President Dr .A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Interacts With Management Students At Liba

He had the crowd in splits when he was reminiscing an incident at St.Joseph’s college, Trichy in 1950-54, a time when he remarked most in the gathering “were not even ideas”. He was referring to his “Moral science” class which was taken by Reverent Father Rector Kalathil who helped them “learn something bigger than us”.

He also shared with the students an incident at the Rashtrapati Bhavan when he was receiving a group of 60 final year students from MIT, Boston. When asked what they would like to do in future, 45 out of the 60 said they would start their own enterprise, either individually or join together for software, hardware or any other enterprise. Of the remaining, 15 wanted to go for further research while around 10 people had not made up their minds. The President used this instance to drive home the fact that evolving entrepreneurship was integral to the growth of the country.

He stated that every year the country was generating 7 million 10+2 students in India and 3 million graduates apart from big schools like b-schools like the IITs. He was of the opinion that the government, the centre and state don’t have the employment potential. This found him persuading the UGC, university grants commission, AICTE and various educational institutions to carve out in the 3-4 years course, entrepreneurship skills in the 10+2 level secondary education period in addition to the 10+2 certificate .He tried to draw a comparison with the degree course in it being imperative that they be given a diploma certificate in addition to their training certificate. “If education does not give, then it is not good education”, he added. He was of the opinion that when the student goes out, he should have got trained in entrepreneurship skills. These two combination of skills makes him “a person to take his own way and he becomes a generator of employment”, he said.

He was of the opinion that all what was happening in the big, developed world was not a “big big industry making the economy”. On the contrary he said it was “the millions and millions of small entrepreneurs who generate the economy”. The President added that the entrepreneur “has to see possibilities where others do not, always search for new opportunities and challenges, then be creative, think out of the box, constantly strive to do things better, be confident about taking risks, be proactive and focus on the future and have a good knowledge and skill base.”

He then went on to talk about Organizational dynamics and its relevance today. He urged the student community to never fail in acknowledging contributions made by team members. The President also enlightened the students on the “Law of development”. This law, he said demarcated countries into two categories, the “developed” or the “developing”. What differentiated the developed countries from the developing countries were their “competitiveness” and their ability to “market aggressively”. He was of the opinion that the common factor between developed and developing countries is competitiveness. This competitiveness was based on three factors, cost, and quality and just in time market. With this the President added that mere competitiveness was incapable of ensuring survival in any organization. Ethics, he believed, was a contiguous factor for sustaining a competitive advantage.

The President also shared with the gathering, his experiences with the Cosmic ray scientist, Prof.Vikram Sarabhai who he believed had great vision and foresight. Other visionaries who he believed had contributed immensely to India‘s growth were C. Subramaniam, Prof. Swaminathan and Varghese Kurien. He said the country owed its economic prosperity to young entrepreneurs in the IT industry, the Pharma industry and small scale enterprises.

He then went on to emphasize the fact that Management education should train one on confidence and on being a creative leader. When asked by a woman from the audience on his take on partiality towards women, the President said that there was a need to “emphasize there is no difference in performance between men and women”. He added that women provided stability of performance and continuity; two traits that would help them become winners.

On being asked if Nano-technology would change the way goods were consumed, distributed and produced and in turn cause a lot of jobs to be lost and a social upheaval, The President replied that it was going to be competitive compared to the other power sources. He said Nano technology, Information technology and Bio-technology were going to converge to “make miracles”.

Having spent well over forty minutes interacting with the students at the Management School, the President concluded by quoting a few lines from the Bible which read “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

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