University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

March 25-26, 2016 at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Conference Details

India Business Conference (IBC) is one of the largest conferences hosted at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Each year, IBC brings together leaders from business and a variety of other fields, Michigan's world-class faculty, and its diverse student body. The 7th IBC will be held at the Ross School of Business, starting on Friday, March 25 (5 pm) and going through Saturday, March 26, 2016.

This year's event is exciting in terms of the unique combination of speakers that we have. We have leaders from large corporations and from fast growing new economy businesses. We have leaders who have expanded brands in India, and leaders from government and academia. This event presents a chance to learn lessons from them on what it takes to do business in India and with India. Speakers will also be shedding light on new and enduring challenges and opportunities.

- Natarajan Chandrasekaran (Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tata Consultancy Services)
- Sachin Bansal (Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Flipkart)
- Yashwant Sinha (Former Minister of External Affairs and Former Minister of Finance, Government of India)
- Niren Chaudhary (Global President of KFC, Yum! Brands)
- Ananth Narayanan (Chief Executive Officer, Myntra)
- Mukesh Aghi (President, U.S.-India Business Council)
- Sunil Bhargava (Founder and Managing Partner, Tandem Capital)
- Rajan Nagarajan (Senior Vice President, Business Transformation, CTI Foods)
- Lil Mohan (Entrepreneur and Professor at Chicago Booth)
- Vikramaditya S. Khanna (William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan)
- Aradhna Krishna (Dwight F. Benton Professor of Marketing, University of Michigan)


Please register here for the conference



2016 Speakers

Mr. Natarajan Chandrasekaran Chief Executive Officer, Tata Consultancy Services
Mr. Sachin Bansal Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Flipkart
Mr. Yashwant Sinha Former Minister of External Affairs and Former Minister of Finance, Government of India
Mr. Niren Chaudhary Global President of KFC, Yum! Brands
Mr. Ananth Narayanan CEO, Myntra
Dr. Mukesh Aghi President, U.S.-India Business Council
Mr. Rajan NagarajanSenior Vice President, Business Transformation, CTI Foods
Former CIO, Mahindra Satyam
Mr. Sunil BhargavaFounder and Managing Partner, Tandem Capital
Mr. Lil MohanEntrepreneur
Professor, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
Mr. Vikramaditya S. Khanna William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan
Dr. Anuradha Nagarajan Lecturer of Strategy,
University of Michigan
Dr. Aradhna KrishnaDwight F. Benton Professor of Marketing,
University of Michigan
Dr. Puneet Manchanda Isadore and Leon Winkelman Professor of Marketing, Chair of Marketing,
University of Michigan
Dr. Jagadeesh Sivadasan Associate Professor of Business Economics

IBC History

"Students cannot graduate from business school today without a clear understanding of the role and importance of India. That's why we have this conference" -- Dean Alison Davis-Blake


India Business Conference is a platform that brings together the student community, business leaders, University faculty, policy makers and renowned management thinkers to engage in a thought provoking discussion about various aspects of India and its relationship with the United States as well as with the global economy. Over the years, IBC has developed into a forum that not only provides hundreds of students from various nationalities and leaders from different streams with answers about the challenges facing India, the United States and the world, but also creates meaningful discussion on the tools and strategies to address them.


Ross’s focus on the Indian market started with the late professor CK Prahalad’s extensive research on the Indian business environment. As a member of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and a mentor to many prominent Indian business leaders, Professor Prahalad assisted several Indian organizations in successfully making the transition from a closed to open market economy in 1991. Although initially hesitant at the thought of facing foreign competition, many of these firms continue to prosper today as strong players in the global market, and of late, have made the leap to develop into true multinational organizations.

IBC at Ross was envisioned around the same time by Professor M.S. Krishnan and Mr. Ritesh Bawri (MBA 2001) with the hope that the University of Michigan, a world-renowned academic institution could function as a bridge between businesses and the fast globalizing Indian markets. The vision was converted into a reality in the year 2009 when with the support of late Professor CK Prahalad and Professor Krishnan, the first IBC was held at Ross, receiving wide media coverage and fanfare.

