“In India, there is no longer a contradiction between doing well and doing good. After the reforms of 1991, there is a confluence between the ethical and the practical,” said Manish Sabharwal, chairman, TeamLease Services.

“You are privileged to live in a much more prosperous and confident India,” he said, addressing students at the inaugural session of Madras Management Association’s (MMA) two-day convention on ‘Gen Y@Ind: Challenges for young India,’ organised at University of Madras here on Friday.

Pointing out that young India is the new India, he said: “We missed our tryst with destiny that Jawaharlal Nehru dreamed of. But India is lucky to have a new appointment with destiny and our collective future will depend on your imagination and dreams. You are living in unique times.”

According to him, the academic environment has to change rapidly to teach students much more than just how to get a degree if India has to cash in on the demographic dividend of its young population.

“Even the best quality education teaches you only how to succeed alone. In life, you can never achieve anything great without working with others. In school, they have a word for team work — it is called ‘cheating’,” he said.

Madras University Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam laid stress on imparting the right set of skills and imagination to youngsters if India had to take advantage of the tag of being the youngest nation 10 years into the future.

“Most of our courses lack a training component. They are not skill development programmes.”

T.V. Somanathan, Secretary to the Chief Minister (Monitoring), said “There is a lot of work to do and our progress has not been remarkable.”

He urged students to give more importance to attitude than aptitude and asked them to come to terms with the big gulf between success and happiness.

The convention will feature sessions on a range of topics from the challenge of entrepreneurship to the quest for work-life balance.