Category Archives: Life @ K

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

Higher Stakes, Greater Rewards: Backwaters Day 2

How often after dinner we are left with the lingering taste of the dessert! Well that was what TVF (The Viral Fever) was to the day two. Anyways let us not jump the queue here.

We started the second day’s proceedings from where we left of, the Model United Nations where delegates further divulged into “combating terrorism and human rights violations” and “non-proliferation of nuclear weapons” in two committees. While policy discussions was left to the delegates to ponder upon we panned our camera to IIMK’s yet another star flagship event “Return of the pride – CSK” . One of the most awaited events at Backwaters, it lived up to its expectations wherein participants presented their ideas on re-launch strategy for Chennai Super Kings. With prizes worth one lac to won, it was one of the hotly contested events. The event was judged by Mr George John, Director CSK, Mr Chockalingam, Creative Director, OPN Advertising, Ms Bala Manian, Director, OPN Advertising; Prof Joffi Thomas, IIM Kozhikode and Prof Deepak Dayanidhi, IIM Kozhikode.

While CSK’s event created a lot of buzz on the campus, proceedings for yet another flagship event were brewing up: Avatar, the ultimate CEO Challenge. A gruelling 10 round event which started with its Round Five, the Sponsors Judgement today. Participants were put to test for their creative and intellect alike. We followed it up with White Knight, a B-Plan Competition of IIM Kozhikode. Which aimed to encourage entrepreneurship by providing the platform for newer ideas. All the flagship events saw the participation of teams from business schools from across the country.

Another of the event that followed up its activities from Day 1 was Shiksha, a student development initiative. It conducted a motivational personality development programme for the undergraduate students. The talks at Shiksha were conducted by Team Synergy and were received by positive feedbacks from the students. What kept the day interesting were on spot events like: Trivia – TV Show and Character based quiz. And a big shout out to the organizers for it was a tough nut to crack. Event saw the participation from scores of students moving around with perplexed looks trying to decode the codified puzzles.

While we ended the business for the day two with Model United Nations drafting its proposals only to make way for the most awaited event/nights of Backwaters.

The Pro-Night and this time it was The Viral Fever in the house.

The Viral Fever has created ripples in the Indian entertainment industry in the recent years with its witty shows, which have won the hearts of the Indian youth. What lies at the heart of their success are their passionate actors and witty script writers, who have been able to create an instant connect with millions. Backwaters 2016, the annual management festival of IIM K was all geared up for hosting the TVF team on its second night and it turned out to be an evening filled with humour and good old laughter. The show began with stand-up comedy star Vipul Goyal (VG) performance, making the crowd go crazy with his doses of laughter. This was followed by Jeetu (Jitendra Kumar) and Aakansha taking the stage. The popular dialogues from The Pitchers and various other TVF Hits were making the audience go berserk. The evening ended with an informal interaction of the TVF team with the ‘Kommunity’. They had to encounter myriad questions, ranging from their parents’ reaction to their videos to what they would have been if they didn’t venture into this sphere. And just the all good things come to an end so did this one came to a close with the TVF team holding an informal selfie session with IIMK students. It was indeed a fun thing to do.

With this we bring down the curtains on yet another enthralling experience that was day two of Backwaters.

We shall be back soon with proceedings from ultimate day of Backwaters.

Till then it’s a good bye from us at Backwaters and PR cell, IIMK

For more info, follow Backwaters’ on FB.

Compiled by Amritansh Ahuja and Parnabho Kundu | Public Relations Cell, IIM Kozhikode

Vertical Summit Interview Series: Mr Sunandan Chaudhury

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Someone has very correctly said, economics, linking dynamic human behaviour with the concept of money, is the mother of all social sciences.

And who better to give us insights of this wonderful subject than Mr. Sunandan Chaudhuri, currently Senior Economist at ICICI Bank. An important contributor to financial dailies on issues spanning the Indian economy and macroeconomic policy making, Mr. Chaudhuri is one of the leading economists of the nation. An alumnus of the prestigious Presidency College, Kolkata and the coveted Indian Statistical Institute, Mr. Chaudhuri, before joining ICICI bank, had worked with organizations like SBICAP Securities and Tata Consultancy Services.

