I I M B
Message from the Alumni Office
Rakesh Godhwani Head, Alumni Association
Sankarshan Basu Chairperson, Alumni Affairs
The last six months have been very eventful at the alumni office which is now well into completing its second year of operations. In our days at IIMB, we were taught topics like building an organization, strategic options, marketing functions, operations, budgets, accounts, vision mission etc. It's a wonderful experience to actually apply all of them to our work at the alumni association. The nuts and bolts of our association seem to be aligning and moving in a common direction now which sums up in a simple sentence - To Engage, Energize and Enhance IIMB's leadership through a strong alumni association. Anusmaran 2010 was a perfect example of how alumni, students and faculty joined hands to come together in 12 different cities worldwide. The alumni office provided central support but the entire effort was completely planned and executed by the chapters and students. Over the last 8 months, we toured around many chapters worldwide and met with office bearers and alumni. It was a wonderful feeling to meet alumni who probably have not stepped into the institute since they graduated. Our mission is very simple - to meet as many of you as possible and build strong relations and friendships. For the first time in history of IIMB, we also involved alumni in PGP interviews, a process that is followed in PGSEM and EPGP as well. We have launched the Alumni ID card that allows you access to the Institute and we continue to host reunions at campus
every December. The alumni office team of Sushma and Rohini, along with the Student Alumni Secretary, Bhawna, are the pillars of this operation and I thank them for their help. The IIMB Alumni Magazine is now in its 4th edition now. Under the able leadership of Ranjini Sivaswamy, who has brought in a fresh breath of content and ideas both in the magazine and the website, this magazine has many firsts too. Making a 40 page magazine is a humungous effort and for the first time, Ranjini and her team has created a whopping 48 pages - 20% more. We have redesigned the look and packed in new sections as well. Big thanks to Binil of Cicada Media for creatively developing this new design and layout for us!
throughout the editorial process. Unnati Narang showed commendable talent in interviewing our alumni who are serving the social sector and capturing the essence of their service in the lead story of this Magazine. She is a freelance journalist who is also the co-founder of a publishing portal called 'Serene Woods'. We are really getting addicted to the cups of coffee with you all at the alumni office. Do drop in and Engage, Energize & Enhance our alumni association. Regards, Rakesh Godhwani & Sankarshan Basu
We must sincerely also thank three people who have immensely contributed to this Magazine Sarvpriya Dewan PGSEM '08, Arnav Pandya PGP '01 and Unnati Narang. Sarvpriya Dewan, a Business Analyst with Oracle and a gifted photographer, has contributed the visual appeal of this Magazine. He generously took out time to click pictures for us as well as shared some of his wonderful photographs. Arnav Pandya, a Financial Planner, a Chartered Accountant and a columnist with leading publications in India, volunteered to help the editorial team in ensuring the quality of the Magazine. He has been a constant and reliable support
Rohini R, Ranjini Sivaswamy, Sushma R
Contents Editorial Committee: Sankarshan Basu Chairperson, Alumni Affairs
Rakesh Godhwani Head, Alumni Association Ranjini Sivaswamy Editor
Editorial Team: Rakesh Godhwani Ranjini Sivaswamy Arnav Pandya PGP '01 - Editorial Support
Unnati Narang - Guest Writer Sarvpriya Dewan PGSEM '08 - Photography Sushma R Rohini R
Change Leaders Cover Photo:
What's up @IIMB
Sarvpriya Dewan PGSEM '08
Design & Production: Cicada Media Bangalore
Bannerghatta Road Bangalore 560 076, India Tel: +91-80-2699 3336 Fax: +91-80-2658 4050 Email: email@example.com Website: www.iimbaa.org
Copyright, 2010. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine can be reproduced either in part or full without IIMB's prior written permission.
For private circulation only
40 Alumnus Writes
Change Leaders of IIMB
IIMB Alumni Igniting a Social
The world today is plagued with multifarious social challenges. In view of the lopsided distribution of income and wealth, we have experienced that some sections of the society lag behind in terms of both the opportunity and the means to live a dignified life. In India, the benefits of economic growth have not trickled down to the bottom of the pyramid, making it all the more important that certain individuals and organisations come forward to aid the government in its developmental roles. This helps to raise a voice for the huddled masses and make possible, a more just and equal society, ensuring livelihood opportunity and a clean, healthy environment for one and all.Hence the 04 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
need for service in the social sector. Over the years, the perspective of the social sector has broadened from being synonymous with 'activism' to being called 'social work' and presently, a blend of social work and social entrepreneurship. As a result of this transformation, the sector today is not just about Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or social organisations but it also includes companies working towards developmental goals. This broadening perspective has led to the need for and acceptability of professionals from varied backgrounds and with diverse skills in the sector. The growing scale and
scope of social enterprises coupled with a thrust on quality of service, makes it necessary for more and more management professionals to play an active role. Our alumni have set the lead in making social change possible, through their contribution to issues affecting the environment, extending reach and quality of education, health and many other causes. Here is a glimpse into the lives of these social leaders, who graduated with management degrees and lucrative job offers but decided to live a life beyond conventionalities, deploying their managerial skills to a cause so humble and yet so magnificent in impact.
ÂŠ Sarvpriya Dewan
At any point of your life, have you ever felt the urge to be part of something bigger than yourself? Have you ever wanted to make a difference, even if in a small way, to how things were shaping up in the world around you? Have you ever wanted to help someone out, even if just a single person, selflessly and with whatever means you had? If you have, then you would find greater inspiration in the stories of these esteemed alumni of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), who took the path less travelled and paved their way towards making this world a better place to live in.
More than slate and chalk: Reinventing education in India She sits by the roadside. A dismal weighing machine is placed in front of her but it is no coin vending machine! It can never buy her happiness. She steals a moment to open her torn notebook to scribble letters and draw shapes. It's all mixed up in her head. There's no one to guide her. Illiterate parents, no school, no teachers.. Where does she go? Her greatest ambition, at the age of twelve, is to learn alphabets, to learn to read and write. Can you assure her a future?
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
Send them to school Anil Kumar Yerra PGP '98 An alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIMB, Anil Kumar Yerra is an IT professional who worked with companies like Wipro, Siemens, MindTree, Jataayu Software and IBM. He then decided to apply his business management acumen for the development of the society by working fulltime for over 6 years with The Akshaya Patra Foundation - the World's largest NGO run school meal program for development of child education. For him, the mission of 'food for education' is more than just food for thought. It is a vision he has walked towards every single day.
Since his school days, Anil Kumar Yerra was inclined towards humanitarian concerns, balancing it with academics and cultural activities. His real tryst with the social sector was when he was working in the IT industry initially. Anil explains, "I met a team of selfless individuals, many of whom were highly qualified and working on socially relevant projects. I was motivated to join. With the spirit of exploring an exciting new domain, I took the plunge! Fortunately the Akshaya Patra initiative was launched soon and my journey began. I have found my work very fulfilling and intellectually stimulating." Coming from a high profile professional and career background this transition could have lead to some resistance from family. Anil clarifies, "My parents and brother were extremely encouraging. That was very reassuring. I am indebted and grateful to them."
The Journey so Far Anil was inspired by the visionary leadership of Chairman of the Foundation, Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, who developed a technology-driven operating model for Akshaya Patra. It is now the world's largest NGO run school meal program for development of Child Education, accredited in the Limca Book of World Records and is a case study at Harvard University. The program started as a pilot project in five schools in Bangalore, feeding 1,500 children and has now grown into a mammoth endeavour reaching out to over a million children in 18 05 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
locations across eight states in India. Anil discusses the idea behind this noble work, "Children from economically challenged sectors of society often prefer work in place of education due to hunger. Some children even quit school to provide food for themselves and their families. Extreme hunger and short attention spans also leads to poor performance at school. Akshaya Patra has taken up the cause of nutritious school meals with the purpose of providing 'unlimited food for education', thereby breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. The program is driven by the philosophy - feeding an underprivileged child is not charity; it's our social responsibility."
Working directly for the society with like-minded enthusiastic people can provide a firm grounding in life and be quite elevating; I thank God for the opportunity Anil's contributions in particular have been in heading the Visual Media Communications, Corporate and Individual Donor Communications and Systems areas of the foundation. Positioning the Foundation among potential individual and corporate contributors, as the leading NGO working in child rights; developing highly effective marketing campaigns,
mobilizing resources, corporate donations and sponsorships supporting the foundation's objectives and activities; creative direction and management of multimedia, documentary film and website productions have been some of his notable milestones at Akshaya Patra.
A Rewarding experience Anil feels lucky to be able to contribute his management education towards a social cause. "Working directly for the society with likeminded enthusiastic people can provide a firm grounding in life and be quite elevating; I thank God for the opportunity," says Anil. "The time one wants to devote is a personal call but if one finds such things appealing then a career or even a short stint could add value. It may entail some sacrifices but I think it is well worth it!" he adds. He lays down various ways for other management students and alumni to catalyze social change, "At an individual level one can help acclaimed NGOs by supporting their cause. A donation is the quickest and easiest way. Secondly, since collective force can make a huge difference, you can influence your corporate body to partner with NGOs. Volunteering and giving time can touch people's lives and can be an enriching experience. The social sector needs strong leaders and only the resilient and the savviest organisations will survive.That is where management education can help.
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
From rote to learning Ujjwal Singh EPGP' 04 of changing how things were. It made me see what was happening in primary schools. That's how the idea of working in the education sector was born. When I met Ashish, founder of iDicoveri, I felt that I could help with the teachers' training programmes. Since then, there has been no looking back." Ujjwal Singh worked with bluechip corporates including TCS, NIIT and Hughes Communications before he found his true calling. In 2008, he joined iDiscoveri Education, a social enterprise with a mission to renew school education. In his capacity as the head of revolutionary Xseed teaching-learning programme at iDisoveri, Ujjwal has set new precedents for school education by thrusting upon the need to understand that every child is different.
Hailing from Bania Village in Uttar Pradesh, little did Ujjwal know that years after his entry into the hustling bustling city life and the fast corporate world, he would find himself going back to his roots once again, with renewed energy and a fresh sense of mission. For Ujjwal, life has been a series of unique experiences owing not just to his long trail from Ranchi to Patna to Delhi but more to his exposure to ground realities of education. These realities, he now stands to shape. How did this transition happen? Ujjwal explains, "When my father retired from service, he started a small school in our village, as even the nearest school back there is at least ten kilometres away. Even a graduate in Eastern UP cannot speak in English. I shared my father's vision
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Leading a mental revolution
much compared to regular teaching. Although the Xseed curriculum was introduced to K-VII schools as recently as 2007, and was accepted by only three schools in the first year, it has grown tremendously in a short span. The number of students enrolled in the company's patented and flagship Xseed programme adopted has crossed 100,000.
A touch of management At iDiscoveri, Ujjwal has played a key role in developing the Xseed primary school learning programme. Xseed's curriculum is designed to help generate motivation and curiosity in teachers and learners to inspire teachers to graduate from 'telling to teaching' and students from 'hearing to learning'. Ujjwal explains, "Today there is so much pressure of marks that the whole point of learning gets pushed into the backdrop. Xseed is about making teachers understand that every child is different. There are eight forms of multiple intelligences. In a class, if the teacher is catering to the audio-visual senses alone, only about 10-20% students, often declared the 'brighter' lot, might learn from this methodology. Learning is a step wise process of action, experience, observation and analysis. Xseed offers minute by minute classroom teaching guidelines. It adds objectivity to subjective parameters of performance. Marksheets are not fool proof guarantee of intelligence, for they come with a subtle warning. There is no point of knowing the product of two and three if you can't calculate area of a rectangle drawn with length 3 and breadth 2." iDiscoveri is now working in over 375 schools across the country, from the slums of Dharavi (Mumbai) to the tribal schools of Uttarakhand to private schools in the cities. Pilot research shows that the learning improvement of children is twice as
The essential difference between an IIMB and any other Business school, he feels is the perspective of the teachers. Ujjwal feels that his management education has helped him make the right choices in life. It has given him a macro perspective of things. He says, "After I left my job, I could have joined another MNC and earned double the salary but the experience would not be as satisfying as this. When I get emails from people who have benefitted from my training, I feel that I have made a worthy contribution in helping the next generation do better. If the cause is important, you can always take care of the bills!" In spite of having so much at hand, Ujjwal takes time out for at least two weeks every year to go back and teach at his father's school. Perhaps this is how great journeys begin and leave behind a legacy.
When I get emails from people who have benefitted from my training, feel that I have made a worthy contribution in helping the next generation do better. If the cause is important, you can always take care of the bills. SUMMER 2010
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
The experience of education Lakshmi Kaul PGP '80
In today's maddening rush for numbers and quantitative definitions for everything under the sun, it is very easy to lose sight of the quality of impact of our actions. With a single minded focus on quality of education, Lakshmi Kaul, a social entrepreneur started her own school, KK Academy, in Lucknow in the year 1989. Today, over one fifth of her students come from neglected sections of the society, to study in a classroom where there is enough room for each child to grow and no 'crowding out' whatsoever!
Alumnus of Modern School, International School of Geneva, St. Stephens College, University of Delhi and IIMB, Lakshmi Kaul has always known the importance of quality education. Discussing her need to provide a rich education experience to children, this social entrepreneur reminisces, "I started Kiddy Kingdom (KK) Academy back in 1989 with the idea that it should be a place where children rule. The idea struck me when I was looking for a good school for my two and a half year old daughter. The initial motivation largely came from my family. My son, who was born with a hearing impairment, inspired me to create a place where individual differences would be celebrated." Prior to her entrepreneurial stint, Lakshmi worked in the telecom sector. But she soon got a chance to make a difference by providing equal opportunity education to all children, especially the economically weak and 07 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
To encourage children whose parents can't afford to pay the fees, I ask them to pay whatever they can afford, just to inspire honest commitment. At the end of the day, it is not a commercial venture.
learning and growing through innovation. Children sell old newspapers to the 'kabadi walah' to learn about weight and how to do money calculations. Younger kids bring empty cartons and used wrappers of commonly used household items like toothpaste, which they use to read and recognize printed words. Music, art, theatre and creative writing form the backbone of this vibrant learning environment.
the disabled. Lakshmi points out, "A creative environment, where children feel empowered to ask questions and teachers take personal interest in their growth, ensures high quality learning. School should be a place where kids feel joyful, happy and loved. It puts kids from different strata of the society on a level platform."
