Thursday, December 29, 2011

A different experience!

Business School education is not all about Leadership, Corporate Strategy, Pricing, Financial models or JIT manufacturing. I believe now a days, many B Schools focuses equally on other important topics like entrepreneurship, international economy and politics, social entrepreneurship One thing I noticed in the last 1.5+ in B School interacting with students and faculty in IIMB and other B Schools is that, each B School follow roughly some philosophy while designing the curriculum.Likewise IIM Bangalore gives thrust to topics like entrepreneurship, public policy and new venture creation through inclusive business models etc. along with the usual courses. Last quarter, we had an elective course on Social Entrepreneurship by Prof. Trilochan Sastry. Yes, the name may ring a bell to you - he was behind important contributions to the country like Association of Democratic Reforms, Election Watch, Farmer Cooperatives etc.

As part of the course, we had to work with a NGO to understand its activities and get a hands on experience of running an NGO.We decided to work with AKSHARA Foundation as part of this project. After a few discussions with the volunteers at AKSHARA, we decided to focus on a project that they were currently undertaking. Essentially it was to conduct the feasibility study of adding a technological solution to the manual process of ASER.Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is a manual data collection exercise done by 25000+ volunteers across India under the guidance of Pratham to study the effectiveness of school eduction in Government Schools in Indian Villages.

The learning from projects like these is enormous.We had no clue that such a humongous activity is done every year just to understand the effectiveness of education in India. Even though the volunteers at AKSHARA stressed its importance, we had this question - is it really a required one? The answers were provided when we read former ASER reports that showed the real pathetic condition of Government school education. Its importance was strengthened when we visited a few schools in the villages in Hoskote taluk in Bangalore. We visited few schools in the villages of Muthukadahalli, Karpnahalli,Naganahalli and Sidanpura.It was the first village visit for all of us.We had no clue how different it will be to be in village schools.

The first school that we visited was in size not more than that of a dining hall!! It was a single teacher school. Believe it or not, we noticed the peculiarity of this school - 5 classes(Standard I to V) in a single classroom!

After spending some time with the children, we headed to the next school. It was some what better with two classrooms - Standard I to III in one room and Standard IV to VII in the next room!

Our professor used to stress on one fact that people in rural areas are far more receptive that those in the cities. They don't need freebies, they look for empowerment. This was clearly evident in our interaction with the teachers and children in these schools.We were like the 'School Inspector' visiting each school :) After some interaction with the teachers, each student came to us showcasing their talent in writing, painting, paper crafts and so on...

Personally for me, it was embarrassing as I had no clue on what to expect from these visits and such a welcoming reaction from children! I wished I know to speak Kannada.The more embarrassing fact for me was that - whenever we visited classrooms, we removed our shoes noticing that the children were not wearing anything. We thought it may be a custom not to wear chappals inside classrooms. I never thought at the first instance that they didn't have the financial ability to buy food or dress let alone chappals.
How disconnected am I from the real world!

We also got the opportunity to talk to few parents. It was really interesting to see the importance and enthusiasm they show in their childrens' studies. We noticed the other extreme also - where the family is in a big turmoil, that the children come to school escaping from those or just for the mid day meals.

In another school visit, we ate the mid day meals provided to children. Once again, it was a surprise visit for them; the school authorities didn't get time to prepare a separate meal for us. The children and teacher promised us to prepare payasa and kesari bath during our next visit. How nice of them.....we had to promise in turn, when we will come back!!!

PGSEM Alumni meet

As the sun began to set last Saturday, a few people from the corners of Bangalore and outside, slowly inched back towards IIMB. The destination was well known to them. And some had been sorely missing these trips for a long time..

For the current crop of students, the evening promised to be something special. Could they see a reflection of their own futures in the seniors whom they were about to meet..

The event started in the most comfortable way.. some even helping themselves for a second round of samosas and the wonderful fruit-cake. And then, settling down in a classroom comes naturally to all PGSEMers. Seniors came from everywhere - Cisco, HP, Infy, Wipro, etc etc.. And then there were the special ones.. the Entrepreneurs.

The interactions began. Stories and incidents flew. Over the din were heard comments like 'I got rejuvenated here', 'Never missed a class unlike Engineering!', 'demystified my life', 'upgraded my skills', 'made great friends', 'life felt like an action movie', 'grew more confident' and on and on. Some in the audience had horror written on their faces when one senior recalled an incident of copying which was caught. And as the elegant Ms. Uma Balakrishnan reminiscenced the guidance she received from Professor J.Ramachandran for a knotty problem in her new venture, it reminded all of the greatness of this institution.

It was the 10th year reunion for the first passing batch of PGSEM in 2001. And that class of 50+ students was well represented. The old and the new compared the course, then and now. There now was the new classroom block. A more expansive list of electives on offer. A race among professors to offer some of their best courses to the PGSEM students. The swiping system of attendance (the unwelcome offspring of technology revolution). The thick cover of trees having grown a little less wild. But some things had not changed - mid-career crisis/confusion among students, the break-neck speed of academics, the mystique of our ageless professors and the wonderful administrative support.

Charm was added to the light-hearted evening as Vikram.JS and Vikram Parthan took to the stage and played the guitars. Who would not enjoy a 'purani jeans' or 'summer of 69' once more?

The dinner buffet was tastefully laid out. The soft lighting and green lawns reminded all of the holiday season and the coming dawn of a new year. It was all apt - after all the the best of networking happens over good food! 

So, with the start of Alumni reunions this year, the family of 1000+ PGSEMers has found one more chord to connect back to their alma mater. Its only natural to thank the Alumni organization of IIMB, especially Mr. Rakesh Godhwani and Ms. Rohini for the joyous evening.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Unethical Indian?

The atmosphere in college is soaked in finance these days courtesy the India Finance Conference. So, the first thing that came to my mind on hearing the composition of the panel was Portfolio theory: Greater the diversification, greater the returns. Well, here goes the list of the panelists (straight from the invitation mail)

"Dr. Samuel Paul- Former Director, IIM Ahmedabad, and Founder of the Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore. Professor Paul co-edited a book titled Corruption in India: An Agenda for Action, and pioneered the use of Report Cards to enhance the accountability of public service providers in India.

Professor Dipankar Gupta-One of India’s foremost sociologists and recently retired from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is the author of Ethics Incorporated, and advised KPMG on setting up an Ethics practice in India.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, journalist and author with over 20 years experience in print, radio and television. He was one of the first media professionals to expose the iron ore scam in Karnataka through his path-breaking video titled Blood and Iron.

Meena Ganesh-CEO and Managing Director Pearson Education Services, which includes innovative brands like Tutor Vista and Edurite. Earlier CEO of Tesco, Co-Founder of Customer Asset , spending the earlier part of her career with Microsoft, PwC and  NIIT.

The discussions will be moderated by Professor Rishikesha T Krishnan, Professor of Corporate Strategy at IIM Bangalore."

You can do the math and figure out the correlation.

