The first of the CXO Leadership Series for the academic year 2015-16 at TAPMI started off with a bang with a lecture by Mr. Vijay Gopalan, CFO, Air Asia India. One of the most eminent personalities in the finance field, Mr. Gopalan started the series by delivering a highly stimulating and motivational talk. He started the GL by talking about his own personal journey towards reaching where he is today. After working eight years in Ernst & Young, he quit his job to pursue his passion for acting and radio jockeying. He spent the next three years exploring his artistic nature and spoke that they were the most memorable years of his life. He eventually returned to the finance turf and made his way up the corporate ladder. However he atones that though he may not have been successful in acting, he was happy that now he had had no regrets in life and could live free. One very important takeaway that he gave all the students through this story was that in life one must cherish their dreams and pursue them diligently no matter what the risks. He also motivated students to follow their passion in life and emphasized on the importance of ethics in today’s world.
He spoke extensively upon the aviation sector and explained thoroughly the nature of businesses operating in that industry. He explained very simply and eloquently why it is that so many companies struggle to make profits in that sector and why is it that they still continue to stay in business. The government heavily regulates the airline sector. Mr. Gopalan also stressed on the fact that India is the only country in the world where an airline is allowed to operate outside India, only once it has 5 years of operating experience and a fleet of at least 20 aircrafts. This regulation further prevents the companies from earning profits. Lack of transparency followed in fuel price setting cuts down profits that may be attained by a carrier. Archaic tax system followed in India transfers the burden from the airlines to air travelers. This has led to air travel being termed as an elitist mode of transport being out of reach of regular travelers. Students posed questions that broadly revolved around the future of the aviation industry and the financial implications of new firms trying to enter the industry. Mr. Vijay Gopalan patiently addressed the queries put forth by the students with real world examples to drive home the point better. Learning the inner dynamics of this highly controversial industry was indeed enriching and thought provoking for the students of TAPMI.