New Delhi: Be it a
toothbrush or a toy... each has a business story behind it.
The world of business is greening in years to touch kids in their
everyday lives, says best-selling business author Subroto Bagchi,
chairman and co-founder of MindTree Limited.
Bagchi's new book, "MBA At 16" (Penguin Books India) has been
powered by a children's project - "Business With Bagchi" - under
which the author spent four Saturdays with 17 boys and 14 girls
from three schools in Bangalore brainstorming about business and
its relevance in life.
"I went to a school in Bangalore and asked them to lend me some
kids. The volunteers were given a copy of my first book, 'The
High-Performance Entrepreneur' to read after which they were to
write an essay on who they were, what they wanted to be and what
were the issues in the world of business they wanted to address -
in consultation with me," Bagchi told IANS in an informal
one-on-one in the capital.
Bagchi has authored three best-selling business books, "The
High-Performance Entrepreneur", "Go Kiss the World" and "The
Professional", which has sold more than 150,000 copies.
"MBA at 16" builds its stories about business on the argument that
today's teenagers are our smartest generation yet. They are
tomorrow's entrepreneurs, investors, managers, policy makers,
watchdogs - and consumers.
Bagchi explores the fundamentals of business with questions raised
by his young volunteers.
Who is a social entrepreneur, why do we need business, is business
good or bad for us and can there be business without corruption?
While answering about the need of the book, Bagchi said: "As
business becomes a force, it becomes a double-edged sword too. It
cuts the hand. Once a kid grows up and becomes a professional - a
judge, policy maker or white collared executive or even a
journalist - business will touch them."
The typical approach everyone has taken to writing about business
is a text book, but children want to read Harry Potter, Bagchi
"I decided to write a book which has the power of fantasy and
fiction; where the children learn about business through
conversations with their parents, teachers and among themselves,"
The children were shown movies on social enterprise they were
assigned field work on supply chains, the writer said.
After spending four Saturdays with the children, the author "threw
away his old manuscript" and decided to make the 31 children
characters in his book.
Explaining with an example, Bagchi said in one of the chapters, "A
Day in the Life of Manisha Krishnan", the schoolgirl learns about
the making of her toothbrush and the business of the product after
she realises one morning that the toothbrush she is using has a
complex manufacturing and delivery chain.
A girl has a crush on a geek, who initially does not respond. Then
the geek has a crush on the girl, who does not want the geek any
more. "There is a thaw and then the two learn about branding - the
girl is after all a brand," Bagchi said citing a parable from his
The writer said it was possible to do business without engaging
with the "evil".
"The fascinating thing around us today is evil is cancelling evil.
I am the power of good and I have to fight evil that is a
self-destroying virus. Who is a whistle-blower? A disgruntled bad
guy. Business can thrive in corruption. When Iraq did not have a
government, business was happening, when even bullets fly overhead
and there is chaos or corruption, business goes on. Business is
adoptive," Bagchi said.
Dont worry about the tail, worry about the dog..., the author
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)