Prof Paul started the discussion espousing the need of a) Individuals who hold certain values close to their heart and b) Institutions that nurture and support these values. He pointed out the high level of tolerance for corruption in our society due to various reasons like lack of education and other social institutions which could have implemented these values thus reducing the elasticity of the morals. In essence what we need is fewer laws and better implementation.
A worse problem is the predatory nature of our political institutions. If there is scope for collusion there is lack of transparency leading to greed and corruption. We need a transformation from predatory to more accountable form of political institutions. This has already been achieved eg in property tax collection in Bengaluru which has become much more transparent after publishing the formula for calculating the due amount. Prof concluded with the remark that we need to move from a culture of cynicism to that of hope.

Paranjoy dwelled upon the nuanced nature of perception of corruption in India eg taking bribe is a bigger corruption that giving bribe. What is shocking is the scale and the brazen nature of corruption today which makes scams of yesteryears seem trivial. He said that the root of corruption is in the way elections are funded in India. He added that there is a (misplaced) perception that corruption like inflation and inequality goes hand in hand with growth and development. The problem we have is that resources of our country are up for sale and that Governments which should ideally be the custodians of these resources are the ones actively taking part in this sale. Talking of the collusion between media, Government and corporates he quoted this witty ditty from "Uncelestial City"

You cannot hope 
       to bribe or twist, 
    thank God! the 
       British journalist.
    But, seeing what 
       the man will do 
    unbribed, there's 
       no occasion to.

He concluded his talk on an optimistic note saying slowly but steadily we are moving forward from corruption towards transparency thanks to proactive judiciary, vigilant sections of the media and the civil society, so much so that we can expect our children and grand children to live in a world that is less corrupt than the one we live in.

Meena brought the corporate perspective in the discussion adding the dimensions of i) Excellence, ii) Behaviour with other people iii) Integrity that together comprise ethics. Talking of the importance of leadership in nurturing ethics she noted the opportunity in education with a focus on ethics at various levels. She explained the concept of Jugaad which has a place of pride & affection in our hearts as a mixed bag which leads to creativity and innovation at the same time providing avenues to misuse loopholes in rules thus transgressing ethical boundaries. She discussed how strictly implemented laws like ABC (Anti Bribery & Corruption) policy in UK which while perceived as being draconian by most sections of the corporate world was instrumental in structural changes leading to increased transparency. Providing a possible solution for corruption she said the first and foremost thing is that we keep our stable clean and then go on to bring robust businesses which will generate employment, thus reducing scarcity of basic resources and curbing corruption at the grass root level.

Dipankar provided the "aha moment" of the session when he explained the distinction between Morality and Ethics. Morality, he said was a private matter while ethics was a public affair out there in the open. Thus while a vegetarian may hold a "moral" high-ground, it is restricted to his personal view. Ethics on the other hand is based on rules stated upfront eg behavior in Traffic on in sports. He said that a team leader may not be the best player in the team but brings out the best from the team. Thus, ethics lead to professional excellence. Talking of his experience in setting up the ethics and corporate governance practice in KPMG he said that ethics and business were considered oxymorons for a long time. However ethics is not something you do after you make money rather it is something you do in order to make money. He explained CSR as having 3 dimensions viz. i) Consumer ii) Competence & iii) Community which together should benefit the company. Bringing democracy into the discussion he added that "the good thing about democracy is that it eventually listens". Although we currently have patron-client relationship at all levels in our society, hampering transparency and ethical behavior, with efforts for universal education and universal health we should see a growing middle class and growing empathy thus increasing the room for ethics.

PS: The title as was pointed in the Q&A session is meant to be rhetorical; not a statement on the ethics of Indians!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dr. C. Rangarajan's address in India Finance Conference 2011

Dr. C. Rangarajan inaugurated the India Finance Conference 2011 earlier today at IIMB. Dr. Rangarajan is currently the economic adviser to the Prime Minister. An eminent scholar, Dr. Rangarajan has been a professor at IIM-A and also been its director. He has been awarded with Padma Vibhushan and has served as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

In his inaugural speech, Dr Rangarajan addressed the gathering on the 3 topics of - Reforms, Regulation and Financial Innovation.

Talking about reforms he pointed out that the share of PSB's (public sector banks) in the Indian economy has gradually but substantially come down from over 90% in 1991 to about 72% in 2010. Private banks command a share of 10-12% and this seems likely to go up. Speaking about banking and finance sector reforms, he said there are many distinctive features that make Indian reform story unique, like - (a) Usage of domestic expertise (b) Banking reforms not driven by any crisis (c) Done along with other economic reforms (d) Creation of space for public & private along with domestic and foreign. He elaborated on the various transformational roles played by the Financial Intermediaries like risk, size and maturity transformations, and explained the challenges in the coming year. Dr. Rangarajan said that currently the Indian PSB's are under-capitalized and there was a need to infuse more capital into their systems. He pointed out that Indian banks are moving towards accepting new regulatory frameworks emerging across the world - the Basel II and III standards - and there was a need to do so.

Going on to regulations, Dr. Rangarajan pointed out that the current crisis in the west can be attributed to both the things - no regulation of certain financial activities and under-regulation of some. "Regulatory arbitrage" was created as funds moved from regulated to non-regulated parts of the market freely. Speaking of the need for regulations to cover all segments, he stressed that regulations be applied to uniform degree as well. He said that 'coordinated' oversight is required across geographies in the present crisis as well as going ahead. Dr. Rangarajan called for creation of institutions to build buffer in good times so that they can be used in bad times. Speaking about maintenance of good quality assets, he stressed that excessive leverage needs to be contained.

On Financial Innovation, Dr. Rangarajan brought to notice a recent report by Joseph Stiglitz Committee that says much of the innovation was helping only short-term profitability and was not the long-term. He called upon the FI's to keep in mind the social benefit/impact as they roll out new innovations. Saying that more study needs to be done to uncover risk taking and leveraging behavior, the FI's need to discourage excess use of either. Pointing out the need for an efficient debt market for corporate bonds to help liquidity needs as Indian markets mature, he extolled that there is a lot of room for innovations in the Indian context.

The three day conference at IIMB hosting many noted speakers from academia and industry promises to be great event for those interested in the Indian Financial system.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Know Your Alumni Series : Samyeer Metrani

Samyeer Metrani
VP - Design Services, Mistral Solutions Inc.

Total Years of Experience: 22 Years.
Role Before Joining PGSEM: Group manager - Embedded Systems, Encore software Limited
Role After Completing PGSEM: General manager @ Encore Software Limited.

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself. [Family, Education, hobbies]                         

I’m married; I have two children, Saket (11) and Saatchi (6), and a lovely wife. My father was in the Airforce, so my education was all over India. For some time I was in boarding school too, at the Lawrence School, Lovedale near Ooty. I have an unconventional education, I am a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, but have been a technical geek playing with computers since I was 12. Computers for me were a hobby, and have become my life.

Q. Please describe your current job/role that you perform?

Mistral is an Embedded Design Services company. We help our customers design embedded products, and help them take those designs all the way through prototyping, firmware development, testing, product validation, certification, all the way to shipping product.
I head the design services group for Mistral in the United States. It is primarily a front-end role. I interface with customers and partners to manage the business that we do in the United States.
On one hand, I focus on building strategic relationships with silicon partners. For example, Mistral is one of the key suppliers of development platforms for the Texas Instruments OMAP processor. We leverage the expertise developed, towards building solutions for customers who would like to use the OMAP processor in their designs.
On the other hand, I work closely with the end customer, keeping a finger on their pulse, and making sure projects are going well. Keeping communication channels open, and making sure that issues, both sides of the planet are open and discussed.

