Pepsico India’s Chairman, ICICI’s ED speak at XLRI Leadership Series


If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader

– John Quincy Adams

It is quite often that we read, see, observe and aspire to follow in the footsteps of leaders. But how many of us get to meet our ideals up close to learn from them?

How often do we out of fear and insecurity, refrain from taking that one step that could set us on a life changing journey and help us achieve our destiny? In such moments of doubt, one small nudge from someone who has walked a similar path can do wonders!

XLRI Leadership series shivkumar pepsico Chairman India CEO brand branding XLRI One year MBA PGDM(GM) GMP executive MBA best 1 yr IndiaThe individual journeys that begin as a consequence of such inspiration can change the course of history. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the founders of Google for instance did not only start revolutions of their own, but also inspired many others to follow them in their footsteps.

At XLRI, through the XLRI Leadership Series (XLS), a series of talks organised by the One year MBA – PGDM (GM) at XLRI, this is the gap we aim to fill by connecting leaders and the students who are leaders of tomorrow.

It is our aim to create socially responsible leaders who take initiatives and lead from the front, are conscious of the social implications of business decisions, and are effective managers who ‘get the job done’.

With this aim in mind we invite stalwarts and distinguished achievers from myriad walks of life to interact with students and help them gain a better perspective of life & business.

In the past years we have hosted leaders such as Lt. Gen Anjan Mukherjee, AVSM, Director General , Artillery , Indian Army and Mr. Praveen Sinha, Co-founder and Managing Director to address the students while this year we had the likes of Mr. SV Nathan, Director Talent at Deloitte and Dr. Vijay Sharma, JMD at Usha Martin speak at the event.

This year the leadership series organised on 18th January, 2014 at XLRI saw participation by some of the leading lights from the industry:

Mr. MVS MurthyVP & Chief – People Office, FUTURE GROUP
Mr. D ShivakumarChairman and CEO, PepsiCo | India RegionBrands & Marketing
Mr. RamkumarExecutive Director (HR & Operations), ICICI BankRe-examining Talent Management
Mr. Nadeem KazimDirector, HR & Personnel, Exide IndustriesTransformational Leadership
Mr. S.V.NathanTalent Director , DeloitteSmall Steps to Building Leadership
Mr. Raghavendra K.VP & Head – HR , Infosys BPOEvolution of BPO Industry
Dr. Vijay SharmaJoint Managing Director , Steel Business, Usha MartinOpportunities and Challenges in Steel Industry

Excerpts from the talk

Mr. Raghavendra K., Head (HR), Infosys BPO

Sharing his perspectives on the evolution of the BPO industry in India Mr. Raghavendra said that by 2020, the BPM industry, one of the fastest growing industries in India, would employ nearly 20 million graduates (as per a recent report) and thereby become the second largest employer after the Railways. Mr. Raghavendra declared that this industry could change the landscape of the country with the possibility of ‘plain vanilla’ graduates from Tier 2/ Tier 3 cities becoming employed in the best of systems and domains.

He added that the Indian BPM industry, which currently accounts for 39% of the global market share, has a head start over the emerging competition (China, Philippines, and other South East Asian countries) in terms of technology, a huge talent pool, and a host of other favourable factors. Further, he noted that this industrial sector would witness greater consolidation as it grows, leading to a higher number of mergers and acquisitions, in order to take advantage of diverse competencies.XLRI Leadership series shivkumar pepsico Chairman India CEO brand branding XLRI One year MBA PGDM(GM) GMP executive MBA best 1 yr India

In the brief interactive session that followed, Mr. Raghavendra urged the students at XLRI to not  forget the 3 R’s of relevance, respect, and reach, in their pursuit of career growth.

Drawing from his wealth of experience of over 25 years in fields as diverse as manufacturing and process, to pharmaceuticals, logistics, and IT, he encouraged the students to be subject matter experts in their areas of specialization while also having an all- round understanding of how businesses are run. He concluded by stating that to emerge as a visionary leader, one must have an enquiring mind, display commitment, and learn to ‘walk the talk’.

Mr. Shivakumar, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, India Region

Drawing from his diverse experience, Mr. Shivakumar, shared valuable insights about Brands and their Evolution. Taking the students at XLRI back to the days when the barter system was prevalent, Mr. Shivakumar depicted the birth of ‘brands’ as a “time saving device”.

Through his engaging and witty speech, Mr. Shivakumar enlightened the students on brand building and shared that brands essentially answers two questions. “Who am I?” – What the product contains and “What do I promise?”. He said that good brands deliver the answers to these questions in the back and front of the pack respectively.

Sharing his experiences at companies such as HUL, Philips and Nokia, Mr. Shivakumar brought to forefront the care required in executing brand extensions.  He said “If you add a variant you should delete one – numerous variants would only confuse the consumer beyond his/her wits.”

Mr.Ramkumar, Executive Director, ICICI Bank (HR, Customer Service and Operations)

Referring to the PGDM (GM) Class at XLRI as a privileged lot, he urged the students to put their special education in management to special use. Mr. Ramkumar said that as future leaders, XLRI students should have an eye for talent and give time to people in the organization to grow and transform as high performers.

Giving a radical perspective on the language diversity in India, he mentioned that there will be no dearth of talent supply in India, if individuals were chosen based on ability rather than their proficiency in English. While strongly insisting on the importance of English in today’s business world, Mr.Ramkumar suggested that language should not be a barrier and talented candidates should be given an opportunity in the corporate world and they can be made proficient in English over time.

Recalling his humble beginning in life and experience as a state-level Kabbadi champion, Mr. Ramkumar, talked of the thin line between courage and cowardice. He urged the students at XLRI to be ready to take up enormous physical and mental rigour to evolve as better people.

Mr. Nadeem Kazim., Director, HR & Personnel, Exide Industries Limited

Mr. Kazim suggested that careers should be seen as a lifelong marathon.  As individuals progress in this run, they should not only learn to constantly acquire new responsibilities but also let go of the previous ones. He said this approach will make value addition to both the self and the organization a continuous process.

Throwing light on leadership today, Mr. Kazim said that organization can no longer afford leadership by few. Every employee must be a leader. Leaders should serve as great coaches and build more leaders in the team.

– Contributed by the One year MBA (PGDM-GM) Class of 2014 at XLRI, Jamshedpur

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