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Narrowing the

Gender Divide







Message from the Alumni Office

Rakesh Godhwani Head, Alumni Association

Sankarshan Basu Chairperson, Alumni Affairs

When I was a high school student, I was blessed with some wonderful teachers who taught us Sanskrit along with other subjects. I used to enjoy reading "sukti's" - quotes and stories on Indian wisdom and way of learning articulated in short lines or few words. These were documented few thousand years before twitter and 140 characters become a household name and will be relevant for next few thousand years too. One such was "Yatra Nari Pujyante, Tatra ramte deva". It means that a home where women are respected & held in high esteem automatically becomes abode of good fortune. I have always believed that this is so true. Taking this example from home to an organization or a country, it is amply evident that some of the world's best places to live or work are those where woman has an equal say and there is no gender divide. So what is the gender divide that we keep reading and discussing about? What are women issues at

Rohini Ramegowda

workplace? We dedicate this edition of IIMB Alumni Magazine to the creator of life, nurturer of values and the pillar of a happy home or organization or country - Woman. She, not only is quite dedicated in whatever she does and upholds management excellence, but also a great leader. Ranjini Sivaswamy, Editor of this Magazine is one such example of dedication - she underwent a major surgery in October but bounced back to work with a vengeance to deliver the Winter Edition. I am sometimes amazed that whether it is being a manager or a mother, or a wife, or a friend, women wear multiple hats with panache. And we hope these shining examples of women leaders inspire a new change. The alumni association is buzzing with activity worldwide. This month, four batches of PGP are coming back to campus for their 10th, 15th, 25th and 30th year reunions. And for the first time, we will celebrate the

Ranjini Sivaswamy

Gayatri Nair

first reunion of EPGP program as well. We launched a lifetime free email id with the help of our friends at Gaboli and Microsoft. The alumni office staff members - Sushma, Rohini, Ranjini and Gayatri are busy keeping you engaged with the Institute. There is not a single day when alumni are not in campus some are teaching as guests, some are mentoring students, some are engaging with startups at NSRCEL, some participating in interviews, many walking around to enjoy the lovely scenery of campus or enjoying a hot cuppa at my office. I have been warned by my doctor to reduce my coffee intake. Maybe I will switch to green tea instead. :) Wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2011. Happy reading! Regards, Rakesh Godhwani

Sushma Ram

Contents Editorial Committee: Sankarshan Basu Chairperson, Alumni Affairs



Rakesh Godhwani Head, Alumni Association Ranjini Sivaswamy Editor

Women Leaders of IIMB


Editorial Team: Rakesh Godhwani Ranjini Sivaswamy Gayatri Nair - Assistant Editor

Panel Discussion


Arnav Pandya PGP '01 - Editorial Support Sushma R Rohini R

Cover Art: 'Ardhanarishwar' by Sonali Chaudhari - Artist

Design & Production:

Alumni @IIMB


Cicada Media Bangalore


Bannerghatta Road Bangalore 560 076, India Tel: +91-80-2699 3336 Fax: +91-80-2658 4050 Email: Website:


What's up @IIMB

Class Notes

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

Alumna Writes


Sacagawea, an early twentieth century symbol of women's worth and independence


Narrowing the gender divide Emerging from behind the shadows of a man, architecting and supporting his successes, she stepped forward to make success for herself too. As she stands shoulder to shoulder with man and unfolds the hidden riches of her talents, she makes everyone wonder, why was she suppressed all this while?

As a community that has received refined education, it is in our moral responsibility to address gender inequality and join the movement in our best capacity. We have seen many women from among us perform exceedingly well in their professional competencies and balance their family roles as well. We take you through the successes, experiences and thoughts of eight women alumni of IIMB, whose examples are not just proof to the extent of contribution feminine faculties can make to the advancement of society, but also become inspirational anecdotes for women and men to further the cause of creating a new society sans deprivation and disparity.


There is no holding back the woman anymore - this is one realization the world has woken up to. We have come a long way from a society that callously overlooked the capabilities of a woman, to a society that is making a conscious effort towards gender equality. From here, we have the responsibility to drive the transformation towards a new world order where no woman or man is discriminated against. Is this too idealistic? Probably yes, but have we not achieved things, the thought of which would have drawn bizarre reactions from people just a generation ago? Dig deeper, the inspirations will come from iconographies of our past itself. One concept that has mesmerized thought leaders is that of the 'Ardhanarishwar'. This concept of a God who is half man and half woman in the Hindu mythology, to a greater

extent supports the idealistic thought of a new world order. The philosophy says, "The male and the female principles are inseparable and ever found together in cosmology. Only when the distinction and limitation of male and female is overstepped can liberation occur. Thus Ardhanari conducts the mind beyond objective experience in a symbolic realm where duality is left behind." At many levels of social activity, the man and woman have discovered an effectual synergy in their association as they complement each other through their differences. At this realization, the compartmentalization of the sexes into stereotypical gender roles needs to be revisited and the opportunity cost of leaving the woman out of the mainstream made up for. Amartya Sen in his book 'The Argumentative Indian' analyzes the interconnection between the well



being of the woman and its farreaching impact on the progress of the society. He says, "We need a fuller cognizance of the power and reach of women's enlightened and constructive agency and an adequate appreciation of the fact that women's power and initiative can uplift the lives of all human beings - women, men and children." As we look at redefining the erred equations that govern the relationship of man and woman today, the one simple thing we need to remember is that we are not looking at making a man out of a woman. Each of them has an inimitable role to play which cannot be lost in our quest to find the perfect balance. What we need to do is respect the difference and figure out a cohesive approach, without making it a single sided affair, to narrow the gap. Rising above prejudices, stereotypes, superiority and inferiority complexes, and understanding the complementary nature of the sexes is the need of the hour. There is an undeniable humanitarian concern that comes from the suppression of innumerable women generations together, that significantly calls for providing equal opportunity and empowerment of women. It's indeed surprising and fantastic that even after being the suppressed gender for centuries, the woman still carries a riveting spark that is waiting to fulfill her potential - a positive that will help a great deal in our endeavour. Taking a realistic account of our current state of affairs, we know that phenomenal amount of work needs to be done across the world. Developed or not, there are constant battles that are being fought for equality, safety and dignity of the woman. India stands at a rather dismally low rank of 112 out of 134 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index of 2010. There are certain pockets of functional areas that have seen equality setting in but there are even more left drastically


asymmetrical. But let's not get cynical; there is a change that has been set in motion which kindles an optimism which inspires us to embrace the cause of narrowing the gender divide even more. In the Indian Administrative Service, there is a consistent increase in the number of women, though still unequal, who take up the service. The indicators of the World Economic Forum's Report on Gender Gap point out that the financial services and insurance industry employs the highest percentage of women at 60 per cent. Professional services and Media & Entertainment follow with 56 per cent and 42 per cent respectively. The need for a diverse workforce has dawned upon Corporate India too and many industries are moving towards employing more women, especially the software industry where women make 30 per cent of its workforce. "Companies with the highest representation of women on their top management experience, on average, better financial performance than companies with the lowest women representation. Their Return on Equity was reported to be 35 percent higher and Total Return to Shareholders, 34 percent higher" states a recent study on the leadership and gender gap in India by Catalyst, a research organization. Many women and men, the government, Non Government Organizations (NGOs) and activists across the country are working to bring about social justice by promoting gender equality and empowering women. The Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations has also initiated actions at the grass roots level. At this juncture, as a community that has received refined education, it is in our moral responsibility to address gender inequality and join the movement in our best capacity. We have seen many women from among us perform exceedingly well in their professional

competencies as well as balance their family roles. They are innovators, risk taking entrepreneurs, decision makers, great moms, and influential teachers. Their examples are not just proof to the extent of contribution feminine faculties can make to the advancement of society, but also inspirational anecdotes for women and men to further the cause of creating a new society sans deprivation and disparity. We take you through the successes, experiences and thoughts of eight women alumni of IIMB. Every discernible trait of a leader unfolds in their story and each woman, in her own right, shows how incredible she is and presents before us a learning that we can derive to empower many more women.

Quick facts •

India stands at a rank of 112 out of 134 countries in the global gender gap index of 2010

India has the lowest percentage of women employees, at 23 per cent World Economic Forum's Corporate Gender Gap Report 2010

53% working women in India fear for their safety finds Assocham

Industries that employ highest percentage of women: Financial services and insurance - 60 per cent, Professional services - 56 per cent, Media & Entertainment - 42 per cent

Among Indian companies, PepsiCo has one of the highest representations of women in its senior leadership - 25 per cent

30 per cent of the workforce of the Indian software industry is female

In the financial services sector 54 per cent of chief executives are women



Revathy Ashok PGP '80

Three decades have passed since Revathy Ashok completed her PGP from IIMB. She recalls, "We were just six girls in our batch. It was a rare thing for girls to get admitted in MBA Institutes." Today, our PGP first year batch has the strength of 79 girls. Here is something we need to acknowledge - change is in motion. Ask Revathy what breaking conventions and stereotypes mean you cannot but be amazed at how this woman has expanded her possibilities beyond boundaries. Could you imagine a woman, married with children, travelling to Iraq for work during the notorious times of Saddam Hussain? Revathy, the nonconformist, did just that. She lived in a caravan in the deserts of Iraq on her assignment to do budgeting and reviewing for a large oil field development project. "From behind mounds of earth, I could see men


looking out with their guns." Revathy always took the challenges that opportunities brought along.

at Tishman Speyer. She made a strong impact as a business strategist and is widely respected for accomplishments. Today she is an independent advisor to start - ups and an angel investor.

She, a finance person, has worked all throughout her career in exhaustively male-dominated industries Manufacturing, electronics, infrastructure, real estate - rugged roads which have rarely been taken by women. 'It's slightly isolated with no women around but I was never discriminated against'. When the focus is on what the job requires and the perspective that one brings to the table, gender has to take a backseat.

Having been a top level manager, shouldn't we know Revathy's take on the infamous glass ceiling? Revathy recalls that her earlier days at a junior level of management were much easier than when she held senior positions."As you move up the ladder you begin to experience the contradictions with the predominantly male style of networking, bonding and creating new relationships", She says breaking the glass ceiling is all about will power. Many women have broken it before and a strong conviction is an unstoppable force.

Revathy Ashok PGP '80, gold medalist of her batch, is named one of the 10 most powerful women in the IT Industry by Dataquest in 2005 and the only CFO in India to run a US based NASDAQ listed company. With over 30 years of experience as a finance expert, Revathy has had a trailblazing career in most industries that are utterly male dominated. Revathy is one of those pioneers who make us believe that it is possible for women to make it big in these industries. Revathy stayed atop as a key person in these companies - CFO at Microland Group, CFO at Syntel and Managing Director and Head Finance

"So much of what it takes to be a leader has been historically defined by men," says Libby Sartain of Yahoo! Inc. Revathy found that the way she built relationships with clients or handled a crisis was much different from how her male counterparts did. We might have to wait and see how the concepts of leadership change when more and more women enter the scene. Come to think of it, Revathy took this unconventional route thirty years back and even today these industries do not have a diverse workforce. Gary N. Powell in his book Women & Men in Management states, "The sex difference in occupational choices seems likely to be reduced if women continue to desire greater entry into male-dominated industries and the success of female pioneers in these occupations leads other women to believe that their aspirations also can be achieved." Revathy is one of those pioneers who make us believe that it is possible for women to make it big in these industries.



Lekha Sishta PGP '80 An early Monday morning in Hyderabad: Lekha Sishta is at the office much before the others. As she watched others coming in sluggishly dragging themselves into the office, she could see their dull faces devoid of enthusiasm. 'That's completely not what I'm here to see!' - Lekha, the VP and Head-HR at Sum Total Systems, decided she had to deal with this and make her people feel happy about coming to office. In a typical software company where the average age group is 28, there is lot of energy left untapped. Work is challenging but the damage if monotony strikes can be severe. Lekha wanted to do away with the 'all work and no play' scenario by meaningfully engaging the employees and making an emotional connect with them. It made a lot of difference to the bond that the employees shared with the company when Lekha decided to extend the relationship to the families of employees. Her team additionally introduced many fun activities and also the element of social responsibility was nurtured. On the whole, there came a sense of


belonging. The attrition rate was halved, longevity doubled and the employee referrals grew enormously. Sum Total's brand as an employeefriendly company soared high. And no more Monday morning blues. That's the result of the energy and vision that Lekha Sishta carries; a true leader in every sense. Lekha's career has seen her as a marketing & strategy person, an HR professional and as someone who carries a long term love affair with academics. As a consultant and trainer, she has handled projects with multiple companies. Today she is an independent consultant trying to spread her expertise and experience across multiple smaller set-ups. Having been at the top of affairs at people management, she has closely nurtured and seen the growth of women leaders in many institutions and organizations. Lekha is also a member of the NASSCOM forum for women leaders. Lekha observes, "Women are a lot more ambitious these days. Some of this comes from so many brilliant and qualified women wanting to prove themselves and be respected in their immediate circles. Women have a natural leadership quality of multitasking with efficiency and effectiveness - for example a home-maker managing a home where she capably fits in so much into her 24 hour day." When asked what can be done to bring the large number of middle-class women who are less fortunate, economically or academically, to the mainstream, Lekha says, "Tangible results can be achieved by working with women in the colleges, say engineering colleges, of two tier cities and small towns. Both women and men coming from these circumstances are

Lekha Sishta is a Talent Strategist who has been making an impact by grooming organizations and managers for tomorrow. She is the winner of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award for her outstanding contribution to professional education and training, and was also awarded the Woman Super Achiever award in 2009 by the World HR Congress. Lekha is a Core Committee member of the NASSCOM's Women in Leadership - IT forum. focused on proving themselves and have the drive to achieve great things. Companies and organizations must go there and hire them. With some amount of training and help, these youngsters will shine." Lekha also expresses her concern on sexual harassment in work places and calls for victims to talk openly about their experiences. She says "Sexual harassment is not just about a man against a woman. Both sexes face this evil but are hesitant to talk about it. She says "Even if you are unsure if a particular case can be called as harassment, talk to close confidants about it. This by itself helps reduce the injustice." The Visakha Bill that seeks to ensure safe working spaces for women has to a certain extent been able to create a supportive environment that hopefully will break the silence. Lekha is a member of many women's groups and is constantly doing interesting things. Be it book- reading sessions or teaming up to make people more conscious of their environment, Lekha showers her allpervading energy. "Lay the rules down, perform yourself and people see you for what you are," she tells the women who want to make a success of themselves.