Q. What would be the most challenging aspect of your role?

That’s easy…its keeping communication going...we operate in a global relay race, with teams working all over the world. We have to make sure that all information on everything that is going on is available to everybody who needs to know.
I spend a lot of time listening; to our teams, to customers, and am always looking for that “small thing” that got missed. Big problems get the visibility and because of that are pretty easy to solve, it’s the small ones that get ignored and become the real problems that we sometimes face. Problems/mistakes happen; keeping communication going through a crisis is the primary requirement to come out looking good on the other side.

Q. How did PGSEM help transform your career?

I remember my first day at PGSEM. You know how it is, you go through life, doing well in school, college, at work, did well at the entrance exam, and here I am…and generally think… “Damn! I’m good!” …and then you walk into a classroom full of people who feel exactly the same way about themselves. A humbling, and a very learning experience.
PGSEM really took me from trying to do everything myself to working out how I can work together with others to achieve a common objective. It changed my approach towards colleagues, suppliers, partners and most importantly customers. It also helped me focus on structure and technique towards doing things. Studying, while working, had the powerful advantage that I could test my understanding of what happened in the classroom, in the real world of the workplace.

Q. What are the trends that you see in the business space today in terms of the skill requirements and the supply of the same?

There is a convergence and consolidation that is going on across all sectors our industry services. The big are getting bigger, and the small are getting swallowed up. This introduces new challenges as we look for ways to differentiate at what we do. The customer is not always ready with a problem they are looking to solve, it is up to us to come up with new concepts, new designs, new products and services…
In the words of Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for faster horses!”
The industry needs people who can change, who can innovate, who are willing and able to tear up the status quo to create a new reality, come on…10 years ago Google was a search engine!

Q. Describe THE incident which has influenced you the most to be what you are today.

It was in 1982, I had just come back from boarding school for the summer and we had gone to Bombay (now Mumbai) to meet my grandparents. Sitting there in front of the TV was a Home Computer, the ZX Spectrum. That was when I was introduced to the virtual world of computing. I spent a lot of time that summer learning basic, and showing off to my brother and cousins how I could make it do what I asked of it. I was hooked, that wonder has not worn off, and I hope it never will. I no longer have that ZX Spectrum computer, but I have the manual, over the years the pages have rotted, and have stuck together, I can no longer open it, and I don’t want to lest it comes apart, but it holds the pride of place on my bookshelf as a reminder of my introduction to computers.

Q. What do you think are the key attributes of a good leader?

1.       Decision Making – The ability and the willingness to take a call.
2.       Consistency or actually Clarity – a leader needs to be clear about what he stands for, and consistent (even predictable) in standing by it.
3.       Willingness to be wrong – and taking corrective action quickly.
Q. Whom do you consider as your Role Model and Why?

That would be Mr. Subroto Bagchi. I first met Mr. Bagchi over 14 years ago. At that time I was running a small startup from a house in Bangalore, he was a senior figure in Wipro, much before he started MindTree. He treated me with the same respect that he would give to somebody from a much larger company. Every time I have met him since he not only remembers those times, but takes the effort to know a little more about me.
I am not surprised to see how far Mr. Bagchi has gone, and I hope that I live up to the picture of myself that he set up for me.

Q. What is your take on the importance of a value system in business?

While I believe that business should have a value system I believe more, that a value system is what the individual lives by. No business can impose a value system onto an individual or a team, but people who believe in similar values can come together and become a very powerful force. I sincerely believe that if we treat the other person (customer, partner, colleague…no matter) exactly the way that we would like to be treated, we will do well. A slightly tongue-in-cheek example that I give often to people starting a new career, “May the person who builds your house do his work with exactly the same commitment that you give to your work!”

Q. What is your Mantra for work life balance?

This is a tough one, especially because I am a bit of a Workaholic. I have a fantastic wife who will tell me when I’m going too far…and I guess to my credit, I listen. I do the work, she provides the balance.

Q. Your message to students at IIMB-PGSEM today?

There is a significant need for leadership in our industry. After the PGSEM you are ready to take it up…but nobody is going to come to you and say, “You are ready, now lead!” You need to step up and ask for it, and make sure you get it. Knowledge and ability is of no value unless it is put to use, go ahead and show the world what you can do.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Plunnge and Product Managers meet

The start of quarter is always an exciting time. You get to know new courses, new professors and feel fresh..

But many will remember the start of Quarter 3 for more reasons than that. For the 2 wonderful interaction sessions we had today - one with head of IIMB Alumni initiative Mr. Rakesh Godhwani and the other with 3 senior Product Managers from Google, Oracle and Nokia.

Rakesh, being a PGSEM alumnus touched the students chords almost instantly. His has been a deep personal and professional journey - one which is difficult to capture in mere words. To leave a lucrative job.. the self belief to chase your dreams.. to have faith in family, friends and god's ways.. these are not things that one comes across even once in a while. Would recommend one and all to have a look at his book's website - and listen to his interview.

And in the late evening we had the product manager's meet. Three product managers, all distinguished alumnus of PGSEM and wonderful speakers..
  • Mr. Sai Sreekanth - Product Manager, Emerging Markets group, Google
  • Mr. Abhinav Agarwal - Director, Product Management & Strategy, Oracle
  • Mr. Subodh Sachan - Senior Product Manager at BORQS
Abhinav held the audience to a rapt attention as he described his role and work followed by Subodh. Sai, with his flowing beard and deep probing eyes seemed like a perfect geek and an anti-thesis to a conventional manager.. but once he started speaking you knew it.. he knew what he was doing like the back of his hand.

The three gentlemen took pains to explain the workings of inbound and outbound product management.. of the distribution of their time in market research, sales interactions, PRD making and developer interactions.. of the importance of domain and the importance to leverage ones prior experience.. basically the whole art and science of product management.

It was a interesting and thought provoking start to a new quarter. Thanks to all who made it possible - the Guest Speakers, Organizers and the participants.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why continuing education is the need of the hour

"Contemplating all the men of the world, who come together in society to work, struggle and better themselves, cannot but please you more than any other thing"

~Antonio Gramsci

India is going through an interesting phase of social and economic significance. The nation is said to be enjoying "demographic dividend" which essentially means that India is (and will remain for some time) one of the youngest countries in the world. In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old, compared with an average age of 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe and 48 in Japan. This means that the dependency ratio (ratio of people in the non working age groups of less than 15 years or more than 64 years to the number of people in the working age group between 15 to 64 years of age) in India is lesser than most other countries of the world. What this also means that by 2050 India will have to supply manpower to the rest of the world including China which is currently the most populous country of the world. In order to cash upon this window of opportunity we need the people in the working age group to be actually working. This will be possible only if this young population is sufficiently skilled and educated to cater to the employment opportunities coming up.

What is continuing education and how does it fit in?

