Influence in the academic world can be hard to quantify, but there are some professors who stand out as being among the cream of the crop – who any student would count themselves fortunate to study under. Professor Avinash G Mulky is one such professor. His has been a career crowned with accolades, achievements, the love of his students and the respect of his colleagues. Named Best Faculty Member twice at IIM Lucknow, he has also been honoured with the Star TV National B-School Award for Best Professor Teaching Marketing in 2011.

Professor Mulky joined IIM Bangalore as Professor in the Marketing area on 05th June 2006. Before this, he was BPCL Chair Professor at IIM Lucknow. He came into the academic world after over 20 years in industry in senior positions in Marketing.

In academia, Professor Mulky’s research interests include Retail Modernization, Distribution Structure and Salesforce Management. He has presented papers at international conferences, published in international and national journals and written several cases. In 2014, he won the best paper award at the Annual Conference of Marketing Educators in San Jose, USA.

Always willing to share of his experience and wisdom in administrative matters, Professor Mulky has served as Member of the IIMB Board of Governors and was Chairperson of Post Graduate Programme at IIM Bangalore and IIM Lucknow.

Prof. Sreelata Jonnalagedda, Prof. Mulky’s colleague in the Marketing area, says: “It was a great experience to have Avinash as a colleague and to learn from him. I appreciate his efforts to make his classes relevant, relatable, and palatable to both MBA and PhD students.”

Arun, Asst Professor at IIM Kozhikode, one of Prof. Mulky’s doctoral students, describes Prof. Mulky as the guiding light who enriched his academic life. “When doctoral students now approach me to be their guide, I think back on what a remarkable mentor Prof. Mulky was and think I have a long way to achieve that kind of maturity, so I tell them politely that I am not yet ready! Prof. Mulky’s doors were always open to us – his students. A humane individual, he taught us the meaning of being approachable as teachers.”

Jose Manu, DA for the Marketing Management course that Prof. Mulky offered, believes it is a special gift that Prof. Mulky possesses that makes hard work appear effortless! “Having attended every session of the course, I know how much effort and toil went into making it relevant for students,” he adds.

Doctoral scholar Dhrithi Mahadevan credits Prof. Mulky with making tough concepts, in Marketing, easily understandable, while Tanvi Gupta, who now teaches at IIM Udaipur, says Prof. Mulky is her role model who showed her how to balance between autonomy and control in class.

Karthik Niranjan S, PGP 2019-21, reveals that students fight a bidding war pledging all their points for Professor Mulky’s electives so that they get to experience his classes at least once during their time at IIMB. “I was privileged to sit through not one but two of Prof. Mulky’s courses,” he says, adding that Prof. Mulky is the reason many students, including himself, fell in love with Marketing and decided to pursue a career in the field.

Anant Singhal, also from the PGP Class of 2021, says he stepped into IIMB keen on Finance, but Prof. Mulky’s classes in Marketing made him reconsider his career trajectory. “After taking Prof. Mulky’s Marketing class in Term 1, I enrolled for his Market Research class in Term 4 again just for one more chance to imbibe a little more from his immense wealth of knowledge,” he says, adding that Prof. Mulky has been always available to guide students on their projects.

Dean Administration Professor Rajendra Bandi, who counts Professor Mulky amongst his dear friends, talks about how they “magically gelled” while coordinating the EGMP IT Consortium programme for the last 13 years. “Avinash, Padmini (Srinivasan) and I have been coordinating this programme since its inception in 2007. Like interlocking stones, we each just fit into our roles, effortlessly,” he says, adding that he truly came to know Prof. Mulky in the last three years when both of them were members of the Board of Governors of IIM Bangalore. “In trying to represent the faculty’s voice, we sometimes ran into contentious issues during the board meetings. Often, my email communications would be brusque and blunt, but Avinash would rework them, expressing the same disagreement firmly but diplomatically. I have learnt a lot from Avinash in how to present my arguments without sounding rude!”

Paying tribute to Prof. Mulky’s perceptiveness, Prof. Bandi says: “In my current role as Dean Administration and as member of the Steering Committee for campus preparedness in COVID times, I got to appreciate Avinash’s ability to see certain perspectives on several issues, which several of us in the Steering Committee would fail to see.”

And, when Prof. Bandi declares that it has been a joy and a privilege knowing and working with Prof. Mulky over the years – as colleague, friend and guide, there are many voices, across the IIMB campus and beyond, that echo his thoughts.