Sunday, 29 January 2012

Why Finance


Finance has been one of the most preferred options for candidates pursuing MBA from top business schools worldwide. The finance field has been glamourized by the high pay packages given for the investment banking and other such profiles at B Schools. Due to this, many MBA aspirants these days expect to take finance as a major, only to know that it is not what they had expected it to be. This post tries to give a basic understanding to the amateur about what Finance exactly is and the various career options available.
What is Finance?
Wikipedia defines Finance simply as the management of Money or funds. If it is the funds of individuals, it becomes personal finance. Fund management of Corporates is corporate finance and for public institutions, it is public finance. Finance is one of the most important aspects of business management and it includes decisions related to use and acquisition of funds for the enterprise. It involves managing the financial risk return match for any entity.
Prerequisites
To be a successful student of Finance, the following skills would be helpful:
  • Analytical skills: Finance is all about analysis. Financial statement analysis, risk analysis, portfolio analysis etc.
  • Subject Matter Expertise: For accurate analysis, one needs to be equipped with all the concepts of the subject.
  • Diligence: Attention to detail is very important. Ability to identify the critical aspect in the problem.
  • Numbers: Some hate Mathematics. In Finance, one would need to work with numbers. Being adequately comfortable with numbers is sufficient for Finance. You don’t need to be a mathematician.
  • Patience: Many problems of Finance require extensive research and reading to solve. This requires patience.

Components of Finance
There can be many classifications of Finance. Let me go through the classification of courses which will give you a general idea of the subject. Generally the subjects taught in many B Schools are as follows:
  • Micro Economics: It forms a basic foundation on the supply demand aspects of economics.
  • Macro Economics: Generally found to be more interesting. It involves the stuff that we generally encounter while reading business papers such as ET, FT or Business Standard. GDP, Inflation, foreign exchange, monetary policy, fiscal policy, deficit, etc are some of the terms that you will come across in this course. It was one of my best courses here at IIM Raipur.
  • Accounting: Most of the B School aspirants in India are from the Engineering background with little or no exposure to accounting. It is here that they are introduced to the concept of financial statements such as balance sheets, P&L statements etc. Basic accounting concepts used to prepare these statements are introduced in this course. In addition to this, costing techniques such as activity based costing are also introduced.
  • Finance Management: This can be classified as corporate finance. It is what corporates use to raise funds, or manage available funds. Corporate generally have two options available to raise funds: debt or equity. The aim of the corporate is to reduce the cost of raising funds. It involves time value of money, Discounted cash flow model, capital budgeting, IRR, NPV calculations, cost of capital, debt, equity, etc.
  • Business Analysis and Valuation: The value of a corporate entity affects the firm in many ways. The share price of the company depends on its valuation. This course aims at introducing various valuation techniques in use. Very useful for the budding Investment Bankers and equity research aspirants.
  • Security Analysis and Portfolio Management: Risk return management. The course involves the analysis of various securities and forming a portfolio to diversify the risk for any entity. Useful for the equity research aspirants.
  • Financial Derivatives: Derivatives are the instruments used to hedge risk. They can be commodity derivatives, financial derivatives. These include options, futures, forwards, swaps, the latest Credit Default Swaps (CDS), Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO) etc. Basic functioning of these instruments and various strategies used are introduced. This course is useful for trading profiles and for general understanding of the capital markets.
  • Many other electives are offered as a part of the curriculum and the students can choose based on their interest. These include risk management, cost management, financial services and institutions, international corporate finance, econometrics, etc. Wiki the names for more details on each of them.
There can be numerous roles that one can pursue as a career after studying Finance. These include: investment banking, retail banking, wealth management, risk management, asset management, corporate finance, trade finance and cash management, trading, Mergers and Acquisitions, Equity research, Treasury, Private Equity etc. Regular recruiters at B Schools include Consulting firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, E&Y, PwC, Banks such as HSBC, Citi bank, Axis Bank, ICICI, Yes bank, SBI, etc, Investment Banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, SBI Caps, etc. Most of these firms offer challenging profiles and promise an exciting career. This is the reason why there are so many takers of Finance as a major.
Certifications
To differentiate yourself from others, you can take up certifications such as CFA, FRM, NCFM, ICAI, CCIL, etc. Each of these certifications tests the candidate in a particular field and awards certification in the same.
CFA stands for Certified Financial Analyst and it consists of 3 levels. It is generally a much sought after certification and can help get Investment Banking profiles.
FRM stands for Financial Risk Management. This is for all the risk management aspirants out there.
NSE Certification for Financial Markets (NCFM) consists of many modules such as derivatives, banking, and financial markets etc. 3 NCFMs can make you an NSE Certified Market Professional (NCMP).
Pre Reads before joining a B School
You can start reading the economic times or Business Standard if you aren’t already doing it. Most of us coming from the engineering background had problems in understanding Accounting and we had to spend sleepless nights trying to figure out head or tail of it. So it is recommended to acquaint yourself with basic accounting and MS Excel. This applies to non-Finance students as well because the course is compulsory for all.
I sincerely hope that this article has introduced you to at least some aspects of Finance and can help you take a decision that will change your life.


