Category Archives: Life @ K

All the happenings, all the updates from God’s own Kampus

67th Republic Day Celebrations – IIM Kozhikode

Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode celebrated India’s 67th Republic Day with solemnity and fervour on the 26th January, 2016. On the auspicious occasion, the institute’s faculty, staff and students gathered to honour and commemorate the day the Constitution of India came into force.

Salute the contribution of the forefathers.

Salute the contribution of the forefathers.

Festivities began with the hoisting of the National Flag by Dr. R Radhakrishna Pillai, Dean Administration, followed by the National Anthem. The Dean addressed the gathering, reminding them about the contribution of our forefathers in instituting the largest democracy in the world.

National Flag hoisting by Dr. R Radhakrishna Pillai, Dean Administration

National Flag hoisting by Dr. R Radhakrishna Pillai, Dean Administration

Prof. Rameshan, Faculty, Strategic Management also delivered a brief talk on the occasion. In his address to the gathering, he motivated each individual present and reminded them of their duties as a citizen of the country. Summarizing his speech with Mother Teresa’s quote “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone”, he urged everyone to do their bit and join the nation in her fight against the evils of corruption, casteism and nepotism. Talking of leading by example, the institute felicitated staff members Mr. Suresh and Mr. Manikundan for displaying promptness and foresight in saving a life.

Keep thy Flag flying !

Keep thy Flag flying !

Following speeches by K R Vignesh and Bhasker Pratap Lahiri, members of the Student Council Representatives, and performance of patriotic songs by the students, Prof. Rameshan talked about the observance of ‘Swacch Bharat Week’ during 26-31 January as the institute’s bit towards the ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’.

Aye mere vatan ke logon, zara aankh me bhar lo paani !

Aye mere vatan ke logon, zara aankh me bhar lo paani !

The event came to a closure with over 230 students and faculty members taking the ‘Swacchata Pledge’, promising to make a conscious effort towards cleanliness and volunteering to devote time each week towards ensuring a Clean India.

 

Article written by: Vishaal Pathak

Picture courtesy : Himalay Reddy

Observance of Constitution Day : 26th November 2015

Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode observed 26th November 2015 as Constitution Day to commemorate adoption of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly on the 26th November 1949. On this occasion, faculty and students gathered together to spread the importance and awareness about the Constitution and its architect Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Students engrossed in Constitution Quiz organized by EPS.

Students engrossed in Constitution Quiz organized by EPS.

The event began with a quiz themed on the Indian Constitution, which saw active participation from the student fraternity. This was followed by welcome address and introduction about the programme by Student Council Representative Sushrut Helwatkar. In the inaugural address, Prof. Sudershan Kuntluru, faculty from the Finance Department, spoke to the students about the importance and the salient features of the Constitution. Dr. Kuntluru also apprised the students about the impact that the Indian Constitution has on ease of business, freedom of trade and commerce, and the constitutional amendments related to taxation in the country.

Inaugural Address by Prof. Kuntluru

Inaugural Address by Prof. Kuntluru

Arunangshu Chattopadhya, a student from the 1st year PGP course, addressed the members present as a representative of the student community, and spoke about the several facets of the longest written Constitution in the world, with emphasis on Constitutional Amendments. As a token of appreciation and respect, the event also witnessed the students and faculty reading aloud the Preamble to the Constitution.

Students and Faculty reading aloud the Preamble to the Constitution

Students and Faculty reading aloud the Preamble to the Constitution

The event came to a closure with Dr. C. Raju, Faculty Operations Management, distributing prizes to the teams securing winning positions in the Constitution Quiz. On behalf of the students, the Student Council thanked the faculty Dr. Kuntluru, Dr. C. Raju, Mr. Cedric Thomas and Mr. John from the Administration Department, and Mr. Renjith, In-charge Student Affairs, for their presence on the occasion.

Dr. C. Raju distributing the prizes to the winning team.

Dr. C. Raju distributing the prizes to the winning team.

 

Article written by: Vishaal Pathak

Picture courtesy : Ravi Bhola

Backwaters 2015- Bigger and better than any of its predecessors!

