07 Mar 2019 20:03 IST

‘Aim to sensitise more B-schoolers to become socially responsible’

Management students should have the power of action, says Bharti Foundation COO Mamta Saikia

Mamta Saikia, Chief Operating Officer, Bharti Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises), was recently conferred with the title, ‘Influential Leader’, by AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International. Excerpts from the interview as follows:

Can you tell us about your work and how you aim to bring about a change in the society?

I have been going to various business schools across India, including my alma mater — Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad — for two reasons. First, to create awareness about the corporate social responsibility, and that it is not restricted to a particular sector. Second, the bigger objective, to sensitise young management students who will become the decision-makers of tomorrow.

What is your advice for the management students? How do you think they can make a difference in society?

Management students should not only have power of opinion, but also power of action as future decision-makers. There is a need for them to step back and analyse the impact of a policy or strategy that they would conceptualise. These students are studying at the best institutes and must use their position to do something good for society.

What kind of innovative techniques did you use for fund-raising back in the day?

Golden rules don’t change. First, I adopted a practice to personally engage with the donor, irrespective of the kind of donation that he/she is making. Second, there is a need to be transparent with the donor and to inform them even if there is the slightest risk involved.

Over the years, I have noticed that young NRIs from the Gulf region, especially Dubai and the US, are willing to donate money, and that this segment can also be looked at.

What change has this award brought to you?

Each award brings a huge responsibility with it, which means I need to live up to the expectation that comes along. I have been reaching out to around 1,500 management students every year through my talks currently, but after this award I aim to cover at least 3,000 students a year. This award has built an expectation around me to do things that I have already been doing, but on a larger scale, which I am working towards.