Dr. Hema Krishnan PGP '88 An Asian woman with an unmistakable Indian accent - "She looks different from us. She speaks different. How can she teach us?" That's typically the first thought of new students in Hema Krishnan's class at Xavier University, Ohio. But Hema triumphs over these thoughts with nothing but her outstanding teaching skills. And it wouldn't be difficult for someone who holds the second highest position in the Business College to take these challenges - Hema is the Associate Dean of Williams College of Business, Xavier University, Cincinnati,

Ohio. She chairs a position that no woman, let alone a foreign woman, has ever presided. Hema's success is a significant achievement that we all can be proud about. This comes in a scenario where men considerably outnumber women in academic leadership positions in schools for higher education across the world. Hema, who is herself a researcher in the field of women and leadership, believes strongly in the need and benefits of bringing gender diversity to Institutions. At her position, she practices and spreads this message among the students of her college which optimistically percolates into their minds and makes a difference when they become leaders tomorrow. Hema is someone who has been discriminated as the only girl student in her class in one the top technical

The big question of balance As she started making a world outside of her household, the woman is now loaded with both the external and familial responsibilities. She is in a mad rush to do justice to every role, especially that of a mother, and finds herself in a constant act of jugglery - quite a bit of a squeeze for any superwoman. Amartya Sen calls it the 'accumulation of labour' for the woman. Even as we see our women grow up the ladders of their careers, the traditional family role of the woman continues to demand a great deal from her. This double role, or the 'second shift', pushes most women to make compromises in their career goals and even


choose between the career and the family role. The government sector in India has addressed this issue to a great extent that we find a lot of women in senior positions in government offices. Women are given ample space to take career breaks and are not left lagging behind when they rejoin in terms of salaries or their positions. Private organizations might want to take a closer look at the government sector to help themselves become more accommodative of women. Almost all of our eight women mention family as the critical support system - be it the husband,

parents, in-laws or children, their understanding and co-operation have helped these women to pursue greater heights in their careers. If Sharda Agarwal's husband moved cities to support her career choices, Deepti Umashankar and her husband chose to be together in most of the things they do, including their IAS training and their PGPPM at IIMB. Malavika recalls how she decided to start an interior decoration company when she was taking a career break and used to carry her son to the office. Lekha Sishta believes in spending quality time with her daughters, though quantity time was less. In their formative



and sometimes humiliated too. But that did not stop her; Hema went on to be the first woman to hold a field job at the sales front in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, an entirely male dominated space. It was during her tenure at HP that she joined IIMB "I was the first person one who got 'study leave' before the stipulated 5year service requirement from HP during those times", she chuckles. Hema then moved to the US to pursue her doctorate at the University of Tennessee and then took to academics, which she says was her calling. Today she teaches International Management, Strategic Management, Strategic Leadership, and Global Strategic Thinking at the undergraduate, MBA, and executive levels. Hema's noteworthy contribution to women's studies has been her recent research paper, 'What causes turnover among women on top management teams?' She shares her findings from the study:

years, Lekha found that, when left to their devices her daughters worked their way around. Hema Krishnan chooses to work from home as much as possible and Aruna Gopakumar has a homeoffice set up which makes it easier for her. Meenu Venkateswaran says women need to be clear about what they will and will not do in their homes. Meenu and her husband built equality in household and took their children into confidence about the work pressures of both parents. Revathy Ashok feels facilities like crèches, work from home options and 'mom's rooms' are a welcome


Dr. Hema Krishnan PGP '88 is the Associate Dean of Williams College of Business, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, the second highest job in the University. She chairs a position that no woman, let alone a foreign woman, has ever presided. Hema is a passionate academician and a vigorous researcher who holds a PGP from IIMB, an MS and a PhD from the University of Tennessee. She believes that through mentorship we can bring more and more women to the forefront. "Unfortunately, even as women have ascended the top ranks of businesses in large numbers, I found in a three-year study that the turnover rate of top female executives is almost twice the turnover rate for male executives. In functions such as marketing, operations and law, the turnover is even higher - 50 percent. The factors that lead to turnover

change, which weren't available in earlier times. She also mentions that young women need to be mentally prepared to juggle between various tasks and make professional choices understanding their personal circumstances and personal preferences. In 'The consequences of equal opportunity for Women', Jane W. Torrey talks of a brave new system with two distinctions the working world should be open to - one about greater accommodation of family life and another about greater participation of women in management and decision making. This brave new system calls for the

among female executives include barriers to socialization along the path to the executive suite, feelings of exclusion from the "old boys" network that is prevalent in large organizations, lack of proper mentors, challenges faced in balancing the demands of family and work, and rigid and hierarchical organizational systems in companies that offer little room for work-family flexibility." Through her study, Hema alerts corporate organizations to reduce turnover by creating a climate that is more likely to assimilate differences, is holistic, and is more conducive to the management styles of women. A perfectionist, hard working woman of the highest degree, and a trailblazer - that's what makes Hema what she is. One of her priorities now is to mentor women in her Institution as she strongly believes that through mentorship we can bring more and more women to the forefront.

society to respect the unique family status of the woman and not put her in compromising dilemmas of 'either - or'. Organizations need to understand that the personal circumstances of the woman cannot be ignored and that not every woman will have parallel support systems. Single mothers and mothers of differently-abled children find it all the more difficult to strike a balance. The urban scenario is much better as against the conservative rural scene. Our challenge is to reduce the burden from the shoulder of the woman and relieve her from unfair expectations so that she can explore her potentials to the fullest.



Aruna Gopakumar PGP '93

Aruna Gopakumar PGP '93 is an innovative entrepreneur who is driven by a dream to empower a billion Indians with skills and confidence. Aruna founded her company 'Navgati, hoping to help people recognize and get in touch with their potential. She brings her knowledge in emotional intelligence and transactional analysis, packages it with theatre, art and music to touch the psyche of her audience.

One of those comical statements in the eternal 'man or woman - who is better?' argument goes: "If the women ruled the world, there would be no wars, just a bunch of jealous countries not talking to each other". Ask Aruna Gopakumar, she would be happy about the first hypothesis, but disprove the second one. Aruna's company Navgati has a number of highly motivated women who have varied interests and skill sets. Aruna asserts that it has worked well for her and each woman handles her set of tasks with an entrepreneurial zeal. "I believe that the leadership skills that women bring are more suited to 21st century management than the traditional hierarchical leadership that worked earlier." Supporting her line of thought are the findings from the study 'Feminization of leadership' that says "women enjoy working for other women and that having more women in leadership roles could inspire and help other women assert themselves." Aruna, the leader, has many interesting facets. She is an entrepreneur who is driven by a dream to empower a billion Indians with skills and confidence. She is a woman who has crafted an innovative 10 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

way of functioning for her company. She is a change agent who is rethinking everything that limits human imagination and perception. Aruna conceptualized Navgati as a leadership training and coaching company, hoping to get people at all levels to recognize and get in touch with their potential. Participants experience Navgati programmes as creative, deep and refreshing. They can connect the content to their struggles easily. They see value and are motivated to change. All Navgati programmes consistently advocate authenticity and sensitivity. Aruna brings her knowledge in emotional intelligence and transactional analysis, packages it with theatre, art and music to touch the psyche of her audience. Yet Navgati is far from anything that can be called corporate. This tenyear old company, Navgati, does not have a formal office. The entire company meets as a whole only once a month, for fun and work. Yet the team is aligned and bonded. With this kind of a work style in place, she and her ten member team have trained over 40,000 people in more than 300

companies. Being an ardent proponent of emotional intelligence studies and a person who has worked extensively with women, here is an obvious question to Aruna - Are women more emotionally intelligent than men? She answers with a yes, "Women are known to be the "weaker" sex, emotional - crying easily, seeking help, putting the needs of the others before themselves. These "weaknesses" have turned out to be their biggest strengths - they have no difficulty with being themselves, they don't have to pretend to be strong or have all the answers. Their authenticity allows them to bond better, build more trusting relationships. Because women talk about the difficulties they face, they are emotionally much more resilient." Aruna strongly believes that to bring about a lasting change in moulding effective individuals, work has to start at the level of school teachers. School teachers, family and mothers have a great role to play and Aruna is all set to work extensively with these people for a better world.



Malavika Harita PGP '82 "Alpha woman is a person who exhibits self-assurance, physical and most of all emotional strength and control, independence, courage, an extreme focus on goals, skilled in building community links and a great listener. This kind of woman does not fear to show vulnerability and has a holistic vision, which makes her a great team player," goes a web definition for an alpha woman, which is the apt introduction to Malavika Harita. When her dad taught Malavika how to drive, he also made sure that his daughter knew her how to change the tyres, connect the battery, and check the oil and radiator fluid - tasks that are archetypical to the man. Malavika is someone who has defied these gender boundaries and never stopped herself from doing anything because she is a woman - a true alpha personality.

Malavika Harita PGP '82 holds the distinction of becoming a businesswoman at the age of nineteen and has ever since been a leader. Malavika is the CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi Focus and Saatchi & Saatchi Health, India and has over 25 years of experience in communication, advertising, branding and entrepreneurship, She is a powerhouse of energy who has donned many roles in her life apart from her professional capacity including that of an architect, teacher, trainer, mentor, dancer, Carnatic classical singer. Malavika holds the credit of becoming a businesswoman at the age of nineteen and that too in the business of wooden packaging for heavy machinery; a rather off the track business. She took independent charge of the business's financial management, marketing &


administration and quadrupled the turnover of the business. She was only a student at that time and has been handling leadership positions ever since she took charge of this family business along with her mother when her father passed away. Malavika went ahead to get herself the best education and experience. You'll be amazed to know that this IIMBian later learnt architecture and was into interior decoration and furniture business. She has done several turnkey residential projects in Bangalore. One of Malavika's earlier employers was HMT Watches and she had short tryst with Mudra Communications. Then it was time for a long term love

affair with Saatchi & Saatchi, a leading advertising agency popular across the world - wherein for the past seventeen years Malavika has held various leadership positions across verticals. She has spearheaded business critical projects with them and founded the division Saatchi and Saatchi Focus in India. An entrepreneur at heart, Malavika works like an entrepreneur in her job. She developed the direct communication business of Saatchi & Saatchi from scratch, transformed Saatchi & Saatchi Focus wing into a knowledge based communications agency to serve the non FMCG sectors, and launched Saatchi & Saatchi Health in India. She now heads both Saatchi & Saatchi Focus



and Saatchi & Saatchi Health as the CEO. How does one find the ability to rise above the precincts of gender? Malavika says it's the belief in the power of the brain and the power of knowledge. It is not gender but gray matter that matters the most. Malavika recalls certain instances where the bias against her being a woman was felt. She says, "It is usually during some first time official meet-ups, but such prejudices break down in the initial few minutes of conversation

itself when people recognize your knowledge and take you for what you are." She brings in an important perspective, the need to empower our women with knowledge to help them soar into greater heights. At the age of fifty, Malavika is still a powerhouse of energy who will make us wonder where it incessantly emanates from. Apart from her hectic shuttles between Mumbai and Bangalore every week, she teaches communications in various

institutions, writes, reads, counsels young people and enjoys cooking for her son. She was a classical Bharata Natyam dancer who has performed all over the country besides winning several awards. She was also trained in Carnatic classical music. In the light of the multitudes of roles that Malavika has donned, shouldn't we aggressively start questioning the confines that a woman's capabilities are subjected to?

