Volume 2 April 2009
How many times has our adrenaline rushed while watching a fiercely fought match between archrivals?
Pretty often, we guess. Their passion ignites ours, and this is what SPark signifies. SPark ignites the flame
within each one of us, to brighten our minds and life. Just as a tiny spark is sufficient to ignite a huge heap
of cotton; we at the gang @ spark hope that the second issue ignites new ideas and passion in our readers.
So what is Spark all about? Spark represents the identity of the SPJCM fraternity and it is an avenue for all of
us to express our thoughts and beliefs. The magazine is cornucopia of ideas and opinions happening on and
off the corporate world and our campuses. The world is undergoing constant change - from the global melt
down on one side to the elections in India on other! While is important for each one of us to comprehend
the changes, it is critical to start gearing up to overcome the current challenges. And this is the theme of the
current issue – ‘Recovery plans of corporates post recession’. The gang @ Spark held an article writing
competition on the theme and the response was overwhelming, including articles from Business Schools
across Singapore. The top three articles were selected and are published in this issue. These articles were
judged by our panel - Dr. Parvinder Arora, Prof. Christopher Abraham and Dr. Harkant Mankad, we would
like to thank the panel for their precious input and time.
In addition to the main theme the issue also covers articles on various business topics, events and happen-
ings that kept both our campuses buzzing – inauguration and orientation of Apr’09 batch at Dubai and Sin-
gapore, Alumni event at Singapore to mention a few. The issue includes contributions from our students,
faculty, alumni and corporate mentors in diverse areas like economy, corporate social responsibility, poems,
business quizzes, soft skills and many more. Our GMBA students from Singapore participated in the corpo-
rate events held at National University of Singapore and INSEAD campus, where the students raised perti-
nent and valuable questions and made the session very interactive and successful.
We thank our honorable Dean Dr. Michael Barnes for his contribution to the second edition of Spark and Dr.
Seetharaman for his guidance and support. Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Rajiv Aserkar, Prof. A.R.Rajagopalan,
Prof. Yusuf Tambawala and Prof. Vinika Rao for lending us their support and help at all stages of this jour-
ney. We can never forget the invaluable support from Mr. AVR Srinivas and Mr. Srinivas Phani in getting the
teams organized. We appreciate the support extended by Ms. Mini Menon on alumni and Ms. Rama Priya
for giving us valuable inputs whenever required. Our sincere thanks to Mr. Rajeev Jayaraman and Prof. S.
Arvind for contributing articles to SPARK. Last but not least we would like to thank Prof. Veena Jadhav for
her continuous support and mentorship.
The gang at spark had a lot of fun in conceiving this issue of SPark. Hope you have SParktacular time reading
Gang @ SPark
Volume 2 April 2009
Message from the Dean, GMBA
Dr. Michael J Barnes
From my balcony in Persia, International City, I watch a wondrous lightning show in the sky of pink and sil-
ver and blue and white. In the desert only miles south of downtown Dubai, I sit in awe of the power of God
and Nature over the tallest man-made structure in the world.
A freak downpour of rain teaches me once again to expect the unexpected. An intense three hours “Town
Hall” with our GMBA students in Academic City leaves me invigorated, but still wondering to myself: How
can I give them hope, when all they see and read and hear is a message of anxiety and pessimism? What do
I say in order to gain proportion, context, and confidence? I urge you, the young men and women of SPJCM
who have made huge sacrifices, to stay positive and upbeat in the face of adversity, and to continue to
show moral fortitude, and the determination to excel.
I firmly believe that what Mankind makes, we can change: if we know and can agree how to change for the
better. The times in which we live are in extraordinary flux. At this time the challenges are great. And so are
the opportunities. When the world changes, that is the best time to change the world and make a huge dif-
ference. Older people perhaps realize this better than those for whom this is the first major disturbance in
life, as we have known it to this date. I think back to my parents who married right at the end of the Second
World War. What were they thinking? What certainties lay ahead in 1945? None, I think: but their belief,
and hope, and faith.
Interdependence and interconnectedness both stare us in the face and we cannot deny them. “No man is
an island entire of itself”, wrote the poet John Donne. And no nation is really an island anymore either. To
paraphrase Forrest Gump: “global is, as global does”. Or quote Woody Allen: “we are what we eat”. The
sooner we recognize that our neighbor is our best friend; the sooner we take steps towards reconciliation
and collaboration; the sooner we find our way out of this crisis. We must quickly find “win-win” situations:
where my gain is to your advantage, too.
What and where are these magical win-win situations? They revolve around investment and education.
They are based on mutual interest, understanding, confidence and trust. They require the capacity to accept
and indeed embrace uncertainty, risk, and ambiguity. To find them and to capitalize on them requires cour-
age, resolve, patience, persistence, tolerance, and resilience. The age of “Greed Is Good” is over. Perhaps
the new slogan is “Green is Good”. The Earth has moved beneath our feet and we must move with the
world. Old paradigms, frameworks, habits, traditions, models, formulae, rules, regulations, practices, proc-
esses, prejudices, values, must be re-evaluated. Some of them will stay. Some of them must go.
Finally, there are the policy options of scope, speed, and sequence: a little or a lot? Short, sharp, shock – or
long, gradual, and consensual? This now, and that later? Or that now, and this later? Hard to say. But
tough choices are what we must now make in order to preserve, protect, and produce a progressive global
civil society that is healthy and will thrive. So closing with John Donne: “For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” We are all in this thing together.
Volume 2 April 2009
Article Competition — Winner
Recovery Plans for Corporates Post Recession
Sreeram Kunte GMBA Apr’09
The fact that we have started talking about recovery who are poised to benefit the most once the re-
plans for companies post recession is a big relief. It covery starts e.g. if you are in construction equip-
means that finally, we have at least realized that the ment industry, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to focus
recession will not last forever and there is always on real estate developers who will benefit the
light at the end of the tunnel. most once the economy rebounds. Do take into
During recession, survival is the name of the game account, the sudden upsurge in demand once the
and hence companies downsize, sell off non- consumer confidence starts its ascent.
performing businesses to focus on core competen-
cies, realign product portfolios and take a hard look Stay focused on costs: Companies will have to stay
at the marketing spend that do not deliver a fairly focused on costs obsessively for a much longer
good return on investment. time. In the build-up to recession, many manufac-
Now that the economy is showing signs of revival turing industries spruced up their capacities. This
companies have lot more challenges at hand than overcapacity, combined with excess inventories,
they had during the recession. Things are not going will put downward pressure on price points.
to be easy for the key strategists on the board of
companies. On one hand, companies will want to Bring back Marketing to the forefront: The mar-
make up for the lost time and opportunities and on keting team has been, for quite some time, hiber-
the other; they will have to deal with unexpected nating. In many companies, especially those having
challenges in terms of business environment & large multinational operations, weaker-than-
strategies. Here is how I think companies should expected overseas earnings due to the unexpected
plan for times post recession. strengthening of the dollar & spikes in commodity
prices have marred the positive impact of many
Do not begin the party yet: Nobody knows for sure good marketing plans. Smart hedging had, hence
how long the current recession will last. Also, un- grabbed more attention of the strategists than
known is the pattern of recovery. Some say, it will be smart marketing for quite some time. Economic
gradual while some say it will be dramatic. At the recovery will bring greater stability to the com-
same time, no matter how the economy recovers, modity prices and exchange rates and the market-
companies should know how they can source sup- ers will, once again, have their day under the sun.
plies and scale up distribution with shorter lead time However, for that they will have to closely watch
should the demand spike suddenly. macro and micro lead indicators.
Expect no miracles: Companies shouldn’t assume Importance of the Long-term plans: Lastly, the
immediate return to normal. Historically, the longer recession is cyclic and cannot be avoided. Expert
and deeper recessions have left a deeper scar on the managers know how to lead companies during
customer confidence even after the revival. Consum- recession and post recession. So much so that
ers tend to adjust their spending patterns to reces- many large companies do not promote those sen-
sion for a long periods. Moreover, the competitive ior managers who haven’t weathered at least one
landscape would have changed making the strategies recession. So, a company with long-term goals al-
before the recession, redundant. ways takes into account, slowing down of econ-
omy. For those companies, which have accounted
Focus on your most important customers: Remem-
for recession-like situations, plans during the re-
ber the golden rule of 80:20 about customers? Well,
cession and plans post-recession do not matter
the same applies here. Focus on those customers
much. It is ‘business as usual’ for them.
