Volume 1 February 2009
In This Edition
Message From The Dean
Is greatness not born of an inspired heart?
Strategy & management education
Alumni Speak— How technology is trans-
Do we benefit from 0 interest rate policy?
Quizzarium The Th
Book Review - the tipping point
The speaking tree
Supply chains and value chains
Corporate Speak—Impact of economic crisis
Straight from the Heart
SP Jain Center for Management, Singapore/Dubai
And lots More...
Welcome to the first edition of SPark!
Welcome to the first edition of SPark. While many magazines and newsletters specific to individual
specializations had emerged there was always a need for something that captures the true essence of S. P. Jain
Centre of Management, unity in distance and diversity. Thoughts started pouring in for launching a magazine
that imbibes into it the voices from all who made SPJCM a whole. These thoughts then combined with an
incredible zeal and a hugely talented team to make this magazine a reality. It was an incredible journey
throughout. Our first step to success was when the magazine was christened SPark through a magazine nam-
So what is SPark all about? SPark assimilates in it the beliefs and opinions of hundreds of students of SPJCM
from Singapore and Dubai who are successful professionals in the making. SPark assimilates in it the ideas of
alumni and professors. The magazine is aimed at being a beacon of knowledge and information for the
With the recent Satyam scandal on everyone’s mind, the Gang at SPark felt this was an appropriate issue to
discuss. We launched a contest on Corporate Governance and received a very enthusiastic response. Through
our judges we short listed the 3 best articles that have been published in the issue. Incidentally after the
evaluation there was tie for the first place. Our heartiest congratulations to the winners!
We thank our honourable Dean Dr. Michael Barnes for his contribution to the first edition of SPark. The
Gang also thanks Prof. Veena Jadhav, Prof. Christopher Abraham, Prof. Debashish Sanyal and Dr. Seethara-
man for taking out some time from their busy schedule and judging the various articles. We thank Mr. A. V.
R. Srinivas for being the driving force behind this success. We would also like to thank Prof. Rajiv Aserkar
and Mr. Yusuf Tambawala for lending us their support and help at all stages of this journey. We thanks Mr.
Sandeep Bhattacharya, VP, ASEAN at Ramco Systems for providing us his views on Corporate Governance.
The issue proudly showcases in its alumni section some of the achievements our Alumni have accomplished
and brought good name to the college. We have also received many contributions from our alumni in the
form of articles on their industry experiences. We take this opportunity to thank them for their contributions
to the success of the magazine. The issue also contains the following sections: Book Review, Life @ SPJCM,
Quizzarium and Poems from the current students.
SPark was inaugurated by our Dean in Singapore on 6th Feb ’09 to the December batch people. An enthusias-
tic 20 juniors registered to work for the magazine. With our team’s continuous efforts to bring the best of
both the academic and corporate world to our readers through SPark, we promise to include many more excit-
ing sections in the next edition of the magazine such as those from the EMBA, Placom and our esteemed pro-
fessors. The Gang at SPark is also working on bringing in various events, intra and inter collegiate competi-
In the end, SPark is not just a magazine. It is a communication tool that the hundreds of proud SPJCMites,
alumni, professors and many others can use to put across their thoughts, to reveal their success stories or
guide the future MBA aspirants. We request you to make the best use of this tool. We appreciate your contri-
butions to the magazine and request you to continue your support to make SPark a success. After reading the
magazine, please provide your feedbacks and suggestions to email@example.com.
The Gang @ SPark
Message from the Dean, GMBA
Dubai & Singapore
Dr. Michael J Barnes
It is a great pleasure for me to be invited to contribute to the
premier edition of SPark, the first cross- campus, multi-
disciplinary, all-singing, all-dancing, integrated communications
medium for S P Jain Center of Management. I am particularly
gratified because the launch of this student-initiated vehicle fits
very well with my own notion of what our own brand aspiration
as ―Asia‘s Leading Global Business School‖ represents: a global
management institute ―sans frontiers‖.
A business school without borders, such as ours, crosses cultural
barriers, academic research silos and national boundaries and re-
evaluates old modes of thinking as rules change, paradigms
shift, and as concepts, contexts, and constructs, continuously
change. There is nothing ‗set‘ in the ‗global mindset, therefore.
Old assumptions, rules, and frameworks need to be re-examined
and challenged. That‘s where SPark comes in. In a global forum
for global management thinking, our GMBAs, EMBAs, faculty and global partners in the academy and indus-
try, will contribute hard-hitting insights and thought-provoking analyses of our complex and uncertain business
world and its prospects. New applications or old models that no longer apply; no matter what the business prac-
tice and channel, we are committed to a knowledge creating thought-network of continuous improvement and
implementation for value.
Alternative prescriptions and solutions to any global problem and crisis need to be holistically and objectively
evaluated by the global academy - outside of the national government framework, domestic political economy,
or particular social sphere. At S P Jain we are critically concerned with raising global awareness, the process of
dealing sensibly, ethically and fairly with tighter integration and interdependence of national systems, and with
promoting a greater understanding of modes of global collaboration that can bring about ―win-win‖ solutions
instead of the tired zero-sum international ―solutions‖ of the past.
