Monthly Archives: September 2008
From Outlook magazine
CEO, Food Bazaar
“An MBA had to be aggressive and an extrovert, and I was neither.”
When his family shifted from Goa to Mumbai, a 260 sq ft flat in Mumbai’s small-time suburb Bhayander wasn’t exactly the big city experience the school-going Sadashiv had in mind. From those humble beginnings to a posh apartment in Khar, Sadashiv has indeed come a long way. Initially, money was always an issue: Sadashiv went to engineering college thanks to his aunt’s monetary support. And that’s where he first heard about an MBA.
“Without it, I’d never have been able to shed the baggage of my middle-class upbringing and get used to unabashed consumption through retail,” he says, adding that B-school gives an individual a natural passport of confidence. Nayak first joined Asian Paints, where he got a sense of the booming economy. Then, he had a six-year stint at HUL, where he got a taste of the competitive spirit of the regional players. Despite his apprehensions about getting into retail, he felt the need for change.As long as the customer remains unpredictable, he says, retail will be interesting.
By Arti Sharma
Leena Nair 39
Executive Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd
XLRI, Jamshedpur, 1992
“We were always taught never to take things for granted.”
Somewhere in Etah, UP, there’s a 500-metre stretch of tarmac named after HUL’s youngest executive director. That’s because, as a management trainee, Leena Nair managed to rally villagers in a ‘Shramdaan’ to connect the village to the nearest main road. Nair grew up in Kolhapur listening to stories of how her family faced hardship. “Although I hadn’t experienced it first-hand, we were always taught never to take things for granted.” So while her family could afford to send her to college in a Mercedes, she was made to cycle 12 km each way because her father felt she hadn’t earned the right to that kind of luxury.
Knowing she was good at leading and dealing with people, Nair applied to XLRI despite opposition from the family. She remembers optimism about reforms in B-school, although “the reality of the change was much slower than anticipated”. At HUL, they were often “thrown in at the deep end” to figure out if they could sink or swim. One of the key challenges she has faced is reversing HUL’s perception at campus placements. After five years, hul is back to being voted a Day Zero company.
By Arti Sharma
October 20th, 2008.
GuidelinesOur goal is to set as few rules as possible. However, we ask that you put your idea into one of the following categories and consider the evaluation criteria below.Categories:Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don’t fit into any category at all.Criteria:Reach: How many people would this idea affect?Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?Longevity: How long will the idea’s impact last?
Dr. Madhukar Shukla links to two stories from Outlook magazine at his blog Alternative Perspective
It came as a much-needed shock to the system. Two months ago, IIT Madras director M.S. Ananth raised an issue that everyone in the academic fraternity agrees with, but no one quite wants to speak about openly. Questioning the relevance of the IIT entrance examination, he said the
present system fails to attract the best talent, those with raw intelligence.
This, he stressed, was because a large number of students took the help of
coaching institutes to crack the exams and did not possess the genuine skills required for the IITs.
The same is true for MBA entrance exams too:
Says management guru Mrityunjaya B. Athreya, “The
B-schools have gone too far towards the objective-type examinations and there is a general decline in language and communications skills. These are important for management. There is also not enough stress on the general skills and knowledge required in this kind of work.” He goes on to add that while business is gradually stepping up its exposure to corporate social
responsibility (CSR), that spirit is not visible in management entrance
examinations. “It is not enough to produce technicians and engineers.
We need holistic people,” says Athreya.”…
“…It was a surprising, and telling, exclusion from the list of compulsory courses at IIM-A. From this year, ‘Indian Social and Political Environment’ is no longer an option for first-year MBA students at the country’s leading B-school. The course, which has been around for many years, encouraged MBA students to learn something beyond boardroom skills by allowing them to regularly interact with disadvantaged sections of society and visit sites of development projects, among other things. This year’s batch at IIM-A will no longer have that privilege… There were some who felt this could be just another example of how alienated business schools are from the country’s social realities. And how, with a single-minded focus on training executives to be in sync with the corporate mantra of maximising growth and profits, B-school graduates are becoming immune to larger social responsibilities.
….Managing land acquisitions and the environment, for example, are seen by most students as more annoyance and expense than responsibility. That’s a pity, because businesses have to willy-nilly deal with such issues that have widespread social ramifications. Looking at the intense opposition from local stakeholders to the numerous SEZs being planned, or the environmental opposition to large projects, one would have thought B-schools would sensitise future managers to these prickly matters.
…”Most students who come to business schools do so with a one-point
goal of getting a good salary. They seem to be increasingly less informed about the problems our country faces and less concerned about the larger humane role that businesses can play,” adds Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, professor at IIM Calcutta’s Centre for Development and Environmental Policy. “It seems educational institutions are creating intellectual marginals at the core of our metropolises,” he observes.
The B-schools, unfortunately, couldn’t care less. Most MBA graduates are lapped up with high salary packages by firms hungry for fresh talent. In that sense, there’s no market-driven push to incorporate courses of greater social relevance. And this perpetuates business that is isolated from the rest of society”….