Sharda Agarwal PGP '92 the launching of Johnson & Johnson's Clean and Clear and driving the phenomenal growth of brands like 'Sprite' and 'Fanta'. That's quite exhaustive by itself! Undoubtedly, she is an iconic figure for aspirants in this field. One obvious question is how Sharda managed such highly demanding jobs - She says her challenges were similar to what most people face - how to prioritize, learning Vs doing on the job, managing both office & home, especially travel schedules. 'One needs instill high levels of self conviction to take charge and perform tasks of critical nature', she observes. One valuable learning she had was teaching herself how to quickly assess a crisis situation and act, versus impulsively plunging headlong. Sharda points out that she has never faced any situations where her abilities were weighed against her gender. Access to such level playing grounds can be achieved through knowledge and confidence. Thanda Matlab? Didn't your mind just say Coca Cola? That's the power of this advertising campaign that became a landmark in the history of Indian advertising and Sharda Agarwal was one of the key architects of this campaign as the Director of Marketing at Coca-Cola India. Running such massive campaigns that have an impact across the country is no ordinary task, and Sharda was right there at the helm of affairs running the brand, handling the


media and strategizing the promotions. Coca Cola India, marked a record growth of 39% after this campaign and grabbed several national and international awards. Such big successes create more challenges - Sharda says her biggest challenge was to sustain the momentum that was created by the 'Thanda Matlab' campaign. Sharda and her team have done the magic behind several memorable advertising campaigns that include

Sharda Agarwal is a marketing professional who holds the credit of being the architect of some of the biggest advertising campaigns of the country including 'Thanda Matlab Coca Cola', Fanta, Sprite and Clean & Clear. An iconic figure for aspirants in this field, Sharda is today the Founder Director of Market Gate, a marketing consulting company. WINTER 2010


great joy. She is the Director of MarketGate and thoroughly enjoys being an entrepreneur. For women who want to explore their possibilities in entrepreneurship, Sharda says there is no better time than now. 'There are enormous opportunities, facilities like work from home, home offices and great encouragement to start something on one's own', she says. Sharda brings us a great example of how effective our women can be in top marketing jobs. Researchers say that women have an extra edge when it comes to marketing. Their inherent

ability to empathize with others puts them at a higher pedestal. A study conducted in the US by Copernicus states, "women have achieved great success in marketing and that their success has been in large part due to the decision-making styles and characteristics such as a collaborative style, team-orientation, facility with consensus building, thoughtfulness, and listening skills that are increasingly ascribed to female business decision-makers." It will be great to see more women take to marketing and utilize their natural potential to excel in this field of profession.

Tips from our women Leaders Have very high levels of self conviction and learn to give up some things - Sharda Agarwal Chuck cynicism, when you are cynical you cannot generate new ideas - Malavika Harita Have a role model to look up to Revathy Ashok Set priorities, sometimes slow down a little bit, at the end of the day there are limitations to what the physical body can take - Hema Krishnan Be fair in your leadership, that'll help you tap the tremendous amount of wisdom lying within others - Meenu Venkateswaran Make yourself dispensable - Lekha Sishta Energy comes from doing new things - Aruna Gopakumar When you are in decision making positions, it is very important to see things from other people's point of view - Deepti Umashankar

'Wings' Art by Rashmi Toshniwal PGP '02

Contrary to the popular belief that women are averse to risk-taking, Sharda decided to challenge herself with more adventure and risk - she quit her 16 years of career in high profile jobs to become an entrepreneur. Now this is not easy letting go of the big brands your name is associated with, starting everything from scratch, and not have the comfort cushion of a corporate. But Sharda knew that the risk will be worth it all. Along with a partner she co-founded her company, MarketGate - a marketing consulting company. In building her company, crafting and shaping its future, Sharda discovered


Deepti Umashankar PGPPM '06 Deepti Umashankar PGPPM '06, is an IAS officer who strives to do whatever she can for the common man and make a difference to their lives. Here is a note about her on the internet: 'Dailies Danik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran reported that on her way to a meeting, incidentally on child labour, Ms Umashankar spotted two teenage boys, about 8-year-old, polishing shoes and another small girl begging. She took them along with her into her office. The nervous children had no clue what they were up to. They began to cry and asked for mercy from the officer fearing that they may have been arrested. Ms Umashankar comforted them, called her subordinates and ordered to take remedial steps.' This speaks by itself about the kind of leader Deepti is.

Does gender hold any relevance when you have to call the shots at the face of a crisis? Wouldn't you agree that it is the leadership that you displayed and the decisions you made that will remain? Officers of the Indian Administrative Service, men or women, find themselves at responsible decision making position whose actions have an impact the lives of a thousand human beings. At such a pedestal, it does not matter what gender you are, but what kind of a leader you are. We have seen many many women rising up to these levels and delivering their job exceptionally well. Deepti Umashankar IAS is one such incredible woman who has handled key positions in law and order, rural development and public grievances on behalf of the Government of India since 1993.


On a daily basis, Deepti meets people from all walks of life and each day of her work guarantees rich experience and learning. "In a government leadership position, the public are your clients and every decision that you take is evaluated on a real time basis by the public" says Deepti. When she started off as a young officer, she reckons that she did have to put that extra effort to prove herself and gain the confidence of people around her. That might not have been the case for a male officer. "But once people trust in your abilities, then it is a level playing field," she says. Trust continues to be the one element that she evokes in her relationship with the common man, for the betterment of whose life is her greatest commitment. One of her

passionate areas of work is empowerment of women and she has been instrumental in actively mobilizing self help groups. She worked with underprivileged women in Hisar, Faridabad and Gurgaon, handholding and training them to help them gain an economic footing. Deepti finds that the impact of self helps groups goes beyond providing financial independence to giving a sense of identity to these women. She has seen women who had never even stepped out of their houses, speak out in public platforms. One of her visions for self help groups is that of breaking away from the stereotypical 'achar making' like jobs that are being undertaken. She says women should breakaway from these stereotypical roles to take up roles that they haven't ventured into.



Deepti's dissertation for her PGPPM course at IIMB was based on these self help groups. Her research finds that it is easier to bring about change in material aspects that govern the life of a woman from these backgrounds, but it is highly difficult to change the attitudes. Though they are assuming leadership roles at the community levels and in Panchayats, the household continues to be an unequal space. She says that in rural India most households are held together at the cost of the woman.

The woman is the first to wake up before the sun rises and the last to sleep. How can we reduce the drudgery of these women? "Technology can bring about a lot of change to the lives of these women. Furthermore, our aim should be to bring about cognitive changes that can seep through into such grass roots level through education. The mindset of the woman must also see a change towards self esteem and self confidence" says Deepti.

Deepti's insights into the realities do not go without an emphatic positive expression that she does see the gender gap narrowing. Women in sports, unconventional jobs, and with greater financial independence is extremely heartening to see, she says. This IAS officer has just completed her mid career training and is expecting her appointment with one of the central ministries.

Meenu Venkateswaran PGP '90 The Babri Masjid episode and '93 Mumbai riots that followed was a shocker to the entire nation. Where do we stand as a country? What values of communalism and tolerance are we living with and transferring to the generations to come? Such questions of despair and horror hung heavy in the air. As a youngster Meenu Venkateswaran had walked the streets of Delhi when the Sikh riots happened. She was part of a team taking an account of the extent of devastation. Meenu was disturbed, but at that point in time there was nothing much that she could do. But this time when the riots wrathfully returned, she could not let herself to be quiet. Along with her two friends, she took to the streets again, went to schools, spoke to children and youngsters to make a difference at the root of issues. Stirred by the conflict, Meenu and her friends founded a nonprofit organization, Pravah, to address issues of social impact with the youth to prevent the happening of conflicts rather than trying to find cure in the aftermath. In one of her articles published in the Times of India Meenu writes, "A young pool can be of great advantage to a country's economic productivity, but without useful


Meenu Venkateswaran PGP '90 is a social worker who cofounded Pravah, a nonprofit organization, that works towards building leadership among young people, creating innovative learning experience, preparing youth leadership curriculum and inspiring a social change. Meenu is the CEO at Pravah since 2005 and is believes that addressing issues of social impact with the youth brings an understanding that can prevent the happening of social conflicts, rather than trying to find cure in the aftermath.



social and economic skills, it can become a liability. Stable democratic governance, economic growth and improved access to education and healthcare can enable young people to play a decisive role in India's social, economic and political life." Her work and vision is towards guiding this young pool to become leaders and mould their mindset before opinions get solidified. Exposure to the right influences and the knowledge to make socially sensitive decisions have to be given to the youth before it is too late. Meenu says, "Our education calls for intervention as it does not prepare us for our environment." As the CEO of Pravah, Meenu is working towards building leadership among young people, creating innovative learning experiences, preparing youth leadership curriculum and inspiring a social change. She brings on to the table at Pravah, her experience in working with various development organizations including Child Rights and You (CRY). When asked how we can inspire young people to surpass gender

divides, Meenu says: "There is a need to build the capacity to confront the discrimination positively and expose the youth to cross border experiences. As a population, we have difficulties in stepping across the borders of religion, caste, class and gender. Once there is an effort to go beyond and understand each other, breaking stereotypes and narrowing the gender gap will be made possible." Meenu observes that the NGO sector is one scene where there are lots of women who are working for and leading organizations. Her motivation comes from within and it gets reinforced every time she sees change and transformation in people. She finds happiness in being able to work meaningfully. Her leadership style is that of taking people along and working with consensus. She believes in fair leadership and tapping the wisdom of others for the benefit of the entire organization. The greatness of Meenu's personality, her vision and the purposefulness that she lives with is an inspiration for all of us, women and men.

What our women leaders did in making their successes? •

Never limited themselves or conformed to expected norms

Expanded their possibilities with the power of knowledge

Kept their energy levels really high

Mastered the art of multitasking

Challenged themselves at every stage of life

Learnt to give up some things and never regretted the choices made

Worked with commitment, sincerity, honesty, transparency

Loved and excelled in whatever they did

Walking through the experiences of our women leaders we have seen the many prejudices and conventions that limit a woman getting demystified. As they made success for themselves, they have made it for other women too. When one woman proves herself, she makes way for many more women to break their shackles. What we essentially need to ensure is that knowledge is imparted to the woman; sensitivity of a woman's equal status created in the man; and an awareness of the enormous possibilities in the harmony between the sexes be awakened within every human being. A just world - for us and for our daughters and sons - don't we really want that? Article by Ranjini Sivaswamy, Editor



References: 'Of Past Dawns and Future Noons' - Shonar 'Women and Men in Management', - Gary N. Powell 'The Argumentative Indian' - Amartya Sen World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2010 Leadership and gender gap in India - Study by Catalyst 'The Problem of the Woman' - Mirra Alfassa 'About Woman' - Nolini Kanta Gupta


'Ecstasy' Art by Kiran Agarwal PGP '04




Maullika Sharma MPWE ’06 (Management Programme for women entrepreneurs) is a counsellor who works with individual adults, couples, families and children. Through her counselling practice called ‘Personal Orbit Change’ she helps people overcome their personal barriers to self-growth.

Priya Chetty Rajagopal, a distinguished business woman, heads the Corporate Practice at Stanton Chase International. Priya is an honoree of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award for Excellence in 1997 and was the Chairperson of the Indo American Chamber of Commerce (Karnataka).


Kalpana Gopalan IAS PGPPM '04 is an IAS officer who has held leadership positions at both policy-making and implementation levels in varied sectors. Presently, she is the Commissioner, Survey, Settlement & Land Records in the Government of Karnataka and is pursuing her doctoral studies in Public Policy at IIMB.



Panel Discussion

Women Leadership Professor Gita Sen, faculty at the Centre for Public Policy at IIMB, is a scholar, researcher and activist who has worked extensively on gender development and equality. She is a PhD in Economics, Stanford University and has served on numerous national and international boards and committees.

As we delve deeper into the issue of the gender divide, it is critical to discuss the aspect of leadership among women. To throw light on this intricate topic of discussion, we bring together, the knowledge, perspectives and prudence of five women - an academician, a journalist, an IAS officer, a corporate professional and a counsellor - Professor Gita Sen, Ipsita Basu, Kalpana Gopalan IAS PGPPM '04, Priya Chetty Rajagopal and Maullika Sharma MPWE '06. This discussion, the transcript of which is presented here, was organized by the IIMB Alumni Association for this Magazine. Prof. Gita Sen moderated the discussion that kept the spectrum of perspectives as varied as possible - two alumni, a faculty and two external voices. Stalwarts in their own professions, these women discuss and debate Women Leadership and its various facets its evolution, fears and possibilities.

Ipsita Basu, a print journalist, is the Principal Correspondent at Daily News & Analysis at DNA After Hours. She has worked with leading Indian and International magazines, tabloids, and newspapers and has written various human interest, lifestyle and investigative-crime stories.




Prof. Gita: I thought the simplest and most interesting deliberation to start off is the question of whether we think there is a difference between something that could be a male leadership style and a female leadership style, pros and cons. Depending on whether you think yes or no to that, let's discuss what you think are the features or characters that a successful woman leader ought to have.

Priya: I was part of a course that we did in UK and a wonderful woman who interacted with us did a leadership intelligence survey on leadership traits and whether they were considered to be masculine or feminine. It was a fascinating discussion and what emerged was that there were certain words which were supposed to be masculine words or that we would associate with the typical generation of authoritative leadership and there were qualities more associated with women. And apart from the dramatic difference, once they started demystifying the words, and talked about leadership and what it can achieve, things became much more level. What eventually emerged from it were two things - that there is obviously a slight difference in style. The second thing is that as the generations are evolving, people are getting comfortable about being themselves rather than being stereotypes. Both men and women are comfortable being who they are, rather than being stereotypical, what they don't like, what they should be doing, what they shouldn't be etc. The third thing is, leadership, post World War II has evolved so significantly to a state where what is expected are results, and not necessarily the authoritarian process. So again, because the nature of leadership and what is expected to be achieved has changed, you need a certain kind of leader rather than a certain 'gender' of leader.