Backwaters 15th October to 1st November, 2015. The student fraternity was eagerly awaiting the invocation of these three days of mind tingling business simulation events and opportunities to interact with powerful speakers in TEDex, and finally the night before, one couldn’t help but notice the buzz in the campus among students and teachers alike making last minute preparations for coordinating, participating or judging events. While there were a number of flagship events whose birds’ eye view is coming up, there were a number of impromptu fun events as well.
White Knight was an event in which business plans were invited from students across the country in three broad categories – social innovation, gen next technopreneur and products and services. Over a 37 day window, there were 305 registered participants from colleges across the country which finally came down to 6 finalist teams who came down to the IIMK campus to finally present their plans. The event was judged by industry experts from Nabard and Tie Kerala, on the basis of feasibility, profitability, scalability, and innovation and presentation prowess. The students came up with various pioneering ideas, a few of them being about making smart toys, innovative ways for market enhancement of cupcakes, devising complete lifestyle based food solutions for healthier lives and so on. The winners were awarded cash prize worth 50,000 rupees followed by prize money worth 25000 for the runners up. The event was well concluded by a hearty interactive session among the finalist teams and the judges.
tEDXFollowing vigorous social media promotions TEDx at Backwaters was a huge success among the student fraternity offering talks by eminent motivational speakers from varied paths of life. Alongside, videos were shown of performances by Preston Reed, Usman Riaz as well as of a talk of the noted TEDx speaker, Sugata Mitra. Talks were given by Prasant Nair, the district collector of Kozhikode, who is also involved with a social welfare activity named Compassionate Kozhikode. His speech hovered around the importance of compassion in the lives of the many polished professionals graduating from places like IIMs in contrast with the millions of underprivileged citizens. There was Malvika Iyer, who survived a bomb blast when she was 13 but had lost both her hands and had severely injured her legs. She braved all odds and emerged victorious to be symbol of courage and optimism in later years. A Global Shaper, she pressed upon the message that “bad attitude is the only disability in life”. Mr V S Sudhakar, cofounder of BigBasket, prior founder and CEO of Indiaplaza Pvt. Ltd. and a noted alumnus of IIM-A, who had started India’s first internet services company, Planetasia.com talked about the pros and cons of being in a startup with an insightful analogy with the performance of cricketer Keith Miller in the 1948 tour of Australia to England. He concluded his speech in a thoughtful note with an effing hint towards the depletion of water from the blue planet and said that “water is the next big thing”. With IIM K currently in the limelight across the country for creating graduates with an entrepreneurship oriented mindset, this talk was surely a great hit. The adventure sports junkie, Archana Sardana, India’s only woman Master Scuba Diver Trainer certified by PADI, USA, the country’s only woman BASE jumper, and also the first Indian to skydive with the Indian flag in the USA and to BASE jump the KL Tower, Malaysia spoke about her life and its motto to explore, dream and discover. With 335 skydives and 45 BASE jumps done, she shared interesting stories about her life including getting married to an army officer and spending 7 days of her honeymoon doing adventure sports.

TedX with all Guest speakersArunabh Das Sarma, current president of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (Times group), owner of newspaper branches like Times of India and The Economic Times having had extensive experience of working in Coca Cola, GSK, Whirlpool as well as a startup discussed about navigating unchartered territories in every aspect and motivated students to go beyond mere commercial success and strive to make full use of one’s potential.

Students in an eventShiksha 2015 was held on all three days of Backwaters. On day 1 (30th October), workshop for school children were held. The program saw a total participation of 68 students from classes 8 to 10. Students from 31 schools all over Kerala participated in the event and the group was a truly diverse one. The event opened with a brief welcome given by the Shiksha team and the representatives from our sponsors: Health care Foundation. This was followed by a half-day session held by Mr. Unnikrishnan Balakrishnan a renowned motivational speaker and life style coach. He took the kids through various fun group activities and confidence building sessions which were well received and filled the children with positivity. Day 2 and day 3 was meant for undergraduate students from various specializations like engineering, commerce, arts etc. The prime motive behind the workshop was to give the undergrad students a look into the life at IIM. Many of the students were CAT aspirants who needed guidance and clarity on how to chase their dreams. The workshop for undergrads started with a full day session by Mr. Unnikrishnan Balakrishnan again. There were a variety of sessions such as discovering self, public speaking, working in diverse teams, self-confidence workshop etc. On day 3, the students interacted with faculty and research students from IIMK. The interactive sessions were followed by a 1 hour mock test held in association with Career Launcher. Experts from Career Launcher interacted with the students and gave them valuable tips on how to crack CAT. The top scorers in the test were felicitated. Shiksha is an integral part of Backwaters since the time of its inception. A program aimed at inclusivity of school and undergraduate students on Backwaters platform, Shiksha has grown to be an event with the maximum participation so much so that the number of seats had to be capped at 120.