Over the years, the conference continues to provide an excellent platform to:

  • (1) Interact and learn from reputed leaders from business, political and educational fields
  • (2) Network and partner with executives from the corporate world
  • (3) Access and intermingle with the world-class student community of University of Michigan and other top universities

Past Speakers

In the past, IBC has drawn guests from a variety of fields, including the following speakers:


Past Conferences

6th India Business Conference, 2014

The theme of last year's conference was: "Trends Impacting Global Business."

5th India Business Conference, 2013

The theme of the conference was: "Dream. Lead. Inspire." The conference focused on the economic, social, technological, and political changes India was undergoing. Eminent speakers from diverse fields such as business, politics, entertainment, and education graced IBC with their presence and shared their knowledge.

4th India Business Conference, 2012

In its 4th year, the theme of the conference "Inside the Transformation" focused on the economic, social, technological, and political change India was undergoing, and fostered discussions to find answers about how leaders in various arenas anticipate, manage and benefit from transformation.

3rd India Business Conference, 2011

IBC 2011 provided a forum for leaders in business, politics and academia to engage in spirited debate with each other, students and the media about the many changes that have impacted India, both domestically and internationally. The year’s theme, “Dissolving the Boundaries”, was an exploratory dialogue on India’s rapid ascent as both a socio-political and economic force in the international arena.

2nd India Business Conference, 2010

The second India Business Conference provided a platform to debate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as India surged forward to achieve the “India@75 vision”. As a dedication to CK Prahalad, the conference also featured a round table to discuss the continuing relevance of his vision.

1st India Business Conference, 2009

In its inaugural edition, the India Business Conference, focused on the theme "One Billion and Counting" focused on the emerging opportunities and existing challenges for corporations doing business in India. India's burgeoning middle class and the seismic wave of income growth offer exciting prospects for companies looking for top line growth.





"India is emerging as one of the fastest growing economies with more than one billion consumers. India Business Conference at the Ross School stimulates discussions around business opportunities and challenges in India. The topics will be of interest to business executives, entrepreneurs, policy makers, academics and students aspiring to be global business leaders"
-- Professor M S Krishnan


When: Friday, March 25, 2016

Where: Robertson Auditorium, Ross School of Business

5:00 pm - 5:05 pm IBC Opening Remarks by M.S. Krishnan
5:05 pm - 6:00 pm CEO Session with the Head of India's Most Valuable Company
Natarajan Chandrasekaran (Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tata Consultancy Services)
Q&A moderated by M.S. Krishnan (Associate Dean of Global Initiatives, Accenture Professor of Computer Information Systems, Technology & Operations)
6:00 pm - 6:45 pm Make in India
Mukesh Aghi (President, U.S.-India Business Council)
Q&A moderated by Jagadeesh Sivadasan (Associate Professor of Business Economics)
6:45 pm - 7:30 pm Networking Reception


When: Saturday, March 26, 2016

Where: Ross Colloquium, 6th Floor (Lunch is included)

9:00 am - 9:30 am Registration
9:30 am - 9:40 am Welcome Remarks by Gautam Ahuja
9:40 am - 10:30 am Fireside Chat with a Prominent Internet Entrepreneur
Sachin Bansal (Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Flipkart)
Moderated by Gautam Ahuja (Harvey C. Freuhauf Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Strategy)
10:30 pm - 10:45 pm Break
10:45 am - 11:35 pm Building Brands in India
Niren Chaudhary (Global President of KFC, Yum! Brands)
Q&A moderated by Aradhna Krishna (Dwight F. Benton Professor of Marketing)
11:35 pm - 11:50 pm Break
11:50 am - 12:35 pm CEO Session: Consumer Behavior and India as a Hub for Textiles & Fashion
Ananth Narayanan (Chief Executive Officer, Myntra)
Q&A moderated by M.S. Krishnan
12:35 pm - 1:35 pm Lunch
1:35 pm - 2:25 pm Issues in the Indian Economy (From Vajpayee rule to the Present Day)
Yashwant Sinha (Former Minister of External Affairs and Former Minister of Finance, Government of India)
Q&A moderated by Anu Nagarajan (Faculty of Corporate Strategy and International Business)
2:25 pm - 2:40 pm Break
2:40 pm - 2:55 pm Announcement of C.K. Prahalad Grand Challenge Winners
Gayatri Prahalad and Deepa Prahalad
2:55 pm - 3:50 pm Technology Entrepreneurship in India
Sunil Bhargava (Founder and Managing Partner, Tandem Capital)
Lil Mohan (Entrepreneur and Academician at Chicago Booth)
Moderated by Puneet Manchanda (Isadore and Leon Winkelman Professor of Marketing, Chair of Marketing)
3:50 pm - 4:40 pm Managing in India's Institutional & Legal Environment
Rajan Nagarajan (Senior Vice President, CTI Foods, LLC)
Vikramaditya S. Khanna (William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan)
Moderated by M.S. Krishnan
4:40 pm Closing Remarks


