Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Director and CEO of Videocon Telecom Mr. Aravind Bali at IIM Raipur



Mr. Aravind Bali, Director and CEO of Videocon Telecom interacted with the students of IIM Raipur today. During the hour long interaction, he answered various queries from the students concerning the telecom industry in India and Videocon’s plans for expansion in India. The guest lecture is part of Videocon’s effort for a better association with the premier management institutes around the country and to collaborate on various strategic and management activities.

The session revolved around Videocon’s plans to launch 4G in India and the challenges that it would have to overcome. Mr. Bali started the session with a short presentation to give the students a background about the industry and the rise of 4G technology. He described how the telecom industry had rapidly evolved over the years starting from the humble telephone to wireless and 4G technologies. “Around 1.5 crore mobile handsets are sold every month in India alone”, he said highlighting the pace at which the industry has grown in the country.

Speaking about the challenges of 4G he said, “In India barely 15% of the mobile users have 3G capable devices. Introducing a new technology while its predecessor has failed to achieve a significant penetration in the Indian market would indeed be a challenge.” He also spoke about Videocon’s plans to reintroduce an upgraded version of 2G - the 2.75G- in those markets where 3G failed to make an impact.

As the students probed him about Videocon’s strategies for launching the first 4G mobile plan in India he responded that Videocon telecom has always tried to provide the best technology at the lowest prices and that the company would be following the same strategy for the upcoming 4G launch as well. “At Videocon we aim to provide the best value for money to customers and retailers”, he said. The idea was to make the 4G offering even cheaper than 3G. “Our 4G offering will be 90% cheaper than all the 3G packages available today. Customers will be charged on the basis of the bandwidth they consume”. He also said that it was important for the company to communicate all the benefits of its products especially to customers who weren’t so tech savvy. “This would mean defining the offering innovatively, say in terms of number of movies you could watch or number of songs you could listen to.”

Before leaving, he stressed on the importance of a strong academic industry relationship in order to create a better collaboration on management related activities.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Being a Master or a Misfit depends on your choice! Selecting your dream B-School








Few of the most commonly considered factors before selecting a B-School are Placements, Peer Learning, Faculty, Infrastructure, Accessibility, Specialties, Gender Ratio, Student Exchange Programme, Flagship Events and Alumni network, not necessarily in that particular order. It is mostly subjective and one needs to get one’s priorities correct before homing into a school.



I’d like to reiterate the stated point as it is most important that one understands what one wants from a B-School, because more often than not, given sufficient effort, one ends up getting it. So, get your priorities correct!!!Else you’ll be just another drifter wondering what to do while time flies by and you’ll be doing some job in some company.
Considering the time of posting this, you all have already prepared well and gave your best in your respective exams. So, that’s out of the window.

There are two types of B-Schools, those which offer a Post Graduate Programme with a Generic orientation (IIMs etc.) and those which offer a more Niche orientation (MICA, IRMA etc.), and there are two types of programmes, aone year executive MBA programme and a two year regular programme, the former is aimed towards working executives who wish to seek a better position in their existing vertical and the latter allows more leverage who wish to change their verticals. This is a bird’s eye view and this must be sufficient to give you a generic idea as to the “where” and “what”. There are B-Schools which offer a three year MBA, but three years is too much of a time for an MBA.
Once you have that figured out, concentrate on the factors which are mentioned in the beginning and find out from the internet and your friends who are already studying as to what is the emphasis in the B-School. You will get a fair idea about what the institute wants to do in their vision and mission statements, some might concentrate on Research, some might concentrate on foreign businesses, others might concentrate on building leaders, few others boast of socially responsible professionals and so on and so forth.

Placements shouldn’t be a concern so long as you are in the top thirty. When you go beyond that, you will need to look at the Age of the B-school, Programmes, Events, Corporate Relations, Publications, Faculty, Proximity to a Business Hub and finally the Placement Reports. However, placement reports are fudged by many and they shouldn’t be looked in isolation. There are B-Schools which boast of an average annual pay-out of 15 lakhs and higher, but in reality, it might be somewhere near 6 lakhs per annum. You will need to calculate the Return on Investment for spending a substantial amount of time and money, on the B-School and come to a consensus regarding the viability of you joining it.

Events are a great way of gauging a B-School’s activity as they represent the general level of students in the college. More events with better reach will imply that a B-School is working hard to make a mark (or) is already identified as a viable partner by the local businesses as most of the funding is provided by them. A B-School which is identified by local businesses will, in no time, network with the biggies and good placements are assured. Similarly, the proximity to a Business Hub can also be seen as an equally important factor in the same lines.
Age of the institution is also a measure of gauging the performance of a B-School as it signifies the maturity of general environment within the B-School, although, as a word of caution, this shouldn’t be taken in isolation. In-fact, none of the factors must be taken in isolation and a consensus must be drawn after considering at least four of the factors which have been mentioned.

Before making the final call, look at the B-School ratings from multiple sources, not from magazines or generic websites (some of them receive kickbacks from B-Schools), but from specialist-institutional bodies like TIME, CL, IMS etc. Compare them, talk to various sources like your mentors in your training institute, friends, PagalGuy fraternity etc. Again, talk to multiple sources and don’t go by one opinion.
Finally, the decision to join an institute must be purely yours and must not be influenced by any other factors.

P.S 1: This pertains exclusively to students who wish to pursue a Post Graduate Programme in India.

