Teaching is his passion. After ten years as a practicing manager, Prafulla Y. Agnihotri, the first Director of India's 11 {+t} {+h} Indian Institute of Management in Tiruchi, left the lucrative industry sector to begin a career in teaching, till then a favourite hobby. He became a full-time faculty at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, and moved to the Indian Institute of Management – Calcutta as Professor in Marketing Group in 2006. He was also the Chairperson of Career Development and Placement Cell there before taking up the new assignment in Tiruchi.

As in industry, he excelled in teaching too. A visiting professor since 2000 at Euromed Marseille Provence and CERAM, Sophia Antipolis, France, Dr. Agnihotri, the co-author of a book titled ‘Principles of Marketing Strategy: A South Asian Perspective' along with Philip Kotler, Gary Armstrong and Ehsan Ul Haq, was declared the Best Teacher in Marketing Management at the 16 {+t} {+h} Business School Affaire and Dewang Mehta Business School Awards in 2008 and by CMO, Singapore, in July 2010.

In an informal chat with R. Krishnamoorthy, the IIM-T Director shares his other interests in life.

He likes swimming, travelling and cricket – he was an opening batsman for the Mumbai University team. He loves imbibing traits of great leaders like J.R.D. Tata and Nani Palkhivala by reading their biographies.

Life for Dr. Agnihotri has been a straight line, though he recalls that he was suddenly engulfed by the sense of responsibility after his son's birth when he was still unsure of parenthood.

“As a parent, my responsibility was in making him a good human being, instilling values and developing personality to decide what is right and wrong. When somebody compliments about my son, I think that I have succeeded in the acid test.”

Lots of travelling, he says, helps in evolving a broad perspective of life. “Travel makes one tolerant, respect other cultures and widen the horizon of thinking. Citing his own experience, Dr. Agnihotri said that he had heard a lot about the rich Tamil culture early in his life, and that he felt more mature after experiencing it. “The Big Temple in Thanjavur is amazing. We can take pride in creating the architectural marvel of the world without mechanical tools thousands of years ago.”

To the extent to which he is impressed by the cultural heritage, the IIM-T Director expresses sadness over value systems getting lost. The lack of civic sense, he reckons, reflects in spitting in public, dumping of garbage and careless driving. “There is need for self-control.” Promoting values, he feels, must be centric to human life. Dr. Agnihotri observed that for a city like Tiruchi that serves as the cultural and educational capital, there should be more greenery.

Has he any idea of getting back to industry? “I am still connected with industry through consultancy activities, but would like to remain in teaching profession. Teaching is a noble profession, an opportunity to change minds. The profession is all about changing paradigms, bringing sub-conscious to conscious.”

Dr. Agnihotri's areas of interest include Marketing Strategy, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Productivity, International Business, International HRM, Services Marketing and Strategic Brand Management.

The passion for teaching comes from love for kids, according to Dr. Agnohotri, who aspires to repay his gratitude to the society by giving something back, particularly to the disadvantaged kids. Fortunately for him, his wife Arundhati, a senior Lecturer in Commerce and Accountancy at the Anjuman I Islam Saif Taiyabji Girls' High School and Junior College, Mumbai, also shares his passion for children and their progress.

“I am saddened by the sight of kids begging on the streets. We intend to start a Day Care Centre for them in the years to come. It is a dream we would fulfil together.”