CK Prahalad Grand Challenge

When: Friday, March 25, 2016

Where: R1230, Ross School of Business

1:30 pm - 3:30 pm 2016 C.K. Prahalad Grand Challenge Finals
Finalist Teams Present to Panel of Judges
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Post-Challenge Reception with Contestants and Judges


Each year, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business organizes this competition to honor the legacy of C.K. Prahalad.
“If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up.” – C.K. Prahalad


C.K. Prahalad (1941-2010) was one of the world’s most influential business thinkers and management professors. He developed the “base of the pyramid” concept, exploring how business can pursue sustainable growth while playing a role in alleviating poverty

This year over 100 teams from business schools around the world participated. The 4 finalist teams will present to esteemed faculty judges. The event gives students the opportunity to showcase their business knowledge and innovation acumen by analyzing a case study in the social impact field.

The grand challenge prompt this year was as follows: Since 2004, many companies have attempted to serve the BoP but very few have been successful. Please review this article to understand some of the pitfalls of serving the BoP.

Goal: 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. Between 50 and 100 liters of water per person per day are needed to ensure most basic needs. Build a business plan for a product or service that would bring clean water to people in India. Be innovative and think beyond the bounds of “traditional” business practices to pushing the frontier further. The Human Right to Water and Sanitation

We are open to your definition of the problem but we will use the criteria below to evaluate your business plans. Some examples of how to approach the water problem:
* Purifying water, eg. Chlorine tablets
* Access to water, eg. Water ATM’s, Water Wells
* Targeting specific scope, eg. BoP (entire BoP could be superset of the BoP in India), Rural (all villages in India or small ones or specific villages in India), and Urban (all major metros or smaller cities or specific cities in India)



The India Business Conference will be held at:

Stephen M. Ross School of Business

701 Tappan St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA




Nearest Airport: Detroit(DTW)

Nearest Amtrak Station: Ann Arbor

Nearest Parking: Forest Avenue Parking Structure located at 650 S. Forest Avenue, Ann Arbor

A full listing of Ann Arbor hotels and accommodations to fit every budget can be found by clicking here.


University of Michigan Faculty Advisors

We are privileged to have some of the top minds in the business world and distinguished faculty members supporting us.

Gautaum Ahuja Faculty Director of Ross India Initiatives, Harvey C. Fruehauf Professor of Business Administration, Professor of Strategy
M.S. Krishnan Associate Dean of Ross Global Initiatives, Accenture Professor of Computer and Information Systems, Professor of Technology and Operations

Student Organizing Team

Sundar Balu Kunal Malhotra Anand Markande Vijay Ramanavarapu
Erica Dancik Rohan Karkhanis Elisha Gada Sriram Kannan
Saaim Khan    

University of Michigan Support

Ross India Initiatives
(Karen Lewis)
William Davidson Institute Ross Student Government Association Ross Executive Education

Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan

Ross Marketing Club

Ross Technology Club

Ross Indian Subcontinent Business Association

Sponsors & Partners

Please contact us for details if you are interested in becoming a sponsor of India Business Conference 2016 at the Ross School of Business.