“India’s Covid Fightback has become a learning lesson in overseas Universities”, says Dr. Preetha Reddy, Apollo Hospitals: XLRI 66th Annual Convocation

Jamshedpur: XLRI – Xavier School of Management, one of India’s oldest and primer B-Schools, celebrated its 66th Annual Convocation. The Convocation ceremony was held at the Tata Auditorium in the XLRI Jamshedpur Campus.

XLRI conferred the prestigious ‘Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial and Social Peace’ to Dr. Preetha Reddy, Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited. She also delivered the convocation address to the graduating students at the event.

The 66th Annual Convocation Event started off with the Academic Procession followed by the Director, Fr. Paul Fernandes, SJ.’s report. The Chairman, Mr. TV Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel also addressed the audience and presented the Sir Jehangir Gandy Medal to Dr. Preetha Reddy, the Chief Guest & Convocation Speaker. Fr. Donald D’Silva, SJ, Dean – Administration & Finance, XLRI presented the Medals for Long Service to around 27 XLRI employees. The event then witness the presentation of Medals for Academic Excellence by Dr. Ashis K Pani, Dean – Academics, XLRI to 21 students. The event was then followed by the distribution of Diploma Degrees to the graduating students.

The 66th Annual Convocation Event

497 XLRI students received their graduating diploma degrees.

2 Year Post Graduate Program in Management – BM 176
Post Graduate Program in Management – HRM 180
Post Graduate Dilpoma in Management – GM (15-months) 93
Fellow Program in Management (FPM) 11
3 Year Post Graduate Dilpoma in Management – BM 37

Fr. Paul Fernandes. SJ, Director, XLRI, congratulated the graduating students and said, “XLRI started with the dream to change the face of the earth in 1948. We thank our Chairman for all his services and constant support for XLRI to rise higher. We thank Dr. Preetha Reddy for accepting our Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for social and industrial peace. My dear students, you will be known for your service to humanity so someday I hope we will be able to honor you for your service to humanity.”

Mr. TV Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel & Chairman, XLRI Addressed the crowd stating, “The last 2 years have given us a lot of time to reflect on what’s happening around us, exposed us to vulnerabilities and how we dealt with things happening around us. We fool ourselves saying that we are strong, developed and advanced. A virus as small as this had such a big impact. The virus demonstrated that we can find solutions to problems, the way the world fought together and the way people came together to find solutions is incredible. The last 2 years has accelerated us to the future. We have become more inclusive. Local issues become global and global issues impact us locally. India is a potential source but also a potential market.

The 66th Annual Convocation Event

The Chairman, XLRI, also highlighted the importance of resilience. He mentioned, “XLRI is an institute which talks of being there for greater good. As you experience challenges and vulnerabilities, you need to see in which way you can help the community at large. It could be the time you spend in understanding circumstances and accordingly put forward your contributions.There’s a lot of challenge but a lot of opportunity too.”

He also thanked the Convocation Speaker by saying, “Thank you Dr. Preetha Reddy for accepting our invitation and the Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial & Social Peace.

Accepting the medal from the Chairman, Dr. Reddy said, “It is an honor and I thank you for inviting me to the 66th Annual Convocation of XLRI. In the turbulent 2 years, a beacon of hope was provided by healthcare and I believe that this award is for unsung heroes in this sector. If Covid-19 was a war then these people were truly peace makers and that brings me to today’s heroes.

She also congratulated the students saying, “Today is a very special day in your life it might happen once or twice or four times but each time it’s very special and to graduate from India’s most eminent institute I congratulate to all students, faculties to nurture and care, families who supported and encouraged to study hard and to everybody in the ecosystem to see what you’ve done.”

Dr. Reddy talked about the need of Agility & Resilience in today’s era. She said, “Agility is today a mantra which all institutions and workplaces use. Just as we cannot survive without oxygen, corporates also cannot think to survive today without agility. As an institution that is greatly appreciated and forward thinking, agility is hard wired into each one of us. It is not DNA that doesn’t exist. It’s a quality that helps you transform into dire circumstances.”

She also mentioned that. “Anxiety in the healthcare industry over the last 2 years and a country like ours has coped up with Covid so well that it is now becoming a lesson for universities abroad (Harvard & Boston). I have myself taken a session & talked about India fighting covid and I’m proud to be an Indian. How sustainable we can be, we showed the world.I am proud to be an Indian. ”

The 66th Annual Convocation Event

She also shared some facts like, India has discovered the Covid-19 Vaccine in 4-5 months. 70% of the medical items were earlier imported. Overnight government factories turned to medical factories and they manufactured masks and PPE. India didn’t have enough ventilators and a company called Metronix gave away their patent rights, companies like Tata and Mahendra started manufacturing ventilators and this is a great lesson of giving back to society. The oxygen crisis is also another example.

Dr. Preetha also shared some insights about Apollo Hospitals. Initially it started with 150 beds in Chennai and is now expanded to 150 countries outside India. Earlier it was about shareholders’ value but now it has changed to stakeholders by adapting to Sustainability. She shared 4 entries for students:

  • Erase inequalities that surround us
  • Think about the environment in every choice we make
  • Make inclusive growth a priority and prosperity
  • Harness the power of partnerships/collaboration using technology.

She concluded by saying, “I am so happy to be with all of you. The protagonists of today are the graduating students. It is you who will shape tomorrow. You will be an unstoppable force.”

In the past years, XLRI has conferred the Sir Jehangir Gandy medal on eminent business leaders like Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India in 2014, Ms. Mallika Srinivasan, Chairman & CEO, TAFE (Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited) in 2015, Dr. Sunil Kant Munjal, Jt. Managing Director of Hero MotoCorp & Chairman, Hero Corporate Services Pvt. Ltd. in 2016, Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman, The Godrej Group in 2017, Mr. TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education and Aarin Capital & President of AIMA in 2018, Ms. Anu Aga, Former Chairperson of Thermax Ltd in 2019, Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman & MD, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. in 2020 and Sandeep Kataria, Global CEO, Bata Corporation in 2021.

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