WDI Speaker To Discuss Risk Vs. Growth Dilemma

Monday, September 16, 2019

Multinational corporations grow around the world by hiring the best local talent and transferring their best practices between different regions. But the inaugural 2019-20 WDI Global Impact Speaker believes a more nuanced approach is needed to build profitable, sustainable and high-growth businesses in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). 

Ujjwal Kumar, who for the last 20 years has led global businesses and growth ventures at multiple multinationals, will share personal insights gained from successes and failures in several LMICs at 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 in Room R2210 at the Ross School of Business. The talk is free and open to the public. 

In his talk, “Solving Multinationals’ Risk versus Growth Dilemma in LMICs,” Kumar, who received his MBA from Ross in 2005, will discuss how achieving good, high-growth business models requires a clear understanding of local capabilities and the risks involved. 

“Multinationals can structure their offerings to the end-user through ‘strategic scoping,’ a method that involves partnering with local firms while leveraging the best global technologies and practices,” Kumar said. “If a contracting and pricing model is aligned with this strategy, it can mitigate local risks while freeing up cash for quick expansion.”

WDI President Paul Clyde asked Kumar to come speak at Ross because he has been extremely successful in his career at GE, ITT and now Honeywell, much of which has involved working in LMICs as part of the companies’ core business. 

“Students can hear how Honeywell operates in these markets and what opportunities and what challenges they see in their core businesses,” Clyde said. “He has some interesting stories about the challenges they have faced, and lessons based on what has worked and what hasn’t.”

Kumar is currently the vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s Process Measurement & Control business unit, which provides industrial customers with leading automation products, software and services. Prior to joining Honeywell, Kumar worked in the healthcare, aviation and oil and gas divisions of GE. He also worked for General Motors and ITT Corp. 

In addition to his MBA from Ross, he has an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.


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