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'There are at least 20 global Indian firms'

December 27, 2003 14:00 IST

C K PrahaladChairman of PRAJA Inc and Harvey C Fruehauf Professor of Business Administration of the University of Michigan, C K Prahalad was in Ahmedabad on Friday to attend an interactive session with the members of the Top Management Forum of the Ahmedabad Management Association.

Later he addressed corporate bigwigs and management students and faculties at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Prahalad told Joydeep Ray that besides Infosys and Wipro, there are at least 20 Indian companies already achieved global proportions.

Excerpts:

With stock markets booming, the economy growing fast and companies reporting excellent results, there is currently a great deal of euphoria in the country. Is this only a short-term phenomenon?

I do not think it is a short-term phenomenon, rather I strongly believe that market is going to become more exciting in the coming months. With the market in bullish mode, a large number of global companies now may show interest in India. This is not a good piece of news for the Indian companies; but for consumers, it is great news.

There is a major concern in the west about BPO jobs coming to India--to what extent should we be worried about the protectionist trend and what should we do about it?

I think there is nothing much to worry about the protectionist noises being made in the West as it will slowly die down. Let us do a simple thing--just collect the money from the BPO jobs and shut up, no hype and tall claims like we are the software superpower or so.

Few Indian manufacturing companies have shown the ability to compete in the global market. Do you think this is still an isolated phenomena?

Once again I disagree with this idea as in the next few years we are going to witness more manufacturing companies from India coming up with the ability to compete in the global market and the game has just begun.

While listing companies such as Bharat Forge or Sundram Fasteners in this category, one also needs to add pharmaceutical companies in this list which are growing everyday.

Do you believe that any Indian company, say Infosys or even a Wipro as truly global today?

Yes, both these companies are truly global and there should not be any doubt. I see at least 20 other Indian companies being considered as global companies, like say, Mahindra & Mahindra. Even Tata Motors which sells its Indica cars to Rover, caters to the demands of the global market.

What do you see lacking in Indian B-schools today?

Though the Indian B-schools such as IIM-Bangalore or IIM-Ahmedabad are doing extremely great job with extraordinary knowledge-rich pool of students and faculty.

But there is one thing lacking--their poor record in research and publications. I do not know why but in comparison to international B-schools like Wharton or Leeds, students and faculties from the Indian B-schools are not showing much interest in research and publications.

This is one area clearly making a big difference in comparison with the top international B-schools, though the Indian schools are having an extremely talented pool of students and teachers.

There is an urgent need to stress on these two factors.

Should Indian B-schools be thinking of having foreign campuses? What are the prerequisites for B-schools going global?

The Indian B-schools should now start about thinking of having foreign campuses as the top ones are very much known across the world.

But before that our B-schools will have to demonstrate intellectual leadership before the world and we need to create more intellectual capital which is one of the main prerequisites.

Finally, what is the biggest challenge for the country now?

I think that while the western part of India is growing rapidly, the eastern part of the country is still lagging far behind.

While western India is growing at over 10 per cent in GDP, but in a sharp contrast, the eastern part of the country is growing hardly by 3 per cent and this high differential growth is a big issue and a bigger challenge for the country as it needs to be balanced.

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