Which means processes should be less rigid and cumbersome.
EDU: Have you ever thought of coming back to India for good and teaching here?
Dr Prashant: I thought about it very seriously in 2006. ISB had even made an offer. I asked IIM Ahmedabad not to make any offer, as the remuneration they were offering was pathetic—it was like they were asking me to work almost for free. In case of ISB, it expects senior faculty to participate in institution building as it is a growing business school. I could not devote that kind of time at that juncture and therefore could not take it up.
EDU: What do academics, desirous of returning, look for?
Dr Prashant: We academics value two things—freedom and flexibility to do our work and the second is remuneration, which is not as important as the first, but important enough. Remuneration in the education sector in India has not kept pace with the private sector. If private sector salaries have grown by 300 per cent in the last few years, then academic salaries should go up by at least 100 to 200 per cent. That has not happened. Not only is the remuneration poor, but even institutes like IIM-A do not come close in terms of freedom and flexibility. Typical faculty in a business school in the US has to teach 80-100 hours in a year. I finish my teaching in 14-16 days and rest of the year I have all the freedom to do what I want. Most business schools in India do not offer an environment for research. When faculty members are not paid enough, they usually end up doing a lot of other activities to earn extra money. This leaves them little time to do research. Also, there are too many pressures on faculty’s time—teaching, consulting and service activities like sitting on various committees. In the US, faculty is not expected to do all that.
EDU: What else would it take for top-notch professors like you to return and teach?