We need a complete reboot of the Education landscape

Tarun Anand, Director – Universal Business School, Mumbai.

Born & raised in Mumbai, Tarun Anand, a Graduate of HR College and Alumni of SPJIMR started his career in Financial Services and Banking by working for Philip Capital, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank. He then moved to Reuters and within a couple of years was leading a $2 billion business across 136 countries based out of London, as their Global Head of Treasury.  Tarun was invited to become a member of the Global Innovation and Venture Board of Reuters. He co-founded FXMarketspace, a joint venture between Reuters & Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to create the world’s first FX Exchange which won numerous global Innovation awards. He then moved to New York as Global Head of Strategy in 2005 and then to Hong Kong to set-up the business across Asia as Head-Asia Pacific.

In 2009, Tarun moved to Thomson Reuters as Chairman and Managing Director, South Asia and also pursued Executive Education in United States at Michigan Ross School of Business and Tuck Business School and in Europe at IE Business School. His passion lies in mountaineering and he has also climbed to base-camp Mt. Kanchenjunga and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. He played Rugby for India and enjoys Football, Cricket and Tennis.

Read the interview to know more from the versatile Business Leader on his journey and challenges in managing a leading Management Education Institution in Mumbai today.

Can you tell us about your journey with UBS Mumbai?
I wanted to bring world class business education to Mumbai, India and so whilst pursuing my career at Reuters, we acquired 40 acres of land in a lush green valley of Karjat. It is a dream location which has close proximity to Mumbai and yet an amazing atmosphere to learn surrounded by mountains.

panoramic-view-of-ubs-campusWe then reached out to Industry and got 60 top CEOs and Business Leaders to endorse UBS, the highest achieved by any B-School in India. We became the 1st B-school to get a Global MBA Degree from Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK to India approved by AICTE (Ministry of HRD, Government of India) as we wanted to introduce a global curriculum and pedagogy in India. I then quit Thomson Reuters to focus on UBS. UBS has built Asia’s 1st Global Cross Asset Trading Room on Campus allowing our students to trade global markets in real-time. I personally interact with over 5000 students every year to select some of the best talent and it is a great opportunity to ignite young minds.

What was the biggest challenge faced so far? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was to commence the program within 20 months of starting construction. This was a herculean task of getting all the approvals and construction of 180,000 sq. ft. in a valley and bringing in basic infrastructure like power, water supply and internet connectivity to the last mile. This was a true test of our managerial skills, prioritisation and execution skills. Universal Business School is the only B-school established by three serving Managing Directors of large professional corporations (Thakral Corporation (Singapore), Omkar Realtors & Thomson Reuters). I was privileged to have as co-founders Mr.Gurdip Anand Fmr. Group CEO, Thakral Group and Executive Director, Blue Star Ltd. and Mr. Babulal Varma, MD, Omkar Realtors, Mumbai’s fastest growing and 2nd largest real estate firm, who achieved this impossible goal and we were able to get our batch commencement as scheduled always believing in raising the bar and walking the talk. How can we teach management if we cannot practice it ourselves.

What was the one achievement attained so far which you are proud of?
We have achieved a 70% CAGR in the past 5 years, an unprecedented growth in Higher Education by attracting students from 25 Indian states and 15 countries including USA, Germany, France, Russia, Gulf Region, Central & Eastern Europe, Arica and South Asian students. We have been proud to serve the Tata Group by replacing SPJIMR as their Training Partner for the Under-graduate and Post Graduate management trainees from the best colleges in India. We are also proud to have become the partner of the Defence Ministry (DGR) in our service to the Nation to train Colonels and Commanders of the Indian Armed forces towards employment in the private sector and partnered with United Nations to train their staff across several Asian countries. We have recently tied up with University of Economics, Bulgaria to bring India’s 1st Dual Continent (Europe & Asia) Dual Degree MBA program in International Business & Economics, wherein the class would consists of 50% Europeans and 50% Asians and they will study together across two continents.

How do you see Management Education in India getting transformed in the next decade?
Management Education has matured over the years, however it is sad to see that many of our leading B-schools are not consistently pushing the boundaries to innovate with new pedagogic approaches. I believe we need a complete reboot of the Education landscape with government allowing Indian B-schools to freely develop new and unique partnerships with international B-Schools. This cross border collaboration will bring in much needed focus on quality of delivery, critical thinking, and experiential learning and give our students exposure to cross discipline learning. B-schools that can deliver this will lead the disruption and I see that there will a healthy churn which will lead to several institutions shutting down and new ones created to foster much needed innovation in this sector. I would like Indian B-schools to use their human capital and innovation mind-set to become a high quality cost effective education destination for international students.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
Universal Business School would like to be the premier International B-school in India where top Indian and global companies come to get global talent. We will give multiple cross border experience opportunities to our students and faculty, provide exciting new joint global degrees, attract students from all continents and achieve collaboration with reputed International Universities by constantly innovating on our curriculum and pedagogy. We would like to add multiple disciplines which impact business like Law, Economics, International Trade and Design within the next few years. As India’s 1st Green B-school we would like to take a lead in solving some of the critical environment challenges and spearhead green thinking and sensitivity in our students to make them responsible leaders in the corporate world.