Dr Janmejaya Kumar Sinha, chairman, Asia Pacific, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), presided over the 53rd annual convocation of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on Saturday. A total of 576 students graduated at the convocation — 398 from its flagship programme Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP), 47 from PGP Food and Agri-Business Management (FABM), 115 from the one-year Post-Graduate Programme in Management for Executives (PGPX) and 16 from Fellow Programme in Management (FPM).
Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the board of governors of the IIM-A, could not attend the convocation due to an exigency at home. In his absence, the welcome address was delivered by “acting chairman” Dr Srikant M Datar, Arthur Lowes Dickinson Professor of Accounting and Senior Associate Dean at Harvard University. Professor Errol D’Souza, director of the institute, delivered the concluding address.
IIM-A director Professor Errol D’Souza, in his address, said, “The diversity fairy has, if I may say so, begun to infect the campus. In terms of educational background, non-engineers were 32 per cent of the students in the PGP — the highest ever in more than 15 years. In the PGP-FABM, non-engineers were 45 per cent of the students. In terms of gender diversity, the PGP saw 28 per cent women joining the program in 2017 — an increase from the 14 per cent figure of 2015. Similarly, the PGP-FABM saw 50 per cent women joining the programme in 2017. This year, 50 per cent of the graduating students from the FPM are men.”
He said, “This is a period of extensive economic turbulence and political uncertainty. International alliances and trading blocs are showing signs of wear and tear. In politics, we have extreme candidates who are at the same time popular, and the sustainability of the engines of growth is in question. Our energies at such times are focused on asking what we should be doing, and helping future managers to learn, so as to deal with turbulent times. This stems from our continued focus on excellence in scholarship and educating leaders of enterprises.” “As a management school, we are also committed to supporting ethical, responsible management education when difficult circumstances can trigger a race to the bottom,” he added.
“A major issue of our times is growing inequality and as inequality increases, we are getting more isolated. We tend to live in gated communities and to give more weight to the private sphere over public spaces. In the process, without realising it, we focus more on people like ourselves as we insulate ourselves from others and their problems. The more we isolate ourselves the less we will support public goods like government schools and healthcare that are valuable to the less fortunate and the rest of us,” he said.
Sharing his life lessons, Sinha asked the graduating students to ‘be sure to be worthy of yourself.’ “You have really lucked out – both by choosing the right time to be born in India and by being super smart. You worked really hard in university and got into, and now graduate from IIM A. That’s huge. Don’t waste it. Be sure to be worthy of yourself,” he said in his address.
BCG is one of the largest recruiters from IIM-A . Sinha also revealed the firm’s recruitment plan for this year.
On the high attrition rate in the consulting sector, he stated, “Do not ask me about consulting sector but BCG. I think attrition rate is high in other consulting firms while it has been low in BCG. It is around 15-16 per cent across various sectors in BCG.”
Sinha is also a member of BCG’s global governing Executive Committee. Prior to joining BCG, he had worked with the Reserve Bank of India for several years across different departments and briefly with the World Bank.