avatar winnerAvatar-The Ultimate CEO Challenge, one of the six flagship events at Backwaters, annual management festival of IIMK saw participation from 22 different colleges across India with 38 applications. Participants were put through stressful conditions spanning across three days, in challenges encompassing all verticals of management including Marketing, Finance, Strategy, Operations, HR as well as on their creativity and general knowledge through storyboard making and a quiz. The event also included a venture capitalist pitch and a self-pitch to conclude with.

The event was planned keeping in mind that a CEO has to perform well in all spheres of management under stringent deadlines. The shortlisting criteria for applicants from outside IIMK was based on CV and a one minute video pitch explaining how they were suitable for the role of a CEO. The invited colleges were open to send in multiple entries and 7 participants were finally selected to represent their college.  For selecting IIMK representative we held Echelon 2.0, wherein we invited entries from PGP 18 and 19 and selected 6 students from each batch. Final selection was based on cumulative score of 3 rounds which included a Chairman GD, Case study and turncoat debate.

Model United Nations is a simulation of United Nations’ councils participants were supposed to be delegates representing countries, the delegates had to use United Nations rules including various motions and pleas and had to come up with a working paper which would be debated in different formats and would be voted by the delegates, the ultimate aim was to draft a resolution have a concrete debate, move amendments, additions and deletions, and ultimately vote on it. On getting 2/3rd majority the draft resolution would be adopted. Here it was United Nations Human Rights Council debating about Syrian refugee crisis, Syria moved a working paper on refugee welfare which was defeated after 2 versus 2 debate, Iraq moved a working paper on funding of refugees which was accepted, the final working paper moved by Syria after an extensive QnA session and multiple amendments failed to obtain the 2/3rd majority required as the house was split on his views. The delegate representing Syria and Germany were awarded best delegates for their performance.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change was aimed at coming up with a legally binding solution to climate change on the backdrop of Kyoto protocol and other conventions. A motion for discussion on innovative methods to cap emissions and related tax laws was initiated by South Korea. Developed countries like France and Denmark responded with the assurance that they would help in the implementation of innovative solutions across the developing nations. Delegates from India and UK spoke about allowing positive tax breaks to industries abiding the regulatory standards. Canadian delegate raised the use of innovative technologies in energy sector. This lead to a discussion on nuclear energy, energy generation through biological waste and waste management. Towards the end of the day, two working papers were presented on the use of alternative sources of energy and setting up new regulations governing carbon emissions.

Vir Das band -ALien CHutneyIf you think Backwaters was only about serious business simulations and academic pursuits, you can’t go more wrong! There were scintillating performances by the popular comedy rock band, Vir Das and the Alien Chutney who, with their funky jokes, witty and sometimes nuanced humor successfully kept the crowd ROFLing and LMAOing before, after and between their comedy rock numbers. Where the IIMK fraternity enjoyed their share of titillating humor on the first day by Vir Das, the final day saw the audience getting swayed to the incredibly popular number “Bhula do” composed of the well-known Indo-Pakistani Sufi pop rock band, Raeth! While the crowd went all gaga over the musical renditions of the final evening, it was an evening of fulfillment of dreams for the organizers of Backwaters, 2015, who have toiled heart and soul since weeks for making the event such a big success. For the final year students, especially, the evening ended on a note of melancholy as the silhouettes of the trusses of the Backwaters stage gradually got absorbed in the lights of the wee hours of yet another morning of wandering clouds in the IIM K campus.

Raeth Band performing

 

Article written by: Noel Roychowdhury

Food Festival 2015 – A Lip-Smacking Carnival

God’s own Kampus may have bid farewell to Backwaters, but does that put an end to the festivities? No sire, not in a campus that’s always abuzz with a festival! But summer placements are over, and a heavy dose of business ethics is giving the 19ers some food for thought. Talking of food, an academic year on Kampus would be incomplete without a festival dedicated entirely to the celebration of the majesty that is the Indian Cuisine. Thus came the Mess Committee with its flagship event ‘Food Fest’ – to offer Komrades some meaty respite.

Getting ready for the Food Fest !

Getting ready for the Food Fest !

