Thought Cast

The SPJIMR Podcast, -  ThoughtCast - brings to the listener challenging new ideas, management wisdom and practice-oriented leadership lessons. Taking forward the SPJIMR motto of thought leadership, the series showcases the 'influencing practice' principle of the institute. Each episode features an expert SPJIMR faculty in conversation with a senior industry leader on management and business.

 

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Driving Value-Based Growth, the SPJIMR way

SPJIMR Dean Dr. Varun Nagaraj is in conversation with Mr. Sunil Lulla, media industry veteran and SPJIMR alum, class of 1984.

Dr. Nagaraj shares how he interprets SPJIMR’s mission to ‘Influence Practice and Promote Value-based Growth’ to different stakeholders and discusses how SPJIMR alumni can lead such growth. Mr. Lulla and Dr. Nagaraj discuss the unique role of Centers of Excellence in creating and disseminating thought leadership at scale to shape ideas, behaviours, and actions that can benefit the country on the whole. They talk about the future of management education in India in the post-pandemic world, why education is a lifelong process, how the process of learning is vastly different from that of yesteryears, and the continued importance of an MBA even for start-ups in India. After discussing how industry practitioners could collaborate with academics, Dr. Nagaraj and Mr. Lulla wrap up by discussing the possibility of a Bollywood movie made on the SPJIMR campus!

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How Shaadi.com and Bigg Boss became success stories on Digital platforms!

Mr. Gourav Rakshit – Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18 Digital Ventures, is in conversation with Prof. Vineeta Dwivedi, Head – Digital Communications, SPJIMR.

Mr. Rakshit speaks about how he managed to successfully transition across different industry sectors – FMCG, IT Consulting and Entertainment – and how he decided on the choice of his jobs. He sheds light on how his experiences working for Apple as a client helped pave the way for creating a profitable internet venture in Shaadi.com and tackling the challenges that come with helming a business with a short consumer life cycle. They discuss the phenomenon of India’s Over The Top (OTT) streaming platforms and their future, the reasons for migrating Bigg Boss to an OTT only broadcast on Voot, the digitization and monetization challenges unique to the OTT market, and the future of cable network due to the rise in OTT platforms. They also talk about Mr. Rakshit’s learnings as a leader from Covid19, his love of building successful frameworks in an organization and his passion for sports. He signs off by sharing some invaluable Guru Mantra for young management students.

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How do leaders make tough decisions?

Ms. Mansi Tripathy, Regional Vice President – Asia Pacific Middle East, Shell Lubricants is in conversation with Prof. Ratika Gore, Assistant Professor- Communications and Head – Alumni Relations, SPJIMR.

They discuss how leaders are meant to and make tough decisions all the time. Ms. Tripathy talks about how having to flee Kashmir overnight during her childhood gave her a sense of perspective about the real issues in life. She explains the principles and frameworks that she follows when she makes crucial decisions in her professional and personal life, how she embraces the consequences and learns to thrive on them. She further explains the decision making in an organization during uncertain times like Covid19. They round off the conversation by talking about why managers make bad decisions, Ms. Tripathy’s keys to maintaining a healthy work-life balance and the importance of loving the work you do.

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Vaccines and ‘power’ brands - Leadership in the pharma industry

Mr. Rajaram Narayanan, Managing Director & Country Chair of Sanofi in India is in conversation with Prof. Vineeta Dwivedi, Head Digital Communications at SPJIMR.

Mr. Rajaram speaks about the availability of Covid vaccines in India, the challenges related to getting everybody vaccinated and what normalcy might look like in India in the next 9-12 months and sheds light on the development and manufacture of Covid vaccines by Sanofi. He also speaks about the present issues and challenges related to the current healthcare infrastructure in India and how these can be improved.

They converse about how Sanofi built power brands like Combiflam, Allegra, etc., how brand recall and trust are built in the pharmaceutical world, the role of innovation in medicines and Mr. Rajaram’s biggest learnings as a leader in these challenging times. They round off the conversation by talking about Mr. Rajaram’s successful career journey, the evolution of his managerial and leadership style over the years, his individual mantras of success, how he copes with stress and why it is essential for young managers to improve their communication skills.

