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Management is a ‘dinosaur’ whose time is up

Source | The Hindu  : By Shubha Sharma

Adman Prahlad Kakar’s school of entrepreneurship throws participants into the deep right from the word go.

Here are some things they will never teach you at Harvard Business School. To begin with, be prepared to throw your Peter Drucker manuals out. Learn from the horses, the sharks, the Himalayas, the tribals of Bastar, at the feet of a spiritual master and the biggest guru of them all: Mr Murphy. He of the Murphy’s Law canon.

Learn that money is not everything. The value you create is just as important to a business. As an entrepreneur, understand your connectedness with all of life.

This unusual curriculum at a Mumbai-based institute of branding and entrepreneurship has been scripted by advertising filmmaker Prahlad Kakar, a man reputed to break every rule in the book. The Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship offers a one-year course on ad filmmaking and branding as well as a two-year fellowship in business and entrepreneurship. It is run in association with Whistling Woods International, a media and communications institute started by filmmaker Subhash Ghai, and is located in an area that churns out more illusions in a year than you can ever imagine: Film City, Goregaon.

This school is for real, though, and has the hard knocks built in. At the core of its curriculum is fear, and learning to ride it. Fear, says Kakar, prevents the young and old from taking decisions and responsibility. And failure goes in tandem with fear. Kakar takes pride in the fact that his curriculum does not have a single success story. All success stories, according to him, are doctored in hindsight. “And therefore they are lies. Failure is something nobody wants to be associated with. It is the truth. So we select, for our teaching, almost success stories.”

He believes in throwing the participants into the deep, from the word go. The course begins with a bootcamp. “You go down to survival level. You’re going to come back with new perceptions, alliances, friends and new teams, all of which will last a lifetime,” says Kakar.


The next fear it aims to tackle is that of flying. The course requires participants to jump out of a plane in South Africa, and go on a safari down the Zambezi. They will camp in the dark and survive on meagre rations. The next day, students have to find their way back with the help of a map.

Learning to fall from a horse is also part of the class. The students face an animal that is 10 times stronger than they are. And when they fall, they learn that they never ‘remain fallen’. “If we teach you how to fall, then you lose the fear of falling.”

In the larger scheme of things, either you conquer a challenge through sheer strength or join in – in this case, you merge your being with that of the horse. “But don’t join it and lose your personality. So when you do mergers with other companies, it’s not to destroy them and sell. The whole idea is, is it going to take you 10 years to develop the company of that size, that momentum and those clients, or would you rather buy it over and make it a part of your company?”

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