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Reflexions'19 - A Reflection on "Tackling challenges of the VUCA World" !!

The Department of Industrial Management and Engineering, IIT Kanpur presented the flagship event of Prabandhan – Reflexions on Sept 28th, 2019. The 3rd edition of the event on ‘Tackling challenges of the VUCA world' was concluded with a promising and on a cheerful note. With thunderous applause and riveting questions, the event opened to bridge the corporate world with the real world. Reflexions 3.0 saw the participation of 6 eminent industry leaders and management gurus to share their experiences from their respective trades. They were Karan Marwah, Partner – CFO, Advisory Services, KPMG, Harshavardhan Chauhan, Head-Marketing & digital transformation, DLF Shopping Mall, Neelesh Talathi, CFO, Pepperfry, Hari T N, CHRO, Big Basket, Raj Gupta, General Manager, HR, TCS and our very own Professor, Devlina Chatterjee, Managerial Economics, Applied Econometrics. The talk focused on "How well, can the industries predict the results of their actions in a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity." The discussion was further on the different business models, different company structures, different employee profiles, and different leadership roles and how can corporates prepare for a future they can't predict.

Mr. Raj Gupta initiated the discussion and acted as moderator for the whole panel. He put insightful questions to the panel regarding the shifting of workforce dynamics and the hassle in various sectors at local and global levels due to this. Each of the panel members had diverse views with relevant examples from their respective field. Mr. Hari TN said that the world has always been a VUCA world. He cited multiple instances from his experience at Big Basket explaining how they stuck to their core value despite the dynamic world around them and the negative reviews from many people during the early stage of the company. He further demonstrated their well-organized work culture through a 10-minute video, which was a good learning experience for all the students present. Mr. Neelesh Talathi gave his viewpoints on the disruption of the automotive industry and explained how Pepper Fry has been leading the current furniture market in the country, which is approximated to be of 40 billion dollars. He introduced four tactical principles to deal with the VUCA world: stay strategic, provide product varieties, be flexible and be disciplined. Mr. Harshvardhan then took the discussion ahead by suggesting that the ability to carve out one's niche and the risk-free path is of utmost importance in a VUCA world. In contradiction to the popular belief, Mr. Karan Marwah said that Artificial Intelligence will open new doors to employability and he believed that to survive in a world of uncertainties, one should be well prepared with the basic skills of problem-solving. Professor Devlina Chaterjee compared the changing times from the viewpoint of both consumers and producers. She believed that technology has made the experiences of consumers less complex while for the producers, it has increased along with technological advancement.

Moving to the second half of the discussion, Mr. Raj Gupta said that the people are now expecting the quality of Japanese goods for the price of Chinese goods, which is forcing the business to focus on their style of management and value system. He collected the points from the complete discussion and concluded that the skills required to tackle the challenges of the VUCA world are clarity of thought, flexibility, versatility and data-driven approach.

Concluding the event, the ACR committee put forward the culture of IME Department where the students asked insightful questions to the panel members followed by a group photo. They also distributed the mementos amongst a round of applause to the corresponding officials. MBA IIT Kanpur students are grateful for this engaging and comprehensive session. 


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