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    Drishti 2021: Biz summit hosted by IIMB PGPEM students focuses on building back better for resurgent growth

    Published on September 29, 2021

    Students of the weekend MBA – the Post Graduate Programme in Enterprise Management (PGPEM) at IIM Bangalore hosted Drishti 2021, their annual business summit on September 25th and 26th. This year, Drishti’s theme was ‘Resurgent Growth – Building Back Better’. Given that countries and businesses are emerging from the setbacks caused by the pandemic, the event had speakers from diverse domains share their views on how the rebuild is being thought about and executed.

    Professor Rishikesha T Krishnan, Director, IIMB, set the tone for the event by highlighting some of the key skills that leaders and companies must focus on – an entrepreneurial mindset, effective risk management, and collaboration between organisations at the strategic level. “No company can exist in a silo,” he said. Reimagining collaboration, unsurprisingly, did become a key point of conversation during later sessions of the summit.

    In his address as chief guest, Vishal Bali, CEO of Asian Healthcare Holding, emphasized the need for agility among business leaders in adapting to the post-covid world. He spoke about the need to learn and unlearn much faster than ever before to adapt to a changing business environment.

    “Every company is a data company”, said Chitra Hota, MD and CTO of OakTree Capital, and a keynote speaker at Drishti 2021. She highlighted numerous micro and macro trends that she has observed since the beginning of the pandemic and at the start of the rebuild. To build inclusively and in a more resilient manner, Chitra urged companies to get smarter on investments in the ESG space and use data to make better decisions on that front.

    The first day of the summit concluded with a panel discussion on digital transformation where the panelists argued that while there are a host of digital technologies, they would serve well only if they are secondary to the purpose and objectives of the organisation.  The panel comprised Saraswathi Ramachandra, Director, Citibank, Hemant Jain, Sr. EVP & Head of Digital Business, Lokmat Media, Pankaj Rai, Group Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Aditya Birla Group, and Nidhi Pratapneni, SVP, Product, Analytics & Modelling, Wells Fargo. Dr. R. Srinivasan, Professor of Strategy and Chairperson of the two-year MBA at IIM Bangalore, moderated the discussion.

    Reimaging collaboration

    The second day of the summit began with a talk by Surekha Kunder, CAO at TIAA India, on how work gets affected when people don’t bring their complete selves to the workplace. In conversation with Dr. Mukta Kulkarni, Professor of OB&HRM at IIMB, Surekha listed the ways in which leaders can make workplaces inclusive.

    The panel on Emerging Trends in FinTech was moderated by Srijith Mohanan, an IIMB Doctoral Student & Ex-VP, Deutsche Bank. The panelists included Atul Singhal, Founder and CEO, Scripbox,  Gautam Sachdev, CTO of 55ip, and Nischal Shetty, Founder and CEO of Wazrix. They talked about the scalability and number-crunching power of fintech products versus products relying on human input. Atul Shinghal spoke of how Scripbox is able to cater to customers with smaller balances, as they have a lower cost to serve. Gautam Sachdev spoke about 55ip and suggested better ways to reduce taxes while liquidating assets. WazirX’s Nischal Shetty was of the opinion that the crypto ecosystem is a lot like Facebook, which, he said, has value because it has an extensive network backing it.

    Viren Rasquinha, Arjuna awardee, former captain of the Indian Hockey team and MD and CEO of Olympic Gold Quest, said: “It takes just 6 grams of gold to lift the worth of the nation. We hope we can create many more role models to encourage children and parents to participate in sport.” In conversation with Dilip Jayaram at Drishti 2021, Viren spoke about the need to build an ecosystem around young athletes in order to identify and nurture talent, keeping in mind the next two or three Olympics.

    Shailender Kumar, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, invoked Albert Einstein, saying: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”, while talking about why companies need to be agile to adapt to the challenges thrown up by the pandemic. In his keynote address, Kumar dwelt on the importance of disruption.

    Dr. Debolina Dutta, Professor of Practice, OB & HRM at IIMB moderated a discussion on ‘Navigating workspaces during the pandemic’. The panel spoke at length about policies to keep employees motivated and engaged in a ‘work from home’ context. One idea which stood out was coaching managers in collaborating with employees and meeting customer requirements. Proactively checking employees to gauge their wellbeing is of paramount importance, said the panel. The panel comprised Raman Kumar Singh, Country HR Manager at ABB South Asia, Sanjukta Sarkar, Director, HR at Collins Aerospace, India, Sanjeev Sukumaran, CHRO, Syngene International, and Dr. Rima Chowdhury, EVP and CHRO at Datamatics Global Services Limited.

    In his session, Raj Nayak, MD and Founder of ‘House Of Cheer’ ran a few volunteers through a Happy Session’. He spoke of the basic principles of Happiness and spoke about being true to oneself. “When we are happy, we are more giving, more charismatic and magnanimous,” he said.

    The panel on ‘Re-evaluating strategies and business disruption during changing times’, hosted by Prof. Rejie George Pallathitta, faculty in the Strategy area at IIMB, featured a lively discussion on how businesses have documented differrent experiences of navigating the pandemic. Neethu Chitkara, Managing Director and Partner at BCG Consulting Group, spoke about how the pandemic has impacted the financial services sector and given a boost to the adoption of digital financial options. Sanjay Singal, COO, Dairy & Beverages, ITC, spoke about how the pandemic resulted in drastic changes in consumer behaviour and how ITC had to adapt to this challenge by placing more trust in their employees to come up with innovative solutions. The panel also briefly touched upon how bigger brands have been able to consolidate during the pandemic, while smaller brands have struggled to adapt to the changing landscape for a multitude of reasons.

    Dr. Gopal Mahapatra, Chairperson of the PGPEM and Professor of Practice in the OB&HRM area at IIMB, thanked the speakers.