Hyderabad: Who doesn’t chat up with utter strangers during journeys? Everyone does and the talk usually runs around inane things which lead to nowhere. Imagine such casual conversation resulting in something big – even constructive.

It happened with Prof. Masood Ahmed. Once he was travelling to Mumbai by train and struck a conversation with his fellow traveller, an engineering student. As the conversation progressed, he was surprised to learn that the boy had no inkling of what economy is all about and what inflation is. “This is not part of our syllabus,” the youngster replied when the professor expressed surprise.

That was the turning point. It led Prof. Masood to embark on a journey of lectures on the topic – Know Your Nation. This fruitful lecture series touched the 100th mark recently. “I never thought these talks would last this long,” says the incredulous professor.

Former president of Association of Indian Management Schools, Prof. Masood delivered his first talk on August 1, 2015 to students and faculty of CORE School of Management, Roorkee, UP. The 48-odd participants hung onto each word and were visibly satisfied with the knowledge gained. As word spread, there was demand for such lectures and Prof. Masood delivered ten more lectures that very month in the Master School of Management, Meerut, Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, ICBM School of Business Excellence, Hyderabad, Hyderabad Business School, GITAM University, Birla Institute of Management and Technology, Noida.

There was no looking back. The lectures, which focus on India’s economic scenario, education status and employment opportunities, took him all over the country and even abroad. He addressed packed conference halls in business schools, engineering and medical colleges and other institutions. In 2016 he delivered a talk to Deans and Directors of Business School of South Asia, Sri Lanka and next year at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, Dhaka. He delivered similar lectures in Muscat, Jordan and Qatar.  Prof. Masood’s 100th lecture was delivered on December 26, 2022 at the Shaheen Group of Institutions, Bidar.

Prof. Masood makes his talks appealing with power point presentations packed with interesting nuggets of information. What do 7 billion people do? He asks and then goes on to inform that 1.4 billion work in agriculture, 1.7 billion in services, 800 million work in industries while over 400 million are entrepreneurs and 430 million are unemployed. And 1.9 billion are too young to work (0-15 ages). He reels out quick data like South Asia being home to a quarter of world population, India fact sheet about population, health and literacy rate, Central government expenditure, growth projects, human development index, how India ranks in ease of doing business. There are a whole lot of other details too.

There is woeful lack of knowledge about these things both among students and adults. “You should know yourself, your organisation and your nation. This is the prerequisite for progress,” says Prof. Masood. And he believes that thirst for learning, consistency in relearning and adopting unlearning are the keys for professional growth.

What next? A health care management expert, he is now planning to launch 100 interesting lectures on the subject – Know Your Health. Those who want to avoid going to hospitals can look forward to them.

By Shadab

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