Posted on: July 5, 2013
There is always something special about being from the 1st batch of an institution. You always are far more conscious of your academic pedigree, and perhaps a bit more driven than others. You are acutely conscious that you are among the select few who are not recognised by the B-school they went to, but instead your B-school will be bracketed by how you perform. Few know the responsibility that comes with being a part of the 1st batch better than Matruprasad. After all, he was among the first to have passed out of what is today one of the top B-schools in the country – Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies.
“I still remember the day we entered KIAMS as Batch 1! I have lots of pleasant memories…. study group interaction with friends, night quiz tests on the PC with the fear of negative marks, night snacks at the egg vendor’s open restaurant, Holi celebrations, the year-end night out party, freaking out near the Tungabhadra river, playing games of squash & TT, going for a walk in the Mysore Kirloskar Residential area with friends or simply to a party at a Prof’s house… the list of memories goes on and on.”
Often branded as the ‘Ultimate Strategy Guru’ by his coursemates from KIAMS for his complete obsession with corporate strategy, Matruprasad was never seen without Michael Porter’s book on Business Strategy, or Philip Kotler’s marketing fundas, or Tom Peter’s In Search of Excellence, or CK Prahlad’s Theory of Core Competency. Today, as General Manager – Operations and Healthcare Services, Apollo Group of Hospitals, the leaders of Healthcare in India, Matruprasad has justified the title given to him by his colleagues at KIAMS. Having recently been recognised with the ‘Young Leader Award’ for his exemplary leadership potential in Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited, Matruprasad believes that while the corporate world (he has worked with organisations like Dr. Reddy’s Labs and Ranbaxy prior to Apollo) has been fairly competitive, the toughest competition so far came from his peers in KIAMS!
“At KIAMS, we had a brilliant set of guys in the 1st batch. The competition was healthy and relentless… day in and day out! But I’ve always relished those moments of so-called hyper competitiveness, as that had brought out the best in me. I believe that competitive spirit, which started at KIAMS, would have helped each KIAMSzen in outclassing the competition in his/her profession. In fact, while implementing few of the new product launches during my stint at two of India’s key Bio-Pharmaceutical companies, this never-say-die, no-holds-barred attitude has helped me to establish the brand and pose a serious threat to leading competitive brands. This happened once while launching Shanferon, a Cancer Drug from the biotechnology company Shantha–Aventis, which kind-of revolutionized the cancer drug market. The way we ensured that the drug reached each deserving patient ensured that the market grew by itself.”
It is this joy of working for the greater good and making healthcare affordable for the masses that has seen Matruprasad grow naturally in the healthcare industry. As General Manager – Operations & Healthcare Services, his typical day begins with an ‘Apollo anthem’, where he joins his team and few of the patients and their near-and-dear ones in praying for their well being. This is followed by a meeting with each of the Heads of Departments to discuss issues from the previous day, their challenges and the plan for the day ahead. Thereafter, he takes rounds of the hospital, with a series of discussions with key consultants covering the major part of the day. It also involves weekly management reviews & discussion on future plans with Senior Leadership team.
“At the end of the day you go back home with the satisfaction of having brought smiles to patients and their families. My initial learning at KIAMS still helps me to see the bigger picture and provides a framework for connecting the dots within the business. When we passed out in 2000, it was the year the dotcom bubble burst. In the last 5-6 years though, the industry has undergone significant changes, especially in the way the customer sees you. With globalization in each sector, the disposable income has gone up significantly for each customer group. But what has also happened is that the customer has become far more discerning and demanding, bringing hyper-competition among the industry players.”
Matruprasad believes that the healthcare industry is in the midst of a major transformation. Since it is getting more organized, the demand for quality healthcare managers who understand the business environment and customer expectations is quite high, and is likely to increase even further in the coming years.
“For those who are targeting the healthcare industry, you will have to be open to new ideas, and not be afraid of experimenting. Unlike popular belief, instead of specialised management skills, those who bring general management skills to the table are much more in demand, since they bring a holistic, overall business aspect which drives stakeholder value creation. But most importantly, you should have a high Emotional Quotient. You will have to be a people’s person with the ability to empathise to get your product and services right.”
He feels it is here that the KIAMS management graduate ranks heads-and-shoulders above the crowd.
Categories: Alumni Profiles