Contributed by Karthik KVR, PGP 2010-12, He can be reached at pgp10028.karthik@iimraipur.ac.in

Thank you IIM Raipur for such a lively Republic Day


Yes this was what most of the students believed to be their liveliest Republic Day in a long time. The 63rd Republic Day was celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm by students of IIM Raipur who conducted a day long activities to mark the event. The event began with a discussion on article by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who exhorted Indians to believe in country once and told how far the country had come in these 62 years.

After the flag hoisting, Prof B S Sahay, Director IIM Raipur, highlighted how the institute has been working closely with the Ministry of HRD to develop a funding plan for IIMs. He highlighted the institute’s plans for the upcoming years and hoped that the students will carry the tradition of excellence forward once they pass out from the Institute and contribute towards nation building. He expressed his pleasure over the fact that some of the best companies of the country and from the world are now associating with IIM Raipur and the fruits of the same will be seen in some time.

The ceremony was followed by a cultural program which began with a classical rendition by Richa Akhil PGP 2010-12 on Hawaiian guitar. She also presented a classical interpretation of old Bollywood Numbers which was appreciated by everyone.  This was followed by a skit prepared by the first year students who highlighted the effects of Television on the children. The skit showed how the innocence of the childhood was being lost and addressed contemporary theme s like attention disorder and early maturing of children. 

This was followed by recital of patriotic songs by many students, the highlight of which was ‘Rubroo Roshni’ performed in an innovative manner by a group from first year PGP. The group also tried to explain the relevance of these songs when patriotism has been restricted to recital of anthem and cheering for Cricket Team.  Students also recited poetry to highlight the same.

This was followed by energetic dance Performance by girls on ‘Des Rangila’ number. The song celebrated and cherished the idea of patriotism. The cultural program ended with all the students vibrating the atmosphere by reciting ‘Ham honge kamyaab’ and ‘Aa chal k tujhe’ songs.

The highlight of the day was Finals of the Inaugural Champions Trophy Cricket Tournament organized by the Sports Committee of IIM Raipur. The 20-20 match saw some spirited display of sportsmanship and skill by both the batches. The match saw commentary inputs from Nitin Kurien PGP 2010-12 and Abhinash Nag PGP 2011-13 who held the audience with their wit and insight into the proceedings of the match. The revolving trophy was presented by Prof B S Sahay to the winning team from the first year.

The proceedings of the day closed with a Constitution Quiz organized by the Quizzing club to increase awareness about the constitution and also bring out the lesser known facts of the constitution and brought out the rich story behind the constitution.



Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Why Marketing?


As you prepare for your WA/PI, most of the questions asked by the students (again mostly engineers) is about what to specialize on. The main reason here is they don’t know what each stream has to offer as a career. For example, people perceive marketing as “selling a product like a salesman does”. A good MBA program firstly will help you overcome this fact and cause a paradigm shift. This is more pronounced if the professor is as amazing as the subject. We, at IIM Raipur, have been taught by some of the best professors in Marketing and I can safely say many of my peers would be majoring in Marketing with me.

The subject of marketing is very pervasive but unfortunately we consider two things when we consider Marketing: Advertising and Selling. Let me begin by asking you one question, if I told you that Bata makes ice Cream, would you buy it? Let me tell you what came to your mind “Bata is shoes not ice cream”. Or If Govinda is roped by Aston Martin as its brand ambassador you may find yourself saying “How can they sell a luxury car with Govinda as its Ambassador”. These are just a part of the questions you would be facing in marketing. Consider another interesting piece of fact, when Nestle Coffee was first introduced into India it did not take off, even in South India where coffee drinking is taken as seriously as Carnatic music. It was not because there was something wrong with the coffee. So why did it fail? The users did not see any value. Solution: Coffee in a glass container which can be used to store spices, sugar etc., once the coffee was finished and the product was a hit. So what did Nestle sell? It was a glass bottle that also had coffee. With this I welcome you to the fascinating world of Marketing.  

