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IIM alumni meet in Santa Clara

The Northern California Chapter of IIM USA organised a spring conference for US-based IIM alumni, writes Shalini Narang.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 12:20 IST

The spring conference titled Outsourcing-Trends, Myths and Reality organised by the Northern California Chapter of IIM USA at the Tie Convention Center in Santa Clara on Saturday, April 8 had speakers from the diverse fields of politics, research and industry talk about the latest on off shoring.

IIM USA is a pan IIM alumni establishment founded in the summer of last year. Currently, the organisation has around 1500 US-based alumni as its members.

The threefold objective of the formation is promotion and enhancement of the IIM brand in US on lines of the IIT brand, networking and a professional development forum for its members.

The informal meeting and networking over lunch was followed by a formal session of talks, insights and anecdotes by the speakers and an interactive question and answer session on the current trends and future direction of the vast field of off shoring.

"It's a great time to be a diplomat of India. Unlike the past when most of India's agenda was defensive and we as diplomats had to defend India's stand on issues like Indo Pakistan relationship and India's stand on the non proliferation treaty, the focus, at present has moved to India's new and important economic role in Friedman's flat world." said Consul BS Prakash, The Consul General of India at San Francisco.

He added: "Forward looking economic and work centric aspects of India are on the fore front in diplomatic relations also. The milieu of greater confidence, optimism and a can-do attitude of the work force in India have helped escalate the image of brand India, especially in the enlightened, literate part of America."

"Fifty years of investment in education, learning and knowledge in India is paying its dividends in the form of good job opportunities and increasingly India is rising in the value chain of employment by attracting high end cutting edge jobs in research and development," he said.

"Duality and polarity of reactions by the US populace to outsourcing are an economic reality. Management of transition is a great political challenge at the corporate, national and international level. To sustain its edge in innovation, US has to bring down the cost of innovation and partnership with India as source of talent is a vital economic permutation in that equation," he opined.

Following the consul general's gung ho address was a crisp research backed talk by Dr Rafiq Dossani, a senior research scholar and executive director of the South Asia Initiative at the Stanford University.

Quoting some recent researches and studies, He said: "Some of the main factors against the rise of early stage risk capital in India are severe lags in IP protection, corporate governance, industry university collaboration and bureaucratic hurdles faced by the Diaspora."

To compete globally, the need of the day is for Indian businesses to become innovative and for Indian entrepreneurs to shed aversion to risk and become more risk taking like their American counterparts.

Some of the other factors isolated for India to sustain its position as an out sourcing hub for both high end cutting edge research based initiatives and other work include development of a holistic habitat promoting entrepreneurship and innovation encompassing early stage venture capitalist funding and a stronger IP regime.

While out sourcing or off shoring as a topic of discussions and debates has become intrinsic to professional or personal meetings of Indian techies in the Bay Area and wherever two desis meet and greet, this subject is sure to surface in their formal or informal conversation, the insights for future growth and development of the industry by experts like Dr Dossani are priceless to not only the health and sustenance of the trend but also to the economic climate of the country.

I hope the representatives of the various establishments will make the best of the available information. Complacency can be a fatal luxury in an age of cutting edge global competition.