When numbers and PPTs are someone’s bread and butter, will making bread and butter be their cup of tea? Budding managers put away their scientific calculators for a day and put on their chef hats to prove their culinary mettle. Keeping up with the tradition of this ‘healthy’ competition, the six sections of PGP 19 decided to wage a war, and armed with ladles and spatulas of various sizes, thronged the mess kitchens to prepare mouth-watering delicacies ranging from Kathi Rolls to Murgh Biryani to Gajar ka Halwa.

Can you smell what the flock is cooking ? :)

Can you smell what the flock is cooking ? 🙂

Gracing the occasion were Ms. Abida Rasheed – a name that has become synonymous with Moplah cuisine from the Malabar region in Kerala, and Professor Manish. Before the visitors, which included both students and faculty, could even barely get enough of the finger-licking dishes, the stalls were a sell-out and people were found yearning for more.

Performances at Food Fest

Performances at Food Fest

Garnishing the night were performances by the Kampus’ own performers in the amphitheatre. The visitors soon turned into audience, tapping their feet to Footvibes’ dances and humming along when Krescendo struck a musical chord. The night concluded with Section F and A emerging victorious.

F section being presented the winner's trophy by Ms. Abida Rasheed

F section being presented the winner’s trophy by Ms. Abida Rasheed

Appetizing food, heart-thumping dances and soul-stirring music – the night had everything served on the platter.

Article written by: Vishaal Pathak

Mr Saurabh Mukherjea, CEO, Institutional Equities, AMBIT Capital on ‘What you can learn from the ongoing fiasco in Global Financial Markets!’

 

imgresSaurabh Mukherjea is a Head of Equities at Ambit Capital. Saurabh leads the Institutional equities business at Ambit Capital as Head of Equities. The Media Cell of IIM Kozhikode conducted a short interview with him as he made a visit to the ‘K’ampus to address our students in the Vertical Summit- 2015 organized by The Industry Interaction Cell.

Here is a snippet of a brief conversation with Mr Saurabh:

With the global equity markets taking a hit due to the Chinese slowdown, what is your outlook on the current global macro-economic scenario?

The period after the collapse of Lehman, i.e., the period between 2008-14 has seen unprecedented pumping of liquidity in the Global financial market. In these 6 years, my reckoning is close to 5-6  trillion dollars have been warranted by the four big Central Banks in the west. Now if you flood so much of money in any market, be it commodity market, property market or stock market, in all probability it is likely to go up. Now, logically it follows, if the liquidity tide recedes, i.e., if this money stops getting printed, as The Fed stopped doing it last year by and large you will observe markets falling down. This is something that has been happening of late in the global financial market.

With a plethora of startups being valued to unprecedented scale, there are speculations that we are fast approaching a valuation bubble burst. What is your take on that?

We have already seen this happening in America in 2000 when the economy was triggered down by the dot com crisis. To much extent we are going to see a repeat of this. We have numerous tech startups, social media startups and so on, where most of them would die and only a few would survive. I am not quite sure whether the problem is their inflated valuation. The problem as I perceive lies in the business model itself. The central debate is whether these startups have a business model which will ever make money because it is eventually the returns for which investors are putting in their money. And as the sentiments go, most of the investors now have already become very selective about investing in these startups.

The Indian markets have seen a huge dip in the past couple of weeks, reacting to the stuttering Chinese economy, where do you see this ending?                                                                                         

The problem with Indian markets is our business model just like many e-commerce start-ups is not very strong currently. The reason for that is, first, our banks are not willing to lend more due to their NPA’s. Second, there has been overcapacity situation in multiple industries, like cement and cement products, trucks, auto etc.  These two factors viz. oversupply situation and banks unwilling to lend to corporations and small businesses have stifled our economy currently.

Is there any particular sector or industry which will emerge strongly out of this volatile market?

There is no sector I am particularly interested currently. One has to choose fundamentally strong stocks. Companies with strong operating cash flow, high return on assets, strong revenue growth unique marketing strategy and business model, etc. are the ones to look out for. There are companies which are leading their respective industries and doing considerably well along these parameters.

What was the secret formula for your “coffee can portfolio” which is popularly known for outperforming the index during the economic crises of 2008-09?

We used only two screening formula for selecting strong stocks. One, return on invested capital should be greater than 15% over 10 year period, which infact is the average cost of capital for most industries. Second, revenue growth should be greater than 10% over 10 year period. Coupled together, we arrived at bunch of dozen stocks for investing. I believe these two criteria are one of the most fundamental-testing factors for any company.