So what is marketing all about? I won’t get into the definition here, it broadly revolves around the 4Ps popularized by Philip Kotler (it was proposed by E. Jerome McCarthy) and is also known as the Marketing Mix. The four Ps are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. According to Drucker “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself”, essentially making selling redundant, though in real life this is hard to achieve. The product that has come the closest to achieving it is the Apple iPhone. (If you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone).

To understand Marketing one must study if it were a philosophy. It is both a science and an art. When you treat it that way, you not only understand the subject in the best possible way, but also start relating the subject with your own self. To elaborate, you start understanding what all skills are required if you want to specialize in that subject. At this point, when you know what the subject has to offer and what you need to offer to the subject, you are in the best position to judge whether you have to specialise in this subject or not.

Another aspect a good faculty adds to the subject is the motivation part. This is generally required for a subject like Marketing, especially for engineers who find it difficult to appreciate intangible things like ‘brand value etc.’ It is only when you are taught Marketing like philosophy and not like a process that real and true knowledge is imparted. It is then you realise that if you have problem solving skills, good listening skills, a concern for people, their needs and feelings and a habit to dream and fantasize, you have it all that a marketer should have. The world of marketing is dynamic, fast evolving and requires one to shed preconceived notions.

An individual with the above skills, will very easily start understanding the needs and wants of a consumer and also that the consumer is always ‘the king’. It is music for him, to understand the dynamics of competition amidst challenges like market penetration, market development and product development. Very easily can one then relate the ‘Rs.5 Coke Aamir Khan’ campaign with the fact it was targeted to the rural markets of India and that Mahindra Bolero is positioned as a rugged, rough and tough car, targeting people of the same kind. Not to forget that HUL made Lux a mass product and Dove a premium one. We learn that when a product is launched it is focused on a certain section of the society and with a certain perception. Irrespective of what features or price it has, it is the benefit and value of the product that a consumer perceives which is important. Dividing people based on demographics is a myopic act. Rather one should analyse markets in terms of psychography, mediagraphy and behavioural aspects. When you are taught that a competitor of the aeroplane industry is not only the railways, but also Video Conferencing, you realise that you have touched a certain level.

Companies to look for: Hindustan Unilever, Kraft Foods, P&G, ITC, Tata Motors, Banking and Financial Services, Airtel, Vodafone, JWT, Leo Burnett, O&M, Coca Cola, Pepsi and practically any company under the sun.

Why marketing: If you are passionate to work in an environment that requires interaction with clients/customers, handling distributors and suppliers and developing some of the best known brands.

Contributed by Vishal Thakrar PGP 2011-13 with inputs from Dhileeban R,
Tarang Singhal PGP 2011-13. Vishal can be reached at pgp11046.vishal@iimraipur.ac.in and Dhilebaan and Tarang can be reached at pgp11013.dhilebaan@iimraipur.ac.in pgp11040.tarang@iimraipur.ac.in respectively.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

How to tackle PI


Firstly, sit back and pat yourself. You are among the few in the country who have got the Call for
interviews from the prestigious IIMs. Though some of you may not be happy that you didn’t get
a call from A,B,C but you did get a call from the IIMs for which there are many others out there
craving to just get a call from IIMs and convert them. So cheers! Well you see – No point in giving the
Interview with a sulky mood, with lack of will and confidence. It’s as good as not giving an interview
in that case.

There is never a Standard Operating Procedure for any interview. You actually never know what the
interview panel really looks at, or for that matter you may have heard cases where the interview was
excellent according to your friend but he finally never made it through. So I would suggest just sit
back, relax stop analysing what the panel wants. Don’t take the interview as a Question & Answer
Session. Just think of it as if you are going to have a normal conversation with some people. I know
it’s tough but it would help soothe your nerves and calm down.

Analyse & introspect who you are. Think about yourself & know yourself. According to me, this is
probably the reason you have come across your friends who may have not slogged as much as you
have but must have got through because they came across as confident and impressive. Makes
sense, Right! Try not to act too smart or witty or pretend someone who you are not. You are facing
people who are interviewing candidates from years and are well versed with the tricks you have up
your sleeve and they can easily catch those. Once caught, you would be done and dusted.

