Brand Breakout - An evening with Mr Nirmalya Kumar

In April, HKUST MBA students traveled 2,500 kms to Singapore for a cultural and career immersion. The contingent met UOB, DHL Consulting, SEA Group, Airbnb, GSK, Accenture, Electrolux, SAP, Lazada, VP Bank and BlackRock. Not to mention the cultural tour (courtesy: Kelvin Tan) which did not let us sleep till 4AM and wake up for next day early morning company visits.

One of the highlights was a 45-min talk by Mr. Nirmalya Kumar during the MBA mixer. Mr.  Kumar is Lee Kong Chian Professor of Marketing at Singapore Management University & Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute. Prior to this, he was heading strategy as member of the Group Executive Council at Tata Sons, the 175+ billion dollar group from India and my alma mater which employs over 650,000 people globally. He has also been a professor of marketing at the London Business School, having also taught at Columbia University, Harvard Business School, IMD (Switzerland) and Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management). As an author, he has written seven books including Marketing as Strategy, Private Label Strategy, Value Merchants, and Brand Breakout. He has published several articles in Harvard Business Review and other leading academic journals. These publications have attracted over 18,000 citations on Google Scholar. Mr. Kumar is considered one of the world’s leading thinkers on strategy and marketing. He was thrice included in Thinkers50 (the biannual listing of the top 50 management thinkers in the world), received their 2011 “Global Village Award” for the person who contributed the most to the business community’s understanding of globalisation and the new frontiers established by emerging markets, as well as their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He also appeared on 50 Best B-school Professors (Poets & Quants) and 50 Most Influential Business School Professors ( Some of his Ted Talk video links are below:

It was an inspiring evening to learn about Brand Breakout - how emerging country brands can make it big globally. The MBA cohort was surprised to learn that American Pinoys have second highest per capita income in California, no wonder the Pinoys in our batch have the highest per capita amongst us ;)