An article written for media, that was asked off me. I am not sure when it will be published, but I have done it here…
India as a nation has progressed leaps and bounds since the commencement of economic liberalization in 1991. Today we are eleventh largest in the world in nominal GDP and fourth by Purchasing Power Parity at exchange rates. If you look at these two decades of economic growth, it has been, solely, due to the rise of various entrepreneurial endeavors in this country, primarily in the services sector and especially in IT and ITeS sectors including BPO, and to some extent in the manufacturing sectors of pharma, biotechnology and automobile.
In the IT sector, though a TCS, an Infosys or Wipro have been in existence even prior to liberalization, they took off vertically since the 1990s with ITeS and BPO dimensions adding up. But the real contributor for the scorching growth in this sector was large number of start-ups that happened post liberalization in the last two decades adding to the numbers of Indian multinationals!
With over half of the population still employed in the agricultural sector and about 80 percent of the economy still being unorganized, the potential untapped in India is huge. The entrepreneurial zeal that has steamrolled the services space of IT and ITeS in the last two decades, has already started showing its impact on other spaces like financial, real estate, education sectors, and there is a renewed interest in the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises).
Scorching pace of India’s economic growth forecasts the nation reaching second position in the world, vis-à-vis GDP by 2050. To make it happen, the progress has to be across the economy, that will impact per capita front too, pulling it up from the current 127th position. We need to create over 100 million jobs. If I were to quote Mukesh Ambani, “about 20 million jobs will get created every year for a decade or two.” Where will it be? Certainly not in the large corporate, but thousands of MSME. The next two decades will be decades of entrepreneurial leadership in this country.
What do all these amount to, for a B-School graduate?
Most of the B-school graduates neither have an idea when entering the B-school, nor when they pass out, what their goal is and where their future could lie. They get into an MBA, because they heard that the ‘life-after’ is secure with a handsome salary! They only think of joining a Hindustan Unilever, P&G, Citibank or Reliance. Many do join them but get disillusioned very soon with their days starting at six in the morning and ending at eleven at night, especially if one is in a large metro, with recognition hardly to come by.
The economic meltdown of 2009 did change the perspective a bit, when many failed to get the jobs, forget about jobs with ‘BIG’ bucks or Big Brands! With no choice, quite a few opted for the young and fast growing companies and are sticking to these, realizing how the prospects are far brighter in these companies. With the same amount of effort they might have had to put in at larger organizations, the recognitions came flying faster and the jumps come quicker in these young companies, the moves have been very minimal.
Being a B-school graduate myself, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, when I look at the last two decades of the progress many a friend of mine has made, there is no question that the future of the nation and also the future of management graduates lie in the young and fast growing companies. Quite a few of these companies, that are making waves in the services, financial or even manufacturing spaces in the last decade, have been started by youngsters and experienced alike, with a compulsive vision and they managed to attracted quite a few of their friends to partner in their dreams and partake in the growth. Many quit large corporate, even from abroad, and moved to these fast pacing enterprises.
For every listed fast growing company that has been founded in the last fifteen years like – IndiaBulls, InfoEdge(Naukri), Educomp, MakeMyTrip etc. – there are many unlisted ones like NetAmbit, Career Launcher, Valuefirst, The Smart Cube, Candid Marketing and many more even younger enterprises that are being toasted by their customers and the market alike. They are showing high double, if not three digit growths, unlike the large corporate who are moving at a low double or even single digit growth. These organizations have a great appetite for growth and are still in the early stages of their upward curve, as their services are catering to huge mass markets with compelling value for large population. These fast growing companies seek entrepreneurial leadership material to hire, not limited to B-school graduates.
When I talk about entrepreneurial leadership, I am not limiting to entrepreneurship. Yes, certainly I will talk about being an entrepreneur in a while, but even to excel in other enterprises – like the larger ones or the aforementioned fast growing ones – you need to be entrepreneurial in thinking and also in acting, especially in the current competitive scenario. You will be notice, and you will be in demand.
