Global Management Guru Award for Harvard Professor Robert Kaplan


08 November, 2012Harvard Business School professor and one of the most influential management thinkers Robert S. Kaplan was chosen to accept the second Global Management Guru Award (GMGA) instituted by India’s Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) on 9th November at The Grand Hotel, Vasant Kunj..

BIMTECH in association with FICCI had organized an exclusive seminar by Professor Kaplan who addressed various corporate executives and BIMTECH students on the eve of 8th November. Some of the breakthrough contributions of Professor Kaplan at Harvard Business School and Carnegie Mellon University include ‘time-driven activity-based costing’, Balanced Scorecard, Strategy Maps and the Kaplan-Norton strategy execution.

 The seminar commenced with Prof. Kaplan’s “personal Balance Sheet, as of 1980”. 40 years old, married to wonderful woman, with two young daughters, life going good and would be even better, he expressed, longing to return to being a full professor, writing more academic articles, teaching MBA and executive students, and supervising doctoral students.

 He added, “I am, at heart, an empiricist. I launched an executive program on TQM at CMU, but had to hire faculty from HBS to teach it, and, even as Dean, I sat in on the program and attempted to learn from it.”  Simultaneously, he also determined to get out of the dean’s job as quickly as he could so as to  start working on the management accounting implications of the new production paradigm. Consequently he joined the HBR faculty in 1984.

He wanted to get to a business school that would put him close to business and an ability to identify and access the most innovative businesses in the world. He redefined his job description how and worked out in four different applications namely Costing, Performance Measurement/Strategy Execution, Risk Management, Health Care Value Framework.

He concluded on an informative note that business knowledge had become 3-5 years ahead of academic knowledge; and the gap widened each year. How could this be?

If true, these innovations fundamentally changed the way of teaching cost and management accounting; basically we were using cost accounting concepts that were fine as of 75 years ago when they had been developed in the scientific management movement – mass production of standard products with high labor content; but cost accounting in the new Japanese management approach was now obsolete. In response Kaplan did what any good academic would do, he wrote a paper for his academic colleagues, “Measuring Manufacturing Performance: A New Challenge for Management Accounting Research” for which he was awarded the “Outstanding Contributions to Accounting Literature Award,” the most distinguished prize of the American Accounting Association.

 As he rightly said, “For good measurement provides a common platform that brings diverse stakeholders and perspectives to at least agree on the facts so they can work collaboratively on developing and implementing good solutions.”


November 9, 2012 – the much awaited day started with an exclusive one to one interaction of members of the BIMTECH Corporate Communication team with Robert S. Kaplan.

Some excerpts from the press conference:Q. The ABC and Balanced Score card theory were devised long back. So don’t you think with so many years passed by, the theory needs to be updated and modified so as to suit the current industry needs?

A. Concepts like ABC, Balanced Score Card & Strategy Mapping have provided a framework to help organisations describe the strategy. These are flexible enough to handle changes. It is not restricted to any firm and aims at providing good financial results. The executives also have to understand their customers’ aspirations and strategise accordingly. Strategy implementation has 3 parts- conceiving the strategy, implementing it and getting a feedback over it. It is like a leader of an orchestra that keeps everyone tuned.

Q.You have created a wave in the business world with your contribution in management accounting. What is the next project that you are working on? According to you, what are the gaps faced by the businesses in today’s scenario?

A. I am currently working with my strategy colleague, Michael Porter, on the gaps in the healthcare sector which I suspect is very poorly managed. In US, the companies pay for the healthcare benefits of the employees. So, for these companies, a huge part of their operational expenses goes to the health care insurance companies and unfortunately, these companies are also very poorly managed. Although there is a lot resistance to it because of privacy issues but there is no doubt to it, that the benefits are beyond imagination. My research would help the companies to effectively and efficiently minimise their operational costs.

Q. How has the advancement in technology helped in the practical applications of your research?A. Yes. Technology has made life way easier. Earlier, we used to download information from legacy systems into floppy disks. Today’s generation might not be even aware of floppy disks (laughs). We had different databases for engineering, manufacturing, customer relationships, audits, etc. and had to collaborate all the information to do activity based accounting. Today, all we need is an ABC software and we can easily access tens of thousands of customers. Basically, the framework is same, just that its flexibility has increased.

Q. IMF has predicted that India will be the third largest economy very soon. What do you think about .it?A. Definitely, India has some great companies and entrepreneurs who can gear the country towards this coveted position. However, the problem doesn’t lie with the businesses. Businesses are very quick in adapting to the changing and ever-stiffening competition. However, the problem lies with the infrastructure here. But globally, many countries like Abu Dhabi, UAE, Qatar, Brazil, even Philippines and their governments are adopting the strategies, balance scorecard, performance management system, etc. to effectively manage their systems.