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The best marketing strategy in the world needs great execution!

Ms. Sangeeta Talwar, Managing Partner, Flyvision Consulting; a leader behind iconic brands like Maggi and Tata Tea is in conversation with SPJIMR’s Professor of Marketing and Head, Delhi Centre, Dr Ruppal Walia Sharma.

Ms Talwar reflects on her successful career and talks about the iconic brand campaigns and emphasizes why customer centricity and consumer insights are keys to any successful business. They talk about the challenges she faced in her career journey when few women executives held senior positions - she was the first woman in the management cadre in Nestle India. They discuss how great ideas can be turned into long-term sustainable businesses and the importance of innovation, experimentation and collaboration in today’s interconnected world. Ms. Talwar signs off with some inspiring words for all budding corporate executives especially for women who want to make a mark in their careers.

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Leader with an entrepreneurial spirit!

This episode of the podcast is a conversation between Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awardee Mr. A. M. Naik, Group Chairman of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Dr. Pallavi Mody, SPJIMR’s Professor of Economics. Mr. Naik talks about his 56-year journey at L&T where he started off as an engineer on the shop floor and went on to become the CEO of the company in 1999 and later the MD, Chairman and Group Chairman of the company.

They discuss his first 90 days as CEO of L&T, how he brought about a culture of value creation in the company and why he decided to make L&T an international organization. He emphasizes the importance of a leader to be an entrepreneur with a professional background. He speaks about how he has contested elections from the age of 6 and how that helped him be a people’s man always through his career. They also discuss the importance of Atmanirbhar Bharat, how L&T started it in 1971 by building India’s first nuclear reactor, why India needs to become a matured democracy to ensure its own growth and why every single Indian needs to contribute to the betterment of society overall. They end the chat with Mr. Naik giving a message to young budding managers as to why they need to think about their role to the country and to the society to make India a strong nation.

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Newspapers will always remain the most credible source of news

This episode of the podcast is a conversation between Mr. Partha Sinha, President at Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited (Times of India Group) and Prof. Vineeta Dwivedi, Head Digital Communications at SPJIMR. Mr. Sinha reflects on his journey from being a nuclear design engineer, a banker, a strategy and marketing head of media and internet companies, and an advertising strategist. 

Mr. Sinha dismisses doomsday predictions for the newspaper industry. He says the importance of news and newspapers in shaping independent thought in society will stay forever as no other medium has the kind of source credibility. He also explains why Covid was the best possible management consultant for companies globally. He also talks about the Advertising industry and why it is still underrated. Prof. Dwivedi and Mr. Sinha discuss his passion for sports, books and having an area of passion other than work. They round off the conversation by talking about data disruption and he explains why the information superhighway has turned into a ‘prejudices and biases’ superhighway.

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Play your game as if there is room for only one

How did a talented cricketer, coached by none other than Ramakant Achrekar, start his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 23 and go on to become one of India’s most successful bankers?  

Mr. Uday Kotak, Managing Director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) in this riveting conversation with Dr. Tulsi Jayakumar, Professor of Economics and Chairperson of the Family Managed Business Programme at SPJIMR, talks about his entrepreneurial journey and the human mantras that he follows that has led to his success. They discuss the 3 M’s that shaped his childhood – Maa, Maths and Mania for Cricket, how cricket shaped the future banker in Mr. Kotak, how Mr. Anand Mahindra’s name came to be part of KMB, why ‘professional entrepreneurship’ is a key term for the present and future of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and why ‘Winner-Takes-All’ might eventually trump ‘Coopetition’. They also talk about KMB’s JV with Goldman Sachs, the eventual parting of ways and his 7-year pursuit of ING Vysya. Mr. Kotak also shares his views on the future of banks and banking and gives advice to the layman on how to decide where to park his/her money and talks about what keeps him awake at night.

