New Delhi: How would you have dealt with terrorists taking over your company’s hotel or office?
That’s the question students at New Delhi’s Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) are answering or getting ready to answer.
November’s terror attacks in Mumbai, where Indian Hotels Co. Ltd’s Taj Mahal hotel and East India Hotels (EIH) Ltd’s Oberoi-Trident hotel were extensively damaged have introduced terror into B-school curricula.
At FMS, questions on how managers can cope with and respond to terror attacks have become part of a corporate strategy class taught by J. Mitra, dean of the school.
At IIM-B, associate professor Amit Gupta plans to introduce a module on crisis management, including coping with terror attacks, into a course in leadership and change management that he teaches. “It was unprecedented,” said Gupta, referring to the attacks. “(I don’t think) any of our organizations can respond to armed terrorists entering their premises. What could be the response?”
B-school campuses haven’t been immune to the overwhelming feeling of anger at the perpetrators of the terror attacks and the government that pervaded most large cities. The attacks were also aimed at crippling the economy and, from the students’ point of view, placements on campuses.
Lateral thinking: Deepti Pillai heads the student council at NMIMS. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
“They (terrorists) are attacking the economy,” said Deepti Pillai, who heads the student council at the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in Mumbai. “A lot of lateral thinking is coming out of it,” she added, referring to the ideas coming from students on how to cope with terror attacks. The school’s social responsibility cell plans to conduct a workshop on the topic in February.
“It was really, really heated,” FMS student Shivani Poddar said of the corporate strategy class. “It was about how all of us will have to deal with it (terror) tomorrow. The chairman of Yes Bank (Ashok Kapur; he was killed in the attacks) was there. I personally know a CFO who was living in the Taj (at that time)”.
Poddar said one of the suggestions which came up was that conglomerates such as the Tata group—of which Indian Hotels is a part—need to have an internal crisis management team.
At IIM Bangalore, C. Sathyanarayanan, a first-year student, said he would opt for the course offered by Gupta. “I am interested in any organization that has to deal with change.”