Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to save a sinking ship

I was seeing the news about the sinking cruise ship off the shores of Italy and it suddently struck me that this whole episode can teach us lessons on how to handle the sinking European economy.

When the ship got hit on one side and water entered, the ship tipped to that side and started sinking. The other side of the ship lifted up because that side became lighter. There was not enough weight on the other side to lift up the side which had the hole.

Currently with the European countries hit by heavy debt, it is like the side of the ship that has the hole. If we are to prevent the global crisis, then we need to put enough weight on the Asian side of the globe so that we lift up the European side of the ship that is sinking. However, what is happening is that, in fear, investors are pulling out of Asia; this is equivalent to what happened to the ship - the other side lifts up and gets dragged down.

Asian Government have a responsibility not only to their countries but to save the global ship that is sinking. They need to invest heavily in their countries - Government spending has to go up, consumption should be encouraged, and private investment should be encouraged and made easier not only for local investors but also for foreign investors. They should do so by closing the shutters on that side of the ship that has the potential to drag the good side of the ship. This means that Asian Governments should ensure that the contagion that is sinking the European side does not spread to Asia.

India has a tremendous opportunity now to show economic leadership.

Sankaran Raghunathan
Dean of
National Management B School, India 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to Control Black Money

Prof. P.V. Indiresan, our Chairman, has written a wonderful article on how to control black money. The article appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine in October 2011; the link is here:

I think that it is a great idea to issue a high value currency note, say Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes, with a time limit. After the expiry, the expired notes have to be deposited in a bank account to gain value. This way, black money in the form of cash stashed away needs to come out in the open through bank accounts.

comments are welcome.

National Management B School in India

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reserve Bank of India raises rates

The Reserve Bank of India has raised the rates once again by 0.5% in the belief that this will curb inflation. This seems to me like the behavior of a student in Economics 101 class who simply and blindly believes that the relationship between interest rate and inflation is so straightforward that he uses interest rate as the only answer to handle inflation. I wish our RBI Governor and the mandarins of our macro economic policy are more creative.

National Management B School, Chennai

India-US Joint Statement - Hillary Clinton and SM Krishna

I post below portions of the statement issued by the Indian External Affairs Minister Mr. Krishna and the US Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton during her visit to India in July 2011, that are relevant to education:

Education, Innovation, Science and Technology
• The United States and India plan to host a Higher Education Summit in Washington DC on October 13 to highlight and emphasize the many avenues through which the higher education communities in the United States and India collaborate.
• The United States and India plan to expand its higher education dialogue, to be co-chaired by the US Secretary of State and Indian Minister of Human Resource Development to convene annually, incorporating the private/non-governmental sectors and higher education communities to inform government-to-government discussions.
• As part of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (OSI), the two governments announced the publication of their requests for proposals from post-secondary educational institutions that support OSI’s goals of strengthening teaching, research, and administration of both US and Indian institutions through university linkages and junior faculty development.
• The United States created the Passport to India initiative to encourage an increase in the number of American students studying and interning in India. The leaders recognized the great bridge of mutual understanding resulting from the more than 100,000 Indian students studying and interning in the United States.
• The United States’ Department of Energy and India’s Department of Atomic Energy signed an Implementing Agreement on Discovery Science that provide provides the framework for cooperation in accelerator and particle detector research and development at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
• The India-US S&T Endowment Board, established by Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna in 2009, plans to award nearly $3 million annually to entrepreneurial projects that commercialize technologies to improve health and empower citizens. The two sides are strongly encouraged by the response to this initiative, which attracted over 380 joint India-US proposals. The Endowment plans to announce the first set of grantees by September 2011.
• The India-US S&T Forum, now in its tenth year, has convened activities that have led to the interaction of nearly 10,000 Indian and US scientists and technologists.
• As a follow up to the successful India-US Innovation Roundtable held in September 2010 in New Delhi, the two sides agreed to hold another Innovation Roundtable in early 2012.
• India and the United States plan to host their third annual Women in Science workshop in September 2011.

National Management B School, Chennai 

Monday, November 22, 2010

For-profit legal structure for higher education in India

The 1986 Indian National Policy Statement on Education states as follows: "In the interests of maintaining standards and for several other valid reasons, the commercialisation of technical and professional education will be curbed. An alternative system will be devised to involve private and voluntary effort in this sector of education, in conformity with accepted norms and goals". The Indian Government and the policy makers are wrongly interpreting the Indian Constitution in stating this policy. The Indian Constitution states that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to education. This duty does not extend to the State preventing any private entity from delivering education, in any format, especially when the State's economic capacity is exhausted.