P.S 2: I’ve attempted to write this article in as simplistic terms as possible without diluting the gravity of the situation and as such is targeted towards those who haven’t the first clue or are on the verge of making a decision!!

The article is written by Ravikanth V,he is a student of pgp 2014-16 batch of IIM Raipur.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Making a difference through social media communication: A case of Rice Bucket Challenge

   




        When Manjulatha Kalanidhi woke up on that bright Sunday morning of Aug 24, little did she know that she had become an overnight internet celebrity. Clutching a cup of coffee in her hand, she was on her way out to fetch the morning newspaper when the telephone started to ring. On the other end was her sister excitedly chattering something about a story that was published in ‘The Hindu’ about the ‘Rice Bucket Challenge’, an initiative that Manju had launched as a response to the extremely popular Ice Bucket challenge that was doing rounds on the internet.  Calls started pouring in from friends who wanted to congratulate her on the success of her idea. She logged into her Facebook account and found her page flooded with #RBC posts. The original picture, had received over 500 likes and 200 shares. Someone had already opened a Facebook page for the Rice Bucket Challenge, and followers were growing at a rapid pace.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Learning from the best: My experience from the HR Summit IIM Raipur


IIM Raipur organized its 1st HR Summit on 19th and 20th of September, 2014 which proved to be a huge success as industry professionals and academicians from all over India shared their experiences and insights on the various topics related to the central theme of “Aligning HR with Business Strategy”. The two day event saw participation of over 50 HR Directors, Presidents and Vice Presidents from the industry voicing their opinions during the six panel discussions.
For students like me who are looking for a career in HR, the Summit gave an opportunity to get an industry perspective.
The Chief Guest, Mr. Narendra Kothari, CMD, NMDC, in his inaugural address stated that better HR policies are the best way of motivating employees and there is a need for performance differentiation during appraisal. In his words, “While hiring a new employee one must try to align the job requirements with the personal requirements.”

Mr. Ramkumar, Executive Director, ICICI bank, built his speech around leadership. He ascertained that techniques can be learned but passion cannot be and as business professionals we should stop identifying ourselves with our specializations. His opinion that we should refer ourselves as leaders and not as HR or marketing professionals was intriguing and made me realize how we limit ourselves as we inch a step closer to the doors of the corporate world.
On the first panel discussion, titled ‘Managing Intangibles – Connecting with Internal Customers’, the panel members talked about the best HR practices across the industry and how they manage, motivate and reward their employees.

I particularly enjoyed the discussion of the third panel, which was on ‘HR as a strategic business partner’. As an HR enthusiast I do feel that HR should move from the administrative role and be a part of the decision making process of any organization. The discussion revolved around the changing roles of HR. Key speakers in this panel shared their opinions about the practices that could be implemented to achieve this.

The second day of the summit was as enriching as the first day and started with the discussion on how organizations can develop a high performing culture. At this time I remembered the article, ‘Characteristics of High Performance Organizations’ by AndrĂ© de Waal which talks about various dimensions an organization should assess itself on to be high performing. The discussion revolved around the same dimensions and the members of the panel shared their firm’s culture and expressed views on the dimensions which their organization focused on to become high performing.
The last panel discussion on ‘Leadership in volatile times’ was very interactive and the panelists stressed that all times are volatile times and a leader should be prepared to face any challenge that comes along their way.
All in all, the 2014 HR summit organized by IIM Raipur was an exciting experience and as a student I found it to be a very enriching journey.

This article is written by Prasha Mishra, of PGP 2013-15. She can be reached at pgp13101.prasha@iimraipur.ac.in

Saturday, 6 September 2014

IIM Raipur qualifies for the national finals of ‘The Maverick'


IIM Raipur, one of the premier management institutes of the country, qualified for the national finals of ‘The Maverick', a business acumen challenge organized by Deloitte. The challenge was thrown open, for the first time, to the top 54 B-schools of the country and saw huge participation with around three thousand entries.  ‘The Maverick’ is One-of-its-kind platform to help uncover the young generation’s capacity for Unconventional Thinking, Innovation, Leadership, and thinking sustainable solutions for current day business problems.

Our team, Brainsters, consisted of me, Ashish Mehta, and my team mates, Hemant Nagalkar & Gurjot Singh. We are proud to declare that we made it to the East Zone regional finals and are going ahead to compete in the nationals. The challenge saw teams battling it out in a case-study competition, which required formulation of comprehensive strategies. The competition sought to expose the participants to the real, global corporate work environment, and learn how to work in teams, respect and leverage diverse perspectives, engage in client conversations and presentation scenarios, while also interacting with experienced business leaders.

The contest culminated in a four-minute presentation before a panel comprising of the top echelon of Deloitte's management. The teams were subjected to rigorous questioning to gauge their spontaneity and understanding of the case study.

We, as a team, contribute our success to the team coordination and dedication shown by each of our team members. The biggest learning for us was to learn how to design, propose and defend solutions for challenges that have significance to economy, current day business and corporate world. The event also emphasised on how we need to contribute back to the society.

The event also celebrated the spirit of inclusion and Diversity through ‘Be the One’ and gave exposure to the culture and value system of Deloitte which makes it the best company to work for. The interaction with the Partners & Directors of Deloitte was once in a lifetime experience and insights given by them will help in shaping our careers in future.

