PGDM institutions across the country.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.