Therefore the woman-man leadership became a continuum rather than two discrete boxes.

Prof. Gita: So what you are suggesting is that, in an interesting way, the old gender division between what were considered traits of female leaders and male leaders have been really turned around by a change in the kind of leadership expected and has moved much more towards a recognition of what would in older times be called female qualities collaboration, co-operation, learning from subordinates, processes like that - rather than the classic old male authoritarian leadership style. I think it was a caricature of some kind but because of that it has become in some senses more acceptable and it allows people to be more who they are.

Maullika: I think what you are saying is at the time of the industrial revolution there was more of a place for the typical male characteristics and as we have moved on to the knowledge and information age, there is a larger need for co-operation, collaboration and such skills in a leader, as opposed to a top down hierarchy. Therefore the role for women, as the divide is merging, is much more about collaborating and influencing and getting teams to work together. I think women define themselves more in terms of relationships with people and that also translates into the workplace. So the woman leader in the workplace is more relationship oriented rather than just number and task oriented and all of that.

Difference between public and private leadership Kalpana: I was wondering whether there is a difference in style and requirements of leadership in public and private spaces. A leader in a public place, a man or a woman, may have to play a different role as

opposed to someone who is operating in a more compact private space. What happens in a public space, not only speaking from my experience, but largely from the experience of women in politics - at least at the level of the state or city, I am not talking about the ministers at the union level but leaders at the rural level - they tend to constantly adjust themselves to what is expected of them. There is a certain expectation from women and to a certain extent their own effectiveness is hampered or influenced by trying to adjust to that expectation or trying to live up to that role. You will find that women Zilla Panchayat leaders, for instance, will not tend to be very pushy or aggressive, but male politicians at the local level are extremely aggressive. The women leaders by and large are dominated by men folk in their house, fathers or mostly their husbands.

Maullika: If you have seen the movie 'Well done abba', this point came out very clearly. Although the woman is the head of the local Panchayat, it is her husband who calls the shots. She is just kind of a dummy.

There is a certain expectation from women and to an extent their own effectiveness is hampered or influenced by trying to adjust to that expectation or trying to live up to that role. Kalpana Gopalan IAS PGPPM '04



Ipsita: Like Priya said I completely agree that there is a little bit of blurring nowadays. End of the day, you actually talk about results and you are not a man or woman boss, you are a boss or a leader who is getting results. But I also think that a woman leader might have an edge because of the way she applies and works with the emotional quotient. The approachability towards a woman leader at a micro level is easier as compared to a male boss. This is a personal thing; I do think that most women leaders make better managers because they are managing everything at a micro level from their homes to their workplace. There's the edge that they have compared to a male leader - and men are learning the empathy value from women now.

Reactions to a strong woman leader Prof. Gita: When I began thinking about the topic of our discussion I was thinking about all the strong women I know who have been in formal or informal leadership positions and I think I'm willing to include leadership within families because you can see families where women play very strong leadership roles as well. I think there is another kind of generational change that is taking place which is quite interesting. In earlier times, if I think of the women who I know really played those strong and actual leadership roles; they had a very tough job and a very tough time. In a sense it was survival of the fittest. The women who managed to make it into those roles quite often had more than their share of male characteristics except that those same characteristics for which a man would have received a pat on the back, the women were essentially called names. But the thing was that in some senses the women, quite often, were worse than the men in those positions and that is because 21 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

they had to survive. As a woman, to survive in a leadership position, you actually had to be harsher than the man because nobody would let you survive otherwise.

But I think that pressure in a sense is easing off as women are coming out with many more openings and possibilities. If I think of IAS, 30 years back and compare the situation now, you have many more coming into the position and there is not so much pressure on women to prove that they have the right to be in that spot. But by no means is it a complete process. However, I think there is something else going on and this is going to be my next question.

Are women coming into leadership positions afraid of power? A lot of women have self esteem issues. They feel the need to prove themselves and the moment you are in a position where you always are trying to prove yourself, you are accepting that imbalance. Maullika Sharma MPWE ’06

I remember a person who was very influential when I was growing up. She was a scientist who had reached a high level position and she had the most god awful reputation as a person. It so turned out that I got to know her personally and she was a lovely individual - warm, funny, extraordinarily generous and very nice. But at the workplace she could be capricious, aggressive - she could cut people down. She had the reputation of being nasty and I thought they were saying that because she is a woman. Then I realized that she was actually like that. As I reflected on it, I thought of what could have these people done to her if she hadn't been those things. They would have had her for breakfast long ago! You cannot just be brighter, smarter, and capable; you also have to be more nasty and able to cut people down.

Kalpana: Fear or no fear, when you are in a certain position of power you just can't help it. The power is with you and you have to handle it. It is part of your job. And after some time you get acclimatized to it. Maullika: What is probably more prevalent and may hold us back is not so much a fear of power but a fear of failure. There is a correlation between the two. I have power but also have the responsibility to execute and discharge it well. But I come in with a mindset that I'm the weaker gender. A lot of women have self esteem issues. They feel the need to prove themselves and the moment you are in the position where you always are trying to prove yourself, you are accepting that imbalance. So I think it's the fear that in a position of power I have to prove myself and the fear of what would happen if I fail that makes me step back and not take that position. Kalpana: What about a different kind of mindset, like I'm in this position and instead of what if I fail, I have to do that job! Prof. Gita: How anybody deals with power is not a uniform thing because power gives you responsibility but it's a huge area, on the boundaries of which are all kinds of unknowns and risks.



How anybody deals with power is not a uniform thing because power gives you responsibility and it's a huge area, on the boundaries of which there are all kinds of unknowns and risks. So the question of who is a great leader - somebody who we think of as really having leadership qualities - is a person who can push the envelope. Prof. Gita Sen

So the question of who is a great leader - somebody whom we think of as really having leadership qualities is a person who can push the envelope. So it's not the matter of position that I have - I can sit in a position which just formally gives me the position of leader - and do nothing at all. But the fear, including the fear of failure and fear of risk, comes when you get to those boundary areas where all the unknowns, the risks, the challenges are sitting, where the ability to take a leap of faith - let's try maybe it works maybe it doesn't - and have a whole bunch of people willing to take it with you and go with you - that's where I think the toughest thing is. That's what I mean by fear of power.

like you stick a poster on your face and say be nice to me. The fact is even if you take Benazir Butto's example - wanting to be loved, liked and appreciated - I would rather be considered to be ineffectual and nice than to be effective and cunning. So I think we are moving closer to being effective and tough and being effective and nice also. The either-or is changing - Everything is moving from compartments to continuums.

Ipsita: I had an opportunity to speak

Mentoring women leaders

to Fatima Bhutto when she was touring and got to know how she saw her aunt, Benazir Bhutto, change into a leader. You start getting afraid of things and then you start becoming a person you wouldn't be. You get traits to survive and as a person a transition from a woman to a leader is a difficult one. Looking back she was a great aunt, and as a leader she had changed completely, probably because of the power or the fear of power that was with her.

Priya: We are talking about power and risk taking ability but in terms of discharging that power, what tends to happen is that there is a little bit of the 'want to be nice' issue. I don't think everybody has it but I think it's a bit on the higher side in women. So it's 22 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

Prof. Gita: But maybe this is happening in the corporate world where the recognition is on the bottom line and results are much clearer. There is more a homogeneous section of people with whom we deal.

Kalpana: I had a question when you were contrasting the IAS officers 30 years ago and right now - Just as you don't need to be so harsh you also do not seem to need a mentor anymore. Just looking back, I never had a mentor in my career. There is no particular person who has mentored or nurtured me. Though in the structure of the service you have a year where someone is mentoring you. I don't think anybody has had mentors or having had mentors have done extraordinarily, be it male or women.

Prof. Gita: Earlier generation women, the tough ones, the difficult ones, were also not very good mentors. They were like I am here because I

am a leader and not because I am a woman. May be they were not good mentors and perhaps your generation will feel much easier about mentoring the next generation.

Priya: Also "If I have been through a tough time in terms of getting ahead so can you", is actually not acceptable today. Just because you had 20 hills to climb to be at this position doesn't mean that X or Y has to do the same. The reason why people like us are having these conversations is because we are trying to create a level playing field as much as possible. We are trying to ensure that the generation coming ahead of us has as little issues to deal with as possible. So when I look at the 20 somethings, 30 somethings, the advantages and facilities are so high, you can't help but say 'oh you are so lucky to have this or have that'. But the idea is not to say that I did this with this and I didn't really have a problem, because that's a bit dumb, as the world and economy is changing subtly and significantly. I think today's generation has a different set of expectations and challenges that they need to work with. And ours were different. I think some of the older mentors do have issues with saying, 'I don't know what you are making such a fuss about'. So I think the role of a mentor has become more concrete. If I'm your mentor I need to define, what I want from you. This is replacing a lot of the old network and also the gaps that we had because we had nobody to go to. We were very alone. WINTER 2010


Prof. Gita: How much does the woman mentor in the corporate world? Priya: In terms of actual numbers there are very few women at significant senior levels who can mentor. The second thing is also in terms of defining the relationships you have with people to go back to and speak. If it's a company with a small number of employees, it doesn't require any particular structure. But in case of certain top MNCs, they have a clearly structured system of mentoring, networks and methods to evaluate them.

Prof. Gita: How much of that mentorship actually pays attention to the gender?

Kalpana: Does the mentor have to be of the same sex?

Prof. Gita: No, but in that case, suppose I as a young, up and coming woman IT executive, am running head on into work from the challenges of family life and if I have a male mentor who has no clue of what I am speaking about, then although he may be great at telling me how to manage my team, its just not enough. So when you are saying that they have these very structured systems of mentorship and evaluations for these mentorships, does it take such issues into account?

these kinds of systems in the larger corporates?

Maullika: Sometimes the mistakes that we do as women leaders is to sort of believe that there is no difference in gender. You celebrate the diversity and acknowledge the difference and be upfront and say that we have different needs. There are more flexible work options now which did not exist 10-12 years ago when I had a kid. So I think a lot of these issues are coming into mainstream. But two things: Women are socialized to be nice. Right from childhood you have to be nice so you don't ask for what you deserve. You may do the work and wait for the recognition to come. You don't go upfront and negotiate; you just wait for the rewards to come your way. There was an Harvard Business Review article - Nice Girls don't ask.Essentially you don't ask for anything.

Work-life Balance

The other thing is there are huge self esteem issues, which again are influenced from your childhood. Do you feel you are good enough, capable and entitled to everything as everyone else? I would like to use the metaphor of a seesaw in a relationship. When the seesaw is not horizontal and you are not feeling good about yourself, your side of the seesaw is down and the other person's side is automatically up. Likewise in the work place if you don't feel good about yourself then you don't take on leadership positions. You would rather be a follower than a leader. You don't believe in yourself and your capability to provide. Instead you just follow the instructions of your boss and you don't negotiate for what you want. So a lot of those issues come in the work place and in other relationships as well.

Prof. Gita: To what extent are the

Prof. Gita: Can I just bring us back to

Priya: In the larger companies, for certain. I think because you have multiplicity of relationships, you can have a coach, a buddy and a mentor. You can go for coffee here you can go for orange juice somewhere else. There are specific understandings that require different things at different times in your life.

struggles of the up and coming women leaders with the work family balance actually getting structured in


this work-family balance question on which so much has been said and so much has been written. While it is fine

to celebrate diversity and so on and say why we have to be the same, at another level we also know that the double-triple burden that women face also acts as an enormous challenge when it comes to leadership. For many women it means having to step back exactly at the time when their male peers are zooming ahead. And so, even if you are the brightest, the best and the smartest, to catch up is impossible because you have a ten year gap.

Reason why people like us are having these conversations is because we are trying to create a level playing field as much as possible. We are trying to ensure that the generation coming ahead of us has as little issues to deal with as possible. Priya Chetty Rajagopal

Ipsita: We talk so much about the work family balance, but still if you are a woman and want to have a child it is still motherhood and not parenthood, and that sets you back a lot of time in your career because you are the one who is dealing with everything. Maullika: So the self esteem comes in there too because thats how you establish the equality in your relationship at home. If you carry forward the feeling of being an inferior partner and therefore not demanding



Prof. Gita: That's the reality for a lot of young women, the reality of who is expected to bear the double and triple burden. Combine that with how girls and boys are raised, socialized, sensitized, educated and so on, it is hardly surprising that it shows up as self esteem - as a completely different issue! Self esteem is actually the byproduct of all of this stuff lying behind.

