• Prof. Sayan Banerjee

Faculty Bytes

 

"DON'T SIMPLIFY; THINK COMPLEX. THAT'S THE WAY TO BEAT THE MACHINES OF THE FUTURE."

 

In his year-and-a-half at IMT Nagpur, Professor Sayan Banerjee claims to have been labeled as a thinker sort by the students of IMT Nagpur.

"I'm considered as the intellectual sorts, which, I guess that is a mild way of saying I'm boring. I do watch cartoons and comedy shows, but my friends and colleagues think I'm the serious-type. I guess my funny-bone just doesn't show in my demeanor."

Although a chat with Professor Banerjee shows him in a completely different light. Call him 'young' and pat comes the riposte,"Going by the marketing textbook definition, I'm no longer young. The cut-off is 35, and I'm 36.'

Professor Banerjee is a teacher because he simply couldn't picturise himself as an IAS Officer, or a Bank Probationary Officer, or an Engineer making his money abroad. In the 90's - post liberalization and the dream budget of Chidambaram in '97 - due to a series of events, Professor Banerjee, who had qualified NET for Lecturer-ship conducted by UGC, was offered a job as an academic associate at IIM, Ahmedabad in the year 2000.He enjoyed it too much to let go. This was the phase when it seemed like a new B-school was opening up on a daily basis.

"Since last few years, I'm seeing the maturity phase. India is a growing economy worth more than 40 lakh Crores rupees. sometimes growing fast and sometimes slow. Depending upon this pace of growth, sometimes in our country there will be new projects worth 50,000 Crores, sometimes 30,000 Crores. Depending on that, assuming for every 5 crore worth of new project one manager is needed; sometimes 10,000 managers will be required by the industries, and sometimes 6,000 managers. And this number will only increase in the future .If the well-established B-schools like IMT, Nagpur are not to branch out, there will be run-of-the-mills operators that will churn out insufficiently and improperly groomed managers, simply because the demand outstrips supply. So premium B-schools like IMT, Nagpur are duty-bound to expand and branch out. "

Prior to IMT Nagpur Prof. Banerjee was with Narsee-Monjee, Mumbai.

"It was quite an intellectually stimulating institution, but I was not finding the academic ambience in the city. Mumbai is a city of struggle, especially for the middle class. It is a maximum city; either you have to be super-rich or you have to accept the life at the lowest rank of the economy, in order to survive it. The middle class is neither here nor there. They can neither live in Dharavi, nor could we afford an apartment in Bandra. Prior to joining here as full time faculty, I had been associated with IMT, Nagpur as a visiting faculty. I liked the institute, and found the city much better place to live in."

Pretty evolved, one may say. But Prof Banerjee thinks that you cannot live for money. use money to make a living. The truth is that pay packages for the new managers have not dwindled; it's just that the benchmarks have changed.

"The thumb rule is that, a Manager dealing with a 100 Crore project, may get an annual package of 50 Lakhs. But if a project worth is just a few crores then the package cannot exceed 10 Lakhs. Students end up benchmarking unrealistically. But for a twenty-three old person, with no responsibility; in a country, where the per-capita income is very low, a package of 10 Lakhs is very good. The media will talk of that one odd case where one student of one B-school gets a package of one Crore. Media thrives on Sensation not Sense."

Prof. Sayan Banerjee finds great incentives in making his classes at IMT Nagpur interesting.

"More than my students, I get bored if I don't see something interesting happening in my Classes. It's a different kind of a profession. Here your performance appraisal or bonus amount is not the real award. A small note to you by a student praising a particular session or attributing a certain changed perspective leading to a good job interview, are big incentives for a faculty."

Prof Banerjee feels that while IMT Nagpur undoubtedly has a fantastic infrastructure - both human and physical infrastructure - at par with the best B-schools in the country, Nagpur is not in an economically happening city, and students of this institute may have a limited real life ,everyday business exposure which is provided by a city like Mumbai or Delhi. The city is growing though, and it has been reported that it will be one of the major drivers of future growth of the country, so that's a positive for him.

"Twenty years down the line, everything with a definite 'Right' or 'Wrong' for an answer, will be carried out by machines. The only place where humans will still be needed when there would not be a definite 'Right' or 'Wrong'. My advice to the IMT, Nagpur grads is don't simplify, think complex, look at a problem from different perspectives, only then can you survive and outsmart the Machines in the future."