There is a lot of enthusiasm among the students to start investing in the stock markets. Is there any specific tip you have for all those who are new to investing?

Students right now should only be focussing on reading voraciously from various sources and create a deep understanding of the economy and world, the different industries and their fundamental drivers, cyclicality etc. Thanks to technology like Kindle and apps, we have access to a plethora of instant information. Apart from online content, students should read “Investing -The last liberal Art”, “ India – A million mutinies now”,  Warren Buffet’s biography, “Wall Street Meat” and “Once upon Wall Street”.  Along with these one can create a mock portfolio and run it over one year to learn the intricacies, before finally investing.

 

Interview conducted by Koustav  and Aditya, Media Cell, IIM Kozhikode

“Come out of your comfort zone and dare to explore”, says Mr. Amit Gupta, Head of Product Management, Idea Cellular

In a hearty conversation post his lecture, Amit mentioned about Idea’s strategy for 4G, how Idea’s motive behind IIN ad-campaigning was similar to Facebook’s latest Internet.org campaign and ends with asking all Komrades to go beyond what they think their limits are.

Considering that the promises made by 3G have not been fulfilled yet, what is Idea Cellular’s viewpoint regarding the additional offerings of 4G and when are they planning to launch 4G, if at all.

4G is a new technology and it will take some time for the ecosystem that can support 4G to evolve. Right now the penetration of 3G is 18% and it has been in operation for almost 3 to 4 years. 4G speeds are more than double of 3G speeds. In case of absence of need for such speeds, Airtel has created the need by Airtel by targeting its broadband customers. When we are talking of 4G, it is not only for one handset device. Every person is going to have 3-4 smart devices like handset, watch, tab, laptop and when you have more than one device then only you need more data speed because speed is getting shared among devices. Secondly we are almost able to satisfy all our needs of net usage with 3G, so currently 4G is not a big story, it should evolve as one in the next 3 to 4 years, although Idea Cellular is launching 4G in 10 circles by December, 2015.

What was the idea behind IIN and who were your target customers?
Idea caters to mass market; we do not distinguish between our premium and rural customers. Despite the negative and positive feedbacks that have been generated throughout the country regarding IIN, it has received immense publicity and the message we tried to convey via this campaign is to harness the power of internet and this can be done by anybody. For the common man our message is use internet and see what all you can achieve, and for the premium segment we are promoting the other connotations of Internet usage which are subtle in nature. So we are basically trying to promote the power of the Internet; our thought process was similar to that behind Facebook’s internet.org which is aimed to connect all the 7 bn people across the world.

Marketing in the telecom sector is different from that in the other sectors. What are the typical challenges that you face?
In FMCG suppose, once you sell your product your relationship with that customer is closed, but in telecom sector, the relationship with the customer begins with the sale of the SIM. Because, unless the customer is doing monthly recharges, or is using the SIM, I cannot account for any revenue in that account. And if the relationship ceases to exist, I cannot earn a single penny from the customer. So the primary challenge is to sustain this relationship that is the retention of the customers. MNP has given freedom to the customers, however it has not exactly come across as a challenge for us because it has helped us attract the maximum number of customers. The major reason of churn is mostly to lower end operators because of price war and to higher end operators because of network, and this is a very big challenge. Other difficulties include monetizing our assets, which in our case is a tower or site. Because we spend around 10 to 15 lakhs on a tower so it is critical for us to get ROI which again is dependent on the number of customers using that tower including their data usage. And, one of the major setbacks in this is our low data penetration. So improving the data penetration is another major challenge.

How has your career progressed so far?      

I am the youngest general manager in Idea Cellular, been the fastest growing person in the organization. Within 3 years of joining, I was made the business head for a product and I never had to look back post this. I could increase the revenue for this product from INR 5 to 50 crore for which I was given the Chairman Award by Mr. Birla himself. This was a major turning point in my career and I was given the responsibility of the postpaid business. Summing up all this, I can say that my career has been very rewarding so far and the three reasons which can be sighted for this are the opportunities I have got to prove myself, my bosses who were influential business leads in the organization and of hard work.