I have deliberately used the term "continuing education" for formal studies while working rather than "part time education" which I believe is a misnomer. Many so called "part time studies" require a full time commitment from the student. The beauty of continuing education is that you upgrade your skill and prepare yourself for greater challenges while simultaneously continuing to contribute productively to the economy. What's more your education will most likely be debt free and you will relish the fruits of the new learning without worrying about paying back loans. It's like the proverbial "having your cake and eating it too". It also acts as an insurance against the capricious business cycles, saving you the anxieties of finding a new job as soon as your course gets over. As we continue to grow we need to have more and more education programs in various fields that cater to this need. This is where a course like PGSEM really shines through.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open House Agenda & PGSEM Hot Line

Please find below the agenda for PGSEM Open House 2011

Date: November 20, 2011, Sunday

Timings Agenda
09:00 - 09:30 Open House Registration
09:00 - 10:00 Coffee/Tea
10:00 - 10:05 Welcome Address
10:05 - 10:15 Address by Prof. Narendra M Agrawal Chairperson, CSITM & PGSEM
10:15 - 10:20 Presentation by PGSEM Students' Affairs Council
10:20 - 11:00 Panel Discussion
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee/Tea
11:30 - 01:00 Panel Discussion / Q & A

We are also happy to inform you that we are kick starting a student run initiative to enable a 1-1 interaction between aspirants and present PGSEM students. More information and registration form @

We look forward to meet all of you. Make sure to use this opportunity to interact with students, faculty and PGSEM alumni!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Profit Power Economics: CSITM lecture by Dr. Mia de Kuijper

Business strategy is one of the hottest areas of study and research in B-schools. Getting to hear leading thinkers in this area is one of the added privileges of studying at IIMB.

CSITM organized a talk by Dr. Mia de Kuijper, a Harvard trained economist, few days ago. Apart from having held senior positions in global giants like Pepsico, Shell and AT&T, Dr. Mia is also the author a recent book researching successful business strategies - "Profit Power Economics: A New Competitive Strategy for Creating Sustainable Wealth".

In her talk Dr. Mia went into great depths to explain the idea behind transparency and power nodes. She insightfully portrayed how access to information is shattering the economic theories around information asymmetry.. this beautiful Banglalink advertisement clearly brought out this reality. The 21st century business model needs new organization forms, she stressed. The vertically integrated companies of the world are under serious attack - AT&T can no longer debate if it has to 'manufacture' the phones it sells - it simply can't!

I would remember this lecture for the many vivid illustrations that Dr. Mia presented. In a short animation, she showed us the growth of Wal-Mart super-center's across US geography which left the audience in a wide gasp. She brought to life the 'idea' behind the birth of Pepsi's bottled water 'Aquafina' - a massive challenge even for this soft-drink giant - to produce uniform taste and quality water across the globe. And I dont think many would know how capital intensive pepsico's snack-chips business is..

For students of business like in PGSEM, where the focus is on case-based learning, its always a great opportunity to listen to real life practitioners. Many of the concepts and problems in those business cases come to life. And our worldview of business continuously expands.

Finally, a 'Thank you' to Dr. Mia and CSITM for this wonderful lecture.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

PGSEM 2012 Admissions

The 14th PGSEM Program is scheduled to start from June 2012. The open-house is to be held on Nov 20th at IIMB.

Click here to register for the open house.

The important dates for the process can be read here - Important dates

Admission announcement details, process details and brochure can be found here - Brochure etc

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vista 2011 - as I saw it.

Vista started for me with Corporate Quiz titled “Images and words” by the quiz master, Sumeet Shetty, himself. We got our Macroeconomics quiz postponed so that we could all attend/organize this quiz. Quiz for a quiz :) Well, as always, it started off with prelimns( preliminary round). I have been so used to the word ‘Prelimns’ that I had long forgotten that it is nothing but Preliminary in short form. Thanks to MS Word, the ‘kumbh mela mein bichde hue’ types prelimns-preliminary Jodi is now united in my memory map.

Prelimns had around 25 questions, with questions related to wide variety of topics all under the sun. It started off with an easy one on Vista. It was followed by questions like, “Impossibly named heroine in one of the James Bond movie, when Bond hears it, makes him say ‘I must be dreaming’” to a question on Kannada song sounding similar to the ever-playing-same-guy-singing song on the city’s FM radio stations “Ninnindale ninnidale” of “Mungaru male” fame, the quiz had everyone go “{unmentionable}!! I knew this!!! But can’t seem to recollect it now”. “Dat thing is in edge of my tongue I say, not coming out only!!” – my south-bengaluru-bred-darshini-fed RapidX English speaking pardner. For the uninitiated, it is a loose translation of the Kannada expression “naalige tudiyallide”, meaning I seem to know it but unable to recollect it at the moment. Something to this effect - “But don’t worry saar, my tongue is ready to speak out the answer, as soon as my brain supplies the answer, I will spit it out.”

After the prelimns, we had the finals. Oh wait! No wild-card round?? Of course not, this was not some directed-TRP-influencing-SMS-sending-reality show, it was a plain-old-java-object-quiz. Six teams made it to the final and we had a thrilling contest between them. One round in particular was a visual connect round with clues on songs of Michael Jackson, which was cracked by ‘yours truly’ but didn’t get any points for that. You guessed it right, I was sitting in the audience. Hah! It was not in vain, my-high-decibel-cricket-fielder-cum-commentator partner drew quiz master’s attention and got himself an Audience prize. No team on the stage had any significant lead and it was a photo finish. The team from TCS won it by answering the last question of the quiz!! Overall it was pure fun.

Another event of Vista that I attended was Corporate Czars. Teams were asked to prepare a corporate strategy for the BIG 3 Apple, Google and Microsoft in the Smart Phone market. Lots of entries poured in for this event till the deadline. After intense analysis and evaluation, 6 teams were selected for the final. The venue was hosted at The Park Hotel. Each team presented their case in front of the Jury and the audience, post which, they were posed questions from Jury and the audience. With a youthful audience at the event, and smart phones being closer to their hearts, questions from audience generated a healthy debate about some of the plans proposed by the teams for their chosen companies. With one team suggesting that their company go ahead with a focus on the Near field communications(NFC) while another suggesting, much to the surprise of audience, that Microsoft go and buy Facebook as their strategic plan in the future. Then there was a team that focused on Apple saying that Apple should release all it’s products simultaneously all around the world. It did put out a smile on some of our faces who were not happy that India was not treated as a market at par with the west for Apple products. At the end, the Jury, after evaluating the reports and the presentations, came out with their observations. The team from IIM Shillong was the winner. With that Vista 2011 came to a close for me. I hope to be involved more actively in the next edition.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Vista Schedule



IIMB Vista - No Day Better Than This Day

No moment better than this moment
No road better than this road
No way better than this way
No day better than this day!

IIMB Vista...Be The Change!

Participate in on-the-spot events and gather insights from industry leaders. It's all happening at IIMB Vista 2011!

Event details and schedules at

Thursday, September 29, 2011

IIMB Vista - 2 Days To Go!

He painted Picador at the age of 8 and went on to redefine the art landscape with by opening the doors to modern art with Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Picasso changed the world with his paintings. 