Volume 2 April 2009
Article Competition — 1st Runner Up
Surviving Recession, the Entrepreneurial Way
Arun Mathew GMBA Dec’08
“Bailout packages, Credit Crunch, Detroit fiasco, one of us would identify with those words, but
G20 summit, fiscal policies, Obama… aargh! Not when thrown into the ugly world of business, com-
another article on recession, please, give us a break, petition, funding, risks, market strategies, stake-
we have had enough of it”. These are common sen- holders and bureaucracy, most of us would choke at
timents voiced again and again, be it public confer- the very thought of it! But there are many brighter
ences, board meetings, politics and the common aspects on which one can ponder upon. Historians
person as an entity. What if I say, this seems to be a and statisticians would agree that most recessions
great time to start your own business. Ok, I know post WW2 lasted an average of 15 months followed
you are already thinking I am nuts, but the next few by growth cycles that last an average of 60 months.
paragraphs would probably change your perception This gives you a great opportunity to cash in with
towards it. your own business amidst anticipation of the next
What do Procter and Gamble, CNN, GE, FedEx, Dis- period of growth (henceforth). So is grass just
ney, GE, McDonald’s, J and J, Cisco have in com- greener on the other side, or can we really do any-
mon? Apart from being market leaders and interna- thing about it worthwhile?
tionally renowned companies, the seeds of these First and foremost Value Pricing is the new
great companies were sowed during the times of “mantra” in markets worldwide. This is absolutely
recession or depression. History bears me out, in the right time to ink various deals, be it for labor,
fact 16 of the 30 companies that make up the indus-
office space or for equipments. With real estate and
trial DOW JONES average started in recessionary
times. asset prices hitting rock bottom, the valuations
Governments worldwide have infused trillions of seem to be more appealing now. So why not cash in
dollars into the economy by myriad of means. But on this opportunity. Right People, the most valu-
still, the world economy has failed to break free able asset for a startup and almost always tough to
from the strong clutches of recession. History pro- find (hope all HR’s out there are listening), could be
claims and reiterates that there have been 2 major recruited at affordable rates. Change, the only con-
outcomes of recession vis-à-vis “war” and “the
stant thing, is the keyword. Most startups thrive on
emergence of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial
activities”. Avid testimonials to this fact are the war the need for a change, be it the change of suppliers,
between US and Spain as a direct aftermath of the change of service providers, or be it change in al-
long depression of 1873-1879, and The Second most any value offering, many companies world-
World War which followed the Great Depression of wide are looking for the “new kid in the block” who
1929-1939. Although war as a solution to economic can deliver the goods faster, cheaper and better.
revival is an interesting hypothesis under the pre-
Stock market, undergoing a bearish run, gives en-
sent context, but who would like a war to revive the
trepreneurs ample opportunities to be bullish and
Taking a cue from Albert Camus’s inspiring quote gung ho about entering the markets. This means the
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within erstwhile big pocketed friend or mentor of yours
me there lay an invincible summer"; let’s look at the who heavily invested in financial markets, would
brighter picture, a breed of businessmen called en- probably give a deeper look into your B-Plan and
trepreneurs. voila! , your angel investor/venture capitalist is
So who is an entrepreneur? Well the Webster says
ready. Tax incentives, starting your own business
“one who organizes, manages, and assumes the
risks of a business or enterprise is an entrepreneur”. gives you an added tax benefit which is otherwise
The definition looks great on books and almost each unavailable for an employee; though not a great
Volume 2 April 2009
incentive, add this to the “benefits of business own- a chance to turn the business back on track.
ership” list. Win –Win deals, simply put, is being at Last but not the least, realizing your dream,
the right place at the right time and being aware of which stimulates you to start thinking out of box
the opportunities thrown away by others. You can and generate ideas and evolve them into viable
negotiate such win-win deals wherein the current business opportunities. The stage is set, lights are
owners are just looking for an escape route but giv- on, cameras are ready, and so is the crew, ACTION
ing you (a turnaround specialist in the making!) TIME FELLAS!
Article Competition — 2nd Runner Up
Recovery Plans for Corporates Post Recession
Balagopal Goplakrishnan GMBA Dec’08
It is again the time to cull out men from boys. ready for the next battle. It was Apple which
The world is still pondering over what has hit them pumped in a lot of money into the research and
while I am writing this article. The news articles are development for a game changing product, the Ap-
filled with recession economics, what went wrong? , ple Ipod. It was a bold move since the times at
what are CDO’s? , who is to blame? Et al. Are we which they made the move was one in which people
witnessing one of that black swan event’s which has were running for shelters. If at all there is some-
defied all human logic and predictions? Time will thing that can be learned from this, it is the dedica-
tell. However world would move on and so would tion of the company to invest in innovation and new
the economy. products. They foresaw the market upheaval and
One of the laws of physics which will stay in almost the market opportunity and eventually they landed
everyone’s tiny head is that for every action there is at the right place at the right time leaving behind
an equal and opposite reaction. The action? No their competitors once and for all. Would they
prize for guesses since most of the world is well come out again this time? No one knows what is
educated about the consequences of this economic happening in Cupertino.
catastrophe by now. The reaction is an upswing and Product companies like Apple need to introspect
prosperous growth in the near future. When? Even I into their growth strategies post this depression. It
wouldn’t know. The only clear signal to everyone is is quite unlikely that the banks around would lend
that there will be a recovery and when that happens money to help their cause and hence the companies
there will be a sudden surge in demand. The corpo- with cash in their kitty would have an outright ad-
rate who would like to be on the right side of that vantage and it is all about seizing the opportunity.
growth need to start working for it now. As it is clear from the Apple story that investing in
Plan of action R&D is one of the key strategies that these compa-
GM, Apple, Toyota, P&G, South West airlines ... ring nies should adopt. Moreover watch out for the
a bell? All these companies came out of recessions M&A space since this is the harvest time for many
and even depressions quite strongly, though some of the big guns as most of the companies are under-
of the companies may not exist now and may go out valued. So if one has cash and would like to grow
of business tomorrow there is a lot to learn from without taking a lot of risk then M&A is the way to
their stories if it is to be believed. go. GM was one of the companies which came out
Product companies of the depression of 1930’s strongly using this strat-
When the dot com burst took place and the world egy. Innovation in house or acquired is the way for-
went into a recession post the 9/11 attacks one of ward for these companies.
the companies was honing their arsenal and getting
Volume 2 April 2009
2) Service companies was in place with the help of these service compa-
One of the fastest growing industries even in these nies. It is quintessential during these times for most
bad times is services. Why? All other companies are of those product companies to look into the proc-
trying to cut costs, trying to reduce redundancy, fed esses which help them in day to day operations and
up of burning their fingers in doing what they are look out for holes which are draining out their bal-
not good at and the lists goes on. Who can ‘help’ ances. This is where the cash for the service compa-
these companies, the answer is IBM’s, TCS’s, Info- nies lies since most of the corporations out there
sys’s, Wipro’s et al. Although the companies that are with big holes and they are realising it now. The
provide the services to help these companies are in action plan for these service companies has to be to
a mess of their own, the opportunity is out there to pull up their socks and approach these companies
be taken. Since this industry is a nascent one and with a competitive solution. How easily and fast can
they never got a chance to look within, they have such a solution be provided and at what cost are
got it. Most of these companies are looking into the some of the factors that these companies should
processes within their own companies and trying to look into. Market the service offerings in more ef-
streamline the processes which they usually do for fective ways lest you would be left behind.
other companies. To sum it all
Again if you look at the premise the success stories In these times ‘differentiation’ is that would create
are to be believed and hence I pick another success value to the clients. Product companies have to put
story which is that of South west airlines. Post 9/11 their thinking hat and come up with innovative
when the airline industry was hit badly and many products and Service companies have to come up
players were nursing their wounds SWA was com- with differentiating ways to cater to the services of
fortably posting profits after profits and why? One their clients.
of the reasons was their operating efficiency. This
Arun Gopalakrishnan GMBA Dec’08
Volume 2 April 2009
Bungeenomics & the Dead Cat Bounce
Dr. Michael J Barnes Dean, GMBA
“Fasten your seat belts in row 21D!” I was gently Oxford graduate – took to bungee-jumping. He even
reminded, on the quarter-full flight from Dubai to got a license in instruction as I recall. Well, I thought
Singapore. Using my last remaining Air Miles I had a of his hair-raising escapades the other day, and I
celebratory upgrade to a barely inhabited Business realized that bungee- jumping is a very good meta-
Class: A champagne toast to my erstwhile col- phor for the policy world in which we now live:
leagues in the exciting world of international high
finance. 21D –or the 21st Century Depression – is character-
ized by a global economy in freefall. There is an
It is ten years since I was “restructured out” of my elastic band (we hope) around our collective ankle.
position as head of international finance by the If not, then expect what used to be known in the
now-defunct Industrial Bank of Japan in London. City of London 30 years ago as the “Dead Cat
The options price modelers and financial engineers Bounce”. Rebound? What rebound? The laws of
and structured collateralists were taking over from physics do not necessarily apply in economics.
a bewildered misled group of traditionalists. I won- There will be no “natural” recovery from 21D with-
der: where are they now? out fundamental reform.
