Attending any sort of a talk right after lunch is a thought that most, especially young students, tend to dread. But the promise of an experience packed with words of wisdom from some of the top leaders in the industry, within the portals of their very own institution, was enough to make students sit up and take notice! Such was the electric atmosphere when the college decided to host its first ever ‘Marketing and Leadership Conclave’, an event planned and organized by 4C – The Marketing Cell of MPSTME, NMIMS.
“Wings and Roots”, which was the theme of the conclave held in front of a packed audience at the elegant Mukesh R. Patel Auditorium in the NMIMS University Building, was something that came up time and again during the course of the evening. Each speaker had his or her own interpretation of the phrase. Dr. Sharad Mhaiskar, Pro-VC NMIMS, was the first speaker to express his thoughts on it and he took the opportunity to describe the straddle position that our country finds itself in these days in the geopolitical sphere. Dr. N.T. Rao, Dean-MPSTME, brought in a different flavor and emphasized upon the importance of marketing and innovation- the challenges that are faced in light of the disruptions in our world and how going back to one’s roots may well be one of the few pragmatic solutions. Prof. Rajesh Prasad, HoD – Technology Management, post an introduction of the panel which was backed by subtle humor, set the context and the stage, so to speak, for what would be one of the most intellectually stimulating talks that this college would ever witness.
The ‘experience economy’, Hedonism and the aggressive emergence of right-wing nationalism- phrases conceived and delivered by the very first speaker, Mr. Rahul Kansal (Head of Business Strategy and Marketing at Future Consumer Ltd) certainly caught the audience’s attention. His introductory speech really brought the theme “Wings and Roots” to life. Mr. Kansal, using his oratory charisma, was very successful when it came to describing the sudden rise of the individual in the Indian FMCG consumer landscape and tactfully addressed the negative connotations that were associated with the word ‘hedonism’- a school of thought which argues that pleasure and happiness are the primary aims in life. The rise of Patanjali and other brands riding on cultural chauvinism was something that struck every student’s mind. Now whether it was Mr. Kansal’s clever selection of words or the reality in the Indian market space which led to this, is the real food for thought. Some of the visual aids in the presentation left the students in great wonder. The audience were shown some creative uses of the Wings and Roots theme by successful marketers such as Ola, Manyavar, and the two groups where Mr. Rahul himself worked- Bennett Coleman & Co. behind The Times of India, and Future Consumer.
Mr. Ravindra Pisharody (Ex-Director, Tata Motors) soon followed, and after what seemed to be a brief spell of on-stage active meditation, came to life and delivered one of the most comprehensive analyses’ of Tata group’s export business in the commercial vehicles domain. Marketing textbooks talk a lot about the procedure of exporting and expanding into international markets. But the reasons driving this, for a company to go in that direction and the need for exporting were discussed in depth thanks to Sir. The very fact that Mr. Pisharody referred to Tata Sons as the ‘mother company’ said a lot about his character and dedication towards the highly complex business that he’s been handling for years. The importance of diversifying the business and minimizing risk by non-cyclical expansion was an approach that could only be understood the Tata way. His in-depth analysis, with the Indian market at its core, backed by real-life instances, only went on to justify the reputation and expectation that preceded him and was something that was very well appreciated by the audience at large.
How does one follow the power-packed speeches delivered by two industry heavyweights? Keen observation concludes it to be a confidence trick, mastered by a select few, and Mr. Yogi Sriram (Sr. VP, Corporate HR at Larsen & Toubro) was amongst them. He did more to rewire the tone of the discussion to suit the common student mind than the previous speakers, giving students the opportunity to introspect on the softer, yet essential aspects of being a successful professional. His views on emotional intelligence and attention spans made even the most reluctant members of the audience question where they stood. His views on the world becoming a more egalitarian place seemed very pertinent. Finally, his opinion and emphasis on micro learning was something that was new to a majority of the people in the audience and was very well received.
The event which began with the felicitation of speakers was concluded by the felicitation of select students, who took the initiative to embark upon real-life challenges and put their classroom learning to test in the real world – Case Study, Marketing and other competitive challenges organized by some of the top companies and universities in India and around the world.
Dr. Anuja Agarwal, Associate Dean, MPSTME gave the Vote of Thanks to the eminent speakers for sparing their valuable time, and to the 4C team and Prof. Yashodhan Karulkar(Faculty Mentor, 4C) for their flawless execution of the event.
And so concluded a truly extraordinary evening: one of deep thought, questions answered by true experts, keen analyses, and ideas that stimulated the minds of the generation holding the reins for a better tomorrow.