With a SPark in our eyes and fire in the belly, we are ready to discuss for action the key dynamic challenges of
Dr. Michael J. Barnes
S P Jain Center of Management
Dubai - Singapore
11 February, 2009
Corporate governance & current
global scenario: An out-of-sync
symphony? Saurabh Kedia, IT GMay08
The corporate governance theme is meant to propagate a ment more accountable.
set of standards that ensure accountability in organizations
and minimize the principal-agent problem. Many experts A 2007 McKinsey survey (see-Figure-2) indicates that
consider corporate greed, the root of the principal-agent close to 75% of directors believe in some kind of a share-
problem, as the prime reason behind the current economic holder role in executive
downturn of the century. compensations. An impor-
tant way to solve business
During the deeply analyzed and incident filled Inaugura- management problems of
tion of American president Barack Obama, came a poign- the current times will be by
ant moment when he said that the weakening economy empowering stockholders.
was the direct consequence of “greed & irresponsibility
on part of some, and our collective failure to make hard Board of Directors
choices”. It is clear that the past was the greed & irre- An important cog in effi-
sponsibility and the future is going to be the hard cient corporate governance
organizations is the board
Fateful areas, where immediate corporate governance re- of directors. No other ex-
ample is as significant to Figure 2 high-
forms are needed and hard choices will need to be made,
revolve around these pillars of corporate governance: light the severe gap over here, than the astonishing case of
corporate fraud at the Indian IT major Satyam.
Executive Compensation & Bonuses
Despite being the complete economic washout year that How Satyam‘s chairman, B. Ramalinga Raju managed to
2008 was, something that has been extremely alarming has inflate profits & show fictitious assets worth billions of
been the doling out of rupees has been on India‘s front page for weeks. The final
bonuses on the Wall nail in the coffin was when the Satyam board approved the
Street firms. An esti- takeover of two firms in which the Raju family had major-
mated 18.4 billion in bo- ity stake. The Indian government in recent past has re-
nuses, the sixth largest formed the Companies bill & brought in new laws. But in
payout on record (see- effect the cause of failure wasn‘t the laws, as Satyam‘s
Figure-1), has raised board followed the standards of NYSE. The problem arose
many eyebrows. This when they failed to ask hard questions.
means that many bankers
made The changing times mean that it has become mandatory to
millions while their em- adopt practices like-
ployers were banging on Having only those directors who have time to
the Fed‘s door for aid. serve the interests of the board effectively
Something that is unclear Figure 1 Making directors invest more of their wealth in the
is that whether the US tax payer‘s money, company to align with shareholder‘s interests
injected through the now (in)famous TARP payout, was
used. Obama has in a recent statement slammed the Wall Unless the shareholders don‘t raise their voices against
Street bankers as ―shameful‖ for this benevolence on archaic board practices, we might keep finding more such
themselves. skeletons in the cupboard.
These self-serving managements need to be reformed Leadership- Leading through the downturn
through tougher laws & regulations. Shareholders should There are a range of outcomes possible from these uncer-
be given more rights to influence executive compensation tain times. These range from severe global recession &
and implement norms that will help them to hold manage- credit meltdowns, to rapid recovery. How various organi-
zations fair & prosper, will depend upon their transpar-
ency in leadership and their overall flexibility, resil-
ience & awareness.
The McKinsey 2007 global survey (see-Figure-3)
clearly indicates that little has changed since the Enron
saga. Enron resulted in a hastily compiled Sarbanes-
Oxley Act. Leadership & timely business inputs can
only prevent a repeat of the 2001 events.
In conclusion, it will be not an overstatement
that the economic crisis in many ways resulted from the
cracks in the backbone of effective corporate govern-
ance. Role of external auditors & internal board prac-
tices were both lacking efficiency. But now, the senti-
ments of the world business fraternity are echoing with
Obama‘s famous campaign line ―Change – We Believe
In―. There will be no better time to adapt to change &
there is no better place to start than in the corporate Figure 3
boardroom. The shareholders & board will need to per-
form together as symphony orchestras, creating music
for everyone‘s ears.
Straight from the heart
Namit Nayak, IT GDec08
Woke up in the morning for a new sunrise,
hoping it would bring some thing to smile.
No was the answer from deep inside,
when would I see a new sunrise?
Lost in the mountains and the crowded lines,
Can‟t find it in the heavens and between the silver
behind the ocean, in a deep blue sky
raised the sun with the same old sly!
The sun rose again with a different shine,
There was no cloud in the sky, without being somber, it tasted like a wine,
I was happy and I wanted to fly. Came out with it a new lease of life,
Before some one came and said good bye, Oh my god I am on a high.
I was left stranded to clear my eye.
A new beginning was in my mind, The sun is now with a different light,
though my sight was at the hind. So I‟ll try my best to keep it alight,
Was there any one to read between the lines? Would never give up and keep up the fight,
Not ready to give up, hope was my pride. Before it goes out of my sight!
Between you and me
Priya Krishnamoorthy, BM GMay08
An objective Analysis of the relationship issues these reccommendations and rules. Similar to what John
between the shareholder and the managers Nash says in ‗The beautiful Mind‘ - ―The best results
come when everyone in the group, does what is best for
Every recession brings about talks about business cycles, him and for the group‖, Birla says ―the best results would
every infringement brings out the security issues, every be achieved when the companies begin to treat the code
systemic failure highlights risk management and every not as a mere structure, but as a way of life‖.
scandal brings into limelight corporate ethics. Every crisis
takes as one step forward towards the never ending race A few key recommendations implemented in most coun-
between the thugs and the guardians. It is the safety meas- tries are as follows:
ures taken during such times, that delays (not prevents) the
occurrence of the next debacle. Auditor Independence
Auditor Independence to be ensured by rotation of audit
Considering these ‗unusual times‘, there has never been a partners and oversight by an audit committee made of Non
better time in the financial history to talk about reforms -executive directors. Auditors are also forbidden from of-
and to consider them seriously. Let us look at why ethics fering consultancy or other services to their clients. Size of
and governance are more important to a corporate than to the company also determined the type of auditors to be
any other form of business organization. deployed. However, the Satyam incident has proven that
even the big four are not infallible. Interestingly, most of
In political science and economics, this problem is gener- the responsibility in this regards in India has been left to
ally referred to as the ‗principal – agent‘ problem caused the purview of the ICAI and Birla talks little about the role
by the fact that the managers (agents) have more informa- of auditors in his report.