That was at the tail-end of the 20th century when Anyway, let’s be Reagan optimists and assume
the ‘Asian flu’ economic crisis of contagion spread there is indeed an elastic band. We know the drop is
from Thailand in 1997, eventually reaching a cres- vertical and assume to be at 32 feet per second,
cendo in 1999 with the government- forced merger squared. We don’t know how far away the ground
of all the top Japanese banks - whose bad loan port- is, nor how long or strong is the elastic band. It is
folios by that time swamped equity and reserves likely that the “bounce-back” - if there is one – will
many, many times over. not be sufficient to get us back on the bridge or
platform where we once stood.
The Japanese banking system was on the brink of
collapse, threatening to bring Western capitalism So how about lowering the platform? How about,
along with it when the Nobel prize winning econo- not just a mandatory write-down and a realistic
mists at LTCM (remember Long Term Capital Man- marking- to- market of bank loan assets? As I recall,
agement?) saved the day by causing the Feds to the wondrous thing about balance sheets is that
come to rescue their bankrupt, unhedged, but lev- they always need to balance. So in my naïve profes-
eraged and unfunded, giant ‘hedge’ fund. The mod- sorial way let me propose that corresponding mort-
els were flawed then and evermore by fatal statisti- gage liabilities of homeowners also be “marked-to-
cal assumptions that bank chairmen did not com- market”: Just so that we balance our collective
prehend but trusted in blindly, because they were books, so to speak.
motivated by greed. The stability of volatility, the
reliability of error; they were disguised as Greek With the global economy in freefall (“depression” is
symbols and letters. And it was all Greek to them! a mental disease still denied by most of the medical
All of a sudden the Japanese “global banking crisis” profession as well as the amateur economist com-
was a sideshow to be managed locally. And the munity) it is time for radical solutions to radical
band played on….Financial Engineering flourished problems. The First Law of Bungeenomics dictates
for the next decade, not withstanding the discred- that the elastic band should be short and strong.
ited models of the past that were still in use. Otherwise, the Dead Cat Bounce awaits us all. 21D
needs more than “Fasten your seat belts”. Let’s just
Some years ago one of my adventurous sons – an do it! As they say.
Volume 2 April 2009
Defying the Dunbar Number
Mr. Rajiv Jayaraman
Founder and CEO of KNOLSKAPE Solutions
When times are tough, networking is a survival skill. family and friends when it comes to finding a job.
According to the latest data from comScore, the Informal social networks, on the other hand, attract
number of unique visitors at LinkedIn has shot up 22 people who want to forge strong ties with friends
% to 7.7million, up from 6.3m in December last year. and family. The decision to join such sites is not a
Total time spent on the site has doubled in January rational one, but an emotional one. People want to
to 96.8m minutes, from 47.6m minutes in December. belong in a group and share their interests, passions
It is safe to assume that the layoffs pounding the and beliefs. Back in the day, people had to be in the
economy are a big factor behind the surge in the same geographical region in order to be part of the
numbers for LinkedIn. Those who have recently lost same network. But now, one is able to connect back
their jobs and those facing uncertainty in their work with long lost friends from college, living in Tim-
place are frantically dusting off their CVs and con- buktu. Not just that, with micro-messaging, scrap-
necting with their friends, family and professional ping and tweeting, one is able to get in touch with
contacts to boost their social capital. everyone in his / her network in less than the time
The pace of growth of online networking sites, like that it would take to pick up a phone and dial a
LinkedIn, conjures up an interesting anthropological number. This enables us to enjoy meaningful online
conundrum. British anthropologist and evolutionary relationships with a lot more than people than we
biologist, Robin Dunbar argued that it is impossible are used to.
for us to maintain meaningful social relationships So what does this meaningful social hyper-
with more than 150 people. His rationale was that connectivity mean for businesses? You already be-
social rituals of frequent contact, emotional close- gin to hear people say that Facebook feels too
ness and maintaining a history of reciprocal favors heavy weight for keeping in touch with ones net-
are untenable when the group grows beyond 150 work, when one can do the same with 140 charac-
members. “150” is thus called the Dunbar number in ters on twitter. In essence, the simplicity of twitter
the field of social networks. Yet, it is not uncommon is winning over the complexity of Facebook. The
these days to find people with 500+ professional con- new Dunbar number will force companies to focus
tacts on LinkedIn and 300+ social contacts on Face- on simple, manageable services that will help peo-
book. That either means that the Dunbar number is ple maintain meaningful relationships online.
not relevant anymore or that the relationships we Business managers have to be keenly aware of the
forge on online social networks are not meaningful. I ‘wisdom of the crowds’ phenomenon now more
tend to believe in the former. In this post, I will ex- than ever before. Understanding the dynamics of
plain why there is a need to double the Dunbar num- groups in terms of cognition, co-ordination and co-
ber to at least 300 to reflect the realities of the new operation among group members will offer compa-
hyper-connected Web 2.0 world. In the case of nies great clues in identifying opinion leaders and
online professional networks, improving career pros- thus help them deliver targeted ad campaigns.
pects is the primary motivation of professionals join- Some companies like Amazon are using twitter to
ing the network. This decision of joining is rationally establish meaningful relationships with a sizeable
calculated and made with the sole aim of building group of followers (one that breaks the Dunbar
and watering one’s network. The social relationships number manifold), to whom they send fine grained
one makes on such sites are defined as “weak ties” messages for deals and sales. Online networking
because such relationships do not require the elabo- sites have thus enabled us to defy the conventional
rate social rituals needed to maintain stable close Dunbar number, while enabling us to forge mean-
ties. That doesn’t mean that weak ties are not mean- ingful relationships online.
ingful. Research shows that an extended network Hey! Someone is inviting me to bite chumps on
consisting of weak ties is much more useful than Facebook. I am off to bond with my friends.
Volume 2 April 2009
Thinking out of the box at SP Jain!
Vinika D. Rao
Associate Professor–Strategy & General Manager–
Business Development , S.P Jain Center of Management
We talk about thinking out of the box so often that it has become the ultimate cliché – most often used by
those of us who can’t think enough out of the proverbial box to even come up with a new term to describe
it! It is inspiring then to see the MBA students at the SP Jain Center of Management reacting to the previ-
ously unimaginable proportions of the economic crisis in the best possible way – by thinking creatively and
discovering innovative ways to sustain themselves under crisis conditions.
As the media spells out more messages of doom and gloom on the global economy, it is easy to become
pessimistic about the future and envisage a lost generation of professionals, some laid off from jobs that
they gave their best years to, and others unable to secure the jobs that they hoped would launch their ca-
reers. Going forward from this period in global economic history, the future will be shaped by the select few
who can strategize their way through the current crisis, by discovering the opportunities that this crisis cre-
ates. The challenge is not so much in identifying the opportunities, but more in finding the best way to opti-
mize the resources that are more limited today than ever before.
