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“ India is Happening”

By Vishnu Hathiramani and Anand Seshadri

Dr. Anil K. Khandelwal, Chairman & Managing Director of the Bank of Baroda, India was the guest of honor and speaker at a Special Executive & Luncheon meeting held on Dec 11 at the Asian Institute of Management, Manila. He spoke on “UNFOLDING OF GLOBAL INDIA: THE CHALLENGES OF MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT.

Dr. Khandelwal [seated, 4th from left] is pictured with Professor & Associate Dean of AIM Grace Ugat , ICC president Ram Sitaldas, H.E. Hon. Ambassador Rajeet Mitter, Prof. & Dean of AIM Victoria S. Licuanan and Mr. Rami Sehwani. Mr. Ashok Warrier, second secretary of the Indian Embassy is in the middle row, 2nd from right.

Students of AIM Sameer Tupaki, Mahesh Shanti Kumar, Prakash Patel and Shreyas Ramanathan [1, 3, 9,10th from left] are pictured with Raju Mandhayan, Publisher Vishnu Hathiramani [], Dr. Khandelwal, VP of ICC Dilip Budhrani, and Prof. Horacio Borromeo of AIM and moderator of this meeting

It was a gathering of minds: educated, business and the future executives.

Dr. Khandelwal started his talks with a background on the Bank of Baroda. The success of Bank of Baroda is a success of Dr. Khandelwal. It has now over 29 million customers, a figure, which exceeds the population of many countries. It has over a thousand ATM machines, and the speed of progress could be indicated by the day when the bank opened up 168 such machines in a span of 24 hours. Managing 2800 branches, with 40,000 employees with the average age of 46.5 of the entire workforce, or a 56.5 average age of Management level Officers is no easy task. Despite the modernization of the bank, it still has about 10,000 messengers and 18,000 clerical staff. It has a growth of 33% per year. It has won 17 major awards. And yet, this is a public sector bank.

Managing such a bank is no easy job and managing a country like India is challenging. According to Dr. Khandelwal this was made possible by diligent investments in Technology and people [Employee and Customer] relations. For instance, Bank of Baroda has become so employee friendly today that there is a helpline that will enable the employees to have their grievances redressed by Dr. Khandelwal himself, if the need so arises, and within a 24 hours period. This system has raised the bar on public sector practices in India and has set a new benchmark for other companies to emulate.
Dr. Khandelwal unfolded India like it has been never unfolded before providing the pros and cons.

India is unfolding. India is the fever of the world, not a high temperature one but a more serious one. The Dengue fever. Everyone is aware. Yet the country is benefiting, and each individual life is changing. India is unfolding with renewed vigor. India is on the autobahn, the expressway and Indians have no time to think, they are just driving and driving. Who cares if brakes might fail, the speed is now the essence. [Stock market just crossed the 20,000 Sensex Index. Ed.]

Malls everywhere, Indians taking the high chairs in the worldwide business world, Indians flying all over the world, and India having one of the cheapest telecom rates in the world. There was a time, not many years ago, when you had to go to the Telecom-Post office to make reservation to call overseas. And come back few hours later, to get connected, if you are lucky. Now, the world is one click away. India now has the world’s largest bank: the State Bank of India.

{This is a joke mentioned about India but not by our speaker. A car stops at an intersection and gives 10 rupees to a beggar. At the next intersection, he is approached by a beggar and gives the beggar only rupee 1, since he had no more small notes. The beggar gets upset and asks him how come he gets 1 rupee while he gave rupees 10 to a beggar in the previous intersection. The car owner is flabbergasted as to how did the beggar knew about this. He told him he would give him 100 rupees to tell him how he knew. The Beggar said: His beggar friend in the previous intersection SMS [texted] him the amount and the car plate.}

What you see today might not be there tomorrow. Shanties will become small houses, small houses will become bigger houses, and bigger houses will become mansions. This is the façade of the rural India. In Urban India, it could be the other way around considering the high cost of Land and property. Industries are booming. Be it the fashion, entertainment, or the education industry. India is the highway of growth, the tomorrow of today and the example for all nations.

Yet such progress worries Dr. Khandelwal. The fast lanes might get too dangerous. All these years India was the underdog. Not any more. This might upset few nations but then progress cannot be with some nations all the time. Asean nations, such as the Philippines, would also see progress in a big way.

He spoke of AIM. According to him AIM is brand equity by itself. But he pointed out that AIM must focus more on People Management and behavioral dynamics in its curriculum, [if it is not being done] apart from the usual technical management methodologies. Progress should not be Rupees and paisas, Pesos and centavos but must also have a heart, passion and a conscience.

Co-sponsor AIM has been in the forefront of improving Philippine-India relationships by welcoming batches of Indian students each year. To date, there are 1483 Indian alumni scattered all over the world. Infosys Chairman Narayan Murthy and Dr. J Prakash are on the governing board of AIM. Last year during his visit to the Philippines, the then Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam recognized the significant role of AIM in bridging the two countries and thus hosted a special luncheon exclusively for AIM students during his brief visit.

The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) boasts of top-caliber faculty members and has been the first and foremost graduate business and management school in Asia for almost four decades. This year, AIM celebrates its 39th year anniversary. It has over 30,000 alumni representing 37 different nationalities, many of who have become key movers in their industries. Presently there are 143 Indian students enrolled this year.

Co-sponsor “The Indian Chamber of Commerce”, in existence since 1951 composes of the top Filipino Indian businessman. It is in the forefront of Philippine Indian trade progress. President Ram Sitaldas introduced the guest. Jointly he and Dean Victoria S. Licuanan presented a plaque of appreciation to Dr. Khandelwal.

Passion is what Dr. Khandelwal is made up of. His chairmanship might not be a high paying job, but he believes that service is important. People like him make up India. A India where kites still fly, where love abound more than yesterday, where a wound on ones body affects the full neighborhood and where the next generation would enjoy the hard work of our forefathers and people like Dr. Khandelwal.

Welcome Sir and thank you for a great speech.


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