The Business of Family


Youth Inc chats with Parimal Merchant, Director, family managed business course at SP Jain Institute of Management, on working women, choosing the right MBA and more

What differentiates SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) from other business schools?
SPJIMR is innovative right from crafting its mission to its programmes and its pedagogy. It aims to promote valuebased growth. While it has best of placements it also has unique leadership development programmes. Students work with corporates as well as NGOs and learn the values of life through programmes like Gita Shibir and those that mentor slum children. SPJIMR is the first in India to create a management programme in Family Managed Business and a management programme for social sector.

Your institute has academic partnerships with Dubai, Sydney and Singapore branches of SP Jain Institute. Do you believe an international exposure is crucial for students?
In today’s time, global exposure is crucial not only for the students but also for the faculty and the institute itself.

Why do you think the Women Manager programme is necessary? Can you give us a brief overview of the programme?
Women in family businesses face a peculiar position. Traditionally, they are not expected to work and tend to spend a good amount of time parenting. Once the children grow up, there is a vacuum in their life. Family businesses need talent and 50 per cent of the family’s talent, in the form of the women, remains untapped. Now that business has become gender-neutral, time-neutral and location-neutral, the possibilities for women to play a stronger role have increased. The programme provides management inputs to these women. The programme has been good for self-employed women, women who are fully or partly involved in business, and even for housewives. Coming to the college for three days a month and then applying these concepts in their business for the remaining days gives them conceptual and practical orientation. It is not that after the programme they should start going to the office. They start playing a more constructive role in their family as well as contribute in thinking for the business.

You have also been actively involved in the humanist movement. Can you elaborate on your endeavours towards these causes?
Humanist Movement is a global force of volunteers working for a better society and personal life. It has programmes for social actions as well as for personal development. We believe that good people should be actively involved in politics and have our party, Humanist Party, in over 100 countries. As a part of that I have contested the elections twice – once for MLA and once for MP. We believe that one of the greatest dangers is not so much ecological as the threat of weapons and wars. We organised a World March for Peace and Nonviolence that began in New Zealand, passed through 90 countries and ended in Argentina, to promote world opinion against weapons and wars.

With many B-schools sprouting in the country, what advice would you give students to help them select the right MBA programme?
Do not do MBA just because everybody is doing it. Be clear, do your homework and select the right institute. MBA is not just for getting good jobs; it is for influencing business, society and your own life. It should enable you to grow from being only a consumer to a contributor.

Any tips for students who wish to be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow?
Believe in yourself. The path is not easy but the journey is extremely exciting. Doing things that you are most excited about is the best part of your life.



Volume 2 Issue 8


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