tion than the shareholders (principal). This asymmetric
information causes the problems of moral hazard i.e. man- Director Independence
agers take decisions in their own self interest ignoring the Directors as the representatives of the share holders play a
priorities of the share holders. This is one of the key rea- key role in the independence of the board and hence a part
sons that had led to the crisis, where the managers due to of the board is to be filled by non-executive directors,
their own shortsighted outlook, took unmeasured risks some of whom have to be independent. An independent
which led to a lot of business failures and thereby causing director has been defined as one who receives nothing but
hefty losses to the shareholders. the director remuneration. A number of sub-committees of
the directors are also formed to over look the key func-
Corporate governance set up is created with a view to tions like that of the audit committee, remuneration com-
tackle this problem for shareholders. This problem dates mittee.
back to the times when businesses outgrew its owners and
hence much has been done in this regard by many coun- Disclosure requirements
tries and organizations. Elaborate disclosure requirements within the interest of
shareholders were added to the reporting requirements of
A number of shallow reporting requirements and shady the annual reports. Detailed instruction on quorum, ballots
practices have caused the downfall of companies which on meetings are also included to ensure free and fair pro-
led to the set up of Cadbury Committee in UK by the Lon- ceedings.
don Stock Exchange and other financial bodies. This was
later supplemented by a number of other committees all However, the dilemma between enhanced rules and the
around the globe. US after its infamous episodes of need for speedy decisions in the business remain. While
WorldCom and the corporate scandals continue to happen even under the
Enron enacted the Sarbanes Oxley Act, alias SOX. India watchful eyes of the regulators, corporate complaints en-
followed it up with its reforms based on the recommenda- hanced reporting costs and cumbersome approval proce-
tions of the Kumara Mangalam Birla Committee ap- dures causing slow decisions and loss of competitiveness.
pointed by SEBI. Without going into the nuances of each Like, in many other things, in life as we realize now, there
of these reports, we can broadly discuss the framework of is no simple answer to this question.
1st Runner Up Article
Corporate governance &
current global scenario: An out
Vinod Parameswaran, IB GMay08
The company won the prestigious Golden Peacock Global its purpose, whether such a report is necessary at all?
Award for displaying commitment and excellence in im-
plementing Corporate Governance for the year 2008. The The above question is similar to asking whether we can
award was given at the Ninth International Conference on do away with the security forces in a country if a crime
Corporate Governance which was attended by the experts, has been reported. Since the security forces are not serv-
policy makers and global business leaders. The company ing the purpose is it advisable to dismantle the forces?
boasted that the award demonstrated the value and impor-
tance placed by it in serving the interests of its investors, The more logical solution would be to tighten the security
clients, associates and the society. and be more vigilant. But will such an exercise prevent
crime? The answer will be no, it will not. This is because
The company was also rated the best for its corporate human greed is a perennial factor and it is bound to show
governance practices in the year 2006 and 2007 by Inves- its ugly face in one form or the other. And it is true in
tor Relations Global Rankings (IRGR). Three continuous most cases; decisions are not guided by logic or finance
years of best corporate governance practices and excellent but by human emotions.
performance both in the business and the stock market
made the company a safe bet for the investors until a letter All these reasons lead us to the fundamental truth of any
from its chairman on January 07, 2009. Shock waves were system i.e., the need for continuous monitoring reviewing
sent around the whole world when it was revealed that the and updating / strengthening. Thus even corporate gov-
profits and other financial details of the company, audited ernance is not a onetime solution. It is only a review and
and declared as ‗true and fair representation‘ by the audi- monitoring system which shows the path travelled and not
tors of the company, were inflated. And the company‘s an indication of the choices it will make or path it will
name when translated means ―truth‖. And the company take.
that is being talked about is Satyam Computer Services And for those who are still skeptic about the need for cor-
Ltd. porate governance and believe that the Pandora‘s Box has
just been opened, we have to request them not to see the
It made everybody wonder that if a company which was small black spot in the huge white wall.
adjudged as having the best corporate governance prac-
tices cannot be trusted for even the basic financial details, It is time for us to identify and appreciate other companies
what purpose does these practices serve and what does who have followed the good practices amidst all the mar-
corporate governance exactly mean. ket pressures and financial turmoil. These extraordinary
circumstances help us identify the hidden heroes and to
According to Wikipedia ―Corporate governance is the set make sure that they continue to do so.
of processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions af-
fecting the way a corporation is directed, administered or Thus, now is the time to strengthen the system and not to
controlled. Corporate governance is a multi-faceted sub- dismantle the same. And it is time for us to remember
ject. An important theme of corporate governance is to these implications and imbibe the lessons so that as future
ensure the accountability of certain individuals in an or- CXOs we are clear as to what the long term goal should
ganization through mechanisms that try to reduce or be and not be carried away by impulses and illusions.
eliminate the principal-agent problem‖
As a famous saying goes, ―The basic fundamental truths
Thus in a nutshell it means that the report is a disclosure are always forgotten but is always reinforced by time‖.
about the way the businesses are conducted by the man-
agement. And if a report on the governance does not serve
Is greatness not born of an
Dr. Debashish Chatterjee
I sat breathless by the seashore in Cartagena, Colombia,
on the Caribbean Coast
The air was filled with the voices of tourists and the put-
tering of an occasional vehicle. The sun bathed in a sen-
suous glow the house of the great writer, Gabriel Garcia
Marquez. It was a brick-red palace presiding over the
magical sea. This for me was a pilgrimage to greatness.
I wasn't only thinking of Garcia and his `One Hundred
Years of Solitude'. I was thinking if one could really be-
come great even when one had no fame or power or just a
few pesos in his pocket. Is greatness not born of an in-
spired heart? What has greatness got to do with the
world's approval? Can we not all become great even if we on restless waves: "My life is a waste; I haven't gone any-
hadn't won the Nobel Prize like Garcia did? where really." The sea rolled in and rolled away again.
