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Business News/ Industry / Media/  MintAsia in Singapore
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MintAsia in Singapore

Mint’s global edition unveiled at IIM alumni meet

Raghuram Rajan, chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, at MintAsia’s launch in Singapore. (Raghuram Rajan, chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, at MintAsia’s launch in Singapore.)Premium
Raghuram Rajan, chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, at MintAsia’s launch in Singapore.

(Raghuram Rajan, chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, at MintAsia’s launch in Singapore.)

Singapore: A meeting of the global alumni of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), a part of the IIMPact Singapore Signature Series, saw successful professionals and government officials interact with each other at the Raffles City Convention Centre on 5-6 April to discuss new ideas about entrepreneurship and global business trends.

Many of those who attended from across the world shared the stories of their journeys, initial failures and eventual successes. The alumni base ranged from entrepreneurs and top bankers to artists and musicians, reflecting the wide array of careers chosen by graduates of the elite IIMs.

The two-day seminar, IIMPact 2013: New Frontiers, discussed issues ranging from the importance of China and India to global growth, the prevalent ecosystems in Singapore and India for businesses to operate, to stories about individuals pursuing risky and unconventional career choices. It had sessions with key people in government such as Teo Chee Hean, Singapore’s deputy prime minister, and Raghuram Rajan, chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, and T. C. A.Raghavan, the Indian high commissioner to Singapore.

Singapore, home to over 1,100 IIM alumni and hosting 4,500 Indian companies, is emerging as a base for companies looking to invest in Asia and globally, said Girija Pande, chairman of the IIMPact organizing committee. The seminar will provide a platform for IIM alumni to come together and share ideas on how to create an impact on the new frontiers of growth, he said.

Teo highlighted the usefulness of using Singapore as a base for Asian companies looking to invest globally and vice versa. “In Singapore, generally, what you see is what you get and what you pay for," the deputy prime minister said. “The value of doing business in Singapore is higher than the costs."

Singapore, with its connectivity, infrastructure and openness to ideas and business, is becoming a hub for investors looking to investing in Asia and for Asian investors looking for opportunities globally. “Meritocracy, the multi-racial profile and the speed and nimbleness of decision-making work in Singapore’s favour," Teo said.

Singapore has many supportive policies for start-ups such as the tech incubator scheme, making it the preferred destination for many entrepreneurs.

Madhabi Puri Buch, head of the Singapore office of Greater Pacific Capital, moderated a session comprising Harish Manwani, chief operating officer, Unilever; Piyush Gupta, chief executive, DBS Group Holdings Ltd; Shankar V., group executive director and chief executive officer-Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas, Standard Chartered Bank; and Sunny Verghese, group managing director and chief executive, Olam International.

Manwani, the only non-IIM graduate among the panellists, said, “It feels like going back to the old years when a room was mostly filled with IIM graduates vying for management trainee positions at Hindustan Unilever."

The session saw gentle banter among the participants with initial leg-pulling about the huge salaries being earned by bankers to a serious discussion on how salary structures among global banks is getting out of hand.

The second day of the event started with an address by Rajan, India’s government economist, about the country’s enormous growth potential and the steps being taken by the administration to fix structural issues. Rajan said India has the potential to grow at 11-12% like China but stressed the need for this growth to be more inclusive.

Inclusive growth should be achieved more through job creation rather than handouts to the poor, he said. “If all goes well, India should recover from its growth slowdown and not necessarily limit itself to a growth of 8%," Rajan said. “We should not be overly gloomy about the Indian economy. India is growing, but imperceptibly." The economist admitted that India is facing teething problems, but said the government is taking steps to remove many of these structural problems.

During the event, Rajan also launched MintAsia, a weekly newspaper published by HT Media Ltd, which also publishes Mint, a business daily, and the Hindustan Times newspaper in India.

The final part of the gathering focused on IIM graduates who chose paths less travelled and preferred to set up their own businesses or social ventures to make a difference. From stories of initial years of struggle to the adjustment required from leaving high-paying jobs to being entrepreneurs, the session—called The Un-Makers—saw successful leaders involved in disruptive business models such as entrepreneur Nirmala Sankaran, co-founder of HeyMath!, a web-based platform that helps make learning mathematics fun for students, and Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder of jobs site, talk about their often difficult journey in establishing their business ventures.

Social entrepreneurs such as Ramji Raghavan, chairman, Agastya Foundation, and Shukla Bose, founder and chief executive officer of Parikrma Humanity Foundation, shared videos on their successful ventures aimed at addressing the needs of the under-served population.

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Updated: 19 Apr 2013, 12:43 AM IST
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