I would suggest you start your preparation with introspection (which you may have never done
before). This will make you ready for the Standard $$ Million Dollar Question $$ – Why MBA??
Before giving cat you may have never thought about it. And after giving Cat – You would say
to yourself – Its all for that Money honey! But Alas, can you say that upfront in the interview??
Personally speaking, I would say Yes, you can say that answer provided you are able to give a logical
coherent explanation to it. Shocking is it? Well trust me I have seen people with the rudest & the
bluntest of the answers getting through – Bet you will agree with me. Lets analyse the situation –
Had you answered as stated above – a typical grilling would be people have become rich without an
MBA (Dhirubhai Ambani, and many other entrepreneurs) Now, how the hell would you tackle this?
Well I have no idea. But if you do – Then What an Idea Sirji! But if you can defend yourself in a very
logical sense, trust me no one can stop you. And that logical sense can be explained in a creamy,
presentable language (Lets all be honest) keeping in mind the following points:

• Your current background
• Connecting it to the future – Where you want to be in the future.
• Your value addition.
• New Opportunities and the rewards and why you want them.
Be sure to use these pointers.

The introspection would also make you ready for questions like –

  • What are your strengths and weakness?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
  • If not MBA what else
  • What would you do in your spare time?
  • Why should we choose you over the other 10 standing outside? Etc.


As I said before, there are no standard answers to these questions. Though there are some standard
ones taught in coaching classes which the Panel may be hearing for the millionth time and you
would hence be inferred as just one more candidate in the crowd.

I would seriously suggest you first sit back and spend time with yourself to know yourself.

For the Freshers:
You guys are fresh out of college and will mostly be asked about your academics and hobbies as
there is nothing else to grill you on :p, unless and until you throw up something for them. (Will
explain this below). So be thorough with basics of your academics, final year projects, subjects
studied, favourite subject, hated subject, hobbies – specially. (No hobbies like – reading, singing,
dancing, etc) Cut the crap – If your hobby is cricket (This is India) – Be ready with a plethora of
questions like largest cricket stadium to pitch dimensions to important statistics of players, etc.
Difficult to by heart in just a few weeks, but if you were truly passionate about it, half your job would
be already done. So know in & out of your hobby.

For Experienced Guys:
Well, focus will be less on academics and more on your work experience, your achievements there,
your value addition to the company. You may be grilled on your opportunity costs and Why MBA
precisely and about your future plans and after MBA.

On a general note, be well versed with the latest happenings in and around the world. For Example –
As on 21st Jan, 2012 –

European Debt Crisi (What is it, IMF, Greece, Spain)
Wiki blackout – Internet Censorship
Indian crickets performace disaster
FDI – Single Brand, multi-brand retail, Aviation – Kingfisher Story
Salman Rushdie – Jaipur Issue, etc.

Know something at least about these topics and have an opinion. As in say, your take on Google &
Facebook censorship. These may help you in your written analysis topics also.

Final Gyaan

--Be ready to answer questions like Tell us something about yourself & Tell us something about
yourself which is not there in this PI form. There are the 2 main questions; I repeat THE questions
which would almost decide where the interview is heading. Don’t cram the answers. Introspect
and prepare a good structured answer. Be sure of what you are speaking as you are basically giving
the panel a set of Guns to shoot you. Didn’t get it hu? Well let’s say, you start telling about yourself
and gloat to glory that you are the topper and this very determined person with no weakness –
ROFL, I say. In such a case, be ready to face questions like – give instances where you showed your

determination, etc. If you mention you are born and brought up in Bombay & not Mumbai – You
may immediately be corrected that its Mumbai – and there you and the panel may end up discussing
about Mumbai. So you see. Be careful of what you speak and say as you are actually giving them
weapons to fire at you.
--Know almost something to everything about whatever you have written on the PI form. Example:
If your college’s name is say Swami Vivekanand Engineering & Technology – I would seriously
suggest you read about Swami Vivekanand from the Wiki Page. Similarly, CGPA system, absolute &
relative grading, etc – You never know how the interview may end up there – the place where you
least expected. Trust me the interviewers have a knack of getting to this place where you are least
prepared. You won’t be forgiven if you do not know about something which you yourself have said
or have written on the PI form.
--Be ready to explain whatever your points and qualities are with some real life, personal examples
(Eg – Proving that you actually are a hardworking & a determined person, that you are a social
person, etc). This would make you stand out and make the interview unique. Pushing yourself
further in this field can make you think of implanting an impression in the panel’s mind – So that at
the end of the day, when they may sit back and review – They should remember you – Oh that CGPA
wala interview was interesting!!
--Go one step ahead by reading about that particular IIM and say probably how you can contribute
to that IIM. Eg – That particular initiative by that IIM (or its club) is what interests you and you think
you can contribute to take that initiative further or develop something on the similar lines. These
days B-Schools look at what & how you as a participant to their program can add value to the school.

