Alumni Summit 2013

The Graduate Business Conference (GBC) 2013 marked not only the 30th anniversary of the Graduate Business Forum (GBF), but also the 3rd year that an Alumni Summit is convened. For this momentous milestone, the GBC ventured onto the Indian subcontinent, where student delegates, alumni and the GBF team converged at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad for five days packed with keynote speeches, panel discussions, breakout sessions, company visits, cultural parties and the meeting of friends, old and new.

The GBF-Alumni at the Gala Dinner and GBC-Awards After Party

GBC 2013 featured keynote speakers, who each impressed the audience with their unique takes on “Leadership for the New Age”, and panelists who engaged attendees with lively discussions on Surviving and Growing in Emerging Markets and on Affordable Innovation.

–          Mr. Harish Manwani, Chief Operating Officer of Unilever NV, spoke of the major challenges to leadership in the fast-changing business landscape, the confluence of digitization, the rise of emerging economies and sustainability and as a matter of fact proposed to add responsible growth as complementary to the 3 Gs of growth.

–          Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group, highlighted the differences between the Indian and Western storytelling traditions and how these shape people’s beliefs. These subjective truths, in turn, influence how people view the world and should be top of mind when Factoring Culture into Leadership in the Global Village.

–          Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, shared sound leadership lessons amassed from his broad experience in leading roles within the United Nations and the Indian Government. With charm and spirit, he put forth numerous thought-provoking ideas from how speaking the same language does not automatically guarantee understanding each other, to the value of wisdom of years of experience or leaders thinking beyond themselves.

The delegates got an intimate view of the success of Indian companies in this increasingly globalized world through visits to Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., one of the world’s leading makers of generics and Infosys Limited, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing, and home to the sprawling campus where the guesthouse of this year’s delegates was located.

The hectic days wouldn’t be complete without the interesting social program that gives a frame to the summit and spurs the exchange between the delegates, alumni, organizers and speakers. Apart from the GBC Gala Dinner, with its tradition of honoring exceptional student leaders, evening socials kicked off with a welcome dinner where guests were treated to performances by award-winning traditional Indian dancers. This was followed by Nizam Night, where delegates dressed up in their traditional Indian best and were entertained by the puppet theater, a fortune teller, or shishas in pavilions full of pillows; Ladies brought home mehendi henna designs on their hands while the men got funky portraits of themselves drawn by the caricature artist. Bollywood Night, on the other hand, showcased top Indian comedian Saurabh Pant’s talent in crossing cultural divides to make people laugh until their belly hurts and an evening of Bollywood music and dance. The plethora of sumptuous dishes that came with each meal was heaven to Indian Cuisine lovers.

Nizam Night in Indian attire

Attendance to the GBF 2013 Alumni Summit gave alumni access not only to the official GBC program, but also to exclusive “Alumni Only” workshops on Doing Business in Latin America (by fellow alumnus Israel Cortes) or Doing Business in India (by ISB’s Subramonia Sarma).

Apart from business topics, the alumni dove into a true sub-continental experience in the city of Hyderabad. Strolling through the bazaar stalls around the historical mosque Charminar and soaking up the city’s vast history while climbing the Golkonda Fort under the heat of the blazing Indian sun, one sees the extreme contrast between an old India, with its markets and busy streets, and the new India, host to some of the world’s leading IT firms, and marvel at the harmonious co-existence of both.

Conquering the Golkonda Fort

An unforgettable week of new impressions of Incredible India hosted by an amazing team in a gorgeous location, the 30th GBC and 3rd Alumni Summit was nothing less than a complete success.

The inspiring week in this region previously untouched by the GBC in its longstanding journey around the world of graduate business education couldn’t have been possible without our gracious host; the Alumni Committee would like to take this opportunity to say a huge SHUKRIYA to all the organizers from ISB. Without your restless efforts and sleepless nights to make everything perfect for us, this summit would have never been what it was for all of us; it was a tremendous pleasure to be in Hyderabad and enjoy your hospitality. We would be happy to see you again as alumnus at the next GBC.

If you are a former GBC organizer or a delegate we would be happy to see you again at the 2014 Alumni Summit! For more information on future GBCs and all the latest information on GBF – Groups, Local Events and all other Announcements, sign up to the GBF Official Alumni Group on LinkedIn.