Q. What are the other areas of concern that you believe needs to looked at seriously and are working on?A. Yeah. Risk management system in companies is very inadequate due to which many big companies have got into trouble because of their incapability to react on time. No major B-schools has ever attacked this area well. They all vaguely taught this subject, but there was a gap in real practice.

Q. Which companies have implemented your strategies and has got great returns because of them?A. The companies like Mobil, Hilton Hotels, Infosys, Laxmi Machineworks, Tata Commercial Vehicles, etc. have very beautifully made use of these strategies and I believe it has benefited them big-time.

Q. What advice would you like to give to the upcoming managers, Sir, considering the stiffening competition of today’s world that they are and going to face as they step into the corporate world?A. Well, I would say ‘Study hard’ (winks and laughs and then, very seriously, continued), follow your heart, work for some years, make mistakes and learn but I would really advise you all to start your own ventures someday; it could be regarding anything, something that you are really, really passionate about and for sure, you’ll soar like eagles!

With this we can to an end of the press conference with one of the most revered thought leaders in the field of management.“The world today is the commanded journey of some of the greatest Thought Leaders of the recent times from society, politics and business”.  Keeping the essence of these lines in mind, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) initiated the process to acknowledge the contributions of professors and scholars who made significant contributions to the progress of fundamentals of business practices around the world with the launch of Global Management Guru Award (GMGA).

The search for a single Thought Leader every year is a momentous task and this year the search finally completed with honouring Prof. S Kaplan. This 2012 GMGA event took place before a packed audience of the top echelon of Industry professionals, with Prof. Kaplan presiding over the splendid award ceremony held in The Grand Hotel, Delhi.

The chair of guests for the evening included the Chief Guest and guest of honour, Mr. Arun Maira (Member Planning Commission, India) , Prof. R. Kaplan, Padma Shri Dr. Pritam Singh ( Director General IMI), Mr. Atul Chaturvedi (Chairman, Public Enterprise Selection Board), Prof. Ravi Sinha (GMGA Secretariat) , Dr. H. Chaturvedi ( Director, BIMTECH), and Dr. Anupam Varma (Deputy Director, BIMTECH).

The evening commenced in the Indian traditional way of lighting of the lamp by all the esteemed guests on the chair. Dr. H. Chaturvedi in his usual irreproachable stance delivered the welcome note. He made special mention of the fact that it was a great matter of privilege, pride and coincidence that the year 2012 is the 25th year for both BIMTECH and the Acitivity Based Costing devised by Prof. Kaplan.  (It also gives me immense pleasure to mention the fact that Dr. Chaturvedi is the moving spirit behind GMGA).This was followed by a very captivating speech by Padma Shri Dr. Pritam Singh. The jury of GMGA was headed by Dr. Singh. He mentioned in his speech that it’s a sin to honor a non-deserving person but a greater sin not to honor a deserving person and this year, nobody deserved the GMGA more than Prof. Kaplan. He also went on to say that there are 4 kinds of teachers in India – ‘Adhyapika’ (the teacher and guide), Dronacharya(mentor and coach), ‘Acharya’ (who teaches by the power of his conduct and behaviour) and the highest degree is that of a ‘Guru’, one who is capable of removing the darkness from everyone’s life. And that is exactly what Prof. Kaplan has been successful in doing, for the industries and governments across the globe.

And then came the most awaited moment of the evening – amidst thunderous applause by the captains of the industries and high-profiled academicians, Prof. Kaplan was conferred the award by Mr. Atul Chaturvedi and prize money by Dr. Pritam Singh.  This moment was definitely a golden one, that has been added in the history of BIMTECH.

The evening further was continued by Mr. Atul Chaturvedi, who talked about coalition politics and shared his vision of equipping his people with the kind of knowledge that pushes them to higher positions in life.

After  Mr. Chaturvedi’s speech, the star of the evening, Prof. Kaplan took the stage and delivered an awe-inspiring award lecture on 3 major agenda – strategy execution in governments and shared value; risk management; and applying time-driven ABC not only in companies but also in govt. strategies.  His vision and passion to make life better and  more valuable for the stakeholders (read citizens of the country) is so contagious, I am sure that every single member in the audience was definitely moved and inspired to implement his ideas in their strategies!

The evening came to an end with Dr. Pritam Singh honouring the guests with the memento and a beautiful vote of thanks by Dr. Anupam Varma.






















Global Management Guru Award of BIMTECH - Dr H Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH




Global Management Guru Award of BIMTECH - Prof Pritam Singh Chairman of GMGA




Global Management Guru Award of BIMTECH - Robert Kaplan, Professor Harvard Business School



Global Management Guru Award of BIMTECH - Arun Maira, Member - Planning Commission




Global Management Guru Award of BIMTECH award ceremony at The Grand Hotel New Delhi India