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By Late Prof. Dr. (Col.) A. Balasubramanian, (Bala Sir), Founder Chancellor, SBUP

Written on May 12, 2016 | Re-published from the archives of the Founder Chancellor speeches, impromptu informal conversations with the students, parents, faculty, staff and corporate guests.

Exciting industrialization and exponential economic growth on the one side… exceptionally exploited people’s sustained armed struggle in the form of Naxalism on the other side…Adding fuel to the fire, few gentlemen’s threat to go on fast until death on the issue of Lokpal Bill which is pushing the Govt in all the directions…


The heightened awakening amongst the people and the massive turn out in the recently held elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Judiciary’s overreach to entangled in the burning social issues including corruption and black money. A union govt where every minister acts and behaves like a prime minister. The sudden resignation MPs and MLAs on the issue of Telangana. The ever hanging issue of the aggrieved DMK withdrawing support to the UPA Govt. Thus the business environment is not giving the ‘feel good’ feeling around the country. Slowly and silently social tension is building up. The country which until recently was threatening the world to emerge the economic super power is entangled with internal wrangling. Why the disturbing trends suddenly? Business world, though unequipped to solve the political problems do get affected. And this business world no more belongs to TATAs or Birlas or the Ambanis. For, it is ‘you’ and ‘I’ the shareholders in the companies who are the real owners of the Corporate World.

Are they, the issues which inject restlessness in the society? the byproducts of uneven growth of economy? Are they unique to India? How are we, the students of business management, going to take the whole scenario and act/react to protect our interests? For, the industrialists have become the scape goats every time the political economy experienced imbalanced attacks from various quarters. That is how when the veteran industrialist and great freedom fighter Kirloskar was arrested on silly charges no dog was there to bark for him. History is full of instances where this kind of dramas were enacted with impunity.

Whenever the situation goes out of control the people at the helm of affairs go for ‘shock’ treatment and populist slogans. Mrs. Indira Gandhi did it by declaring ‘emergency’ and arresting the opponents. The veteran freedom fighter Jayaprakash Narayan who renounced politics was forced to start the ‘second’ independence movements by, creating the Janata Party and brought them to power. But alas the PM – Mr. Morarji Desai, the Dy PMs – Babu Jagajivan Ram and Choudhary Charan Singh and many senior cabinet ministers elected by the people and selected by JP at the Centre were the same old lifetime congressmen and the movement died its natural death. And they too did not leave the industry but proudly packed up Coca Cola’ and came up with their own ‘77’. So, the target invariably has been the corporate world.

It is under similar situations the communism took birth in the most developed economies and ruled big parts of the world causing more miseries. Every growing economy has witnessed this kind of turmoils. And, in all such situations, the industry will only be providing the remedies to a larger extend. Notwithstanding that it will be subjected to trials and tribulations. Managing the smooth sailing in all such situations will be the real challenge to the corporate leadership which majorly constitutes the MBAs. Corporate citizens always are in minority and they, like the great economists, did fail at times, as in the case of the worst global economic downturns in the developed economies. Super MBAs hired from the best ‘B” Schools failed to forewarn or prevent the great collapse. One Osama-bin-Laden was sufficient for them to escape from the blame.

So, what are the success mantras for B Schools? Students keep on asking these questions. Thousands of books are published on the subjects. Can they be taught or learned in two years of the course particularly these recorded experiences are branded as theories? Can there be common standards? How to produce the best? And who is supposed to be the best? Every situation, every sector, every company, every economy, every leader, every region/religion/state/country have unique requirements/cultures/rules and regulations. Nature is full of myths, and they unfold unendingly. The question then is what is the right syllabi, what is the right teaching methodology, what is the right evaluation system? Different scholars will give different answers. How to produce the ‘all-weather bullet-proof manager’ known for consistent deliveries?

The debate will go on. To me, the most successful mantras for the youth in management education is to believe in the mantra of ‘boss is always right’ and to be a good ‘learner’. Because a good leader has learned a lot to reach that position and he continues to be a listener. The cardinal principle behind industrial democracy is ‘listening’ and following the ‘rule of law’ which we make ourselves collectively for our own governing to avoid conflicts and confusions. Rule of law demands ‘discipline, dedication, and determination’. Because these were the ‘mantras’ that even Lord Ram followed.

The leaders in Management Education should understand that it should provide the youth of the nation with a platform that challenges them to bring alive their dreams and ideas to take the companies to greater heights. If we can ignite the imagination of young minds, we can find deep resonance in their heart. Of course, knowledge or education without values cannot help in the building of a secure, prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive world of tomorrow.

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