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India Conference 2008 @ Harvard

Anoop Kumar

The South Asian Business Association (SABA) at Harvard Business School organized a one day conference on Sunday, March 16, 2008.  The conference had excellent line up of keynote speakers to share their experiences and success stories in India. It also provided a platform for students to network with speakers. About 10 panels on variety of topics with top Indian Business leaders provided an insight into current state of India and opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

Alan Rosling, executive director of Tata Sons, delivered the opening keynote and emphasized on ‘change’.  While dismissal, resistance and protection are common early reactions to a change acceptance and adoption at appropriate time are important for success. “With a dynamic private sector, India is well placed for a change,” said Rosling.  “Today, every American CEO needs to have an Indian strategy,” he said. 

Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Microsoft India, talked about the role of Multinationals in India. He mentioned the shift in business in these companies from support centers to innovation centers. “We have chosen to innovate in India and develop products for the Indian market,” he said.  The talent, IT ecosystem and the people provide the right environment for building companies that innovate. He emphasized on societal development and the social aspects of entrepreneurship.

10 well structured panel discussions with top Indian business leaders covered India’s global presence in fields like healthcare, private equity, media, entertainment and energy. These panels were moderated by industry experts and provided insights into specific industries. There was ample opportunity for questions from audience and elaborate conversation with panelists on burning issues was a common sight in these panels.

The final keynote address by, Vivek Paul, Partner, Texas Pacific Group, on of the leading investment firms.  

Information about SABA and its other upcoming activities can be found at http://www.studentclubs.hbs.edu/saba/



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