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‘Focus on outsmarting competition is critical to success’

Monday, 14 February 2011 - 10:36am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Chandra Bhople, co-founder and director of Octave Business School is on a mission to set up the second campus in Pune this academic year, finds DNA.

Chandra Bhople, co-founder and director of Octave Business School (OBS), is also an adjunct faculty for marketing and entrepreneurship at BITS Pilani. With bachelor’s in electrical and electronics engineering and MBA with distinction from BITS Pilani, Bhople is on the board of BITSAA International, an apex body for BITS alumni in the world. Bhople has 30 years of global experience in education, entrepreneurship, management consulting, marketing and sales. He is one of the eight alumni of BITS Pilani, who co-founded OBS in Nagpur and is now on a mission to set up the second campus in Pune this academic year, finds DNA.

Which elements should a good MBA programme include?
A good MBA programme creates a product that is needed by the industry. Almost 90% of employment is in the private sector, which looks out for quality. Thus, the programme should include four basic components. Firstly, quality classroom teaching using good subject books by faculty who have exposure to real-world implementation of management concepts. Case study discussions that will help students apply these concepts in already occurred business scenarios. Real-world projects as part of the curriculum to expose students to a stressful environment, thus preparing them for work after graduation. Lastly, development of attitude and skills such as dedication, commitment to work, self-discipline, self-motivation, willingness to learn new concepts, communication, negotiation and team work help a great deal.  

What is the role of a foundation course and how important is it?
MBA is probably one of the few courses where graduates of different disciplines come together to study common subjects. Some students may be at a disadvantage either because they have not studied the relevant courses in their graduation or the quality of education was not up to the mark. The foundation course delivered by senior faculty solves this issue to a great extent as its main objective is to bring everyone to a similar level of understanding of basic management concepts. As a result, every student is able to participate in regular class teaching and discussions without any inherited shortcomings.

How is outsmarting the competition critical to achieving success?
With the increasing role of the private sector and diminishing importance of the public sector in India, the economy is becoming more open and competitive. Focus on outsmarting the competition is critical to success as there are always more applicants than jobs. Similarly, a large number of businesses will be chasing the same industry, except in unusual or temporary circumstances. The days of monopoly businesses are numbered.

How do you define professionalism in management? Is it still a concern here?
Professionalism in management starts from basic habits such as punctuality, maintaining highest level of honesty (saying what you do), integrity (doing what you say) and hard work. Qualities like leadership, problem solving, decision making, project and time management, along with information and communication skills are important. Without these qualities, an individual is unlikely to be able to meet the objectives defined for various management positions.

Professionalism in management in India is still a concern because of the need for non-professional activities to get a job done, particularly when a government agency is involved. Management institutes also have to face the challenge of teaching these skills to students because of lack of suitably experienced faculty. 

How can entrepreneurs spot problems faced by society and find solutions for them?
Entrepreneurs create commercially viable businesses by thinking about and implementing an idea, which is not easily seen by others. Problems or challenges in the surrounding environment provide tremendous opportunities to entrepreneurs. Whether it is difficulty of buying a bus ticket (Redbus.com) or buying a book you want without driving 20 km for it (Amazon.com, Flipkart.com), there are many business opportunities hidden in problems around us. Only those who understand how to build successful organisations can solve these problems.

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