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Five minutes with Debapratim Purkayastha

Debapratim Purkayastha, Associate Dean, ICFAI Business School (IBS)

Debapratim Purkayastha

Who or what has been the biggest inspiration to you?

There are many people who have inspired me throughout my life, and it would not be fair to single any one out.

A wise man once said that the best thing someone can do for a child is to have some good books around him/her. I feel that I have been more inspired by the written words of many authors. I developed the habit of reading early in my life. I was a voracious reader and used to read anything I could find in print.

I was always inspired and awed by a good writer’s ability to present topics in a certain way and how he/she has a profound influence on the readers. This habit of mine not only helped increase my awareness on many issues; it also helped me pick up the nuances of writing intuitively. I think this had had a lasting influence on me as a person, and also on my career.

You have won many awards and honours. Is there an achievement of which you’re most proud?

Debapratim Purkayastha

I am grateful for all the awards and recognitions that have come my way and each one of them is special to me. I rate The Case Centre Awards very highly for the simple reason that they are based on the number of business schools that use the case in class – which I believe is the best criteria for judging the true value of a case.

However, I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to inspire a number of my colleagues to give their best towards case teaching and case writing, thus making a positive difference in the lives of many students.

What do you see as the most important aspect of your role as Associate Dean at ICFAI Business School (IBS)?

I think the most important aspect of my role today is to ingrain the case method of teaching more deeply into our ICFAI group of institutions and beyond. The case method of teaching and case development is already deeply institutionalized at ICFAI Business School Hyderabad, but we have to see how it can be equally ingrained in all our other sister business schools and universities.

A key goal is to see how many more people I can help develop into good case method practitioners and case writers.

Why do you believe the case method is so important in business education?

Debapratim PurkayasthaI believe so strongly in the case method as I have experienced the benefits of this method first hand as a student, as a trainee, and as a trainer, and much later as a business school teacher. Not only did I find the case-based sessions more engaging, I also observed how these sessions enabled application of the knowledge and helped develop skills that are vital to the success of the participants in their future careers.

The most fertile space in this universe is an open mind. Being highly participant-centered, the case method trains the students as well as the teachers to keep an open mind and unleash its latent power. Their learning process doesn’t end with class participation or completion of an assignment. The case method impresses on participants how they can learn from various situations around them – even seemingly trivial issues and incidents.

Having discussed and debated hundreds of cases, participants intuitively develop what I like to call ‘case thinking’ or ‘thinking cases’, i.e., faced with a key decision as a manager they are able to draw upon numerous analogies and a large set of vicarious experiences as they make choices. Conducted properly, the case method instills in the participants a commitment to continuous learning. As long as the participants are able to learn from their future experiences, the objectives of the case method have been accomplished.

If you could be transported into another profession for one week, which would you choose, and why?

I think I would be a training & development manager in a company – another great way to make a positive difference in other peoples’ lives.

Debapratim Purkayastha

How do you relax?

For me, spending time with the family is a great way to relax. I also enjoy observing nature.

Do you have a favourite quote or guiding principle?

Debapratim PurkayasthaMy favourite is from Swami Vivekananda (1863 –1902), the world-famous Indian monk credited with raising interfaith awareness and bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century:

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

This is my life’s motto really, and I try to live up to it.

Debapratim Purkayastha is Associate Dean at ICFAI Business School (IBS) and a recipient of The Case Centre’s prestigious Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method Award.

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