How are you changing the world?

IIMB Vista…2 days to go.

More details available at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

IIMB Vista - 3 Days To Go!

He made his first mathematical discovery while still a teenager and went on to give the world the normal or Gaussian distribution and become the Prince of Mathematicians. Carl Friedrich Gauss changed the world with his mathematical genius. 

How are you changing the world?

IIMB Vista…3 days to go.

Check out for details of various events and to know how you can be part of it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

IIMB Vista - 4 Days To Go!

A child prodigy who gave his first piano concert at the age of 8, he continued composing even after going partially deaf. Beethoven changed the world with his music.

How are you changing the world?

IIMB Vista…4 days to go.

Visit to know more.

Monday, September 26, 2011

IIMB Vista - 5 Days To Go!

Forced to go into hiding at the age of 13 with her family during the Holocaust, Anne Frank changed the world by telling her story and recording history.

How are you changing the world? 'IIMB Vista - Be The Change' gives you the opportunity to be a changemaker. Join in and be the change.

Visit for more details.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Let's try a question on banking today - Quiz question 5 - Vista

In 1955, World Bank along with India's public-sector banks and public-sector insurance companies, formed a joint venture to provide project financing to Indian industry. This company later established a bank in 1994. What is the name of the bank?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quiz Question 4 - Vista - Corporate Quiz - Sneak Peek

The use of this data storage technology can result in significant storage and cost savings.
A company that specialized in this technology was bid for acquisition by EMC and NetApp in 2009.

a. What is the name of this storage technology?
b. What is the name of the target company?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quiz Question 3 - Vista - Corporate Quiz Sneak Peek

Till recently, Wipro's IT division was headed by 2 CEOs. Can you name both?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Take pride in reading business magazines? Then surely you know who I am.

Vista Corporate Quiz Teaser
Identify the man in the picture below.

Do you keep track of the corporate world? Try this one...

Know the answer? Post it in the comment section.
The real event will see you compete with the best to be judged by acclaimed quiz masters in front of a knowledgeable and cheering audience.
To participate, take home a prize and a memorable experience from India's premier business school, visit:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Corporate Events @ Vista 2011

Another edition of IIM Bangalore's premiere Business Festival is back this year. Visit to know more about competitions, talks, workshops and conclaves organized as part of Vista 2011!

This year also, we bring to you exclusive corporate events with interesting competitions that enable you to come out of the daily job chores and participate and network with like-minded intellectuals!

Corporate Czars

Whether it is a frail or robust economy, corporate strategies have evolved into newer and newer dimensions. Gone are the days when the mergers, acquisitions and partnerships were based on the prevailing regulatory frameworks or ideology of open standards. Strategies for controlling technology and market access have taken interesting routes with IPR battles and IP trading arising as the front-runner in acquisition strategies.

Is it the ego that is playing the daemon? Are market players moving in the direction of mutually assured destruction?
or is it still the strategically thought decisions that win the bet?
Are you ready to play the role of a protagonist to devise strategies for the next big move for one of the leading market player?

Click here to participate!

Deadline for initial submission - September 15

The Next Big Wave

Innovative solutions crafted with a keen market understanding will be the only straw that will keep the companies afloat in this dynamically changing market. The Next Big Wave challenges you to identify innovative solutions for the live and imminent business problems faced by the emerging industry sectors. Can you ride this next big wave ?

Click here to participate!

Deadline for initial submission - September 15

Corporate Quiz

Vista presents Corporate Quiz an exclusive quizzing extravaganza for corporate participants. Hosted by acclaimed quiz masters, with the top corporate teams fighting it out, the winners would have to dig really deep and bring out their best game to the table. So, come and join us for an entertaining and joyful afternoon which is sure to prick your brain at the same time. Let the sparks fly!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Developing insight

Insight. It's a loaded word.

I remember a time, it was around two years ago, when one of my fellow classmates raised her hand and asked of the professor 'Prof, I get what's happening... but, what's the insight?' The prof peered at her with a shrewd smile, and said a couple of sentences which he thought must have answered it. I don't remember the answer, but what I do remember is that for the duration of the course, spanning ten weeks, every once in a while, when he remarked something that seemed awesome, he'd turn to this lady and say 'THAT's your insight'. Made me look at the person and the course in a different light. The prof, as always, remained awesome in my eyes, I went on to attend his last PGSEM course, probably the last academic course he taught.

Since then, classes have been a blur, some sessions so remarkable that you leave the classroom feeling so rich. Yet others have been so bland that you could only wait for the class to get over, and stay amazed at the fact that what seems like an eternity is just five minutes. However, this quarter I had the opportunity to be in a class where we were forced to ask 'Why?'. 'Person A was just 23 years old, and she took charge of the company after her father passed away. Why? She could have sold it, and made a lot of money, and done something else that she wanted to, but she didn't. Why? She took the enterprise along a very different direction than her visionary father wanted to, and it is doing extremely well. Why?' Sometimes, it gets crazy... You're giving a presentation and the prof asks you to speak up louder, and jokes if you didn't have breakfast. You say no, I didn't.. and he asks Why?

Actually no, the last didn't happen. It was something else... but you get the point. However, this prof made us think a little deeper than what was given in the case. He encourages us to ask 'Why?', and in turn hopes that we come away with some insight into what happens in the background... to read the story through the blank spaces between the written lines. He hopes that someday we'll gain the wisdom that comes from understanding the context, and being able to form our OWN opinions, such that we have a point of view, one that WE have, not one that is given to us by someone on top. In his mind, if we are to become leaders tomorrow, we better learn to come away with our own individual minds. To think separate, from the collective. Now that we have our project presentations going on, he makes a blanket statement - I guarantee that all of your presentations will have oodles of information, but will have very low insight. Through all the presentations, but for a couple of them, this turned out to be hauntingly true. If anything, he's left us with the last strong lesson - one I'll remember for a long time - strive to form your own insight.

These are the same profs who tell you that we know you PGSEM students won't be able to do as analytical a job as the full-time PGPs, you guys just don't devote the same amount of time and dedication towards the tasks we set you. They mock us in class saying we can do better, we're just trying to stay normal. They sometimes go so far as to remind us that we might have thought that IIMB is a conveyor belt, where we go in bumbling techies at one end, and come out spiffy managers the other, and that as profs they stand in the way to belt us into realizing that we need to do a lot of work if we are to take away anything from this course. Yet, these VERY SAME profs tell us that we made brave decisions of trying to balance work-life, family-life, and academic-life, and stuck to these decisions for close to three years. We show dedication and discipline in not letting any of these fail, and in that we have taken a braver decision than the full-time students do. Making an Either-Or decision is easy, they say, choosing to do an 'AND' requires a commitment that is not easy to come by. Of course, they go and diss the PGP students also, saying you guys think you're smart and working hard, go and see what the PGSEM guys can do. Looks like the formula is the same, just applied differently for the different student segments.

