Vijay Mallya debt fiasco comes to some good use for Indian business schools

Ex-chairman of United Spirits Ltd, Vijay Mallya, has been in news for all the wrong reasons recently. Firstly, it was him fleeing out of the country, and then deciding not to come back even for ED hearings. However, Indian business schools have found something worthwhile in his whole debt fiasco, using his success-to-failure story as rich material for discussions of ethics, corporate governance, brand management, entrepreneurship and families.

"The Vijay Mallya case could most certainly be the subject of a case study," Debashis Chatterjee, professor at IIM Lucknow, told ET. "It should be a subject of discussion in classes on strategy across business schools and the IIMs are no exception. It's about the downfall of a high-profile brand and there's an ethical connotation as well."


Not only at IIM-L, IIMs from Bangalore and Indore, XLRI Jamshedpur, Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad and Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon are also using Vijay Mallya’s story to explain to its students, the future managers of the industry, the aspects of business and lessons that they should learn.

"This is a live case study for us and we have to build our arguments based on limited resources. A similar 'live' case study discussed earlier was during Satyam," said Kavil Ramachandran, executive director, Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise, ISB.

Mallya’s strategy of pampering customers at the cost of other stakeholders, including owners, employees, suppliers and society proved to be hard on his business and honour, an example which can teach a lot about organisational behaviour and human resources management to these students. "It also leads to discussion on the obsession in many companies to meet the interests of 'owners' at the cost of other stakeholders," said Abhoy Ojha of ISB.


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