The article is written by Team Brainsters,IIM Raipur 


Friday, 29 August 2014

“Venus at par with, or even better than Mars” – Women Leadership Confluence 2014 @ IIM Raipur reaffirms the corollary


History has witnessed the Green Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the likes, but there is a new surge, a surge of Women’s Revolution. The Feminine gender is taking over many incumbent positions. The status quo is witnessing a wave of Indian women entering the corporate world as leaders. Their voice, which was heard only to them and faded away within them, is today being heard and acknowledged by the mass. The stench of bias and the strongholds of male chauvinism are fading away and will hopefully be soon smothered to nullity.
With the nation going gung-ho on Women Empowerment, IIM Raipur took this opportunity to give a pat on the back of this new surge by exhibiting a platform where two corporate-women supremos- Mrs. Smita Nair Jain, COO, Barclays Technology Centre and Mrs. Usha Ananthasubramanian, CMD, Bhartiya Mahila Bank, shared their views on the tangible presence of women in the corporate world and their experiences and insights on how they climbed the ladder of success defying all odds and understatements.
Although there were only two women present in the confluence, they represented all those other women who are out there in the corporate world, striving hard, leaving no stone unturned to be at par with their male counterparts or even better. Women are now no longer just confined to the kitchen, but their ambits have extended till where their dreams can take them. They have evolved, blossomed, paved a way through and found their niche in the corporate world. They not only beautify themselves but also have a flair of beautifying the management and leadership roles in the corporate. Women’s thoughts or values may seem to be idealistic in nature, but their approach towards problems is nonetheless pragmatic. 
Mrs. Smita Nair, who is gender agnostic, spoke about the “Power of Yin” and how a woman can be of great potency and as good as her male counterpart. She also stated that, “Women are treated the way they want to be treated. Men will respect you if you respect yourself.” Having said that, she also mentioned that she had come across many women who misuse their power in the corporate world. “If a woman expects a man to pull a chair for her, then she should not consider the notion of equality”, said Mrs. Smita. This statement might be a turnoff for a guy who wants to impress his lady with the gentle gesture on a well-planned romantic date or for that matter a turn-off for the lady as well who might be anticipating the gentle gesture that arouses a feeling of being pampered, but Mrs. Smita stated the statement with an intention to strengthen the women gender and to eliminate the feeling of being inferior or dependent. She encouraged the men to not give a preferential treatment to the women in the workplace and give them a space for competition. She encouraged women to be proud of what they are and reminded them of their extraordinary ability to wear many hats.
Indeed, a woman can juggle between an apron in the kitchen and a business suit at her office, stirring the curry in the kitchen and formulating business plans in her cabin, nurse her child who is sick and handle the grievances of the employees when they are discontent- a few facets exhibiting how gracefully nature has equipped the feminine gender. When asked whether she agrees to the glass ceiling effect, she stated that she acknowledges its existence but disagrees to the fact that it is confined only to the feminine gender.
After a great boost of words from Mrs. Smita Nair Jain, the IIM fraternity was then privileged to hear the enlightening words from Mrs. Usha Ananthasubramanian, who stated that “Women Empowerment is the key to Women Leadership”. “Men dominate and women orchestrate,” she said, a line that advocates the leadership style of women to engage other people in the team for an efficient output rather than being a one-man army and losing the battle. She noticed a lot of women finding their niche in the financial sector, but a weakness that women have been facing is in the area of networking and negotiating. With regards to her observation, she stated that it was more important for the women to develop “negotiating” skills rather than “financing” skills. She encouraged the women to bear the “can do” attitude and concluded with the story of Wilma Rudolph. Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Game and was considered the fastest woman in the world in the 1960s, despite being prematurely born and suffering from physical disability till the age of 12. Mrs. Usha innervated the listeners by the statement of Wilma Rudolph: “My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.”

Thus, concluded the event with a vista of learning and a vision of what India is going to witness – Women not merely playing the role of Home Managers, but Corporate Managers as well. For those women who feel that their progress is crippled and hopes assaulted, it’s time for you to rise! 
 
This article is written by Prateek Suting, of PGP 2014-16. He can be contacted at pgp14092.prateek@iimraipur.ac.in

