THE ATMOSPHERE: Charged up. The dramatis personae: India Inc’s most distinguished. The Crowd: Power-packed. The Stage: Bangalore, India’s intellectual capital. This cocktail was enough to turn the ET CEO Roundtable, which debuted in Bangalore, into a veritable livewire B-school classroom. Last Wednesday, some of India Inc’s best and brightest minds gathered in Bangalore’s ITC Windsor Manor to debate an issue crucial to their survival: Managing the Risks of Globalisation. And there couldn’t have been a better speakers’ list. Take Rajiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Auto. Several years ago, he pulled the company out of a steep slump and helped it take on and survive competition from Hero Honda. Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy— he helped found one of India’s best-known companies and made it the envy of the world. Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of AV Birla Group, who in 1996 took command of a diversified conglomerate floundering under an old-world philosophy and beset by problems of scale and size. Today, his blue-chip firms are leaders in their respective industries and the envy of MNCs. Wipro chief Azim Premji doesn’t need lessons in globalisation — he has built a record of besting multinationals, be it in cuttingedge software development or consumer goods. Harish Manwani, chairman, Hindustan Unilever, is a Global Indian who has done his country proud by making a successful career in one of the world’s best-known companies. Deepak Parekh, chairman of HDFC, India’s largest mortgage lender, heads a company that is overwhelmingly controlled by foreigners while Praful Patel can boast of something none of his predecessors can. He liberalised India’s aviation sector, helping local companies take on the world’s best. And Sanjay Nayar, CEO of Citigroup India, knows the rules of globalisation as he leads the bank’s robust expansion in the region. In their collective wisdom, one common thread that emerged was that reforms and globalisation were unilateral and irreversible at a macro level. Also, the real challenge of reforms was to balance urban aspirations and rural needs. At a micro level, corporates need to dig deep into the real motive and strategy before globalising their operations and not get carried away by the glamour quotient alone. And, talent management and diversified leadership that’s representative of the markets the company operates in are the real acid tests for any global enterprise. Bangalore, the chosen destination, overwhelmingly responded to their words of wisdom. And, why not? It is this city that is India’s zipcode for the knowledge economy. It is the backyard of global businesses and it is here that their mission-critical business community wears watches tuned to world time zones and talks the global language.