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Monday, October 21, 2013 at 1am

New Philips India MD Joins Trend for Study Abroad Experience: MBA News

New Philips India MD Joins Trend for Study Abroad Experience: MBA News main image

Krishna Kumar, who will become the new CEO and MD of Philips India this December, is the latest company head in India that can boast study abroad experience. Indeed, he will join a growing trend for the appointment of leaders who have been awarded MBAs from elite business schools outside of India.

For example, Sanjay Kaul, Apple India’s telecoms head – who has developed a strong reputation for his work in transforming the way iPhones are sold in India – is an MBA graduate of the Gustavson School of Business in Canada. Nishant Rao, country manager for LinkedIn, studied a specialized MBA in strategy, entrepreneurship, marketing and international business at MIT's Sloan School of Management. And Rajiv Mehta, MD for Puma-South Asia is an MBA alumnus of INSEAD.

Kumar was appointed as Rajeev Chopra’s successor late last week, with Chopra becoming global head of the Philips Consumer Luminaire Business Group. The new CEO for Philip’s India should feel comfortable among this elite group of peers as he holds not one, but two MBAs, as an alumnus of both IIM Ahmedabad and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Mittu Chandilya, Air Asia India’s CEO, similarly holds two MBAs – however, Chandliya has even more study abroad experience, having earned both his qualifications overseas, at INSEAD and Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

Study abroad experience supplemented by youthful approach

The other quality that this group shares, along with their MBA study abroad experience, is their age – they are all under 45. Philips India’s new appointment is 41, LinkedIn’s Rao is 34 and Air Asia’s Chandliya is just 33.

It indicates a preference on behalf of large companies to appoint highly qualified yet youthful bosses to lead their strategy in India over the next few years.

“The career progression of such people moves at double the speed since there is a big demand for such candidates in the job market,” said Ajit Isaac from headhunting firm, Ikya Human Capital Solutions in an interview for the Economic Times. Indeed, in no other country is there as great a demand for MBAs as India, according to QS research.

As a country which has now been growing its MBA market for several years, employers’ preference for MBAs is likely to continue in India, particularly among multinationals. However, what may change in the near future is the onus on study abroad experience. While employers like Philips India recognize the obvious benefits of overseas study in developing globally-orientated leaders, the growing reputation of leading Indian business schools, such as the already respected IIMs, is such that MBA graduates from these schools could challenge the very best of those who have gained their MBAs abroad.

 

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