Any message for IIM K students?
Do not limit yourself, your mindset or your thought process, only then will you know how much there is to learn. In todays’ world where u have access to so much information do not stick to your comfort zone,  because you never know where you might excel. I have seen that in my own life, I used to be an introvert, a graduate from SRCC, I took up projects in Finance and never even wanted to end up in Idea. , thoroughly enjoying the work that I do and with the career that I have had so far. So try to get exposure to every field, keep in mind your long term goals, have a look at the industry and then decide where you want to start your career.

 

Interview conducted by Noel Roychoudhury, Media Cell, IIM Kozhikode

“Do not come to consulting unless you aspire to be a partner”- Mr. Ram Periyagaram (Consulting Partner, PwC)

 Over twenty four years in the consulting industry with a considerable experience in the US, Mr. Periyagaram, in an interview with the Media Cell, shared his opinions about a variety of topics ranging from the GST to the crash of the China market to big data and its applications in the current context. He also provided valuable insights about survival strategies in the consulting industry which lead us to the question of whether or not to go for consulting sector.

 

As we speak today with the crash of the China market, what is your take on the current and near term future of the global economy?
In the long term, India needs to be cautious while still being optimistic. However in the short term, I think there is enough economic stability to sustain. And this is necessarily attributed to our RBI governor who has been instrumental in preserving the fundamentals of finance, from the regression standpoint the economy of the banking sector, the currency regulation – everything is under strict supervision and we can be assured that we are in good hands. Having said that, the macroeconomic conditions are still a concern for us, questions persist on decision making, problem solving and how these would impact our country.

How much impact does global economies of Europe, US, China have on the consulting sector?


The consulting market for US, UK, Australia and all such developed countries grow at 3-5% a year and are well matured and advanced. Acceptability of consulting is better because consultants are viewed as a means of addressing business problems and helping in the derivation of business values as opposed to the Indian scenario which needs some catching up in this context.

In today’s competitive scenario, how significant is the role of ethics in an organization?

Ethics is a centerpiece in any organization. Without ethics you cannot build relationships, you cannot generate trust and you cannot create a brand value. Today PwC as a brand could come out of the Satyam scam because our fundamentals are very strong and a few tainted folks could not tarnish the time tested worth that PwC stands for. Other firms might have collapsed completely in such a situation.

What is your say about GST considering that PwC is working closely with the Central Govt. in this?
According to my speculation, GST might not be rolled out until next year. I think it will bring huge opportunities for supply chain management consulting as well as in the tax advisory services. For example suppose I have started my business in Kerala and later I extended it to Ahmedabad, and all this while I did not apply my mind prudently about what can be the best network for providing services to my clients in Pune and Nasik since I had factories set up in Ahmedabad and Kerala. How GST helps in this context is, it allows you to take a step back and analyze holistically as to how to take advantage of the tax structure, how to rationalize and optimize the network of logistics, so as to service goods effectively in a consolidated way, which thus opens up opportunities for consulting firms for implementing this change.

Consulting has been one of the most coveted jobs in b-schools as compared to marketing, finance or operations. What do u think can be a plausible reason for that?

There can be two reasons behind this – either the students know about it or they don’t know about it. As far as I have seen, nine out of ten people have no idea about consulting, it seems to them that this sector is different from the others and they dive for it. But when they come and join, they find it to be entirely different from what they had perceived. I feel, consulting is not for everyone and if one does not aspire to be a partner in a consulting firm, one shouldn’t get into consulting. The path to become a partner is difficult too, as it requires a certain amount of attitude, strength of character, discipline, passion and aggression and one should have ample clarity about one’s strengths and weaknesses.

 

So what all skillsets are required to sustain in the consulting domain?
A person needs to have an inherent knack for problem solving and this means coming up with not just one, but three to four solutions for each problem. The thought process for taking up problem solving should be fundamental and voluntary. Also articulating the problem statement and approach to the solution to the client in a way that suits the agenda of both the stakeholders is a major concern. My challenge is to ensure that my company gets the deal and not my competition, and the client’s concern is that he has to trust on my company’s ability and capability to provide an optimized solution to the business problem. So this extend I need to tell and sell my story.
So ideally having analytical skills, a problem solving mentality, clarity in communication and the ability to think on the fly are some of the key traits required to survive in the consulting domain.

If someone is averse to travelling and would rather prefer doing a desk job, then should he/she be recommended for consulting?
Not necessarily, but then reiterating on what I said earlier, success in consulting firms comes to those who can learn, adapt and progress with the traits I mentioned, including flexibility to travel and being open minded.