It is this challenge that our Executive MBA students are meeting by exploring new avenues to raise funds for
charitable causes that are suffering as people tighten their purse-strings. They are successfully meeting the
dual goals of completing an assignment in Entrepreneurship under the guidance of Professor Koh Seng
Choon, while also contributing to the community in a most meaningful fashion. Called the ‘$100 Experi-
ence’, the Project starts with each student being granted a hundred dollars by the professor, at the begin-
ning of the session. Over a three month period, the class then organizes itself into groups, each of which
uses the money as seed capital to develop projects that will help double the money.
Among the ideas that students have successfully pursued are organizing a Slum Dog Millionaire disco party,
a Talent Time competition for neighborhood kids, a Football Competition into which they roped in some ex
national level players; an Orchid Sale at the botanical gardens and several others. None of these students
have previously worked in the dance, fashion, sports or horticulture industries, but in the true mien of the
intrepid entrepreneur, and to paraphrase a famous Starfleet commander, they are willing to boldly go
where they have never ventured before.
To date, in several sessions of teaching at SP Jain, the professor has never lost any of the principal he lent
his students. The last batch made over $S 9,000, the current batch is getting ready to cross the S$10,000
mark. All the money raised is donated to charity. The latest beneficiaries are the Queenstown multi-center
for Senior Citizens and the Mind society for children with learning disabilities.
In the best traditions of applied learning, these students are living their lessons, thus ensuring that they will
never forget the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. More importantly, they are making a significant contri-
bution to those that need it the most, teaching us all that where the human spirit leads, no disaster, eco-
nomic or otherwise, can impede.
Note from The Editors: The above article is stated to be published in the forthcoming issue of “India Se”
Volume 2 April 2009
Inspiration from “The Art of War”
Lokesh Mudgal , GMBA Dec’08
The greatest leader will always work in harmony and resonance with his peo-
ple. His aim will be to propagate the agenda in a way where people can relate
to the same. A sense of acceptance, attachment by people reveals the effec-
tiveness of the leader. Ancient literature says the wisdom lies in “to include
people to have same ambition as that of leadership, so that they can share
their life and death without the fear of danger”. The simplicity of the aforemen-
tioned statement makes it equally complex to implement but the insuperable
strength of community is defined by the degree of realization of this rule. The
unified vision parts away the fear of taking ownership, acting on thoughts, implementing ideas without the
fear of being punished as is mentioned in some classics. The moment we feel everyone is under the same
umbrella, propagation of actions, results, needs become easier and most effective. But the underlying truth
which should always be acknowledged is – the degree of control on the basic elements of successful leader-
ship i.e. trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, intelligence and sternness. Swearing on intelligence alone
may result in imbecility. Too much humaneness results in weak leadership. Counting on the strength of
courage elicits violence. Repeated actions of Sternness means cruelty and acting on intelligence alone yields
defiance. Where does the strength lay then? It’s with the unison of all the elements and working on them in
Straight From the Heart
Swapna Pai , GMBA Apr’09
A Heart that beats for You...
Just another day today,
And I’m reaching out to God to say,
Let him keep you all happy and safe…
Never told u how much I love you,
Never heard you say that u love me,
But I feel a lot of things are well off unsaid between you and me…
My friends say I should let my feelings flow,
Open my heart for everyone to know,
But I guess I can’t bear the thought of letting you go…
So just cherish our memories; old and new,
Coz people who’ll love u like me will be very few,
But there’ll always be one heart that just beats for you…
Volume 2 April 2009
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
Prof S. Arvind Visiting Faculty, S.P Jain Center of Management
It’s going to take a mix of plain old common sense Fuld, in full denial mode, was asking, “Problem, what
and speed to get out of this fix. problem?”, Lehman Brothers was as good as dead.
Wouldn’t we love to wring the necks of those dudes John Thain is the guy the world should have learned
who got us into this mess? I mean, here we were a from. Appointed as CEO of Merrill Lynch in Decem-
year ago, on cruise control, with the Fortune 500 ber 2007, he knew the firm was in big trouble. By
guys lining up outside our institute’s gates with their September 2008, he had got rid of an estimated $85
$50,000 a year packages to provide leadership to billion of toxic assets, bringing the pile down to $50
their firms. Never mind, if we couldn’t tell the dif- billion. Even then a dead end was in sight. On 13 Sep-
ference between a cash cow and a cash flow – who tember, he decided to call Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of
cared anyway? America, who had once expressed an interest in buy-
Well, that’s history and likely to stay that way for ing over Merrill Lynch. Within 24
quite a while. Winners don’t moan about what hours, that’s right, 24 hours, they had
could have been; they prepare to win against the a deal ready, worth $50 billion dol-
odds. And a good starting point is the age-old lars, at $29 a share, a premium of
DANDA theory. Never heard of it? 70% over the latest closing price.
Noticed how every time a major goof-up crops up, Merrill Lynch had been saved from
the smart guys slip away leaving the rest of us hold- going under by the judgement and
ing the can? That’s the difference between knowing speed of John Thain.
the DANDA principle and having to ask, huh? And it John Thain of Merrill Lynch: Moved like greased
applies as much to firms as to individuals. lightning
Astronauts in the U.S., probably the most highly
DANDA is as simple as they come. DENIAL – ANGER trained humans, are taught to communicate any
– NEGOTIATION – DOUBT – ACCEPTANCE. As any symptom of trouble the moment it occurs. Borrow-
psychologist would confirm, faced with a crisis, los- ing from NASA, “Houston, we have a problem,” has
ers waste precious time moving through these five become a standard business phrase. During the
emotions serially – from denial to anger… till they Apollo 13 space mission, probably the most success-
finally accept the situation. By then, they may as ful failure in history, the astronauts reported back to
well be buried. the control centre the moment they felt the first
And, what about the winners? The moment their tremors, despite having the finest crew on board
antenna catches the whiff of something amiss, they who had been trained to handle almost any contin-
check if they really have a problem to deal with. If gency.
so, they don’t bother with the first four stages, The people and firms who will probably come out of
jumping straight into solution-seeking mode. this mess in good shape are those, who like Thain,
Let’s take an example from the great financial foul will size up and accept the situation quickly and act
up in the U.S. In the red corner, stood Dick Fuld of shrewdly. That means weighing the options realisti-
Lehman Brothers. And there, in the blue corner was cally, and preparing for the rebound, while their
the smoothest operator of them all, John Thain of competitors are still working their way through emo-
Merrill Lynch. tions like denial and anger. Identifying and eliminat-
Listen to Fuld on 10 September, 2008: ing unproductive assets and costs, while upgrading
“We are on the right track to put these their skills and facilities is something many firms are
last two quarters behind us.” Five days already on to. And having hard cash in the bank sure
later, Lehman Brothers filed for Chap- helps – who knows when this will clear up?
ter 11 protection, the largest bank-
ruptcy in history. In other words, while
Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers: “Problem? What 12
Volume 2 April 2009
Alumni Corner study before entering a new territory. But this is not
the case this time around. They seem to be standing
shoulder to shoulder with private sector banks &
What’s cooking? foreign institutions to the tap the potential sector in
Punit Biyani , GMBA Jan’08 its early stages.
Surely something is heating up & a big explosion
may be round the corner. In the midst of Global
At least half a dozen Banks, Financial institutions,
recession & India also feeling its impact, the road
Insurance companies & corporate are lined up and
ahead is rough & challenging. Bearish equity mar-
waiting for their Asset Reconstruction biz to start its
kets, liquidity crunch & a slowdown in the economy
operations. They are in addition to several others
will lead to higher default - some good loans turning
who have already initiated the operations. These
into bad loans. This will create good business oppor-
include of JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Com-
tunities for Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC).
pany, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of Baroda, Cen-
Gross NPA of Commercial Banks at the end of
tral Bank of India and Kotak Mahindra Bank, UTI-
March 2008 was Rs 564350 million & it is estimated
promoted Asrec, IFCI-promoted ACE, ADA Group-
to be around Rs 700000 million ending this month.
promoted Reliance ARC and Pridhvi Asset Recon-
Corporate loan default will be visible over the next
struction and Securitisation Company. Confederation
of Indian Industry had its first Asset Reconstruction
Banks will be looking to remove this toxic Non-
summit in Delhi on 18th March 2009. The objective of
Performing Assets (NPA) from their balance sheet to
the summit was to discuss the challenges faced by
enhance their profit margin. A clean balance sheet
Financial Institutions & corporate sector in managing
will enhance banks public image & place it better
distressed assets & how non performing asset could
relative to its peers to face the current business sce-
be channelized through recovery.
nario. ARC can benefit if they can negotiate the bad
The surprise element over here is the involvement
loans at a higher discount & turning them around.
