Late Prof. Labdhi Bhandari of IIM Ahmedabad is regarded by people familiar with his work as a luminary of the Indian management world. Yet, little remains written about him that will serve as a legacy of his contributions. By speaking to his students, colleagues and peers, and by studying the papers he left behind, we are attempting to reconstruct his life and contributions.
My introduction to Labdhiin the early 1970s was through another talented PhD student at Columbia at that time - Prakash Apte (who went on to become Director, IIM-Bangalore). I was a highly nervous entering MBA student in Feb 1972 leaning heavily on Prakash for advice on unlocking the mysteries of Introductory Macroeconomics. I recall meeting Labdhi several times in the apartment he used to share with Prakash and others in late 1972, and he always found the time to listen closely to my unique complaints, which stood out among the chatter of other PhD students in the apartment. Landhi was quite helpful in offering his insights into a marketing research course I was taking in early 1973, and tried his best to sneak me into a summer job at Lever Bros in the summer of 1973 - he had one locked in for himself as an ex-Lever executive. This effort did not pan out, but his natural streak of helpfulness was evident. I lost touch with him on graduation in May 1974 and a new job with Xerox in upstate NY - in retrospect, I do feel I made a big mistake in not keeping up our nascent relationship and further developing it beyong the Columbia days. Even in 1972-74, Labdhiwas revered as a "Lever star" and a genuine "Marketing Guru".
I have no doubt Labdhi is very happy in his new place and quite possibly "educating" his students there on responsible marketing with an evangelical zeal. I also wish his surviving family every success in their endeavours on this planet. *Mr. Shiv Kumar knew LRB at the Columbia Business School in the 1970s. He is now a Senior Advisor with Nomura Code, Bell Capital Partners and ICL and lives in London.