Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran (Ananth):
IFMR Graduate School of Business at Krea University – Creating managers and leaders for tomorrow’s world with Integrated Reasoning and ethical values on a Liberal Arts Foundation.
John Maynard Keynes, the celebrated British economist, intellectual and philosopher once described the ideal economist. Paraphrasing him, we can describe the ideal manager by replacing his original ‘master-economist’ with ‘manager’:
“The manager must possess a rare combination of gifts…. He must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher — in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular, in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature or his institutions must be entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood, as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near to earth as a politician.”
As an integral part of the newly-established Krea University, which is re-imagining liberal-arts education, the IFMR Graduate School of Business is poised to re-shape business education in India—and beyond.
By re-visioning Business education to meet the demands of a growing, globalizing India, IFMR Graduate School of Business seeks to prepare students to face the challenges of managing and leading enterprises that will power a vibrant 21st-century economy that begins the restoration of India’s old glory.
It is a cliché but true that change is the only constant. While it is true at all times, it is truer in some periods than in others. For nearly three decades, since the early 1980s, the world marched to the beat of globalization, market-based economics, freer trade, growing mobility of capital and labour across borders, advances in computing and communications, and the spread of democracy as Communism failed and the Berlin Wall fell. The heyday of Western management and business education coincided with this phase. The terrorist attacks on US soil of 11th September, 2001 were the first disturbance to this post-WWII global order. Two wars and financial profligacy (excesses?) brought on the financial and economic crisis of 2008. The New World Order epoch ended, or it seems so.
Both workers and managers now anticipate new technology with nervousness. As inequality rises, the State is making a comeback, causing market economics to retreat. Trade protectionism and price controls are back on the policy agenda. There is a backlash to importing labour, from Asia to America. The perception that political leaders nurse authoritarian tendencies has grown stronger. Debate and argument have replaced discussion. Thesis and anti-thesis abound, but, sans discussion, don’t produce synthesis needed for progress. Ten years after The Great Recession of 2008, the world is at a crossroads, both politically and economically. And, so is business and management education, which is increasingly called upon to address our common global conditions—growing income inequality, technological obsolescence, labour dislocation and retreat from free trade and open borders.
India is now the world’s fifth largest economy, but, in per capita terms, it is still largely an aspiring nation. It is a relatively young nation. Its leaders must create employment and facilitate the livelihood of hundreds of millions. It does not enjoy the luxury of a benign climate conditions, the kind the West enjoyed on its economic ascent and the benign post-war global economic and trade environment that many East Asian countries gained from. India must achieve economic transformation within the context of a noisy, fractious democracy.
So, students who graduate from colleges with high aspirations of leadership must navigate a treacherous and uncertain global environment, even as they compete to partake of the growth dividends of developing nations. This requires not only functional competence, critical thinking and problem-solving but also strong behavioural and ethical foundations, a high degree of contextual- and self-awareness, ability and willingness to collaborate and work in diverse talent groups and the ability to integrate multiple bodies of knowledge and competing perspectives.
Education at Krea University is about interwoven and immersive learning. With this goal in mind, the Graduate Management Programme at the IFMR Graduate School of Business will rest on four pillars:
- It will equip students with competence—perspectives, knowledge, skills—in the core areas of finance, accounting, statistics, marketing, decision sciences and decision analytics. From foundational knowledge springs the confidence to engage with the world.
- While knowledge in core Business areas is the foundation, it takes particular sets of skills and behaviours to translate that knowledge into meaningful outcomes. Managerial skills include, but are not limited to, thinking strategically, grasping the big picture, articulating oneself effectively in both oral and written communication, negotiating judiciously and leading others to give wholesomely of their energies and talent. At IFMR Graduate School of Business, we believe that managers must pursue enterprise profit on ethically sound decisions. Ethics breeds trust; trust facilitates commerce, commerce in turn generates prosperity. Ethical societies are stable ones and capable of sustaining prosperity for all sections of society.
- An effective manager or leader is self-aware and self-assured, practices humility in the service of higher objectives and understands the larger economic significance of her actions. Self-awareness calls for us to look inward—strengths, vulnerabilities, our ethics—as well as outward—the economic and social context of our neighbourhoods, markets, the State, the nation and the world as a whole. Self-awareness also comes from immersing ourselves in history, languages and literature—all contemplations of the world around us by genius minds. Liberal Arts courses elsewhere within Krea University offer rich opportunities for Business students to undertake their unique journey of self-discovery.
- IFMR Graduate School of Business is uniquely located, situated in Sri City, home to more than hundred companies with production and service operations. This ecosystem will offer opportunities for immersion, problem-solving and action-learning. Students, working in groups, will apply their knowledge, skills and insights to real-world problems. A capstone, group project seeks to integrate the broad array of core courses, and culminate in learning that synthesises theory and practice, concepts and data, the firm and its competitors, products and markets, the micro and macro and, most importantly, the self and others. In short, IFMR Graduate School of Business is committed to helping you become what John Maynard Keynes called the master [manager].
IFMR Graduate School of Business offers an unparalleled educational opportunity that, at once, is comprehensive and interwoven, brings together faculty and students with diverse talents and backgrounds, and fosters learning that serves employability and lifelong learning.
I welcome you to join me in creating and in enjoying that experience.