Lakshmi, who did her Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) after starting the school, often takes classes, to interact with, motivate and challenge the students. She believes in inculcating the spirit of co-operation from an early age. Thus, she constantly creates opportunity for group activities like cooking and craft.
A lesson in diversity
KK Academy is a place where both students and children are constantly
On an average, every class has at least one child with a special need,
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
be it a student with dyslexia, attention deficit or a special learning disorder. There have also been students who suffered from hearing or visual impairments. Lakshmi says, "The idea of inclusion is to provide them the high quality education that the others are getting and to integrate them into the normal routine. Teachers are sensitized to the special needs of these children and we work in tandem with the parents to structure an individualized curriculum or teaching methodology where required."
250, about one fifth of the students come from economically backward families with illiterate parents. How does this work out? "To encourage children whose parents can't afford to pay the fees, I ask them to pay whatever they can afford, just to inspire honest commitment. At the end of the day, it is not a commercial venture. Well-wishers and a number of my batch mates from IIMB have contributed generously towards the scholarship fund for these kids," says Lakshmi.
Over the years, Lakshmi's school has become a place where both servants and heads of the family send their children. Presently, out of a batch of
Keeping spirits high Lakshmi is a face of trust, a brand that speaks for herself. She is
constantly on her feet, motivating her team of staff, parents and children. Thus, when she humbly says she's been 'lucky' enough that many of her teachers have been with her since the inception of the school, it is clear that it's much more than luck. Today, KK Academy caters to students up till Class VIII. Lakshmi consciously chose not to grow beyond that for she didn't want to lose the personal touch or compromise on quality. Lakshmi's own education has given her a varied perspective of things. She is now using it to give back to society, with added zeal and a lot of love for all that she does.
Featuring Batch Initiatives I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number. The only real, dignified, human doctrine is the greatest good of all. - Mahatma Gandhi Every coin has two sides. Every mirror has two faces. Likewise, the society on one hand is fraught with uncountable social challenges; on the other hand, it is blessed with brave social heroes, who are contributing valuable drops to the large ocean of social improvement.
those who see the impact of their seemingly small and humble steps.
In direct and indirect ways, these individuals have brought into the fold many others who always wanted to do something for the society but didn't know where to start. Is there a better place to build strong teams, friendships and The mission at hand is extended networks, for +and calls for extensive advancing the causes of participation from all those the society, if not at the who are willing and premier business school of capable. Social and India? Alumni of IIMB have developmental work, like set new precedents in not most good things, is only individual capacities infectious. Individual but also as teams. PGP '88 contributions can ignite a and PGP '96 are two fire in the hearts of those who witness their persistent batches, involved in efforts, those who hear their advancing the cause of education for all. remarkable stories and
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Samanvaya - For Harmony Through Education The PGP '88 supports Samanvaya Foundation, an NGO founded by two of the batchmates Rangarajan and Sudha, for skill development and education of the under privileged students. What initially sought to fill the gaps in IBM's Kidsmart Initiative at the Government Higher Primary School (GHPS) at Jakkasandra, Bangalore, has now expanded beyond computer training to cover vital learning in English and Vedic Math. With financial support from almost 40 batchmates from IIM Bangalore, this initiative is already going places! The idea of PGP '88 batch doing something meaningful was proposed in Dec 2007 during a batch meeting. The modalities of working out a concrete plan of action were left to the two of us Ranga and Sudha, on behalf of our batch. Over the next six months, we explored different ways to engage with children in government schools who required the most help. We started off leveraging IBM's Kidsmart initiative. IBM has donated Personal Computers to government schools across several states and some of the schools had stopped using the PCs. We identified one such school - the Government Higher Primary School (GHPS) at Jakkasandra, Bangalore - where the PCs were lying defunct and in a state of neglect.
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
have published a booklet focused on Communication Skills and Vedic Maths, with content provided by Mr Menon. This has been distributed to the students in the two schools. In addition to the week day classes, a group of volunteers led by Anmol visit the GHPS school during the weekends and engage in a variety of activities. The volunteers are also helping with tracking the progress of each child to ensure real results.
With IBM's assistance, we got the PCs serviced and working. We appointed a tutor and facilitator, Sandhya Thumsi to anchor the program at GHPS and to ensure its smooth implementation. We initially focussed on Classes I, II and III and started with computer literacy and reading. As the program began stabilizing, we were fortunate to work with a committed teacher in Mr. SVG Menon, who has dedicated his life to teaching under privileged children. We decided to come together formally under a common umbrella
with him and a set of young volunteers led by Anmol Rastogi of IBM India in order to enrich and sustain our initiative. Thus, Samanvaya Foundation was born. With Mr. Menon's involvement, we have been able to expand the reach of our efforts to high school children of the Government Girls High School (GGHS) in Adugodi, Bangalore. We now have a module on spoken English and Vedic Maths for the high school students of GGHS and the middle school students of GHPS. We
We visit the schools regularly to get a first hand feel for how the program is being implemented. We are heartened by the response to this small beginning - the participation is enthusiastic and the children are picking up concepts very fast. All it takes, to contribute meaningfully, is some planning, devotion of time and most importantly, financial contribution to sustain and expand the program. Sheshasayee, one of our batch mates, has been instrumental in helping us in fundraising. While we initially had the support of just 10 of our batchmates, it has now grown to almost 40. Our goal now, is to expand the network of schools going forward.
Sun Class - Supporting Education for Humanity The PGP '96 batch supports a full class of 30 students ('Sun Class') at Parikrma Humanity Foundation at a cost of Rs. 5 lakh per year, with a pledge to support this batch through their years in school and beyond! Their story is an inspiring one as they continue on this noble mission and hope to inspire other batches from the Institute to do more to support this and other such deserving causes! In a candid interview, the batch discusses their journey so farâ€Ś
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CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
It started as a suggestion at our 10th Year Reunion in September 2006, which quickly snowballed into energy and activity, and the mandatory vigorous group debate on the pros and cons of multiple causes. There were questions galore. Points and counterpoints flew thick, a rather intense group discussion happened at the re-union, various multi-location teleconferences transpired. After the dust had settled, we zeroed in on the cause we would support - Primary Education for the underprivileged. For channelizing funds, many of us felt that a non-profit foundation, perhaps called 'IIMB '96 Foundation' should be formed, with adequate governance mechanisms. However, we finally decided to identify an appropriate organisation as a recipient of our support. Parikrma Humanity Foundation emerged as a near-unanimous choice because of its
unique approach to providing high quality employable education for the underprivileged. We have chosen to contribute funds in parts, with a pledge that the kids will be supported through their entire schooling years as required. Our batch will contribute when called for, to see our 'Sun Class' at Parikrma Humanity Foundation through their Class XII in the year 2020. Some of us were there to inaugurate this class, when the students welcomed us all, each with a bright sunflower! It was an exhilarating experience and our subsequent interactions were immensely satisfying. Parikrma's focus on high quality education, all-round development beyond studies and, perhaps even more important, parental and local societal involvement convinced us these 30
sunflowers would bloom to their fullest potential! One of our motivations was to be able to thank our society by giving back, perhaps for having given us the benefit of a good education system, and we chose to act, albeit in baby steps, rather than just confine ourselves to intellectual discussions. It is a bit of a challenge to find ways to give back to society; perhaps if we had a mandatory army service, or compulsory rural postings maybe more of us would be doing this. Another motivation of the PGP '96 batch was perhaps to come together and do something meaningful, and inspire others. More classes at Parikrma, as well as other such deserving and well-run institutions are looking for support. We will be glad if our initiative inspires others to offer help.
He removes mud and muck from stone surfaces in the scorching heat, in the dust storms. His job description is chipping irregularities from stone slabs, breaking stones into pieces and carrying broken rock in boxes. He extracts materials for houses that you and I live in. What does he earn in return? His package is a meagre daily wage. His perks are noise, injury and asthma. Can you assure him a safe, dignified life?
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ÂŠ Sarvpriya Dewan
Living by the Day: Rebuilding the Informal sector in India
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
Building Blocks of a Better Life Hyma B PGP '93 Before the placement season at IIMB in the year 1993, Hyma visited Action Aid India with the intent of joining the social sector. When the HR Head suggested that she should first work in the corporate sector, Hyma decided to do so. After playing strategic roles in various organisations for many years, Hyma is now applying her knowledge and experience for social improvement. As the Business Head at Maya Organic, an initiative for livelihood development, she is all set to ensure a better life for workers in the informal sector. Her journey voices the hopes and aspirations of people, as she treads on a path less taken.
Hyma's school education that shaped her early years was completed in various parts of the country. She pursued Economics at Osmania University, Hyderabad. After graduating from IIMB her successful corporate journey began in its full swing. She worked with brands like Titan Industries, Arvind Brands and was Business Head Wrangler and CEO, Tommy Hilfiger, India. She realised last year, "I felt keen on being engaged in an organisation directly involved at the grassroots. Maya Organic, a social enterprise, fitted well since I could bring to bear my enterprise knowledge to the organisation."
Building capabilities Maya Organic is an initiative for livelihood development. Hyma says, "Our premise is that poverty is not about lack of money but about lack of capabilities to earn money and so, if we focus on building those capabilities, it would be a more long term solution to this problem. People are organised as producer groups, are trained on production skills and then slowly moved into a process where skill building is done to help them run it as a self owned and managed enterprise." The unique model employed by this social enterprise is enabling microentrepreneurs to build a network of sustainable enterprises that makes impeccable quality products by 11 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
collaborating and partnering with umbrella structures to manage supply, product development, design and marketing. Maya Organic designs and produces lifestyle products such as home and institutional furniture made of solid wood, wooden organic lac coloured toys and apparels from natural fibre. Where do Hyma's skills fit in? She explains, "I am the Business Head and my task has predominantly been reorganizing the various key functions. There is still a lot of learning on the social front, especially in converting a group of producers into a self -managed enterprise. What I have been able to achieve in this short period is to bring in a level of planning and discipline in execution as also to reorganise people and structures for greater focus on goals .We have managed to more than double revenues. The challenge now is to make it profitable."
Management in action Hyma defines her guiding principle, "I feel that whatever we have been blessed with is put to good use when it impacts those who need it the most." Thus, while she did thoroughly enjoy her corporate stint, she is delighted to be part of a sector that is looking at the real issues of the society. Hyma says, "Anyone with a management background who comes
into this sector with the right attitude and experience is able to contribute tremendously in building a goal driven, systematic approach to solving the problems. Such an approach has been grilled into us during our years in management education and that helps in any sector."
I feel that whatever we have been blessed with is put to good use when it impacts those who need it the most. If more and more alumni spot this silver lining, there is bound to be a more inclusive development. At Maya Organic, Hyma has been fortunate to engage a few of her friends and alumni in helping her solve some critical issues. "They are experts in their areas and have contributed a significant part of their weekends, helping us with a specific problem but with deep involvement. This contribution has been extremely valuable in bringing high quality of output and speed to the task at hand," she adds with a smile. Kudos to this spirit of working both individually and collectively for the greater good of the society at large!
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
Restoring Dignity for the Blue-Collared
Jayaram Krishnan PGP '93
Kestone had grown organically and without external funding to a 150 person organization with offices across India."
Corporate life and a taste of entrepreneurship, Jayaram Krishnan has experienced both. Having made the most of his learning in various phases of life, Jayaram has now moved a step closer to what is closest to his heart - a spirit of social service. Moved by poverty and inequality in India, Jayaram decided to join LabourNet, a social enterprise which aims at improving earning opportunities, working conditions, skills and security for workers in the unorganized sector. His journey, though in its infancy, holds promises of a better future, a more dignified life for millions.
After completing B.E from Osmania University, Hyderabad in 1990, Jayaram Krishnan worked with HCL for a year, before coming to IIMB. Through campus placement, he joined TISL, which later became IBM India in Mumbai. In 1996, he resigned and moved to his hometown, Bangalore, to become an entrepreneur, which had been his long term ambition. Jayaram explains, "In February 1997, I founded Kestone Integrated Marketing Services Pvt Ltd, which helped corporate clients, mainly large MNCs in the IT sector to market their products and services in the domestic Indian market. By 2007,
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Although Kestone was thriving, Jayaram felt a growing internal and personal need to exit the business and move into an area in the developmental sector. He adds, "This need had earlier remained largely latent, but had become a loud inner voice by August 2007, one which could not be ignored any further. Like many other people, I was concerned about poverty, deprivation and inequality which are so visible in India, but was not sure what I could do about them, besides making a few periodic money contributions and volunteering in free time. But, I felt that if I could find a smooth exit, then perhaps I could get into the developmental sector full-time."
I am moved each time I see a family of labourers on the footpath, who have just arrived, tired, hungry, homeless and nervous, with few belongings and little cash, from a village into a large city looking for survival. In April 2008, Career Launcher, an education services company promoted by a few batchmates from IIMB, acquired Kestone. Jayaram continued as the CEO of Kestone until March 2009, and was then free to begin his career in the developmental sector. In mid 2009, Jayaram joined LabourNet, an experimental social enterprise promoted by a 20-year old Bangalore based NGO MAYA (Movement for Alternatives and Youth
Awareness), as an investor, director on the board and executive in operations.
Making a difference Jayaram's inspiration comes from within and from the bare truths that he is all set to alter, "I am moved each time I see a family of labourers on the footpath, who have just arrived, tired, hungry, homeless and nervous, with few belongings and little cash, from a village into a large city looking for survival. I am moved each time I see a child cleaning the floor or table in a road side restaurant, or even just walking barefoot, aimlessly on the road, unprotected, uncertain about her future. I am moved each time I see a woman labourer or fruit vendor work sixteen hours a day to make ends meet, with a drunken, aggressive, useless husband, children to look after and no safety net in terms of savings, a bank account, insurance or leave with pay." At LabourNet, his need to make a difference finds new wings. The objective of LabourNet is to bring the benefits of the organised sector to the unorganized sector. These benefits can be basic rights of residence in the city, financial inclusion, insurance and training in skills. Jayaram explains, "In the organized sector, a worker can go through training to make vertical and horizontal career shifts, but in the unorganized sector, there is no concept of skill improvement, assessment and certification. In the last 15 years, a major driver for India's economic growth has been the large supply of skilled manpower, constituting only 10% of total labour force. What about the other 90% that makes up the unorganized sector, and remains the same as in pre-liberalisation days or worse off, considering high inflation, increasing inequality and lack of mobility options?"
