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Prof. Dr. V. S. Pai: Making a Strong Case

Posted on: September 12, 2013

vspaiProf. Dr. V. S. Pai of Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies makes it big once again with his research paper on Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. (GCPL) being accepted for publication in the Business Case Journal, USA. While Dr. Pai already has around 70 publications to his credit, the significance of his latest achievement is huge. “Business Case Journal, USA has an acceptance ratio of 10-12%. I am glad I could crack it,” he acknowledges.

Prof. Pai has a prolific, almost three-decade long career to boast of. He has worked with numerous educational institutes of repute like Gulbarga University & Manipur University, TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal, ICFAI Business School, & ISFAI Institute for Management Teachers, Hyderabad before coming to KIAMS. But he still manages to find time in his busy schedule for his research. He attributes that to his “passion for research and, of course, the subject. One also needs to have self-discipline. But above all, there’s the desire to achieve that keeps you going.”

It’s passion that drives Dr. Pai to choosing a particular subject for his research, but he also has a practical approach to his research. “It might start with your passion for a subject and your personal interest in it, but you also have to think about data availability and research trends,” he says wisely.

So what is it that made Prof. Dr. Pai work on this particular paper about GCPL? “The company was engaging in strategic and daring acts, especially globally. It had focused its energies on emerging markets and that caught my attention,” he explains.

He was also more than willing to offer further insights into the paper. “It was a wonderful example of how a family run business is seeking to go global. So far, it has been successful in emerging markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America,” he adds.

GCPL, as Prof. Pai points out, decided to focus on globally emerging markets. The company managed to do that with success, but is it the right way to go for Indian businesses? “Yes, most definitely, especially when targets are emerging markets. GCPL and Dabur Ltd. are glorious examples of such an approach in the FMCG sector,” he says positively.

Prof. Pai also has some pointers for overseas acquisitions, which we might see a lot of in the future. “Identifying a target available at a reasonable price, due diligence, timing of the deal, integration with the parent company, looking for synergies, whether to replace the existing CEO and the top team or not – these are just some of the factors that go into the success of an acquisition,” he says.

Going in for overseas acquisitions might be one thing, managing disparate subsidiaries in different countries is quite another. But Prof. Dr. Pai has a three-step strategy that can benefit companies. “Developing strong, entrepreneurial business units with their own resources and capabilities, managed with high levels of strategic and operational autonomy,” is step one. “Then you to enable a rich horizontal flow of knowledge, best practices and other resources across units. Finally, you create a corporate engine that fosters and maintains an exciting sense of purpose,” he explains his strategy.

Prof. Pai’s passion for teaching is visible in the way he tries to explain different concepts with clarity. Does he incorporate his research findings into classroom teaching too? “The cases are discussed in case sessions; empirical papers are dwelt upon during lecture sessions,” he agrees.

And are there any other papers that one can look forward to from Prof. Dr. Pai? “I’m working on an empirical research paper with my colleague at KIAMS. I’m also writing a case on the challenges faced by Nokia, now acquired by Microsoft, and a case on Cipla Ltd. with a co-author from the US,” he says. Obviously, we can expect a lot more from this erudite academician, who is not content to rest on his laurels.

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