The first prof I spoke about could have just asked the student to shut the hell up, and stop questioning him, the way some of us have seen our school/college profs react... but he didn't. The second prof I spoke about could have just let us spout our theories, wonder to God about why he's still teaching numbskulls who don't understand and apply what he's teaching them, yawn and go home... but he doesn't. All our profs can also tell us that 'we sympathize with you in terms of the multiple loads you're balancing... here... let's lighten the load so much for you that you can walk straight', or 'You guys are the brightest of the bright in India, organizations will be lucky to have you'... but they don't.

Do they know something that we don't? Is it that they've learnt that teaching adults is very different from teaching children, you can't punish them into learning, the way you do with kids? Do they see something in us, that we don't see in ourselves? If so, that's quite some insight they have there.

Academia typically have so much theory in them, that it's spouting out their ears... they will throw dates and research paper info at you, and make us read and comprehend the driest of research, and with eyes gleaming with excitement, they say 'See???', and we're staring blank at them, thinking 'WTF?'. But through the duration of the session, they take the pains of explaining real-life situations to us, examples where they ventured out into the real world to get back nuggets of practical examples, to make us realize the insight that they have received, not by spoon-feeding it to us, but by actually helping us realize it. They take us through a process, whereby the next time, we're able to move similarly, and arrive at conclusions. They don't teach us insights, they teach us how to arrive at them.

It's not easy to live amidst all that theory and research, and identify examples of practice that can be used to demonstrate the learning. It's even harder to whip up energy and a sense of doggedness in a bunch of students who have spent their lives thinking that they're not as good as those from outside their country. I remember that one of my interview questions was on why Indians aren't so crazy about starting ventures, and I kept giving round-a-bout answers, and was almost guided into the realization that we just don't have confidence. It's not just my problem, it's all of ours. We might have been technically smart to get into IIMB, but that didn't stop us from having an inferiority complex when compared to other nations. Our professors have helped us realize that we're equal, if not better. They imbue us with so much confidence, that people around us think we're arrogant or cocky. Maybe they're right, maybe some of us do take it too far... but we're at least poised to take risky steps, without being too fearful. As teachers, they've helped us recognize our potential, and make use of it.

IIMB is not the place where I learnt what to do, it's the place where I learnt what NOT to do and why. It's not been a place for me to learn the skills of management, it's the place where I was shown that I.. we.. can be SO much more.

I wish that, some day, every educational institution has the privilege to have teachers with a similar mindset. I know that we'll get there.

Dear profs, on behalf of all of us, we wish you a happy Teacher's Day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Story-Lover's Delight

All of us have a list of reasons why we want to pursue business education. I’m sure this one doesn’t figure there, at least it wasn’t on mine. Now I wonder why.

Q1 is drawing to a close and so far, among other things, the MBA experience (and in that the PGSEM experience with its primary focus on knowledge) has been one big delightful storybook.  On the very first day itself, we were told the story of Marie Antoinette and how she was thought to be crazy just because she seemed to be proposing what was a primitive version of the Bottom Of the Pyramid concept! I sat in class wide-eyed like a child, having come into class expecting graphs showing demand-supply curves but listening to French history instead!

In the 2 months that followed, we’ve heard many stories – the story of how Japan’s history has brought it to the state that it’s in, the story of oil, the story of Classic Coke and the stories of many corporations in the form of case studies – some talking of businesses that broke new ground, some of failed ideas and some of phenomena that changed our lives. There were stories of simple kind hearted people who built great institutions like Aravind Eye Care and there were intriguing stories like those of the Cuban Missile Crisis (delivered in a two hour movie session with the film The Missles Of October : ) ). But they were all fascinating. For someone who loves listening to and telling stories, it’s been a pleasant surprise to find a treasure chest in the classroom.

The next time I recommend PGSEM or MBA in general to anyone, I am going to put this as the topmost reason why someone should go for business education. Before anything else, it becomes enjoyable just because it takes us back to the time when storytelling was a major part of our lives. And hopefully all these stories will influence us enough to be able to create big stories ourselves in the future!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Harish Hande, MD SELCO at Eximius 2011 - IIMB's Entrepreneurship Summit

It was a fitting finale to Day 1 of Eximius 2011 @ IIM Bangalore. I am referring to the keynote lecture by Harish Hande, MD Selco Solar. His thrust on helping asset generation for the rural poor rather than just selling to them struck me as crucial.

Starting on a humorous note with ‎"At IIT Kharagpur I ragged Saurav (Prof Saurav Mukherjee), Arvind Kejriwal ragged me and now he is ragging the country ... " Harish Hande, Magsaysay Award winner went on to highlight the areas SELCO works on and how his journey started.

He focused on the importance of market linkages, technology and financial products for the rural or urban poor. "I told him straight on his face that the concept was exploitative. You take money from the poorest at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) and pass it on to the wealthy top of the pyramid without enabling any asset creation at the BOP", Harish Hande referring to his conversation with Prof C K Prahalad on Fortune at the BOP.

A recording of the talk here:​us2011/b/292491928

How SELCO is spawning off entrepreneurs:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Eximius 2011 starts in less than 15 hours!!!

Eximius 2011, The The Entrepreneurship Summit of IIM Bangalore starts in less than 15 hours!!

Participate in contests ranging from B-plans, Workshops, Pitching to VC to Panel discussions that will bring out the entrepreneur in you!! with prizes worth Rs. 15 lakhs to be won!

EXIMIUS is an open summit and registration for all the events is free.

Visit us @

FB Page

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Is innovation becoming a spectator sport?

A few years ago, in the world of technology, innovation was what happened in small teams away from prying eyes.

No one was breathing down Larry's and Sergey's neck to invent Google.
There was no pressure on Mark Zuckerberg to invent Facebook.

But today the amount of curiosity that people have, about the next move these companies will execute makes one wonder whether innovation has become a spectator sport.

Currently, the war between Google and Facebook or the war between Nokia and Android is eagerly watched by millions of people. Analysts, users, other companies and the world at large wait with bated breath to see what technological and strategic moves these companies will make when there are billions of dollars at stake.

Innovation in the technology sphere is not restricted to the proverbial garage anymore.

It has become a spectator sport with fans taking sides just like any other sport.

In the larger context, innovation as a spectator sport is an inevitable milestone in human evolution.

Thousands of years ago, man watched other men fight against lions and
be devoured by them in the amphitheater. As our race evolved and we became more human(e), people watched men and women fight it out with each other in the tennis court and soccer stadium. As we live in the era where knowledge is becoming the most important skill, it is only fitting that men will watch the clash of the minds like it were an exciting sport. It is only fitting that they will take sides and cheer their favorite companies.

