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One-year MBA students at IIMB host business conclave on DECODING INDIA & BHARAT: One Nation. Two Identities. Inclusive Growth’ on 18th September

The event featuring fireside chats, panel discussions, industry speaker sessions, a business case competition and a business quiz, focussed on transforming and boosting growth for both the worlds – ‘India and Bharat’

20 September, 2022, Bengaluru: “There is a lot of vibrancy in India and in the last 75 years since independence, our country has done well to cater to basic needs. However, outside the purview of basic needs, we are still lagging. We need to create a larger market evolving with innovative products and services. We need to focus on enhancing the purchasing power of Bharat”, said Prof. Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director, IIM Bangalore, in his welcome address at the business conclave hosted by IIM Bangalore's one-year fulltime residential MBA for Experienced Professionals, Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP), on the theme: ‘DECODING INDIA & BHARAT: One Nation. Two Identities. Inclusive Growth’, on 18th September 2022 (Sunday).

Prof. RT Krishnan further pointed out the environmental outcomes of the sachet goods revolution during the early 90s – mainly its ecological impact. “There is an urgent need to bring Bharat and India closer together sustainably.”

Prof. Ashok Thampy, Chairperson, EPGP and faculty in the Finance & Accounting area, IIMB, recounted his experience traveling between India and Bharat and admitted that the ecosystem differences are indeed evident. "The theme of the event seeks to explain the contrast between village life and urban setting. However, markets have evolved. When we look at the purchase patterns during Covid times, we see that rural India's purchase of sanitizers was more than urban India's. Modern India can cater to the needs of rural markets since modern supply chain channels evolved in rural India. Firms have understood the purchasing power of Indian Tier-II and Tier-III cities. To approach rural areas, business models should not be urban-centric and must evolve rapidly. Leaders need to think of appropriate ways to reach rural areas of our country through efficient business models.”

In his Opening Note, Amit Sharma, Managing Partner – Global Delivery, IBM, said that as a country, we are becoming mature as well as agile and resilient in urban and rural settings. “The future lies in tapping manufacturing potential and transforming how rural India behaves. Technology enablers – 5G and Wi-Fi connection, will play a key role. This is the era for both India and Bharat. At this stage, we must not just accelerate, but integrate the two worlds. Both India and Bharat must contribute and thrive for the evolving India. Together, we can unleash unparalleled growth.”

The EPGP business conclave also included fireside chats, panel discussions, industry speaker sessions, a business case competition, a business quiz, and more.

Fireside Chat – 'Financial Inclusion'

The day also saw a Fireside Chat titled, 'Financial Inclusion', led by Prabhas Rath, General Manager and Head of Systemic Risk, Policy Research and Data Initiatives, SEBI, and moderated by Prof. Padmini Srinivasan, Chairperson, Centre for Corporate Governance & Citizenship and faculty in the Finance & Accounting area, IIMB. Prof. Srinivasan said India and Bharat should not be viewed as two different countries but as a country with two faces. The discussion covered topics like measures taken by the Government for financial Inclusion, the need for financial literacy, the move towards security markets, surveillance, and the role of regulators in the country, which, the speaker pointed out, is about to witness an exponential trend in financial participation by citizens.

Talking about the proactiveness of the Indian Government in bringing policies and pushing people from physical saving to financial saving, Prabhas said, “On the credit side, technology must be the enabler. With the concept of tokenization, we should be able to valuate credit worthiness. That technology must be an enabler to small farmers, industries, and BHARAT per se. UPI has also enabled an increase in the digital financial footprint. Mobile technology, Aadhaar network, Jan Dhan scheme, etc. will surely be enablers."

“The role of regulators has changed from financial regulation to fintech regulation. For better financial inclusion, there should be a variety of products and financial instruments for people to choose from. Partnering with business correspondents and adopting the technology model will help reduce transaction costs. Tokenization will play a key role in the future.” This session also highlighted the power of the hybrid mode. The speaker had joined the session virtually, whereas the moderator and students were present physically. 