Public Sector Banks (PSB) like Bank of India and SBI.
There is saying that “Worst loans are given in the
PSB is usually found to be less aggressive than com-
Best of times”. ARC would be betting on this adage
pared with their private sector peers. They are rela-
turning true. It could be win- win deal for the par-
tively more conservative & carry out an in-depth
Aditi Chawla, GMBA Apr’09
1. Name this person who from being infamous for a scandal went on to become a popular comic
2. The British Government is looking at creating a "People's Bank". Where will this bank be based in?
3. Which are the two Indian companies that World bank recently banned for alleged bad practice?
4. In business jargon, what is a COCO outlet?
5. In the ―Doing Business 2008 Report of World Bank which country tops the world list on ease of do-
6. What in IT jargon is called as a ―three finger salute?
7. Performance, Planet, People, Portfolio, Partners – these are the 5Ps of whose business strategy?
8. Who pioneered the famous 7S’s model of organizational change?
9. What is the name given to software developed exclusively for use by infants and toddlers?
10. Golden handshakes are payoffs that are made to employees retiring before their term, usually to
facilitate a downsizing. What are incentives used to retain employees?
Volume 2 April 2009
Singapore’s path mand has and will continue to hit the economy
to revival which in turn, affects the manufacturing sector,
which contributes about a quarter of Singapore’s
GDP. The services sector will not be spared either
GMBA Dec’08 as all sectors, from logistics to financial and busi-
ness services to retailing, suffer the effects of a
As the world reels in the after- broad-based slowdown in the economy. Whether
math of the greatest economic downturn since the Singapore can bounce back from this slowdown
Great Depression of the 1930’s there is this small coun- and regain a healthy growth within the next few
try in SE Asia with an area just short of 700 sq.kms months, depends on a few factors such as:
which plans to brave the storm and move ahead. And Political determination of the Obama aministra-
how exactly the City of Lions that has seen negative tion: How successful will its bailouts be on the
growth figures of late, plans to overcome the economic American economy
turmoil, is what is to be seen in the coming months. China's economic policy: It should be determined
It was clear by mid-2008 that Singapore was experienc- to maintain the stability of the Yuan and to con-
ing the weakening of economic growth as a result of a tinue stimulating domestic consumption. It also
slowdown in the world’s major economies, but the has to keep its door open to imports.
speed and scale of the decline caught almost everyone G-20 collaboration: Build a consensus around
by surprise, including the Singapore government. ways to get out of the economic crisis. Some G-20
Nevertheless, the government responded swiftly, push- countries believe that the IMF needs to restruc-
ing out Budget 2009 one month ahead of schedule to ture itself in order to gain greater trust from its
deliver a S$20.5 billion fiscal package - called the Resil- members.
ience Package - to help businesses and individuals cope Strong Asean: A cohesive and successful Asean
with the crisis and taking the unprecedented step of would definitely put Singapore in a more advanta-
tapping on past reserves to fund part of the package. geous position to ride on a United States recovery
The decision to use past reserves was a controversial when it happens.
move, but the government has stressed its commit- Governments Role in Reviving the Economy
ment to doing all that it can to mitigate the effects of The good news amid the gloom is that the Singa-
the recession, including dipping into the reserves again pore government is in a strong financial position
if necessary. to help the country survive the global downturn,
Reliance on Exports: even if it lasts several years. For a start, S$4.9 bil-
Though the major sectors contributing to the economy lion will be taken out of past reserves to fund part
include shipping, banking, tourism, electrical & elec- of the S$20.5 billion Resilience Package. To en-
tronics, chemicals, oil refining, there is heavy reliance courage employers to send their workers for
on the export sector. The sharp decline in external de- training instead of retrenching them, the govern-
Volume 2 April 2009
ment will also be enhancing the Skills Programme expected to increase headcount. The pessimism
for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR) that it had about hiring cuts was across all seven sectors polled,
launched in December 2008. Under SPUR, the gov- but employers in the transportation, utilities and the
ernment bears part of the course fees and the wages public administration and education sectors are the
of workers sent for training. In addition, more public least optimistic - with net employment outlooks of
sector jobs will be offered, mainly in teaching and minus 55 per cent and minus 54 per cent respec-
On the Job front: And yes, for those who are hopeful The road to recovery is long indeed but with the gov-
of seeking jobs in this South East Asian business hub, ernments intervention and support, Singapore
there is a word of caution. A recent poll indicates should soon see the light at the end of the tunnel but
that while half of the employers polled indicated an exact estimate of when that would happen, is
they intended to trim payrolls, 29 per cent saw no anybody’s guess!
change in their workforces and only 7 per cent
Jaejo George GMBA Dec’08
1. Whose tagline: "The edge is efficiency"?
2. Whose Tagline is - "All Lives Have Equal Value" ?
3. Identify the logo:
4. Adlabs Films is now — —. Fill up the blanks.
5. A broadband television service, called The Venice Project, is being developed by the founders of an
Internet service that was sold to eBay last year. What's the name of the Internet service provider?
6. What do James McNerney, Robert Nardelli and Jeff Immelt have in common?
7. Which Mexican drug lord made it to the Forbes list of the world’s richest people?
8. QUAINT: VIATEE, AT SIGN
Unscramble the above for a two word name of a process by which the central bank enhances money
9. In early December last year, which decision was greeted by Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary as "a pity"
and Finance Minister thus: "As a F1 fan, it's very sad"?
10. Who has the tagline 'The Indian Multinational'?
Volume 2 April 2009
Straight From the Heart
Namit Nayak GMBA Dec’08
Sat down by the river side,
Happened to see the shadow saying lie
The picture was hazy and the light was about to die
Not ready to face the truth, I was shy.
The day got over but I was hell bound,
and the thought kept coming around.
Could listen to my heart pounding with a peculiar sound,
I was lost but did not want to be loud.
The next day was cloudy and it was about to rain,
Mustered my energy and went by the river side again,
To look out for a new identity and to be sane,
Unfortunately saw a lost soul about to be drained.
The truth was bitter than what I had thought,
But I knew I could fight the situation out,
Wanted to forget the past and the callous ghost,
Rediscovering the soul looked within the coast.
Things are beautiful now and the picture is clear,
The roads are wider and the ears can hear,
All the eyes are open and there is no tinge of tear,
Without a doubt, everyone looks dear.
The light is brighter and the belly has a new fire,
With an open vision, the destiny is in new attire,
The mind is clear and the heart is no more a liar,
A new soul is born with selfless and endless desire.
Answers to Quizzarium
1. Jerome Kerviel
2. Northern Ireland
3. Wipro Technologies and a subsidiary of technology outfit Megasoft India,
4. Company Owned, Company Operated
6. A set of three keys (Alt + Ctrl + Del) is used to close Windows/Microsoft programmes and, to restart the
8. Consultants at McKinsey & Company Tom Peters and Robert Waterman
10. Golden Handcuffs
Volume 2 April 2009
(C)an (S)ustain a (R)ecession.
Siddarth Vishwanth GMBA Dec’08
This is the latest in the sequence of events where corporates try to overrun each other in their quest for
playing the devil’s advocate during the recession: A US firm ‘rightsized’ 5000 of their very own, loyal folks
with an SMS. I’d say that’s money saved! Not just on the employees’ paychecks for the forthcoming months,
but also on the dignified way by which they could’ve been asked to part with the organization. On the very
other hand, are organizations like the Dubai Holding group, the parent company of TECOM Investments and
the Jumeirah Group in the UAE, teamed up with WWF to organize the Earth hour on 29th March, 2009 – a
worldwide event where non-essential lighting was turned off in 25 cities across 14 time zones for one hour.
