Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Inaugural Session of Diksha by Mr. Thomas Kuruvilla

Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay continues its pursuit of knowledge with the inaugural session of Diksha 2011. The session was graced by Mr Thomas Kuruvilla, the Managing Director of Arthur D. Little Ltd. (Middle East), and world’s first management consultancy, specializing in strategy and operations management, serving major corporations and organizations worldwide.

Mr. Kuruvilla has a Bachelors degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Kerala University and MBA from the Melbourne Business School, Australia/Asian Institute of Management, Philippines.

In this enlightening interaction session, the speaker explained the various aspects of strategic consulting with proper illustration of real life examples. The speaker straight away threw the floor open for audience questions, and the students grabbed this opportunity to engage in a truly interactive Q&A session. Answering to a question, the speaker stressed that the basic purpose of consulting is to identify, understand and align with the client’s problems and solve it along with them. Here comes the need to be well acquainted with the fundamentals of different functional disciplines of business such as finance, marketing, etc and the need to be well equipped with people’s skills.

On a philosophical note, he discussed about genuine consulting and about what we wantHe suggested that a successful consultant is the one for whom the primary focus is achieving the objectives of the client, while working in a team environment. Describing the corporate hierarchy, he elaborated how strategy is always decided at the highest level, why delegating the same creates problem in the organization and why at the same time it is imperative to align that target both vertically and horizontally. He emphasized that a strategy should always be unique, implementable and different across different geographies, industries, clients and timeframe. Even after encompassing all these features if a strategic solution is not accepted by the client then the reasons why the solution was not acceptable by the client should be analyzed both from emotional and practical aspects.

A detailed comparative analysis of how the business environment in consulting varies across geographies provided the students with a clear insight into the domain. The issues in handling consulting assignments for Indian public sector and for cases related to due diligence were well explained. Answering to a question about how a strategy solution is evaluated, he suggested that a good strategy would be one that does not make too many assumptions, and does not change according to change in the underlying assumptions like regulatory norms for instance.

His views on the limitations of the structured form of strategic consulting and the effects of mergers and acquisitions in the domain were well received by the audience.

This enriching interaction session acquainted students with the concerns, challenges and growth opportunities in the Industry.

Contributed by,
Punam Agarwal,

SJMSOM Class of 2012

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