Thursday, 31 July 2014

My summer internship experience at ICICI Bank

ICICI Bank - Bandra Kurla Complex
As I was en route Pune from Raipur to start my internship at ICICI Bank, I had no idea what to expect from the days which lay ahead. Being a fresher, I feared that my concept of ‘the office life’ would be far from reality. However, it was a necessary pill to be consumed as an MBA course would be incomplete without getting a taste of life at work. On the other hand, my internship at ICICI Bank could end up being an enriching experience which could change my perspective on a lot of things. With these thoughts in mind, I set foot into my office.
The first day began with a meeting with my mentor who discussed what his team in ICICI’s Pune branch looked into, what my project was about and what were his expectations from the project. This was followed by a quick round of introductions with the team I would eventually share my lunch and several rounds of ‘chai’ with in the coming weeks. Thus began my story at ICICI.
The first week simply went in figuring out how my office functions and how I could make any useful contribution with my project to an institution like ICICI. As the days passed, I started developing a better picture of what the project required. My mentor’s ideas and experience helped a great deal in this process as did the insights which came in from different members of the team. It was like trying to fix a complicated jigsaw puzzle, which seems impossible but acts as a trigger to the brain waves.
Each day of my summer internship at ICICI was a learning. Getting to see how the corporate finance division of a bank like ICICI functions was no less than a once in a lifetime opportunity. Concepts which I had come across in the textbooks of Financial Management in my first year at IIM Raipur started coming to life. It helped me appreciate the practicality of those concepts better. However, my most important learning was not concerned with understanding finance. It revolved around understanding people and witnessing how leadership helps drive results. I learnt some of my most important lessons so far on human behaviour through my interactions with ICICI Bank’s customers and by observing my team members. These takeaways would never become a part of my project report or my final presentation but they did become a part of an important chapter of my life.
The internship on the whole required nothing short of hard work and resilience. The period was filled with crests and troughs, where the crests were indicative of those moments where I felt I was closer to the project’s objective while the troughs represented the moments when I felt I was away from them. As the internship neared its end, my project managed to take shape and with a few nights spent burning the midnight oil, it reached a successful completion. As I wrapped it up with a final presentation to my mentor and the evaluating panel of ICICI Bank, I was left with a mixed feeling of happiness and a want for more. I could not help but feel that I could have done more and there were instances where I was surprised I managed to accomplish certain difficult feats. Perhaps, it was a normal phase to go through.
A significant chapter of my MBA life had come to an end. However, it lay the foundation to a number of new beginnings, some which I have already started exploring and some which will be explored when the time comes. But there is one advice which I had received from my mentor which I will carry forever, “Don't be afraid of taking a path less trodden. Sometimes they are the ones that bring you closer to your life’s goals”. 
This article is written by Anwesha Dasgupta, of PGP 2013-15. She can be contacted at pgp13067.anwesha@iimraipur.ac.in



Union Budget discussed at IIM Raipur

From L to R:  Prof.Dawra, Prof.K.KRay, Mr.Pradeep Kumar, Mr.Varshney, Mr.Tarun Mishra, Prof.B.S.Sahay, Mr.Anurag Garg, Prof.Pal, Prof. Ashish Garg, Prof.Dash

Union Budget the “Grand Slam” event for Government of India was scheduled to be declared on 10th July this year. It is not that every year people are not excited about the union budget being declared, but this year it was special. New Government , new hope , new aspirations all was in the air regarding this year’s Union Budget. Seeing this enthusiasm in general public and students, IIM Raipur under the vision of our Director, Dr.B.S Sahay and the Finance department of IIM Raipur , we organized the “Union Budget Week” where numerous activities related to Union Budget were being planned.
Building on the excitement that was already there, first event of the week was Pre-Budget Discussion on 7th July 2014 where students presented their views on theme “Expectation from Union Budget 2014-15”. This was a student driven activity and the complete event was being organized by Finatix (Finance Club of IIM Raipur) under the guidance of Finance Department of IIM Raipur. Five panels having a mix of students from both first year and second year PGP, discussed about their expectations from the budget in particular sectors assigned to them. The sectors mainly covered were Agriculture and Rural Development, Infrastructure and Industry, Social Sector, Financial Sector and we had a special panel to discuss about the Taxation (including direct, indirect and corporate tax etc.). The first 20 minutes of this session were about the expectation from the budget in that particular sector followed by the question and answer round with the audience. Eminent faculty from department of Finance and Economics of IIM Raipur were also present in the discussion and gave their valuable insight about different sectors. Students of IIM Raipur actively participated in this discussion and had very good learning experience.
Between all the excitement, we also had budget bites being circulated daily to the students regarding different terms used for better understanding of Union budget.
On 10th July 2014, everyone in the country was excited to know what is there in the black briefcase held by the Finance Minister. From a common man to the people of the corporate sitting in their board rooms, everyone was excited about the changes that the new government was going to put on the table. We at IIM Raipur leveraged this excitement in students and had a special screening of Budget to see live in action as to how the dreams of 1.25 billion people are being unfolded by our Finance Minister. By afternoon government unveiled their plans for next 9 months before the next budget in Feb 2015.
Having heard the expectation of the students from the budget and seeing the budget being unfolded live, it was very important to know the impact and outcome of budget from the experts themselves. To have a critical analysis about budget and its impact, we at IIM Raipur organized a post budget discussion on the theme “Putting India on High Growth Trajectory”. To grace this occasion we had many eminent dignitaries from Industry, Government and Academia. It was an enriching experience to know that how each announcement in the budget has an impact on the business environment  and what was the rationale behind taking a particular decision by Union Government. This discussion not only widened the horizon of students learning with experts touching different aspects of the budget, but it also gave the audience insight of how experts see budget as one of the most important event in India’s business calendar. This event got a huge media coverage both in print and electronic media across India.  
After pre and post discussion were over, a brainstorming quiz was organized by Finatix (Finance Club of IIM Raipur).This quiz included  questions from on the budget terminology , latest changes in budget and some interesting facts about history of union budget in India. This gave students a very good opportunity to test the knowledge that they garnered during past one week. We saw huge participating from the students of IIM Raipur.
It was the starting of academic session 2014-15 and being management student , it would not have being a better start by learning about how the budget plays an important role in the life of an management student. Be it Operations, Finance, Marketing, HR , Consulting or IT , students interested in every domain learned that how important it is to know what Government vision for the country. This Budget Week helped us understand how Macroeconomic factors can affect the day to day working of tea stall owner to a big corporate houses.
Being part of the organizing team and conducting full week of activities related to the budget was a very exciting expedition. Learning that we got from these events were innumerable.
See you in Feb 2015 for another exciting week on Union Budget 2015-2016

This article is written by Gurjot Singh, Co-Ordinator of FINATIX (Finance Club of IIM Raipur) of PGP 2013-15. He can be contacted at pgp13081.gurjot@iimraipur.ac.in
   

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Orientation of Batch 2014-16

IIM Raipur welcomes the new batch of PGP and FPM.

