There was considerable hoopla when the Indian economy crossed the trillion dollar mark for the first time three years ago. Over the next 10 to 15 years, it is now almost inevitable that our economy will touch $3 trillion. Last week, I had an interesting chat with K.V. Kamath, ICICI Bank’s non-executive chairman, about the implications of such phenomenal growth. Perhaps with the exception of China, nowhere in the world has one seen such a large mass of people go through a period of unprecedented growth. Even though China’s march began in 1978, the real boom in that economy started in 2000 and lasted for more than 10 years. During this period, per capita incomes have trebled there.
Set against the backdrop of last week’s Union Budget, that’s exactly what this special edition attempts to do. Associate Editor Dinesh Narayanan and Principal Correspondent Udit Misra lay out the big challenges facing the country over the next decade. Their essay picks up clues from the Budget speech and then focusses our attention on four hot-button issues that will keep our policy-makers awake at night.
We then pick up the four big bets that this government has made — education, homeland security, climate change and roads — and look at how each minister in charge is using a new approach to drive his agenda.
Finally, the concept of inclusive growth suggests that the benefits of development must touch all our states in ample measure. Yet in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the human development indices are almost as bad as that of African countries. So why can’t we learn to replicate the success in one state in another? We’ve picked out two important stories of transformation that offer critical lessons. Associate Editor Malini Goyal’s family quit Bihar more than a decade ago. Quietly but surely, under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Bihar has undergone a huge upheaval for the past four years. Malini returns to her home state to discover why good governance can make a difference even in a seemingly hopeless situation. Make sure you read her personal account on page 68.
The agricultural crisis has tormented the minds of policymakers and farmers alike. Some weeks ago, we found the answers in unexpected quarters: The state of Gujarat. In the last few years, Gujarat’s agrarian sector has grown at three times the national average. Consulting Editor R.N. Bhaskar travels to the hotspot to bring you an amazing story of agricultural revival. It underscores my belief that we don’t need new solutions. All we need is political will and foresight.
(This story appears in the 19 March, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)
Upon graduation I wish to lead the fiber-optics product management team in one of the world’s largest optical communication companies (such as Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T), supervising a group of 5-10. Striving to promote myself within the organization, I wish to become the Vice President of Marketing in the fiber optics segment, supervising several dozens of employees.
My mid-term goal is to become the founder and CEO of an innovative fiber optics firm. I desire to position the company as a profitable, international and leading company in its industry, and aspire to establish a sustainable organization, creating workplaces for thousands of employees and turning an underdeveloped area into a flourishing industrial zone. Passave, an optical communication company, which was lately acquired for $300M, is a model for such a successful company.
After fulfilling this goal, I intend to follow the growing trend of successful executives who moved to the public service sector. My plan is to become a senior manager in the Prime Minister’s Office.
I chose my first full time position in the Optronics Division at the military because I knew it will introduce me to the diverse optical communication community in my country, equipping me with basic hands-on experience in the field. The first two years I worked as a Physicist and a System Engineer and then I was promoted to the position of Electro-Optical Projects Manager in the division’s headquarters. There I set the goals, supervised and directed 9 Project Mangers in optical projects performed by 7 different companies in the defense industry.
At that point I realized that for developing the managing tools required for a senior manager I’ll need to gain more experience in bigger organizations. Therefore, I persuaded the head of the R&D directorate to be reassigned to a classified Intelligence unit. My first mission as an Optical Engineer was to lead a group of 4 in building a module which was the heart of a $100M system. One year later I was appointed to a Team Leader where I commanded a team of 8. Two years later I was promoted to Project Leader.
I understood I lacked the financial and international experience of technological project management to lead a global optical communication company. I therefore became a Project Leader in a classified unit of the PMO. I supervised a team of 20, and managed all financial aspects of a $2M project (presented to the Minister of Defense), where I also had the marvelous opportunity to negotiate with highly ranked officials of three foreign governments.
While considering studying for a PhD, I worked as a part time an Internal Consultant of 5 Project Leaders. I then became an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) in Precede, an entrepreneurship and investment firm, in hope to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur. Working in Precede, I matured in my understanding. I realized I still lack some Finance, Marketing and General Management foundations, which an MBA will enable me to develop.
In light of my long term goal to become a founder and CEO of a technologically oriented company, I’ll need to gain the strongest possible general management skills. The finance and marketing foundations will compensate for my inexperience in these fields. The structured formal general management education I’ll acquire in Wharton will broaden my view and give me the tools to leverage my experience and create a successful company. I believe an MBA is the most structural way to learn how to build organizational values, culture and design organizational structure and hierarchy.
Moreover, most of my leadership experience was developed in governmental organizations, where a leader is defined in terms of his values, inter-personal skills and professionalism. However, looking into the future, I will need to lead in the private sector where leadership is also characterized by the talent to lead corporate players in global, competitive markets and an understanding of the cultural, economical and financial forces that drive the marketplace. Hence, I believe studying by the researchers of the Center of Leadership and Change Development like Prof. S. Kaplan who composed Framing the Future will help me build and lead a high performance optical communication firm.
My experience is mainly based on large and established organizations. Hence, learning from Prof. Dushnitsky on the various dimensions of new venture creation and growth in Entrepreneurship, will show me his perspective on the trail I wish to follow as a founder. Desiring to build a sustainable company, I am looking forward to taking Strategy and Competitive Advantage, where I hope to learn how to create and maintain such an advantage. Learning how to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and how to exploit them where “Creating Values” was contemplated, will lay a solid basis for achieving these goals by myself.
In a world which is growing ever flatter, I find international exposure and experience important for the global company I wish to found. The Multinational Management major courses, such as Global Strategic Management, and participation in the Global Immersion Program will prove valuable in helping me understand other cultures which will be important when penetrating new markets. This international exposure will improve my ability to establish contacts with other nations, hence supporting my longer term career goal of rejoining the PMO.
Wharton’s mindset and student body imply numerous benefits. The exciting opportunity to participate in school’s management would contribute to the fruitful interaction between students and faculty. I plan to take part in the leadership development activities and the various student clubs to create strong friendships. These connections, combined with the great global alumni community, can be especially relevant as an eco system for the company I plan to start and for recruiting its management backbone.