MARG & GREAT LAKES ORGANISE SEMINAR ON ‘INSPIRATION FOR BUSINESS, LIVING & LEARNING’

~ MV DA FU carrying project cargo for Nagarjuna Oil Corporation berthed ~

Chennai, November 26, 2009: MARG Limited, India’s leading diversified infrastructure development company, in association with Great Lakes Institute of Management today organised a Seminar, which saw the participation of eminent thought leaders from various professional and societal fields. The topic for the Seminar was ‘Inspiration for Business, Living & Learning’.

The speakers at the Seminar organised by MARG Centre for Excellence in Infrastructure and Great Lakes comprised of Mr Khurshed Batliwala, The Art of Living; Mr Prasanna, Guitarist; Mr K Raghavendra Rao, MD, Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.; Mr Vinod Kumar Menon, The Art of Living; and Mr. GRK Reddy, CMD, MARG Group. The audience also gathered inspiration from His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living.

The discussion highlighted the importance of business, living and learning as the dimensions of human existence, which cannot be viewed in isolation. The speakers shared enlightening views on finding ways to regain this balance and emphasized that a progressive society can exist only when all the three aspects – business, living and learning complement each other. Learning should help in making business and life better, and with business not losing sight of learning and growth, should contribute to the betterment of human life. The physical environment exerts significant influence in sustaining this delicate balance.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr GRK Reddy said, “It’s our great pleasure to have eminent speakers joining us in our initiative to highlight the need to maintain a balance between business, living and learning. All of us would agree that life without the opportunity to learn, grow and work is incomplete. Learning without the opportunity to put it to use in life and business is redundant, and business without learning or considering the needs of life is unsustainable. However, in today's overburdened urban sprawl, it is quite common to see this delicate balance compromised, leading us to choose one in favour of the other.”

The speakers drew attention to the fact that apart from offering living spaces, working spaces and other basic amenities, new habitats should cater to include avenues for skill development, improved healthcare, education, infrastructure, arts, crafts, music etc., in the development plan. India, especially south India, is increasingly being perceived as a hub for electronics, IT & ITeS and R&D. This is primarily because India is known the world over to be a ‘low cost-large talent pool’ destination. These sectors are capable of providing immense socio-economic benefits. Staying competent in them depends significantly on the associated support infrastructure. These industries have induced large scale migration to cities, thus exerting more pressure on the existing infrastructure.

While infrastructure offerings in some cities may cater to the current industry needs, it must be borne in mind that businesses and their needs are bound to grow with time. Hence, the approach should be forward looking and the aspiration should be to gear up, keeping the future business needs in mind. As cities develop, an oft seen effect is a gradual increase in costs, often pricing the local working class out of the market. Therefore, from the perspective of sustainability, it is essential to integrate the social, economic and ecological factors into the development plans of cities.

Globalization is today witnessed not merely in the economy and industries but also in the sphere of education. While physical infrastructure is fundamental for businesses, the most critical element is the availability of a large talent pool. The development of human capital enhances in attracting both product and service businesses. To attain a leadership position with regards to human capital, there is a strong need to innovate on education in schools and colleges to help increase the quality of learning and employability of students. High quality education at affordable costs should be made accessible to the rural masses. Hence, educational infrastructure that provides holistic learning to transform the children of today into the leaders of tomorrow need to be planned for.

The development plans of cities need to take into account the three basic needs of people - business, living and learning, to make them sustainable. Very few cities in the world can adequately satisfy all three needs; those that do can cater only to the elite and affluent segments of society. These cities are unable to provide the optimal balance of these three needs in a manner that is affordable and accessible to the masses. Rather than sticking to the existing haphazard model of population induced infrastructure development, a more innovative approach such as infrastructure induced population growth and economic activity is to be looked at. The objective should be to evolve from building cities to developing aspirational habitats that offer the best possible balance of business, living and learning.

One way forward could be to develop new planned regions based on the principles of ‘New Urbanism’. New Urbanism believes in shifting design focus from the car-centric development to a concentrated pedestrian and transit-centric, walkable, mixed-use community. Many of these principles are also applicable in the Indian context and provide pointers to the required lines of thinking. These principles need to integrate the social, economic, cultural aspects and values of the people in the impact area. Opportunities for inclusive sustenance, growth and development need to be created. To create a vibrant habitat, the New Urbanism principles need to be supported by an engine of growth.

Leveraging its strengths as a regional developer, MARG has already embarked on this path in providing a balanced environment to live, learn and work. MARG Swarnabhoomi, a new city being created 75 kms from Chennai, is the first step in creating the new urban centres of tomorrow.

ABOUT GREAT LAKES INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT

As India marches forward on the path of success, the need for more current and innovative management is needed, blending the best practices and experience of the West and the great values and ethos of the East. This dynamic combination will bear fruits only if our current generation of business leaders recognize them early (Money Value of Time) and nurture and grow them to maturity (Time Value of Money).

Great Lakes Institute of Management's vision is to seek, mould, polish and develop such leaders with changing times. Based on its discipline based core courses (horizontals) it moulds the students to become "Masters of Business Readiness" by a dynamic curriculum of customer - centric electives (verticals) providing synergies, enriching tradition with innovation. Great Lakes Institute of Management recognizes that India tomorrow will be shaped by entrepreneurs who can creatively leverage knowledge, skill sets, business processes, technology and intellectual capital.