Keep your calm and cool. Just go and enjoy!

For all those Roadies Fans out there – Fakes will be easily found out & also there is no mercy for
those of you who cannot stand by what you have actually written – I bet you guys will agree on this.

Sum it all in a nutshell – Be sure with what you say, Keep your calm, Don’t burden yourself with
thoughts of its now or never and other negative thoughts. Just enjoy the process. (Easier said than
done).

Remember – Things happen twice in this world – First as a thought and second in Reality. So be
careful of what you think as it may turn out to be a reality.

See to it that you are what you speak & you speak what you are!!

All the very Best!

The article has been written by Abhilash Kanaparthi, PGP 2010-12 He can be reached at pgp10001.abhilash@iimraipur.ac.in

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The difference between cracking CAT and belling it.


Hi.
Congratulations on getting a call from IIM Raipur.
Most of you would be happy at getting a call from the IIMs. Some people might feel dejected on under performing & blame it on the normalization process. Also a few would cry unfair at having been wronged for not getting calls from other B-schools in spite of having a respectable score. But the bottom line is that the first stage is over. No matter how much privileged you feel at having a high percentile or brood over your score for that matter, it’s time to move on.  As you might have heard or known, this marks the end of the rejection process. Selection starts from here.
I am not here to tell you if you would make it to the other side of things. Nobody can tell you that. On THE day, anything can happen. You may start on a good note & carry the “feel-good” right through the process. OR you might have a bad day. A tough panel or the guy who walked into the interview room previously might have raised the bar. The point is that anything can happen. Realize that & also accept your helplessness in this regard. It would help you if you stop zeroing in on the “Ifs & Buts”. At the end of the day it is your preparation & the confidence that comes from a sound preparation. It’s the same thing as - you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. So buck up.
Another thing that some students tend to do is reveling in the glory of having multiple calls & calling up others about their opinion on which IIM should they go to. Wake up. As I said, the selection process starts from here. Some of those who have not been shortlisted might have had a bad day on the test day. You have only been shortlisted, not selected. There’s no point in thinking along these lines at this stage. Convert your calls & then “take a call”.
Now let’s get to what needs to be done. First you have to start reading up a lot. Be it Newspapers, magazines or online reading. The Hindu & Economic Times are suggested. People lick them during the run up to interviews & sadly you are no exception. Simple Correlation. The more you know, the better you would be at ideating or writing/speaking about a particular issue.
Read up about your interests & hobbies. You could be asked anything under the sun. Freshers could be asked questions about their favorite subject(s). So choose you subjects & start brushing up. Experienced guys could be asked about their work experience, their roles & responsibilities, their company, the industry the company is in. So, don’t think that you have an edge over the freshers just because you had been in a company. You should be able to justify your edge. This applies to Freshers too. You guys would have to do your homework on your achievements, your projects, your internships and the like. Just saying that you were the college president won’t be enough. Start making points of your exact roles & responsibilities. It would help.
Another reason why I am asking you guys to read up is that while in an interview when you find yourself in a no-man’s land situation, the interviewer might move to other areas to give you another chance to prove yourself. On an average day it works out that way. For you to be able to leverage this opportunity, it makes sense to have more options. By options I mean a good range of areas where you are strong. How would you be strong if you haven’t read about it? Doesn’t it make sense?
Written analysis has been introduced for the first time. Hence the exactness of what would be asked is not known. But broadly speaking, you might be asked to write an essay on a particular topic or you might be provided with a case. Essay writing has been around right from the Stone Age & there’s nothing I can add to all that you might already know about it. Again reading up on varied areas & practicing writing would help oil those creaky joints, especially if you haven’t done it for a while.
A case has a narrative, a story, a set of events that unfolds over time in a particular place. Cases consist of a given problem situation. They could be real-life situations or simulated situations. Students are placed in the shoes of the decision maker. Different pressures, considerations & trade-offs need to be weighed in making the decision. Information available is mostly incomplete & assumptions if needed could be taken. There is no single answer. Differences in approaches are common & acceptable. But the rationale behind them needs to be clearly outlined.
