A group of alumni CEOs from the Harvard Business School (HBS) have set the ball rolling for building an interindustry leadership pipeline in India. In a first-ever initiative by HBS anywhere in the world, about 110 CEOs in India, engaged with the institute’s dean Nitin Nohria in Boston over tele-presence to discuss issues related to leadership in the current business context and the role the HBS alumni in India could play in creating a more inclusive growth model in the country.
The programme was a curtain-raiser for a series of upcoming interactions to mentor young entrepreneurs and groom leaders by getting top leaders across industries, government and non-government sectors on a forum.
“It is the first time any HBS Club is having an event of this sort. It helps us establish the theme for HBS in India, which is, providing leadership across industries,” said Adil Zainulbhai, chairman, McKinsey India. The event will help start a series of interactions with the purpose of building India – from mentoring young entrepreneurs to grooming leaders in areas ranging from business to politics and the social sector, added Zainulbhai, who is also the president of HBS Club of India. The captains of Indian industry, who participated in the engagement, ‘Connected Leaders Dialogue’ included Zainulbhai, Nadir Godrej, managing director of Godrej Industries and chairman, Godrej Agrovet, Sanjivnayan Bajaj, MD, Bajaj FinServ, Ganesh Natarajan, CEO, Zensar Technologies and Suneeta Reddy, joint MD, Apollo Hospitals, among others.
“We hope to get many involved in making a difference in India, and to get new ideas on how we should do so in a systematic way, especially in a turbulent economy. We have a unique resource in the form of the HBS alumni group to make a positive difference in the country,” said Zainulbhai.
Apart from Nohria, Linda Hill, professor of business administration and faculty chair of leadership initiative at HBS, was part of the leadership dialogue. Hill, who has studied Indian CEOs like Vineet Nayar of HCL Technologies during the 2008 downturn, will be conducting a workshop on ‘Maximising your leadership potential’ in India in December.
The CEOs, representing different industry sectors in India , discussed the concerns in the Indian economy, context of leadership, sectoral leadership models and what the country can do to take it forward. Dean Nohria spoke to Indian business leaders on where the business world isheading and how India will contribute, what leadership styles become necessary to sustain a place in this growth renaissance, the advantage of being an HBS alumni and what they can bring to this change. The Club will also focus on how India can contribute to leadership and various leadership styles.
HBS alumni in the country comprise approximately 1,000 people encompassing MBAs and executive education alumni. This event was also unique as it demonstrated that learning and dialogue can be facilitated across multiple locations.
“HBS has similar classrooms in Shanghai and Boston. The CLD event heralds interesting possibilities of inter-connectedness between these classrooms and thus on the structure and shape of education and continuous learning in the coming years,” said an HBS spokesperson.
This opens up a plethora of scalable learning and engagement opportunities between communities of global leaders who are otherwise separated by time and space, he said. “The future will be built because of communication, feedback and engagement and the willingness of more than 100 CEOs to give two hours of their time underscores this,” said Natarajan. The programme could be a pilot for similar engagements by HBS alumni network in other parts of the world, he said.
Source: The Economic Times
Date: 18th October 2013