The Podium Series 2017

The Podium is the annual corporate interaction series of IIM Shillong. At The Podium, IIM Shillong invites speakers from the corporate world to share their industrial experiences with the students thus helping them to get corporate insights into the various industries that these leaders belong to. Speakers from diverse backgrounds like Marketing, Finance, Operations and HR Domain come every year to share their expertise.

This year the Podium sessions were graced by the following industry stalwarts:

Session 1: M.K. Anand, Managing Director, Times Network

Mr. M.K. Anand’s career is backed with an experience of 25 years across the fields of Broadcast, Digital and Print media. He has spent the last 7 years as part of the top management across marquee companies. Prior to serving as the Managing Director of Times Network, a post he has held for the last 3 years, he has served as the Managing Director for Disney Media Networks - India, as CEO - UTV Broadcasting, and as CEO- Bloomberg TV India. He is an alumnus of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai where he completed his MBA in Human Resources Management.

Sharing his life experiences, Mr. Anand talked about the importance of finding purpose in life and in every human endeavor. He talked about his corporate career and how purpose allowed him to formulate strategies. He inspired the students by stressing that a strategy could not exist without a sense of purpose.

Mr. M K Anand addressing the students of IIM Shillong
Mr. M K Anand with the students and Director of IIM Shillong

He discussed with the students the role of media in shaping the thoughts of the masses and the onus and responsibilities of ethical and moral media. The discussion over change in media over the years with the advent of social media garnered special enthusiasm from the students and he cautioned the students about the misuse of social media platforms.

Mr. Anand left the students with a lot to chew on as he concluded the session on the note of being fearless.

Quote: Life is an interplay of purposes and if we align these purposes, we will be able to achieve our goals.

Session 2: Tankeshwar Baishya, Senior Director- Supply Chain, Philips India Limited

Mr. Tankeshwar Baishya currently holds the position of Senior Director of Supply Chain for the Indian Subcontinent at Philips India Limited. An alumnus of NITIE Mumbai, Mr. Baishya earned his Post- Graduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering. Speaking about the Sales and Operations planning, Mr. Baishya talked about its sundry stages and importance.

The students learned about S&OP planning, design, process model, calendar and performance measurement. Mr. Baishya highlighted the importance of leadership commitment, stakeholder participation and company culture in a robust S&OP.

Mr. Tankeshwar Baishya interacting with the students

He stressed that in order to satisfy the customers cost effectively, it was pertinent that the company culture allowed Supply Chain Management to challenge Sales & Marketing, and the company leadership in general. Open dialogue between various departments was the key to success, a point that was driven home by numerous examples quoted by him.

Students discussed the impact of GST and Industry 4.0 on consumer goods companies and could learn to appreciate the importance of supply chain management in the strategic plans of organizations.

Quote: Striking a balance between efficiency and customer service is necessary for an organization’s success.

Session 3: Sunil Kumar Sathyanarayanan, Business Director- South Asia, Adhesives Division, Henkel Adhesives Technologies India

Mr. Sunil Kumar Sathyanarayanan is currently the Business Director of South Asia, Adhesives Division at Henkel Adhesives Technologies India, a position he has held for the past two years. He is an alumnus on Coimbatore Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Mr. Sathyanarayanan has had a distinguished career spanning over 27 years with rich industrial B2B experience in both Sales and Marketing functions in organizations such as BP and Carborundum.

Through a very interactive session, Mr. Sathyanarayanan discussed leadership and key account management. He reiterated the need to lead and get involved, irrespective of one’s position in the organization hierarchy. He took the session forward by relating the primary aspects of Key account management: Communication, Relationships, Business Acumen and Learning ability with the key aspects of leadership: leading teams, leading stakeholders, leading change, and leading performance.

Mr. Sunil Kumar Sathyanarayanan, Business Director- South Asia, Adhesives Division, Henkel Adhesives Technologies India
Mr. Sunil Kumar Sathyanarayanan provides valuable insights to the students of IIM Shillong

He touched upon the importance of being a sensitive leader, building trustworthy relationships with stakeholders, keeping alive the appetite for staying on the learning curve, and of upskilling, especially in today’s VUCA world. Mr. Sathyanarayanan also addressed several questions along the lines of building and managing high performing teams, developing future leaders, recognizing successors, and adapting to changing hierarchy and structure in organizations.

Quote: “Learn to be a sensing leader. Ultimately it is leaders with humility who tread the path of success.”

Session 4: Dhawal Katkar, Vice President - Self Care Business, Piramal Consumer Products & Pramod Gite, Vice President - Human Resources, Piramal Enterprises Limited

Mr Dhawal Katkar, Vice President - Self Care Business, Piramal Consumer Products has over 20 years of experience in Sales, Marketing and Branding across FMCG (L’Oreal, Godrej and Heinz), Media (Disney, Time Warner) and OTC sector. An alumnus of SIBM Pune, he has launched many new products and managed innovation pipeline. Mr Katkar has helped unlock equity of major brands like Garnier, Godrej Hair Colours, Complan, Nycil, Cartoon Network, HBO, Warner Brothers etc.