Like us, they received a grand orientation programme of four days with a lot of activity, guest lectures from well-known people in the industry and some exciting outbound programs. Here is what it was like.
Ritualistically, the students were hauled to learn some basics of yoga by Dr. Siddhi Sharma. It prepared them for the busy day ahead.
Day1:
Mr. Kewal Handa, former Managing Director, Pfizer Ltd., and Member BoG, IIM Raipur was the chief guest for the occasion. He was the first imminent personality that the students had the opportunity of interacting with. He told them about important leadership traits like team building and blending in a diverse group.  Next, Mr. Navin Tandon, General Manager, South East Central Railway delivered the Keynote Address. Maintaining a positive work-life balance is important for all round growth of an individual was his advice to the gathering.
Prof. B.S. Sahay, Director, IIM Raipur, addressed the students next. He informed the students about the vision of the Institute and stressed upon the importance of research for a world class management institution. He encouraged the students to develop “Skill, Scale and Speed” which are the key ingredients for achieving all round development. Prof. PRS Sarma, Chairperson PGP introduced the core faculty of the Institute. Prof. Vinita Sahay, Chairperson (FPM), introduced the FPM programme and Prof. Sanjeev Parashar, Chairman Placement, proposed a vote of thanks ending the inauguration ceremony.
Next the students met Ms. Neeta Dumre, former goalkeeper of Indian Hockey Team and  Mr. Nikhil Sahni, Senior President, Yes Bank. The day concluded with an outbound programme by Praxis-EL which was filled with fun, frolic and games.


Day 2:
Mr.Abhijit Ghosh, President and Chief Business Officer, Religare Finvest Ltd. commenced the second day of the orientation programme. He emphasized on developing a culture of objectivity rather than subjectivity among teams and urged the students to stay focussed at all costs.  Mr. Ghosh’s address was followed by a session on ‘How to make India competitive and the role of management graduates’ by Mr.Anurag Goel, Member, Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Swamy Vyomapada Dasji, ISKCON, Bhilai Outbound Programme had a session with students on “Values and Ethics in Professional Life.” Following the inspiring sessions, the students were engaged in a series of outbound activities aimed at building leadership and team spirit.
Mr. Arunava Lahiri, COO, Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd addressed the students on ‘preparing and heating for industrious life’. “Try to become a transformational leader rather than a transactional manager” was the advice from Mr. Lahiri to the students.

Day3:
The day started with a session by Mr. Umesh Jain, Chief Executive Officer, NSE Infotech Limited. His address was centred on holistic learning. Mr. Jain concluded his address by advising the students to find ways to contribute positively to their institute. The session was followed by a very high energy business simulation conducted by Praxis EL Training & Consulting Pvt. Ltd. The exercise focused on the merits of collaboration over competition.  The students were taken through a psychometric profiling test and given a report of their core personalities.
The outbound programme was followed by an interactive session with Mr. Amit Agarwal, Secretary, Technical Education, Government of Chhattisgarh. He stressed upon the importance of team-work and advised students to be just and fair in their decision making as managers in future.
After this session, Dr. Konidala Kumar, Head (HR), Jayaswal Neco Industries addressed the students on “Building Humane Attitude for Success in Management Career”. In an interactive session with Prof. Vinita Sahay, Chairperson-FPM, the students learnt the difference between the manager and the leader. She encouraged them to find their vision.
The day concluded with the grand finale of the outbound programme series, the new students did a “Fire Walk” and walked over a bed of burning coals to illustrate the power of our thinking.
Day 4:
The day started with a session by Prof. Sanjeev Prashar, Chairman Placement, IIM Raipur on ‘Expectations of the corporate from the budding managers.’ This session was followed by another interactive session on ‘Managing Self’ by Prof. Umesh Bamel, IIM Raipur.
The guest for the subsequent session was Mr. Ashank Desai, Founder, Mastek Limited. He congratulated the students of the new batch for becoming a part of IIM fraternity. The highlight of his address was 3 H’s namely - Heart, Head and Hands. Heart symbolizes values, head symbolizes intellect and hands tell about the ability to work. ‘We should take our decisions by effectively using these 3 H’s’, he said.
The next session was based on ‘The Contemporary Management Education’ and it was conducted by Prof. Satyasiba Das, IIM Raipur. Mr. Vimal Chawda, Chairman and MD, VNR Seeds, took a session with the students on ‘Addressing challenges in Business.’ He advised the students to make a thorough study before beginning any new venture. The valedictory address was given by Mr. K.K. Sarda, Chairman and MD, Sarda Energy and Minerals Limited. Mr. K.K. Sarda’s address was centred on quality, commitment and ethics. He said that adverse situations will come, but with our will power we can overcome them and realize our dreams. “Adversity is not a challenge, it’s an opportunity. If your soul controls your mind, your life would be better. Believe in yourself and act on your instincts. ” he said. 
With these inspiring and encouraging words, the students of batch of 2014-16 began their journey at IIM Raipur. Wishing them all the very best!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Schengen Experience