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
Perspectives in Place Jayaram feels that it is difficult for an NGO to morph into a social enterprise with a business structure, earning sustainable revenues. He adds, "My last several months at LabourNet, have given me invaluable first-hand learning of what might or might not work in making a developmental initiative sustainable. Now, I have moved out of an active day-to-day execution role at LabourNet to
explore other ways to build sustainable and scalable models for social enterprise." Encouraging other alumni, Jayaram remarks, "One should first choose an area of interest, then research and find developmental organisations active in that area and finally, plan a shift to a fulltime, or significant-time share role in such an organisation, after considering their own financial, family and other obligations. If the
For the Society at Large
alumni are sufficiently confident and clear about what they want to do, they can also consider starting their own NGOs. This country needs many, many more skilled workers in the developmental sector and social entrepreneurs - or even purely commercial entrepreneurs who can create more jobs, for that matter!" True. Let's not let our demographic dividend dwindle into a vicious cycle of poverty and unemployment.
Striving for Social Stability Ramesh Venkateswaran PGP '80
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.- Buddha Social issues cannot be classified into watertight compartments. They are often overlapping, interrelated and interdependent. Contributing to holistic development and improvement of the society at large might, at first, seem like a Sisyphean task for any individual yet alumni of our Institute have taken a macro view and gone on to make an impact in the lives of thousands of people. To keep the lamp burning, all one needs is to keep putting oil in it. Then, it spreads its light in every direction. What is unique about heroic stories of social change is the ability to see beyond the obvious, to expand one's horizon and reach out to touch more and more lives, with the belief that nothing is impossible.
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What is the root cause behind a majority of the society being stuck in vicious cycles of poverty, unemployment, helplessness? Why, in spite of lakhs of grassroots NGOs, the impact of social change has not been as much as anticipated? These questions are opportunities in disguise. Ramesh Venkateswaran, PGP '80, Founder of Vishwas Society for Mental Health and Social Stability has advanced a step towards improving the overall emotional health of the masses while Kunal Verma, AMP '08, enables sustainable operations for grassroots NGOs through fundraising. The ideas are revolutionary and the impact no lesser.
For many corporate professionals, the larger social picture often takes a backseat. It is not so for Ramesh Venkateswaran. Breaking the myths, this successful corporate leader is also a social change maker. He founded Vishwas, Society for Mental Health, in 1991 with a vision to build a mentally healthy and socially stable society. In a journey of almost two decades, Ramesh has impacted the lives of many, through offering voluntary, free of cost counselling services and a special healing touch. Through his continuing contribution to management education, he constantly motivates youngsters to chase their dreams and not hefty pay packages.
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In the year 1991, when the Indian economy was undergoing a massive shift in light of the new economic policy, almost simultaneously and in tandem with this shift, took birth a revolutionary social idea. Like most extraordinary journeys, this one had a most ordinary beginning. A couple of friends came together to counsel cancer patients and their families. Ramesh Venkateswaran was one of them. He reminisces, "Back then, Bangalore was like a suicide capital. I realised the pressing need for counselling and helping people fight stress in all walks of life. Hence, the desire to get involved in voluntary work transfigured into a social organisation with a well defined mission statement and clear guidelines. Till this day, we maintain our three guiding principles. One, Vishwas is a free service organisation. Two, it is purely on voluntary basis and counsellors do not get paid. Three, maintaining high degree of confidentiality is most important."
Challenges of Growth Though a lot of unnamed people are doing a lot of good work today, the minute you become organised, you face challenges of structure, growth and funds. Challenges of growth are more pronounced for a service based
social organisation such as Vishwas. However, Ramesh is happy that the growth has been steady, even though not rapid. What really matters is the depth of the impact, the magnitude of how your deeds can help people lead better lives. Ramesh discusses the growth story, "In the first few years, growth was very slow. We operated out of premises of those who would offer a place to us on pro bono basis. It was also difficult to get the right volunteers who were tuned to good counselling work. With more number of centres in Bangalore, it got increasingly difficult to maintain consistency. To retain our close personal touch, we consolidated into one centre." Today, Vishwas can boast of helping over 5,500 individuals. It attracts diverse volunteers, who may be working professionals, senior citizens or practicing psychotherapists. In the process of relieving others of their pain, the volunteers experience immense satisfaction and learning too. With profession training and support from National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), there is added assurance of high quality.
Management education: A Vital Tool?
As the Director of SDM, IMD Business School and the visiting professor of Marketing at IIMB, Ramesh is quick to point out that it is not management 'education' but management 'experience' which makes a difference, even in the social sector. Speaking from experience, he points out, "Voluntary does not mean nonprofessional. At Vishwas, we have built in discipline in terms of systems to ensure confidentiality and to develop volunteers. Even if you provide free services, the basic tenet of management requires giving the best quality service to whoever comes." Management students and professionals in a country like India must view social work not as a matter of signing cheques to charity, but a matter of participation. Ramesh has done his part and continues to do it every day. He suggests that well-off middle aged professionals move into the social sector fulltime. "There is only so much you can do with money anyway!" he smiles. For the youngsters today, who tend to get caught up in the rat race, Ramesh passes his final verdict, "There is more to life than day zero and chasing pay packages. What you have is an opportunity. Do what you do with your heart and soul in it."
The Fundraiser's Fervour Kunal Verma AMP '08 Kunal Verma has an expertise in marketing and international business. With his unique talent and skill set, he could have easily taken over the corporate world. Yet, he chose to do something much nobler. Against all odds, Kunal decided to walk on the path of enabling empowerment through fundraising for grassroots NGOs. As the Director, Marketing & Communications at Oxfam India, an NGO that has 250 partners and a corpus built by 120 fundraisers, Kunal is all set to make sure that funds can be used as vehicles of showing people their rights and the larger realities of a better life, that awaits them.
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CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
© Sarvpriya Dewan
One needs a different set of lenses to see the value added by the social sector.
joined Oxfam India as the Director, Marketing & Communications. He also chairs the board of SAFRG (South Asia Fund Raising Group) for capacity building of the non-profit sector across Asia. Kunal explains fundraising from individuals, "We try to create a cadre of individual donors, who in turn support the organisation through personal funds. The social divide is such that the rich get richer and the poor poorer. To bridge this gap, we also work closely with the government for formulating new policies, for social justice. We need to bring people to a point where they start demanding their rights."
Kunal Verma comes from the poverty ridden state of Bihar. After his schooling at Don Bosco, Patna he studied at various places such as Kurukshetra, Pondicherry and Tirupati before he started working. Kunal describes his initial years, "I come from a poor state. I have seen poverty very closely, in spite of the fact that my family was fairly well-off. Like most others, my family felt that one needs to be a doctor or an engineer to be successful. They were shocked when I moved out of the corporate sector into the development sector." Kunal's first job was with Oswal Chemicals and Fertilizers, before he found himself in the film industry, working with Lucky Star Entertainment, a brand known for socially acclaimed films such as Pinjar. It was then that Kunal had his tête-à-tête with the social sector, "I happened to come across certain organisations active in the social field.
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I developed a liking for the work. Yet, it was quite some time after this initial spark that I actually got the opportunity to contribute."
The Fundraiser's Journey What started as fund raising assistance to international NGOs such as Action Aid, soon transfigured into a deeper love for empowering those at the grassroots through funds raised within India. Kunal explains the rationale, "I nurtured a vision of Indians solving our own social problems, instead of depending on foreign aid. Given the fact that the Indian economy has a magnificent growth rate, it's a pity that small NGOs carrying out fantastic work are either dependent upon foreign grants or simply struggling for funds." With a view to promote the credible work being done by NGOs and to ensure their sustainability, Kunal has
Why fundraising? Kunal feels that funds are most critical for sustainable operations of any agency. In the Western countries, he says, fundraising is among the top ten career options. By working in four broad themes of Economic Justice, Gender Justice, Essential Services, Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk Reduction, Oxfam India ensures that fund can be adequately pumped in for quality results."
The Management fit Oxfam in India has existed for almost 60 years with separate international Oxfam affiliates. In 2008, it was restructured into Oxfam India. For Kunal, who had worked in the development sector for more than a decade, this meant a more central role in development initiatives,
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
Kunal holds a Masters degree in International Business and MBA in marketing. At IIMB, he belonged to the first batch of Advanced Management Programme (AMP). He reminisces, "I was the only one from the development sector in my batch. My major expectation from the course was to make at least ten friends, whom I could motivate to contribute to the social sector. Finally, ten of my friends from IIMB did join me in
executing low cost house model, as part of our project!" Today, while many of Kunal's friends and colleagues may have gone much ahead in worldly terms, becoming corporate heads and driving luxury cars, Kunal is happy in his field of work, "Nowhere else could I have had the satisfaction of marginally impacting the lives of 20-50 million people. It is very satisfying. You feel that because of your work, thousands
of children are going to school or may be hundreds of women are getting trained in livelihood skills. When 120130 fundraisers meet 3 lakh people every month to create awareness and build sustainability at the same time, you can be sure of a magnificent impact. Our work could be like a drop in the ocean, but it is one drop at a time, which makes the ocean. One needs a different set of lenses to see the value added by the social sector."
A Walk in the Woods: Making Environment a priority Nature walks, eco tourism, wildlife photography. He has done it all. He is in love with nature, he claims. He hates to return to city life after long rejuvenating retreats to the hills. He is wriggling his car through the traffic, cursing under his breath and honking loudly. So much trouble to reach the local market! He survives on packaged food, buys and munches a pack of biscuits. In an unconscious compulsion of an evil called habit, he throws the wrapper out. The process of environmental degradation has just begun. And this ardent nature lover hasn't even realized it. Can he even track the adverse impact of his 'routine' actions?
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Get Set and Go Green! Gopa Kumar PGP '91
Gopa Kumar's passion for the environment has grown from his days of 'casual reader interest' in environmental issues to assuming a central position in encouraging adoption of ecofriendly practices. The Founder of Nityeta Foundation for research in lesser known wildlife species and Founder of Root Cause environment think tank, this environment enthusiast leaves no stone unturned in questioning set practices and reinventing the present for a better future. With an infectious passion for sustainable and sensitive living, Gopa has slowly but steadily made his voice heard.
Furthering the cause of environment protection and preservation is no stroll in the park. Even though any ordinary person can make a humble contribution by improving daily living practices, it takes extraordinary guts to take it up at a larger scale, as an individual goal for the whole of humanity. To address the far ranging adverse effects of environmental degradation, humans must reverse their natural thinking process. Gopa Kumar, with a strong determination and perseverance has set out to do just that. Gopa's interest in the environment dates back to his days of undergraduation. Yet, it was only after a few years of his stint at IIMB that Gopa could materialize his passion for the environment when in 1999, he founded the Nityeta foundation to work on conservation research in lesser known species of mammals and birds. As a Trustee and Manager of the Foundation, Gopa is actively involved in sourcing projects, raising funds, managing logistics and coordinating with the Forest Department. Is it challenging to get things done through government agencies? Gopa clarifies the myth about excessive bureaucracy, "There are a lot of well meaning people there. Overall, it is not a bad
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experience if you have your expectations right." Assessing the huge untapped potential of households in making a positive environmental impact, Gopa launched his initiative Root Cause in 2005. He and his friend, an 'elephant expert' initially wanted to create an online marketplace for eco-friendly goods. However, they decided to target a more fundamental problem, the root cause of all concerns - the mindsets. Gopa explains, "Root Cause is based on the premise that if you do the same things in the same way, you will get the same result. You need to do different things differently. Thus, Root Cause promotes intelligent ways of working on environmental issues."
Sourcing motivation For Gopa, the source of motivation is motivation itself. He argues, "What motivates me is that as a society, we don't have a choice. The next twenty years are defining years. They will change what we want for ourselves in the future." In spite of the magnitude of challenge and slow impact of Root Cause, Gopa is optimistic. Stating the example of a company that has successfully reduced its carbon footprint by 75% in just 3 years, Gopa reassures of
positive signs on the horizon. He makes frequent presentations to corporate houses, realizing that if ten people in the boardroom agree to adopt an eco-friendly policy, the impact will be greater than if he had convinced a hundred individuals.
More than a management degree If you visit Gopa's website, there is one line you cannot afford to miss. He writes, "I am an MBA but don't hold that against the website." Gopa defies the myths related to the meaning of an MBA. He adds, "There are certain stereotypes about MBA holders. They're thought of as unicellular organisms, trained to make money to the exclusion of everything else. What is increasingly being proved now is that following your heart is what makes you successful." "Management education taught me how to work through a system. It keeps me in good stead when you need to be persistent and not take no for an answer. It builds in you the concept of looking at the larger picture and to accept rejection. In conservation, there is rejection every day." Using a combination of topdown and bottom-up approach, Gopa, a one man army, has remarkably set a revolution rolling.
CHANGE LEADERS OF IIMB
For Policies, Actions and Change Arun Patre AFRM '08
Arun Patre calls environmental issues the 'most important subject for humanity to ponder over'. After joining Ms. Rohini Nilekani's foundation Arghyam, he was actively involved in a rural water and sanitation survey ASHWAS, in Karnataka. He now manages communications with stakeholders for the national knowledge portal on water, The India Water Portal, an Arghyam initiative. Besides, Arun has also volunteered for Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) and was part of the Indian Youth Delegation to Copenhagen summit in December 2009. So, what keeps him going? The constant challenge to make this cause important for one and all!
Pollution, scarcity of resources, deforestation and wildlife trade are common terms today. In a nation that inhabits more than one sixth of world population, resource crunch and pressure on the environment is not surprising. However, the cost of ignoring these critical issues can be shocking. Where to start from is not a very good question to ask. Arun Patre, a pass out from the Programme in Advanced Financial Risk Management (AFRM) at IIMB clarifies, "Each of these concerns is significant in its own stride. It is not just about clean rivers or cutting carbon emissions. It is about a whole plethora of things." Arun's decision to the join the development sector and work in the field of water management was not an easy choice, "I come from a business family. The decision to shift to the development sector after working for four years in the corporate was not accepted instantly. The society feels that it is not a 'mainstream' career.
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People don't relate to it easily. However, mindsets need to be changed and they are changing. I took the plunge because I wanted to go into it fulltime. Yes, it did involve sacrifices in the conventional sense but the sense of gratification is unmatched."
