Universal Business School - India's first GREEN B-school, with a 40 acre campus, situated in the lap of nature, offering Post Graduate and Undergraduate programs has incorporated Naina Krishnamurthy, Managing partner-K Law (Krishnamurthy and Co.) as the newest entrant onto its esteemed Board of Governors. 'Universal Business School' endeavors to create an environment in which young minds are prepared and moulded into bright business professionals without an iota of compromise on moral conduct. Naina is the first lawyer on the UBS board.
In conversation with Tarun Anand, Co-founder of this platinum league B-school and former Managing Director Thompson Reuters, South Asia and Naina Krishnamurthy, Founder and Managing Partner K Law on the evolution of legal ethics tracing back to its roots to ethical relevance in today's business driven world.
Tarun initiated the conversation, he mused over the originations of UBS envisaging his biggest challenge of procuring land in Mumbai. "We made the difficult choice and purchased land independently on the outskirts of Mumbai, Karjat to avoid any conflict of expectation which might influence an autonomous institution like UBS. In any decision, we, in no way will compromise on morals and ethics and are hence ecstatic to have Naina Krishnamurthy on the board to help us inculcate morals and live the ethical dream to the tee''.
Referring to the transition of a young individual's choice of profession over the years, Naina shared her experience about the perception of 'law' during her pursuit of the law degree.
In her years of college, she observed that Law was perceived as a 'by the way' profession, without much sanctity. Hence, ethics, integrity, working with sensibility, and appreciating the profession one is in, were neither taught to students, nor was it known at that time. In tandem with her observations, she states: "I think what UBS is doing, is of utmost relevance in creating value based education for young minds in India - for me, the guiding principles of UBS resonate with the organization that I have built on Integrity and Trust. With K Law, I have always maintained a sense of purpose, trust, dependability, and credibility with my employees who thereby reflect these values in the practice and dealings with our clients. From the outset, when K Law was run as a one person show by me, I have created a sense of trust and integrity in the way I conduct business. These morals have been instilled in me by my father and I have hence been able to erect a firm that is deeply rooted by ethics and moral conduct. A living testimony to this is that many clients have retained a healthy relationship with the firm, over the years and to this date, refer other companies testifying to them our way of work. This to me is how I measure my success as opposed evaluation of success in terms of number."
Highlighting the facts about corporate governance and ethical dilemmas faced by individuals today, Tarun feels that Whilst teaching, the challenge is usually two-fold; where first and foremost how does one inject ethical thinking in each and every course and secondly, bring to the forefront ethical dilemmas which require discussion. People usually consider ethics as a grey area, something they usually refrain from talking about. With students and and young impressionable minds, one can say let's talk about this..! How does one combat a dilemma when an offer to increase his/her revenue in return for an unethical favor is made.
Naina has personally been very strong on practicing and functioning in an ethical and transparent manner. It has been a no brainer to her to turn down those proposals which compromise on integrity and ethics. At K Law, there is a firm uphold of a 'zero-tolerance' policy for any sort of activity that goes against the set parameters of ethics and integrity. Corporate governance is just a law that regulates immoral behavior but if a persona harbors a wrong intention, even the most robust corporate governance policy will not be able to check that. The decision to act in an unethical manner will be intrinsic to a person's psyche. Hence corporate governance is limited in reach if a person is fundamentally programmed to deceive another.
Tarun further states that UBS would like to bring these grey areas on the table, discuss it, debate it and find innovative ways to handle such situations. He notices that another element of hypocrisy prevalent among most people discussing ethics, is that people like to discuss 'Corporate Governance' without paying heed to its roots which are personal ethics which then translates to business ethics and thereafter to corporate governance. This is how UBS nurtures thought in students to first develop personal and business ethics before learning corporate governance.
Both Tarun and Naina agree that in a country where we have the brightest minds and a deep rooted cultural, moral and ethical background, it is sad that people get away with bribery, forgery, underhandedness and feel they are not wrong until they are caught. If someone is caught, then probably he wasn't lucky enough! In India, if someone is able to get away with thousands of crores in tainted money, he is considered a 'smart guy'. Both UBS and K Law are confident that they can make a difference by changing this in-built thought process within young minds.
One such way of dealing with this would be to legalize certain additional fees. Eg. If a BMC official does require certain overhead fees to accomplish a certain task, let the government legalize it as a 'facilitation fee'. Thus nobody will relent paying it and it is distributed in an equitable manner. Another way would be to learn how to say 'NO'. If one is amenable to be asked for a favor, he/she will be asked for a favor. One needs to learn how to say 'No' at the outset.
The conversation above represents the thoughts of two enterprising entrepreneurs, Tarun Anand and Naina Krishnamurthy, who have sought to incorporate a strong value based message within both corporate and legal worlds. With a passion based intent on speaking out about the importance of corporate governance within these most important arenas, both individuals mentor many within society, with the ambition to resurrect strong foundation principals of integrity and honesty. As thought leaders and influencers, their voice and opinion provide the much needed guidance towards making the world a better place to live in.
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Rochelle Noronha, id8 Media Solutions., +91 88790 80319, [email protected]