Mr. Amitabha Sinha, Partner, Cornerstone gave an insightful talk on the 2nd day of Colloquium 2018, at IIM Indore. Mr. Sinha shared his insights on topics like leadership development through his own experiences and talked about the change that can be witnessed from earlier times to now in terms of options that people have, with a special emphasis on the ease of going abroad for our generation. The talk ended on a high note with Mr. Sinha emphasizing on the importance of “being yourself” to become a successful leader. We got a chance to have a few words with him after the talk.
Anugya- Sir, what persuaded you to move from the generic path towards becoming a CEO to actually training CEOs?
Amitabha- I got into mentorship because I believe I had grown out of the managerial part. There were two options, either I could work with a very large company, as a CEO but to be honest with you, that gets a little too boring and it’s in the same direction. It doesn’t give me the opportunity of working with what I want to work. I couldn’t pick and choose. So, when I moved out, it gave me that kind of choice.
Anugya- Today, there is a lot of diversity when we see CEOs. Do you observe any differences between the generations of CEOs in the kind of training that they need?
Amitabha- This nomenclature that you’re using i.e. CEO, is an American nomenclature. This has got no meaning in the Indian Factories Act though. So what you mean basically is the chief executive of a company. So, a lot depends on what you are doing as a CEO. I know CEOs who are purely into sales and nothing else. SO what you’re doing as a CEO is important. If I say, CEO is the person who’s controlling the total business, a lot of millennials are there who are actually doing a managerial job. There are still other people who are playing a role, i.e. the boards of the companies. For eg. the job of an Infosys CEO would be very different from a start-up’s CEO. So, you’ll see a wide variety and difference in job even though the position is the same.
Anugya- Sir you mentioned about AI in your speech and you posed a question in front of the audience what their outlook was towards it. Where do you think AI is in today’s context if we consider white-collar jobs?
Amitabha- AI is a pretty serious threat especially because a lot of jobs which in the earlier generation which were not qualified as managerial, have now become managerial or MBA-recruiting. for eg. consulting firms, they hire a lot of analysts from the business schools and those guys are going to be enabled intelligence-wise, that segment is going to go away. Talking about genuine managerial jobs, I believe MBA is involved anywhere where you’re dealing with uncertainty. Now, if there is a structured job of minimizing the risk, that can very well be done by AI. So, I believe that the threat is real. A lot of jobs in MBA, especially at entry level, do not involve decision-making and judgement and those would be the first ones to get hit by this.