Become a change leader with the vision to transform lives in grassroot communities Advises Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director -WeSchool

May 25, 2012 | Posted by admin in Faculty Talk   No Comments »

1. What advice will you give to young MBA aspirants trying to decide on a career in Rural Management today?

Today there is an increasing need for greater synergy between management and agricultural education. Agricultural studies also include development of the entrepreneurial skills of the students in areas such as agri-business management, post-harvest technologies and marketing. Environmental problems, environmental protection and management have also started receiving increased attention.

As this sunrise sector is expected to boom and hold the bulk of world’s manpower in the years to come, those who enter it now will definitely have a bright future to look forward to. Remember the words of Management Guru, Late Dr C K Prahlad,”In India the real wealth lies at the bottom of the pyramid”. A well educated rural manager with a strong social perspective who will seize this opportunity now will certainly flourish and create value for self, corporate and society in the times to come.

2. What are the changes sweeping through the Rural India that demand   more and more trained managers to work its many multi- faceted activities?

Businesses, governments, NGOs and donor agencies no longer see the rural poor as victims and are seeing them as creative entrepreneurs as well as value-demanding consumers. Multi-national companies who choose to serve these markets by meeting their demands are reaping the benefits of the changed circumstances. While the governments’ policies have changed for the better, corporates are working more and more with NGOs, SHGs and local governments to create new business models to cater to rural communities. With the number of  IT companies, Banks, Telecom, Insurance ,FMCG,Mico-credit organizations  trying to make inroads in the rural economy  is increasing day by day, it is but natural that a large number  of well trained managers in every area; Finance, Marketing, Operations, Logistics, IT, HR are required to lead the growth story to success.

3. How will the career path in Rural Management be different from that of other MBA students?

A rural manager has the responsibility to increase profitability and ensure all round sustainability by overseeing large-scale projects in rural development, manage agriculture bases and its allied activities and nurture the socio-economic development in the area. Opportunities for placements in rural consultancies are many and here one may have take on many diverse tasks and even recruit and train others. If one wants to balance career with philanthropy, can spend time dealing with the rural customers, have some working knowledge of seeds and fertilizer and some ideas about handling logistics you have a starting advantage. Manufacturers, traders, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, telecom/mobile networks, bankers and many others are  getting  into the business of agriculture, agribusiness, agri-management, agri-insurance as the careers are found to be quite rewarding.

3. What is the uniqueness of the program in Rural Management that WeSchool has on offer?

At WeSchool, we are always in a process of reinventing ourselves by challenging  convention, design innovative programs to equip today’s youth to face tomorrow’s challenges and create new paradigms in management education by starting course like Executive PGDM,Family Managed Business, Healthcare ,Legal Professionals etc. The program offered at WeSchool is focused on ‘Rural Management’ quite unlike other players in the field that offer courses with a focus on ‘Rural Development’. The two year full time AICTE approved Post-graduate program has six trimesters with two month summer internships and covers a diversity of subjects that range from Managerial Economics, Business Statistics, Rural Ethics, Rural Finance and Financing Institutions. Rural Development Programs of Central and State Governments, Rural Development Policy and Institutions. This will be supplemented by domain specific subjects including Conversion of Organic Waste, Non Conventional Energy use, Organic Farming and Contract farming. The major distinguishing feature of the program is the focus on wealth creation through development of sustainable business models in rural space.

4. Where will one find career opportunities in this sector?

The Rural Manager can work in agri businesses, co-operatives, banks (NABARD, IDBI, ICICI, YES Bank, Rabo Bank, UTI), insurance (ICICI LOMBARD, LIC), retail (Future Group, Reliance Retail, Godrej Agrovet, Bharti, RPG), MNCs or rural consultancies (ITC e-choupal), research agencies, including the UN and its subsidiaries. List of NGOs/Voluntary agencies that hire rural management graduates in India and abroad are exhaustive, and they do offer good career prospects.

5. the next big question, will a career in Rural Management have the same status, glamour and a sense of security as it is perceived for a MBA graduate?

Remember the legendary names of Dr Varghese Kurien, Dr M S Swaminathan and Nobel Laureate Dr Mohammed Yunus, were they not rural mangers? These change leaders had the vision to transform the lives of grassroot communities and the passion with which they worked changed lives of the rural poor and gave educated urbanites a new perspective of societal growth.

The youth of the country are a sensitive, committed lot, they want to give back to the society and make a difference in the global community. City-bred students who are fortunate enough to avail of expensive management education should look at rural management  not only as a career option but as a golden opportunity to repay the debt of the society  by serving the underprivileged ,thereby creating a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. These rural managers will have the satisfaction of working with village communities, earn a decent living and enjoy the prestige attached to working with a reputed corporate. With innovation and creativity they will change the system, spread the solution, and persuade entire societies to take a new direction.

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