XLRI alumni pitch for social entrepreneurship

Written by Arindam Sinha | Jamshedpur | Updated: Dec 31 2007, 05:21am hrs
Entrepreneurship opportunities for young MBAs coming out of institutions like XLRI have never been so good, feels a majority of the 35 XLRI alumni, who gathered on their Silver Jubilee Homecoming visit here on Thursday. Howvever, the alumni felt there was strong need for B-schools to encourage social entrepreneurship.

With more and more companies focusing on their core business, there would be a surfeit of opportunities for young MBAs to get into entrepreneurship roles, said R Ramakrishnan, who was with Asian Paints for 18 years before moving over to Bajaj Electricals seven years ago and is currently its executive director.

Ramakrishnan, urged his alma mater to find ways so that more of us could get into social entrepreneurship as the country was faced with huge challenges in the health, education and development with social equity. He the next 15 years would throw up enough opportunities for the current batches of MBAs to become entrepreneurs.

The interaction between the 35-strong batch of 1982 and current students threw up interesting observations.

Ramachandran Kannan, who is with Careers India, observed that moving from their era 25 years ago of specialisation in marketing, HR, finance, systems, etc., today there was need for a lot of free enterprise. Even though there were employment opportunities galore there were a whole lot of self-employment opportunities, particularly in the space of innovation, technology, etc, he added.

Batch members suggested that there was need for a more structured method of grooming entrepreneurial talent at the B-School. There are a lot of challenges with respect to the environment, governmental factors, competition, globalisation, etc., and, therefore, the need to develop the soft skills and the mindset for entrepreneurship, said Kannan.

Members of the 1982 batch also deliberated on whether the structured course on entrepreneurship being developed by the B-School could be extended to social entrepreneurship.

One among the batch who lamented working for a corporate rather than running his own business, as this could have given him a lot of satisfaction, sought his alma mater's intervention in developing soft entrepreneurial skills in future students. Being an entrepreneur is a totally different ball game than working for a corporate, he said.

Cushrow J Jassawala, COO, Thomson Press, thought industry, companies and business in general would in the future be increasingly taking risks. Therefore, growth opportunities for young MBAs would be enormous. One would have to think differently and not accept the situation and fall in line, as growth and opportunities lay on the path less traversed, said Jassawala, who had been with Voltas, a Tata enterprise, for a long time.