And I think it is little more than a coincidence that we are able to watch this sport without ever stepping into a amphitheater or a stadium.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Know Your Alumni Series: Musthafa PC

Musthafa PC
Designation: Co-founder of Best Foods (ID Special food products,
PGSEM Batch: 2004 - 2007
Total Years of Experience: 12 years in IT industry, 4 years of Entrepreneurship
Role Before Joining PGSEM: Program Manager at Intel
Role After Completing PGSEM: Entrepreneur
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.                        
I did my B.E. in Computer Science from NIT Calicut in 1995. During my IT career, I worked with Motorola India, Citibank Dubai, Intel India, Misys and Fair Isaac. After finishing my PGSEM, I quit my job at Fair Isaac to fully focus on my venture, Best Foods.
I come from an extremely poor family in Wayanad, Kerela. My father, being uneducated himself, was extremely committed toward ensuring that I get good education. I was lucky enough to get a chance to study. When I graduated, I was the only graduate of my village. Today, I am married with three lovely kids.
During my free time, I play cricket with my kids and watch TV. I don’t like reading books.
Q. Tell us something about your journey-How did it all begin?
I always had an entrepreneurial inclination. In my childhood, I used to sell sweets during my summer vacations. After finishing my engineering, I got busy with my job. During my marketing project under Late Prof Thiru, I gained some knowledge of the food processing industry. I then also realized that there was perhaps some business opportunity present in the ready-made batter business. In 2005, I started operation with a 50 sqft room and 2 small conventional grinders in partnership with my cousin brother. I entrusted the day to day operations to my cousin while I was working in IT field. We started doing test marketing to check if our idea really had potential.
Another, turning point came when I joined the VEIL (old name for the REIL course taken by Prof DVR) course. As a part of this course we were supposed to write a reflection paper. It was then I realized that even though as Project Manager, I was ensuring the execution of a project as per a plan, but surprisingly I did not have a plan for my life. I took the reflection paper very seriously and used this to get answers for two things, a) what was the purpose of my life? b) what was the plan for my life? This was the only paper where I scored the perfect 4.0 GPA and the reflection paper brought about a lot of clarity in my mind. At the end of 2007, I left the IT industry and immersed myself into my enterprise.
Q. Please describe the nature of your business?
        Best foods Enterprises manufactures and markets the ID Special food products. We started with making batter for Idli and Dosa. Now we make and market several other products like Kerala Parota, Wheat Parota, Achappam (Rose cookies), Pettiappam (diamond chips) and Aappam under the ID Special Brand name.
Q. Describe the evolution of your company?
During the test marketing days in 10 stores, we were able to sell about 2 – 2.5 Kgs of batter per day per store. This gave us the confidence that this business could be scaled up. Using 15 lakhs of my savings from my professional life, we setup a 700 – 800 sqft factory in Kagadaspura in 2006. We soon started selling 3000 kg of batter every day and we hit our production capacity.
We realized that it was time to expand further and with the help of Karnataka State Small Industries Development Corporation (KSSIDC), we setup a factory at Hoskote in 2008 end. This factory is about 8,000 sqft and it produces about 20,000 – 25,000 Kgs of batter every day. Today we have a turnover of about Rs 20 crores and have already got several offers from bigger players and venture capitalists which we have already declined. We also had a multi-crore buy-out offer from MTR which we have declined.
Q. How is your company structured today?
Our company employs about 250 people currently. Out of these about 99% is unskilled labour from remote villages of South India. Apart from manufacturing, the other major activity that we have is Sales and Distribution. Here again we hire from villages and train the people.
Q. Describe the company goals and mission.
We have set ourself a target of making Best Foods a Rs 300 crore enterprise in the next 5 years.
We have not set any formal mission defined for the company. However, I have seen a lot of poverty in my early days and believe that I was lucky enough to get some opportunities to reach where I am today. A number of youth from villages, though extremely bright, do not get an opportunity in their lives.
I am hence a firm believer of generating employment for the poor youth of villages. I believe, providing employment is much useful than helping someone by donations. I am happy to see the little contribution that I have been able to make in the lives of my workers. After two years of training and hard work, our Sales guys can give Business School students a run for their money. These guys who were perhaps earning Rs 3,000 per month are now able to make around Rs 35,000 per month. The transformation in their life styles gives me lot of satisfaction.
Q. What are your future growth plans?
        We have distribution tie ups with Nilgiris. Our major presence has been in Bangalore. Very recently, we have started distribution in Chennai, Mangalore, Dubai and Hyderabad. We plan to do the same at Mumbai and Pune through a distribution tie up with Nestle.
     Once, our sales reach a critical mass in these cities, we also have plans to set up factories in these cities.
        We are also helping some people who want to expand ID special or use our idea in setting up businesses at new places. In fact, I would be happy to help a fellow PGSEMer who wants to take this idea to different locations.
Q. In this highly competitive space requiring comparatively simple skill-set, what gives your company the edge to do well?
      I believe even though the opportunity for ready-made batter was there in Bangalore, there were no organized players. This was when we started operations and made a mark for ourselves. Now that we have established ourselves up to a certain extent, we are relatively less worried about new players entering the market. New entrants will bring in more customer awareness about availability of such products in the market which will help boost our sales.
We give utmost importance to quality and service. Our products are manufactured in a super hygienic environment. We do not add any preservatives/flavors so that homely taste is not compromised. Fresh products reach the stores early morning so that customers experience the convenience of a natural food. Customers have outsourced their daily hassles to us J.
Q. How did PGSEM help transform your career?
         Firstly, the reflection paper that I wrote helped me in deciding the purpose and project plan for my life.
      Secondly, before PGSEM I used to be more of a tactical guy. I believe PGSEM taught me to think more strategically keeping long term view in mind.
Q. What were the few challenges that you faced in your entrepreneurial career?
      My first challenge was that when I started, I had no clue about food processing industry. I had to spend a lot of effort learning things.
      The other major challenge was convincing my family to allow me to leave my high paying software job and take the plunge in business. In fact, I told all this to my father just about 1 year ago.
     Then there were some other challenges that several businesses face sometime. For example, our competitors tried to spread rumors that a rat was found in one of our products. There was also a case of product tampering by local competitors by purposefully inserting needles in the batter pouch.
Q. Whom do you consider as your Role Model and Why?
         This is a spiritual question and I would like to answer it spiritually. I am a religious person and I consider the Prophet Muhammed as my role model. I am a firm believer in His teachings and try to follow them in my business as well.
      We pay all our taxes and do not have debt in the business. In fact, once we turned down an annual order of Rs 50 lakh from a leading hotel chain because they wanted to use one of our products as a bar snack.
Q. What is your Mantra for work life balance?
     During my corporate life, I at least used to get Saturdays and Sundays with my family. However, now it has become difficult to spend even weekends with them. I try to spend at least 15 mins daily with my 3 kids. However, I don’t think I am able to maintain a proper work life balance and I am not sure if such a thing is even possible for a startup entrepreneur  J.
Q. How is your association with IIMB and PGSEM now?
      I am still a frequent visitor at IIMB. I teach as a guest faculty in the REIL (Reinventing through Entrepreneurial and Intrapreneurial Leadership) course.
Q. Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
  • First of all you should do a thorough research to understand the potential market for the product.
  • If the product appears to have enough potential, see if there are gaps in the market. For example there may be a situation where there is demand but no proper supply in the market.
  • Look at the competition in the market. If there is a huge competition from organized players already in the market, it is extremely difficult for a start-up to establish itself. When we entered, there was hardly anyone in Bangalore market.
  • If possible, through your enterprise try to generate employment for unskilled labour from villages.
Q. Your message to students at IIMB-PGSEM today?
      During my IIMB days, several of my batch mates in PGSEM, used to crib about their IT careers. However, most of them did not have the guts to do anything about it and are still continuing with the same. I am sure many of the present PGSEMers would also be in a similar situation. Even though I was lucky enough to have a cousin to look after the test marketing of my business, it was difficult for me to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Hence my message to current PGSEMers is:-
        If you are passionate about something, go ahead and at least try it out for at least few months with the help of full-time well-wishers like your cousins. If things work out, switch off completely from your old work and focus into your passion. If you don’t try, you will only talk about it till your last breath but would never make it happen. All the best!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Reader, You Are Our Hero!

