28 Mar 2019 16:10 IST

‘Never compromise on integrity; trust is earned when actions meet words’

New batch of IIM-B’s one-year EPGP get sound advice from chief guest, other speakers at inaugural

“If your presence adds value, your absence will make a difference,” pointed out Vikram Utamsingh, Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal India, Chief Guest at the inauguration ceremony of IIM Bangalore’s one year, full-time Executive Post-Graduate Programme (EPGP) batch of 2019-20, on March 27.

Addressing the new batch, he listed the skills students need to imbibe, and hone, to become successful in any organisation. “Deliver value and exceed expectations. Do it right when no one is looking. Go beyond what you are required to do and balance the risks. Always be objective and get the facts right. Treat others the way you want yourself to be treated. And never compromise on integrity, because trust is earned when actions meet words. You cannot let that slip, personally or professionally. Nurture integrity in team members as well.” He advised the students to do what was right and not what was easy, to take responsibility and give credit, to step up and take charge of failure of self and others, and to do the most difficult talk themselves.

Failure readjusts your goals

He discussed a few other vital skills for success, such as an entrepreneurial spirit, taking responsibility to help fix problems, calming a hostile environment and putting the firm before self.

“Learn from failure. One good thing about failure is that it makes you humble. It may shock you, but failure readjusts goals. So, tackle failure as a feedback, fix it and move forward. A lot depends on if you embrace or succumb to failure,” he said.

Hard work is vital and brings luck, he said. “Focus on doing ordinary things in an extraordinary fashion, then you will be able to build your brand well. Everyone has the will to win, but preparing to win is crucial. Remember, quality of work is the best kind of advertising. Teamwork is essential.”

Vikram Utamsingh’s inspiring speech was followed by an interactive session with the new students.

Better gender balance

Earlier in the day, Prof G Sabarinathan, Chair, Admissions & Financial Aid, and IIM-B faculty in the Finance & Accounting area, shared the batch profile. Prof Sabarinathan pointed out that in the current batch, there has been an improvement in gender ratio from 21 per cent to 22 per cent, an increase in international work experience from 26 per cent to 36 per cent, PSU/Government sector from 12 per cent to 21 per cent, and engineering from 81 per cent to 86 per cent. There are more students from the finance sector (6 per cent) and energy sector (21 per cent). “We have a class of students from fairly diverse backgrounds. The next year will be rewarding for all of you and you will emerge as transformed individuals,” he added.

This was followed by an address by the EPGP Chair, Professor R Narayanaswamy, IIM-B faculty from the Finance & Accounting area, who welcomed the incoming batch and gave an overview of the programme.

Maintaining high standards

Prof Abhoy K Ojha, Dean, Academic Programmes and IIM-B faculty from the Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources Management area, briefed the students about the administrative set-up of the programme, and discussed the nature of engagement required from the students for this challenging programme.

He went on to advise the students: “Keep reminding yourself that you are students at IIM-B, although you all have some amount of work experience. Please do not take the position of customers here, we are educationists here – we prepare you for the future. We need to maintain the high standards and rigour of IIM-B. You have to display high standards of ethical behaviour – we deal with such issues very strictly. We also expect you to display good citizenship behaviour. Remember, we are custodians of ‘Brand IIM-B’. You also have to adjust to the realities of a highly talented group of people, which might become stressful at times. But you will not be alone during such times. Other than the support of your friends and family, there is counselling service on campus that you can count on. So, learn well from the formal sessions, international immersions and from one another, and be great ambassadors of the programme.”

Creating social value

Shruti Sharma, Vice-President, Development, Salaam Bombay Foundation and alumna of EPGP Class of 2011, shared her learnings and takeaways from IIM-B with Batch XI of EPGP. “The USP of the programme is that we all come with experience, which helps us understand problems better and ways to solve them. We start thinking differently and the learning becomes a part of us.”

She said knowledge and confidence were her two big takeaways from IIM-B. “One of the constant factors in my entrepreneurial journey is creating social value – this is a huge contribution that entrepreneurs can make to society. The power of giving is very humbling. No one can take away the spirit of entrepreneurship from you, there is a little bit of that in all of us. If and when you consider the journey of entrepreneurship, be proud of creating social value.”

Be open to all perspectives

Professor G Raghuram, Director, IIM Bangalore, congratulated the new batch by saying that they have taken a very wise decision to invest one year to study in a top-rated programme. “It is not about changing tracks or boosting your career. The EPGP at IIM-B will be a completely transformational journey for you. I would advise you learn fast as the world is changing, so be aligned to the changes and to your goals. Plan well during the course, focus on preparation, be open to multiple perspectives, and remember that problem formulation is important for analysis and execution.” He also recommended that more than work-life balance, what is needed is work-life integration. “We need to be prepared for the ‘downs’ of life, but remember that nothing is permanent, not even failure”, he added.

The EPGP is an intensive programme designed to enhance skills and capabilities essential for responsible positions at senior management levels. Challenging and globally-oriented, its objective is to produce leaders who can handle the dynamic corporate environment.