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Corporate leaders interact with students of FORE School of Management on Turning Crisis Into Opportunity: Strategy to Sustain

23rd January 2013


Confluence 2013 saw a host of corporate leaders, who shared their experiences on the ways and means of ‘Turning Crisis into Opportunity: Strategy to Sustain’. The highly cerebral discussion was of greater significance as it was held on the evening of 23rd of January 2013 – the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, one of the greatest global thought leaders India has ever produced. The Virajam Auditorium in the FORE School campus which, in the past, has echoed with the voices of many great leaders, was the chosen venue for Confluence 2013. The discussants were the thought leaders in their own fields, which ranged from Business Strategy, to Marketing, to Human Resources, Finance and Operations, and Logistics. The discussion was moderated by one of FORE’s faculty of International Business, Dr. Mohit Anand.

Extending a warm welcome to the luminaries, Dr. Jitendra K. Das, Director, FORE School of Management, cited the brilliant example of the Ford Mustang to elaborate on how a crisis can be turned into an opportunity.
“The CEO of Ford Motor Company took a good look at the market and realized that he had nothing for the young professional in the 25-28 age bracket. The marketing department was asked to reach young buyers. They talked to the target segment, and what ultimately came out was Ford’s ‘youth car’ - Mustang. The promos were jazzy and glitzy, aimed to appeal to the youth. However, in the first few weeks, sales were way below targets. It was a crisis. The CEO could either wind up the model, or figure out the problem. He decided to profile those who had bought the car, and to everyone’s surprise, the buyers were mostly around 40 years of age! Apparently, they liked the energy and the ‘young-at-heart’ factor of the car. Ford quickly repositioned the car, and this lead to a huge boost in the sales.”, narrated Dr. Das.

From the perspective of business strategy, Confluence 2013 brought to FORE School of Management a name that needed no introduction. With 36 years’ experience - of which the last 11 years have been as managing partner of an organisation that he founded – Mr. Anil Nayar is globally one of the most sought after Strategic Advisors on Valuations, Mergers and Acquisitions, Demergers, Private Equity, Long term Debt and Fund Raising, and Corporate debt restructuring. During the course of his mesmerising interaction, Mr. Nayar drew heavily from his earlier associations with global giants’ like the Thapar Group, and his multiple roles as Independent Director on the Board of Directors of large listed Companies as well as Financial Institutions. An IIM (A) product, Mr. Nayar enlightened his young audience at FORE School of Management on how a crisis at the micro level actually translates into amazing opportunities at the macro level.

“There will always be concerns,” said Mr. Nayar in conclusion. “Whether we call them a crisis or something else, the opportunities certainly are there for those who can see them. Each crisis will give policy makers a nudge to move forward.”
Mr. Mansingh Jaswal, Founder Director & COO, Genex LogiSolutions Private Limited, and Founder Director of Moksh School of Strategy, adeptly handled the subject of opportunities born out of crises in the Operations and Logistics domain. Mr. Jaswal borrowed richly from his 15 years in the areas of Logistics, Supply Chain, Shipping and Transportation, and top management positions with global conglomerates like DHL and BLR Logistiks.

Clearly the most popular speaker for the evening was Ms. Jaya Singh – a Marketer par excellence, and one of FORE School of Management’s very own. Ms. Singh is an Associate Director in a firm that provides Consulting and Leadership hiring for FMCG, Media and Entertainment industries. With over 15 years of corporate experience, Ms. Jaya Singh has worked on Market Intelligence, Insights, Strategy and Brand Building portfolios with corporate behemoths like PepsiCo, HT Media and Avon Cosmetics.

Sharing her insights on how crisis can be turned into opportunity, she stated, “India’s population is in a crisis; but it is also an opportunity for markets. Lack of women in boardrooms is a crisis; yet for the enterprising woman, it is also an opportunity. Young managers like you, should look around for the crisis, because that is where the opportunity to grow quickly is. Bad roads are a crisis for some, and an opportunity for others; it all depends on how you look at it. The moment you convert a crisis into an opportunity, case studies and practices will be built around you.”

Mr. Ajay Bhatia, VP-Corporate HR and Global HR Head at Innodata Inc., was then called upon to share his experiences on turning crises into opportunities in the HR space. A product of IIM (C) and Faculty of Law (DU), Mr. Bhatia has driven HR initiatives for organisations like IBM Global Process Services, HCL Perot and SAIL over more than 23 years in the corporate world. Over the next 20-odd minutes, Mr. Bhatia drew numerous examples from varied industries such as Banking, Aviation, Steel and IT/ ITES.

In a world where a state of flux seems an irrevocable constant, Confluence 2013 went a long way in giving clarity and hope to the students of FORE School of Management.

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