They made it possible for Dubai to be the first Arab city to participate in Earth hour; to make a small differ-
What then is the difference in which these businesses perceive business? The answer – CSR or Corporate
Social Responsibility. More organizations around the globe are realizing their responsibility in society in be-
ing a good corporate citizen and want to contribute their part in making a difference. And now the question
in perspective, should organizations continue to be socially responsible even in times like these when finan-
cial sustainability is a task in itself? “Certainly!”, was the answer that came from Mr. Shawqi Sajwani, Group
Director for Business Excellence, Dubai holdings. On being asked if organizations in the UAE continue their
efforts on CSR in tough times, Mr. Sajwani emphasized the fact that CSR activities are no different in times
of crisis. He also mentioned how well-implemented CSR initiatives can actually help companies battle out
The HR perspective: Let’s take the argument of rightsizing to retain profitability. Although companies may
argue that businesses run primarily for profits and that such activities are essential to remain profitable,
they may be just being short-sighted. “While downsizing has been viewed primarily as a cost reduction
strategy, there is considerable evidence that downsizing does not reduce expenses as much as desired, and
that sometimes expenses may actually increase.”, say McKinley et al in their publication ‘Organizational
downsizing: constraining, cloning, learning’. Boldly rightsizing or restructuring the organization for a short
term gain is the last option any entity should explore considering that the costs of layoffs generally out-
weigh the payroll savings to be gained from them, as mentioned in the above mentioned publication. A
panel discussion on ‘CSR in times of crisis’ held in the second week of April, 2009 at INSEAD, Singapore re-
vealed how companies who retain their employees will emerge as the winners when the economy stabi-
lizes. Not only will these companies have their original talent pool intact, but they will also command a
greater respect from the society, thus propelling their sustainability for the future. The panel which included
CSR leaders in the private and public sector in Singapore opined strongly for organizations who churned out
innovative solutions like sending their employees for career development training programmes and further
education instead of laying them off.
Even with firms who must layoff their personnel, there are those who do it with respect. Firms can offer
sufficient notice period and severance pay, have their top management speak to each parting employee to
explain why the decision had to be taken, offer counseling and some others even engage in outplacement
activities to ensure that their employees are placed at another job before they are let go from their current
As they say, little things go a long way in building and maintaining the reputation of organizations. Let us
believe that these testing times will sort the good organizations from the bad and give corporate social re-
sponsibility an unseen dimension. After all, if you try hard enough, you can see C,S and R trying to find their
way out of ‘RECESSION’. Coincidence? Well okay! J
Volume 2 April 2009
Money Matters More
Gunjan Gupta GMBA Dec’08
Creating competitive advantage through collaboration in supply chain.
In this time of financial and economic downturn, it is becoming increasingly important for the companies to
cut the cost and improve liquidity without compromising the level of service to end customers. The ever
soaring fuel prices, along with the economic uncertainty have made supply chain management more impor-
tant than ever. The companies working on low cost model such as Wal-Mart and smaller retail players are
facing severe problems in maintaining their costs. An important feature of such companies is their respon-
sive and inexpensive transportation. Such companies, primarily, depend upon shipping liners for transporta-
tion across the world. Hence, the emphasis on reducing the cost of transportation has been increasing ever
since. Considering the huge volumes tied to international supply chain, the cost of logistics is close to 8-10%
of cost of sales.
Moreover, 90% of marine surcharges are mostly because of fuel cost. The price of marine fuel has shot up
by nearly 260% since 2007. Hence, supply chain optimization deserves a closer look during the time of
Value Addition and How
Some of the areas where supply chain managers can help add value to their customers:
Identifying the order pattern and optimize them against the strategic objective, there by reducing the work-
Better data mining techniques would help in identifying patterns, which in turn will help in accurate fore-
casting. This accuracy plays a significant role in optimizing the system and reducing the working capital.
Improving the information sharing and information flow with in supply chain.
This means maintaining common protocol of communication across the supply chain in order to create the
Utilizing the export and import logistics network optimally.
Containers space can be optimized by managing the back haul traffic.
Improving the container utilization by optimizing the consolidating opportunities at freight forwarders level.
Exploiting the assets to its fullest, by collaborating horizontally.
In sum, the key of survival in current tough times is not in competition but in optimizing the processes by
collaborating among various large and small players .
Volume 2 April 2009
Straight From the Heart
Sayan Banerjee GMBA Dec’08
Where tortuous DNA
and oozing hormones fight !!!
It’s was royal day of a convoluted life, A quartile quantum of glee away!!!!
I met her so pristine, in 1999 for the first time.
The floating clouds were fretful and me on spurs, A dark night and some silly shades of deep gray,
With a dazzling moon and a handful of contemplating I saw a daunting stallion getting down the country way;
stars; I saw infinite thyme getting trampled and some harsh
She was a lady not a divine, prey,
I believed she was indeed mine! I wasn’t happy anyway!!!!
Freedom of life, freedom of delight…..
On a crimson night, she was by my sight; Freedom to live and freedom to fight.........
Love and languishment; at a height. Freedom, the only way, who cares if it takes a few lives
The night looked scrupulous as never before’ away?
She was a beauty I deftly adore; Night still stay, on the courtyard…a serine way,
She was a lure difficult to resonate, There was stillness and apprehensions all the way;
A lady with much valor, quite passionate; Confiscated, I pulsate…I understand the subset;
I recon the transmutation of a budding life, It wasn’t a crimson night, she wasn’t by my side.
The tortuous DNA and Hormones fight.
For me to have colossal pride, Of course it hurts, both of us the akin way,
On a crimson night, she was by my side!!!!!!!! But, I feel its better any day;
I plead she is fine, somewhere sometime,
It was an evening, I don’t remember the day Forget it; never believed, she was ever mine!!!
We fell together I think in May I loose myself and my fortitude; everyday, every night....
It was awesome with no logic in hay And, I still believe sometimes on a crimson night,
Relatively humid; how much, cant say! She’s all mine…..She’s is still mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I exclaimed “this is life…. what say?”
She said it’s you who make it beautiful everyday!!!
I was bemused; And too young to say!
“Will you marry me any other day?”
She was happy and I guessed that she may 19
Volume 2 April 2009
ents more than men. Where social life is concerned,
Our Beautiful Land
unmarried women and bachelors tend to mix with
Nay Chi ,GMBA Dec’08 members of the same sexes.
Between married couples, public displays of affec-
tion are rarely seen.
I came to Dubai, U.A.E that is one of Middle East Boss/Employee Relationship
countries all the way from Myanmar which is a part Myanmar employees are hardworking and loyal to
of South their bosses. In return, a boss is expected to be a
E a s t father figure and give help in times of need. Such
Asia .India, help may be the giving advice to sort out personal
China, Thai- problems or the granting of a loan in a financial cri-
land, Bangla- sis. As in all Asian cultures, Myanmar respect people
desh, Lao, who are older than them. To avoid friction in the
Vietnam and workspace, make sure that a subordinate is not re-
Cambodia sentful of working under a younger supervisor.
are the Negative communication is usually indirect. If it is
neighbor necessary to discipline an employee, it is best to do
countries. it in private and with tact. Loss of “face” is a serious
The country is known as “Golden land “as we have a matter among Myanmar people.
lot of ancient pagodas. B u s i n e s s R e l a t i o n s h i p
Friendship, trust, and honesty are important in a
Most Myanmar are Buddhist of the Theravada business relationship. Favors received, such as in-
stream. Central to our religious beliefs is karma; the troducing a potential client or supplying a refer-
concept that good begets good and evil begets evils. ence, must be repaid at a future time. When two
Another belief is that all living things go through Myanmar businessmen meet for the first time,
reincarnation. If a person has committed sins, (he or chances are that business may not be discussed in
she) will be reincarnated into a lower level being depth. Rather, the meeting may be spent evaluating
such as an animal or suffer in Hell; on the other each other’s personality and business strengths and
hand, if he has done good deeds, he will be elevated weaknesses. In general, it is easier for Asians to deal
to a higher level of existence to the world of devas. with Myanmar businesspeople than Westerners.