What are the characteristics that you look for in an individual while recruitment?

During recruitment, we look at the attitude and intent of the individual and the level of curiosity and aggression that is displayed by him/her. We try to find out whether he/she has been involved in solving problems, either in professional or personal life. Overall, we try to judge a person on the basis of the characteristics mentioned earlier to figure out whether he/she is suited for the organization.

Is there a predominance of big data based projects in the consulting sector?
Having gathered ample experience in data analytics, my take on big data is, it is a myth, it is a hype. People use the term ‘big data’ right, left and center, like a few years back, when people used to say “transformation” for everything they wanted to do. In India at least, any industry is trying to rechristen whatever they are doing to big data. The situation is something like this: you are in a room crowded with executives, the world is filled with a buzz about big data and none of them want to admit that they are not doing anything related to big data, whereas in reality they are actually doing something with data. Big data is a myth and a misnomer in the sense that, you don’t have real use cases in the industry. From whatever little I have understood about the theoretical aspect of big data, it is about the volume, the velocity, and the variety of data. But one needs to find a real business use case where all these can be optimized. Say for example, the telecom industry has large customer data and I want to analyze text messages. Now what is the benefit of analyzing this to the company? Does the company really want to invest in this project from the ROI point of view? Typically R&D is the only sector to address such cases but the depth and purpose of research remains unjustified if there are no industrial test cases available for application.

How can someone be equipped with the necessary skillsets required to be retained in the consulting sector?
My suggestion is to pick one or two good industry mentors for guiding you professionally. These will be the people who would back you and with whom you can be open and honest. Once or twice a year you can share insights about how your career is going and try to extract some feedback and suggestions for improvement. It will also add to your benefit if these leaders are well recognized in the industry. Nowadays most of the companies allocate buddies or mentors but according to me these mentors should preferably be someone from the industry, someone outside your organization.

How has your career progressed to have brought you at the helm of an internationally acclaimed firm like PwC?
My career has progressed by learning and adapting based on many failures that I have gone through. I was in the US for around ten years and while it offered me great perspective about the consulting world, on retrospect I feel that at that time, I was not prepared for it. I was unaware of what I was keen to do and I lacked the seriousness and maturity to assimilate the mantras of having a career in consulting. However, with time, I learnt by keeping myself updated and connecting with the real world.

What are the readings that you would suggest to an MBA student?
Consulting is a knowledge based industry, and you have to find for yourself the domain in which you have your passion and interest towards. For example, some people like manufacturing because they have family business, and they can understand and relate the various facets. Likewise, if you know what you are good at, if you align your thoughts towards a particular area of interest, delve deeper into it. Learn about the fundamentals of those domains so well and deep that you become a master. For example, if you are interested in banking, you have to know not just traditional banking systems, but about the current vital trends in banking like payments, credit cards, digitalization in banking etc. You need to be inquisitive and find out what are the use cases which are vital in the global as well as Indian markets and you need to study those use cases.

How do you think a professional degree in management helps in consulting?

See, there is no straight line route from where you start to where you want to end your career. Because, many external factors are involved in your career advancement. A management degree definitely enhances you with the skillset that might be required to be a good consultant. But along with that, you need to introspect, ideally after every three years, and evaluate where you are, whether you are good for the company, whether the company is good for you and based on that realign your career path and progress towards your objective.

Any message for IIM-K students.

When you are appearing for the recruitment process, do lot of due diligence, surprise them by showing that you know more about the company than what they say. Secondly, have this problem solving mindset and know how to present your story to the client. Today, my failure is when my daughter asks me what I do for my living, I am at a loss of words, if I tell her I solve business problems, she would not be able to relate to that. Likewise, develop the skill to articulate your thoughts with clarity and to present that in a way in which the audience is able to connect to it.

