This Japanese professor returns to keep a promise at IIM
His house lies damaged in the devastating tsunami and quake that struck Japan on March 11, his 100-year-old mother is in a hospital in Japan, but 78-year-old Shoji Shiba is back — to continue teaching his class at the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata.
One of the world’s foremost experts in Total Quality Management, this former professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management has been teaching the Visionary Leadership in Manufacturing Programme (VLMP) at IIM-C.
In fact, he is key to the programme launched in 2007 in collaboration with IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta, with active support from the Union HRD Ministry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). During the one-year programme, engineering graduates with experience in manufacturing also do an industry visit in Japan.
“I initiated the project and it is my responsibility. It is like (these students) are my kids,” says Shiba. “There is a Japanese mentality that we keep the promises we make. Till I am alive, I will keep the promise of being here.” Shiba says that since the VLMP programme is a “national project” and the Indian manufacturing industry has been going through a critical phase, he decided to come to India and teach, leaving his wife and family in Japan.