PGSEM blog was revived in April last year and we have completed 30,000 hits in the last 1 year 3 months. Readers - Alumni, students, PGSEM aspirants, MBA enthusiasts - continue to be our source of inspiration and make us strive to bring out information about our PGSEM life onto this public platform despite juggling work, studies and family.

Do continue to support us, leave us a message about our content or anything that you liked about our posts. Young blood gets infused every year and we will keep you posted about our journey year on year.

Dear reader, you are our hero.

Happy Reading!

Microeconomics, Strategic Management and the art of elevating students' intellect

Microeconomics is the study of "what is". Strategy is the study of "what should be". The meeting place between the two is in your minds.
        - One of our esteemed professors.

Time and again, our peers in the software industry ask us about PGSEM with an eye on job prospects after the course. Just a few hours ago, I replied to a yahoo group query on the oft repeated value question. Now that I am on the side that answers those questions, I thought it might be a good idea to write about my perspectives on what is actually the "value" of PGSEM.

The management education sector, in which placement figures routinely make headlines, compels people to think about placements as the only return on investment worth measuring. Maybe that is an acceptable measure for most institutes under the sun. But for IIMB, it is one of the many measures and depending on your career goals, it might not even be a very important one.

But irrespective of your career stage, goals and aspirations, a great course would elevate your thinking and change forever the way you perceive people, companies and the world at large. And for us PGSEMers, that invaluable act of elevation starts right from the admission stage and continues all the way to the last quarter due to the high standards set by the institute. Those standards are sustained by professors who amaze us everyday with their knowledge and perspectives. Those standards are strengthened by our classmates who bring a wealth of experience from many different functions in the software industry.

So, to capture what we feel:

Was it easy getting in? No.
Is the course tough? Hell yes!
Do we have placements? No.
Are we bothered about that? No.

Why not?

Because this is the best mind bending roller-coaster ride we have ever taken.
Because with each passing day (and each passing case!), the world is never the same in our eyes again.
Because this is where we learn from the best to constantly challenge ourselves and change the game.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pehel 2011 - A live account !!!

After weeks of deliberations the D-Day was finally here.

9th of July 2011 was the day when a new batch of PGSEM students were to organize their first ever event at the IIM Bangalore: PEHEL 2011.
Pehel literally means Initiative and aptly suits the fresher's event, organized by the freshers, for the seniors.

The planning for the event had started almost a month back, immediately after the orientation. Several committees were formed for performing specific tasks and were headed by a core committee who were in charge of the overall direction of the event. The design team consisting of Shalini and Vineeth came up with a creative logo for Pehel 2011. This became the logo for our t-shirts and the theme for the event.

The "Warli" design was contemporary yet very traditional and was readily acclaimed by everyone. It did not miss even the Director's eye and he too praised the batch for the efforts in coming up with such a nice design.
Everything was meticulously planned to the minutest level thanks to the efforts of the omnipresent Chandra. He had taken it onto him to deliver the best and pitched in wherever and whenever he was required, be it the distribution of the invitations to the interaction with the PGSEM office, the last minute plan for anchoring the show to playing the role of the great Gabbar, Chandra was everywhere, Chandra simply rocked!!!
So ... finally, clad in our brand new warli t-shirts and blue jeans (our dress code for the day), we were there to invite the world (read seniors!!!) to a new beginning by PGSEM 2011.

The event started with the "Hi-Tea", arranged behind the auditorium thanks to the PGSEM office. The guests started trickling in by 5 pm and started meeting each other over a cup of tea/coffee.
This part of any IIMB event is supposed to be used for the biggest takeaway of any MBA program - "Networking Time". After interacting with fellow batch-mates and seniors and their families, it was time for officially inaugurating PEHEL 2011. Then there were the last minute delays thanks to the Bangalore traffic. Our chief guests - Prof. Chandra (Director of IIM Bangalore) and Prof. Agrawal (Chairperson PGSEM, CSITM) were held up in traffic and the program was delayed by half an hour.
The seniors, batch-mates and their family members were already seated in the auditorium and it was time to engage them with some kind of entertainment till the official start of the event. The ever so talented Vikram Parthan came to our rescue. He kept the audience engaged with his "First real six-string". We all pitched in with the "Best day of our life"....
Once the chief guests were in the audi, the program started officially with the lighting of the lamp followed by an welcome speech by Prof. Chandra and then by Prof. Agrawal.
Both of them welcomed the audience and eulogized our efforts for coming up with the event in such a short span of time. Thanks to our seniors for showing us the way...
This was followed by the distribution of the "DML" (director's merit list) certificates to the top 10 students of the senior batch, the "Star of the Quarter" award and distribution of participation certificates for CSITM workshop.

After the certificate distribution the stage was all set for the cultural program to start. Anupama & Vikram played the host for the evening. Both Anu and Vikram did a splendid MCing job  while engaging the audience throughout the event. The show started with the Mad Mad Men from St. John's performing a mime for the audience. The Mad-Ads guys were amazing and they set the tone for the evening with a light comedy on a doctor's life starting from the entrance exams to getting admissions in the college, learning the tricks of the trade, their daily hostel life till the day of performing the critical surgery. The audience enjoyed their performance wholeheartedly and cheered them with loud claps and whistles.
The mime was followed by a kid's fashion show. The Shahrukhs & Kareenas of future walked the IIM-B auditorium turned ramp with the "Barbie Girl" playing in the background. It was a treat to see the little ones enjoying their night outs, and were aptly awarded with little chocolate boxes by the end of their performance.

Then it was time for the event of the evening that all of us were waiting for with bated breath - a skit organized in the last two days to the run up to the event, titled "MBA Karenge Hum", featuring the who's who of Bollywood who had come for an interview at IIM Bangalore for PGSEM. The skit featured Amir Khan, Shatrughan Sinha, Sunny paaji, Mithun da, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Nana Patekar as interviewee and Gabbar with his ally Sambha taking the interview.
Kudos to everyone involved in the skit. It was just awesome, hilarious to the brim. Every single soul in the audi enjoyed the on-stage performance and cheered our Bollywood superstars.
Take a bow Anshum Arora for directing this. Without you, this would never have been possible.
Find a link to the video of the skit here :

After the madness that ran through the audi for half an hour of the skit it was time for some sanity to come back in the form of soulful music. Vikram, Varkey, Shalini and Anupama stole the show with their performances. Varkey's original struck a cord with the audience.
The group song - "Pal" by KK, was the perfect ending to the evening.
Hand-in-hand we lip synced "Hum rahen ya na rahen kal, kal yaad aayenge ye pal" ;-)
YES that was our "Pal", a "Pal" to remember for the rest of our lives ........

Shamik Bhattacharya
PGSEM 2011

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