India should partner with transient economies: Dipak Jain


New Delhi : To sustain its high economic growth, India should forge partnerships with countries like Vietnam and Georgia to derive mutual synergies with economies in transition, noted management expert Dipak C. Jain said Friday.

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“China is overexposed. Countries like Vietnam are giving real competition. India should partner with such countries that are economies in transition to sustain high economic growth,” said Jain, dean at Kellogg’s School of Management.

“We at Kellogg’s are focusing on countries like Ukraine, Georgia and Eastern Europe in general that have a similar economic growth pattern as India’s and offer major synergies,” he said, delivering a lecture on ‘Branding India in the Global Context’ at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) here.

Stating that just as companies grow with mergers and acquisitions, it is now time for countries to forge partnerships with compatible countries for growth.

“India should look at right countries for partners of growth.”

Pointing out that India’s major advantage was its young population, Chicago-based Jain said that in places like the US, Europe and Japan, the fastest-growing population is in the 65-plus age group, whereas it was 35-minus for India.

“We are going to supply to the global workforce. Future consumerism is going to be in India,” said Jain, a graduate from the Darrang College at Tezpur in Assam where he was a gold medallist in mathematics and statistics.

“China will get old before it gets rich, while India will get rich before it gets old,” Jain said, speaking about the competition between the two Asian giants.

Stating that it is the inherent ‘Indianness’ of Indians that is the main strength for the country, he said, “In the US, people are used to working in a system, in an atmosphere of certainty. But we Indians are used to working in uncertain circumstances, in difficulties.

“People who have their feet on the ground are the people who can take decisions in times of crisis,” said the Sandy and Morton Goldman professor in entrepreneurial studies.

He said there was inherent entrepreneurship zeal in Indians that put India ahead of many a competition.

“Do you know that there are around 60 Indian students studying in a remote Mexican university instead of a major city like Mexico City? Do you know why? Because they want to pick up local colloquial Spanish so that they can start call centres that can cater to Hispanic customers. This is what I call entrepreneurship.”

Speaking about challenges that face India in its quest to become a major global economic power, he said the country should first cope with living in a world of nanosecond culture.

“Things are changing very rapidly in today’s world. Today we should not focus on prediction because prediction is based on past conditions. Instead, we should go for anticipation. We should be proactive rather than reactive.”

According to Jain, search for talent is another challenge before India.

He said that a change in attitude both on the part of the employer and the employee is a must if India has to retain its talent.

“Management graduates in India are more loyal to packages than places. This should change,” he said, adding that money cannot be the only determining factor in advancing one’s career.

“At the same time, it is important to humanise business by recognising that people are the only source of differentiation and value creation. Companies say focus on customers. I say focus on employees. That way, employees will bring in more customers.”

Stating that innovation is the key to success, Jain said, “Developing countries should focus in process innovation rather than product or service innovation.”