To the bright kids who think that the nation owes them something

If you are a student from an institution of excellence with interest in complex real-life problem statements, I have an assignment for a company turn-around that I would like you to advise upon.

There is a large corporate company with a policy to induct talented kids of its shareholders for a very expensive training program.

As company needs highly trained people in future, it decided to set up a rigorous system of identifying such kids and invest disproportionately in them, even at the cost of investing far less on the training of kids of other shareholders.

As the company presumed that these kids were future shareholders who will gain from the growth of the company, it did not see any need of entering in a firm contract to secure its return on investment.

Unfortunately, after this training, most of these kids discover that the company has various massive management problems and thus does not make as much profit as many other such companies that paid better for the skills they had.

So, it is natural that most of the kids leave the company for better opportunities. Now, the company faces a yearly exodus of the human resource it has invested heavily in that is too damaging to ignore.

As it is a real-life problem statement where the objective is not to speculate about the past, we have to find a practical solution that is immediate and implementable.

The need of working on the root-problem of bad management is obvious, but that is a long-term strategy, best left for academicians. As the current state of the company is precarious, I need an executive action right now. So, let us do some loud thinking.

What should be the immediate steps for the company to cut its losses?

Should it be of stopping the incentivised training program?

That option won’t work, as the skillsets provided by the training are a must for company’s survival in modern times.

Should it add a component of indoctrination to the training that builds a sense of belonging to the company?

It is a tempting choice for the management and it is already attempted, but it is likely to have an extremely damaging long-term effect, as knowledge laced with indoctrination will lose its critical openness.

As a world-wise person that you must be after getting training from an institute of excellence, you would be quick to tell me that the dumbest of companies investing even an iota of resources in training its employees always know that people are naturally inclined to look for self-benefit over company’s and hence a stringent contract protecting company’s interest is always in place.

As everything is business in the modern world where everyone appears to have a natural right to selfish self-growth, you and I both know that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There is common market wisdom that just needs to be borrowed to save the company from further loss.

It is simply that the company seeking advice will benefit from a firm contract with the kids before training them. As it is impossible to build informal relationships with people naturally pursuing their greed, it makes a better commercial sense to protect interests of the company through formal contract.

I am sure that, if you are from an IIT, NIT or IIM, you must have realised which is the company in question.

The above rant is after suffering innumerable lectures from educated Indians, very often from these great academies, mostly staying abroad about how bad our nation is. As they constantly blame the state of the nation, I am left wondering.

What does your nation owe you that you are keen to cut a deal with it?

If you think that even after being born into it, you are not part of its troubles, you are having a business relationship with it. If you think nation owes you opportunities for growth without you helping it by creating them, you are here to do business.

India is too poor to invest in helping such businessmen get richer as individuals by paying for their costs that it can barely afford.

It does portray a horrible picture if we close our nation and turn it into a prison for bright young Indians and stunt their growth, but instead of getting emotionally overworked, we should accept that if we have to continue the way we are, we must become clearly commercial minded about cost and benefits, as we are dealing with profit-seeking businessmen, and not citizens of the nation.

At this point, we must have a firm policy to recover the cost to the nation if a person trained under the subsidised regime that we have created to support institutions of excellence leaves India for self-growth. To make more balanced, we can also return the amount recovered if the person plans to return to India.

I am ready to live with the possibility that such a mechanism will lead to bright kids leaving the nation at the undergraduate level. Let us accept that it is already happening with those with a diabolical mistrust for the nation, so it is just an inevitable outcome that we will have to live with, regardless of what we do.

We have lived with the model of institutions of excellences feeding on disproportionate national resources, with the hope that these kids will transform the nation. But, the only lesson that we have learnt from a lot of these wise men that flew out of India on the wings given by their subsidised education lectures on how bad we are.

I feel that we can now safely presume that we have invested enough in this consultancy assignment we seem to have awarded to these educated Indians to discover our problems as a nation, and now we are sufficiently informed that we have bad politicians, we have caste problems or we are getting intolerant.

We need not pay any more for discovering its problems again and again.

We just need to get off the high horse of intellectualising the problem by self-critique and get commercially sensible. We just need to put all institutions of excellence under the simple business scrutiny of return on investment.

If there are businessmen looking at their nation as if it owes them opportunities or else they will leave, it is foolish for a nation not to look for protecting its interest commercially.

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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