A tourist guide began to describe how Marquez's friend- We come to this world alone", sighed Claudia, "and will
ship with Fidel Castro of Cuba had earned the anger of go back alone." Not quite, I said, for we are born as one
many of his countrymen. He pointed towards the house and go back as one. We are one with the world, with the
where Marquez and his friends spent time. He shared vast solitude of the sea and the mountain; one with the
with me how Cartagena de Indias had been an important wine flowing from the vineyard and inside our veins; we
port on the Caribbean since it was founded... Before he are one with light inside the emeralds and all the rhythms
could inflict any more history lessons on me, I pressed of the universe. We are born of the great One - the unity
into his palm a bunch of pesos to tell him off. He declined of life that courses through our lives and we will long for
to take the money and made a theatrical bow and thanked the One and merge with the One that is reflected in the
me with an unforgettable and exquisite courtesy. I stood seeming multitude of life forms. "Listen, Claudia that infi-
humbled by his greatness! nite Oneness is the only secret and the source of all great-
ness!" You are not alone Claudia, you are in the company
A woman shared a table with me in a seaside cafi . Her of your own greatness!
name was Claudia. She was seeking counsel on how to
mend her broken life. She stretched her finger on the ta- Much as Gracias thank you very much Claudia gushed as
ble. On her right index finger was a precious green emer- we concluded our conversation. I blurted out de
ald. Colombia, I learnt produced 60 per cent of the emer- nada you're welcome, don't mention it. It was just about
alds of the world. The Incas and Aztecs of South America all the Spanish I had picked up from a tourist phrasebook
where the best emeralds are still found today regarded the in Cartagena.
emerald as a holy gemstone. "The green of the emerald is
the color of life and of springtime, which comes round in The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
eternal cycles," I said. Claudia spoke haltingly, "But it URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lifestyle/
has also, for centuries, been the color of constant love. In Is_greatness_not_born_of_an_inspired_heart/
ancient Rome, green was the color of Venus, the goddess articleshow/4021508.cms
of beauty and love."
Claudia and I walked towards the sea... A divorced
mother of two children, she had said, with her eyes fixed
Straight from the heart
Meenakshi Wadhwa, GHRM GMay08
I am sure May‟08 is a hall-of-fame most of us are going to remember,
Reaching S P Jain amid the pandemonium was like a climax-of-sorts I concur.
Little did we know that the roller-coaster journey had just kicked-off?
And by the time we did, there were too many assignments to finish off.
See, some of us are really smart and dare I say some just at par,
But what‟s amazing is we've all amazingly come this far!
At times, I feel we could rule the school and teach the teachers a lesson,
Why you may ask? We're just that cool, what say my friend?
Singapore Campus – the place brings back so many memories of our interactions,
From the leadership hall, field trips to the cranky-yet-fun classroom sessions,
Dear AVR: kindly don‟t downgrade me for this monologue is a special petition,
Here goes a special mention, lacking which this dialogue holds no meaning, no contention.
Whether Sue Ann‟s impromptu speeches or Dhannaya‟s business communication,
Underneath all is the mutual feeling that we have been through lots of ritual commotion.
Professors ki quizzes aur case studies ka atyachar, Unginaat lectures and presentations ka bukhaar,
Vijay Sethi Sir ka IIP mein darr bhara intezaar aur Manju Bhaiyya ke haath ka khana aur pyaar.
Dubai was no-less experience: morning bus aur usme mein Bollywood gupshup & playstation,
Shayaam ko krispy ki chai aur apne apartments mein aake fun-bharre playful bakar session.
Life has come a full circle: from Singapore‟s MRT to Dubai‟s taxi, 7Eleven to 24Seven,
From swinging away at Clark Quay, food at firangi pani to Sheesha nights and badminton.
It‟s a given we are happy to be here yet admittedly the moment confusing, markets despair,
We graduated amidst the world‟s greatest recession is something tomorrow we‟ll cheer!
Well the schedule says it‟s time to go different ways and have a blast our last few days,
Let‟s laugh our heart out at the funny jokes and bounce from each other‟s harmless pokes.
There have been too many moments, whose collection has become a solicitation,
When any of us is lonely at times, these memoirs will bring smiles and reflection.
Sometimes I downplay the mixed emotions inside my heart as the classes slowly slip by.
We all are going to miss our „friends-forever‟ is easiest alibi for all our final goodbyes…
Let‟s all pledge in essence: Our batch shall be united forever in spirit and fervor,
In some-place some-circumstances some-crossroads we will meet again; have fun together!
Money laundering and its
Kushaal B, BM GMay08
What is Money laundering? very difficult for even the anti-money laundering soft
Money laundering is the process of carrying out a sequence ware systems to detect.
of financial transactions in order to conceal the true source Overseas banks: Money launderers usually send/
or identity of the illicit funds gained from illegal channels deposit money into various offshore accounts in coun-
and criminal activities. Thus money laundering is used to tries that have bank secrecy laws. The anonymous
disguise the true source of funds into legitimate proceeds. banking helps the money launderers conceal huge
amount of cash from authorities.
Basics of Money Laundering Underground/Alternate Banking: Some Asian countries
The money laundering basically involves three steps: have well established alternative banking systems
Placement: In this stage the money launderer inserts the which allow undocumented deposits and withdrawals
currency into legitimate financial system to convert the through wire transfer. These systems leave no paper
illicit funds into deposits in bank accounts. trail of the transactions thus helping in laundering of
Shell Companies: These companies accept cash pay-
ments for fake goods or services and wire transfer the
cash abroad where it is deposited in overseas banking
Investing in legitimate businesses: Money launderers
invest small amounts in a number of small, cash inten-
sive legitimate businesses serving as cover for money
laundering. The money launderer adds his black money
to the daily revenues of the business through fake bills
and thus such businesses cleans the dirty business.