Priya: And I believe that all this is changing. In the last 2 weeks I have done 4 women's network launches in various IT companies. If I'm going by what is being articulated and presented as a plan then it seems like we are really on ice in every one of these companies and all these are big multinational companies. And I do understand that they bring in global standards so they are able to take whatever the policies of place A and put it place B. But over and above that some of the facilities which are available and some that people take for granted in the west are coming because you have an expat sitting here or vice versa. You have the same facilities whether it is Vietnam or Bangalore or wherever. Now if I go by what I hear, there is a clear requirement for women leadership as part of the business case because companies are losing women. You are investing in women and losing them you just can't afford it! The corollary to that is the sensitization to the so called women needs. This making companies more family sensitive. In a certain company, the crèche facility is used more by men than women and I think that is fantastic. At another company, the crèche is completely underutilized because people have different issues in the way they want to deal with their kids. But these are minor issues. Coming back to what companies are doing either the ramping off or helping people with networks, or the buddy system - the buddy system of helping people through having


managers who are sensitized to the more specific needs of their women executives - it is not just being done but it is structured. So today I have the ability and I do understand from a person in a 40 odd people company where essentially you just have to do what you have to do. I'm seeing this again and again and I'm assuming that if these big companies are doing all this and trying to do it well, I think they are making themselves extremely friendly to women and are able to retain women that much better. Getting women out of these women-friendly companies is difficult because they have such great facilities that enable them personally and professionally and are recognizing what they do. And the family ownership that is coming in is very good because the ownership is not just the women - people come and say I need to do this for my child - it doesn't matter if it's a man or a woman. About three years ago, a magazine was doing an article on virtual working and women and they had asked me for some inputs. I put them on to a large company and told them to speak to them because they do great work in this space. You will not believe this, but the woman from that company refused to speak, as we were only talking about women in this article because it's an article on virtual working. And I had to bite my tongue as I was being very insensitive to the fact that she did not think of her gender as being the sole beneficiary of virtual working, because in her company 40% of the people who used virtual working were men! So she said it is something that is available to the people at the work place and not just to women. What you are seeing, if you look at the continuum of leadership, is that organizations have become more responsive to the needs of people and women having certain needs, biologically or otherwise, have made that shift on

that continuum that much faster.

Public Sector and Private Sector Priya: Let me just throw one more thing for people to think about. Terrific examples seem to me very dependent upon the structure of the work place. The technology and the possibility of virtual working, although not exclusive, are heavily in IT. And you don't even have to go to the 90% of women who are working in other sectors. Prof. Gita: Kalpana, do you think there is something that the public sector has to learn from private sector?

I had an opportunity to speak to Fatima Bhutto when she was touring and got to know how she saw her aunt, Benazir Bhutto, change into a leader. You start getting afraid of things and then you start becoming a person you wouldn't be. You get traits to survive and as a person a transition from a woman to a leader is a difficult one. Looking back she was a great aunt, and as a leader she had changed completely, probably because of the power or the fear of power that was with her.

Ipsita Basu


Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi near ISKCON temple in Bangalore, Š Vasanthakumar PGP '09


Kalpana: There are pros and cons, in some ways the public sector is the best employer, because as was mentioned earlier, in the corporate sector if you take out time for a baby, that's going to affect your career seriously, if you are having two babies it will affect your career twice over. It doesn't happen so in the public sector. In the IAS, of course, we have the business of postings other than that, career in the public sector by and large is unaffected by taking time off to have a baby. But then there was an experiment with flexi time with the state government and it simply does not work. People want presence. If you are handling a very tricky situation like a mob, your presence there is vital. In terms of support services, in terms of acceptance, flexible working hours or 25 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

virtual working hours is a no-no. At present it looks really far away. But things might suddenly change in the Government.

Leadership Style Prof. Gita: We have talked a lot about what we are seeing in terms of trends and directions and the kind of things that are still the same and things that are changing and where they are changing and we have also talked about how the requirements of leadership by themselves are changing. Are we redefining the leadership style or are we going to follow the historical style of leadership? Prof. Gita: What Priya was saying in fact is that what is required to be the

style itself is changing because of much greater recognition. The old authoritarian style of leadership may have been fine in the times of Henry Ford but that doesn't actually work very well in today's world. First of all, there is more of the service sector now where people matter a great deal. In such places, the ability to interact with people across large groups, small groups, teams, across cultures, continents has become much more important and which therefore leverages intrinsically on what could be traditionally called feminine style, which is more relationship-oriented, interactionoriented in some senses and softer than the alpha male style of leadership. But how widespread is this outside the certain corporate stream? WINTER 2010


For young women leaders Prof. Gita: What would you advise a young person, a young woman, to do or to be? Given your experience what would you tell a young woman who is doing her MBA in IIM who comes to you and says, I am really trying to figure out what I want to do? What kind of person I need to be as I move forward into this? Priya: As a consultant I have worked with many women. I am both nurturing and paranoid of my women candidates. I have been very generous of two things, about sharing my skills and I am saying if I can encapsulate 22 years of work life and share it with you, I am happy to do that. If I'm about to meet a young person, straight out of school or in her final year I would say couple of things: Obvious thing to do is whatever you want to do but I would say expose yourself to as much as you possibly can. Look at leading beyond your current skill and I think it's an important part of it. Make your money, do what you want to do and be aware of things around you and that puts you in very good stead in the long run. Secondly, be all that you can be - be a great corporate executive, a great daughter, wife and eventually a great mother. Please be everything that you want to be and explore multiple sides of yourself. Be greedy, it's okay. All your experience adds up, eventually to a great leader.

Maullika: Adding on further to what Priya said, essentially do not have a rigid mindset, rather have a growth mind set where you are learning and pushing your boundaries and exploring new things. The other important thing is being able to handle failure and how you define failure and success. Failure will come now or later but you need to view it in perspective and separate it from you. It's an event that 26 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

happened where you did not do well and you failed at it, it does not mean you are a failure. Very often people are not able to separate it. It's like a child failing in an exam and saying that I'm a complete failure. Or, if somebody does a business and it flops and he says why would anyone give me a job, I am a complete failure. The point is that the business failed but it doesn't mean that you failed.

Kalpana: I would say one thing be persistent. Keep pushing and keep following but at the same time you cannot be in the strident mode. If you show that you are very passionate about something then people get scared of that kind of involvement. Prof. Gita: When it's in a man it's called passion and when it's in a woman it's called strident? Kalpana: Follow up, follow up and follow up. Don't give up. Ipsita: You should just go and lead. There will be challenges and you need to go and better those situations. Make five year goals, short term goals and be a go getter.

Prof. Gita: My advice would be probably two things that I think have worked for me. One, I have always thought about what it is that I'm trying to do rather than about myself as a person doing it. Perhaps it came naturally to me or maybe I taught myself. When someone had asked me in the middle of a very complicated situation - how you can keep smiling in this context it set me thinking and I really felt at that point, whether this works out or not, I was not trying to do it for me and was not thinking about myself and went ahead with it. In a sense my passion is much more interesting than what my internal feelings might be. I think that has been the strongest thing for me - I

neither take success heavily nor failure too heavily. Success is wonderful. You are happy, fine move on! The other thing I think can be really useful if one can teach oneself to do is to recognize when one is uncomfortable in a situation and ask oneself to explore the situation. Instead of making gestures and saying I'm unworthy and not capable of doing it, try and understand what's making you uncomfortable, why is the situation uncomfortable. One can learn a lot about the situation - what one can or cannot do, the possibilities where one can try to bridge it to a certain extent and even then if the situation doesn't change then say I'm out of here. Either swallow it whole or avoid it. It's an uncomfortable situation if it is against my ethics - So value for yourself make youself comfortable.

Maullika: This reminds me about J K Rowling. When she was to give the graduation speech at Harvard Business School, she was very nervous and felt overwhelmed. She then tried to figure out the discomfort and what it was that she was scared about. The important thing she found was that you should name the fear. If you can name the fear then you can see whether it is are rational or not. She then thought back of her own graduation and she realized she did not remember a word of what was said that day. She then realized, she was fearful of influencing the future movers and shakers of the world, when probably these students at Harvard would not even remember what she said. She addressed this fear, overcame it and delivered a great speech. If you can name the fear then you may realize that it's not a big deal. Things become far easier from then on.



The King of Swing times Randhir Mishra FPM '01

Randhir Mishra FPM 01, who could be the unheralded 'king of Swing times' from IIMB, has an interesting distinction to his name. He is one of the longest tenured students at the campus - Joining in 1993, Randhir left the campus only in 2002! During this almost decade long relationship with the Institute, Randhir's role was not one-dimensional. Along with being a student, he also enjoyed a short stint as a faculty and most importantly was a confidante and best friend to the many PGP students who came and went during his stay. In the course of his studies at IIMB, Randhir shifted to UK for two years to pursue advance studies in Business Economics and then returned to campus. Speaking about his campus life he recalls, "I was very good friends with all the students. When I joined I really didn't have any batch mates and the PGP students wouldn't have viewed me as competition, so I would get to hear all the good, bad and ugly stories of the campus." An interesting incident that still makes the 41-year-old chuckle was a prank that was played in the summer of


1995. "The incident took place during holi. The PGP placements and examinations were over and all were waiting for convocation." Randhir narrates, "To enjoy holi, we dug a pit right in front of our mess and filled it with a mixture of mud and colours. We would drag students in a 'cannot escape manner' and push them into the muddy pit. But the prank did not end there. We also mixed colour in the hostel water tanks. The students struggled out of the pit and ran to their bathrooms not knowing that the showers would also let out coloured water!" Post IIMB, Randhir who has lived in almost 20 cities due to his father's transferable job, joined Satyam in 2002 in Chennai to set up one of the company's businesses there. Now he has taken up education as the sector of his focus and works with private players besides supporting a few NGOs in this space. But, in some years a different kind of calling started dominating his life - Golf! Bitten by the Golf bug, instead of trying to fit in the existing golf academies, he decided to create one of his own.

Initially, he was left clueless by the challenges that lay ahead of him. "One of the many challenges that a beginner faces is where to start, whom to approach for coaching and moreover many established courses seem extremely intimidating for beginners," he explained. He soon realized that there were many others who shared his apprehensions and this prompted him to start his own Golf resort. The result: 'Kadkani' a nine-hole golf course in idyllic Coorg, with a professional coach, which also doubles up as a full service resort. The golf enthusiast also points out that it's never too early to take to golf. "One of my friends is passionate about golf and he kept forcing me to take Golf earlier. But I kept thinking that I am still very young to start Golf. Now when I look back I think I have made a mistake I should have learnt it 10 years back," said Randhir. One of his partners is another alumnus, Gopalkrishna Kulkarni PGP '95. Randhir stays in Bangalore with his wife Pratima Mishra and three-yearold daughter Manika Mishra.



Learning never stops Saugata Gupta PGP '91 Saugata Gupta PGP '91, the CEO of Consumer products, Marico Ltd, signs off his emails with, "Be More. Every Day": quite an apt title and one that precisely summarises his mantra towards life. It's hard to shrug off the feeling of urgency and the need to constantly challenge oneself after speaking to Saugata. Starting his career in 1991 with the consumer goods sector to making a shift to banking, Saugata was clear about one thing, he will not be a puppet to the market strings. After graduating from IIT Kharagpur, Saugata enrolled for PGP at IIMB in 1989. "We had a small campus then," he said with a tinge of nostalgia. "But we were a very good batch. And those days we did not have mug shots of students, so there was no fixed place. Before classes we would sit wherever we wanted," he added chuckling.

foundation, and working with ICICI Prudential taught me values that were helpful in both professional and personal life." But didn't shifting to a totally different sector give him the jitters? "In 2000, I was young and I could take the risk of shifting to ICICI Pru and the stint toughened me. Learning in a start up is higher. In a structured environment one becomes soft, complacent and learning reduces." Challenges, according to Saugata, are not divorced from innovating. Not surprising considering he is the man

who made "Champi" look 'oh-so-cool' with Parachute's one hour champi campaign. He also marketed Saffola as a must have for the health conscious. "Imagination and innovation are both important. After all meeting the consumer's unmet needs is important," he added. A piece of advice for the future daring CEOs by the alumnus: "Learning never stops, keep on learning. Perceived knowledge becomes a barrier to learning. Also, confidence is a good thing, but it should be based on form and substance," he signs off.