Interview conducted by Noel and Tushaar – Media Cell

 

Onam – God’s Own Festival

Onam, the annual rice harvest festival of God’s Own Country celebrated during the month of Chingam (Aug-Sep), marks the commemoration of the Vamana avatara of Vishnu and the consequent return of the mythological King Mahabali. The story, best told by grandmothers to doting kids who are way past their bedtime, goes somewhat this way – Mahabali was a benevolent Asura king who ruled the land of Kerala. Mahabali’s rule, considered the golden era of Kerala, had him believe that he was the greatest person in the world, who could donate anyone anything they asked for. To remind Mahabali of his duties and the rule of Dharma, Lord Vishnu disguised himself as Vamana – a short Brahmin, and asked King Mahabali for land equal to three footsteps. When Mahabali consented, Vamana revealed his identity and enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. He stepped from heaven to earth with the first step, from earth to the netherworld with the second. King Mahabali, unable to fulfil his promise, offered his head for the third. Vamana then placed his foot and gave the king immortality for his humility. Mahabali was also permitted by the Vamana to visit his people once a year and ensure that they were prosperous. The festival of Onam is thus a celebration of welcoming Mahabali to his lost kingdom.

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The festivities at God’s Own Kampus began the night before with respective section’ers adorning their artistic caps to create Pookalam (flower carpet) – a special rangoli made with flowers. The Pookalams displayed the various facets of Kerala – the Mahabali-Vamana story, the state’s popular art forms like Kathakali, Theyyam and Mohiniyattam, and the snake-boat race Vallamkali held on the occasion of Onam. PGP 19 Section’ers burnt their midnight oil and were up until the wee hours in the morning to carve stories out of hand-plucked flowers.

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The Onam morning began with Thiruvathira – a traditional dance form performed by women dressed in sarees, their hair bun adorned with jasmine garlands. Folklore has it that Thiruvathira, performed around Nilavalaku – an auspicious lamp, is done in memory of Lord Siva taking Parvathi as his wife. The dance was followed by another inter-section competition where each section came up with the most unique Mahabali. A lemon-spoon sack race followed next, with all the crazy running in sarees and mundus. The event ended with a tug of war between sections – a war that, in hindsight, aimed at uniting people.

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When friends were seen huddling together to click pictures with each other or queuing up to take pictures with Mahabali, clandestine lovers were spotted trying to catch a glimpse of each other from afar, appreciating each other’s never-seen-before traditional avatars with approving smiles.

Sarees and Mundus, Mahabali and his wooden umbrellas, and Thiruvathira and Pookalams had painted the entire student fraternity into one color – that of affection and oneness. Let’s just say that on this harvest festival, the palpable sense of camaraderie on the campus was a harvest of the eternal bonding – seeds of which were probably sown a couple months ago, during Roobaroo.

lastArticle written by: Vishaal Pathak

Shatranj: The Annual Sports Management Convention at IIMK

IIM Kozhikode concluded its annual sports management convention – Shatranj, which is a platform to some of the brightest to-be managers of the country to gain an insight into the world of sports management. The students got to meet and interact with personalities involved in the sporting industry.

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It had three flagship events. The Podium , a case study competition that gave participants an opportunity to work on a real-life case related to the sports industry. The Symposium, an interactive session with personalities like Mr. Gokul Chakravarthy who is qualified cricket umpire, a former multimedia producer at ESPNCricnfo, a former partner of DreamCricket.com and is currently a part of Impact Index, an alternative statistical system in cricket. His lecture titled “Context is Everything” focused on how analytics has changed the game of cricket

And the last major event was The Colloquium, a panel discussion where sports management companies could interact with students and offer glimpses into the various career options available in the sporting industry. This year the discussion was on “Is Commercialization the way ahead for resurgence of Sports in India.

IIM Kozhikode is one of the few institutions in the country that offers a ‘Sports Management’ elective course to its students. This event therefore, was also an opportunity for the industry players to interact with potential employees.

Sharing cultures across borders on International Day at IIM K

Truly living up to its vision of globalising Indian thought, IIM K celebrated the International Day’14 with much gusto by hosting a food festival and a cultural night for the foreign exchange students and sharing their cultures with the students and faculty of IIM K. Every year we see plethora of students coming on foreign exchange from different countries and to make them feel at home and to bond with our students, the Konquest committee organises this glorious event.

International Day’14 was marked with a food fest and a cultural night organised by the forex students to display their cuisine and culture.

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The event began with students from countries like Norway, France and Italy  to name a few, preparing mouth-watering delicacies from Italian, and French cuisines for the students. The sumptuous meal was followed by a cultural night in the evening for which the international students prepared entertaining dance and music performances.

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The forex students also prepared comic stand-up acts which were very well received by the audience. The event closed with an enthusisatic crowd cheering for the international students as they sportingly danced to Indian tunes. The International Day’14 truly brought the Indian students closer to their global counterparts.

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