Layering – A series of transactions are done to conceal Methods to prevent Money Laundering
the source and ownership of the funds. Once the cash Know your customer: The banks ought to have good
money goes through a series of transactions, it becomes knowledge of their customers and their businesses.
difficult to uncover the trail and locate the original fi-This will help the banks identify any irregularity in the
nancial transaction. account and help in detecting money laundering trans-
actions. Banks use software technology to monitor the
Integration – The funds are now re-invested into legiti-
large number of accounts to detect irregular financial
mate businesses. It is very difficult to detect money transactions.
laundering here since cash is now generated from le- Money launderers deposit small amount of cash repeti-
gitimate sources and the origins of the funds are wiped tively in accounts in the process of smurfing the black
clean. money. Bank officials should monitor accounts where
Methods of Money Laundering there are repetitive deposits in a single account over a
short period of time.
Smurfing: It is the process of breaking down a huge Check accounts where there are outbound wire trans-
amount of money into small amounts and then deposit- fers from the account where there have been repetitive
ing these small amounts into number of bank accounts. cash deposits indicating pattern of money laundering.
This is done to avoid detection of the money by the Sources
officials. Small random deposits into account make it http://www.moneylaundering.com
Know your business
Saumya Gopi, ITM GMay08
Name this person who was from infamous for a
scandal went to being popular as a comic book
character. (See Figure)
The British Government is looking at creating a
"People's Bank". Where will this bank be based in?
Which are the two Indian companies that World bank re-
cently banned for alleged bad practice?
In business jargon, what is a COCO outlet?
In the ―Doing Business 2008 Report‖ of World Bank which
country tops the world list on ease of doing business?
What in IT jargon is called as a ―three finger salute‖?
Performance, Planet, People, Portfolio, Partners – these
are the 5Ps of whose business strategy?
Who pioneered the famous 7S’s model of organizational
What is the name given to software developed exclusively
for use by infants and toddlers?
Golden handshakes are payoffs that are made to employ-
ees retiring before their term, usually to facilitate a
downsizing. What are incentives used to retain employees
Strategy and management
Rachit Kaw, GLSCM GMay08
A lot of courses in an MBA program talk about strat- prior experience
egy. Strategy is defined by Wikipedia as a plan of ac- of management,
tion designed to achieve a particular goal. Many of the at least at the
students here shall not agree with this simplistic defini- basic level and
tion of strategy and will give me a definition which are not fresh out
says that strategy is a long term perspective that aligns of graduate
vision, mission, goals and some other heavy words. I school. Once
have been studying Strategy as a subject for quite some they have realized what is desired out of this course,
time. In my opinion, strategy is a guiding light; it is the they can be asked to formulate a goal statement for
beacon that fixes the direction for the ship to move. themselves. What do they see themselves as and what
Getting out of the global gyan (knowledge) mode, strat- can they offer to the world after they are through with
egy in its simplest and most comprehensive terms is a the process of the course. Once this is done, they must
long term plan of action put in place that shall decide as now be asked to give a detailed plan as to which
to how the organization shall behave and be seen as in courses they would prefer to give more attention to, the
the future. Once we have come to realize this statement courses that help them attain this goal. Then a balanced
and its validity, understanding strategy becomes much scorecard can be developed, giving higher weight to the
easier and so does implementing it. courses selected by the students. A few subjects can be
treated as fundamentals and they must be out of the
Organizations are very good at formulating vision purview of this exercise but some subjects can be of-
statements and writing mission statements. However, it fered as electives and can be brought under this
is in the formulation of strategies that the corporate are scheme.
found wanting. The primary reason for this is the role
of people in management and their handling of this Once this scorecard is ready, the students must now
matter. Not that they do not grasp the criticality of this strive to attain the goal they have set for themselves. A
matter, but the way they treat this whole exercise is major part of the final grades must now be based on the
often found to be lacking in depth. attainment of this goal. This framework will give the
students a real time insight into what strategy is all
I will not go into the analysis of what goes wrong as it about and what effects it can have on the final goal. For
will take a full research spaced over years to reaffirm example, participants see that they are not doing well in
this fact but the many failures in front of us are testi- their decided areas of excellence; they can go easy on
mony for my statement. I think the problem of this gap other subjects and give more time to these ―core com-
in strategy formulation and vision of the organization petency‖ subjects of interest.
can be cured at the MBA level. Management education
today, is very compartmentalized. While the courses This article is now starting to sound like a corporate
around the world claim to develop ―holistic managerial strategy, with words like balanced scorecard, core com-
skills that craft business leaders who can shape the petencies etc. coming into play. As we can clearly see,
world leaders of tomorrow‖, they forget a simple fact this approach allows a better insight into strategy for-
that they themselves never ask the participants of the mulation in comparison to presentations and case stud-
program as to what their strategy is and their desired ies. While I am no Kaplan or Norton or Porter, my own
targets at the end of the course. experience with management education tells me that
this framework can be developed upon and can help
Let‘s face it, management education is vast and no one managers attain a deep understanding and insight into
can absorb everything being offered. So people have to the real world of strategy formulation. After all there is
realize earlier on in the course what end deliverables no better education than one which forces you to learn.
they desire from the course. Of course here I assume
that participants of a management program have some
The Tipping Point
Divakar Marwah, GHRM GMay08
Malcolm Gladwell's tip- Malcolm Gladwell in this book looks at why major
ping point is a wonder- changes in our society so often happen suddenly and un-
fully delightful book expectedly. Ideas, behaviors, messages and products, he
which describes how argues often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease.
certain social events These are social epidemics and the moment when they
become epidemics with take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tip-
a power to change ping Point.
