IIM Shillong: The Podium Season 2

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

These words have only gained more relevance in current times. In today’s era of competition, the need to be informed and to have a broad perspective has become imperative for survival.

The Podium is an initiative by IIM Shillong in this direction to invite corporates and change leaders to interact with students and share their views, ideas and experiences and in this process spark a sense of curiosity and inspiration in the aspiring managers.

The First Season of The Podium was inaugurated on 23rd July, 2012 and was a huge success. Some eminent speakers who graced The Podium were Prof. Anil K. Gupta, IIM Ahmedabad, Ms. Judy Manners, Executive Director, Asset Management, JP Morgan and Mr. Chandra Baljee, CMD, Royal Orchids Hotels and many more.

The Podium Season 2 kicked off on the 23rd of July, 2013 and continued till 21st August, 2013. The speakers who were part of this year’s season were

  1. Mr. Deepak Goel,CEO, Founder, Drizzlin Media
  2. Mr. Gaurav Mehndiratta, Partner- Tax and Regulatory Services, KPMG
  3. Mr. Sachin Gaur, Founder & CEO, Mobile Harvest Solutions
  4. Mr. Mark Driscoll, National Lead human Resource, PWC India
  5. Mr. Dharmarajan, VP , HR, Larsen &Toubro
  6. Mr. Sandeep Tyagi VP – HR, Videocon Industries Ltd.
  7. Mr. V.K. Sharma, AVP, Sales and Marketing, Alkem Pharmaceuticals
  8. Mr. Satya Poddar, Partner, Ernst &Young
  9. Mr. R.Sundar, Director, Times Of India Group
  10. Mr. Deepak Jolly, VP, Communications, Coca Cola
  11. Mr. Sharad Gupta, GM and Head, Marketing, Xerox
  12. Mr. Rahul Ramchandani, Head ,Internet Marketing, Airtel
  13. Mr. Jacob John, VP, Branding, Louis Philippe
  14. Mr. Lal Sudhakaran, Manufacturing Head, Madura Garments
  15. Mr. Kedar Lele, General Manager, Hindustan Unilever
  16. Mr. Kamal Bafna, AVP, Deutsche Bank
  17. Mr. Ashok Pandey, Chief Strategy Officer – Airports, GMR India
  18. Mr. Lalit Kumar Pahwa, CEO – Auto Products, Escorts Limited

We will now mention in brief about a few of the talks and their contents:

Talk by Mr. Gaurav Mehndiratta, Partner, Ernst & Young

Mr. Mehndiratta’s session focused on India’s growth story and the impact of liberalization and globalization on the Indian economy. He elaborated on the existing regulations regarding FDI and the way the Indian Government is tweaking rules to put forward a positive image about India in the international market. He also talked about the potential career opportunities that foreign investments would offer to management graduates and the entire workforce of India.

Talk by Mr. Satya Poddar, Partner, Ernst &Young

The interaction with Mr. Poddar revolved around the problems faced by the government & consultants for the implementation of any new tax regime in a country with existing structures and political pressures.The interaction between Mr. Poddar and the participants focused on the impact that the smallest of changes in the taxation system have on business firms at large. He also emphasized the importance of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and its likely impact on Indian economy in the long run.The key take-away from the discussion was the effect of GST on the future of businesses in India and also the development it will bring to the Indian economy by improving productivity and reducing the total cost of capital.

Talk by Mr. Kedar Lele, General Manager, Hindustan Unilever

The discussion with Mr. Lele was centered on how to dominate the market through customer development. He conceptualized sales as an art while explaining distribution as a science. He explained the success of project ‘Shakti’, which Hindustan Unilever Limited modelled to empower rural women and capture the untapped rural market. Mr. Lele also explained the distribution system of Hindustan Unilever Limited in rural areas that has made them a market leader.

The ‘Perfect store’ idea of Hindustan Unilever Limited wherein the goods are supplied by predictive analysis of historical data of the retailers’ purchasing trends drew the attention of the participants. The participants comprehended the potential of analytics and technology in FMCG marketing and the competitive edge that customer development renders.

Talk by Mr Mark Driscoll, National Lead human Resource, PWC India

Mr. Driscoll spoke about the changing trends in the work force. According to him, employees are now broadly segmented into the Gen X and the Gen Y categories, and they differ not only in age but also in opinion and approach. The challenge for most organizations today is to bring out the best from both these groups and have a cohesive unit. He also stated that maintaining gender diversity is essential as it adds to the thought process and brings different perspectives to the fore.

Talk by Mr Deepak Jolly, VP, Communications, Coca Cola

Mr. Jolly spoke about the difference between shareholder value and stakeholder value in the context of organisations and how the trend has been shifting towards co-creating with consumers. He introduced ‘the Genius of ‘&” which signifies the timeless yet relevant and the modern yet traditional spirit of Coca Cola that has been aptly captured in the company’s recent advertising campaigns.

This year, IIM Shillong extended this corporate platform to engage several business experts, to create a confluence of ideas in the form of ‘Conclave’. Renowned speakers from their respective domains came together and shared their views and experiences and provided insights into some of the pertinent issues of their domains.

The HR Conclave:

The first was the HR Conclave which had Mr. Mark Driscoll, National Lead human Resource, PWC India, Mr. Dharmarajan, VP, HR, Larsen &Toubro and Mr. Sandeep Tyagi VP – HR, Videocon Industries Ltd debated on the significance of HR Consulting in the corporate world. They discussed about the benefits as well as challenges faced while incorporating HR Consulting in organizations.

The Marketing Conclave:

The Marketing Conclave had Mr. R.Sundar, Director, Times Of India Group, Mr. Deepak Jolly, VP, Communications, Coca Cola, Mr. Sharad Gupta, GM and Head, Marketing, Xerox and Mr. Rahul Ramchandani, Head ,Internet Marketing, Airtel and they focused on ‘How mammoth businesses keep reinventing themselves with changing times’. The discussion revolved around three dimensions: the change in positioning and evolving identity of the brand, how distribution has been leveraged through the years and the role of marketing communication in delivering value proposition to customers.