The students of IIM Kozhikode got an opportunity to interact and learn from a person of such credentials and expertize of economics during the Vertical Summit 2016 organized by the Industry Interaction Cell, IIM Kozhikode. Here are a few excerpts from his interview-

Your thoughts on the actual working environment in the financial services sector.

In India, the financial services sector is in a growing stage. Owing to the relatively under banked nature of our economy, financial services as a sector has enormous potential to grow as the GDP growth moves towards the 8% mark in the years to come. The ‘JAM’ (Jan Dhan – Aadhar – Mobile) trinity, supported by the Government of India is a huge fillip to financial inclusion in this context and the demand for financial services is poised to increase in the years to come.

What are the challenges and opportunities in the banking sector and how must we as students prepare for it?

 This rapidly evolving and dynamic sector needs people with a certain set of ‘internal’ as well as ‘external’ skills. As a bank is basically in the business of managing risks, it needs people with good analytical skills to perform various risk management and credit disbursement functions. The present day banker needs to be tech savvy as the platform gets increasingly digitized with the introduction on online wallets, payments banks, and potential competition from P2P and crowd funding, which would be driven on a strong IT backbone.

On the ‘product’ front this involves an external set of characteristics, and a banker must be able to adequately communicate the relevant value proposition to all the stakeholders involved. The focus currently is on retail credit growth and, a bank needs people with good interpersonal skills, who are able to connect with its customers.

With the coming up of the digitized platform and ever falling data rates, how do you see the future of the brick and mortar of retail banking outlets?

The brick and mortar model has served India’s banking system for a long time. At this stage, there are strong complementarities between the traditional brick and mortar and digital processes. As we are still a largely under banked system, the scope for traditional banking provides brick and mortar outlets enough space to operate and exist in the near future. Over time digitization will gain prominence, but there would conceivably be more co-operation than competition.

What could be the likely impact of the expected outflow of FCNR deposits on the tune of around USD $20 bn on the Indian economy? Are we adequately prepared for it?

The outgoing RBI Governor Dr. Rajan has time and again assured that the RBI is well positioned both in terms of its ability to supply dollars and also in terms of its ability to maintain adequate rupee liquidity. Currently our reserves are at a historic high .Again, because of superlative growth performance as well as yield seeking behaviour from investors globally,  the large foreign capital inflow of FDI as well as FII enhance the available forex kitty. Thus the RBI is adequately equipped both in terms of rupee liquidity and dollar liquidity to tackle this outflow.

What are the recent traits in the B-school graduates that join banking institutions and any one quality that you would like us to work and improve on?

Over time, students have become more comfortable with a faster pace of outcomes which is not out of place, as with quick turnaround times in business, such dynamic qualities are required. But at times, it helps to take a certain medium to long term view of one’s career, which of course comes with maturity. So balancing the abilities to learn fast with a medium to long term view of one’s career direction is what one would like to see in today’s B-school graduates.

Interviewed by Rahul | Public Relations Cell – IIM Kozhikode

Vertical Summit Interview Series: Mr Khushroo Panthaky

Mr Khushroo Panthaky

 

If your values are intact, you can face anybody and everybody

As part of Industry Interaction Cell’s flagship event Vertical Summit, Mr. Khushroo Panthaky was here at IIM K to give a talk on consulting. Senior partner at Grant Thornton, Mr Panthaky has over 16 years of experience in the banking and financial services domain and 30 plus years of wide ranging experience. A CA by profession, he has delivered many lectures with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.  He is also a visiting faculty at the National Insurance Academy, Pune and reputed management institutes. PR cell had the opportunity to interview him right before his lecture and here are some excerpts from the session-

With the backdrop of high levels of NPAs and with due diligence assuming high significance, according to you, how can banks strengthen their credit appraisal processes, especially for large corporate borrowers?