Gladwell describes the three rules of epidemics. The first
From the story of how - Law of the few, describes three kinds of people - the
hush puppies (which connectors (they are the information dispensers), the
was a dying brand in the mavens (information collectors) and the salesmen (these
1990s after its initial are the persuaders) and how they can be used to spread
launch in 1950s) became the message. The second - Stickiness factor, refers to the
a sudden fashion rage in content of the message itself. How do you make the mes-
the last decade, to how sage memorable? How do you make it connect with the
the notoriously unsafe audience? And finally, the power of context. Simply put,
streets of new York (with an annual serious crime rate of the situation affects the passage of messages.
626182 cases) became safe again in a short span of 5
years (the crime rate dropping astonishingly more than The tipping point is an intellectual adventure story writ-
60%), to how the British were defeated off the coast of ten with an infectious enthusiasm, for the power and joy
Boston in 1775, thanks to a simple message carried by of new ideas. Most of all, it is a roadmap to change, with
one Paul Revere. The book narrates several such inci- profoundly hopeful message - that one imaginative per-
dents from the past. son applying a well-placed lever can move the world.
Blog for Life
Divakar Marwah, GHRM GMay08
Did you ever wonder how life would be after we are all mania? Will we have a future music band in college?
gone from college? Who would frequent the libraries at Will we ever host our own intra college fest? How
Singapore and Dubai after we‘re gone? Who will fre- many people fainted eating Durians? Will we always
quent Einstein‘s den? Who will sit through all those have newspaper quizzes? Lankawi, Bali, Phuket, Ho
wonderful lectures in LC-1,2,3,4,5...? Will Manju still Chi Minn, Redang, Bintan - Will we have a reunion in
be around serving those hot samosas and chais to every- one of these cities? How many great budding business
one who frequents the canteen in Singapore? Will leaders will walk the corridors of our hostels? 7-11,
Subbu still frequent C-11 and woo students to come to FairPrice, Orchard Street, Mc Donald‘s, Labrador Park,
Indi Spice more often? Will Dine Inn ever outsmart Vivo, Harbor Front, Sentosa, ECB, Mustafa‘s, Clarke
Shobana in consumer loyalty and smart marketing? Quay, Esplanade, Metro, Hakeem‘s, Desert Safari, 360
Will there still be cricket tournaments, and football Degrees, Mall of Emirates, Dragon Mart, Al Madina,
tournaments and volleyball tournaments and basketball Wafi, Lamcy, Dubai Creek, Al Madinat, Burj Al Arab,
tournaments and counterstrike tournaments? Gosh...you Dissertations, IIPs, Coffee breaks, Group Work, Presen-
might say, did we folks ever study? Maybe we‘ll tell tations, Blackboard, CA, CF, BA, GLSCM,
this story as well, some other time. Were there birthday SMM,PMM, RM, IT, IB, GHRM, WM - Innumerable
parties celebrated with the same fervor on the 6th floor images, but one thread that binds us all - SPJCM. Visit
of the Singapore campus - the smattering of cake on our BLOG! Share our experiences!!
each other, the human imprints on the walls, the dance
Trick Up For Success --Tips on
Neha R & Chinmayi K, IT GMay08
Hi Aspirers, that…..changes the voice tone…and appears good to
Some more ‗GYAN‘ on ‗INTERVIEWS‘!! the listener
With the placement season already on the cards (and some Speak slowly and enunciate clearly. You need to sound
short-lists already started pouring in…), we thought of good and impressive!! Don‘t you?? Use short sentences
brining in something more relevant. So, for all the as they are easy to understand and link….but do elabo-
‗anxious‘ MayGICIANS and the ‗not so anxious…as of rate your answers….
now‘ December‘09 batch, we bring to you with this edition Listen carefully…to what the Interviewer is saying and
some really important don‟t interrupt.
Don‟t smoke, chew gum, eat or drink or do over-
Confirm the details of the Telephonic Interview; just as enthusiastic talking during the interview, as it might
you would do for a face to face interview. This could annoy the person on the other end
be: Avoid coughing or sneezing while you are on call….if
Time and Date of the interview you do…say ‗excuse me‘!!
Telephone Number you would like to receive a call Do say „Thank You‟ when complimented on your
on achievements, resume, academics etc.
Who would be interviewing you, his designation etc.
Choose a quiet and comfortable room where there is no Last but not the least for sure…..
-one to disturb you…. Keep your cell phone Say ‗Thank You‘, once you are done with the inter
SWITCHED OFF!! view… :)
Avoid cell phones for telephonic interviews as there is a
risk of a dropped call or bad connections So, guys this is all what we had in store for you. All the
Switch off call waiting option - be informed of the ba- very best to all the MayGICIANS for their placements
sic operations of the instrument from the Spark Team…and to the December batch as
Be prepared at the specified date and time….. and if…. well….who in some time will also be…...TRICKING
due to some reason, you need to re-schedule… explain UP FOR SUCCESS!!
Once you get the call, ask for the caller‟s name and
confirm if it is for the interview.
Do your Home-Work well!!
Know the company
Know the position you are applying to
Know some general questions, like your strengths and
weaknesses, biggest achievements, why this company
An advantage of telephonic interviews is that you can
keep some notes in front of you as ready references for
the general questions….but but but…..don't read the
Address the Interviewer with Mr./Ms. and their Last
Name. Don‘t use their first name unless they ask you to
do the same
Things to keep ready with you for the interview:
A pen and a paper (to take notes during the interview)
Make sure all information gathered at homework phase
are at accessible and visible position
Resume and a bottle of water
Smile :) ….while talking to the Interviewer, as
Zero Interest Rate Policy-Does it
benefit in the long run?