Contributing every day At Arghyam, Arun has deployed his analytical and statistical skills to the fullest. He started out as part of a team formed to analyse, review and contribute to a rural water and sanitation survey called ASHWAS, in Karnataka. He soon saw the bigger picture and the immense power of knowledge to create change. "Knowledge management is critical to any process. I realized that knowledge must link and flow through all involved agencies, be it the government, the society or the individuals. I am now involved in setting up a national online knowledge hub for water management. It will be the basis of
broadening an understanding of water and making knowledge available at a single platform." What can knowledge really do, in a field like environment? Everything! It is clear from the driving force behind Arun's endeavours, "My personal motivation lies in making the challenge important in everyone's eyes."
Youth at the heart of change Arun has also played a key role at the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN). Through engaging with the youth, Arun hopes to build youth capacity so that the young can come forward and influence policy making at the gram panchayat level, the state level as well as in the central and international negotiations. For this, his organisation holds Climate Leadership Programmes in fourteen colleges to fill the gaps in three core areas of Science, Ways of Mitigation and the Politics of climate change.
One of the greatest achievement for enthusiasts like Arun, has been the recent move of the UNCCC (United Nations Confederation on Climate Change) to declare youth as an official constituency in international negotiations such as the Copenhagen summits, of which Arun was a part in 2009. Arun explains, "This move signifies a power shift in favour of the youth. The ruling is an impactful one. At the summit, every young person who went up to speak on stage, started with a slogan that signifies 19 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
empowerment. The slogan was 'How old will I be in 2050?"
Indian youth called to Act The question to ask, Arun feels, is what are we contributing our education towards? Is it just taking care of yourself and your family? As a country, Arun calls upon the youth including the management students to come forward and exploit this opportunity India has, to lead the rest of the world. Arun asks, "How can we,
as Indians, gear up and make the change possible, in the most comfortable manner?" That is a question Arun himself seeks to answer through his own achievements in the field of environment. Are you ready to join him in this mission? Interviewed and written by: Unnati Narang Guest Writer
Back to B School
Social Sector and
Management Schools Prof. Trilochan Sastry, Dean - Academic
This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee! Hamlet, William Shakespeare (Polonius's last piece of advice to his son Laertes, who is in a hurry to get on the next boat to Paris, where he'll be safe from his father's long-winded speeches*)
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BACK TO B SCHOOL
One criticism Management Schools in India often face is that they ignore the social sector and issues related to development, environment and ethics. MBAs are perceived by others as smart, ambitious and perhaps a little selfish and amoral. The counter argument is that doing one's work honestly and well is a sufficient contribution to society at large. Also, that there is a lot of inefficiency, hypocrisy and even corruption in the so called social sector. Like most arguments, there is perhaps a little bit of truth on both sides. Corporations around the world have realized that they cannot totally isolate themselves from the rest of societythey have an impact on people, the environment and even on politics. In the West, the concern seems largely with issues of sustainability, environment, climate change and global warming. There is also a concern with health - the tobacco and GM food issues are very much alive. More recently there is a concern among consumers with the issue of fair trade. This could mean for instance how a company treats its 21 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
employees, whether it uses child labour, and whether it gives a fair value to its suppliers, in particular, those from developing countries. In India and many other parts of the world, there are additional concerns, for instance, the issue of inclusive growth. With increasing numbers below the poverty line, and social disparity rising, there is a potential for social unrest. All these concerns are partially addressed by Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Corporations are also setting up Foundations, and some wealthy individuals have set up large charitable foundations with their private wealth earned from business. We are also seeing private not for profit universities being set up. In a sense, social concern is now becoming more main stream. Thirty years ago a corporation might have been skeptical of a potential recruit with a prior stint in the social sector. Today it might be seen positively. After the recent collapse of capital markets in the West, there is a renewal of concern for ethics and many Business Schools are now teaching this in different ways. The issue however goes beyond individual ethics and honesty. The impact of business on people and the environment cannot be ignored much longer. Recently one soft drink company was fined a hefty sum for polluting the farm lands of the surrounding community. They are still contesting this. In several parts of the country we hear of effluents that damage water, soil and the air. We also hear of the use of child labour, and the use and misuse of this issue by the West to ban imports from developing countries. We hear of displacement of people to accommodate business interests without adequate compensation. Business executives are sometimes faced with a moral dilemma. Recently, the wife of a senior executive in a well known International Oil Company told me that her husband was very disturbed about his own company's actions in Africa. A major damage suit was settled out of Court for $500 million. Those with a slightly active
conscience do get perturbed by it. The question is what should one do in a situation like that? This is ultimately a personal choice. Not everyone might want to be a whistle blower and risk damage to one's job, career or life. Are there better ways of dealing with these issues? Do we continue silently, oppose, or leave the company? Is there something else we can do? While each one will find his or her own answers, building a support group of friends and influential people with a sound moral and ethical grounding will help most people. The counter argument is that opportunistic people raise issues out of proportion to extract rents and compensation from business, or try to gain political mileage out of it. Therefore, we can largely ignore the protests and move on. What are the sources of these conflicts? One view is that it is greed and selfishness. Perhaps there is something in this view. The other view is that activists, politicians and misguided ideologues act as rabble rousers for their own selfish interests and always take an anti-corporate stand. However, the issue perhaps goes just a little deeper. There is usually a wide gulf that separates the life experiences of the corporate executive from the so called ordinary people. This is very true in a country like India where the weekly income of one handsomely exceeds the yearly income of the other. But it is not only income. In terms of language, dress, social norms, exposure, education, social capital and self image, there is an ocean of difference. Within each side's own framework they feel they are acting justly and that the other side is being unreasonable. The ability to see issues from different points of view is rare, and the ability to empathize is even rarer. We take our world view as self evidently true and are unable to acknowledge that there might be other ways of looking at the same issue. As Upton Sinclair, a well known American novelist said: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
The impact of business on people and the environment cannot be ignored much longer. Recently one soft drink company was fined a hefty sum for polluting the farm lands of the surrounding community. They are still contesting this. In several parts of the country we hear of effluents that damage water, soil and the air.
This was dramatically illustrated to me by a senior executive in an International Agency. After one day of discussions in a seminar, he wanted to have lunch with me as we were arguing on opposite sides of the issue. He told me "I agree with what you are saying, but my job requires me to stick to this view in public." His job paid him a handsome tax free dollar salary with the promise of a lifelong pension. This would have been funny except that the issue involved the lives of lakhs of ordinary people. It is likely that these conflicts will escalate in India as inflation rises and food prices continue to increase. Some zones of conflict are already visible in Central India. But there is more to the social conscience than merely taking sides and confronting decisions that may not be in the larger public interest.It could take a positive turn, and make a positive contribution to society. Even if the company we work for is ethical - and there are several such companies, do we sit still or do something about the situation around us? CSR certainly provides an avenue for this sort of work. Private and corporate donations, which are growing is another. MBAs setting up ethical businesses is another option. Volunteering part time is a growing trend. Perhaps in the near future we will see young people take sabbaticals and work full time for an NGO for six months to a year. Some Indian companies are already providing this opportunity to their high performing employees. Of late there is a small movement towards setting up social enterprises as well. The current trend towards privatization in the economy is reflected in the social sector as well. Donors are seeking high caliber individuals to do social work - in a sense bypassing the Government. I personally know of at least 8 MBAs 22 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
who are running large successful NGOs in India, and know of several others doing equally good work. There are many other non-MBA professionals who are doing really interesting work in this sector. As of now, raising funds for well educated professionals does not seem to be a problem. There are enough exciting opportunities in health, education, livelihoods, advocacy, environment, microfinance, cooperatives, legal issues, human rights, policy analysis and research and so on. At IIMB, the recently adopted vision document states "IIMB will be known for excellence in â€Ś values, â€Ś and for the impact we make on multiple stakeholders and the society." It was the corporate members of the Board who drove this emphasis on values and impact on multiple stakeholders. It goes on to say "One of the major concerns of the society is the issue of sustainability. While growth, market position and share have been guiding various actions of organizations so far, it is becoming increasingly clear that in the future the ability of an organization to deliver sustainable solutions will significantly influence its own sustainability. Environmental concerns of the society demand that organizations factor these into their strategies." The ongoing PGP review is perhaps seized of the matter. IIMB has set up the Offices of Disability Services to improve the resources and support available to disabled students, employees and visitors. IIM Bangalore has introduced an incentive scheme for graduates who join the social sector by refunding their fees. Translating the vision into reality is a challenge, but the Institute is making serious efforts to do so. At the end of the day, all this is possible if we perform well in our chosen career whether it is corporate, social or entrepreneurial. Decrying the current situation, not doing our
work properly and merely dabbing in social work will not help. It is better to do justice to our chosen career and donate some money, or help social service organizations with our contacts. Taking ethical decisions as senior executives, taking into consideration the impact on multiple stakeholders is sometimes a better contribution than joining the social sector. There must perhaps be a real call from inside if one has to plunge into the social sector. It is not for everyone. What Shakespeare said (be true to thine own selfâ€Ś ) is therefore far more apt for most of us than all the homilies and exhortations to do good work. The Indian scripture says the same thing a little differently:
sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah para-dharmat svanusthitat Chapter 3, verse 35, Bhagavad Gita
It is better to do the duty arising from one's own nature or svadharma, even if it is not done well, than to do perfectly that which is not one's dharma. The question then remains: what is sva-dharma? Each one has to figure it out for oneself. One clue is provided by self introspection: if the work done gives satisfaction or joy, and does not leave you with a feeling of anxiety or guilt, and has no negative residue, then you are probably doing your svadharma. Choosing a career for the wrong reasons is a recipe for misery after all, spending a lifetime doing something you do not want to do is a little difficult. If we follow our true calling, we will do well in our career, gain credibility, and acquire the influence and resources to contribute to the social sector - even if it is as an outsider. As an unexpected bonus, you have a lot of fun and make some of the most amazing friends.
BACK TO B SCHOOL
Inclusive Business Models: Touching Lives, Creating Livelihood Prof. Sourav Mukherji FPM '03
During the 'hunting and gathering' stage of civilization, most or all of humanity was poor. Existence was characterized by daily struggle against nature and one another - struggle to gather food, shelter and for the right to procreate. Advancement in farming, production, technology and a collective ability to learn from experience have enabled mankind to make rapid progress so that most of us today do not need to engage in daily battles with nature or with our neighbours for food, clothing or shelter. The per capita annual income of the world is approximately US$ 10,000, implying that on an average, mankind today is quite well-off. However, averages hardly tell the whole story and herein lies the problem with global prosperity. The distribution of worldly riches is highly skewed and global prosperity is inequitable. While there are biological, economic, social 23 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
and locational reasons for such inequitable distribution of wealth and income, it has been realized that such inequity is not good - even for those who are rich and better off. Thus, reduction and removal of poverty has been identified as a critical challenge of this century and nation states, institutions, organizations and individuals have started to get engaged with this problem at multiple levels. One important landmark of this global engagement was the declaration of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000,
where 192 member nations of United Nations and several international organizations agreed to make time bound effort to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. While there is skepticism about whether any of the MDGs would be achieved by 2015 , the declaration has somehow managed to bring to the fore the magnitude of the problem and possibly greater awareness and sensitivity among the economically well-off about the plight of the poor and underdeveloped. SUMMER 2010
According to World Bank Development Indicators (2008), close to half of the world's population, over three billion people, live on less than US$ 2.50 a day and about 1.4 billion under US$ 1.25 a day. The richest 20 per cent accounts for 75 per cent of world's income and the poorest 40 per cent of global population earn only 5 per cent.
Serious efforts to reduce poverty predate declaration of MDGs by several years. Governments through subsidies and grants, developmental institutions through aids, philanthropists through donations and non-government organizations (NGOs) through their labour and entrepreneurship, have been making endeavors to help the poor tide over their economic and other associated challenges. However, despite all their efforts, progress has been slower than expected. Flows of aids, grants and donations are often idiosyncratic and fail to provide a sustainable source of financial support. Grants and subsidies from the government have high degree of leakage and are often mired in bureaucratic inefficiency. Developmental institutes and NGOs face problems of inadequate resources, especially when they want to scale. This was the context that led C K Prahalad to hypothesize that the best way to deal with this seemingly intractable problem of global poverty was to motivate the private sector to consider 4 billion poor people in the world as a potential market to whom they can sell their goods and services. While individually they are poor, collectively those at the bottom of the economic pyramid (BOP) wield a lot of purchasing power. As a result, if the private sector is able to create products and services that meet the needs of the poor, there will be opportunity to make enough profits. In the process of catering to the needs 24 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
of the poor, the private sector will develop a deep understanding of problems faced by BOP customers and come up with innovative solutions that will help eradication of poverty. He exhorted that "This was not about philanthropy and corporate social responsibilityâ€Ś for sustaining energy, resources and innovation, the BOP must become a key element of the central mission for large private sector firms". Prahalad hoped that the private sector, by means of its efficiency and innovation, will achieve what government support, philanthropists' donations and efforts of developmental organizations could not achieve. Prahalad cited examples that included Hindustan Lever's project Shakti, ITC's e-Chaupal, prepaid cards from telecommunication service providers such as Grameen Phone (Bangladesh), single-serve packaging of biscuits and shampoos, Jaipur foot and Aravind Eye Hospital conducting cataract operations at low cost for the poor as examples of private sector innovations for BOP markets. Prahalad's hypotheses certainly got the private sector excited and the term BOP entered the vocabulary of managers and became a discussion point in board rooms. National and multinational organizations across a wide range of industries started to think seriously about how to design products and services for this seemingly untapped market.
ÂŠ Sarvpriya Dewan
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Conferences - both academic and business, focusing on BOP products and markets started to proliferate as organizations actively encouraged its employees to understand the needs of BOP consumers and the challenges of selling to them. It was however not long before deficiencies were identified in Prahalad's arguments. While there was no doubt about his good intentions, the profit potential of BOP markets looked unrealistic or grossly overstated when confronted with hard reality of these markets. Critics also stared questioning about the utility of selling products such as single-serve shampoo to the poor or providing a low cost laptop to a poor child when the same utility (cleanliness and education respectively in the examples mentioned) can be achieved through alternate sources, which however are not profitable business opportunities for the private sector. Perhaps the most trenchant critique of Prahalad's thesis was his colleague from University of Michigan, Professor Anil Karnani, who described it as "at best a harmless illusion and potentially a dangerously delusion". In a hard hitting paper titled "The Mirage of Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid ", Karnani pointed out that the actual size of BOP markets is small and BOP markets are unlikely to be profitable because the transaction costs of serving these markets are very high.