He also pointed out, "It's good to see IIMB going from strength to strength in the 21st century. The Institute gives good foundation and most importantly it instills a lot of confidence." This Kolkata-bred alumnus, post IIMB, joined Cadbury's as a management trainee and proceeded to become one of the brains behind Cadbury's many successful campaigns - "Kuch khaas hai zindagi mein" being one of them. It would have been easier for him, at this juncture to slip into a comfort zone and let stagnancy take over. But Saugata chose to take the path less trodden. In 2000, he shifted to an alien domain, financial services and banking, by joining ICICI Prudential which was at its start up stage. "It was one of the most exciting phases of my life. My stint with Cadbury's gave me a solid




Live life, athlete size! Haragopal Mangipudi PGSEM '98 Haragopal Mangipudi PGSEM '98 walked into IIMB after a decade of managing software product engineering, but he says the timing couldn't have been better. Other than grooming him as a manager and leader, the Senior Vice President of Finacle, Infosys credits IIMB for letting him believe that there is a thing called healthy competition. Also, his advice to his juniors is simple: Live life athlete size! Speaking about the Institutes's contribution to his professional life, Haragopal said, "What amazed me most was the peer group's professional approach. In our daily work life we competed fiercely but when we walked into the classroom, everyone was open to sharing their learning from the field - both the success stories and the flops unmindful of the fact that such details could be used as 'artillery' in the real world." But life at campus is sprinkled with anecdotes that never fail to bring a smile to the lips of an alumnus. "It was Day 1 at IIMB. Induction and introductions having been completed, Prof. J Ramachandran made his trademark high energy entry into the classroom. His booming voice and imposing presence took over and he said, "Congratulations, you're a macho lot that believes you can juggle a 24X7 career and a highly demanding PG program at IIMB." he intoned. It took some of us a while to understand the full import of this


ominous message. Trust me, this message did not stop ringing in my ears for the next 30 months of the 'learning crucible'!" reminisced Haragopal. Pointing out another valuable lesson taught by the Institute, this HAM and ex ship modeling enthusiast said, "One big take away, in addition to all the experiential learning, has been the ability to multi-task. I have also had several interesting learning opportunities when experimenting with newly learnt classroom concepts in the real working world and determining which ones worked and which others did not. This openness to experimenting with new ideas has

stayed on with me ever since. Whenever a new challenge is thrown my way, I am able to wear the hat of a student in an IIMB classroom, make a dispassionate analysis of the context, action imperatives and possible outcomes before making the decision," he pointed out. Post IIMB, Haragopal geared up for a life that would bring him greater challenges. "I do believe that the two and a half years at IIMB were key to

my well rounded development as a manager and leader. I was given a bigger mandate in 2007 to run an entire business unit at Infosys, as Global Head of Finacle. Since then, I've had the good fortune to progress on my career path and earn three title changes - Associate VP, VP and today Senior VP." The alumni who calls himself a "smalltown boy" - thanks to his schooling at SVM High school in Vijayawada, has an interesting piece of advice for his juniors. "For a professional, this is a worthy investment in oneself which helps reap rich rewards later in the career. Second, it is your learning and its application in your work-life which makes the difference in your growth and not just the qualification. Third, your career is not a sprint, not even a marathon, but like the modern pentathlon - you need distinct competencies to succeed at different stages of your career. Anticipate and equip yourself on those competencies early enough," said Haragopal. Golfing, relaxing to country music and 'kindling' while on the move, helps this Senior VP unwind. "My job takes me across the globe and I enjoy connecting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds," he added. Hargopal's family comprises his octogenarian father, two teen sons who are pursuing sophomore & freshman majoring in mechanical engineering and neuro/pre-med respectively and his wife who according to him, "manages all our lives ever so efficiently." WINTER 2010


An officer, a catalyst D S Ravindran PGPPM '07

D.S.Ravindran PGPPM 07, is a civil servant alright. Articulate, polite but firm and very learned. But in babudom, he is the exception and not the norm. This 1986 civil servant from the Indian Forest Service (IFS), from Karnataka Cadre carries a wide spectrum of experience: from exploring the majestic forests of South India to overseeing Karnataka's version of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) programme, Ravindran has done it all. Ravindran joined PGPPM (Post Graduate Programme in Public Policy and Management) because he "felt public policy is fascinating both from practice and conceptual perspective". "While I was trained to be a neoclassical economist during my PhD as a Commonwealth Scholar in University of Wales, Bangor, between 1994-98, my later


experience of project implementation in the Government convinced me that neoclassical economics cannot answer or explain all the public policy decisions. Hence I was very keen to understand the nature and the process of public policy. An academic understanding of these would help a great deal to examine its applicability or practice in the actual, in the Government. Hence, I took the opportunity of a highly premature transfer (26 days) from a field posting in the Forest Department to pursue this programme," he explained. For Ravindran who is a Carnatic and Hindustani music aficionado, his introduction to IIMB enriched him both personally and intellectually. "It was an opportunity to be a part of highly experienced civil service group, drawn from diverse professional and educational

backgrounds. The group was a mature group in terms of experience and exposure to life and the travails of civil service," he said. He further added that getting back to academics after about 10 years provided a great opportunity to reflect on the experiences of the administration using the filters/frameworks that the academics provided to understand the pith or the core. For him this opportunity and the effort were different, in many senses, from his school and college days, where according to him, "You get to study as against learning and gain deep understanding of the issues and complexities of life." Describing the IIMB experience he added, "It was a great experience of practising and benefitting from three most important things:



Shravana: Listening to the scholars as well as the experiences of the faculty and participants Chintana: Thinking and deep reflection on these in the context of one's own experiences, dogmas, beliefs, and; Manana: Getting a deep understanding This process also helped me to top the academic performance of the group."

"I have always believed that even very small things such as being courteous to citizens who interact with the Government for their needs/services can go a long way in improving governance and making difference." Ravindran then got an opportunity to get back to forest department and "Ended up having an extremely satisfying experience of knowing the forests of Southern Karnataka as the Conservator of Forests, Working Plan, based in Mysore." Interestingly, Ravindran's job provided him opportunity to explore places that others would happily give an arm for. "The job provided me opportunity to walk extensively in the forests of Coorg, Mysore, Kollegal, Bangalore and Kolar looking at the nature of the forests, condition of forests and planning their management," he added. He also said that it was an intimate experience. No kidding, apart from spending time in the thick


forests he also had extremely close encounters with the wildlife. "I had personal experience of face-to-face encounters with Tigers, five times! Other sightings included that of wolf, bear and number of other fauna," he added with a flourish. Following his two years of stint in forests, he was posted to head eGovernance implementation in Karnataka, in the position of CEO, Centre for E Governance. "In this position, my responsibilities have included 'e-enabling Government of Karnataka', by providing necessary core e-infrastructure such as data centre, networks and core applications. I am closely involved in assisting about 10 Government Departments in planning and implementing e mode of citizen service delivery," he explained. Ravindran is also in charge of UID enrolment in Karnataka, which has been initiated presently in two districts. The government sector is known to be non transparent and riddled with corruption and other ills. Acutely aware of these negatives, Ravindran makes double the effort to not get sucked into the muck. "No doubt, there is lot of corruption and other ills that plague the Government functioning. Yet, one can still manage to overcome these challenges, if one maintains steadfast adherence to one's own core values and offering no compromise whatsoever on any grounds. There are number of officers in the Government with great integrity as well as commitment to work," he said. He also points out that technology in Governance can go a long way in addressing the issues of red-tapism or corruption. "Technology can bring in great transparency and accountability in the Governance and also help deliver services in a more efficient way. Some of the best examples of use of technology for

achieving better governance outcomes are in Karnataka. For example, citizen service delivery centres such as Bangalore One, Karnataka One, offer one stop shop for Government to citizen services, significantly saving time as well as transaction costs to citizens. Another leading initiative I am involved in is the e-procurement project, which offers a single unified platform for all the procurement in the Government. This enables all the tenders of the Government to be published on the web, with complete access to all the potential bidders and public on the details of the tender including the tender documents. Bidders have to submit the bids electronically and there is no manual or face to face transaction. One of the major outcomes of this process is the increased transparency, total security and confidentiality in bid submission, leading to higher competition. This has resulted in significant savings to Government through better price discovery. Today 72 Government Departments including some central organisations are procuring their need of works and services through this platform. During last year Rs. 22,000 Crores worth Government procurement was done through this platform, leading to savings of 2,000 Crores. Thus technology is a great enabler in better governance," he explained. This IFS officer from the Karnataka cadre unwinds by spending time with family, comprising his wife Roopalakshmi, a teacher of social sciences and languages at the National Public School, Indira Nagar and daughter, Sharvari doing her tenth standard. An avid reader he enjoys reading books that "help inward journey". "A book I am reading at present is 'You Forever' by Lobsang Rampa. My favourite books include Man's search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, Scientist's Search for Truth by Swami Virajeswara," he added.



The Return Gift Thirteen alumni are back in campus For some it was the pull of being an academician, for others the opportunity to mould many a brilliant young mind. For yet others it was just the sheer emotional pull that was too strong to be ignored, while for some it was a balm to the careers that had seen too much of corporate push and pull. Back to school, or in this case to IIMB, leaving behind highly successful careers meant different things to many alumni. But one thing was clear: their deep urge to be of help to their alma mater. They came back to the comfort of the brick walls, and greenery and the all too familiar architecture as teachers and consultants. End of day, it won't be a hyperbole to say that they make the Institute look good. Here's their story.

"Some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue" by Dilbert reads the board of Prof. Y L R Moorthi PGP '88 Professor of Marketing at IIMB. And that is not the only quote you will find. His board is not covered with marketing formulae and the like but random quotes, making waiting in his room extremely amusing. Not hard to understand then, why Professor Moorthi is so highly regarded and loved by both colleagues and students. A part of the IIMB family since 1996, Moorthi made a transition to academics after testing the corporate waters. "My temperament is better suited for academics than corporate world and this becomes clearer with every passing year," he added. Being in the Institute for more than 15 years, Prof. Moorthi is undoubtedly the best person to speak about the mammoth growth that the Institute has registered and the future as he sees is mostly replete with challenges. "The scope and amount of work has gone up tremendously. When I came here


there were just a hand full of us. Now the number of programmes have gone up tremendously with five PGP classes, one EPGP, PGPPM and others. All these came after we came," he said. Prof. Sourav Mukherji FPM '03, the Associate Professor of Organisational Behavior & Human Resources Management, knew it the moment he stepped into the business world that it was a matter of few months before he would be back doing what he loves teaching. "I always wanted to work in academics and my actual plan was to start after my PhD but IIMB does not allow teaching immediately after the Fellow programme," he said. So he joined Boston Consulting Group and returned to the campus to teach in 2003. The high degree of freedom that the Institute provides its faculty and the sheer thrill of teaching young minds are what makes teaching at his alma matter a fulfilling experience for Prof. Mukherji.

And this is exactly why he is not planning to make a shift any time soon. "This is my longest career plan and I will be around for the next 25 years. Many people in the course of their careers take to new hobbies like photography and the like, because their job loses its significance. But I enjoy getting up every morning and looking forward to taking my class," he added. If early last decade someone were to walk up to one Vasanthi Srinivasan, FPM '96 and tell her that soon she would return to IIMB as an Associate Professor or better still become the Chairperson of one of Institute's components, the person would have received a hearty laugh. With a successful consulting career in her kitty, becoming a professor never occurred to Prof. Vasanthi. And then one fine day that's exactly what happened. "Prof. Kalyani Gandhi, who taught the HRM course was unwell and needed someone to teach the course. She had prepared the entire course material and since I had



studied under her, she asked me to help her out. I stepped in and did the course and got a reasonably good feedback. Then the Institute requested if I could come the following year too," she narrated. She did come the following year, soon joining as full time visiting faculty for two years, Then in April 2002, she became a permanent faculty. Speaking about her IIMB journey she said, "IIMB is a wonderful place to experiment and grow. There is a lot of space to do what you want to do. I have taught the core course on all the long duration programs of the Institute; have offered electives on all the programs; done a range of programs in executive education with other colleagues, research projects on women in the workforce and helped develop a tool for retention. One simple expression that would capture all this would be the diversity in experience that IIMB gives." Bringi Dev, Head of Communications, PGP '78 also has a similar tale to tell.


His return to campus was sealed when he offered himself for the job of helping manage the communications function of the Institute. For Bringi, with over 30 years of working experience in the Indian IT industry and academia, coming back meant utilizing his corporate and entrepreneurial experience to a function that is critical to the Institute and its long-term vision. "Being at the Institute also gives me a chance to interact with alumni and to get them to participate in the efforts of the Institute, be it in the academic, student or other areas," he explained. The founding President and Managing Director of IDG Media Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Boston-based media and information services International Data Group, Bringi is excited to be a part in building Brand IIMB "I have been actively associated with the Institute for over a decade now, and have seen it blossom and grow in every aspect and area. I enjoy a great

connect with the faculty as well as the officers here at IIMB. I find that there is a great sense of purpose, and that people here are focused on making it a great institution. There is much scope for learning and sharing at IIMB, and I find this a very good way to round off my career, and to add value in a social context. The campus and environs here are invigorating and I enjoy every minute of my time here," he added. For Sapna Agarwal PGP '93, Head Career development Services, coming back to the campus was not a pre-planned move, but one that came with the urge for change. Sapna who post IIMB joined Tata IBM, worked for more than a decade in the corporate world. After this long stint, Sapna decided to call it quits, and shift the focus to her alma-mater. "After working for what seemed like ages with large corporate in fairly demanding positions, I was beginning to feel that I'd never be able to do anything different," she said.