Kushagra Poddar, IB GDec08
If you are in Japan or the US now, you would better hold
on to your money rather than deposit. The worst is that you rates(Interest adjusted for inflation) has become negative.
don‘t have any incentive to save as the return on deposits is Thus holding on to cash results in reduction in the value of
virtually nil. The interest rates around the world are at re- money and therefore encourages investment & consump-
cord lows (0 – 0.25 % in USA), (.10 % in Japan)( 1% in tion instead of savings. Also such low rates allow the
England) and also in the developing countries like India & banks to borrow more and extend credit, thereby stimulat-
China the rates have dropped substantially. ing demand for goods and services.
All of us are familiar with the sudden rise in inflation that But keeping interest rate at such low levels is not the only
India had to face (inflation hit a 13 year high of 11.42 % in solution. In fact keeping rates low for extended periods
July ‗08). To counter this, the RBI hiked rates to 8.5% to might have very significant repercussions .It is widely be-
limit the excess credit and put a check on demand. It is lieved that the current sub-prime crises in US was the re-
often seen that to effect any change in the economic vari- sult of very low interest rates after the dot com bubble. Af-
ables or to regulate the demand & supply mechanisms in ter the dotcom bust the Fed started lowering rates from a
the market the central banks resort to ―Interest Rate‖ (the high of 6.50% in June 2000 to 1% in June 2003 (as evident
rate at which the central bank lends money to the other from the graph above) and let it remain there for one year
banks). Interest rate is the most important tool through
which the Central Bank exercises control on inflation, in-
vestment, exchange rate and unemployment. A Zero inter-
est rate policy scheme exhibits the initially down trend of
the economy and low confidence which attracts less invest-
ment. Under ZIRP, Central bank maintains ‘Zero‘ or ‗near
Zero‘ percent of interest rate to encourage the investments
in overall economy.
Japan has over the years maintained its interest rate
around 0.5% to 1% & for a brief period it also had nega-
tive nominal interest rates. But the reason for Japan keep- before it started hiking again. Easy availability of credit led
ing the interest rates low was very different to why the to excess liquidity in the market .Credit was given out on
rates are low in US and Europe today. The main reason is very easy terms to people who were not creditworthy, and
that Japan is an export dependent economy and therefore to this fuelled demand which was not sustainable in the long
keep the Yen devalued against all other currencies the in- run.
terest rates have been kept at a very low level. Therefore
the low interest rates in Japan are not mainly because of This poses a very serious question – Will the current ZIRP
the recent credit crises. work or will it again sow the seeds of a future financial
bubble? The Fed has to be utmost careful with regards to
On the other hand interest rates in US were 5.25 %from the money it injects into the system and also monitor how
June 2006 to August 2007 , after which the fed initiated a the money is used. Countries across the globe have been
series of rate cuts and currently the rates are between 0 – injecting a lot of money in the monetary system, designing
0.25%, lowest in the history of America. As the subprime bailout packages for adversely hit industries and providing
crisis started deepening the Fed had no other option but to stimulus packages to get the economy back on track.
cut rates and adopt quantitative easing. The result of all
this is that liquidity, which was the main concern as credit The current situation is akin to a child suffering from over-
had completely dried up in the economic system. Similarly eating - what does the mother do at such times? Feed him
the BOE has also reduced rates from 5.75% in July 2005 to more? That‘s exactly what is happening today! Providing
1% in Feb 2009.Even the ECB (European Central Bank) too much liquidity at very easy terms would be like adding
lowered its rate from 4.25% to 2 % in January 2009. fuel to the fire. ZIRP could be a double edged sword –it
Therefore because of the low nominal interest rates, the might be necessary because of the circumstances but it
real interest needs to be implemented with utmost care and vigil.
Straight from the heart
Sameer Tandon, IT GMay08
He began his journey with a heart full of hope and a de-
But he soon realized that life‟s not a bed of roses
He is trying to make everything fall in place
But he just cannot answer all the questions it poses.
With obstacles aplenty and the waters troubled,
He has nothing to hold onto and he sits alone, huddled.
Picking up the rocks life‟s presenting to him with no
strength at his call,
He is trying to build a bridge but running into the per-
With pieces of his life lying scattered all around him, He‟s paying with his life for that one moment of mad-
He is standing amongst ruins when he wanted to walk ness.
Plunging into the darkness below with no end in sight, Then. Like a flickering candle in the wailing wind,
He is holding onto his life trying to break his own fall. In the blinding shadows he saw a shining beacon of
He is gasping for life, a life he can call his own, His body aches and begs him to stop,
Still fighting a vain fight with unflinching fear. But he is willing enough to put up that one last fight.
A salty streak runs down his face,
He does not know if its sweat or a solitary tear. A glimmer of strength, a trace of hope rises in him,
And it pushes him forward to the final bend, the defining
He looks back at the times gone by, end.
And asks himself one question, why? He wants to feel firm ground beneath his feet and touch
For all he tried to gain in fame and fortitude, the sky,
He lost all he had and all that is left is his solitude. All he wants is to be at peace with himself and let his
Where from does he come and where to does he go?
With nothing to hold up and nothing to show And then suddenly the clouds part above him and on him
His march to glory, is this the path he chose? the sun shines
He now wished to end his tale of unending woes. He wonders if this is the vision for which his heart pines
He takes a step towards his dream and smells the air.
He doesn‟t know what is waiting for him on the other His soul rejuvenates and he knows he is finally there.
He has everywhere to run but nowhere to hide. He remembers the torrid time when he was all by him-
Forced his way out of the river of happiness to the ocean self,
of sadness, But he can at last look forward to love, happiness and
Supply Chains and Value Chain
K S Shastri , Alumni GMBA 2006-07
Often I have been queried as to what exactly I am doing ally to activities that cover every effort in producing and
in my present job after going through a Masters program delivering a final product or service from the supplier‘s
in Supply Chain Management. It was difficult for me to supplier to the customer‘s customer. The primary focus in
explain until I realized that it is the perception regarding supply chains is on the costs and efficiencies of supply
Supply Chain Management that makes it difficult for and the flow of material from various sources to their fi-
them to relate Supply Chain with the organizations‘ Value nal destination. Efficient supply chains reduce costs.