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The poor are often geographically dispersed in areas characterized by weak infrastructure and poorly developed complementary institutions, thereby increasing marketing and distribution costs. He pointed out that there is little or no evidence that the organizations cited by Prahalad are actually making profits while serving the BOP markets. Moreover, many of them sell to economically well off customers at high prices and use the surplus to subsidize BOP customers. The fundamental constraint before the poor is their low level of income, which cannot be compensated for by offering them a variety of products and services. The only way to reduce poverty was to increase the real income of the poor. Thus, organizations that intend to reduce poverty need to look at the poor as producers rather than consumers and focus on buying from the poor rather than selling to the poor. The most effective way of reducing poverty, Karnani argued, was creating employment for the poor or making the poor more productive. Today, most organizations and institutions that work closely with the poor will tend to agree with Karnani's view. However, Prahalad was correct in pointing out that our efforts to reduce poverty can gain significantly from the efficiencies and innovation that is often the characteristic of private enterprises. This has led to the concept of "inclusive business models", which are commercially viable private enterprises whose purpose of existence is removal of poverty by addressing the needs of the poor that enable them to increase their income. These enterprises are not dependent on grants or donations but function like commercial enterprises, borrowing money or raising capital and paying out interest or dividend. Because they have shareholders and lenders as their key stakeholders, they need to function as efficiently as possible in a free market and compete with other commercial organizations on equal terms. However, the important difference between them and other commercial businesses is the fact that their main
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purpose of existence is not maximization of shareholders wealth. While inclusive businesses need to maintain commercial viability and provide their shareholders with an "acceptable" rate of return, the purpose of their existence is creating maximum social impact. There are several constraints that prevent the poor from becoming productive, such as low quality nutrition, inadequate access to healthcare, lack of education, high cost of energy and utilities and lack of access to markets. Inclusive businesses try to address some of these basic needs through their products and services. While commercial enterprises can also produce similar products and services, pursuit of efficiency and profitability invariably results in their subordinating the goal of poverty reduction. However, even though inclusive business models are at a nascent state of evolution, they are able to keep their focus on their social objective of minimizing poverty by making important tradeoffs in terms of revenue and profitability. Maintaining such dualities are always challenging especially in the face of competition from other commercial enterprises and it remains to be seen whether this new class of enterprises can sustain themselves and are able to create large scale impact. In the remaining part of this paper, I describe two such inclusive business models in the area of energy and agriculture that are touching lives of the poor by enabling and creating livelihood for them.
SELCO: Harnessing Sunlight to Create Livelihood Our first case study is about SELCO India, a Bangalore based social enterprise that makes solar lighting technology accessible to the economically impoverished. SELCO's mission is based on a simple but powerful idea that the economic conditions of the poor can be improved substantially if they are made productive. And one of the biggest hurdles before productivity of
the Indian poor is their inaccessibility to clean and cost effective sources of energy. Most of India's rural population does not have access to electricity. An estimated 400 million of them are dependent on highly polluting and inefficient sources of energy such as kerosene or forest wood. Solar lights are free from pollution and provide greater illumination. Till date, SELCO has sold solar lighting to more than 110,000 rural homes and to 4,000 institutions such as orphanages, clinics, seminaries and schools in the Indian state of Karnataka. An impact assessment study by World Resources Institute in 2007 noted that 86 per cent of SELCO's poor customers indicated significant savings in energy costs as their primary benefit of using SELCO products, while the rest pointed to their children's education as the primary benefit. For their efforts, SELCO and its founder, Dr. Harish Hande has been awarded the Ashden Award (2005, 2007), Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2007) and Financial Times Arcelor Mittal Boldness in Business Award in 2009. Armed with investments worth US$ 1.7 million from three social investors, namely the Good Energies Foundation, Lemelson Foundation and E+Co, SELCO is planning to light up 200,000 rural homes, covering a wider geographic area, in the next four years. Harish got the idea of bringing solar lighting systems to rural India when he was doing his PhD on sustainable energy at the University of Massachusetts. He spent the next few years living with the rural poor in different parts of the world such as Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka, developing a deep understanding of their energy needs and how solar energy can be used to solve their problems. Subsequently Harish met Mr. Neville Williams, a former Green Peace activist, who founded Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a nonprofit organization that intended to promote solar energy in developing countries.In 1993, SELF received a grant of US$ 40,000 from the US based Rockfeller Foundation to install
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solar lights in 100 rural homes and Neville asked Harish to lead and implement the project in the Western Ghats region of India. Harish saw this as a great opportunity to validate his thesis about the viability of solar powered lights in rural India. Harish however was apprehensive about being dependent on grants for his endeavor and was keen to establish a commercial organization so that there was continuity in operations. He believed that the poor will be willing to pay for technology if they found it useful. Thus, in 1994, he founded SELCO Photovoltaic Electric Private Limited as a commercial enterprise that would sell solar lights in rural India. Harish spent the next few years painstakingly building his business, travelling extensively across rural Karnataka, taking solar lights on credit from Tata BP and installing them in homes of farmers who could afford them. To save costs, he would travel by bus and sometimes even sleep inside them overnight. Soon he was joined in his efforts by Mr. Thomas Pullenkav, a young manager at Tata BP and Mr. Pai, one of Tata BP's dealers, who were inspired by Harish and his mission. To cut costs, Mr. Pai shared his accommodation with Thomas while Harish stayed with his aunt. It was from 1999 when SELCO was able to borrow and raise equity investments could Harish start paying salaries to SELCO employees as well as get adequate material on favourable credit terms from the suppliers.
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For a majority of SELCO's customers, solar lights are the most expensive equipment that they ever purchased. Even though they might be spending equivalent amount of money in buying kerosene to meet their energy needs, making an upfront investment of an amount that was a few multiple of their monthly income was beyond their means. Therefore, SELCO realized that to sell solar lights the poor needed to be provided with financing where the loan payback schedule was synchronized with their income patterns. However getting finance for purchase of solar lights, even from the rural banks, was difficult because home lights were not directly linked to any income generating activities. Harish and his team spent the next couple of years trying to convince the rural banks to lend money to households so that poor villagers can purchase solar lights. SELCO staff had to organize field trips for the bank officials to demonstrate to them the viability of solar lights and how it can make a difference to the livelihood of the rural poor. While some of the bank officials were sympathetic to the idea and were flexible enough to sanction loans to a variety of customers -from the paddy farmer to the beedi roller to peanut farmer, others were apprehensive and reluctant. Therefore SELCO even started tracking the transfer of sympathetic officials within the rural banking system and planned its own expansions accordingly. SELCO today services its customers from 25 service centres spread all across rural Karnataka. While solar lights per se appear to be a standardized product, lighting solutions need to be carefully configured keeping in mind the needs of the customers and their capacity to pay the loan installments. Even though standardization would have reduced costs, SELCO believes that needs of poor households are different from one another, which necessitates developing customized solutions. Thus, SELCO service engineers are encouraged to interact closely with the customers and the local community, stay and live with them so that they have a deep
understanding of the problems that the people face. SELCO not only lights up homes and improves productivity, but also has been instrumental in creating several entrepreneurs in rural Karnataka. Besides the home lights, SELCO manufactures solar lamps that can be used by street vendors to sell their products during evenings. Since street vendors will not need the lights for the entire day, SELCO identified entrepreneurs who would buy the lamps from SELCO and rent them to the vendors daily. While no bank would have been willing to cater to the needs of the street vendors, the entrepreneur is able to run a sustainable business because of his intimate knowledge of the local community and conditions. SELCO broke even for the first time in March 2001, and during the next three years steadily increased its revenues and profitability. Sustained good performance enthused SELCO to plan for expanding its operations into neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, besides growing their business in Karnataka through business associates. Unfortunately, this was the time when Germany started providing high subsidies to solar power. This resulted in increasing demand for solar panels of higher wattage in Germany and all major manufacturers started to cater to the German market, since there were higher margins in selling solar panels of higher wattage. Consequently, there was a shortage of solar panels in the rest of the world leading to a steep price rise of nearly 47 per cent. SELCO was caught completely unawares! It did not have enough material to service its customer demands. Thus, SELCO's new offices in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra were starved of supplies and the business associate model in Karnataka started to fumble. SELCO started making losses and in the next two years, ended up wiping out almost the entire net worth of the company.
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Fortunately for Harish, IFC, which had provided US$ 1 million loan to SELCO, strongly supported them and enabled Harish to raise fresh funds from a new set of socially oriented investors such as E+Co, Lemelson and Good Energies Foundation. Meanwhile, prices of solar cells started to reduce, increasing availability. SELCO decided to postpone its expansion plans into neighbouring states and recalled its own employees to offices in Karnataka. It also realized that the business associate model, which was purely commercial in its intention, was unsuitable for an inclusive business such as selling solar lights to the poor. The turnaround was complete when SELCO posted increased revenues and operating profits in March 2008. In retrospect, Harish feels that those difficult days helped SELCO not only to refine its business model but also to have a better set of investors whose philosophy is aligned to that of SELCO. Nearly fifteen years after its founding, SELCO today seems to have achieved its key objective - of establishing a viable business focusing on energy needs of the poor that is inclusive in every sense of the term. Harish and SELCO's example conveys the important lesson that entrepreneurs and organizations who want to develop novel technological solutions for the poor need to spend considerable amount of time and effort in understanding the specific context which the poor encounter. Thus, organizations developing products for poor customers often need to act as facilitators for development of the entire value chain.
IDE Nepal: Creating an Ecosystem for Rural Development Our second case is about the Nepalese subsidiary of a multinational developmental organization, International Development Enterprises (IDE). IDE is not a commercially profitable organization. It channelizes grants and donations 27 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
for improving economic conditions of poor farmers in Nepal. However, in the process, it creates and facilitates the development of several economically viable business models. Thus, it acts as a critical enabler of inclusive business models that reduce poverty by increasing rural income. IDE's example is also noteworthy because it works closely with the Nepalese government for improving the economic conditions of Nepalese farmers. And this it does largely by facilitating the development of rural communities that creates pressure on the local government demanding funds and infrastructure for their community based businesses. Among the two cases that I discussed, IDE has the largest impact in creating livelihood and changing the lives of the rural poor for the better. Thus, its example possibly indicates that for creating large scale impact, there needs to be alliances between a variety of economic actors such as private players, development organizations, government agencies and the local community - all of who contribute in different ways for developing an ecosystem of inclusiveness and sustainability. IDE has been a catalyst or a keystone in the ecosystem that it has created for smallholder farmers in Nepal. IDE is a development organization that operates in eleven countries worldwide with the aim of creating income opportunities for poor rural households in developing countries. IDE Nepal, an affiliate of IDE, was established in 1992 with the aim of developing low cost irrigation technologies suitable for small holders in rural Nepal. More than 80 per cent people in Nepal are engaged in agriculture and a significant number of them have small holdings. Typically small holder farmers are economically impoverished and often belong to disadvantaged classes in the society. IDE intended to enhance farm productivity of poor farmers and increase their income by providing them with low cost irrigation technologies. This also has the secondary effect of empowering the marginalized such as women and
farmers from lower castes and bring them into the mainstream of economic activities. Today, IDE Nepal operates in 22 districts in Nepal having reached more than 1.4 million poor farmers in 240,000 households in rural Nepal. Their programmes have resulted in the sale of 200,000 treadle pumps and 40,000 drip irrigation systems. It is estimated that IDE interventions have generated an additional income of US$150 per year for each of the 240,000 households whom they have reached. IDE started off in Nepal by developing and refining microirrigation technologies (MITs) such as treadle pumps, drip irrigations systems and micro-sprinklers that are low cost and appropriate for smallholders. With support from donor organizations IDE invested in design, development and initial promotion of MITs. At the same time, IDE also identified entrepreneurs who would start manufacturing and selling MITs as a sustainable commercial venture. IDE's philosophy is to help entrepreneurs setup their business, do some handholding in developing the technology and connecting the entrepreneurs to the rural consumer. IDE then gradually reduces its involvement so that the entrepreneur becomes self sufficient. In the steady state, IDE continues its advisory role with all such entrepreneurs, providing them with technical inputs as well as ensuring that the selling price is affordable by the small holder farmer, whom IDE trains about proper usage of MITs for farm productivity improvement. Small holder farmers in Nepal are usually engaged in growing limited amount of cereals using water that is available during the rainy season. Since their farm income is not enough for livelihood they supplement their income by working as daily wage labourers or migrate to cities and even to the neighbouring country of India in search of work. IDE realized that small holdings of these poor farmers can be effectively utilized for growing vegetables, if the farmers were provided with suitable technology for irrigation and water
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inputs for managing the vegetable farming process. Vegetable cultivation is ideally suited for smallholders because vegetable farming is labour intensive, has a relatively simple production process and does not require high level of skills. Moreover, Nepal is deficient in vegetable production and a significant part of its vegetables are imported from India. Thus, if farmers in Nepal are able to grow vegetables, they will find a ready market closer home, thereby obviating the need for developing complex storage, distribution and logistics infrastructure for reaching their products to distant markets. With proper linkages to markets, farmers would be able to sell these vegetables profitably, leading to substantial increase in income and thereby improvement in their quality of life. 2003 was an inflection point in IDE Nepal's evolution when it realized that supply side interventions such as technology for irrigation and water storage needed to be coupled with demand side interventions so that farmers could be linked to markets. Thus, IDE developed a comprehensive framework of developmental intervention at the input, process and output stages of the agricultural value chain. At the input stage, IDE works with manufacturers of micro irrigation technologies, retailers and distributors of technology and other farm inputs as well as with masons who provide installation and maintenance services of basic farm infrastructure. IDE also works closely with 'agrovets' - entrepreneurs who supply agricultural inputs such as seeds or saplings to the farmers. IDE trains the input suppliers so that along with sale of inputs they can offer information on planting methods and timing, pest management and production of different crop varieties. Such technical knowledge needs to be offered as embedded services since the farmers have limited access to other means of getting information that is critical for managing the crop production process. IDE's on-farm or process
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interventions include providing information to the farmers about the right kind of crops and the timing of cultivation, enabling multilevel cropping and crop diversification to spread and reduce risks as well as providing knowledge inputs about the right technology for farming and irrigation. Over a period of time, the farmers start receiving such knowledge either from the input suppliers or from the traders with whom IDE links the farmers. IDE also provides training to some of the farmers so that they in turn can become trainers and disseminate the necessary knowledge within the farmer community. However, IDE field workers keep in constant touch with the farmers, informally monitoring their progress as well as helping them in case of some unexpected problems. The focus of IDE's output side intervention is to link the smallholders with the markets so that they can realize maximum returns by selling the farm output. Even though smallholders enjoy certain advantages in labour intensive agricultural production processes, they are severely disadvantaged when it comes to accessing the markets because of their weak bargaining power and information asymmetry. To overcome this disadvantage, IDE decided to organize the smallholders into communities and created Marketing and Planning Committees (MPCs) who would collectively look after the interests of the farmer communities. Creating such communities helps farmers to coordinate their production process, participate in joint training, benefit from the knowledge being imparted to them by IDE and input
suppliers as well as produce output suited to market specification such that the downstream processes of transportation and investment in marketing infrastructure can derive scale economies from aggregation. Today, IDE has started linking these communities with financial institutions and is in the process of enabling a credit model where the community can jointly provide guarantee to loans made to the individual member. IDE Nepal works closely with government institutions for long term sustainability of their initiatives. It leverages the resources available with the government such as finance, infrastructure and field personnel for implementing its programmes as well as focuses on developing capacity of government institutions so that the government can continue with the development initiatives even after completion of IDE's projects. This has resulted in a trust based relationship of interdependence between IDE and Nepal government, which is quite remarkable given the usual perception of bureaucracy that is associated with government institutions. Social mobilization, development of market linkages and ensuring continuity are the key reasons that has endeared IDE to the Nepal government and resulted in successful implementation of programmes in a partnership model between the government and IDE.