Being interested in travelling and having travelled the length and breadth of India, Europe was a long cherished dream. I had been researching about Europe and particularly about France since quite some time. Getting shortlisted for the International Student Exchange to Grenoble Ecole de Management, France, for me, was a dream come true. All the micro-planning started soon after. Just when I though it couldn’t get any better, it actually got, when I unexpectedly got shortlisted for the Charpak International Exchange Scholarship, by Embassy of France in India, being one of the 18 students from across the country!(Credit goes to the IR Committee for informing us about it)
In the early hours of 31st December, we landed at Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris. After taking the train to city centre and having realized how steep the taxi fares were, we walked for a couple of kilometers with our heavy luggage to reach our hotel. The excitement level was at such a high that even sub-zero temperatures, sleep deprived body and the long walk couldn't drain our energy.
After a little rest, we left for a walk. By this time, our hunger pangs were at a new high, and after much deliberation about eating Vietnamese or Thai or Chinese or Cambodian, we finally settled for McDonalds, the epitome of standardization (and Capitalism!). While we ordered at McD, we had realized and had come to terms with the fact that there was a huge difference in purchasing power of INR and EURO,and ironically, we got the feel of The Economist’s Big Mac Index at a McDonalds! We also were a little surprised that very few people spoke English even in a cosmopolitan city like Paris. ‘Parlez-vous anglais?’(do you speak English?) was to be our anthem for the next four months!
31st evening, the New Year’s Eve, was long awaited for all of us. After all, it’s not every day that one gets to celebrate a New Year at The Eiffel Tower! The Tower, glowing in all its might, with all the lights, looked more magnificent that it did in the photos and videos. We couldn't help but capture it from every possible angle. Next morning, we visited several tourist attractions such as Notre Dame, Arch De Triomphe, Champs Elysees etc., bowled over by the city’s beauty every time, which towards the end of the exchange program I realized, was the most beautiful city I had ever seen.
The next day, we reached Grenoble, the town where our Exchange School was located and also our base camp for the upcoming trips across Europe. Situated among French Alps, this city boasts of being the host to The Winter Olympics, 1968. With snow capped mountains all around and two rivers flowing through it, the city was indeed beautiful. We checked into out apartments, which didn't happen before we got all the paperwork done, including opening a bank account. France is known to be a very bureaucratic country but we didn't face much difficulty despite the language barrier, probably because we had seen worse!
We received a warm welcome at our new school, Grenoble Ecole de Management and were provided with a tour of the school followed by an orientation program. Classes commenced soon after. I was excited to experience studying in a ‘Western’ School. I noticed a lot of similarities and some differences during my semester at the School. Almost all the professors teaching us were experts in their respective fields. International case studies being taught at our home school (IIM Raipur) ensured that case-study based learning wasn't new to us. A major difference that I observed was that professors here were much more informal with the students compared to that in India. It was probably because of the theory of ‘Power Distance’, which is much higher in Asian cultures, compared to that in western cultures. Among the entire list of subjects, Geopolitics was the one that I liked the most. It was taught by five different professors and all of them presented it in an interesting manner.
Euro Trip for us, started with Geneva, which was 2.5 hours away from Grenoble. This is when we realized that Switzerland was even more beautiful than what we had seen in Yash Chopra movies. This was followed by numerous trips in the next three months that totaled 24,900 Kilometers of Train Travel in 14 countries and 29 cities. To sum it up, we saw the beautiful beaches in French Riviera, the grand canal system in Venice, Art and paintings in Florence, Leaning Tower in Pisa, Colosseum in Rome, Papal Town in Vatican, Dachau Concentration camp in Munich, Berlin Wall in the city by same name, Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart, Hofburg Palace in Vienna, the ‘Rockstar’ bridge in Prague, Canals in Amsterdam, laid back life in Spain, and massive splurge in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, among other places. Sky-diving in Seville, Spain, was another memorable experience. The adrenaline rush of a free fall and the view of the land beneath were exceptional.

During our trips, we stayed in hostels, which are comparatively pocket-friendly and form an essential part of a backpacker’s travelling expedition across Europe. The hostels have a very charged environment, where one ends up interacting with a lot of people and making a lot of friends. There were a few ups and downs during the trips as well, such as searching for hostel at 1 AM in a completely new country, spending the night at train station in sub-zero temperatures, missing trains a lot of times, etc., which only helped in making us more experienced. Overall, this was by far, the best trip I have ever had. I have learnt a lot more through the experience than I would have through books.
With ‘ghar-ka-khana’ craving taste buds, lots of memories to cherish and tons of stories for our Grandkids, we finally returned to our motherland.

This article is written by Vikas Prakash Singh of PGP 2012-14. He can be contacted at pgp12105.vikas@iimraipur.ac.in

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Yeah Mumbai, we’ve arrived !!


