Monday, December 25, 2006

Global Mindset-Indian roots!

Coming just a few days after my last post on the need for ‘returning Indian teachers’, I was fortunate to attend a function of an interesting business school-the Great Lakes Institute of Management at Chennai

One could not believe the event began with a cameo role by Indra Nooyi-a surprise guest speaker visiting town on a personal visit. Ms Nooyi commended the institute for having among its curriculum- a course in speaking Chinese Mandarin for students-as a right step in preparing to make a mark in the globalised economy. She also felt it was time for academia and research to come with more contemporary methods of ‘predicting future behaviour’ of consumers, by observation, and ethnography & dumping the traditional methods of qualitative research!

It was really heartening to note that the institute chose to put Ms Nooyi’s time and advice –more important than rituals-and it was only after she had left, that the event had the formal gestures of lighting the lamp –and the prayers ! And nothing was more Indian –that the Chairman of the school Prof Bala V Balachandran-calling his students ‘nephews and nieces’-and the latter reciprocating and addressing him as Uncle- as a tribute to the Indian business family format!

Prof Bala was advocating customer focus and strategic alliances to battle the inevitable competition!

The first international conference was an unique one for all the speakers- eminent names in the education in US-were all of Indian origin-and more so, as all of them have been spending lot of time and energy to handle as visiting faculty, often full courses for the institute-devoting a lot of their personal time and experience.

Almost as if on cue to Ms Nooyis speech, Dr Seenu Srinivasan expounded the technique of a using ‘conjoint analysis’ as a method to predict future behaviour. His case study of analyzing 12 different parameters in the choice of a digital camera ( for ef resolution, price, size, brand, shape, videochip, etc)- using log linear multiple regression –he showed the gathering how one could almost predict –upto 60.6% of the accuracy- of the final decision that could be taken!

Dr Rajen Guptas query on Indian software industry’s growth was impressively handled by Prof J Ramachandran hinting that companies had conquered ‘liability of origin’ by gaining legitimacy by linking to key institutions ( eg CMM SEI level certification by Carnegie Mellon that was embraced by the top IT services companies in a bid to transform the craft of software into a engineering domain) and improving reputation capital and not just depending on financial models ( listing on NASDAQ and NYSE gave India a good headstart! )

Prof Paul Prabhakar spoke about the DNA of a sustainable business enterprise –while there were interesting case studies/talks by Dr Suj Krishnaswamy, Dr Sridhar Moorthy, Dr Rama Shankar, Dr Siva Nathan, Dr Sudhakar Balachandran, Dr Ashok Vasudevan and Dr Neharika Vohra!

It was really enlightening to be part of a charged atmosphere- am sure the 20 odd presentations by other India based research scholars were also inspirational-and truly reflective of the theme of the conference.

The India story is just the beginning ...

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