The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.
--Ray Kroc, McDonald’s owner
It isn’t very usual to find a young man from a well-established business family heading out to work in a Government job, then ending up spending close to five decades serving the public before returning to a world of enterprise and business once again.
But Dr. Vishwa Mohan Bansal, on our cover, is cut from a different cloth altogether. In 1971, while in his early 20s, he stepped away from his family firm—National Industries and Hind Insulated Cable—and took up a position as City Magistrate in Patiala. By 1974 he had become the Sub-Divisional Magistrate at Sunam, Punjab, a role in which he did not shy away from taking on the state’s most powerful political families.
At 27, he was dealing with labor unions of the Punjab State Electricity Board as its OSD, steadfastly refusing to succumb to threats and demands of some 80,000 employees and their rabble-rousing leaders. A year later he was made additional managing director of Pepsu Roadways, where once again he busied himself quelling flash strikes by dreaded transport unions who could bring the state to a grinding halt. Encouraged by his management skills, in no time, the Punjab Government felt it was prudent to make him a special magistrate for the entire state for tracking down transport violations. And this is how his career in public service was now set truly on course.
In 1982, eleven years after he’d left his family business, V M Bansal was drafted into the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), a place where he spent well over two decades with distinction, and donned many hats. His foremost task was to be a part of a management team that was hosting the Asian Games 1982 with Appu as the famous mascot. After serving the DDA with distinction for many years in various top management roles, he spent time with another public sector entity, the International Airports Authority of India (now called the Airports Authority of India). Eventually, prior to his retirement in 2010 and just before the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi that same year, he was appointed an Advisor to the DDA and to the Lt Governor of Delhi who is the ex-officio chairman of the authority.
Post retirement from public service, he has donned the mantle of Chairman of the New Delhi Institute of Management (NDIM), one of India’s top MBA schools established in 1992. The NDIM has been rated among Asia’s fastest-growing B-schools by consulting major KPMG, while it has been labeled as an “illustrious brand” by another consulting powerhouse, PwC. Mainstream media has lauded him regularly, while leading chambers of commerce in India such as the CII, FICCI and the PHDCCI have all sought his involvement with them in various advisory roles.
As Ray Kroc, the former owner of McDonald’s who knew a thing or two about management and business, says, “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” Throughout his career, V M Bansal has been a fine testimony to this, setting high standards in whichever role he’s played.
Elsewhere in the magazine, there are top stories from diverse streams. Do not miss out on our very strong diaspora coverage, an area where we have excelled during 18 years of our magazine’s journey.