History of the Conference

Dr. Manmohan SinghThe Kellogg India Business Conference was the first US business school conference of its kind. In 1991, the Indian government was in the midst of its economic liberalization program under the leadership of Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh. The government received funding from the United Nations to start an institute to train bureaucrats with business education. Bids were made by Harvard, Kellogg and the University of Chicago for this initiative. Kellogg won this bid and started the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon.

Dr. Manmohan Singh wanted to start a conference to serve as a forum for Indian and US business people to meet, and proposed that Kellogg host it. Under the leadership of Professor Bala Balachandran, a two-day conference, funded by the United Nations, was held in the North Shore Hilton in Chicago in 1992. Rakesh Mohan and the Indian Ambassador to the US were among the first speakers. The conference was attended by many high level executives from companies such as Ford, Motorola and Kellogg.

The second conference in 1993 was attended by two Union Ministers, Khurshid Alam and P.R. Kumaramangalam and other dignitaries from India. At that time, the concept of private sector’s participation in thought leadership activities was relatively novel for private business leaders in India.

In the past few years, eminent business leaders such as Indra Nooyi (CEO, PepsiCo) and Narayan Murthy (the then Chariman of Infosys) have spoken at Kellogg. The 2009 conference was the second largest audience attractor at Kellogg, second only to the marketing conference. Keynote speakers included Baba Kalyani(Chairman Kalyani Group M.D. Bharat Forge), Kishore Biyani(M.D. of Pantaloon Retail), and C. K. Prahalad (Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy).

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