Sapna wanted a different environment but one that will still enable her to feel the pulse of business world and that is when the opportunity at IIMB came up. "Considering that two of my best years were spent here - it was really an easy decision to come back here and be a part of the Institute once again," she added. For Rakesh Godhwani PGSEM '04 it was more of an emotional pull. Calling the campus his "second home" this Head of the Alumni Association would eagerly wait for the weekends to come to attend his PGSEM classes. "I felt that the staff and faculty members were like my own family members and I enjoyed every bit of my student life. The years in the corporate gave me tremendous exposure of management and thanks to the education I got at IIMB, I rose very fast. But deep inside me, I always knew that I must give something back to my alma mater." Though, he was in the Alumni Executive Committee from 2004, it was not easy to juggle a job, family and alumni affairs with the same priority. In 2008, he decided to kiss the corporate world goodbye and jump in to the Institute bandwagon. "I feel that our country and our institutions need us. We can always contribute our bit to the corporate world and have wonderful careers. But someone needs to ensure that the skills we utilize out there and get handsomely paid for, are also utilized for our country and our institutions. And that thought drove me to take the plunge," he said. Describing this stint as both fulfilling and rewarding, he further added, "There is not a single day when an alumnus is not in campus. They are either with students, or helping faculty in their classes, or doing interviews for next batch, or are just at campus to enjoy a cuppa at the alumni office. I cherish meeting a motley crowd someone who runs a billion dollar corporate, to an entrepreneur, to


writers, to dreamers etc. I am also proud to see that many alumni have joined campus. It only proves that giving back can be extremely rewarding." Prof. Sabarinathan G. PGP '82 chose to return to challenge himself intellectually and academically. Sabarinathan is Associate Professor, Finance & Control and Chairperson, Office of International Affairs at IIMB.

Prof. Y L R Moorthi PGP '88

Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan FPM '96 Prof. Shainesh G. FPM '96

Suryanarayanan A. IMPM 2000

Alex G Manappurathu EEP '09



Prof. Sourav Mukherji FPM '03

Sapna Agarwal PGP '93

Rakesh Godhwani, PGSEM '04

Bringi Dev PGP '78

Prof. Sabrinathan G. PGP '82

Prof. Kumar K. PGP '81 FPM '90

Ravi N. PGP '82

Guhesh Ramanathan PGP '88




He also serves on the investment committee of a European private equity fund and is advisor to the Technology Development Board of the Government of India. "When I looked around at the world of business after eighteen years in corporate life I felt that a lot had changed around me. I thought it would be good to "go back to school" for a while. I came back to IIMB essentially for catching up. After a while at IIMB I realized academic life suited me temperamentally. I found myself more at home on campus, although I have often wondered if I am intellectually up to it. Thus, here I am," he added. Prof. Sabarinathan's story would find resonance with the Chairperson of 36 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

NSRCEL, Prof. Kumar K PGP '81 FPM '90. Kumar's heart was always with academics and after completing FPM, he moved on to the corporate world but with an intention of moving to academics. "Given my specialization in FPM - Corporate strategy - I decided to acquire few years of practical experience in industry before turning to academics. I spent almost a decade after FPM both as a consultant and as a CEO before I decided in 2001 to get back into academics. Having done both PGP and FPM at IIMB, I was naturally inclined to return to IIMB for an academic career," he said. Prof. Kumar who joined IIMB in 2001 held key positions like founding CEO and later President of Trigent

Software, Management Consultant with Tata Consultancy Services among others, found his tryst with IIMB in general and the NSRCEL in particular "marvelous". He added, "The strong thrust IIMB placed on entrepreneurship through NSRCEL helped me to leverage my entrepreneurial experience and acquire specialization in this exciting domain. The comprehensive agenda of NSRCEL - incubation of new ventures, creation of an eco system for entrepreneurs, research, teaching and training - provide a very rich setting for engaging oneself completely with a mix of professional activities. It is a dream come true for any academician engaged in a discipline like strategy and entrepreneurship.



I have also been very fortunate in getting involved in many institutional activities, both contributing and learning in the process. All told, it has been a great personal and professional experience at IIMB." On the other hand, the desire to make NSRCEL one of the top five global entrepreneurial centres of excellence, prompted Guhesh Ramanathan PGP '88, to look Institute-wards. Moreover, fitting into the role of a mentor for entrepreneurs at NSRCEL was a piece of cake for Ramanathan. Between 1996 and 2004, Guhesh set up three different entrepreneurial ventures, which he successfully exited. Two factors propelled his return to the campus "one being a strong desire to work with entrepreneurs at NSRCEL itself. The other reason was bigger: desire to help the NSRCEL become one of the top five global entrepreneurial centers of excellence by the year 2015," he said. Other than that, "the entire atmosphere of the campus and its intellectual assets" makes this stint worth it. "The freedom to set truly challenging goals, coupled with the freedom to strive to achieve those goals, make the campus an incredible place to work in," this author of 'The Scuba Sutras: Ten Business Lessons from Under the Sea' added. Similarly, for Ravi N. PGP '82, recipient of the Chairman's Gold Medal for Best All Round Performance in April 1982 and honoree of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIMB in October 2009, being with the Institute meant being able to share his huge experience in the international arena with the future generation of students. "Given the fact that IIMB now offers a variety of programmes, my objective is to identify opportunities for enabling a higher level of international exposure and exchange for the Institute. There are many ways this can be done. The CPP, where I am presently located, is


likely to give me some channels to work towards this objective, said Ravi, who interestingly, belonged to probably the last batch, the seventh, to pass out of the old campus. Coming back as a teacher was the beginning of a whole new novel journey all over again for Ravi. "I guess my work at the CPP would involve meeting the objectives that have been set out and see if my pedagogical skills are still in place," said Ravi whose last assignment was being Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs looking after the conduct of all aspects of bilateral relations with as many as 60 countries across the world. He was in-charge of Economic Relations of India with all countries of the world, particularly through multilateral and regional organizations which included ASEM, ASEAN, ARF, BIMSTEC, EAS, GCC and SAARC. Another alumnus who chose to come back is Alex G. Manappurathu. A warm and friendly personality Alex, EEP 09, is probably one of the few alumni who came back to head the department of which he was a student once. Alex, who was with Honeywell, left the corporate world and came back to the campus as the Chief Program Officer of the Executive Education Programme (EEP). Prof. Shainesh G FPM '96 was yet another alumnus who was inspired to join academics after working in the field of marketing. Initially, he taught at the Management Development Institute Gurgaon (MDI) for about 4 years before joining IIMB. "I was inspired by two of my teachers, Professors D N Ghosh and S P Banerjee at ISM to join academia. I wanted to follow them into research and teaching. After graduating in 1996, I worked briefly in the industry to gain experience in the services sector and then shifted full time to academia at MDI. In my research and

teaching, I was focusing on services and relationship marketing," he said. Then in one of the conferences, Professor Shainesh met the then Director of IIMB, Prof. M R Rao, who encouraged him to apply for a faculty position at IIMB. It was simply impossible for Prof. Shainesh to turn down the opportunity to work with the world class scholars of IIMB. After completing International Masters for Practising Management, Suryanarayanan A IMPM 2000 became a serial entrepreneur and successfully sold his third venture in November 2008. "At that time NSRCEL was looking for a COO who had start up experience and I took on a two year term as COO starting from Jan 21, 2009 as I enjoyed starting up new ventures and working with startup entrepreneurs," he said. Speaking about his experience he added, "In the last two years we have been fairly successful in making NSRCEL one of the top incubators in the country. IIMB is a big brand and leveraging this brand, we could create a vibrant eco-system and make NSRCEL the hub of start-up activities in Bangalore thus giving the centre an encouraging deal flow. We were also able to get seed fund grants from Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Dept. of Science and Technology (DST) and offer seed fund support to incubated companies. We have seen a couple of successful exits and a few incubated companies raising the next round of funds and most of the incubated companies doing really well." Their exemplary stories prove without doubt that coming back can be both rewarding and fulfilling. The Institute would love to thank these alumni for this return gift! Article by Gayatri Nair, Assistant Editor


W H AT ' S U P @ I I M B

Vista is on its rise

Gul Panag

What's Up @ IIMB IIMB strikes hatrick! The Institute has been awarded '5 Palmes' - the highest recognition accorded to universal business schools with major international influence, in the Eduniversal Worldwide Business Schools Ranking 2010, carried out by the French consulting firm SMBG. With this award, IIMB has hit a hatrick of sorts for being recognized as the numero uno Business School in India for the third consecutive year. This award is given to top 100 business schools and IIMB ranks amongst the top 25. Notably, the Deans of the 1,000 Best Business Schools from 153 countries

have voted for IIMB with a recommendation rate of 451 per thousand (395 in year 2009), followed by IIM Ahmedabad at 377 (345 in year 2009). "The ranking by Eduniversal positions IIMB amongst the first quartile of the 100 best business schools worldwide. This acknowledgement from an independent international firm consolidates our status as a leading international management school," says Professor Pankaj Chandra, Director, IIMB.

The best of teachers

Prof. Rupa Chanda


Prof. Rishikesha T Krishnan

The first week of October was abuzz at IIMB with its premier business festival, Vista 2010 -11, kicking off in style on Oct. 1. The grand inauguration ceremony, held in the auditorium, was attended by more than 200 participants both from IIMB and outside. The fest ran for three days and saw huge participation from 10,000 students, 170 colleges and 80 corporate houses. The fest featured some exciting new trading games like Nilaami, Excelsior and Darwin's Darling and also saw some starlight with the participation of personalities like Arun Shourie, Shobha De and Gul Panag.

The Institute has constantly stressed that its faculty members are among the country's best. Bearing testimony to that, two faculty members, Professors Rupa Chanda and Rishikesha T Krishnan have been honoured at 18th Dewang Mehta Business School Awards, which was held in Mumbai, November 24, 2010. Dr Rupa Chanda, currently the Chairperson of the Economics and Social Sciences area at IIMB, received the award for Best teacher in Economics. Dr Rishikesha T Krishnan, who chairs the Corporate Strategy & Policy area at IIMB, was awarded with the Best Teacher in Strategic Management award. The Dewang Mehta Business School Award recognizes talent and leadership amongst business schools across India.


W H AT ' S U P @ I I M B

37th Foundation Day

First ever worldwide web interaction:

Ramanujam Sridhar - PGP '82 and Dr K Radhakrishnan- PGP '76

Vista was not the only celebration that October brought. IIMB also celebrated its 37th Foundation Day on October 28. This year, M J Akbar the editor of Sunday Guardian, Editorial Director of India Today and Headlines Today, was invited to deliver the annual Foundation Day Lecture. He enthralled the audience with his extremely well-informed talk on "The past and future of Pakistan, and its impact on India." Also, three eminent alumni, Dr K Radhakrishnan - PGP '76, Ramanujam Sridhar - PGP '82 and Professor Aswath Damodaran PGP '79, were heralded with the Distinguished Alumnus Awards for 2010.

Dr K Radhakrishnan PGP '76: An outstanding space scientist and presently the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr Radhakrishnan is one of the brains behind the development of the Chandrayaan project. But one less advertised aspect of this scientist is his keen interest in the arts. He is well versed in Carnatic music and is a Kathakali dancer.

Marketing Communications Company. He has also penned brand building books like "One land, one billion minds" and the sequel "Googly. Branding on Indian Turf."

Professor Aswath Damodaran PGP '79: Prof. Damodaran is considered to be an expert on the subject of valuation. He has several top notch books on equity valuation, corporate finance, and investments to his credit. According to Business Week, he is one of the top 12 US business school professors. Presently, he is a Finance Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. The Distinguished Alumnus Award (DAA) was instituted in 2007. Mr. Arun Balakrishnan PGP'76, Mr. Ashok Sinha PGP'77, Mr. MS Zahed PGP'76, Mr. Vasant Tilak Naik PGP'82, Mr. N Ravi PGP'82, Mr. Ramesh Venkateswaran, Mr. Padmanabhan PGP'82 are the earlier winners.

Ramanujam Sridhar PGP '82: A brand in the field of advertising, Ramanujam Sridhar has scripted many a success story for firms like Mudra and then Quadrant advertising. He is now the founder and CEO of Brand Comm, a much sought after 39 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

On the 25th of September, for the first time ever in IIMB, a live web interaction took place with the sole aim of reaching out to its rich pool of alumni. This innovation, rest assured, can be termed a success with more than 1,261 people watching the webcast. The webcast made possible a memorable interaction hosted by the Director, Dr Pankaj Chandra, Alumni Association Chairperson, Prof. Sankarshan Basu and Head of Alumni Association, Rakesh Godhwani with the alumni. The alumni were briefed about IIMB's achievements and future endeavours and how alumni can become significant contributors to the same.

Children at IIMB November 21 was indeed a very colourful day with 42 children of the Institute's alumni, staff and students coming together for a workshop on Communication at the campus. The IIMB Orators club organized this workshop to engage the younger generation with public speaking skills. After a session of training, the smart young ones went on to the stage and charmed everyone with their oratory skills.

Prof. Aswath Damodaran PGP '79


W H AT ' S U P @ I I M B

Prayas to make a difference

Prayas roughly translated means 'to try' and the Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP) in association with PGP's social responsibility club-Vikasana got together to

make a positive difference through their initiative "Prayaas: A social responsibility initiative". The seminar series of EPGP features eminent speakers from the field of arts, science, social, public and private sectors. The inaugural year featured two main events - The Jaipur Foot Camp and a Blood Donation Camp that were held in the campus, in association with the "Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, Jaipur-BVMSS" and blood donation partners". At the Jaipur foot camp, 23 patients from various parts of Karnataka were offered custom made prosthetic limbs. The entire cost for each of the prosthetic limbs was paid out from the generous donations from the Professors and students of IIMB. Hats off to the organizers of this initiative!

Off to Korea

The EPGP students travelled to Seoul as part of their international immersion programme to get acquainted with the emerging economy of Korea and understand the key drivers of its growth. The team visited the plants of LG, GM Daewoo, Doosan, and Hyundai Shipping where they met with the top management of these firms which sharpened their perspective about global business.

