Dr. Nirmala Prasad (1951-December 5, 2019) was a teacher and educationist from South India noted for her position as the former principal of M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women and as the former Head of the Department at Ethiraj College for Women in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Education and Career
Dr. K Nirmala Prasad is the former principal of MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai and the former Head of the Department Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai. She completed her doctorate in Commerce from the University of Madras. She was the Professor & Founder Head of the Postgraduate & Research Department of Commerce in Ethiraj College for 21 years and from 1997 to 2013, she was Principal of M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women. She initiated the entrepreneurship cell, the community radio station and introduced a finishing school course during her tenure. She served the college for 16 years till her retirement in 2013. Prasad was also a Syndicate member of the University of Madras for three terms and a member of the University Grants Commission.
In the late 1960s, there was no college in Tamil Nadu that offered courses in commerce for female students and Prasad had to pursue her B.Com and M.Com degrees remotely through correspondence, never having set foot in a college as a student.
Post Graduation M.Com I Class (1973) Gold Medal M.Phil I Class (1984) Gold Medal
Ph.D. Ph.D. in Commerce from the University of Madras (1988)
Building an Institution
Both my daughter and the college were five years old when I took over as Principal,” says Nirmala Prasad, the head of M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women in Chennai. “I spent more time in college than at home. I can’t say it was a perfect work-life balance. But I took a conscious decision to empower thousands of women at M.O.P. rather than be ‘selfish’ and devote attention to my daughter alone.”
This, perhaps, aptly sums up her 16-year stint as Principal ahead of her retirement later this month. During this period, the well-known educationist and her team have transformed a little-known institution into a sought-after academic entity that has notched several firsts.
As Syndicate member of the University of Madras for three terms, Nirmala lent her expertise and administrative prowess to the country’s oldest university. And as member of the University Grants Commission, she helped set new benchmarks for quality in higher education.
Arriving at M.O.P. after 25 years of heading the Commerce Department at Ethiraj College, she got down to the task of growing the fledgling college into a well-known brand. Today the college is run like an efficient corporate, with the twin goals of maximising value to ‘customers’ — as she often refers to the students, and charting new paths to forge a unique identity.
Interestingly, she consciously chose not to teach, focusing her energies instead on professionalising education and ensuring the college stood out amongst the older, established counterparts, “all within a 2-3 km radius!”
“It was a real challenge to attract students to a new college, a private institution with no government aid. We had to charge fairly high fees, even for courses other colleges were offering at half the cost, and had to create a value proposition that would justify the fee,” she says.
That was when she hit upon her idea of ‘unique service proposition’. “My USP was that we would offer not just a degree but a holistic education,” she says.
And she knew exactly how to do this. She is especially interested in empowering young women to become entrepreneurs; the college set up the Entrepreneurship Development Cell in 1999.
“It troubled me that many talented and highly intelligent young women were just sitting at home after marriage, letting their skills go to waste because of societal pressures. I wanted to help such women become self-employed and, in turn, create jobs for others. I felt we should create creators.”
Principal M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women, No.20, IV Lane, Nungambakkam High Road, Chennai – 34, T.N. India Period: since 1997 – 2013 (16 Years ) Role: Institution Building
Co-ordinator of Un-aided Courses Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai Period: since 1981 – 1995 (15 Years ) Professor & Founder Head Department of Commerce, Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai Period: 1975 – 1995 (21 Years )
Teaching Experience: 41 Years Professor and Head Department of Commerce, Ethiraj College for Women 1975 – 1995 (21 Years)
Assistant Professor Department of Commerce, S.I.E.T College for Women, Chennai 1974 -1975 (1 Year)
Mary Clubwala Jadhav Hr. Sec. School Honorary Secretary ( 2013-2019)
Seva Samajam Girls Home Honorary Secretary (2013-2019)
Period : 1988 – 2019 (31 Years)
On going Major research project funded by ICSSR
Guided 10 Ph.DS in the areas of Women Entrepreneurship,Marketing and Organizational Behaviour
Currently guiding 1 Ph.D in the area of Quality of Higher Education,Work Life Balance and Total quality Management.
Guided 40 research projects in the areas of Entrepreneurship,Business Management, and Organizational Behaviour
Institutionalized research culture amongst students and faculty
Handling major and minor research consultancy projects
Awards & Recognition
Awarded British Commonwealth Fellowship to attend a Workshop on ”International Programme on Management Institutions of Higher Education” – 1999. Invited by the Consortium of Community Colleges for International Development Inc. (Funded by the USAID) as an international scholar to study the functioning of Community College in U.S – 2002
Recipient of “Managerial Excellence Award” for Educational Institutions by Madras Management Association, Chennai – 2003 “Vocational Excellence” Award by Rotary Club of West – 2003 “Paul Harris Fellow Award” by the Rotary Club of Madras on behalf of Rotary International – 2005 “Melvin Jones Worthy Person Award” by the Lions International in the year 2004 “Women Achiever 2005″ by Snehidhi Magazine “Centenarian Seva Ratna” Award by The Centenarian Trust – 2005 “Career Guru” Award by the Chennai HR Forum – 2006 “Acharya” Award by Infomedia Management P. Ltd – 2008 “Vibrant Indian Award” by Developers India – 2009 “For the sake of Honour Award” by The Rotary Club of Ambattur June 2009 "Mrs YGP Award" for teaching excellence 2017
Nirmala Prasad was born on 4th August, in P.V Kalathur in Tamilnadu to C.B Krishnasway and Parimala Krishnaswamy. Her father was an entrepreneur and her mother was a homemaker. She was the second out of seven children. She married Prasad on 4th December, 1980. The couple has one daughter, Madhumitha.
Companies and Institutions Dr K Nirmala Prasad was a part of:
1) Madras Chamber of Commerce & Industry
2) Co Chair in Education and Skill Sector
3) General Committee Member
4) Madras Management Association
5) Chairperson of Sub Committee - Student Training and Empowerment Program
6) Managing Committee Member
7) Malolan College, Tamil Nadu Governing Council Member
8) Caplin Point Laboratories Ltd Board Of Directors
9) Sankara University, Kancheepuram UGC Nominee for Koushal Programme
10) Mary Clubwala Jadhav Hr. Sec. School Honorary Secretary
11) Seva Samajam Girls Home Honorary Secretary
12) The Hindu Senior Secondary School - India Managing Committee Member
13) Guild of Service (c) Managing Committee Member
14) SDNB VAISHNAV COLLEGE Governing Council Member
15) Governing Council Member Company NameSri Sankara Arts and Science College - India
16) University Grants Commission (UGC) Expert Committee Member New Delhi Area, India
17) National Assessment and Accreditation Council Assessor Banglore
18) University of Madras Syndicate Member Chennai
19) MOP VAISHNAV COLLEGE FOR WOMEN Principal Chennai
20) Ethiraj College for Women Founder Head of Department Commerce Chennai