One of the most important & definitely one that almost every candidate faces is “why MBA?”.  Yet people tend to goof up on this one more than often. The same holds true for other personals like what in MBA, what after MBA, short term & long term goals, where do you see yourself in ‘x’ years from now etc. etc. Trust me, it doesn’t come easy. A lot of introspection, retrospection needs to go into this. The answers would have to refined multiple times till they “sound right” & satisfactory. It’s an iterative process & inputs need to be taken from other people. The more you work on them, the more mistakes you would come to know & the better it would get. Unless you have sponge in your heads, I trust you to not answer the “why MBA?” question as “My Dad told me to”, “I want to do an MBA for the money”, “My friends were appearing too & I didn’t want to feel left out”. Jokes apart, I think you got my point.  Remember, that your answer to the ‘why MBA’ question need not be a Nobel Prize winning one. You should be able to show how an MBA degree would add value to what you have done till date. The “fit” between your personal reasons & what an MBA degree offers, has to exist and make meaningful sense.
There’s one last thought process that I would want to address. I believe it would linger in the minds of quite a few people, irritating like an urge to scratch when you can’t. Of late, lines have been drawn between the IIMs & the so called, “new IIMs”. There would be some of you wondering if they are bang for the buck & find motivation lacking. This feeling is what I am talking about. For people who haven’t landed up on calls from their “dream” colleges & want to wait another year to give it another shot, here’s my personal take. Can you get into a better college next year?  Yes you can. Don’t let go off the hope, otherwise what is the point in waiting another year anyways. Should you wait another year if you knew you are definitely getting into your dream B-school? I would wait. But what is the whole point here we are trying to address. Look beyond all this at the larger picture. It’s your career we are talking about. If you think you can’t be proactive and gain the best out of a college, the 'culture' at other B-schools won’t affect you much either, because let’s face it, you are not built that way. College doesn’t maketh the students, students maketh the college. If all bums got into IIM A B C, IIMs A B C won’t be A B C. New IIMs would be a different experience and I don’t mean an inferior one, if you have the balls for it. If you want the brand name to work for you and thus decide to wait, it doesn’t work that way.
The “New IIMs”, so to say, would give you opportunities which other colleges can’t. I know it might sound as if it is all easy and cool to say this sitting in a B-school, but trust me when I say this. People who make it big don’t need the B-school tags, the B-schools need them to show what awesome alumni they have. It all comes down to the basics-“Believing in your capabilities”. And I don’t mean the capability to crack CAT. More than 4000 chaps do it every single year. My take: Bite the bullet, go for the college and make the 'culture' there. You won’t regret it. And as for the placements, they are comparable.
I want to wrap up by saying that- take it easy. It might seem an uphill task but it’s not rocket science. It might take time to start falling in place but eventually it will, given your efforts.
All the very best! 

Contributed By : Somyakanta Nanda, PGP 2011-13, He can be reached at pgp11036.somyakanta@iimraipur.ac.in

Understanding Case based Learning


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

IIM Raipur student shares experience on excelling in FLIP National Challenge 2011


Ankur Dubey, student of PGP 2010-12 at IIM Raipur, recently claimed All India Rank one in “Trade Finance” section of FLIP National Challenge 2011. FLIP National Challenge is an All-India Finance competition amongst the B-schools in India conducted by FLIP (a senior IIM alumni venture). More than 1100 students across IIMs and other top B-schools in India had participated in the event this year. The Challenge partners were Yes Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. The challenge had four sections, three of which could only be competed by the second year students.
Ankur Dubey, who scored 92.2% marks in the trade finance section, had started preparing for various certifications in the first year itself. He emphasizes the value of certifications by saying that it gives the much required edge in the competitive markets. Ankur, who is also CFA level 1 certified, goes on adding that an early start with a regular preparation is the key to success so that one may not have to compromise on the regular studies of PGP course. One has to find a balance between the two as both of them are important in shaping up the career.