The ultimate aim in life according to Buddhist belief Here I would like
is to escape the cycle of to share some-
rebirth and reach Nirvana thing about our
( h e a v e n ) . culture which
There is also worshipping you may find it
of the Nats or the Spiritual very interesting.
beings in Myanmar. They Superstitions
are believed to be ex- Some Myanmar
tremely powerful beings people, espe-
helping out people. cially those from
Culture within Family the rural areas,
Myanmar parents favor have many superstitions. Astrology, palmistry and
their sons over their daughters but the latter are clairvoyance are sometimes relied upon to make
treasured as well. Daughters are not considered a important decisions. These may include marriage,
burden as no dowry is paid to the bridegroom when going into a business partnership, naming a baby,
they marry. Traditional Myanmar women are not and others. To offset bad luck, certain meritorious
aggressive and usually play second fiddle to their deeds or Yadaya may be performed such as setting
husbands. Women are expected to help with the free some live birds or animals, building a foot-
household chores and take care of their aged par- bridge, or mending a road.
Volume 2 April 2009
Superstitions of different cultures are interesting in in the neighborhood.
some ways. Here are some: Don't hit the pot with a ladle after you stir the curry.
Don't go underneath a staircase. You will lose your It's like hitting your parents' head.
will power. Don't hit 2 lids of pots and pans against each other.
Don't go under a pole or rope, where women used A tiger may bite you.
to hang-dry their longyis (sarong). You will lose your Don't feed someone with the palm upward. The
will power. food might cause you disorder.
Don't leave a shoe or a slipper up-side-down. It'll Don't clip your nails at night. Ghosts don't like that.
cause bad luck. Don't take kids to dark places. Ghosts may possess
Don't keep a broken glass or a mirror in homes. Re- them.
place the window panes as soon as possible if it’s Carrying some hairs of an elephant tail will avoid
Don't wash your hair within a week after a funeral It may sound very strange, but we Burmese do fol-
low some of those rules till this day.
Straight From the Heart
Siddarth Dudheria GMBA Dec’08
From 8 to 11 in the night, the time is prime on the television
My folks at home pay obeisance to the idiot box with precision
SAB,Sony,Sun,Raj,Zee and Star
At everyone’s home near and far
Saas-Bahu, Hubby-Wife, Rebirth, Breaking news and Fight with in-laws
themes galore, I suffer without any pause
The break comes as a relief from the circus
Mom and sis debate on the bahu, I wonder what`s the fuss
AB Junior shakes his head like a robot for motorola
Amir is dressed like the old chinese for coca-cola
Not far away are AB Senior and Shahrukh,chanting thanda thanda cool-cool
They laugh all their way to the bank,I wonder who is the fool
Sania says Sprite bujhaaye pyaas,rest is bakwaas
Fido strums in with his dil ki ghanti,I wanna be transported to mars
Sachin,Sehwag,Yuvi and Rahul, do not bother me now
Orbit white and the pearly white cow
I call it a day; the circus goes on and on
On to my bed, I fall
7 days a week, 365 days a year
I endure the pain, the end is never near
Primetime is the name of the game, from 8 to 11 every night
No time for banter with my folks, I sleep tight
Volume 2 April 2009
Ashish Bhatnagar GMBA Dec ‘08
Alumni of a college are an integral part of any college or university.
Relation building, making business networks, organizing events, publishing articles and fund raising activities
for the university are few of the initiatives they partake in. For the alumni in turn, it becomes an opportu-
nity to return the favour to the alma mater which laid the foundation for their corporate success today.
On the 3rd of April, SPJCM Singapore Chapter organised a forum for all its Alums to revisit the campus and
relive the memories of those memorable six months spent at the sprawling campus once again. “Nostalgia
2009” was aimed to be a means for enhanced interactions between the current and the old students.
A heart warming welcome speech by Prof. Vinika Rao set the tone for the evening. Mr. Nitish Jain officially
inaugurated the event and enlightened us with the new found glories, SPJCM has peaked to. The tie up with
the Schulich School of Business Toronto and the proposed tie up with University of New South Wales, Syd-
ney, Australia were to name a few of the pinnacles SPJCM has reached in a short span of time. He also an-
nounced the introduction of a new concept called the “Alumni College” that will cater to the needs of our
Dr. Michael Barnes, the Dean of the GMBA program followed Mr.Jain and instilled the traits of keeping the
head high when the going gets tough. He informed about a few critical changes incorporated in the program
and rekindled the spirits in an otherwise gloomy economy. The tie ups with the numerous companies which
would be assisting the current student body in their “Application Learning Programs” was yet another mile-
stone achieved in his short tenure with the school. After a couple of heavy duty speeches by the President
and the Dean, the floor was set open for the cultural committee who once again lived up to their reputation
and came up with breathtaking performances and set the stage on fire.
Prof. Advani and Dr. Seetha concluded the meeting by insisting and encouraging the alumni body to rise to
higher levels in the organizations. The upper management should give every junior examples of us and
every senior should be pushed to perform like us was the motto of Dr. Seetha. He claimed it to be the best
way of promoting brand SP Jain.
A formal dinner followed the event which led to more informal interactions between the student bodies.
The initiative taken by the SPJCM management is bound to do well for the college in ways no one can even
think of now. The inaugural event was a runaway success and we look forward to many such events and
part of many such “Nostalgia 2xxx” and carry on the legacy inherited to us by our seniors.
Answers to Business Quiz
1. Bombay Stock Exchange 6. All were contenders to succeed Jack Welch as
2. Bill and Melinda Foundation Chairman and CEO of GE
3. Harper Collins 7. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
4. BIG Cinemas 8. Quantitative Easing
9. Honda pulling out of F1
Volume 2 April 2009
Life @ SPJCM—Singapore
For the last 2 weeks, I haven’t taken any call from my mom. She is out of her
minds. She just can’t get the fact right that life gets so busy here that there’s
no time to breathe most of the times.
In case your mom also complains the same, here’s a sneak peek into our lives
8:00 AM: Day begins with a tussle with the alarm clock
8:40 AM: We win after a nice 40 minute battle to encounter yet another million dollar question.
To bathe or to brush?
We win again… We do neither… J
8:55 AM: Gayi attendance aaj to ( Lost my attendance for the day)
8:58 AM: Awesome… Made it just in time…
9:05 AM: Zzzzzzzzzzzz... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
2:45 PM: After sleeping for most of the day, the moment of realization comes. “We haven’t paid so
much to sleep man”. So we are full awake for the next 15 minutes only to sleep again later.
5:00 PM: Glad the day is over. Now what? Cricket? Football? TT? Jogging? Gym?Counter Strike?
7:30 PM: Groupwork, Quiz, Assignment, Presentation, Library, Einstein Den, Stale food and moments
of realizations all clubbed together.
9:00 PM: Did I brush teeth in morning? When was the last time I took a shower??
10:00 PM: The REAL BIGGEST question of the day… WHY THE $%^# I CAME HERE???
4:00 AM: Done? Naah !!!!
5:00 AM: Aaaaarrghhhhhhh… We’ll do it tomorrow. Sleep now.. Zzzzzzzzzzzz... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
And the cycle repeats the next day… And again… And again… And again…
However, in between all this hustle bustle and moments of distress, we, like true managers, manage to per-
form some interesting stuff also.
After watching the TT table rot for so many days, we thought of bringing out the peddlers into fore. And the
response was overwhelming. We never realized we got so many Forest Gumps and Timo Bolls in here. It
was a roaring success and the ping pong week remains the most cherished week of the Singapore Chapter.
Senior’s graduation day followed soon after and there came the real test of our management skills learnt so
far. The faculty decided to give us an extra lesson in convincing, presentation and negotiation skills for the
event. After a hard fought battle (no other word in the corporate vocabulary can replace the experience). I
believe this was a planned strategy for bringing out the best in us. And yes, they indeed did. The function
was a smashing hit and seniors remember the day even today.
The campus maintained its energy levels even when the seniors had passed out by welcoming the new
batch of students into the SPJCM family. Now that the April babies have come aboard, we are again on top
of our enthusiasm quotient and among all the hustle bustle of classes and quizzes, the batch stood united
yet again, shoulder to shoulder by coming up with yet another rocking performance reckoning the TRUE
spirit of GiMBA.