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Young managers should learn about the difference between a papaya and a banyan tree

Mr. Amit Jain, Managing Director of L’Oreal in conversation with Dr. Tulsi Jayakumar, Professor of Economics and Chairperson of Family Managed Business at SPJIMR, reflects on a leadership journey that has seen him helm companies across industries - paint and chemicals, soft drinks, media, cosmetics – and made him a truly fungible leader. Growing up in various Air Force bases across the length and breadth of India has instilled in him certain qualities essential to successful business leaders – adaptability, appreciation of diversity and cultural sensitivity. In this enthralling conversation, they discuss why in critical markets like India, ‘differentiate or die’ holds true, why Indian leaders are always resilient, how every individual and corporate can play a part in the battle against climate change, and how beauty is diverse, eternal and is a sentiment. They end the conversation with Mr. Jain talking about what budding managers can learn from the movie ‘3 Idiots’ and why it is important for them to learn the difference between a papaya and a banyan tree.

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Don’t wait for the storm to blow away, instead learn to dance in the rain

Mr Deepak Iyer, President of Mondelez India talks to SPJIMR Professor Dr Ashita Aggarwal about why it is important for leaders to plan well in advance of a crisis, enable an innovative and growth mindset in organizations, remain invested in brands and employees during crises and how to take advantage of a Black Swan event such as a pandemic to retool the organization. They talk about the myth of large companies not being agile, the ‘Snacking Made Right’ principle of Mondelez, the value of comfort food in times of strife, the ‘Cadbury tree’, the three megatrends that we are likely to see during the new normal and the steps the company is taking towards sustainability. They round off the conversation by talking about the power of dreaming big and his fond memories and learnings from his days as a student at SPJIMR that helped shape his career. 

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The 3 Leadership Principles to Triumph over Crises.

Mr. Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director at Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) in conversation with SPJIMR Executive-In-Residence, noted author and corporate advisor, Mr R Gopalakrishnan talks about how the Bhopal Gas Tragedy crisis turned him from a “boy to a man”, and how the experience helped him as a leader to navigate various other crises such as the Arab Spring in the MENA countries, the introduction of GST and Demonetization in India and the ongoing Covid19 Pandemic. With examples from their own career, the two corporate gurus explain the principles of Corporate Leadership - ‘De-Averaging’, ‘And’, and 'Sense-Making' and why Sense-Making is a survival trait for leaders, managers and organizations during a crisis. They also emphasize the need to be in sync with the nuances of different cultures worldwide to be successful as an international manager. They end the conversation with a discussion on HUL’s prominent position in the global Unilever family.

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Company culture fosters innovation.

In this episode of the podcast, Mr. Bharat Puri, Managing Director and CEO of Pidilite Industries Limited and SPJIMR Former Dean Dr. Ranjan Banerjee, talk about the links between an organization’s culture and its innovation capabilities, the importance of a leader listening to every last voice in a company and the role of an organization’s leadership in a crisis such as a pandemic. Mr. Puri gives a comprehensive overview of how Pidilite tackled the effects of the Covid19 pandemic and lockdown on its businesses and spells out the 3 guiding principles a leader should follow while communicating during a crisis. He also compares and contrasts the operating models of MNCs and Family Managed Businesses. They end the conversation by talking about how to mentor and nurture future leaders.

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Continued Employee Engagement is a Vaccination Against Future Crisis.

Mr Suresh Narayanan, Nestle India Limited’s Chairman and Managing Director, talks about how it was his employees who helped the company survive the Maggi crisis in India, the importance of highly engaged employees in companies at all times and his conviction that well-run companies need to invest more in building a company culture than in CAPX. His insightful discussion about People and Leadership with SPJIMR Executive-In-Residence, noted author and corporate advisor, Mr R Gopalakrishnan also stresses on why being people sensitive is the hallmark of a true leader, the dangers of being blindsided by consumer market research and the role of a CEO in succession planning in companies.  

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