Well NPA is a problem, as you are aware, for a long time it was only not surfacing. So if you have been following the newspapers, you must have seen that Raghuram Rajan had a diktat that in case the banks are not cleaned up before 31st March 2017, they’re going to face a lot of issue. So banks do have a challenge. I think if you look at the balance sheet and if you look at the recent news reports and all, more than 1000 crores have been written off by the banks in one quarter and another 1000 crores in the next quarter. How do the banks prevent this kind of a thing? By a better credit appraisal process and more importantly by ensuring that they do not get carried away by the requests and the diktats made by their seniors. Let’s say that you are an officer in the bank and you are actually required to do a credit appraisal but the person who’s going to get the money from the bank is a very good friend of mine and I’m the Chairman of the bank. And I tell you that ok, please make sure that you give him the loan. You may not want to give him the loan. So that kind of interferences should not be there. Secondly, strengthening of controls and systems, strengthening of credit appraisal process and keeping in mind how the industry is going to be performing. Now for example, there are industries like steel, aviation, mining, infrastructure, real estate which are in doldrums currently. Do you still want to continue to lend to them? And if at all you do, how do you cover your risk? Do you charge more interest? Do you have a better collateral? Collateral is more important. Securitisation is also important. So these are the steps.

 RBI has taken the lead in bringing in a lot of disruption and innovation in the financial services sector with payments banks, unified payment interface. Do you think the regulatory framework is robust enough to adapt to these innovations?

I think there is a scope for improvement. Current regulatory framework always sort of seems to be adequate. But it’s very difficult to say that because unless and until you would come across the specific difficulties and problems that they are encountering in the future, you would not be able to mould the regulation. So the regulations also need to be evolved keeping in mind the difficulties, the kind of negligence, malpractices that would happen over a period of time. I believe that it’s fine but there’s scope for improvement.

Do you think the current innovations are enough to make a dent on the goal of financial inclusion?

I would say it’s good but it can be still better with more digitalisation coming in, with more analytics coming in. If you read today’s newspaper itself, in the economic times, it talks about financial technology- Fintech, which is sort of the buzzword right now. That will happen only through a better digitalisation process. So things can be much better but of course it’s far better right now, compared to what it was 10 years back. I mean I remember the day when I used to be an auditor and banks did not even have a system, they did not even have a computer. They were all doing the business manually. Now with the volume of transactions and global reach of the bank, you need not only a good system but a digitalised, analytical, high quality, robust framework to manage the risk.

Given your experience as a CA, what would you say is the core difference between a consulting role and a finance role?

A consultant normally would get to do a lot of things but today in the consulting world, there is a lot of specialization, which is happening. It can be within banking itself, there are 3 or 4 departments or specializations. Similarly within insurance, within broker dealing, within capital markets, within asset management. For a consultant, I would say he gets to see the world a lot better. Because he gets to go from one organization to another, can see the pros and cons, can see the evolutions, the dynamics of each organization. As far as the industry is concerned, one can always move from one bank to the other but he gets to do the same thing for 3 or 4 years. I am personally of the belief that somebody in the industry at some point of time gets some kind of complacency in the long term, doing the same thing again and again. Unless he wants to move from one department to another, or from one segment to another, like somebody moving from a banking to insurance or from insurance to asset management. Once you develop your name and reputation in one field and you go to the next one, you will have to start from the scratch. So a consultant’s role is more challenging, because he could be a jack of all and master of none.

You’ve had a vast experience of 30 years in this field. Can you share stories of some difficult clients you’ve had to work with?