Mr Pramod Gite, Vice President - Human Resources, Piramal Enterprises Limited heads HR for Consumer Products Division and PEL Corporate functions and also leads the Digital HR initiatives. With a Bachelors in Science and Master’s in Human Resource management, he has an overall experience of more than 20 years in manufacturing & pharmaceutical sectors.

Speaking on the importance Piramal is laying towards the self-care category, Mr Katkar highlighted the need for a strong on-road workforce since today, consumer demand is not much of a problem area, the distribution is.The necessity to out-think the competition, identifying opportunities and understanding buying patterns.

Mr Dhawal Katkar addresses the students of IIM Shillong as Mr. Pramod Gite (Right) looks on.

While citing examples of products sold by the company, he outlined the inportance of consumer trust in a brand, the difference between the buying process of regular FMCG products and pharmaceutical products and how this impacts the marketing strategies. As a bottomline to his talk, Mr Katkar lay ephasis on promoting brand and people since they ultimately constitute the key levers for growth.

QUOTE : “People make Brands. It is of utmost importance is to value consumer trust in Brands and to ‘Recruit, retain and reward the consumer’ for the success of a brand.”

Session 5: Dr. Michael D Patra, Executive Director & Member, Monetary Policy Committee, Dr. Praggya Das, Director, RBI, Dr. Pratik Mitra, Director, RBI and other honorary RBI delegates

The institute welcomed Dr. Michael D Patra, Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Member of the Monetary Policy Committee, Dr. Praggya Das, Director, RBI, Dr. Pratik Mitra, Director, RBI and a number of honorary delegates from the RBI to share their insights on India’s monetary policy and other policy initiatives by the RBI as part of RBI's Outreach Program. Organized in association with Niveshak- the Finance Club of IIM Shillong, the event was conducted with the aim of discussing the Monetary Policy Report which was published in October 2017. Dr. Michael Patra is a Fellow of the Harvard University and has served in the RBI which he joined in 1985, in various capacities over the years.

The panel shared their valuable experiences on Monetary policy and Fiscal policy co-ordination, growth rate and inflation balance, and the role of financial markets in understanding the expectations from the economy. Talking about the importance of general population in driving the economy, the panel said, the RBI tries to communicate every decision credibly to the people by explaining complex ideas in simple terms, to have people’s expectations on board. The challenges and impediments faced while satisfying all the stakeholders were also discussed and role of investment in GDP growth was looked at in detail.

The students engaged in an interactive session with the panelists and discussed the impact of major structural reforms such demonetization and implementation of GST. RBI and MPC form the bedrock of the Indian economy and learning from them was an enriching experience for the students. The delegation was invited as a part of the Podium series of the institute, taking forward the legacy of enhanced collaboration among the students, academia, and the corporate world.

Panel Discussion with Dr. Praggya Das, Dr. M D Patra, Dr.Pratik Mitra, and Mr. Anurag Asthana

Dr. M D Patra, Member of the Monetary Policy Committee addresses the students of IIM Shillong.

Session 6: Rajesh Nair, Head Business HR Corporate, Tata Motors

Mr. Rajesh Nair is a senior professional with over 24 years of experience across various domains of HR, strategy and sales and marketing with substantive expertise in HR Operations, strategic HR activities, HR policies and diversity initiatives. He is also a subject matter expert in the areas of Brand Management, marketing strategies, customer care and network development.

Mr. Nair, shared his invaluable experiences of life and enlightened the students on the key to building a successful career. During the session, students learned the importance of finding passion in life. Focussing on the success in the long run, he motivated the aspiring managers to focus their energy on exploring their areas of strength and interests.

Mr. Rajesh Nair shares valuable insights with the students of IIM Shillong

Drawing lessons from the lives of many great leaders, he said the first few years of career are meant for learning and one should not be affected by the failures as they allow an individual to learn.

Mr. Nair talked in detail about the automotive industry in India and how companies like TATA Motors are over hauling the industry by focussing on new technologies. The role of government policies and the aspirations of the Indian market were discussed in length. The key point of focus was the shift from conventional cars to electric cars and the infrastructure and capital required to make the shift.

The interactive session gave the students valuable thinking points on building career, at a crucial time when they must make decisions which will have significant impact on their career trajectory.

Quote: “Aspirations are important. What is it that you love to do, and what is it that you are good at doing?”

Session 7: Michelle Suradkar, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, MullenLowe Lintas Group

Ms. Michelle Suradkar is the Group Chief Human Resource Officer, MullenLowe Lintas She has a hotel management background and a Master’s degree in Management from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies. With 15 years of experience, she has worked with Coca-Cola, India before joining Lowe Lintas. Ms. Suradkar illuminated the participants about how to be successful manager and be effective in one’s career path.

Focusing on 4 key components to career success – Passion, Curiosity, Communication and Grit, Ms. Suradkar spoke about how these four ingredients, when effectively employed, will enable one to move from average, to good, to great.