Aniruddh Mukerji and Ravi Kumar Singh (Posing from left to right) 


Bright lights, fast cars, beautiful people, the city that never sleeps. Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, the home of Bollywood and the city I was destined to do my SIP (Summer Internship Program) in. Being an Operations enthusiast, I was pretty clear about the companies to opt for during the summer placement at IIM Raipur. I got selected in a Business Analytics profile at a leading Marine consulting firm based out of Navi Mumbai.
My hometown being the steel city Jamshedpur (home of Tata Steel), I have been used to a peaceful life of a well planned township since early days - nothing like the chaos of a cosmopolitan that is Mumbai. But this was precisely what I needed. I wanted to experience this chaos – the famous Mumbai local, the busy life in general. So here I was in Mumbai on the 7th of April, all charged up to start my Summers and to experience the city. Actually, the firm had selected two students from IIM Raipur, one was of course yours truly and the other was my fellow colleague, a former mariner with 3 years of sailing experience in Merchant Navy. While in college, we had a fair amount of interaction but this SIP stay strengthened the bond further. It is amazing how people discover one another’s likes, dislikes, similarities, dissimilarities given the time and situation. One of the few things we share is the passion for travel and good food. Also, having visited Mumbai several times earlier he has a good knowhow of the city which we leveraged to cover as many places as possible, including the most iconic places to eat in Mumbai – Bademiyan, Brittannia & Co. (Iranian and Parsi cuisine), Taste of Kerela, Leopold, Mondegar to name a few. The sites we visited include the usual suspects – Gateway of India, Elephanta, Alibaag, Juhu Chowpati, Marine drive, Band stand, Mahalaksmi, Siddhivinayak, Haji Ali among others. Having a great appetite for both travel and food helped us cover a lot of ground (sometimes on foot) notwithstanding the hot and humid weather of Mumbai.
The office being in Navi Mumbai – Belapur, to be precise – we decided to find a nearby place to stay for the next 2 months. We were lucky to get a flat just 2 blocks away from the office which saved us from the daily local train travel. This meant we could stay awake till late (work or have fun) and get up late than others, which was awesome. On the first day of Internship we were greeted by the CEO himself. He being from an IIT+IIM background himself had a good amount of expectation from us. We discussed about the academic rigour at an IIM, the faculty and how the new IIMs are growing up fast. The CEO asked us, whether we wanted a ‘Pressure Cooker’ project or a ‘9 to 5 Relaxed’ project. Obviously we chose the former one – I don’t think this was even a choice. We learnt a lot from our interactions with him with respect to consulting, commitment and some unique stuff such as - “what is usually unusual for a client should be unusually usual for a consultant” or “If you are different and you say you are different then you are actually not” and “If one is a yes man, then he is a no man”.
One and a half months down the line, I have had my fair share of ups and downs both with respect to office as well as personally, but the overall experience has been a great one. We've had office parties, work related disagreements, chasing deadlines, lots of learning, discovering the city on weekends, eagerly waiting for our stipend to arrive and then seeing it get spent so quickly. All put together has been one hell of an experience, the kind I was looking forward to. Honestly, I am missing college and my friends, but meanwhile trying to pack in as much experience as possible in the remaining 20 days of SIP.

Throbbing with the vitality of dreams and the will to realise them, of reaching for the stars, Mumbai is a city of instant changes, constant changes, a city of opportunities, a city of fortune. It is where tomorrow stands today. I believe if you have the guts and the gall to live in Mumbai, survive it, and enjoy it, you have arrived. This experience has made Mumbai ‘Number 1’ in my list of places I would like to work in after MBA.
This article is written by Ravi Kumar Singh of PGP 2013-15. He can be contacted at pgp13103.ravi@iimraipur.ac.in

Friday, 14 March 2014

Fare thee well... 2012-14


Here are a few of the farewell messages sent by the PGP 2012-14 Batch students... IIM Raipur will miss the energetic and helpful students who have helped to carry forward and add to the buzzing culture of the Institute. Their energy and enthusiasm add vividness and vivacity to the ever evolving IIM Raipur. 

"It has been such an enriching experience with you all, which witnessed a tremendous transformation of myself. I owe each and every one of you my heartfelt gratitude and thanks for all the help you have offered me in moulding myself to be a better person in my life." - Vijay Krishnan Ganesan PGP 2012 -1 4

"As this journey at IIM Raipur ends, a new one is about to begin. The relationships made here were the start of an adventure. We will meet at various junctures in various capacities, but I know the awesomeness will stay." - Kaveri Sapra PGP 2012-14

"I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with you & am forever indebted for the shared experiences for the past 250 odd days....
Wish you the very best in your endeavors - journeys & targets..." - Nikhil Garge PGP 2012-14



"Had a wonderful time with you people. Got to learn a lot of things. Everyone has been patient enough to help me with my short comings and kind enough to forgive me. 
Everyone of us is wonderful in his/her own sweet way and I know we will be at the zenith of success and happiness always as we are now.Thanks for being such a wonderful family and I hope it stays the same always." - Siddhant Gupta PGP 2012-14



"The exciting two year journey has finally come to an end. Days have just passed like moments. I have enjoyed every minute of my stay here. It would not have been possible without all you awesome guys. Will miss each one of you.."- Monika Thalla PGP 2012 -14




"I thank you all for making me feel special during the last days of my stay here." - A. Sindhuja PGP 2012- 14

All the best to all of you! - IIM Raipur







Saturday, 8 March 2014

International Women's Day : Inspire the change.


8th March, It is her day. She is the beautiful damsel. She is the pretty, shy, coy girl-next-door. She is the corporate lady with a subdued smile.  She is the one who wears a cloak of exclusivity.  She is the perpetual chatterbox. She is the one who brims with innocence. She is the one with a flawless profile but without an iota of oomph. She is silent but resilient enough to break all stereotypes which restrain females.