Fireside Chat – 'Coffee Can Investing' 

The discussion, led by Saurabh Mukherjea, Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Marcellus Investment Managers and popular business author, covered an explanation of the concept of Coffee Can and the difference between mutual funds and portfolio investing as well as the role of technological advancements in making better decisions. Saurabh Mukherjea also listed the pain points in the mutual fund basket and said financial literacy is steadily and impressively growing. The moderator, Prof. M Jayadev, Chairperson, Centre for Capital Markets and Risk Management and faculty in the Finance & Accounting area, IIMB, illustrated the power of efficient and intelligent investing.

During the session, transaction costs and their impact in choosing mutual funds, and technology being an enabler, were also discussed. “Senior citizens and people planning for retirement should also actively participate in financial markets and build a strong ecosystem.”

Panel Discussion – 'Hiring for New India' 

The speakers for this discussion were Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-founder & CEO, TeamLease Services and Karthik SM, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Biocon Biologics. It was moderated by Prof. Debolina Dutta of the Organizational Behavior & Human Resources Management area and Chairperson, Career Development Services, IIMB.

Prof. Debolina Dutta set the context of the talk by discussing challenges of hiring in the dynamic market. The discussion included topics such as gig workforce, apprentice model and a discussion on moonlighting. 

Rituparna explained the different types of workforce models – permanent and temporary workforce and gig workers. “Organizations ought to develop a dynamic workforce to be more efficient in tackling and responding to situations like the pandemic. The current rate of 27% attrition is not an indicator of poor retention policies, but it is an indication of a huge demand and less supply of workforce. India is a classic example of human capital not employable. India is the 5th largest economy in terms of GDP, but 142nd in terms of per capita. Tech jobs cannot be the only option for job seekers, and we need to create multiple sectors that can create better job markets". 

Karthik SM said there was a need for companies to strike a balance between hiring and upskilling within their organization. "Effective people rotation, line manager efficiency will play a key role. In the current work pattern, firms must deal with workforce which encompass multiple generations working together and balance the ratio efficiently. Moreover, there is also the need to bring disruptive workforce approaches with a human touch in exit interviews to understand the pain points of employees”.

Panel Discussion – 'New Age Business Models'

This session was led by Rajesh Joshi, CEO, Atal Incubation Centre, Goa Institute of Management and Ex-founder, bajaao.com, Rajesh Shet, CEO & Co-founder, SahiBandhu, Lakshminarayan Swaminathan, CXO - Supply Growth, Meesho, and Karthik Manivannan, CXO, apna. The discussion was moderated by Prof. R Srinivasan, Chairperson, two-year fulltime MBA and MBA in Business Analytics, and faculty in the Strategy area of IIMB. 

Prof. Srinivasan’s questions to individual panelists varied from identifying strategies for modern India, measuring skills for unorganized vocational jobs, change in mode of operation for small businesses, demand discovery to managing incubation centers. 

Karthik Manivannan stressed on the importance of skill taxonomy and skill management and said that he considered them as second order impact. “For organizations to be effective, we need to be strong on two axis – Expertise Axis and Experience Axis.”

Rajesh Joshi said in India, which is thriving with entrepreneurs, profit with purpose is evolving as a business model. “Moving from physical to digital model will be the future for both Indian and Bharat entrepreneurs.” When asked about the difference between Indian and Bharat entrepreneurs, he said: "The Indian entrepreneur aims to build his model around successful western models and tries to increase monetary gains, whereas the Bharat entrepreneur focusses on the impact that they make and what skill they could take home. Earlier we had capitalists and socialists. Now, Bharat and India will look into the future for ‘Purpose-ist’. India will show to the world how to do business with new purpose-driven business models.” 

Lakshminarayan Swaminathan described the Meesho model and the success of the Meesho supplier panel. “The online model is helping to make India a market for Bharat-preneurs. Customer-customer interaction and customer review model are the latest influencers in online businesses. Data backed models are also helping in effective decision making.”