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With a per capita GNP of US$ 238, Nepal is one of the least developed and poorest nations in the world. Agriculture contributes to about 38 per cent of Nepal's GDP, employing close to 81 per cent of Nepalese population. However, the annual rate of agricultural growth over the past decade has been less than Nepal's population growth, resulting in Nepal importing food grains. There are several constraints before agricultural growth in Nepal, primarily because being a mountainous country, only 18 per cent of Nepal's total land is cultivated, of which only 44 per cent is irrigated. Moreover, agriculture in Nepal has remained traditional, with limited diversification or commercialization, resulting in low farm income and close to 40 per cent of people living below poverty line. Political uncertainty has further contributed to poor economic development, with Nepal receiving insignificant amount of Foreign Direct Investment. Therefore IDE Nepal's interventions in providing agricultural technology to smallholders as means of increasing income and reducing poverty are ideally suited for the Nepalese economy. During its 17 years of existence in Nepal, IDE has evolved in its scope of activities, complementing its expertise in agricultural technology with its efforts of building the agricultural value chain, developing farmer communities and establishing partnership with the government and other development organizations. It has been argued that when markets and institutions are not well developed, organizations need to undertake a diverse set of activities. This explains why IDE had to take on the mantle of acting as a facilitator for developing the agricultural value chain. Otherwise, the smallholder advantage in labour intensive farm activities would have been dissipated by the disadvantages that smallholders have in accessing markets. Finally, it was very important to develop capacity of indigenous communities in order to bring about sustainable transformations. Unless local communities get empowered
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and confident in managing their economic and social affairs, changes brought about by external agencies are likely to have only short-term impact. This is the fundamental reason why IDE has been focused on developing communities and making them self sufficient by linking them to supporting institutions and organizations. IDE presents an ideal model of intervention by a development organization, which if replicated by other institutions and organizations holds the promise of bringing about large scale economic and social transformation among economically impoverished communities and nations.
Evolving Ideas to Tackle Poverty Our ideas of how to reduce poverty, arguably the biggest challenge of this century, have been evolving. In the earlier days the poor were viewed as recipients of charity and endeavours to reduce poverty comprised encouraging the wealthy to donate or to get engaged in philanthropic activities. In those days, poverty reduction was the sole responsibility of the government, public and development organizations. The first inflection point occurred when riding largely on the inspirational exhortations of C K Prahalad and his colleagues, the private sector got attracted to the market at the bottom of the pyramid. Within this paradigm, the poor were viewed as potential consumers and commercial enterprises started to leverage their efficiencies and innovative capabilities to create products and services that could be sold profitably to the poor. While there are limitations of viewing the poor as a consumer, this approach certainly had two lasting impact. It made the private sector start to think seriously about poverty and it demonstrated that at least in some cases, financially viable business models can be created while catering to the needs of the poor. Emergence of inclusive business
models represents the next paradigm. Here, the focus of socially aware businesses is to create livelihood for the poor and facilitate income generation, even while maintaining financial viability of the businesses themselves. Inclusive businesses adopt a holistic view of the problem of poverty and intend to improve the quality of lives of the poor through better nutrition, healthcare services, education, and empowerment. Learning from the powerful thesis and insights of development economist such as Amartya Sen and Elinor Ostrom, inclusive businesses facilitate developing individual and collective capacity of the poor so that the poor realize their potential and have the freedom to make choices. It is however important to note that none of these paradigms or approaches are mutually exclusive. The problem of poverty is so gargantuan, diverse and complex that it needs sustained efforts of the public, the philanthropist, the government and the private sector in myriad ways to create large scale sustainable impact. There cannot be "one ideal model", be it in the government, developmental or private sector that can provide easy answers, because there is indeed none. While our understanding of inclusive business models is at a stage of infancy, what is becoming increasingly clear is the need for inclusive businesses to work closely with a variety of institutions through alliances and partnerships in order to create the impact that they are capable of. Such a developmental ecosystem that is driven by the efficiency and innovation of inclusive businesses and characterized by linkages with philanthropic institutions, donors, the government and developmental organizations promises to be a suitable vehicle for carrying us towards our millennium development goals of eradicating poverty and building a sustainable world. The cases described in this article were written as part of UNDP sponsored project titled Growing Inclusive Markets 2.0.
Look at the way I visualize life Sarvpriya Dewan PGSEM '08 Life looks different to the eyes and mind of an artist. From the streets, from the faces, from nature and from so many little things that we might miss to see, the artist in Sarvpriya Dewan PGSEM '08 brings us a new perspective to life. He is an artist who found his expression through the camera. His clicks are soulful and his subjects are heart rendering. This has been the success of Sarvpriya, a photographer all set to make a mark of his own. For those of us who have succumbed to the demands of a career and have allowed our inherent talents to sleep, Sarvpriya is a true inspiration. Sarvpriya is into a mainstream corporate career with Oracle in Bangalore. Life is challenging with a demanding job but he could not ignore the calling of an artist inside him. He fondly remembers how he used to make sketches and paintings as a child. But he too got caught in the mad rush to make a conventional career. After doing his B.E from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (erstwhile Delhi Institute of Technology), Delhi, and working for four years in a corporate in Gurgaon, he relocated to Bangalore in pursuit of a more fruitful career. Gaining some experience in his field, he thought of equipping himself with a management degree. He made his way into the PGSEM course at IIMB and life became even busier. But during this time he dug out time for 30 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
his passion and slowly started nurturing the artist in him. He clicked random pictures with an ordinary camera. But his pictures were not ordinary. This realization took Sarvpriya to a different level. While he was working and pursuing his PGSEM on one side, he made sure he learnt the ropes of professional photography. Interestingly, he did not take any formal training in photography. He read voraciously on photography, about eminent photographers, and experimented intensively to make his way into this art. Sarvpriya evolved from being a snap shooter who gets his frames right to a story telling photographer. One of the cherished experiences of Sarvpriya has been his stint in street photography. Nothing has been as humbling as this, he says. A closer look at the struggles of the 'have nots' gave a jolt to the very reason of his photography. Why should I click? What do I want my photographs to do? It was a mental struggle that would define his entire life as a photographer. He could not bring himself to click the abysmal state of the poor and feel good about his photographs. He knew he was here for a bigger purpose.
to the lives of those who become the subjects of his photography and touch the hearts of his audience. He was clear that his purpose will not be to depict the hapless in a dim light, but bring out the positive. When you look at his pictures and you see that there is an element of hope that he pulls out of every situation. He currently associates himself with various NGO's and strives towards leaving an impression in the minds of the people who see his pictures. Going forward, Sarvpriya wants to become a social entrepreneur or an academician who will use photography to help the underprivileged. His wife, Pooja, is a stellar support and inspiration to him. She feels that his pictures take her right to the place the frame was shot and make her live the experience. With her and his little son, Shaarav, Sarvpriya is sure to reach his goals that are genuine and novel.
Sarvpriya reinvented the photographer in himself. He wanted his photographs to make a difference;
An unbelievable spectrum of experience Dr. Ravindra Singh Bangari PGP '96, FPM '05 He has been in the jungles of Sri Lanka, deputed on behalf of the Indian Peace Keeping Force. He lead a typical James Bond style operation to rescue a businessman's little son from his kidnappers in Manipur. He has flown and sky-dived from high above, being part of the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army. To top it all, he is a PGP and FPM from IIMB and runs a niche outsourcing business! Meet Ravi Bangari -who will awe you with inspiring anecdotes every minute he speaks.
Ravi is a special alumnus of IIMB. Apart from all his academic achievements, Ravi is special because he is someone who has probably stayed the longest on campus, compared to any other student; the reason being his army engagements. He came in as a PGP student after a life changing experience in Sri Lanka; remember the stint of Indian Peace Keeping Force during Rajiv Gandhi's times? Having been through intense counterinsurgency and peace-keeping operations, he felt he needed to put it all in perspective so as to do his job better and more usefully in the larger context. He got the urge to learn management and thus came to IIMB. On various occasions during his PGP, he was called back by the army for 31 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
emergency operations. Ravi laughs and says, "The faculty, the security guards, the drivers and hostel caretakers will definitely remember me for the longevity of my stay at the campus!" After his PGP, Ravi went back to serve the army with a different leadership and management perspective. His army career saw great heights until an air crash in Ladakh that left him badly injured. He was flying a small powerchute in an adventure expedition. But you'd be completely wrong if you thought that this soldier was going to take rest and recuperate. Soon as he came to the Army hospital in Delhi, Ravi got busy filling up his application form for his FPM from IIMB! He says, "One of the thoughts that came to me when the realization dawned about what had happened was, 'Let me look forward now and, so, what next?'" The following events were inevitably dramatic; he couldn't attend the interview on time, faculty interviewers had to give him special consideration to make it to the interview and what not. Of course, IIMB couldn't afford to miss this man with such an extraordinary spirit for life! Now it was time to walk the civvy street, after being released on grounds of medical reasons. But Ravi couldn't compromise on anything that was ordinary. He got himself associated with EduMetry, a company that is into a very unique stream of business. At EduMetry, Ravi and his team support a whole host of Universities of the West in the assessment and evaluation of their
students. Not many Universities would trust an external organization to do such a core and critical task. Ravi is extremely proud about the fact that his organization has been able to establish strong credibility and got the confidence of these Universities and their faculty through their hard work. He keeps telling his team, "Let's be sincere in what we are doing and we can achieve world class standards in what we do". A striking aspect of EduMetry's business is its vision to tap the talent of women who have given up their mainstream careers. Ravi saw when he was in the army that many of his colleagues' wives were highly qualified but could not pursue a fulltime career due to family commitments. He strongly felt that there is huge opportunity in tapping the talents of these women. He then conceptualized a part-time remote work model that would engage qualified women from different parts of the country. It is an enriching experience for many women and their commitment to make things happen worked really well for EduMetry. The company is on a great stride and Ravi looks forward to empower many more people through this initiative. Throughout his adventurous times, he had his wife and two young kids supporting him. His wife, Vandana, a post-graduate in textile and clothing, is now a Montessorian in Bangalore. His two sons, Adhiviraj and Anshumaan, are an amazing duo who take part in anything that they can lay their hands on. Pic 1: Ravi Bangari, standing - 2nd from right Pic 2: Ravi Bangari, sitting - right corner
Cornerstone of a landmark: The Hyderabad International Airport Srinagesh Talatam PGP '87 It certainly is a rare achievement to be at the spearhead of one of the most prestigious projects of the country. Srinagesh Talatam PGP '87 was right at the top as the CEO of the GMR Hyderabad International Airport, the first private airport in India. The project was first of its kind that was given onto private hands in India and several skeptical eyes were scrutinizing throughout on how this project unfolded. Many stakeholders were to be kept happy, a huge team of people were to be continually motivated towards a common goal, and above all the project had to be completed successfully. If one has braved all these and come out with flying colours, and of course not losing his sanity, it is nothing less than a landmark achievement. "When I started the project, I hardly knew anything about airports. Even the Airports Authority of India was very sceptical about me and my team's capability to achieve" recalls Srinagesh. Starting at this point, Srinagesh deluged himself into an action-packed tenure of learning and growth. He took charge of conceptualising the project components, handled the airport activities and lead departments including Finance, Project Structuring & Development, Business Planning, Company Secretariat function, Operations and Project Management and Clearances. From among all these, the function that Srinagesh thinks was the most critical was the people function. His challenge and 32 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
success was in finding the right people and aligning them to the greater goal of this landmark project. The project required him and the entire team to shun their short term goals and work with a futuristic mind. This was a test of Srinagesh's leadership skills and he did it with amazing aptitude. As he intently worked on the project he was able to bring absolute clarity to the operations. He got the views of experts from across the world, thought through every minute requirement that the airport would have and got just about everything to build the finest infrastructure for the Airport. His entire term was dedicated to make the Hyderabad Airport one that the world will acclaim to be among the best. And he achieved it in style with a 105,300 sq.m terminal which is up and running, with the current capacity to handle 12 million passengers in a year and a potential capacity to handle over 40 million passengers.The airport has been ranked as the best in the 5 -15 million passenger category for the year 2009. Srinagesh says "I remember learning during my PGP that people should have an emotional connect and alignment with the vision for a project to succeed and I realised this in the airport project. The success depends on every one doing his bit in a dedicated way and it is impossible to do this with a top down approach. With divergent people coming in, getting the right emotional connect
and alignment among the people I
worked with is probably my best achievement and learning." This indeed seems like an exhaustive experience that one could ever get in his career. After the Hyderabad Airport project and his prior experience at the implementation of the Neyveli 250 MW project in Tamil Nadu, Srinagesh says he has probably seen every difficulty that one can face in a project and learnt from them all. Today, after completing an eventful five year term as CEO of the Hyderabad Airport, he serves as the CEO of Pragnya Advisors Private Ltd (PAL); a management company for the Mauritius based Pragnya Fund (PF) focusing on opportunities for investment in real estate in India and Sri Lanka. Throughout his career Srinagesh has been deeply involved in high profile projects that consumed the lion's share of his time. He says thanks to the Indian family system that his wife Geeta and daughter Sandhya were more than understanding about his highly demanding career.