It does seem that we have forgotten our families and loved ones in our new found scheme of things, but it is
their faith back home which helps us pull out everything with flying colours without compromising on any-
Volume 2 April 2009
Life @ SPJCM-Dubai
Shrilling alarm tunes of different frequencies striking my ears from all possible directions and hard to ignore
even in deep slumber. Finally my roommate’s trials to wake me up showed some positive results, when I got
up from the bed at 8:30 AM. The bus is scheduled to leave the hostel at 8:45 AM. It will be another race
against time-which holds true for all aspect of the student life @ SPJCM. Most of the dudes and dudettes
must be still sleeping for sure as it is a custom out here to sleep late. And the others would have opted for a
After a quick bath I grab whatever is there in the refrigerator. Apple
rules the Hostel breakfast in SPJCM. The bus usually waits for 10
minutes, if the driver is in good mood. Whoever misses the bus,
have to either catch a cab to reach the college on time or call it an
off day!! Inside the bus, some football buffs are talking about ManU
and Chelsea match, Probable dean’s list candidates are talking
about assignments and grades, latest IPL news is in air, some are
desperately trying to catch up with case study for the day and the
cool dudes are deciding on their next party destination in Dubai.
Straight to Chill-Out Zone- the canteen, where Subbu welcomes you
with a beautiful smile and offers a binary menu in the morning, Idli or Paratha. Those who were unfortunate
to find something in the fridge are forced to select one. The smoking fraternity has its daily meet in and
around the Academic City.
Sharp 9:30 AM the Class in ON. The new rule is that even if you are late by 5 minutes, attendance for the
session is gone. And Ritu - our beautiful Program Coordinator makes sure that the rule is in place with 100%
precision and we, young minds, are thinking loud to find some ways to escape from the claws of this rule.
For lunch and snacks, there is the Food Court nearby with Sub-
way, Bombay Chowpatty, Lebanese and Iranian joints, each of-
fering a rich and diverse menu. And of course, Subbu is always
there as a dependable option. After the break, back to the class-
rooms. Apart from the regular sessions and assignments, at any
time you may be tested with surprise quizzes. The relief which
everyone enjoys once the last lecture is over can’t be portrayed
in words. Back in the hostel, it is the time to dive into the world
of assignments, case studies, presentations, ARP, ‘preparations’
for next day’s quizzes, the list is never ending. Pretty soon it’s
time for the MIDNIGHT MASALA TEA @ Krispy- another hangout
near C-11. And back to hostel for the pending struggles. “C-11
But it’s real fun. It’s an experience which everyone will treasure all along the journey of life. The Dhow
Cruise, the Fresher’s party, Republic Day, Holi Celebrations, the myriad Birthday parties and Farewell for the
May’08 batch just added colors to the life out here!!
Though the RACE continues day and night, everyone cherishes each and every second of it. Coz we know
tomorrow belongs to us!!!
Volume 2 April 2009
Prof Arindam Banerjee
On the acceptance of his paper titled “Impact of Information Technology: The Case for Indian Banking”
which has been accepted for final presentation at the “ International Conference on Technology and Busi-
ness Management” (ICTBM) which was held between March 29- April 1, 2009, at the Al Ghurair University,
On the acceptance of his case study titled “Starbucks corporation: Turnaround Strategies” for pres-
entation at the “International Conference on Indigenous Management Practices” organised by De-
partment of business administration, Annamalai University, Tamilnadu, to be held between July 16th
– 18th, 2009.
Anushri Verma, GMBA May’ 08
On the publication of her articles in the following issues of Gulf News—Speak Your Mind
• Friday February 20 , 2009—Focus: Honesty in Marriage
• Friday March 13 , 2009—Focus: Co – education
Refulgence’09, BITS Pilani - II prize
Vishal Shukla, Mansi Mehta , Arun GK, Kushagra Poddar
and Atul Manani GMBA Dec’08
Refulgence’09 was an All India Social B-Plan Competition Organ-
ized by Birla Institute of Technology and Science. The competition
was aimed to bring out the social entrepreneurial skills and foster
new ideas among the students. S.P.Jain Center of Management
was represented by Team Prayas. Their plan was to come out
with a Rapid HIV detection kit for the Indian market and help in
removing the stigma associated with diseases like AIDS. After
three rounds of grueling competition they were selected as one
of the four finalists. In the final round the team came out as the
1st Runners up.
Volume 2 April 2009
Parivartan’09, IIT Delhi - II prize
Deepak Sharma, Tanya Chakraborty, Prarthana Agarwal
Team Decibel from the S P Jain Center of Management, Singapore, partici-
pated in the Parivartan’ 09 -“Who wants Joes Diner”, a Merger & Acquisition
strategy competition held at IIT Delhi, India. Decibel won itself accolades by
bagging the second prize, competing against teams from other prominent B-
schools like IIT Chennai, IIT Mumbai, IIT Delhi and MDI Gurgaon.
The competition was spread over two rounds. The first round involved com-
parison and rating of three Indian Companies in the two wheeler industry
based on various financial analyses. In the second round teams had to conduct
valuation of their free cash flows, quantify synergies arising thereby and propose merger of two companies.
Team Decibel donned their consultant cap and proposed a horizontal merger between two companies
based on operational synergies. Having won the competition, teams Decibel is now looking forward to ad-
vising companies on mergers and acquisitions and applying the insightful learning from the competition to
real life situations.
MoneyVidya, IIM Lucknow - III Price
Pratik Agarwal and Ashish Bhatnagar GMBA Dec’08
Recently IIM Lucknow in collaboration with MoneyVidya.com organized an online all India B-School Stock
picking competition which required the participants to recommend stocks being traded over NSE and BSE
for a period of seven days. No purchase/sale was required and the only criteria was to “recommend” stocks
based on our in depth knowledge of the market and economy. The predictions were matched with the AC-
TUAL market performance over the week and the rating was given to the team.TEAM ANTARANG stood 3rd
beating teams from some of the best B-Schools in India. After a week’s period, the team had a perfect rat-
ing of 5 on 5. The average returns were 11% with the annualized returns of a staggering 543% for the 22
Puneet Mathur GMBA May’ 08
On the publication of his opinion in the Gulf News: Speak Your Mind
Friday February 26 , 2009 – Focus: Stereotyping at work
(Sometimes gender stereotyping is promoted to discourage women from pursuing a career.)
Volume 2 April 2009
The Indian Institutes of Management (IIM’s) Alumini Association, Singapore organised a business plan com-
petition. It had entries from reputed colleges from all across the world. The theme of the competition was
‘Innovative ideas for sustainable development….the Road ahead.’ In the current economic crisis, business
plans which can offer enduring economic and social returns can only sustain. Through the business plan
competition IIM’s endeavour to bring out business ideas and contribute in a small way towards sustainable
development of the various economies of the world. Two teams from SPJCM were short-listed for the final
10 among 200 teams from top business schools in Asia.
Julie Cherian, Manuj Jain, Kushal Boob and Surabhi Shrivastava GMBA May’08
Aims to commercialize an innovative solar powered LED (light emitting diodes) lamp. Costing just INR 2 per
day, the product will alleviate power shortage in rural/urban poor households in India, in a clear and effi-
cient manner. Collaborating with microfinance institutions for sales and collections, the venture is projected
to generate annual revenues of INR 785 million by the fifth year.
K.S. Kalyan, Puneet Kumar, Sindhu Holla, Rachit Kaw GMBA May’08
Team Surya purposes to generate electricity by accumulating waste in soak pits/dumps and a gasifer plant
which feeds a generator. It will not only be a source of clean and cheap energy, but also enhance waste
management and local employment. With a goal of 1 MW power for 10 villages, the venture is projected to
top USD 1 million in annual revenue by the fifth year of operation.
Corpostrat ‘09 IIT Roorkee Finalist
Ashish Bhatnagar and Atul Manani GMBA Dec’08
Team Sparsh participated in “Corpostrat 09” - Business Plan contest held in IIT
Roorkee and showed their mettle among the other top notch B schools of the
country. The other institutes competing in the B-Plan competition were IIT Ro-
orkee, IIT Kanpur, NMIMS, one corporate entry, etc. The competition required
teams to submit a business plan on a product/service and to develop a market-
ing plan. Team Sparsh chose “Find Fish” as their service which helps individual
fishermen and small fishing firms to get information about the weather fore-
casts, clusters of fishes and other customized services to help them catch more
fish using the latest satellite technology.
Volume 2 April 2009
Gang @ Spark
Volume 2 April 2009
Gang @ Spark
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The views and opinions expressed are personal to authors and it does not represent the views of SPJCM and The Editorial team of SPark.