A Silver Lining amidst the Dark Clouds over the Economy

The COVID19 pandemic has led to many economic upheavals. At the moment, the Indian economy is contracting. This is impacting how finance professionals are planning their careers and future.

The current economic condition doesn’t look encouraging. Dr. Tirthankar Patnaik, Chief Economist at the National Stock Exchange of India, averred that the current economic plunge is probably the worst since the World Wars happened. “Even in World War 2, when the economy fell, only some countries were involved. But today, in this crisis, 93 percent of all global countries are involved. It is a very pervasive negative phenomenon. That explains the unprecedented solutions that the Central Bank has proposed now.” Economists are wavering between -10 to -16 percent of the negative economic outlook. Yet, it is probably the worse that we have seen in India’s independent history, and perhaps the worst we will see in a very long time, he added. 

Dr. Patnaik shared this dissection in a recent webinar by IIM Calcutta and TalentSprint, along with ET CFO titled Navigate the Digital Global Economic: A Goldmine of Opportunities.’

Many interpretations and prognosis-points were unraveled in this very candid discussion where minds of all stripes–from stock-market experts to professors and skill-developers had corralled. That led to many first-hand insights and some strong objective analysis. For instance, while the economy is struggling, technology-reach and digital-economy have sped up. Dr. Patnaik told why he is excited about technology’s impact. He cited how Internet-based trading is elbowing out institutional trading.

“I also see digital currencies as an interesting phenomenon. The extent of transactions that happen in a cashless way has significantly picked up. People are embracing digitization in a big way, even as some are thinking of going insular and in concentrated supply chains. The extent of interactions among people globally has seen a quantum jump. The world is getting globalized even more.” – Dr. Tirthankar Patnaik, Chief Economist, National Stock Exchange of India

Academics meet business soldiers

Helping to understand the GST impact and political ramifications of this upheaval, Dr. Partha Ray, Professor, IIM Calcutta, also chimed in with his acute observations. Dr. Ray then noted how the global economy and digital money (GEDM) programme is apt for finance professionals to stay abreast of such developments? 

“The global economy can get a rebound. One major trigger for this can come from a broader digital question. That’s when we thought of offering a specific programme integrating two critical areas–global economy and digital money. It’s the mixture of the sublime and the mundane. A lot of people can join in. The programme has an interesting arc from fundamentals to modules like Game Theory, Market Failures, Externalities, Macroeconomics in the Post-pandemic world along with facets like trade, foreign investment, Sovereign Debt, etc.” – Dr. Partha Ray, Professor, IIM Calcutta

To spend or not to spend–is the big question the world over, Dr. Ray stressed. He further added, “At the end of the day, money is an act of faith. It is a construct of civilization. So we need to understand the nature of money and trends of globalization in the post-pandemic world. We also cover new areas like cryptography, Blockchain, platform economy, and various topologies, money as a utility, and the poly-centric order. This spans the entire gamut from centralization to decentralization.”

The IIM-C and Talentsprint’s GEDM programme has six modules designed for current trends, and a Capstone project follows them.

Fight or flee
Dr. Santanu Paul, CEO, and MD, TalentSprint, who steered this discussion, also shared his perspectives.

“Digital commerce is replacing traditional retail in many ways. The Covid effect on automation, social distancing, etc. will help this trend even more. In many ways, there is a new form of state challenging the state–like the most powerful person in the US, as some believe, is not Trump but Zuckerberg.” – Dr. Santanu Paul, CEO and MD, TalentSprint

Paul explained how the program on GEDM is relevant in the current landscape for those looking to stay relevant and confident. Dr. Ray warned that senior finance professionals need to talk to the people they are engaged with–else they will be reduced to dinosaurs. “They will be hostage to the newer guys. That’s why we want to equip them with the right knowledge,” he added.

The world was already changing, but with the COVID19 crisis, these changes have sped up. If you are not reinventing your career to get on the bus of these changes, you will miss the big road. This GEDM course will get on that bus fast, concluded Dr. Patnaik. Dr. Ray also cautioned about avoiding the pessimistic bias. “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste–it means chaos, but to the right pair of eyes and brains, it is an opportunity,” as Paul wrapped it up perfectly. 

Dr. Patnaik admired the outline of the programme. “It is amazing. I am sure it would be a significant jump in the knowledge repository for anyone who takes this course.” We have not seen the bottom yet, as Dr. Patnaik reminded us. But the sun’s rays are up for us to grab and hold on to. 


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