Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus gives a talk at SJIM on 9th February 2017
February 9th, 2017 will be remembered as a red letter day for years to come at St. Joseph’s Institute of Management (SJIM), Bangalore, as on this day Prof. Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Laureate graced us with his presence. Rev.Dr Fr Peter, SJ, Director of SJIM welcomed the gathering with a towering address highlighting the role of Jesuits in the field of education. Prof Yunus was felicitated by Rev. Fr Manoj, SJ. Our Rector, Rev Fr Anthony Joseph was also present for this momentous occasion. Prof Yunus was accompanied by the directors of Yunus Centre, Mr Suresh Krishnan, Mr Sanjeev and Mrs. Vineetha. Students from the sister institutions of SJIM and invitees from various reputed Corporates and business schools were present.
The talk focused on the topic of ‘Social business model to solve human problem.’ Poverty is a serious issue in India, despite having one of the fastest growing economies in the world, a vibrant and dynamic one too. Poverty in India is a historical reality, the problem which shows no signs of going away. Being the foremost authority on social businesses it was apt that Prof Yunus got to address the crowd, most of whom are on the verge of joining corporate India as managers. He started his address by bringing up the most relevant yet tough question to answer, what causes a person to be poor? Many theories in the books give many answers, we talk about illiteracy and superstations too but he stressed on the fact that the system has failed the poor. The tendency of people to avoid discussing the problems of poor and just move on is part of the problem. The beautiful analogy of a Bonsai tree being so majestic yet so stunted in stature and the poor not getting the enough resources to sustain themselves was an eye-opener for everyone present.
Prof Yunus also talked about his early foray in social business. His humble start by lending money to the poor so that they are safe from the loan sharks was a service to humanity. This was also the birth of microcredit and subsequently Grameen bank in Bangladesh. His belief that financial services provide economic life and oxygen to the poor fuelled his desire to help more and more people. Everytime he saw a problem, Prof Yunus created a business. Making personal profit in his business was never his motive, this gave him clarity. He emphasized on being selfless in business and on relalizing his dream of the 3 0’s i.e. 0% poverty, 0% unemployment and 0% net carbon emissions in the near future. He urged the students to let their imaginations drive them and help them be the job providers and not job seekers.
The talk helped the participants understand the concept of social business; it’s role in fighting the evil that is poverty and the fact that sustainability in business and in life is the best quality to possess.