What do young Indians want? Ray Titus, professor of marketing and strategy at the Alliance School of Business, Alliance University, Bengaluru, looks at segments like work life and entrepreneurship, spirituality and activism in his book Yuva India: Consumption And Lifestyle Choices Of A Young India.

His findings suggest that there is a convergence in what young Indians value, irrespective of language, ethnicity, religion, caste and community.

Titus has previously co-authored Business Drama: How Shakespearean Insights Help Leaders Manage Volatile Contexts.

In the chapter “Business Venturing And Entrepreneurship: The Quest For Fulfilment", Titus talks about the changing attitudes to money. Edited excerpts:

The ‘for-profit’ consideration came through starkly across my qualitative data. For the young, profit is a legitimate pursuit that keeps their business going and paves the way for fund infusion that pilots growth. It’s also revealing of their psyche when young Indian entrepreneurs articulate the pursuit of profit.

Prerna of Outline India tells me that money wasn’t on her mind when she quit her well-paying job to chase after an idea she was convinced about. ‘The money will come if you do good work. And such work requires the incentive model to be shared with employees. The pursuit of profit is important if you want to put quality output out there. Money isn’t just an end, as they say; it’s a means to a desired outcome.’

The twenty-odd young entrepreneurs I spoke to echoed what Prerna told me. They genuinely looked at money as a means. They also were proud about the money they earned via the products and services they had created. They looked at their businesses as value created out of ideas they’d had and pursued. Harpreet and Vibhor at CoCubes told me that financial pay-offs did matter. They added that their ‘real’ financial pay-offs would come when their equity is valued by someone external or when they get to a successful IPO. Kaushik, who runs an event management firm in Kolkata specializing in PR activities, is clear about his numbers. He picks events that pay off quickly and with a substantial return on investment. He also classifies his event choices using colour codes that move from ‘lucrative’ to ‘drop’. Note again, it isn’t the crass pursuit of money that moves the young who think of operating their own businesses. It’s money that comes with a sense of meaning and achievement.

Success to young entrepreneurial India isn’t money. But money that validates success is welcome. Money that allows for a continued pursuit of what they love doing is more than a must.

What converges for the young in India when it comes to professional pursuits is the singular need to achieve. The ‘uniting’ factor across those who have started their own ventures and those who have chosen to slug it out at a corporate job is the need to create and be part of a value-creating process. They want to be counted on at work. They want to find meaning in what they do, and they feel that work and play don’t have to be delineated so much, as was the case in the past. Yuva India also doesn’t see work as a disconnected act solely aimed at bringing a pay cheque home. They want their workplaces to be social hubs where they invest both their rational and emotional selves.

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