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HBS India Conference 2010


2010 HBS India Conference: Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

The 2010 India Conference at the Harvard Business School titled “Turning Challenges Into Opportunities” was held on March 6th with more than 450 people in attendance.
The conference featured presentations by prominent speakers as well as seven panel discussions / debates on the following areas: Building Brands in India, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, Media and Entertainment,
Private Equity, Social Enterprise and Venture Capital. The three conference Co-Chairs were Rajinder Balaraman, Rohit Burju and Mehak Dua, while Sreejita Deb served as VP, Marketing.
This year’s keynote speakers included Rajat Gupta, Former MD/CEO of McKinsey & Co; Gururaj 'Desh' Deshpande, Serial Entreprenuer and Investor; G.V. Prasad, CEO and Executive Vice Chairman of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Ltd; and Ambassador Arun Singh, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India, Washington, DC.

"Education and Health are the two greatest equalizers. Social issues will be the rule of the land in the future. Demographics, political system, diversity and democracy are some of India's strengths while lack of international orientation, bureaucracy, higher education and income disparity are amongst its biggest weaknesses," said Gupta in the fire-side chat moderated by Prof. Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School.
"Every person has a right to earn a living. There is no way to hold on to a talent or enforce the employment contract or Non-Disclosure Agreements. Indians do not love cricket. They worship the players as heroes and idolize
them. Top celebrities are opportunists and will endorse any product for a price," said Harindra Singh, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Percept India as part of the Media and Entertainment panel.

Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-Founder of Games2Win, talked about the shallow investment in brand building in India. Dhilin Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director of Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd., focuses on mass content and uses risk mitigating model as he invests in various movies. Content, director, cast and production house are the key drivers for a good movie.

The private equity panel emphasized the need for 'get India experience' in today's market. It recommended working for a small team in a big organization.

"Western companies see the east as under served and an opportunity for growth whereas the Eastern companies offer value proposition to the west," said G.V. Prasad, Vice Chairman and CEO of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories. "India is a huge market but one needs innovative ways to tap the market by developing products for rural markets at low price points."

As in the past, the conference was focused and provided answers to many of the questions the attendees had regarding challenges and opportunities in India.

The event was sponsored by Panasonic and Brics.

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