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Achievers

IIM Lucknow Alumni Association Vol 13, September 2011

This newsletter features highlights of our interaction with alumni who are continuously raising the bar in their chosen profession or doing something completely out of the ordinary. This month, we spoke with Mr. Ramesh G, an alumnus from the class of 1992. Ramesh is the Chief Executive Officer of HDB Financial Services Ltd. What has been your career path post IIM Lucknow? I joined Godrej out of Campus. I moved to Financial Services in 1996. Consumer Finance was a nascent industry at that time. I have since worked in all areas Sales, Business Development, Product Management, Risk Management, Quality and Operations. I have had the joy of setting up multiple businesses from scratch in the past 15 years. My colleague recently said that I am an intrapreneur. I like that word! Could you brief us about your experience in working with HDB?

Mr. Ramesh G
1990-1992: PGDM, IIM Lucknow 1992-1996: Product Manager, Godrej&Boyce 1996-1999: Risk Manager, GE (country wide) 1999-2004: Vice President, HDFC Bank 2004-2007: COO, Intelenet Global Services 2007-Present: CEO, HDB Financial Services

HDFC Bank set up its NBFC subsidiary, HDB Financial Services Limited, in 2007. I was its 1st Employee! It has been an exciting journey. There are many more opportunities and challenges in the road ahead. How would you compare Indian banking sector when compared with the developed countries? How can it be structured to combat the volatility in the global market?

I believe that the quality of Products and services In India can be compared to the best in the world. Indian banks have better technology than most western banks the advantage of being a late adopter!
The challenges in Indian Markets are different Financial Inclusion, making small transaction size profitable, heterogeneity of consumer needs. The western markets are dealing with saturation and high levels of consumer debt You need disruptive ideas to grow the market.

Achievers
Do you think foreign banks have lost out on the Indian opportunity? That is a narrow way of looking at the Industry. You are dealing with public funds here. Hence, the Banking Industry is highly regulated - It may be fair to state that globally, this is the most regulated business. To build your balance sheet, you need Capital. As a foreign bank, you need to bring in capital from your parent country. Also, given the regulations, Indian Companies have been able to build distribution faster than the foreign banks. In retail businesses, Indian Institutions have been able to develop better products and reach them to the market faster than their foreign counterparts. In Non-fund based businesses, such as Investment banking, FX markets and cross border transactions, the foreign banks are competitive. What are your views about sustainability of Indian economy? We live in exciting times! There is so much enterprise and opportunity here. Travel to any of the manufacturing clusters in India and you will see a vibrant eco system that delivers world class products despite the many constraints in our system. Take any driver of our Economy Agriculture productivity, Supply chain, Delivery of public services, Energy, Education, manufacturing to name just a few There is a 10X opportunity to improve the throughput. Technology will be a major enabler here. Initiatives like UIDAI and electronic transactions will also be game changers. Please do not get bogged down or pessimistic because you see something today that you do not like. The fact is that Real India or Bharat is moving faster than the India that we experience through the newspapers and business channels. What are your views on increasing number of IIMs? Do you think it will lead to dilution of brand IIM? The Big 4 IIMs produce about 1500 MBAs a year. The Intake at Harvard alone for the full time MBA is about 900+ (source: economist magazine) India needs a lot more bright MBAs to maintain the 9% growth rate. The infrastructure in the older IIMs is limited. I believe there is a case for more IIMs.
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Favorite Books
I read all kinds of books Self-help / Fiction / Travels / Management. Some I finish in a day, some I chuck after reading the 1st 10 pages. Among Management thinkers, I like Peter Drucker and Scott Adams

Hobbies
I have discovered the joy of sailing besides catching a flight that is the only thing that can wake me up at 4am.

Achievers
The challenge is to maintain the quality of student intake, faculty and rigor of academics. What is the perception of students of IIM Lucknow in the industry today? The faculty of and alumni have done a great job building Brand IIML. There is a perception that IIML students are "understated" as compared to their peers from the other IIMs.

A word of caution here - In the corporate world, you are only as good as your last appraisal.
How did IIM Lucknow help in shaping you as person, both personally and professionally? Institutes like IIM Lucknow are world class platforms and serve as a launch pad in a number of ways. For me, it helped me to get assimilated into a competitive milieu, thrive amongst bright minds and imparted information and knowledge to be able to choose a career path. IIM Lucknow also instilled a structured and data driven approach to problem solving. How was your experience as a student at IIM Lucknow? Any special memories related to institute, professor or friends which you would like to share? We were the last batch that graduated out of Aliganj Campus. Our life revolved around the mess run by Pandey ji, the common room across and the class rooms around it. I was also the part of the core committee for Manfest. I have made some great friends from my L days who can be reached out for guidance or help. We were lucky to have fantastic and committed faculty and a great atmosphere. We have given back so little to the institute so little for what it has given us. Some of the best Managerial lessons I learnt were: 1. Do what you commit to do - after a tongue lashing we got from Prof. Rocky - we had bunked his class after getting him to change the time. 2. Focus on the data - Every class of Prof M Jha used to start with - "Have you pushed the numbers"? 3. Start with the basics - "what business are we in" - Prof. Chakraborty / Prof Krishna Kumar
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Current European Crisis


The countries that are in debt crisis have specific structural issues. I do not think that this is going to cause a Global economic recession.

Achievers
4. Be on time - We thought this was a "school drill" at L. 5. Work Hard - All the course work and reading had a purpose! Who are the people who have inspired you and why? That is a long list. I have learnt (and continue to learn) from my Managers and peers and my teachers. Everyone has something to share / teach you.

Among public figures, it has to be Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He is a role model for his Simplicity and Humility.
What would be your advice to the current PGP batches at IIM Lucknow? Since the time I was in campus, we have come a long way as a country. Indians in general and Graduates from IIMs in particular are seen as competitive and bright minds in the global workplace. I would strongly urge the students to use the intelligence and information available in IIM Lucknow (faculty, books, peers and environment) to nurture your dreams. If you have a particular field that you are passionate about and interested in, work hardest at it. There is no short cut to hard work. One last thing, irrespective of your choices, maintain your strong moral fabric in the face of adversity It will stand you in good stead.

Favorite Quote
You never fail, you only give up trying -Michael Jordan

Published by the PGP Alumni Committee on behalf of the IIM Lucknow Alumni Association Please send your feedback/suggestions on this newsletter to alumni@iiml.org