You must have recognized her by now. She is your batch mate, your class mate, your team mate or may be your friend. Maybe, you might not have noticed her till now. Reason: She might not like the limelight of admiration or she does not mind being relegated to the sidelines. If you haven’t noticed the aura of her persona, today is the day to do so - the International Women’s Day.

She has stood by her decision to fulfill her ambition. But, believe me, life is not a cakewalk.  Defining ambition and progress may be an easy task but the journey to achieve them is not like a fairytale. Innumerable women just   like her are not able to fulfill their own expectations because they are held back by many institutional impediments: sexism, discrimination and lack of flexibility. More than these reasons the widely prevalent stereotypes in society instill in them a stigma of not being competent enough. Women’s voices are till date not equally heard in taking decisions which affect most of our lives. Although most of the women outsmart men in classrooms, when it comes to boardrooms only 4% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs.

Similar concerns were raised in the summit of 60 aspiring women Leaders from top 30 B Schools across India at “HCL Meets Emerging Women Leaders” .It was a platform for interaction with eminent woman leaders from the industry like Ms Indira Parikh, Ms Ester Martinez, Ms Madhavi Issar as well as global leaders like Mr. Naveen Narayanan , Mr. Krishnan Chatterjee, Mr. Abhishek Shankar and other distinguished ideapreneurs. The necessity for Indian women to rediscover, not reinvent, herself was stressed upon. Women need to shun the insecurities and fears and overcome their self-doubt. A belief was instilled in each of the 60 aspiring leaders that the whole world will stand with you, if you believe in yourself.

Presently, there is a wave of change. In spite of lesser number of women in leadership roles, there has been a 25% surge in the number of female billionaires in the Forbes’ annual list of billionaires. 

The International Women’s Day aims to inspire the change. So, the onus lies on you to spot that serene, svelte lady who has dared to dream for the heights of corporate ladder. She may not like your interference but comfort her, help her cut through layers of ambiguity and bias, mentor her insightfully. Talk to her, debate with her, learn from her, teach her even and evolve together.
“You are the hope for a more equal world. The world wants you to change it.”

Disclaimer: I am not a feminist but a believer of egalitarianism.

This article is written by Anuradha Srivastava of PGP 2013-15. She can be contacted at pgp13065.anuradha@iimraipur.ac.in

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

MUMBAI DABBAWALAS: Committed towards delivering customer satisfaction


Last Saturday, I was very excited to know that a guest lecture by Mumbai Dabbawalas was going to be held. I was eager to learn from their experiences and interesting management practices. I got this great opportunity to attend an invigorating and an entertaining talk from Mr. Subodh Sangle, Coordinator and speaker, Mumbai Dabbawala and Mr. Nitin Sawant, a simple and humble Mumbai Dabbawala.
An audio visual followed by a documentary on the lives of Mumbai Dabbawalas was a perfect start to the enriching session. A wide round of applause followed the entertaining entry of a Mumbai DABBAWALA, Mr. Nitin Sawant on a bicycle carrying dabbas with Mr. Subodh Sangle.
Mumbai Dabbawalas carry 125 years of legacy as they deliver 200,000 tiffin boxes containing freshly made food from customer’s home to their work place every day with complete perfection. They became world renowned as a six sigma organization, and were evaluated by Harvard University, USA. The visits by eminent personalities like Prince Charles and Sir Richard Branson were enough to explain the reliable business model of Mumbai Dabbawalas that most companies would like to emulate.  To get Six Sigma (3.4 defects to a million sample) with no fancy technology, is a remarkable achievement.
99.99% success rate ON TIME, EVERY TIME is simply unbelievable!!
In any supply chain, collection of objects is first and most important step. The 200,000 tiffin boxes offer a huge customer database and magnificent opportunity for advertising and product sampling. However, they are responsible enough not to disturb customers with frequent advertisements because the customer satisfaction is the core priority on their agenda. Customer is not the ‘Raja’; Customer is the ‘Maharaja’ is their simple advice to budding managers like me.


DABBAWALAS are mostly semi-literate people of Warkari sect (devotees of Lord Vitthal) from rural Maharashtra. They are also believed to be descendants of warriors of Shivaji’s Army. Their goal this time is to deliver the right dabbed at the right time. The three hours of commute to the office is the “war time”. They are highly motivated people who believe that work is worship and serving people is like serving God. Their humility is the most important personality trait to be admired. They always give the credit of their work to their families including their wives and children. They never eat before delivering their dabbas to the customers and always eat their lunch in groups with the fellow Dabbawalas irrespective of any situation.
The boxes are colour coded to ensure the code can be understood even by illiterate people and reliable delivery of dabbas can be ensured. Trust, teamwork, and implicit understanding among Mumbai DABBAWALAS reduce cycle time and enhance quality.
The fact that they have been able to deliver these dabbas at such a reasonable price (Rs 400- Rs 800), left us shocked. Another interesting fact which I came to know is that they are the only logistics company which does not consume any fuel. In the words of Mr. Subodh Sangle, the unstated mission statement driving Mumbai DABBAWALAS is “Customer should not remain hungry”. Every question raised during the session was well answered by Mr.Sangle and acknowledged with a DABBAWALA cap. I was fortunate to be graced by him for the same.
The biggest takeaway however was how total commitment can work wonders to achieve any goal, even with limited resources.

This article is written by Sumit Ranjan of PGP2013-15. He can be contacted at pgp13113.sumit@iimraipur.ac.in

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