In implementing this policy for "non-commercialisation", the policy makers are opposed to the setting up of higher educational institutions as a for-profit entity adopting the Limited Joint-Stock Company format under the Indian Companies Act. Commercialisation of education can happen even in the non-profit format as has been happening now by educational bodies set up as a Society or a Trust. The Government and the task force that has been set up is confusing "commercialisation" with the "for-profit" legal structure of an organisation to deliver education. More importantly, the policy does not define "commercialisation". If the Government means "profiteering" as a definition of commercialisation, then the current system of education under non-profit societies and trusts are profiteering blatantly.

Commerce happens once there is a buyer and a seller irrespective of their legal form. In higher education, the student pays money to buy education from the institution that sells or delivers education; so commerce happens here, even in Government Institutions such as the IIT or the IIMs.

A main reason given by the policy statement to avoid "commercialisation" is to maintain standards. This assumes that commercial organisations cannot maintain standards and that only non-commercial organisations can deliver quality. Again, something that has been proved very wrong, going by the quality of higher education delivered by scores of government or government-approved private institutions that are run by Societies or Trusts.

The policy statement also states that "an alternative system will be devised to involve private .. effort in this sector of education". However, this alternative system has not been discussed nor proposed so far.

The Supreme Court of India has established very clearly that the private sector and any individual has the fundamental right to set up educational institutions. The Constitution does not deny the private sector from setting up a for-profit educational institution. It only makes it a duty of the government to provide education. It does not make the Government the sole provider.

The task force that is examining and proposing the current legislations in the education sector should bear this in mind. Any proposal to deny any segment of the society the right to offer education in any format will be subject to protracted legal action.

It may actually be better for the Government to allow the for-profit format in higher education and derive revenues from service tax on tuition incomes and income tax on surpluses made by the institutions. Currently, the Government is foregoing that share of the revenue from these society or trust run institutions who anyway profiteer. In the present set up, the AICTE restricts the number of students that an approved educational institution can admit and thus creates an artificial shortage of seats, enabling these so called non-profit educational institutions to charge enormous fees, that put higher education out of bounds. Instead, if the Government recognizes the right of the private sector to provide education under the for-profit format, then the fees will automatically be market determined and become affordable. The income that the Government makes from these for-profit entities can then be reploughed into education at the primary and secondary levels, which is where the Constitution makes it a duty of the State to provide free education.

National Management B School, India

Friday, September 3, 2010

Integrative Learning At NMS: A Multi-Layered Approach To Education

The latent knowledge in any learning program is made potent only through a pedagogy that can bring this power of knowledge out. NMS’s Integrative Learning program follows a unique teaching methodology that helps convert latent knowledge into potent power and empowers our students.

NMS B School has a three-dimensional curriculum in place as part of which the students study one functional discipline, three industry verticals and also included are two country studies. This ensures that students have a holistic curriculum that covers the key aspects of business in today’s world.

The three-dimensional curriculum is supported by 20 hours of understudy, about 80 hours of a Business Plan Preparation course and about 80 hours of a Consulting Practicum. The focus of all such programs and studies is on specific, real-time and outcome-based projects.

The students are also involved in a 6-week internship at the end of the first year and that gets them out on the field to learn hands-on what they have been preparing themselves for. It gives them a first-hand experience of playing the roles that they are expected to play in the future and maximize their learning.

Not just this, students at NMS take part in additional activities like Golf, Organic Farming, Sailing etc since NMS believes that these activities teach lessons as fundamental as the ones learnt in classrooms. With this multi-layered approach to teaching, NMS aims to turn out well-rounded business leaders who understand businesses on a deeper and broader level.

With that we hope that this series on taking a closer look at the Integrative Learning Program of NMS helped you gain an insight into our approach to education. Stay tuned to hear more from us

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Integrative Learning At NMS: Nurturing Better Managers

In our series about Integrative Learning at NMS, today we look at how the Integrative Learning program inculcates basic managerial skills among its students.

NMS School organizes a Basic Managerial Skills programs for its students in every batch. This program aims at enhancing students’ existing managerial skills and preparing them for sustainable and scalable career. The program is conducted primarily through classroom sessions. Supplementing the classroom teaching are a host of case studies and group discussions that help students analyze real-life business situations and derive learning from them. In addition there are individual and group exercises designed to give the students different people situations to work with. All this is topped with video recordings that simulate contexts for the students to work with.

Fitted into this program structure are topics that cover various aspects that form the flesh of a managerial role: communication, leadership and people dynamics. Topics like communications skills, presentation skills and the basics of writing hone the existing communication faculty of the students. Leadership skills are covered as a separate module in this program. People skills are sharpened by way of sessions on conducting group discussions and interviews as well as on goal setting and motivation.

The Basic Managerial Skills program is a key component of the Integrative Learning at NMS. The program aims at nurturing better managers who can lead their teams from the front in the corporate world and thus giving the world better business leaders.