Good you asked me this question. Well I’ve come across quite a few, so it’s very difficult to pick one. Yes, we’ve come across difficult situations, without naming a particular client. You know today that values are very important, in every field, in every industry. And when you talk about values, you talk about accountability, you talk about responsibility, ethics. I faced a situation where the financial results were approved before the board meeting and which were reviewed by me as the auditor. As a mandatory requirement, every quarter, the company declares the results and the auditors actually review and audit it. So I came across a situation where I saw the results were very different from what I had approved last evening. This should not be the case, since I should be aware of what those changes are. And when I asked the CFO, he said yes he has done some changes and he forgot to tell me. So I got very upset. I was sitting in front of the board meeting, in front of the board of directors and I have no clue what the nature of those adjustments are. And I had to tell the board very clearly that sorry the numbers have changed from 11 crores of loss to 8 crores of loss. The loss has come down by 3 crores and I do not have any idea and the board said that if you do not know, how can you say that in this meeting? I said of course you ask the financial officer of the company. They asked the financial officer and he said that you were not aware but we made these changes. The board said fine, so what’s wrong if you were not made aware? We are letting you know now. I said I’m sorry and for me the most difficult thing was that I had to walk out because I did not accept that particular 3 crores of change. So on one hand, there was a gun on my head, in terms of you take this number, there’s no alternative. And the other is to lose the client, lose the relationship. I walked out of the room, ultimately they came running after me and they said ok fine, you can sign off on your original number of 11 crores loss.

Advice for future consultants to survive in this challenging and continuously evolving environment?

Keep yourself very abreast of the latest developments. In consulting, you have to be on the top of things. Second, you need to consult your peers and other people, other firms within the industry. Your view in fine but you should also know the views of others. Keep your values very intact, because if your values are very intact, you can face anybody and everybody. And I just gave you an example of value, how you walk the path of righteousness. My advice to the young people is that consultancy is always great to do. I mean in terms of variety, you can be an auditor, you can be a tax consultant, you can be an adviser but whatever you do, you need to do it with a lot of conviction. If your conviction levels are low, you would never be able to reach the goal.

Interviewed by | Priya | Public Relations Cell – IIM Kozhikode

Vertical Summit Interview Series: Mr Prahalad Karman

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A second wave of IT is going to come from India

At IIM Kozhikode, we keep ourselves abreast of the industry trends and as part of our continuous striving to ensure this, Vertical Summit 2016 was organized by Industry Interaction Cell, wherein we had the privilege of hosting eminent speakers from six verticals: Operations, Information technology, Human Resources, Consulting, Finance and Marketing.

The Public Relations Cell decided to give it a more personal touch and covered the speakers’ thoughts on the verticals they all work in. This one is pertaining to the field of Information Technology, where we sat down with Mr. Prahalad Karman, Consulting Leader Strategy & Operations at IBM. He is someone who comes with 16 + years of experience in Business Transformation, Business Strategy, Operation & SCM, IT Strategy, Business Development and Delivery Management. He currently leads the Consumer Products Industry (Consult to Operate) and the Supply Chain Strategy Offering for IBM Global Business Services at India and advises the IBM Senior Executive team on strategic initiatives. He has also led various business consulting and IT engagements across the Globe specifically at North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa and India South Asia.


He has managed various Service Offerings, Programs, Projects and multi-million-dollar business units and worked across industries in Consumer Products, Manufacturing, Government, Education & Tourism, Technology. He is a visiting faculty at leading B-Schools in India and has been mentoring entrepreneurs for the last 3 years.

So for someone with his experience it had to be a very resourceful discussion. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

How has been your experience so far at IIMK, this is your fourth visit to our campus? Any difference you have noticed over the years?


Firstly, I love coming to IIMK, and over years there has been an improvement in terms of questions, the type of questions students ask. You get to know that they have experience, knowledge and learning. It shows that quality of students has increased over the years. I mean students had an understanding about the basics, some of them already had opinions on issues concerning IT as such. This shows fundamentals are strong. This further stamps that brand of IIM K is improving.

Secondly, When I came the last time I had heard about the entrepreneur cell that operates and a couple of entrepreneurs here. I had expressed my wish to mentor some of them here. I presently mentor many who have ventured into these waters. I have been associated with National Entrepreneurship network, NEN. Let’s see where we get with this in long run.