The driving force behind work is what passion is. The ways to exhibit it, and nurture it are multitude such as volunteering for work that goes above beyond what the expectations are, learning the details of every aspect of the organization and leveraging strengths properly, all the while loving your company visibly. Ms. Suradkar also touched upon an oft ignored topic – what if you don’t know what your passion is? The simple answer given was to set small goals and be micro ambitious in all pursuits.

Ms. Michelle Suradkar addresses the students of IIM Shillong.

The key to growth is curiosity – ask good questions, utilize your research skills and read a lot and be ready to constantly learn. The next focus was on how important communication is, and how to be effective at it. The essence of communication lies in expressing confidence, and not viewing everything as competition.

The final ingredient in getting from good to great is grit. How one reacts to a difficult situation and when things go wrong is a key differentiator in individuals. The talk ended with a discussion on how to manage professional stature and the importance. Ms. Suradkar’s words left the students with a clear picture of what the corporate world expects, and how to exceed those expectations.

Quote: “Take ownership of your own learnings, learn from your experiences, have command over your communication skills, take a holistic view on an issue and always look at the bigger picture”

The Podium Series 2018

The Podium is the annual corporate interaction series of IIM Shillong. At The Podium, IIM Shillong invites speakers from the corporate world to share their industrial experiences with the students thus helping them to get corporate insights into the various industries that these leaders belong to. Speakers from diverse backgrounds like Marketing, Finance, Operations and HR Domain come every year to share their expertise.

This year the Podium sessions were graced by the following industry stalwarts:

Session 1: Kaustubh Sonalkar, President HR, Essar Group

Mr. Kaustubh Sonalkar is a seasoned HR professional with about 25 years of experience of working with companies like PwC, Future Group India, and Essar Group. His versatile talent spans from being a state-level cricketer and a musician to having worked with the United Nations. Mr. Sonalkar is the perfect amalgamation of the qualities of a business leader and the creativity of an artist. His agenda focuses on going above and beyond as the disruptive thought designer that he is at heart. His talk further delved into the various facets of a new-age leader, from having the ability to say no to being able to take responsibility for the team's failure.

During the Podium session, Mr. Sonalkar’s energy reverberated through the audience as he took the students on an interactive journey about breaking the existing stereotypes about leadership. Using video clips from Bollywood movies like Lagaan, Guru and Chak De India and analogies from cricket, he distinguished great leaders from the good ones.

Mr. Kaustubh Sonalkar addressing and intercating with the students of IIM Shillong

Mr. Kaustubh Sonalkar being facilitated by the Chairman, Placement and Public Relations

He asked the students for examples of great leadership and where they draw their inspiration from. Mr. Sonalkar then used the students’ answers, that ranged from Mahatma Gandhi to Adolf Hitler to Henry Ford, to highlight how great leaders motivate people around them to follow a common dream. He added that inspiration need not come from someone sitting in a distant corner of the world, it can come from someone sitting right beside us. The session ended on a gripping note as Mr. Sonalkar left students with the question, “Are you a leader?”

Quote: “True leaders go with their gut and the available data, which might not always be correct.”

Session 2: Mr Samar Singh Sheikhawat, Former CMO, United Breweries Limited

Mr Samar Singh Sheikhawat is a business management leader who has a career spanning 30 years, in companies like United Breweries Limited, Dabur India Ltd, Cadbury India Ltd, Pepsico, et al. He has an experience in running both steady state and start-up businesses and brands. His ideology of marketing focuses on building brands that mean something more than just a name.

His sports enthusiast side made the session very interesting for the students as he gave management lessons from the area of sports and his own life. The anecdotes which he shared were especially intriguing and kept the audience glued to every word he said with examples ranging from Rafael Nadal to Breaking Bad. The lessons he learnt about humility, showing grit, not giving up, from the famous personalities he met, he conveyed them beautifully to the students. His talk touched on some pertinent topics like the issue of fake news and lack of open-mindedness, among other things.

Mr Sheikhawat addressing the students of IIM Shillong

Mr Sheikhawat during the Q & A session

In the Question & Answer session, he addressed doubts on how brands build their marketing strategies and things are not accidental with their campaign. He emphasized on the need to be grounded and humble in whatever you achieve and went on to say, Quote: “Don’t be afraid to change you mind. Only a fool doesn’t change his mind”

Session 3: Amit Kasliwal, India Head- Corporate Sales, Ford India

Mr. Amit Kasliwal, INSEAD alumni- writer, speaker and host has 15 years of corporate experience in automotive and media. Prior to Ford, he worked with Hero Honda Motors Ltd. and Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd (Times Group). He is driven by his passion to empower fellow human beings. He conducts Transformational Leadership Program which teaches top leadership skills- building purpose in life, power of perspectives, creating possibilities and living in the moment.

His interaction at IIM Shillong revolved around the theme of thinking like a CEO where he pondered around the purpose behind each of our initiatives. He also helped the student realize the importance of the impact of any Business Leader. This session was very interactive where the students were involved in replicating the thoughts and aspirations they had in their mind on paper in the form of abstract sketches.

Mr. Amit Kasliwal engaging students in different activities helping them realize the leader within them.

Mr. Amit Kasliwal asking reflections from the students during the session on Leadership.

He also emphasized on the importance of being able to strategize one’s thoughts as a leader. This as he conveyed to the students, was one of the major difficulties any leader would face. He helped the students understand the steps that are most significant in shaping a person to be a leader. The session also proceeded further in involving students in various activities assisting them identify their mentors. He also engaged the students in multi-faceted activities reflecting various insights from spirituality and self- reflection in helping become a better leader.

Quote:“Leadership is about those who are power houses of energy empowering not only themselves but all the others around them.”

Session 4: Rajan Sethuraman, IndiaChief People Officer at LatentView Analytics

Mr. Rajan Sethuraman, an alumnus of BITS Pilani and IIM Calcutta has over 20 years of experience in multiple sectors such as Oil & Gas, Health & Public Service Industry and Forensic services and has played different profiles such as management consultant, client service lead and talent acquisition head. Prior to joining Latent View, Mr. Sethuraman has worked in Department of Social Security at Accenture and Forensic practice at KPMG.

Mr. Sethuraman walked the students through his life journey and how his career has transformed after he graduated. Started as a Senior Systems associate, he was into Information Technology and predominantly spent his time coding in different programming languages. It was his stint at Accenture that opened up opportunities in the management consulting space.

Mr. Rajan Sethuraman addressing and inteacting with the students of IIM Shillong

Mr. Hemango Kishore Dutta presenting the memento to Mr.Rajan Sethuraman

He spoke in detail about the mistakes that he did in his professional career that altered his life. He also highlighted that, as future managers, the outgoing students might not always get to do work that requires them to wear suits and coats all the time.

He said that there would be times where one is expected to roll up the sleeve and get down into pit mines to get the work done.He said that the highly coveted profiles such as management consultants originated in the recent past whose building blocks were made of accounting expertise. While he spoke of different domains and job opportunities, he stressed the importance of attitude which could be the differentiating factor in a world that always respects people who are committed to their work. Mr. Sethuraman also responded to a few queries that the students had and ended the session by saying : Quote: “A ship in harbour is majestic; but that’s not where it is meant to be. Do not be afraid to take challenges in life”

Session 5: Jyotirmoy Mukherjee, Payment Card Professional

Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee, a payments card industry professional and a veteran marketing manager, has nearly 15 years of experience working with financial services and FMCG companies. The SPJIMR alumnus has held leadership positions in the fields of portfolio management, merchant alliances and partnerships, merchant acquisition, and sales & distribution among others.

His interaction with the students of IIM Shillong pertained to the payments and lending industry, during which he spoke about the new India and the growing opportunities in the space of e-payments. The session began with Mr. Mukherjee discussing the evolution we’ve seen from the barter system to cash and now to digital payments, following which he detailed the types of payments in the economy starting right from government payments and remittances to pre-paid shopping cards.

Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee enlightening the students on various intricacies of the Payment and Lending Sector

Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee receiving a memento from Professor Ms. Latha Chakravarthy

During the interactive session, Mr. Mukherjee highlighted the vast opportunity that digital payments had in India’s economy, given that there are 28-30 million retail outlets across organized and unorganized sectors, with only a tenth being terminalized through Point-of-Sales machines and the likes. Further, emphasizing on the need for greater security with the evolving payments ecosystem, he spoke about the importance of authentication and authorization. He then Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee enlightening the students on various intricacies of the Payment and Lending Sector Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee receiving a memento from Professor Ms. Latha Chakravarthy dived deep into the lending scenario in India, sharing with students the stats about increased loan penetration across all mediums. Through the session, the PGDM participants of IIM Shillong gained keen insights on the current payments and lending landscape of India and the opportunities that the sector presents for future growth.

Quote: “Merchant payment system is like the railroad for digital payments in the economy, how else will the trains run?”

Session 6: Ameya Dangi, Chief Operating Officer at Hygienic Research Institute (HRIPL)

Mr. Ameya Dangi, an alumnus of Columbia Business School and MDI Gurgaon, is an experienced business leader with a successful track record in the consumer goods industry. He carries around 20 years of experience working with the FMCG sector and has held various sales and marketing roles in firms like Dabur and Johnson & Johnson.

Mr. Dangi shared his marketing experience in the FMCG industry by conducting a session on "Digital vs. Traditional Marketing".He emphasized the fact that more and more Indians are gaining access to the internet, and how can marketers leverage the use of the digital platform to reach out to and engage with the consumers.

While sharing his views on winning propositions, Mr. Dangi said, "You need to be very clear on what you’re chasing. Key measures are significant for evaluating your marketing decisions. A winning proposition doesn’t stay winning anymore if you get disrupted.”

Mr. Ameya Dangi enlightening the students on the latest marketing methods and channels

The students found the session very interactive and informative

Mr. Dangi highlighted the three moments of truth in consumer parlance - the first moment of truth being when the consumer picks up the product and decides to pay for it, the second moment of truth is when the consumer uses the product and finally the third moment of truth is when they talk well about your product.

He also spoke about how Accessibility, Engagement, Customization, Connection, and Collaboration can help us penetrate our target customer segment.

The students got an opportunity to interact with Mr. Dangi, and discuss the current marketing trends and look beyond the traditional marketing frameworks.

Quote: “Just being unique doesn’t get you your consumer; you have to market yourself in a meaningful manner.”

Session 7: Sameer Seth, Director, Marketing - India, Dolby Laboratories

Mr. Sameer Seth is an experienced media professional who has worked with some of the biggest media houses such as CNN-IBN, Star India, and Network18. The IMI alumnus, with over 14 years of experience in the media industry, has led multiple roles like P&L Management, Business Planning, Revenue & Content Strategy, Brand Management, Marketing Communications & Sales.

Mr. Seth conveyed the session on the present trends in the media & communications sector and the science that goes behind marketing a technology brand like Dolby.

Mr. Seth, while sharing some of the vital statistics on the current market scenario in the television industry, touched upon topics like the rising number of Indian television viewership, differentiation factors of TV channels based on urban and rural population, contribution to the total viewership by different channels and content.

He discussed the revenue generation model of the media sector and drew a comparison between the American and Indian market. While American media houses generate most of the revenue through subscription, the Indian market still relies heavily on advertising. He emphasized how marketers can leverage this opportunity and target specific content for advertising to associate it with a particular type of product.

Mr. Sameer Seth interacting with the students about the Science behind modern Marketing

Professor Bidyut Gogoi, IIM Shillong presenting a memento to Mr. Sameer Seth

In the following part of the session, Mr. Seth outlined how the Dolby brand has been marketed in India. By sharing the example of 'Bahubali', he showcased how Dolby utilized their sound designers and sound engineers as storytellers to narrate the sound designing process of the film and enhance the overall cinematic experience through Dolby's cutting- edge technology. He even displayed some of their ads to explain the marketing strategies adopted by Dolby to reach out to the common Indian consumer.While interacting with the students, Mr. Seth addressed many of their queries related to media marketing and left them with some provoking thoughts.

Quote: "Even for a marketer, sales has to be the key focus, one needs to find ways of contributing to the top and bottom line of the business".

Session 8: Sunil Chainani, Former Director, Fabindia

Mr. Sunil Chainani, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, has been working as an individual management consultant for the past 25 years and has been involved with many startups and mid-size businesses as mentor & advisor in varied industries including retail, foods, wellness, digital publishing & IT in and outside India. He has previously worked in senior positions with the top food companies such as Britannia and Nabisco. He has been instrumental in the growth of Fabindia from a 30 cr company to a 1500 cr company by raising funds and in the investment/acquisition of East, Bandhej and Organic India. He has been a guest lecturer at several top business schools in India & Overseas including Harvard and London Business School, and has also been part of many top international forums like World Retail Congress.

Speaking on the topic ‘Inclusive Capitalism’, Mr Chainani opened the session by asking the participants whether they were capitalists. Sharing that he himself is hardcore capitalist, Mr Chainani said, “The only product that I’ve seen people buy regularly because it’s for a good cause is the Christmas cards people buy whose proceeds go to charity”. He also expounded upon the importance of NGOs being transparent in their dealings and for them to set their targets in measurable terms.

Mr. Chainani addressing the students on Inclusive Capitalism

Dr. Rajen Mehrotra presenting Mr. Chainani with a memento

He spoke about his tenure at FabIndia and how the company’s People Oriented Capitalism Model helped build a strong brand that also helped artisans in terms of microfinancing and fair labour wages. Advocating the need for companies to imbibe the social impact activities as part of their very DNA, Mr Chainani said he didn’t believe in the concept of reserving a percent of the profits for CSR. “2% CSR is charity, not sustainable. What if instead of 2% of profits, 2% of management time could be spent on this? Imagine the impact it would make,” he said, igniting within the students a drive to do more starting now.

Quote: We cannot create a brand without having people down the line believe in it.

Session 9: Piyush Chowhan, Chief Information Officer, Arvind Brands

An experienced professional having worked in the US, UK and India in areas such as Retail Strategy, Business Analytics, and Supply Chain Management, Mr. Piyush Kumar Chowhan is currently the Chief Information Officer of Arvind Brands and is responsible for IT Strategy and Execution of Technology for the overall business. He has previously worked for global retailers such as Walmart, Target, Circuit City, and Tesco, and has strong domain knowledge in Retail, E-commerce & Supply Chain Management. An engineer from NIT Surat and an MBA from Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneshwar, Mr. Chowhan has also worked with Wipro and San Disk in the Supply Chain and Business Analytics domain.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Mindful leadership in the Digital Age’, Mr. Chowhan began the session by asking attendees how they believed technology was changing our lives. Sharing striking statistics from studies about the human mind, he spoke about how the ability of our external environment to influence us is increasing in the digital age, for example, that an average user picks up their phone more than 1,500 times every week. Our smartphones cause us to be distracted and our attempt at multitasking is akin to our brain having too many tabs open. This results in higher fatigue, decreased productivity, and ultimately, stress.

Mr. Chowhan enlightening the students on the importance of realizing oneself

The students engrossed in the interactive session raising various questions

Mr. Chowhan explained how low attention spans and wandering minds have been strongly linked with unhappiness in our lives. “Stress is not something that happens when you are 40 or 50 years old, it is happening to young children today,” he said. Stating the futility of India becoming a $10 trillion economy if the population is diseased by ailments such as depression, the speaker encouraged the participants to exercise every day and prioritize their sleep over their smartphones. He also explained how social connections are vital to a long life and that being able to utilize the power of the brain is an art and skill that cannot be taught.

Quote: “An Olympian only thinks about the race he or she is currently running in, peak performance requires full attention”

Session 10: Unmesh Pawar, Partner, Head - People, Performance and Culture, KPMG

Mr. Pawar is a proven HR Leader with expertise in Human Capital Strategy, Organizational Transformation, and Coaching. He has been successful in building, and leading high-performing internationally dispersed HR Leadership teams, to help meet business outcomes. Before this, Mr. Pawar was Global HR Head for Accenture’s Products Operating Group and Global Managing Director – Talent Acquisition. Therein, he led talent transformation while ensuring all time high employee engagement and retention, and has consistently been voted an employer of choice in the industry.

He has helped build various businesses, and differentiated capabilities in the market place, though designing and deploying complex talent and acquisition strategy, and talent management practices on a global scale. Mr. Pawar talked about Geopolitics and its impact on businesses globally, and highlighted that according to KPMG’s India CEO Outlook 2018, 62% CEOs see emerging markets as the biggest priority for geographical expansion. Additionally, he disucssed about how technology holds the potential to disrupt how businesses are run.

Mr. Pawar introducing the current macroeconomic trends to the students

Mr. Pawar interacting with the students about newer HR strategies

“It is an era of Personalisation; today we have the likes of Uber and Amazon, such is becoming the baseline expectation from the HR Department of an organization in terms of people experience”, said Mr. Pawar. The engaging and dynamic HR professional also shared that with the need to conform to the norms of grappling with mental health issues, organizations need to focus on creating places that give people a chance to be who they are.

Quote: “It is time that companies start promoting the 4R’s of the Personalization Agenda - Recognize, Remember, Recommend and check for Relevance”

The Podium Series 2019

The Podium is the annual corporate interaction series of IIM Shillong. At The Podium, IIM Shillong invites speakers from the corporate world to share their industrial experiences with the students thus helping them to get corporate insights into the various industries that these leaders belong to. Speakers from diverse backgrounds like Marketing, Finance, Operations and HR Domain come every year to share their expertise.

This year the Podium sessions were graced by the following industry stalwarts:

Session 1: Mr Tulasinath K , Mindgate Solutions

Mr Tulasinath K has an experience of 23 years in multiple domains in the corporate world and has worked in companies such as Unicorp, Wipro and HP before joining Mindgate Solutions. His journey resembles that of a fighter’s who is never shy of facing challenges like all great leaders do. From carefully chiselling his career after unexpected turn of events in the early years, to creating a mentoring system to build his own team, Mr. Tulasinath has systematically worked his way to the top. The failures he had to overcome as a young salesman to being successful in converting clients in the Banking Industry during his time at Unicorp and Wipro led him to a lucrative and an illustrious career at HP, helping deliver solutions to the Banking industry.

During the session, Mr. Tulasinath showcased the importance of perseverance through witty anecdotes of personalities in all domains and related them to our lives. He emphasized the importance of ethics in the world, corporate and otherwise, by citing his decisions when he reached crossroads. He ended the Podium with the ten commandments that he drafted through his experience that would help people grow to success.

Mr. Tulasinath K addressing the students.

Mr. Tulasinath K being facilitated by Professor Nitin.

Session 2: Mr. Rajeev Singh, COO & Business Head at Karvy Fintech

Mr. Rajeev Singh addressing the students of IIM Shillong

Mr. Rajeev Singh is a Wharton graduate and a global business leader with strong strategic and analytical; ability and 26 years of extensive experience in building and leading BPM businesses especially in US and European Markets. He is current the COO & Business Head at Karvy Fintech. In his address to the students, he shared valuable insights on leadership and corporate management. With an inclination towards finance, Mr. Rajeev Singh, tingled the minds of those who aspire to grow in the corporate finance world. Students of IIM Shillong had multiple takeaways from the session in the finance domain.

Session 3: Mr. Dingtang Tikhak, Senior Director, Last mile Delhivery

Mr. Dingtang Tikhak addressing the students of IIM Shillong

A management graduate from IIM Bangalore and an Instrumentation Engineer from IIT Kharagpur and a seasoned professional with more than 10 years of management experience in eCommerce, Manufacturing and Power sector, Mr. Dingtang Tikhak is highly skilled in business development, vendor management, inventory management, process re-engineering, lean business systems and people management. He is current the Senior Director, Last mile at Delhivery. He shelled out key knowledge on operational management and gave insights on how Last Mile service in Delhivery is transforming. His no nonsense approach aligned with the expectation of students. The session involved a lot of domain specific question asked to Mr. Dingtang Tikhak, which he used to turn the event into a highly engaging affair.

Session 4: Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal Principle Economic Advisor, Indian Government

Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal Principle Economic Advisor, Indian Government

An Indian economist, writer, environmentalist, and urban theorist. Currently he is the principle economic advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Govt of India. He also serves as the co-chair of the Framework Working Group of the G20 and represents India on a number of international forums. A Rhodes scholar and Eisenhower Fellow, he was named “Young Global Leader 2010” by the world economic forum at Davos. He is widely regarded as one of Asia’s leading economists and was Deutsche Bank’s Global Strategists and a Managing director till 2015. He is also the author of several books including “The India Renaissance: India’s Rise after a Thousand Years of Decline” and “Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography”.

The Podium Series 2020

The Podium is the annual corporate interaction series of IIM Shillong. At The Podium, IIM Shillong invites speakers from the corporate world to share their industrial experiences with the students thus helping them to get corporate insights into the various industries that these leaders belong to. Speakers from diverse backgrounds like Marketing, Finance, Operations and HR Domain come every year to share their expertise.

This year the Podium sessions were graced by the following industry stalwarts:

Session 1: Mr. Mussarat Hussain, Head, Leadership & HR Transformation

Mr. Mussarat Hussain, a seasoned professional in the Human Resources and Leadership Transformation domain, spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, business and employment. He highlighted the changes across markets worldwide and how businesses must pivot in order to sustain or perish pertaining to the dynamically changing scenario. The discussion focused on the changes in employment metrics in the past and the new opportunities for India in the foreseeable future due to macroeconomic drivers. The students and working professionals must reskill and upskill in order to ensure preparedness for the evolution across industries.

Mr. Mussarat Hussain addressing the students.

Session 2: Mrs. Sonia Sharma Senior Director – Standard Chartered Bank

Mrs. Sonia Sharma is the Senior Director, Credit and Portfolio Management at Standard Chartered Bank Singapore and a Meditation Practitioner. In the session on ‘Mind Management Resilience and Agility’, Mrs. Sharma spoke about the key global trends on mental health and how the metrics have evolved over time. She explained the relationship between the human mind and body, and how the mind can be trained to manage stress through meditation. From simple breathing exercises to focusing techniques, Mrs. Sharma shared steps to a guided meditation for beginners. The efficacy of meditation is felt with practice however starting is more important. Amidst the worldly chaos, meditation brings the mind to peace, what it is needed now more than ever.

Session 3: Mr. Hari TN Head HR – BigBasket

Mr. Hari TN in the third session of Podium Season 9 spoke about how great ideas can change the world. Mr. Hari shared the story of BigBasket evolving into a well-known firm and the unique business model of saying no to ‘jugaad’. He is actively involved in mentoring and empowering start-ups contributing towards the budding start-up ecosystem in the nation. He emphasized on the importance of ethics in any organization and it being the most important aspect over any other benefit.

Session 4:Mr. Shubhradeep Guha Director, Media Services – Google India

Mr. Shubhradeep Guha discussed the Digital Disruption in India and the world and the pattern of shift in macroeconomic factors, technology and consumer sentiment. One of India’s top 100 digital marketers, Mr. Guha shared learnings from his professional experience on the evolving consumers and the trends in the world of marketing as getting attentive reach becomes key. Emphasizing on the importance of thinking 10x and the power of ideas, he shed some light on the world of startups and the entrepreneurial spirit causing a disruption in the most turbulent of times.

Session 5: Ms. Somika Agarwal Partner, Corporate Finance – KPMG India

Ms. Somika Agarwal shed light on the changing scenario of mergers, acquisition and investments in India with a global pandemic coming in the picture. A seasoned professional with more than a decade of experience in M&As, Ms. Agarwal shared industry highlights, the situation of green and red spots in the Indian economy and the future of investments. With regards to market forces and global trends, she spoke about how India has a great opportunity to leverage in the post COVID world and the upcoming developments regarding the same.

Session 6: Mr. Muhammed Majeed, Founder and Chairman at Sami-Sabinsa Group

Dr. Majeed founded the Sabinsa Corporation in New Jersey, USA in 1988. At Sabinsa, Dr. Majeed’s mission was to provide alternative and complementary natural products, using innovative approaches to human nutrition and well-being. He pioneered a unique concept in the US in 1994-95 called ‘Sabinsa on Wheels’ (SOW), inviting 25 companies for a detailed scientific presentation of the products.

Session 7: Mr. Sumit Jasoria, Managing Director – India at Meero

Mr. Sumit Jasoria is a start-up enthusiast working in emerging markets to build sustainable business models. He is currently heading the French start-up, Meero in India and South Asia region. He was also rewarded as one of the Top 100 Global Retail Minds in Feb 2018. He spoke about navigating path for startups in VUCA world – How do startups adapt themselves and navigate through these Uncertain times.

Session 8: Mr. Shravan Alavilli, Director - Client Success at Gramener

With over a decade in variety of roles and responsibilities involving different types of technical and functional skills Mr. Shravan has also contributed equally at MNCs and startups. He is currently working with a data startup as their client interface with many of their "high value proposition" clients. He has led the delivery of multiple projects to phenomenal successes and been effective in account management and account growth with all the clients, winning an award for the best VOC. Prior to this, he had worked with a football analytics startup and the PlayStation data team at Sony India.

Session 9: Savita Pai, Vice President of Digital Marketing and Media at DIAGEO India

With her varied experience in the corporate space, Ms. Savita Pai shed light on the paradigm shift in consumer behaviour and increasing digital dependency.

An IIM Bangalore alumnus, Ms Savita Pai is a seasoned professional in the field of digital marketing, media and strategy. Prior to DIAGEO, Ms. Pai also worked as Director-Strategy at Flipkart's commerce platform division and marketplace. She has also provided her valuable contribution to the field of strategy and marketing in other organizations such as Cisco and Hewlett-Packard.

Session 10: Shrikant Lonikar, CHRO and Board Director at Pernod Ricard India

Mr. Shrikant Lonikar spoke about what the future of workforce planning looks like and how Pernod Ricard is planning to take care of its employees post-COVID.

Prior to Pernod Ricard, he served as the President HR at Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd.

Session 11: Siddharth Deshmukh, National Head - Modern Trade & General Trade at OnePlus India

With over 12 years of experience in the consumer tech industry, Mr. Siddharth has developed core competency in sales & distribution, business development strategy & key account management. Prior to working with OnePlus, Mr. Siddharth was associated with Samsung Electronics as Business Manager, Airtel as Account Manager, and Reliance Communications as Relationship Manager.

Mr. Siddharth is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and a member of the OnePlus leadership team. He is an eminent speaker at various corporate events and B-Schools.

Session 12: Mr. Srikrishnan V, Key Account Director for Talent, Learning and Engagement and Sales Leader at LinkedIn India

Mr Srikrishnan is the winner of LinkedIn Power profile, 2018. He has also won numerous accolades including the LinkedIn India Iconic Award 2019-Deal of the year (Learning) and LinkedIn India Iconic Awards 2020-Top National Salesperson. He spoke on leveraging the power of LinkedIn.

Session 13: Mr. Rajiv Sikka, CEO at Indian Oil Adani Gas Pvt. Ltd.

With a professional career of more than 31 years, Mr. Sikka has worked across multiple regions of India with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and has delivered an enormous increase in the sales of oil, gas as well as lubricant products. He has done B-Tech in Civil Engineering from HBTI, Kanpur, and holds a Master’s degree (Urban & Regional Planning) from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi.

The Podium Series 2021

The Podium is the annual corporate interaction series of IIM Shillong. At The Podium, IIM Shillong invites speakers from the corporate world to share their industrial experiences with the students thus helping them to get corporate insights into the various industries that these leaders belong to. Speakers from diverse backgrounds like Marketing, Finance, Operations and HR Domain come every year to share their expertise.

This year the Podium sessions were graced by the following industry stalwarts:

Session 1: Mr. Praveen Kamath K, General Manager, and HR Head, Global Delivery & Enablement functions, Wipro Limited

Mr. Praveen Kamath K has over 25 years of strategic HR & leadership experience working in large scale Manufacturing, IT & ITES organizations with a proven track record of leading global leadership teams, processes & talent management practices.

In the last 14yrs, he has been associated with Wipro Limited managing multiple roles including Global Leader for Talent Acquisition; Global Leader for Training & Development; Global HR Business Partner & HR Strategic Initiative Leader across businesses in the US, Europe & Rest of Asia. He is a Mentor & Coach to many young CEOs & has helped them in their entrepreneurial ventures.

Session 2: Mr. Rohit Pathak, Chief Executive Officer at Aditya Birla Insulators & Aditya Birla Power Composites Ltd

Mr. Rohit Pathak shared valuable lessons on leadership and how moving from individual excellence to collective brilliance is an important transition to make.

He is an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus and worked at McKinsey & Co. for 10 years being an Associate Principal before moving to Aditya Birla Group and working in various roles, currently serving as CEO at Aditya Birla Insulators & Aditya Birla Power Composites Ltd.

Session 3: Mr. Amit Sharma, VP and Head of HR at Volvo Group India

Mr. Amit Sharma shared his views on the topic “10 skills that every MBA graduate should develop”.

Mr. Amit Sharma is an HR professional with more than two decades of experience in various HR roles of which more than decade has been in Leadership positions. He also has passion for people and people processes that unlock employee potential towards achieving organizational vision and objectives.

Session 4: Dr. Suraj Bahirwani, President & Global Sales Head at Grasim Industries Limited

Mr. Suraj Bahirwani shared his thoughts on the topic: Journey from Executive Assistant to Chairman, ABG to Chief Operating Officer of Pantaloons to ET 40 under Forty to becoming President and Global Sales Head at Grasim Industries Limited,

ABG and Qualities and skills required to become a successful leader. He spoke about the importance of getting out of one’s comfort zone. In his words, “Every time you find yourself to be the most learned man in the room, you are in your comfort zone. Get out of your comfort zone if you want to grow.”