BA Accounting and Finance students of Middlesex University received the opportunity to converse with Mr. Jimmy Jehangir Parakh And Mr Amrithraj in an informal Intellectual Discourse Session. Mr. Jimmy is the Group Director of Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Ltd and holds directorship at various other organizations across diverse industries such as construction, engineering, property development, automobile and finance. A seasoned professional with 42 years of experience in the corporate world and a Chartered Accountant himself, Mr. Jimmy brought relevant insight to the class. Mr. Amrithraj, CFO of SP Ltd and an expert with about 23 years of experience in the industry also shared his thoughts.
Dr Rajesh Mohnot briefed about the contents of the intellectual discourse session and introduced both experts. The session gave students the opportunity to ask any questions they liked. A wide variety of questions were posed and each one was discussed at length by the two experts with much enthusiasm, citing examples from industry at times or quoting from experience at others. Discussion was diverse and ranged from the implications of macroeconomic events to education and workplace advice.
In response to a question on strategy to be pursued at times of an economic crisis, Mr. Jimmy identified that what a business does during the good times will decide how it fairs at bad times in the economy. He stressed the importance of strong and consistent strategy in terms of both controlled costs as well as organizational culture. When asked how an organization could ensure that core values are well-communicated within the organization, he believed that the leaders or management of an organization plays an important role in the same through adoption and self-demonstration of the core values.
Replying to a question on the changing scenario of risk in the financial markets, Mr. Amrithraj commented that tackling volatility in the financial and commodity markets is a question of how well the business hedges itself against financial risk. When the discourse came to the theme of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Mr. Jimmy revealed that he strongly believed in the concept of CSR and that it is an important part of the way SP Ltd does business. He quoted the example of famous Indian conglomerate Tata Group’s early CSR activities to illustrate that personal values of the leaders and the organizational culture define the foundation for the CSR efforts of a business.
Students exhibited much interest in learning about opportunities available to them after graduation and topics such as appropriate professional qualifications, business opportunities etc. Mr. Jimmy believed that the accountancy profession must constantly update itself and that accountants must become flexible and see their role in the business as all-pervading. His opinion with regards to the choice of degree or post-graduate qualification was that no one degree is better than the other but that one must pursue a qualification that “excites” him/her and have sufficient conviction to stick with the choice once it is made. He had particularly relevant advice for students considering a job after graduation, he said, “Consider carefully what you want and identify whether the company is able to provide that to you, if the company is able to do so, then you know that it is the right place for you.”
The whole session was well anchored by two accounting and finance students – Mr Omar Khan and Mr Hamza Ali. At the end of the session, students thanked Mr. Jimmy and Mr. Amrithraj for their insightful answers to the questions asked. They expressed that the expert advice received will help them make informed choices with regards to work and future education. Ms Rini Jacob recorded the minutes and prepared this write-up.