In 1964 as I was preparing to join IIMA faculty, Labdhi often came to me to discuss if he should join PGP/MBA at Ahmedabad. He was completing his BA at Jodhpur, when I was teaching in the University. He was very shy, low profile and an introvert student. I must say he was quite unsure of the future of the new management course and whether it would be a good choice. I remember we had two or three discussions in which he was trying to seek reassurance that he was making the right choice. I was myself very enthusiastic about management education and trying to change my own professional track from the basic discipline of Sociology to applied behavioural sciences. I encouraged him to seriously consider going to IIMA.
Finally he did decide to join IIMA, and found the first few months really tough, involving a lot of hard work and long hours of studies. To my surprise, I discovered that within 4 to 6 months at IIMA he was a completely transformed person with amazing levels of self-confidence, communication abilities and a very smart presentation of self in all encounters.
In my life I had never witnessed such a radical transformation of a student personality in a few months mainly due to teaching-learning engagement, and peer group interactions in and out of class room at IIMA. His rapid progress as an outstanding student of remarkable personal and professional qualities can only be recognized through differences I observed in him at Ahmedabad after Jodhpur.
I have no doubt that if he had continued his professional journey he would have achieved great eminence as a management guru of global reputation.
*Prof. Kulbhushan Kothari is Chairman and Managing Trustee of Pratham Rajasthan and a noted educationist.
Editor's Note: Growing up, we only ever heard stories of how brilliant LRB was and his many qualities were often spoken of as if they were innate. In that context, Prof. Kothari's account is important. The remarkable transformation that Prof. Kothari refers to was something that LRB himself acknowledged. In a letter to his elder brother in 1969, he called IIMA his 'break in life', where he was thrown in the deep end and had to learn to swim or sink. At least in 1969, he felt that such a transformative break or opportunity is something that everyone will eventually get, and its up to them to use it to make their own destiny.