The Class of 2009 is alpine fresh after a scintillating session of a power talk by Mr. Srivatsa Krishna. He reached the campus dot at 16:45 yesterday, the 28th and the talk was scheduled at 17:00 hrs. But before we go any further let me take you through his profile.
Srivatsa topped the Indian Civil Services Examination in 1994 and joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). (This is considered to be one of the toughest examinations in the world, and each year about 500,000 compete for 50 positions.) He went on doing his full time MBA from Harvard Business School and an Advanced Executive Program from The Wharton School of Business. He is currently the Executive Director & CEO South Asia of a Dubai World Group Company, one of the largest infrastructure companies globally. Before Harvard, he was part of the core team of the Government of Andhra Pradesh and was responsible for some of the key investment promotion and e-government initiatives there. In fact the Cyberabad phenomenon could be attributed to him. He was the single most influencing factor to the then Chief Minister Mr. Chandrababu Naidu. Mr. Krishna is also a Staff member – Strategy, Finance and Risk Management Vice Presidency at World Bank in Washington D.C. He is currently co-authoring a case study as part of an ISR with Professor Michael Porter on technology clusters and economic development in India. A noted columnist and writer, he is currently working on a book on Leadership and e-Government Strategy. He has been honored as one of the Top 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum at Davos. Other past awardees include Bill Gates, Tony Blair, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Michael Dell to name a few. Srivatsa is also a member of McKinsey and Company’s Global Infrastructure Advisory Board which is one of the most influential consulting practices in the world today. The list would run into a few hundred miles of national highways but I hold.
The next couple of hours took us into a realm of hope, dreams, despondence, optimism, helplessness, all put into one drink. It was amazing. The talk started with the current state of India – The competitive advantage, the Information Technology edge and the general scheme of things; put across in a positive light. And then came the killer – he took us through the Chinese statistics. The sheer progress that China has made in the past couple of decades has been staggering. He went on talking about a part of China which, once upon a time was tagged – deep ditch; now the ‘barren land’ houses more than three thousand and five hundred skyscrapers! That’s more than the total number of skyscrapers in Detroit, SanFransisco, Seattle and New York put together. In fact, what the US has done in the past 40 years, China has done that in 20 years. That itself speaks volumes about the growth rate of the country. Simply put, it’s humungous. He went on hinting that comparing India with China is plain preposterous. The culture of the two countries had a role in molding the nations as they are. The Indian culture of sustainability amidst irreversible ruckus is not in sync with their Chinese counterpart. Of course, questions about human rights in China are bombarded on various occasions but they have so far been kept away from the spotlight. The day concluded with a long question and answer session. He talked about his Harvard days, the Hyderabad stint and umpteen other things under the pale August sky.
It was one of the best presentations that the class has seen. Srivatsa is surely someone the planet has to watch out for.