Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ross School, Indian confederation sign memorandum in honor of C.K. Prahalad

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business have signed a memorandum confirming their intent to collaborate as strategic partners.

The memorandum of understanding will bring together two very unique efforts. It will support CII's India@75 initiative and the Ross School's C.K. Prahalad Initiative.

The memorandum was signed Friday in Delhi by Robert J. Dolan, dean of the Ross School, and Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of CII.

The two organizations will collaborate in planning, facilitating and implementing experiential learning projects on which Ross students and faculty will work with CII member institutions and strategic partners on projects that advance both the objectives of India@75 and the Ross School's academic and educational aims.

"CII is looking forward to this partnership with the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business," says Banerjee. "Late Professor C.K. Prahalad inspired the India@75 agenda, which CII took across the country to a large cross section of society, even reaching out to those beyond business. The result was an agenda that represented universal aspirations of Indians from all walks of life and how they saw their nation in the year 2022 — when India completes 75 years of independence.

"Today, India@75 is truly a people's agenda. The partnership with the business school and university which Professor Prahalad made his academic home for so many years is therefore very special. We think the Ross School's C.K. Prahalad Initiative's interest in identifying and understanding next practices aligns well with the desires and needs of the agenda of India@75."

Dolan says the relationship would provide his school opportunities to strengthen its already robust relationship with India.

"The Ross School has deep and enduring ties to India," says Dolan. "We have graduated many outstanding Indian students. We have also sent many students and faculty to work on field projects for outstanding Indian organizations, and we have provided executive education to a number of Indian companies.

"Over the years, we have become acutely aware that relationships work best when the flow of knowledge and ideas is reciprocal. That has certainly been the case with our experience in India. So we are extremely pleased to develop this natural affinity between our own C.K. Prahalad Initiative and India@75. We think it is a great foundation from which to advance a global understanding of how innovative next practices can shape the relationship between business and society in many parts of the world. "

Of the MBA class that will graduate from Ross in 2012, Dolan noted that 8 percent are Indian citizens and that a number of the school's faculty are Indian-born. Ross students and faculty have completed a number of successful field projects with Indian partner organizations that combine an educational experience for students, research opportunities for faculty and consulting services for partnering organizations.

Among the organizations the school has worked with in India are Infosys, Syntel, GVK Industries and Aravind Eye Care. The Ross School has conducted more than 1,500 action-based learning projects with more than 725 organizations in more than 30 countries.

Rajan Navani, chairman of CII's Mission on India@75, says that "emphasis is on grassroots-level action, and the objective is to bring all the stakeholders in the country together to work towards our dream India. The agenda we have today for India@75 was developed through a grassroots approach imbibing the shared aspirations of all Indians and therefore its action, too, will take the same course.

"The partnership with the Ross School will ensure that we create access to global knowledge and practices for many Indians and, in turn, give an opportunity to the world to learn and adapt next practice ideas which are materializing at the bottom of the pyramid in India constantly and rapidly."

According to the memorandum of understanding, the Ross School will endeavor to create and disseminate teaching materials arising from the projects on which CII and the Ross School collaborate. In addition, the Ross School and CII will endeavor to co-create activities such as seminars, conferences and workshops in the United States and India.