We talk about cloud & automation being new trends in business, now the Indian IT industry has generated profits on the “Headcount” basis in last 10 years. Won’t the move to newer trends lead to hiring issues and a hit on basic profitability formula for them?


Yeah…Yeah…IT per se is very abnormal in its characteristic, it started in late 1990s and at that time there was a lot of demand and so Indian IT companies served the supply side. Now what happens when you have that high demand and very less supply? You become cash rich but you don’t know what to do with that cash. You simply cater to it in whatever manner it is possible. Indian IT industry didn’t know what to do with this IT other than to serve and follow up what they were told. If client comes up with different versions of the application, they would maintain that. However why client came up with those versions, the business need for it, that understanding was missing, it is still not there. So now with new technologies coming up that have been automating your processes, you are left with no alternative other than to stop your hiring and in worst case fire people.

Yes. Most of them didn’t show any hiring statistics this year…


Exactly, even IBM won’t do that… you see with automation coming in you would not want to come up with hiring stats. What remains … you can stay if you are evolving… but most of them are stuck. Evolution is required both with respects to working culture and business culture. They have been able to change their working culture in most of the cases but business culture has still not changed. It has to change.

Something on a different line, we see the IT revenues primarily exports oriented contributing 70-80% of bills. Do you see a reversing of trends and demand being driven more internally in the future?


Absolutely!! See the first wave of IT happened on the cost basis. When I say ford automated replaced its staff doing mundane jobs with an IT system, it saved money. Looking at our economy now, this is where second wave comes. Most of the developed nations are saturated. Europe, US they are all done with IT now. India is the one that is growing at 7-8 %. Indian economy’s fundamentals are strong with 60% of our population below 35 and also china being in doldrums now. I see huge domestic demand rising here. Next wave should happen in India. In fact, many companies are now focussing on India. Infosys lost a big account with RBS due to Brexit issue but on other hand it won the contract with government for GST Bill implementation. All the Intels of the world, All the Ciscos are coming to India.

Now this is for the students, what is the difference between an engineer joining the IT ecosystem and a management graduate moving to IT? For those who are looking whether IT is a fit for them.


First, they should not look at application management services (AMS) point of work for our managers here. They should look at the kinds of Google, Microsoft and start-ups in that sense. You should focus on where technology is a game changer, where it is changing the business model. Example the OLA, it has changed the taxi ecosystem in India. You should look at jobs that can change that. Why? Because most of you are engineers you know how stuff works. Most of you have done that in past. Where it can make difference. That is what you should look at. Your engineer background aids you in creating something new and your management background helps with where you can make it work. So that holistic perspective is needed. Get into business side of it. Even if it has to be with AMS, then look at how I can market say Infosys over Wipro. Think on these lines. Be more role specific then company specific.

Given the fact you have been visiting Institutes for such talks, How Important do you see such events and role of committees like Industry Interaction Cell (IIC) for the students?


Ok…I get it…you see for IIM Kozhikode it is very important that you have more such interactions. You should build your people from Industry perspective rather generic one. All over the world it is with respect to Industry not strictly finance, marketing or any such water tight specialisation. Adding a flavour of industry would definitely help. Say a consumer product company comes and holds a session on the vertical that it caters to, then in this case it helps a marketing guy when that he goes on work in the similar vertical. You see companies otherwise, in most of cases have to spend a lot of money and time training new recruits on the consumer preferences, Industry scenario they work in, their product supply chain and all those relevant topics. If you as a management graduate already have that knowledge it creates a very positive value and an edge for you and the Institute.

In a nutshell you should have more such sessions and get more Industry oriented. Make it more like a continuum and not a once a year thing.

I am sure it would be taken into account and I must this has been a very insightfully talk, thank you so much for finding time for us at IIMK. I am sure there are going to be much better engagements of IIM Kozhikode and Industry going forward.

Interviewed by | Amritansh | Public Relations Cell – IIM Kozhikode

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