Thriving on Change

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As we conclude another successful financial year at MMA, I express my sincere gratitude for your unwavering support. It is my pleasure and privilege to be associated once again with this special edition of the digital Business Mandate. MMA has grown from strength to strength, carving a niche for itself as a multidisciplinary group focused on delivering high-quality management programs that benefit not only its members but also the wider public. Ranked as the number one organization among its peers in India, MMA remains committed to fulfilling the vision and mandate set forth by its founding members. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the MMA members, past presidents, managing committee members, and secretarial staff for their contributions in achieving this milestone.

Among the management fraternity, the MMA Awards for Managerial Excellence stands as one of the most prestigious accolades, celebrating leaders in businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals for their outstanding all-round performance. These awards recognize excellence, innovation, service, and commitment to stakeholders, and also acknowledge the remarkable business models driven by individuals who think differently, serving as an inspiration to all. The award applicants were subjected to a rigorous evaluation process using a unique and scientific methodology devised by Deloitte, our consultant for the awards.

MMA extends its heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the 21st MMA Awards for Managerial Excellence: ESAB India Ltd (Manufacturing Sector), MEL Systems and Services Ltd (SME Sector), ZOHO Corporation (Services Sector) and University of Madras (Educational Institutions).

Generative AI

The rapid advancement in generative artificial intelligence (AI) and its ability to replicate human intelligence in writing computer code and much more has taken us all by surprise. Generative AI is currently taking the tech world by storm. With its capacity to create new and unique content—ranging from text, images, videos, music, AI-generated commentary at Wimbledon, and more—AI is revolutionizing businesses across various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, IT and design, advertising, and marketing.

In this context, MMA organized a one-day conclave in association with EY & KAS on June 28, 2023, at the MMA Management Center. The conclave featured international thought leaders and industry experts as speakers. These speakers are optimistic that India can lead a global shift from AI to augmented intelligence, aiming for a better world. I am delighted to present you with the article covering the inaugural session for your reading pleasure. You can watch the full conclave here.

How to Make India Water Resilient?

India’s water crisis is a ticking time bomb, with some predicting that the country will be unable to meet half of its water demand by 2030. Even today, NITI Aayog, the government think-tank, states that 600 million Indians face high water stress. Cities across India struggle to provide sufficient potable water to households, especially during the summer and drought years, and the situation will worsen with the increasing effects of climate change. Solving this problem seems like a herculean task.

In this context, MMA, in association with the Sundaram Climate Institute and KAS, organized a seminar on the theme “How to Make India Water Resilient.” The event featured experts in the field of water management and climate change. In this issue, we cover the thought-provoking insights shared by Mr. Amit Chandra, Chairman of Bain Capital, and Ms. Mridula Ramesh, CEO of the Sundaram Climate Institute and Executive Director of Sundaram Textiles.

I highly recommend watching the inspiring keynote address by Dr. Rajendra Singh, water conservationist and environmentalist, popularly known as the “Waterman” from Rajasthan. You can watch the entire seminar here.

India’s Defense Strategy Taking Shape

We are delighted to witness the progress in India’s defense plan of integrated tri-service theatre commands, which is finally taking off. The enabling Bill has been introduced in Parliament, and the Indian Defense Forces are prepared for joint theatre commands and enhanced collaboration. India has always prioritized full autonomy in times of war and peace as a fundamental principle of sovereignty. While we seek to strengthen our operational capabilities in partnership with the US, it is crucial to maintain a favorable tooth-to-tail ratio, supported by advanced technology, to safeguard our national interests. Whether in times of conflict or peace, India’s autonomy must remain non-negotiable.

The Exodus of Wealthy Individuals

The recent estimate of the increasing number of affluent Indians leaving the country is not a cause for celebration. According to a recent report, approximately 6,500 high-net-worth individuals are expected to leave India this year. Such departures occur due to various reasons, but one underlying factor may be discontent with the current state of affairs in their home country. In India, punitive tax rates beyond a certain income threshold and tighter restrictions on transferring funds abroad, contrary to the spirit of an open economy, might be contributing to this trend. It is disconcerting that a significant number of our prosperous citizens prefer to live elsewhere. Offering dual citizenship could potentially allow them to retain their Indian passports, an aspect that should be considered to attract and retain talent. We must strive to improve our ranking in terms of domicile preference.

Is Glamour Waning for Startups?

The excessive euphoria surrounding the growth of large and valuable companies fueled by venture capital (VC) investments is gradually fading away. India will continue to present significant and intriguing problems that excite entrepreneurs; and addressing many of these issues will require applying fundamental principles of business building.

During the era of easy money, numerous ill-conceived ideas received funding, valuations skyrocketed, and the importance of achieving good product-market fit was often overlooked. The availability of easy money led to two critical mistakes. First, there was a mistaken belief that the size and ubiquity of a problem were sufficient to rapidly build large and profitable companies. Many assumed that high customer satisfaction and repeat business equated to excellent product-market fit. The reality is that no fit exists until these factors translate into a price point that ensures business profitability.

Startups aiming for success in the next phase must cultivate a deep understanding of the challenges faced by a large number of Indians. They also need to harness their imagination to create cost-effective products and solutions. Entrepreneurship should enable individuals to embark on their journey of destiny.

In this context, an event organized by MMA on “The Making of a Champion” featuring Mr. Viswanathan Anand, Mr. Geet Sethi, and Mr. Viren Rasquinha holds great relevance. These exceptional champions, with a total of 14 World Championships between them, offer valuable lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from. I encourage you to read the article, watch the videos, and find inspiration.

Be Watchful!

The Sensex hit a record high recently reaching 65,000 mark surpassing its previous peak reached in December 2022. The return of foreign portfolio investor interest, after the impact of money squeeze in the west has been reassuring. Still the market’s recent rise has enough volatility to betray some nervousness among investors. The market remains vulnerable to global adversities and monetary issues, and expansion by the US have had unforeseen effects. Therefore, it is critical for investors to stay alert. In this context, an event organized by MMA on “A Guide to Wealth and Happiness” is very relevant, and stresses on the need for investors to be calm and cautions.

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