Rajesh Shet described SahiBandhu as a platform for facilitating easy gold loans. “The need for gold loan has evolved from personal needs to entrepreneurial capital investments. People in rural India have started taking gold loans to cater to their capital needs and to start their own ventures. There is still a lot of social stigma around gold loans which is a barrier. Customer centric models will transform the way in which businesses operate.” 

Prof. Srinivasan summed up the conversation saying entrepreneurs in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities knew the tricks of the trade and that the current business models will facilitate them to grow global. 

Panel Discussion – 'Spurring Growth – India or Bharat?'

The speakers for this discussion included Mohanraj Jagannivasan, CEO, Duroflex and Badri Beriwal, Chief Business Officer (New Business), Britannia Industries Limited. The moderator, Prof. Prateek Raj of the Strategy area, initiated the discussion by asking the panelists about the role of brand and industry players in ‘spurring growth’; supply chain management for consumer goods and durables and the impact of improved infrastructure in India and Bharat, and the role of technology for better decision making.

Mohanraj Jagannivasan observed that the Bharat brand is getting stronger and buying capacity of the consumers is increasing. “Ease of doing business has improved and entry barriers are getting limited. Role of science to spur industry growth will be adopted by all companies going forward. Recycling opportunities and sustainable practices will gain pace. Rapid customization and serving customer needs on-the-go models will be norms in spurring growth. The D2C model is now disrupting, and the entire distributor network is responding to change.” 

Badri Beriwal said India was witnessing growth in all sectors which he termed as the “cohort of growth”. He added, “Rapid urbanization of rural parts are making the consumer goods and service companies rapidly evolve. However, challenges still exist to reach and serve different cohorts of customers and the optimization of the distribution cost model will solve few issues. Businesses are increasingly moving towards customer centric approaches and firms are using Dynamic Route Optimization to serve the demand.”

Industry Speaker Session – 'Poverty Reduction – Is it profitable?'

This session had Pradeep Kashyap, Founder, MART as the speaker. He detailed the importance of rural ecosystems and cited the examples of Khadi Bhandar and Amul which have better turnovers than renowned corporate enterprises. “Rural India is no longer poor. A survey analysis says smartphone usage in rural area will exceed that of urban areas. Around 28% of UPI transactions are from rural India. Our country has strong social infrastructure in terms of Anganwadi and Asha workers and government/private firms should leverage this channel. Indian Government schemes can improve quality of life. In rural India, the headroom for growth is very high.”

Quiz and case study contests

The talks were followed by the Bharat Quiz with Krish Banik as the quizmaster. Krish Banik is a well-known quizmaster and media presenter. He has been handling television and radio quizzes in India and abroad for the last twenty years. His annual quizzes like the IQuation Quiz, Indian Oil Solaris Quiz and United Nation’s Sustainability Quiz have been telecast on satellite channels. His quiz columns have been published in The Telegraph, Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Statesman, The Asian Age and other leading publications. Krish has also authored the Indian Oil Solaris Quiz Book and is currently hosting Friends School Quiz, the country’s only radio quiz program, which has crossed 300 episodes.

There were four rounds in the quiz which ultimately ended in a tie for the final winner – Team Seabird from IIM Bangalore and Team IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation Limited).

There was a case study competition – ‘FDI vs Make in India’ and the winners were Sucheta Kar, Akriti Ghai and Pankaj Jindal from Team 3 Idiots of IIM Bangalore. (First Runner-Up: Aastha Sah and Aditya Vijay Barari – Team Compact – BIT Mesra; Second Runner-Up 1: Krishna Agarwal, Vaishali Gupta and Gaurav Gaikwad - Team Blooming Volacoes – IIM Bangalore; Second Runner-Up 2: Devansh Rathi, Priyabrat Das and Shreya Tripathi – Teamslayers – MAIT New Delhi).

The event wrapped up with the closing note. Thus, the provoking discussions featuring CXOs, economists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, was a great opportunity to interact with, learn from, and get inspired by these leaders. The IIMB business conclave’s cornerstone was how to reinforce the bridge between ‘India and Bharat’. The speakers shared a glimpse of the future, focussing on how to transform and boost growth for both the worlds simultaneously.

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