Dr. Ross Jackson, a Danish-Canadian economist, author and philanthropist, visited Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and spoke to teachers and students of the Dept. of Management & Commerce about the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), which envisions a world of empowered citizens and communities, designing and implementing their own pathways to a sustainable future, and building bridges of hope and international solidarity. They do this by creating self-sustaining human settlements, which are in harmony with all aspects of life, including the cultural, ecological and spiritual dimensions. Several such communities across India and the world are now in existence, though a series of through grants and proactive initiatives.
The effort is part of Gaia Trust, a Danish-based charitable association that he founded in 1987 to help promote a new, global consciousness which sees our entire planet as a living organism with Humankind as an integral part of the entity. To read more about the Trust, visit https://gaia.org
On 17 February 2020, II B.B.A. students of the Dept. of Management & Commerce visited were Volvo Construction Equipment, Bangalore as part of their annual Industrial visit. The students were given a tour of the factory that included the assembling of equipment. They also learnt about Volvo’s manufacturing process, the integration of Operations & Technology, and Sales & Marketing functions.
A panel discussion, Business Excellence, was organized for II MBA students in February, 2020. The panelists focused on the idea of business excellence and ways to plan, deploy and sustain excellence in Business. Discussions centered on the use of Excellence frameworks, particularly the Malcolm Baldrige and EFQM frameworks.
These framework assist organizations in becoming more more competitive by aligning their plans, processes, decisions, people, actions, and results. The latest modifications to these globally adopted frameworks and the key challenges in carrying out an assessment of a business organization were discussed. The sessions ended with a fruitful question and answer session.
The panelists included:
Govindarajan Jagannathan, Chief Executive Officer at Transconn International, LLC, Krishnan Parayil, Principal Counsellor, Business Excellence at Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and Commander Sreenivasan, a veteran Navy officer with a distinguished record of service to the nation across various fields.
First year MBA students of the Dept. of Management & Commerce learnt the ins and outs of the Competition Act (legislated in 2002 to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India) by a series of guest lectures, delivered by Mrs. R Kiran Nath, a retired legal expert, whose career spans four decades.
She outlined how it replaced the archaic Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act of 1969, and what changes it brought about – from healthy competition in the market to restrictive trading practices, different types of agreements, the concept of cartels, etc. She elucidated all these topics with relevant practical examples and case studies they promote. She also lectured on the Competition Commission of India (CCI), its various objectives and notable examples and case studies. In all, students gained a thorough insight on the subject.
Getting Ready for Professional Life in Organisations
In late January 2020, Anahat Organisation Development Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. conducted a workshop for the students of the final year M.B.A. programme (separate sessions for women and men students) to help them recognize the options they have in their work lives and then guide them make the right choice.
The expert trainers, Sri C S Mahesh and Ms. Janaki Venkat, Founders of Anahat, and Ms. Sivakami Suryanarayan, Principal Secretary of Anahat, made all students take the internationally recognized Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a psychometric test that helps identify types of personalities and find ways to use personality differences constructively to improve personal effectiveness, team performance and manage work relationships better.
Students learnt a lot about their own personalities and strengths, and how to confidently use that knowledge to develop a career profile that matches their personality and interest.
The trainers concluded by making the students realize the importance of developing abilities in their non-preferred areas while maintaining their own preferred state. This helps in respecting the contribution of team members and considering their opinions with an understanding that each personality is valuable.
Mrs. G Madhavi, Partner, CAS & Associates, and alumnus, SSSIHL gave a series of lectures on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility at the individual level to M.B.A. students in January. She stressed on the sense of accountability that each professional must employ, and how the maxim, Develop oneself to develop the economy, is a good moral compass to have.
Organizations use many strategies for this too. For example, a Vigil (Whistle Blower) Mechanism that provides a channel to the employees and Directors to report to the management concerns about unethical behavior, actual or suspected fraud, or violation of the Codes of conduct or policy.
She also lectured on topics such as Cross Border Mergers and Insider Trading. She used industry-oriented examples to increase the visibility of its applications. The concepts taught were linked with spirituality, thereby highlighting its importance in work and life.
Redefine your model of the world!