A policy maker speaks V. Umashankar PGPPM '06 one of the lop sides of democracy. In India, we cannot introduce something new without taking suggestions, opinions and handling misapprehensions of a huge number of people. This has its own pros and cons." Venkatesan Umashankar - an IAS officer, a versatile bureaucrat, an engineer from IIT Mumbai and a Post Graduate in Public Policy Management (PGPPM) from IIMB. This is just a broad profile description of this venerable public servant who has been serving the Indian Government since 1993. Today he is at a coveted position with the Ministry of Human Resources, Government of India, as Director of the Higher & Technical Education Department, formulating policies and regulations that will give direction to the future of higher education in India. Bustling with activity, a typical day in his life involves servicing the Parliament, answering questions, consulting with experts for policy making and negotiating with people for things that would matter to us all directly or indirectly. We grabbed some time from one of Umashankar's relaxed Sundays to hear an insider's perspective on how India is progressing, how the education scenario is changing, and such contemporary issues. Umashankar speaks:
On India's progress "There is a metamorphosis that is taking place and as the PM said, we are doing not too badly. It is just that we are being a little too self deprecatory. There are a lot of comparisons made with China and its leaping growth but I reckon we are moving at a pace that we should be." "Understandably, the pace is frustrating. This could be attributed to 33 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
On Corruption "During my initial days of service I was disturbed by corruption in the entire system. But over the years, I learnt how to deal with it. My commitment towards my personal philosophy that I will not do a single thing that is against the law and my conscience helped me draw a line. Once I knew how to streamline my work with this philosophy in mind, it was not too difficult to function and do my duties effectively. Though I don't think corruption will completely vanish from our system, I see a lot of people who give me hope that things will change for the better."
On personal dilemmas "As a bureaucrat I have power as a part of the system. I do things on behalf of the government and I'm accountable for my actions. When I do not agree to certain policies and decisions, I act in my advisory capacity and put my views across in paper to the higher authorities. If I fail to convince and a decision is taken, I accept it as my duty to execute it. If everyone asks questions there will be not one government but many governments, which will be nothing but chaos. I can be a crusader outside the government but not as an officer."
On Indian bureaucracy Bureaucrats have been carrying a certain black mark but I would say that IAS officers have contributed a lot to build the country and have done their bit to the society.
On higher education in India "Higher education in India is crying for reforms. Substantial amount of consultations and policy work involving the HRD minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal, are happening to revive the academic scene. Though professional education has come to the forefront there is a certain commercial element attached to it. We are trying to recapture the philanthropic element in imparting knowledge and prohibiting unfair and offensive practices. Capitation fee needs to be checked and merit should be given its due."
On learning at IIMB "I came to IIMB taking a sabbatical to do my PGPPM. As any IAS officer I had this challenge to absorb as much knowledge as possible and crunch information from them. This is one aspect that IIMB helped me in acquiring. Another significant learning was the negotiation skills. When I had to handle social issues involving a religious faith or a law and order issue, nothing called logic would work. In such crisis situations I've been able to utilize my negotiation skills to bring situations under control. I also learnt that from every experience we must draw learning and draw a principle to follow from then on.
On Umashankar, the man inside the IAS officer "The one thing I've been passionate about and haven't got time to do is learn violin. I've started and restarted on this many times but the latest attempt has been continuing for the last two months. I enjoy spending time with my family. My wife, Deepti, and I tend to do a lot of things together and that includes the IAS and PGPPM at IIMB. We are blessed with two daughters, Shreeya and Sowmya." SUMMER 2010
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An honour they proved worthy of "By the authority vested in me by the Indian Institute of Management Society, I award you the Diploma in Management and I charge that by thought, word and deed, you prove yourself worthy of the award" Remember these words that were said in your convocation? 500 odd young students from the various courses of the 2010 batch experienced the same elation that you felt when you walked up to the dais hearing this. Pride fluttered in the air on the 35th Convocation as students, parents and the Institute celebrated the occasion in the presence of the Chairman, Mukesh Ambani. It was a proud moment for the alumni too; this was the first time an alumnus made it to the dais as the Guest of Honour at the Institute's Convocation - Dr. Radhakrishnan PGP '76, the reigning head of ISRO. "I had the privilege to be a proud graduate when the first Convocation of IIMB was held. Indeed, it is a rare honour to come back wearing a different robe to sit on the other side", he said. 34 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
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Carbon saving @ Vista
Vista, IIMB’s own business event, the largest of its kind in the country, was in news for much more than its huge success. Vista saved over 2,000 kilos of carbon dioxide emissions! Heard of something like this? That’s how unique Vista 2010 was. The students thoughtfully and
dedicatedly sought the ideal of going green and promoted it by presenting the entire event in conformity with this ideal. Recycled papers were used; the number of prints of publicity materials were cut short; most of events were organized outdoors to cut down on the use of air conditioners and indoor lighting; Reva electric cars were used for transportation – on the whole the emissions saved was equivalent to the CO2 emitted by 10,000 kms of car travel - or 10 flights between Mumbai and Bangalore! Indeed a role model event.
Jugaad and India
Heard of washing machines being used in Punjab for churning butter from milk?? If India has such creative
Secrets of “The India Way”
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ingenuity, why do they not get translated into major industrial innovations on a sustained basis? IIMB Professor Rishikesha T Krishnan seeks to answer this question in his new book “From Jugaad to Systematic Innovation”. This book compares the innovation ecosystem in India to that of other successful innovative countries. The author concludes that India needs to develop its own system model for innovation that will help it overcome the prevalent social and cultural barriers to innovation.
Big Deals and Big Leaps
It was time for celebration for the Nadathur S. Raghavan Center for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSR CEL) and its two incubated companies - Mango Technologies Pvt. Ltd and Radifinity. Both the companies saw significant growth in their business with their products attracting the interest of big companies. Mango, started by first generation technology entrepreneurs Sunil Maheshwari and Lekh Joshi at NSRCEL, sold its unique home grown products to Qualcomm Incorporated, the world's largest wireless semiconductor company. Radifinity got a big break with The Aditya Birla Minacs group (ABMIT) recognizing the growth potential of its RFID based services model. It is a matter of great pride for IIMB and NSRCEL to have played the critical role of incubators to nurture the innovation capabilities of our home grown technologists.
“The India Way”, a book authored by four professors from Wharton University was launched at a function organized by IIMB Alumni Association in MDC at the Campus on May 29, 2010. In the book ‘The India Way’ Prof. Peter Cappelli, Prof. Harbir Singh, Prof. Jitendra Singh and Prof. Michael Useem of the Wharton School India Team reveal the secrets of India’s top-performing companies; an innovative, unconventional and exportable set of management principles they call the ‘India Way’. The authors argue that the India Way could have the same remarkable impact that the Japanese business leaders and the “Toyota Way” had on manufacturing around the world: it could change the practice – and purpose - of management on a global scale. The book launch was followed by a panel discussion lead by Prof. Jitender along with Prof. Raghunath of IIMB and Subroto Bagchi, co-founder Mindtree and member, Board of Directors, IIMB.
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Strokes and colours for a cause
Seven artists from rural India came together at the campus and put their strokes on canvases. Their theme was celebration and success. This art camp at the
campus was brought to life by 'Aley' an organization that strives towards bringing visibility to rural and unnoticed artists. The campus saw the entire process of the art evolving and the how an artist puts his ideas across onto the canvas. Apart from two classic paintings, one artist came up with a sculpture with the "3 idiots" idea with utmost spontaneity. Another artist gave life to a sculpture that was named "Gyan Jyothi" to symbolize the spirit of learning at IIMB.
There was a time when they all sat facing a panel of interviewers; answering questions, making an impression, and waiting for their ticket into IIMB. Now, it was their
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turn to sit on the other side, along with the faculty, for choosing the new generation of IIMB students. A whopping 102 alumni became panelists PGP and PGSEM interviews and did a superb job. Interviews were held in Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi and the alumni set aside their regular work to devote their time for this initiative. This is the first time IIMB is experimenting such a model for interviews, probably it's the first business school in India to try this too. The results were heartening everyone appreciated the fact that the alumni brought in a fresh perspective to the interviews. They've been aspirants, they've lived the student life and they've seen the industry too. What more could we ask for? The best part is that the entire effort was taken by the alumni not for any reward, but for that great feeling of giving back to the Institute. Kudos dear alumni!
For the women change leaders
A closer look at the profiles of the 166 students who were graduating from the Management Programme for Women Entrepreneurs (MPWE) has amazed the Institute - myriad talents, creative ideas and amazing energy to make things happen. Where one was the founder of an innovative florist company, another was into bringing out the creative talents of children and adults. In many ways, they have made the Institute proud and IIMB decided to reciprocate by giving the MPWE graduates the coveted alumni status. Now that adds immense value to us as a community throwing open a new avenue to learn from the experiences of these highly talented women entrepreneurs.
Fee waiver for a better world Let it not be money that nips the desires of our students in joining the social sector! The Institute stepped in like a responsible alma mater to support its students and in turn the society. It was a stellar decision by the Institute to declare that it will refund the fees of students who choose to work for NGOs and the social sector. IIMB will refund Rs. 8 lakhs from the paid up fee amount to students who choose to dedicate 3 years of their time to serve the society. If not for three years, part waiver for a minimum period of one year will also be given. â€œWe want our students to work in NGOs and the government sector, where there is a need for better managementâ€?, said the Director, Dr. Pankaj Chandra.
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New Faculty @ IIMB Professor Pulak Ghosh
Professor Manaswini Bhalla joined IIMB faculty as Assistant Professor on August 1, 2009. She holds a PhD in Economics from the Pennsylvania State University, MA in Economics from Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University and B.A. Economics from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She received the Bates and White Graduate Research Fellowship. She worked at the Pennsylvania State University, Department of Economics, as Teaching Assistant during August 2004 - August 2009. Professor Bhalla's research and teaching interests are Applied Micro Economics, Industrial Organization and Development Economics.
joined IIMB faculty as Associate Professor on July 1, 2009. He holds a PhD in Statistics from Oakland University, Michigan, USA. Professor Ghosh completed his BSc and MSc in Statistics from University of Calcutta (1998). He earlier worked with Novartis Pharmaceuticals as Associate Director. Prof. Ghosh worked at the Emory University as Associate Professor during 2008-2009 and Georgia State University as Assistant Professor during 2003 -2007.
Professor Ghosh's research areas include Quantitative Finance, Quantitative Marketing, Biostatistics, Clinical Trials, Bayesian Nonparametric, and Political Science Data.
Professor Vijaya Bhaskar Marisetty joined IIMB
Professor Srinivasan Rangan earned his Ph.D.
faculty as Associate Professor on October 1, 2009. He holds a PhD in Finance from the Monash University, Australia. He had also attained a PostDoctoral Fellowship for doing research on Indian Family Business groups in 2006. Prior to joining IIMB Professor Marisetty was a Senior Lecturer, Monash University.
in Accounting in 1995 at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Since then he has taught at Northwestern University, University of California at Davis, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Dallas, Amrita School of Business (Coimbatore), and University of California at Berkeley. He was awarded the best core MBA Professor at the Graduate School of Management, UC Davis in 1999.
His key research areas include Indian Capital Market, Market Microstructure and Australian Superannuation Funds. Professor Marisetty still engages with Monash University as a fractional faculty.
His research interests are in the areas of market efficiency, financial analysis and valuation, and earnings management.
Prof. Rajeev Gowda with Ranbir Kapoor after a high profile discussion on whether we need our politicians to be graduates. Katrina Kaif, Prakash Jha and Manoj Bajpayee were also part of the discussion.
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Sriram K PGP '98 was challenged with visual impairment to the extent of zero vision. He completed his PGP, joined Infosys and today he is pursuing his PhD at IIT, Madras. Professors remember him with great regard for his excellence in academics despite his disability. Recognizing the immense potential in students like Sriram, the Institute has always
supported them in reaching greater heights in their careers. To make the efforts on this front more organized and structured, the Institute conceptualized the Office of Disability Services (ODS). The ODS will make sure that IIMB comprehensively meets the special needs of these students when they are at the Institute and provide them with
maximum infrastructural and special training facilities. This office is supported by Mphasis, a HP company, and is committed to improve the employability of disabled students. During the formation of this office, alumni like Sriram helped the Institute in intently understanding requirements of the challenged.
Notes Placement - No thanks!
Giggles and grins
Yogesh Lokhande PGP '99 and his wife Bharti are blessed with a precious little baby girl. They have named her Aanya, which means "grace", who beautifully changed their lives on the 5th of October 2009.
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Painting by Kiran Agarwal PGP '04
The blue blood of entrepreneurship in him made Mainak Chakraborty PGP '10 to stay away from the placements and kick start his own company. Mainak's brain spotted the idea of working on waste management. The potential that he saw in this less travelled road, made him take the brave step of plunging into entrepreneurship so young. Mainak is now doing a lot of research on innovative ideas in the field of bio-degradable waste and working towards bringing biogas to the market based on some recent technological developments.
First PGP - PGSEM couple
Many among us have found life partners during our lives at IIMB. Welcome to the newest couple of IIMB - Amitava Ghosh PGSEM '08 and Tania Sikdar PGP'08. They tied the knot on 25th January, 2010 and are settled in Bangalore.
Spotlights and footlights
Assistant Vice President at WNS but an actor at heart, Rajeev Sharma AGMP ’05 has got together with some of his friends to start a theatre group called ‘Dilsedrama’. What started as a hobby of watching theatre every weekend, turned into a source of inspiration to start entertaining masses, says Rajeev. His passion for theatre grew over the years and he performed multiple plays, skits, short films and shows for national television. When Rajeev found that there were lots of young people, doctors, engineers and IT professionals, who had a taste for theatre, he was motivated to form Dilsedrama. As he cherishes the joy of his theatre group flourishing, Rajeev has got engaged with Komal and is planning his wedding at Jaipur. SUMMER 2010
A brand manager and his surreal world Karan Bajaj PGP '02 works as the Brand Manager of Kraft Foods. But that's just one side of him. The other side seems like the more interesting one to the world - he is a bestselling author whose new novel, 'Johnny Gone Down', has sold a record 45,000 copies in just 3 days of its latest release. This is Karan's second novel, the first being 'Keep off the Grass'. Karan weaves his novel around a series of bizarre and surreal events that his protagonist, Johnny, meets with. Johnny transforms from being an Ivy League NASA scientist to a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul and a deadly game fighter over a period of twenty years. Karan has got excellent reviews for his book applauding his gripping portrayal of the human spirit. The novel is being released by HarperCollins India with a Year 1 Print run of 100,000 copies, a record in Indian publishing.
