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`Finance professionals are not the masters of the universe`

By Uma Keni Prabhu | Last Updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 11:24

Uday Kotak, executive vice chairman & managing director, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, spoke to Uma Keni Prabhu.

On whether B-schools should introduce programs with a broader appeal:

Financial curricula training offered in an academic setting, has to keep pace with developments in the real world. This can be done by continuously incorporating learning and lessons from on-ground experiences, on a real-time basis. A longer industry-training component, with assessment weightage equal to curriculum based teaching, should be considered so that the students are better aligned to the business reality. But, this requires tremendous academic flexibility and departure from the current rigid curriculum based training and assessment.

On whether finance training should be high on the agenda of banking professionals:

While understanding core finance is the key here, I feel a few other areas too are getting to be critical where the banking sector is concerned. These are:- Technology
- Human Development and building of culture
- Highlighting issues around conflict of interest
- Importance of customer centricity

On B-schools setting up research centres to look at policy problems surrounding the industry:

B-schools can adopt a case study method of teaching. In addition, if professors can create research laboratories around both macro and micro that would be a big positive. What needs to be done is to have a framework where outstanding teachers are attracted to B-schools and are encouraged to do consulting along with teaching.

On employers pushing for people with more specific skills than MBA:

When recruiting fresh management graduates, employers are looking for people with the right attitude, along with the right aptitude. When these two factors are in place, any skill can be imparted. Now, if there is a candidate who along with these skills also has relevant work experience while still in school, she or he is bound to get preference, since on boarding efforts and cost will be lesser.

On B-schools helping to build foundation knowledge among employees for better internal communication:

The needs of different businesses are different. Most companies have institutionalised their own sensitization programmes for employees from different functions, delivered by their respective training departments. Such programmes marry foundation knowledge with organisational ethos and build into that specific company’s unique cultural needs and business requirements, and, cannot be replicated outside.

On whether B-schools should teach what is being taught at the corporate level:

Those elements of industry training and on-boarding programmes which can be replicated in a B-school setting should of course be, as that will make the students more employable. However, all elements of a company’s in-house training programme can never be replicated in a non-local setting.

Your top tips to finance students.

- Learn the core curriculum well.
- Develop some areas of skills & expertise.
- Ethics and values are core for India of today and tomorrow.
- Last but not the least, develop and instill 3 human qualities – prudence, simplicity and humility. Professionals, especially from the financial sector should remember at all times, they have a significant role to play in this sector but they are not masters of the universe.

First Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 11:24

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