Ankur got 3 PPIs from Yes Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. Along with this he was given a cash prize of Rs. 30000, free pizza coupons from Dominoes, T-shirt and certificates. He attended 3 PPIs from HDFC Bank, Yes Bank and ICICI Bank. He converted all the 3 PPIs and was offered a final role of Product manager (Transaction Banking) in Yes Bank. Ankur was also included in FLIP’s Hall of Fame (http://www.learnwithflip.com/flipchallenge2011/halloffame.html).

Monday, 16 January 2012

IIM Raipur students visit SOS children camp


The IIM Raipur CSR club “Kartavya” yesterday organized a visit to SOS Mana Camp, Raipur. SOS, which has pioneered a family approach to the long-term care of orphaned and abandoned children, had invited the students of IIM Raipur to SOS camp to celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti. The students reached the camp in the noon with a plan to organize various recreational activities for the children staying in the camp.
The fun time started with the “musical chair” event which the children enjoyed to their hearts. The two rounds of the event were contested to the core and brought out the intelligence of the children in a different manner. “Musical chair” was followed by the kite flying competition which was again enjoyed by all. Till this time the students and the children had mingled well with each other and started playing different games in different corners of the field.
Some students organized Rugby for one set of children in one corner while the other corner was occupied by the cricket lovers. The centre stage was occupied by the music lovers who organized the game of Antakshari contested between five teams. The lively environment was further sweetened by the sweets distribution after which the children exhibited their creativity through their paintings in the drawing competition.
The day ended with the beautiful prayers that we all are the children of the one God and should be thankful to him and each other for whatever we have got in our lives. The winning students were rewarded with the chocolates and other prizes. The students thanked children and staff for the wonderful experience. The children were adamant that students should keep visiting the campus on other festivals as well. Some children were so touched by the experience that they were not ready to let the students go. For many students it was an experience when one really feels good from inside and gets a sense of doing something that matters. All in all the experience was a rewarding one for both the children and the students.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Corporate Lecture By Mr Ajay Kaul, CEO, Jubilant Foodworks


Jubliant Foodworks, the Franchisee for Domino's India and recently Dunkin Donuts, is recognized worldwide as one of the best franchisee for Domino's and one of the reason for the same has been the leadership of Mr Ajay Kaul.
Mr Kaul, an IIT-D alumnus, was invited to the campus of IIM Raipur as a part of the Corporate Guest Lecture series. Mr Kaul’s lecture was focused on how the concept had to be ingrained into the psyche of Indian Consumers for whom both pizza and home delivery were alien concept. He began his presentation by highlighting the challenges the brand faced in the beginning. He told how in the beginning Pizza was considered a ‘snack’ which would be consumed between meals.
In a highly interactive session he delineated how the brand used the concepts of emotional and functional laddering to affix its position into the minds and phone books of Indian consumers. Through a series of TV adverts he showed how the brand migrated from its famed 30 minute home delivery to the more subtle “Khushiyon ki Home delivery”. The success of the brand is evident, it has registered  31% same store growth, 53% system level growth last year.
The next part of the discussion was the operation and logistics part of the 30 minute delivery that from USP has become a UBP for the brand. Mr. Kaul recalled the biggest challenge in implementing this meant that the store had to say no to business. He told for a store manager this would have been a precarious situation as on one hand there were sales targets and on the other hand this meant people who were outside the 2.5 km range ( or Lakshman Rekha in company parlance) the store owner was supposed to say no. The company trained its store staff on lines military training to ensure a strong store discipline. He told that even today once in the year the senior management in supposed to work in the store to remember this regime and also understand consumers better. Another part was to celebrate the first free delivery to get the stigma out of free delivery and also wearing a badge that said “I won’t be fined for delivering free”, thus taking the loss on company’s books. This also discourages any practice where people may still pay out of pity.Upon being asked how much the loss would was he indicated it to be around 1% of all pizza’s delivered were free.
In the final part of the lecture he talked about the future strategy of Jubilant Foodworks which has now over 400 stores all over the country. He refused to divulge any strategy for Dunkin’ Donuts which is expected to be launched in 2012. Upon being asked where would the focus be for next few years. He indicated that the roll strategy for new stores and the roadmap for the next 2-3 years has already been charted out and the company is well in line to deliver the phenomenal growth it has been clocking for all these years.
Our director, Prof B S Sahay, keenly took part in session and invited Mr Ajay Kaul to write for the Operations Club Magazine Strive and thanked him for interacting with the students of IIM Raipur.

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