Join the ride
It's time to teach rural entrepreneurs
Think of our roads as free of pollution, traffic jams and fatal accidents - deep sigh of relief right? It'll be a huge relief to the environment too. We need to do something to reduce to the pressure we are putting on the environment and V Ramesh EEP '08 has initiated a nice venture that can help us do this. Inspired by the thriving bicycle sharing system in Barcelona, Ramesh felt he could replicate the same in India. Result - the first bicycle sharing programme in India - Fremov. Fremov is looking at launching bicycle sharing in big plants, manufacturing set ups, corporate houses, educational campuses, etc for the people to travel within the area. "My dream is to have such bicycle sharing programme in all cities across India", says Ramesh.
Zenobia Driver PGP 2000 is an entrepreneur who started a business strategy consulting company called Escape Velocity. Now she's a faculty who teaches entrepreneurship to the rural people of Timbaktu. Finding that there is a huge need to foster entrepreneurial skills in rural India, Zenobia and her friends have put together a course called CREAM - Course in Rural Entrepreneurship Administration and Management. She goes to Timbaktu, a rural village in Andhra Pradesh, 5 days every month and teaches the basics of managing a business, with focus on one business function each month. Zenobia is extremely satisfied with the kind of response she has got and is eager to see many more people coming forward to take part in this initiative.
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A Reunion Winter
It was refreshingly cold when the batches of 84, 94 and 99 got together for their reunion last December. The
cold of the Christmas blended beautifully with the warmth of coming back to the Institute after 25, 15 and
Travelers, head to Wayanad!
Want a complete experience that lingers in memory long after the vacation? Come to Wayanad says Pradeep Murthy PGP '98. MuddyBoots is Pradeep's own adventure tourism start up that has taken a fresh step in exploring Wayanad into its deepest beauty. He and a friend started MuddyBoots to bring out the action and adventure potential that remained untapped in this beautiful hill station. Deep forest trekking, hiking, jungle trips, camping adventures and cycling at Wayanad are now efficiently organized by MuddyBoots. So drive down 5 hours from Bangalore and Pradeep's people will take care of your food, accommodation, equipments for adventure and ensure that you have a great time.
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10 years respectively for the alumni of these PGP batches. Ask any one of them if they enjoyed and be ready to listen to the entire story of how they relived their lives at the campus. Watching videos from their student days at IIMB, testing their memory about the campus with quiz competitions, matches, dancing, singing and camp fires and a great feeling of being with old buddies – that’s how enjoyable it was. What added extra colour was that their families also had a great deal of stuff to do and be entertained. The then events co-ordinator of the Alumni Office, Vasantha Priya, and a team of jubilant students put up a wonderful show. Now wait for the monsoon reunion of the ‘90 batch, it’s got to be equally exhilarating.
A blue ribbon for change
Ranjit Behera PGP '06 has his foot firmly set in the online space with the launch of his company Channel Push Online Services and his online retail portal www.egully.com. Channel push provides services in online marketing & advertising, retail distribution, supply chain management etc. Egully is a portal for books, electronics, hardware, software, t-shirts, gifts etc. Ranjit has with him Suvendu Satapathy EEP '07 as a Consultant to his ventures. Ranjit is looking at leveraging the opportunity of online sales in India which is in its nascent stages.
Abhishek Thakore PGP '05 is all set to take his social enterprise, 'The Blue Ribbon Movement', to two international conferences. His enterprise will represent India in the International Conference on Multi-culturalism in Iran this July and the World Youth Congress in Turkey this August. Abhishek founded BRM ten years ago with an aim to create a community of change makers and engage their energies towards creating a better world. His team works on initiatives like providing mentorship for teenagers among the marginalized, spreading awareness and about various social issues in colleges and moulding youth leaders.
The making of our website
Infosys Team One of the major achievements of the Alumni Office during the last quarter was the launch of the new website, redesigned and developed by Infosys. A massive effort it was; migrating the entire database, getting a new design, defining the user experience architecture, getting more content, getting new technologies incorporated and much more. It all started with Ram Kalyan Medury PGP '98 coming up with a very creative way of showing his gratitude to the Institute. He works with Infosys
as the Head of Delivery for the Insurance vertical at its Hyderabad Operations. Ram decided to help the Alumni Office by working out a valuable engagement with his company. He initiated a free of cost contract with Infosys which dedicated a 12 member Ram Medury team to IIMBAA for 8 months to build a new database driven website. Today, we have an efficient website up and running which acts as the crux of our alumni database and communication. Many thanks to Ram for taking the efforts and making it happen. The Infosys team worked really hard with us over months together and the results were worth the effort. We have now been able to mobilize a very large number of alumni, over 6000,
No more cribbing
Did you know that the Public Information Officer (PIO) is liable for penalty of Rs 250 for each day of delay beyond 30 days in responding to a Right to Information (RTI) applicant? Did you know that there are many such aspects that make RTI a very powerful tool that can help India's democracy work more efficiently? Vivek Deveshwar PGSEM '04 has taken up the responsibility of informing people around him of the powers
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of RTI. Vivek passionately studied about the practical usage of RTI and has himself filed around 15 RTI applications. Having personally seen that things do work, he decided to spread awareness about the possibilities thrown open by RTI and how it can resolve many individual and public issues. That made him start giving classes during weekends in his apartment and neighbourhood in Bangalore to share his knowledge. Vivek also maintains a website that pumps in information that we can use to get things done. So here is somebody who has stopped complaining about the ineffectiveness of the governance system and has actually started doing something about it. Kudos Vivek!
onto this platform and this website has become a constant connect between all of us. What can you do on the website? Come onboard and network with fellow alumni, contribute articles to the website and be read, recruit, find jobs, help others find jobs and keep abreast with the latest news from IIMB. Our main aim has been to tap the power of internet technology and give you an engaging experience with the Institute, alumni community and the Alumni Association. You will find interesting features like that of the seamless integration between linkedin and the alumni member profiles. You will also like the simplicity at which you can get your articles published with the website. Another thankful technology is that of the payment gateway. That's got rid of so many confusions that we had in processing payments, phew! Going ahead, we want our website to become a unique knowledge hub that brings together the learning and experience of the best brains in India. Gear up, it's your website!
A tryst with stem cell technology Writers in the IIMB alumni community are many, but doubt if we have someone in the stream of medical research. Dr. Kaushik Dilip Deb EGMP-07, a research scientist who has done extensive work in the field of stem cell research, has co-authored and published a book titled 'Stem Cell Technologies'. The book is acclaimed as bible of stem cell and regenerative medicine based sciences and technologies. It also throws light on the future applications of stem cells in improving human health. Dr. Kaushik, M.Sc. (Biotechnology), MD (AM) and Ph.D, is the Founder of DiponED BioIntelligence; an upcoming Biotechnology and BioPharma business intelligence company.
stint as Head of Prepaid Business in Hutchison Essar till 2006. His entrepreneurial venture had taken off very well and Satya had been making large plans for its future when this tragedy struck. He is survived by his wife, Sajitha and 9-year old son, Siddharth. We deeply regret the loss and pray for the well-being of his family.
Here is an ode to Satya written by a batchmate of his, Jayakumar Nair.
But it's too complex to explain even for an MBA
1 x 1 matrix - In Satya's memory
Despite looking like a simple 1 by 1 matrix
Would he be there? In the concentricity of that banana stem
Even after time weighed us down with more cohorts Now it's a few pieces of bone at the bed of the river A rectangular piece of fertile soil An exchange for a banana life - green and yellow
Siddhartha Padam PGP '98
Between its slippery waffled layers
Satyanarayanan Angaloor PGP '96
Denser, darker, deep as we seek Would he add phosphorous to its fruits Swirling new dimensions to its leaves in wind Honey in deep crevices of its fruits Help us with a fall on its skin to the transience of life It definitely makes me lose my sleep A banana plant on the earth where he melted into 2 cubic meters of soil mixed well with his ashes His life, his work, his memories, his laziness Into the parallel lines of his wife's loss
In a massive cardiac arrest Satyanarayanan Angaloor PGP '96 passed away on 22nd December 2009. His friends in the batch fondly remember himâ€Ś
Into the fatherless balance of his son's life
"A happy-go-lucky guy!." "His laidback attitude earned his name Sack Out." "Satya is a very helpful guy." "Hard working and genius." "He is a down to earth optimist." "His characteristic cackling laugh makes his presence felt anywhere!" "A cars and bikes fanatic."
He vanished and fossiled - a pain in another wrong place
Satya was running his own marketing services firm "Minds@work" for the last three years after a successful 44 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE
Into the untimely life of his mother Into these electronic lines in the www
There are nicotine stains in our memories
An unfortunate fire accident broke at the Carlton Towers this February. Nine people were killed and one among them was our dear Siddhartha Padam PGP '98. Siddhartha was the Principal and Head - India Operations of Chesapeake Group and his office was at the top floor of the tower. A short circuit triggered the fire and the building was engulfed in thick smoke which caused the death of Siddhartha. A very dynamic, intensely intellectual and friendly person, Siddhartha has left behind his wife and two lovely children. Our prayers go to his family. May his soul rest in peaceâ€Ś
Marketing lessons in a granite campus E-Block top floor two among many idiots in IIMB Life snaked along but we kept
The Scuba Sutras
Ten business lessons from under the sea Guhesh Ramanathan PGP '88
I learned scuba diving in 1999, when I was (old, by diver standards) 35. Sure, I had seen the stuff on television â€Ś not a day went by without Discovery or the National Geographic channels transmitting something on life under water. All that I remember of those programs was "Hey that looks nice." Just "nice". It was never "Holy God!!! I should try that sometime!" Around that time, I was deep into building my second company. 35 years old, ambitious, aggressive, and driven. The first company I had set up had been transitioned to my partners, and I had moved out from operations there. And I had no time for anything else apart from work.
I never stopped hearing from her after that. Even watching the same programs on televisions changed: it was "I've seen that when I went diving!", or "This was better in Seychelles". Meantime, business was booming at the tech support company I had set up in Bangalore. We had grown to cover multiple locations: Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Pune. We had people in place. Most of the managers in this start-up were new, and relatively inexperienced, but they brought in the raw energy and passion that was required for a startup. While we were making our share of mistakes, our enthusiasm for customer support carried us through. We were growing, and growing fast.
I was, she couldn't provide the directions either: where would we go? What places could we go diving in? Could we just go off to some seaside resort, and ask to go scuba diving? My god, we just realized - neither of us were strong swimmers! Didn't we need to be Olympic level swimmers before we could go diving? And so we turned to the internet for answers. We tried "learn scuba diving" on Yahoo! And on the first page itself we found some information.
First hand experience came when my wife, Nalini, and a friend of hers went for a holiday to Seychelles in early 1998. Sure enough, I had stayed back. I was the ambitious, driven guy, remember? So when she came back with a bunch of photos of her back-rolling off a boat in full Scuba gear, it hit me that she had enjoyed herself doing something that should be experienced.
Sometime toward late 1998, the pressure got to me. Managing people on a daily basis was becoming a drag. Handling growing customer expectations was becoming tiresome. I needed a break from work: a week or so of a relaxed time would recharge me. So when Nalini suggested that we go scuba diving, it sounded brilliant.
"Every venture underwater" the page began: "is a new and exciting opportunity for exploration and discovery. The world underwater is full of beauty, wonder and excitement. Every dive gives us a glimpse of a unique and fascinating world that is very different from our own. If you have ever wondered what outer space was like, try being an aquanaut first! Scuba diving can be lots of fun, relaxing and a great opportunity to make new friends. Learning to scuba dive can become the beginning of a lifelong adventure. It will literally change your life!"
"You should have seen the blue!" "The size of that turtle - my god!" "Jelly fish!" "The big grouper! (Huh? I didn't know what a grouper was)". "You missed out on something so amazing, so brilliant â€Ś"
Now here was the catch. None of our friends had ever done any diving, so we had no one to speak with. And Nalini herself had just done three dives in the Seychelles. While she was "infinitely more experienced" than
We made up our minds: we would travel to Koh Samui, Thailand. We would learn and certify for the Open Water Diver program there. We'd do a few dives. And then we would decide if it was worthwhile diving at other places.
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And yes, like the website promised, my life changed.
Guhesh Ramanathan: The Strategic Advisor By early 2000, once my tech support company, Help.com had scaled, I was beginning to realize that I enjoyed building companies much more than managing operations. Once they grew to a steady-state, I quickly lost interest. The excitement became stale; the job - a drudge. And so, after having transitioned Help.com's management to a team of sales, marketing and operations people, I started dabbling with other initiatives. And all that time, I was taking two holidays a year - where my wife and I would go off to some diving resort, and forget the mad rush of the world in the peace and calm of the underwater. But I couldn't really forget work. How could I? By the time the holiday was over, I would be back on the plane thinking about what problem was
plaguing my client, and how they could solve it. Confusing thoughts used to flit by at odd hours: for a few minutes, I'd be thinking about the time I almost drowned because of a leaky jacket, and the next minute I'd be thinking about how a company I was advising almost went under because they lost a key executive. Sometimes I'd think about the terror of seeing a shark at close quarter, and the next minute I'd be thinking about the fact that we had closed a deal with one of the largest companies who we had considered as competition. I'd think of the pretty little trigger fish that attacked a fellow diver and tore away great chunks of his fins, and I'd think of the break-away from one of my clients who was now successfully competing for business with my client. And that's how the idea was born:
Lessons for businesses come from many different places. What if these could come from my experiences with scuba diving? And so: here are the ten cardinal lessons I want to propose to organizations and entrepreneurs.
The Scuba Sutras 1. I will never dive without a check 2.
I will maintain neutral buoyancy
3. I will enjoy the dive, not just the fish 4. I will be a good buddy 5. I will not confuse expertise with certificates 6. I will respect the currents around me 7. I will remember that trigger fish can be more dangerous than sharks 8. I will remember my 50 Bar limit 9. I will pass on my enthusiasm to a non-diver 10. I will remember there is always another ocean to dive
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Photo: Bipin Narayan Kulkarni PGP '09
Photo: Bipin Narayan Kulkarni PGP '09
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