'Sarvam' makes IIMB a unified digital campus IIMB realized its aim for unified digital campus with the launch of an internal portal - Sarvam. Sarvam is becoming the soul of all information that we need at IIMB. Now, how about having that portal being named by an alumnus? S Ramachandran PGSEM '06 shared the honour of winning the contest to christen the portal, Sarvam, along with a student Chandraprakash V. Sarvam means 'all encompassing' and this exactly captures the essence of the new portal.


Alumni contribute fitness centre

In a significant act of giving back to the Institute, the IIMB alumni of the 2009 batch contributed to the establishment of a state-of-the-art fitness centre at IIMB campus. Joining hands with the 2009 batch was the 2008 batch, who shared a part of their contribution towards the fitness center, the rest of which is being used for academic research and case study development. The Director of the IIMB, Dr. Pankaj Chandra inaugurated the fitness center along with the CAO of IIMB, Mr. Indu Sekhar Vasisst, Prof. Sankarshan Basu, Chairperson Alumni Affairs, Rakesh Godhwani, Head Alumni Association.


Class Notes Sarita makes a stellar debut Sarita Mandanna PGP '93 made a big bang entry into the world of books by authoring Tiger Hills, a novel woven with Coorg as the backdrop. Tiger Hills has been the most awaited novel of the year and Sarita was in the news having received the highest amount paid by Penguin India for a debut novel. Alumni of PGP '93 remember that Sarita was a wonderful writer during their college days itself. Many of them made it to her book release at Bangalore. She is now preparing for her second novel.

Sumit Chandwani is the Private Equity Professional of the Year! Sumit Chandwani PGP '91 dazzled at the Asian Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ) Awards India bagging two prestigious awards. One of his investments VA Tech Wabag won the Best Exit of the Year award leaving behind TecPro Systems and MakemyTrip. Furthermore, he won the Private Equity Professional of the Year award. The AVCJ Awards is widely respected in the Private Equity industry in Asia and it is a pleasure to see an alumnus win this coveted honour in its inaugural year in India.


A solo woman backpacker! Rare in India, but the idea of backpacking is catching up with the new generation of women in our country. Anuradha Chatterjee EEP '09 is a role model for such women who want to explore; she likes to backpack off the beaten track, explore and discover places. Anuradha travels with no reservations or plans and just lets the journey take its course. "These escapades exposed me to adventures like spending an entire night in a broken down bus in the mountains near Yingkiong at Arunchal, having to live in a monastery in the remote Tabo Village at Spiti due to landslides and being lost in the mountains of Cappadocia in turkey while hiking. One thing I have also discovered in these solo travels is that people respect a single woman traveling and are usually very helpful", says Anuradha. Being a passionate photographer, Anuradha has captured some of her best experiences in photographs.


Kibber Village Spiti - Photo by Anuradha Chatterjee EEP '09



Reunion - Batch of PGP '90

Swapna Mitra at the Asian Games

It was a gala time for the batch of PGP '90 at the Reunion with over 90 alumni coming down from various parts of the world. They came back to the Institute and met their friends after 20 long years. The theme of the Reunion was "Relive" and everyone literally relived their good old times at the IIMB campus.

Dream Job

Pitter patter

Sumit Chowdhury PGSEM '08 has taken the plunge into entrepreneurship after quitting a high flying job to start his company - My Life Chronicles. It was the sight of his late father's personal belongings being given away to the kabbadiwallah that made Sumit feel strongly about giving a tangible life to memories. Sumit, who is passionate about personal history, works with people and organizations to create chronicles in the form of personalized videos and finely-crafted memoir books.

Venu V Kota EGMP IXA and Priyamvada with little wonder, Aanandita, who was born on 5th May '10


It is a moment of great pride for the Institute - an alumna represented the country at the Asian Games. Swapna Mitra PGP '99 participated in the ten pin bowling event at the recently concluded Games held at Guangzhou, China. Swapna is an online marketing professional who is now on a sabbatical to pursue her sports interests. Kudos to Swapna!

Amal Gupta EEP '08 and his wife Jyoti were doubly blessed with a baby boy, Vedant, and baby girl, Vithi


Sarin Su Vidya wi


Hemant Bhargava becomes Associate Dean It's a matter of great pride to see Hemant Bhargava PGP '86 rise up to the position of Associate Dean at Graduate School of Management (GSM), UC Davis, California. He was promoted to take up this position in July. Hemant says, "It's been a great challenge and a learning experience - and I love it, because the GSM and UC Davis is a fantastic home. I care deeply about the GSM and my colleagues here, and I'm happy I can contribute towards shaping our future." Hemant, who went on to pursue his MS and Ph.D from the Wharton School after his PGP at IIMB, is an expert in Technology Competition and Strategy and the Economics of information technologies and systems.

First Exclusive PGPPM Alumni meet

For the first time the PGPPM alumni came together for an exclusive gettogether. Over 40 alumni gathered to enjoy this evening which was hosted by Dr. Pankaj Chandra, Prof. Rajeev Gowda, Prof. Ramesh G and Prof. Sankarshan Basu.

Right at the top! Rajiv Bakshi PGP '79 joins Metro Cash & Carry India as VicePresident and Managing Director. Alok Goel PGP '83 has taken charge as the Chief Executive Officer of Nitco Ltd. Rajiv Bakshi PGP '79

Alok Goel PGP '83

uares PGP '03 and his wife Somnath Manna PGP '01, his wife Jharna and daughter ith their little girl Kaira Mohana with the new one in their family, Dwaipayan


Amit Soni PGSEM '06 with his wife Swati, daughter Arushi and their little bundle of joy Swarit Soni



An interesting launch of a company


Jan Reichelt SEP '08 was at the IIMB campus on his exchange program from the University of Cologne, Germany. It was during this time that Jan launched his company Mendeley in a unique way. Through Skype! The co-founders of his company were in Germany and England and through Skype they launched the website of Mendeley - a revolutionary idea that has the potential to change the way research is conducted. His website has over 600,000 academic and industry researchers, who manage and share their work with other researchers on this platform. After bagging several awards for this innovative idea, Jan's company recently won the "Start-up Most Likely to Change the World for the Better" at Guardian Activate 2010.

Vinod Jagtiani PGP '81

Ravi Sundararaman PGP '79

Vinod Jagtiani, PGP '81 popularly known as Woody among his friends, passed away on July 9, 2010, at his home in New Delhi. Woody passed out of IIT Delhi in 1979 before joining IIMB and later went on to do his PHD in the US. He was a faculty at couple of years at IIMB.

Wedding Bells!

Sridhar Pabbisetty PGSEM '08 tied the knot with Veena Setty this July

Ravi Sundararaman PGP '79 passed away on the 28th of August 2010 in Melbourne. Ravi is survived by his wife Veena and son Ananda. Our prayers go to the families of Vinod and Ravi. May their souls rest in peace‌

25 alumni start a company This is a landmark - 25 alumni from the same class of MPEFB - 3 batch came together to launch a company! These classmates shared a simple desire to work together and were mulling over various possibilities. Their brainstorming sessions under the green trees of IIMB inspired the idea that they could get into the space of encouraging, endorsing & empowering entrepreneurship - it also inspired the


name for the company, Green Tree Ventures. Professor Mahadevan, Dean Administration, inaugurated very unique step from an all alumni group at the IIMB campus. The alumni marked the beginning of their company by planting a green tree sapling in the campus. The team was excited to have the support of two of our professors, Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan and Prof. Anjana Vivek, who joined its Board in Advisory capacity.


Alumna Writes



Finding strategies to succeed being both Lavanya Krishna PGP '99

Scene # 1: My boss is upset and stressed. He's the CIO of one of the top three business schools in the US. I am the manager of application development, responsible for creating and maintaining the entire software platform that keeps the school's reputation and processes chugging along smoothly. He has been asked to make a sudden half yearly budget presentation to the school's CFO and we have a lot of data gathering, analyzing and polishing to do to make it into a digestible presentation. The tanking economy is pressuring the school into scrutinizing departmental budgets and looking for venues to cut. We're all stressed that our pet projects might not make the rest of the year. Uncertainty looms about head count reduction and hiring freezes. Scene # 2: My 6 year old is having a meltdown at home in the evening. He wants me to help him with a Star Wars Lego 'now' after coming home from school (I've left my budget meeting and rushed to his school to pick him up). I have dinner to make, clothes to laundry, dishes to load into the dishwasher, next day's lunch to think about and of course the budget presentation I have to help put together after he goes to bed! He can only think about finishing his space ship. He yells 'mamma you never have time for me'. 45 IIMB ALUMNI MAGAZINE

I've been a working mom for 5.5 years of my 6 year old son's life (not counting years I was working before my little Simba was born :). Through this time, I changed jobs from a top notch IT consulting company in the US to an industry job in a top business as an IT manager. During the 3.5 minutes a day that I get to myself, I manage to reflect upon my previous day's experiences and have identified several strategies that I can adopt to not only cope but also be successful both as a 'mommy' and as 'manager', two roles that I cherish very, very much.

Strategy # 1: Think long term, act (real) short term! While it's great to have both at home and work, a long term (read yearly) outlook and goals, I've found that to keep my sanity I need to plan for just one week at a time. One veteran working mom told me once: 'I take one day at a time'. E.g. At work as an IT manager, maintaining discipline around change management is key. I start Monday morning with a '(white) board meeting' (fondly called by my team as the 'bored meeting') planning projects that are going through the pipeline that week only. This helps give me an idea of who is where with their work,

what issues there are and to manage multiple priorities. At home I have been doing weekly 'meal planning' for years now - a little chart of breakfast, packed snacks, lunch and dinner for the week ahead. This helps me tremendously by saving time through the week by planning - I prepare meals in advance and don't have to panic in case I am late from work or have work to catch up at night.

Strategy # 2: Let them fly! Something that has me constantly thinking as a mom and manager is keeping my son/team motivated, giving them the opportunity to learn from (not so costly) mistakes and letting them experiment new things at low risk. This was probably my most difficult learning, especially given that by nature I am a highly controlling person : Just this past weekend, I took my son cycling. He's got the balance to ride, however he always needed a hand while starting. He asked me this weekend to stop holding him and let him try and start by himself. The first time he did that, he fell. I ran to him, a worried mother. He got up and surprisingly said that he would try again.


Alumna Writes

It took him seven attempts of falling to finally learn to start to bike by himself. When I saw him go steadily on the 8th attempt my heart soared with pride in his tenacity and in my ability to control myself and allow my son to fly by himself! At work too I have a team of highly skilled developers who know the business processes and technology really well. They are a young, ambitious team that wants to be on the (b)leeding edge of technology, not something that always makes business sense to do for a school. However not allowing them the space and opportunity to try out new things would stifle their creativity and ultimately make them look for other opportunities.

Strategy # 3: Boring is good, keep it that way! One of the ways I have learnt to bring sanity in my life is to increase the predictability of events (reduce surprises) - at home and at work. The way to increase predictability is to know what happened in the past, record it and use that information to predict the future. Voila! There was born the 'Operational Calendar' - I have one at work and at home. The annual ops calendar at work lists out dozens of maintenance and preventive actions my team undertakes every year, in order to avoid surprises across seven enterprise applications and ~200 something software solutions that power the entire school. At home we have social calendar to track family commitments and an annual house maintenance calendar (that has everything from yearly furnace cleaning to quarterly air filter replacement). Having fewer surprises at home helps me keep my mind at work.

can prevent, helps me keep my sanity!

workers and your family will ultimately respect you for it!

Strategy # 4: An early yellow, is better than a late red!

I am sure there are other ways other working parents have found to balance the two sides of the day home and work. I certainly don't profess to be an expert and feel like I am learning and improving every day. Do all the working moms out there who drop their kids to school, do homework with them, do the laundry and the cleaning and also work a 12 hour day and sleep 4 hours‌ here's to all of you !!

I learnt this, through trial by fire, during my Consulting stint when I got promoted from Senior Consultant to Manager. The sooner I accept it, better yet, the sooner I see it coming and inform to the relevant people the better 'CYA' it is for me. This holds good at work when an expensive project is having issues with customers trying to increase project scope beyond its intended budget. It's better to flag it earlier than later. The same holds true when I need to have a difficult conversation with my son about something his teacher told me. It takes strength to muster up courage to bring up the issue and to talk about it however no good ever comes of running away and facing up to bad news. Communicate honestly, truthfully, fairly, politely yet firmly. Your co-


If you don't know CYA, you're either lucky that you

don't ever have to do it or unlucky and will soon learn what it is! Look up Wikipedia, it has an excellent definition.

Lavanya Krishna PGP '99 has worked for over 10 years since graduation, in the software development domain and specializes in managing and delivering custom development projects. Her career has spanned a leading IT consulting company and a Fortune 500 company. She's currently the application development manager for a leading business school in the US with a large team of developers,

Preventative rather than reactive - the lesser I have to react to and more I



Artist's impression of the proposed classroom complex

A heartfelt thank you to our alumni for contributing to the proposed classroom complex and supporting the Institute's vision and mission.

Photograph by Vivek Kapoor PGP '10

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT BANGALORE Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560076, India

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Narrowing the Gender Divide