Students of the M.B.A. programme participated in a self-analytical workshop, Mental Models, conducted by Ms. Shradha S Jaitly, GM (Finance), International Trade & Risk Management, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).
They participated in two activities, left and right-hand column activity, as well as a debate between union and management, that enabled them to analyze their model of the world — thoughts, feelings, actions and results. The activities helped them identify their preconceived notions and deeply held beliefs and assumptions that come in the way of clarity, effective decision making and actions.
As a result, students gained a deeper understanding of their thoughts and feelings and learned techniques on how to release them. They were empowered to meet personal and professional challenges that come their way by adjusting the view of the problem at hand.
After all, not every dilemma is presented to us in the same way, nor can it be decided from the same vantage point. As a wise man once rightly said, two heads are better than one, and four heads are better than two.
A unique aspect of the SSSIHL MBA programme is to determine how the management concepts learnt in the classroom can be applied to help alleviate some of the problems that the villagers of India face in their daily lives.
On 18 December 2019, the I MBA students (Prasanthi Nilayam Campus) visited villages in the Anekal Taluk of Karnataka adopted by Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of the TVS Group.
The TVS Group has partnered with the Bosch India Foundation to enable the transformation of 5000 rural communities and urban slums by empowering people to achieve sustainable development. To this end, it has committed (at least) 2% of its yearly net profits.
Students were privy to several programmes during their visit. Some of these included the Dress Craft and embroidery design programme (which helps village folks sell their products with decent margins in the marketplace), the Self-Employment Training Programme (a three-month course for women aimed to give them financial independence by becoming entrepreneurs) and the ‘Balwadi’ programme, designed for the upkeep, education and engagement of children.
They experienced firsthand how these villages are growing in stature, the standard of living and confidence. It made them realize how we can make such a big difference in the lives of so many when we believe and take it upon ourselves to serve and give back to society.
Students also visited GE Healthcare, Times of India and TVS Motors in Bangalore, Karnataka & Hosur, Tamil Nadu, 17-18 Sep 2019.
Increasingly, in the current state-of-play, it is difficult for values-based leadership to thrive. In these challenging times, it is therefore crucial that we practise the fundamental principles of leadership.
On 17 August 2019, Mr. Gopal Rao, Managing Director (India) and Operations Manager, Landmark Education, and an alumnus of SSSIHL, conducted a one-day workshop at the Dept. of Management & Commerce, to address this.
His first observation was that whatever others throw at us, it has no impact on us unless we make it impactful. In all undertakings, more than keeping an eye on the content, it is essential to see the context, since context is the background that colours situations.
He then spoke about the importance of relationships and the human connection as a measure of the quality of one’s life. He stressed on the importance of listening as a paramount component of communication. Sadly, he said, we engage with the speaker who talks to us through agreeing or disagreeing, only to confirm our own point of view. This hinders the achievement of meaningful communication.
The most noteworthy issue that Mr. Gopal Rao touched upon was integrity. He described integrity as the state of being whole, complete and unimpaired, which is created in us when we honour our word given to ourselves and others. He said we must be willing to see that an incomplete task — even if it was left unfinished for a good excuse — is still a task not done and we must be willing to take ownership for it being so.
Finally, he encouraged students to follow three fundamental principles:
- First, if they wish to play the game (i.e., make the best of their studies here), they must decide to accept and align with every rule of the Institute.
- Secondly, they must live up to the values that define them as students of SSSIHL and identify themselves with them. They must be willing to be responsible for them.
- Thirdly, students must keep the promises that they make to themselves and others. They need to be true to themselves. “Your word is you” he quipped, “not anything else. So keep it!”
“Mastery” he added, “is being above what is occurring automatically.”
A unique aspect of the SSSIHL M.B.A. programme is to determine how the management concepts learnt in the classroom can be applied to help alleviate some of the problems that the villagers of India face in their daily lives.
Similar to the trip that the M.B.A. men students made, the I M.B.A. women students visited Anekal, Karnataka and Bangalore, 15-16 Dec 2019. The organizations visited included the Sai Vishram Business Hotel and Srinivasan Services Trust (SST). The trip included villages adopted by SST for inclusive development.
On 29 December, 2019, students also visited the Rural development and self-employment Training Institute (RUDSETI), Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh.