Exploring the certainties of uncertainty

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If there was one aspect that made the second edition of the JAIPURIA INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT Annual Management Conference (JAMC- 2012) stand out, it was the clarity of purpose. The theme of “Managing under Uncertainty: Paradigms for Developed and Emerging Economies”, was systematically divided into 6 Technical Sessions over two days. Not only did this facilitate a steady flow of knowledge, ideas and information beyond the traditional bounds of management, but it also invited submission in the different categories of Research Papers, Cases, Poster Presentations and Doctoral Research.

Immediately after the inaugural session, the first technical session on ‘Financial and Economic Uncertainties’ was kick-started with an active discussion about the changing financial environment of the world economy and how to survive in that environment. Dr. Rajat Kathuria, Director & Chief Executive, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) with Mr. Vinod Pande, Sr. Vice President, SBI Capital Markets Limited, and Mr. Pallav Mohapatra, CEO, SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd.

“Major uncertainty lies in interest rates,” opined Mr. Vinod Pande. “If the interest rate is at a peak, corporate houses are unable to move successfully with their projects. When inflation is high, and interest rate is low, then how will projects continue? India suffers from the typical issue of wages being too low in the unorganised sector, and too high in the organised sector. Uncertainty is always high in areas where potential is high; like roads, airlines and the thermal power sector.”

The second technical session very interestingly explored ‘Entrepreneurship & Innovations under Uncertainty’. The Panelists for the session were Ms. Rimi Oberoi, Founder, Oyster Training; Mr. Nitin Gupta, the Co-Founder and CEO of the e-waste management company, Attero Recycling; and Dr. M. M. Akhauri, Former Director-NIESBUD. The message that came out of this session was that innovation is the answer to uncertainty, and that an entrepreneur carries on shooting till he hits the ‘bull’s eye’.

“Problems and issues due to uncertainty are not avoided but converted into opportunities by entrepreneurs,” pointed out Dr. M. M. Akhauri. “Globalisation has brought in greater opportunities in the modern business world. Inflow of technology had taken place considerably. All this can minimise risk and uncertainty to an extent. Information flow has become cheap with the advent of the Internet and is being used very effectively by innovators and entrepreneurs.”

The third and final session on Day 1 of JAMC 2012 brought together stalwarts from both the Government and Private Sectors, like Dr. Manoj Singh, Adviser (Transport)- Planning Commission; Mr. Subir Hazra, Associate Vice President & Head Strategy Planning, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and Mr. Uday Ravi, Additional Vice President (Engineering), Reliance Infrastructure Limited. The theme was ‘Managing Uncertainties: A view from Infrastructure Industry’. The panelists were unanimous that Infrastructure is the most ‘time-consuming and capital intensive’ of all industries and therefore is as quick to prosper during positive consumer sentiment, and worst-hit when the sentiment is negative. The panelists agreed that the best way to counter uncertainty in the Infrastructure industry was to retain the trust of stakeholders and investors through a credible show.

On the 13th of October 2012, the first among the three power-packed technical sessions was on ‘Changing Marketing Paradigms under Uncertainty’. The popularity of the subject could be gauged by a full house at the Jaipuria Institute of Management auditorium. The panelists included the likes of Mr. Kishore Chakraborti, Vice President- Consumer Insight and HFD, McCann Erickson; Mr. Sanjay Sethi, COO- Enterprise Business Services, Tata Tele Services Limited; Kunwar Himmat Singh, Head- Marketing, Nestle India; and Mr. Rohit Chadha, Sourcing Head – India, Lindstrom Services India Pvt. Ltd.

The fifth technical session of the conference was dedicated to the Sports and Entertainment Industry and participants included Mr. H.P. Singh Rishi, Deputy Director General, Organising Committee (CWG) Delhi 2010; Mr. Debasish Biswas, Vice President- STAR TV; Mr. Devdarshan Chakrabortyy, Director Strategy and Planning, Perfectrelations.com; and Mr. Mehraj Dube, Associate Editor- NDTV India. They all observed that uncertain times were actually good from the perspective of consolidation.

The final session discussed the ‘Evolving human resource landscape under uncertainty’, with the likes of Mr. A P Singh, the former Head of HR, Reliance Petrochemicals; Mr. Rakesh Chaturvedi, HR Head, Food Corporation of India; Mr. Anshumal Dikshit, Head – Human Resources, Patni Computer Systems Limited (and an alumnus of Jaipuria Lucknow); Mr. Rajnish Bawa, Director (Human Resource), New Holland Fiat and Mr. R. P. Singh, Director (HR & Legal)-IFFCO, taking to the dais. The panelists were unanimous that by now HR practitioners have gotten used to the uncertainties and have accordingly prepared themselves for its vagaries.

Barely a few months into the academic session, JAMC 2012 has had a huge build-up at Jaipuria Institute of Management, with students already having witnessed an HR and a Finance conclave. Clearly, with its revamped academic philosophy, the stress in Jaipuria Institute of Management is on bolstering the in-class learning with intense engagement with industry on crucial issues.

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