Indian business managers more elitist than Chinese: Report

By agencies   |   Monday, 22 August 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW YORK: India possesses a competitive advantage over China when it comes to the quality of business managers, a media report has said.

"Though India entered its period of free-market reform only in the early 1990s -- a full decade after China -- it was never as closed to the world. India has long had a large private sector, a network of Western-style business schools and a globe-trotting elite of English-speaking executives," the article published in the upcoming issue of Newsweek said.

According to the report, though China had a large number of business firms, "it has too few experienced managers for even the elite firms".

Consulting firm McKinsey & Co estimated that even the relatively small number of Chinese companies trying to expand abroad would need up to 75,000 internationally experienced leaders if they want to continue to grow over the next 10 to 15 years.

India, the article noted, now had 600 management programmes graduating 5,000 students a year. China had only 95 programmes, which were struggling to grant degrees.

It also helped that Indian businesses, unlike Chinese ones, operated in a basically capitalist democracy for decades.

Almost 50 percent of India's GDP was from its private sector, compared with 33 percent in China. Indians have also faced the discipline of a stock market for much longer. The Shanghai Stock Exchange was shut down in 1941 and did not re-open until 1984. In contrast, the Bombay Stock Exchange, established in 1875, was the oldest in Asia, the article said.

Moreover, Bakul Dholakia, the dean of IIM Ahmedabad, said that "what makes Indian business graduates different from others is that about 60 to 70 percent of the MBAs in India are engineers," blending technical and managerial training.

Nandan Nilekani, the CEO of software firm Infosys was quoted as saying that Chinese managers "think large scale, have tremendous drive and are quick at execution, but lack experience dealing with global stock markets, marketing, profit-making and communicating a vision."

However, many experts expect the Chinese to catch up fast, the article said.

Partha Ghosh, a former principal partner at McKinsey & Co and an adviser to India's Finance Minister, said China was producing the "path-breakers, willing to take on the top challenges of the world, even if the world doesn't know their names. That's something for India's slick managers to ponder."

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