Entrepreneurial leaders are transformational and they relentlessly pursue their infinite potential. Typical traits include –
– Ambitious and often first movers
– Keen eye for opportunities
– Challenge conventional thinking
– Shift paradigms; create new insights
– Healthy appetite for risk
– Relentlessly push the boundaries of possibilities
– Assume full responsibility of outcomes
– Change the rules of the game
– Conscious of their role for the betterment of the society
If one is entrepreneurial, in the young companies that are nimble-footed, one gets integrated soon, gets greater responsibility, freedom and accountability. One has the entire canvas to himself to paint, and the painting gets recognized pretty soon. The ladders are drawn for one to climb quick and take higher roles.
As an entrepreneur myself for a little over a decade, especially one who has been into education and in particular helping B-school aspirants, I have been following the stories of those who have been excelling in the entrepreneurial arena and also mentoring many youngsters who are entrepreneurial leadership material. I do get invited to speak at various forums, including leading B-Schools, to push the young graduates to think big. My annual lecture series – Dream It! Do It! and Think Big! Start Small! have been much sought after and I travel across the length and breadth of the country addressing 20-30 thousand youth every year.
There is no question that the future lies here, is amplified by movements like The Indus Entrepeneurs (TIE) and National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), promoted by the ‘whose who’ of Indian Business, that are engaging B-schools, university campuses and even K-12 school students. During the last three months, Indus World School of Business (IWSB), a B-school that has made name in fostering entrepreneurial leadership, has been proactively supporting an endeavour of TIE in running a programme, TIE Young Entrepreneur (TYE) for school students of grades 9-12. So the nation is catching them young!
We have many an example in – JUMBOKING Vadapau by Dheeraj Gupta in Mumbai; FOODKING by Sarath Babu in Chennai, Saloni’s DESICREW in Tamilnad, Nirmal Kumar’s G-AUTO in Gujarat, Shweta Chari’s TOYBANK in Mumbai, Kaushalendra’s SAMRIDHI in Bihar, Ishita Khanna’s ECOSPHERE in Spiti, Prashant’s BAMBOO HOUSE in Hyderabad, Rajeev Kher’s SHRAMIK SANITATION in pune, Jaydeep’s RENAINSSANCE AAKAR Ventures in Delhi, Vipresh’s BHAGWATI HERBAL in Aligarh – most of them are endeavours of B-school graduates, that have commenced their operations in the last few years and are leaving a mark on the firmament of the nation. The endeavours such as these that are going to leave a lasting imprint need entrepreneurial leaders to take them to the next orbit.
Let me give a couple of examples. Arif Hassan, of class of 2010, IWSB, joined a young fast growing NETTPOSITIVE in Bangalore, a business analytics firm, promoted by an IIM Alum. Arif, within a couple of months of joining, has been given responsibility of a revenue center – India operations of a Swedish client in m-commerce and mobile payment services. Rajeev Kher of SHRAMIK SANITATION, that is producing portable toilet solutions to help half of the Indian population that is not having access to toilets, is always on look out for entrepreneurial B-school graduates. Asad Akbar, another class 2010 pass out, says that his decision of joining young setup like CORETREE in Hyderabad, is paying rich dividends, in the sense that he has been entrusted with higher responsibilities and freedom to add value to the organization by being part of core teams.
Do the remunerations stay behind for taking greater responsibilities? No, never. IWSB, a B-school, which focuses on placing students in the young and fast growing companies, in its maiden placement season has notched a respectable average salary for its class of 2010, at Rs. 5.64 lakhs per annum and got placed among the top-10 B-schools in the country on return on investment – average salary upon fees paid. That shows where the future lies.
In this last decade alone, the emergence of young entrepreneurs and their contribution to the national economy is quite visible in India. This trend is here to stay. If you are B-school student or for that matter any one, and have a desire to excel, desire to take greater responsibilities and grow faster in life in every sense – learning, materialistic, financially, spiritually – the best place to start your journey now is in the young and fast growing companies. Who knows from taking the challenges that go with such growth centric organizations, you may learn so much in quick time that, you may even wish to start something of your own. That is always a welcome move for you and for the nation too. Jump into this ocean. I am sure even before you realize, you will be swimming quickly and may go on to create your own world, that the world will be very proud of!