Chain. For most professionals in the logistics business
today, supply chain management means nothing more As you must have noted that a supply chain and a value
than moving goods from A to B quickly and cost effec- chain are complementary views of an extended business
tively. I refer to such a professional as a ―glorified post- set up which drives the flow of products and services in
man‖. Today, there is an urgent need for synchronizing one direction at the same time drives value in the form of
the value chain and the supply chains to optimize our demand and cash flow in the other. Both chains cover the
business performance no matter in which industry we are same network of companies that interact with each other
in. In order to understand the concept better, we need to to provide final goods and services. However, when we
first discuss value and the development of value chain. talk about supply chain, we usually talk about the down-
stream flow of goods and services from the supplier to the
What is ‘value’? customer. Value in the form
Value occurs when cus- of demand and cash flows
tomer needs are satisfied the other way, from the cus-
through an exchange of tomer to the supplier and
products and/or services often goes unnoticed. Thus
for some form of pay- the primary difference be-
ment in return. The de- tween a supply chain and a
gree to which the needs value chain is the fundamen-
that are met, exceed the tal shift in focus from the
price paid in exchange is supplier to the customer.
one objective way that Supply chains focus of sup-
value can be measured. pliers and proceed down-
We can now appreciate stream on integrating activi-
why most corporate ini- ties and processes, improv-
tiatives are about devel- ing efficiencies and reducing
oping awareness of cus- waste, while value chains
tomer needs and values, focus on the costumer needs
and then reengineering and proceed upstream, on
the firm‘s activities and creating value in the eyes of
processes around providing for those needs – accurately the customer.
efficiently and quickly. Michael Porter in 1985 developed
the concept Value Chain in his work ‗Competitive Advan- For organizations to generate maximum value in this rap-
tage‘. Porter defined Value as the customers willingness idly changing environment, they must synchronize the
to pay (amount) for the goods and services a firm pro- flows of supply with the flows of value from customers in
vides. A Value Chain is nothing but a combination of the form that is adapting to changing market demands and
activities, each adding value to the final product. preferences. This can be better understood by taking a
Therefore, the primary focus in the value chain should be holistic view of an entire end to end business process.
on the benefits that accrue to the customers. In this pre- Consider the Ship Management business. Who are our
sent era of outsourcing activities and collaboration among customers? The ship Owners. What are their needs? Sim-
multiple firms, the linkages between the value creating ply put, they need their assets (ships) to make money for
activities are called the ―value chain‖. Effective value them. How do we fulfill their need? By assuring safe and
chains generate profits. reliable operation and maintaining the ships seaworthy at
all times. How do we guarantee that? By adhering to KPI
What is a Supply Chain? targets consistently. Is that easy? Very easy, if that is the
Supply chain is a term now commonly used internation- whole story. However, that is only part of the story. Ad-
hering to KPI targets is easy BUT at what cost? Remem- in return
ber, we are into Ship Management business, and we
have our needs too. We need to sustain and grow in our generate more demand for ourselves and are
business. In order to fulfill our need we must first make also in a position to command higher management fees.
money and secondly, generate more demand. How are Thus value flows upstream from customer‘s customer to
our needs fulfilled? First need – make money - by driv- supplier‘s supplier.
ing a wedge between our customer‘s needs and the costs
for fulfilling the same. Second need – generate more What about our suppliers? Say for example, the man-
demand – by delivering value added services to our cus- ning agencies. Going by the same argument, they too
tomers. need to look beyond just supplying crew to us for a
commission. In order to generate demand for themselves
The role of SCM does not end there. What about our and grow, they need to look beyond their own needs and
customer‘s customers? (The Charterers) What are their their customer‘s needs.No matter which industry or
needs? Maximum utilization of vessel-days, with mini- business, the same argument holds. That‘s what I mean
mum down time and no unexpected off-hires. How do by saying that today there is an urgent need to synchro-
our customers fulfill their customer‘s needs? Do we, as nizing the value chains as much as the supply chains to
managers, have any role to play here? Definitely we optimize our business performance.
have. Do we have to go that far in order to fulfill the
needs of our customer‘s customer. Certainly we do. Watch this space for my next article titled: “Driving
Why? Because in return our customers get higher re- the wedge – through macro-consolidation and mi-
turns in terms of Charter hire rates, and all their assets cro-collaboration”
are fully utilized and busy making money for them. We
We stay online almost 24 hours a day but do we know which websites captured the hearts and the interest of the inter-
net community...here is a list of the websites which garnered a major share of hits online in 2008...
Everyone is talking about Twitter, so what exactly Twitter is? Twitter is a social networking web-
sites wherein you can register and post short messages which could be followed by your network. It
doesn‘t sound some Rocket Science but it has really rocked. Twitter is attracting more and more
users and is now a preferred over blogs by some. Do check out this neat and cool technology @
Hulu has been listed as one of the most innovative website by Times magazine. Hulu is a video host
ing websites which holds series and movies from top networks in US in High Digital formats and
viewers can view these episodes free of cost. Currently available for US subscribers this concept
could be replicated to India wherein we have a huge library of Sas- Bahu sagas J. Check out Hulu at
―The stock market for the rest of us‖ is the tagline of WeSeed.com and it explains the funda behind
this website. A fun, safe and social site that teaches you the basics of the stock market using virtual
shares and fake money. The interface needs some serious work, but the site is still valuable as a
place to hone your trading skills in a fun, risk-free world. http://weseed.com
Picnik is an online photo editing websites. It is a no nonsense website which let you create profes-
sionally looking photos free of cost. It is a good website for amateur photographers and for all the
photo geeks. Check it out at http://www.picnik.com
Manish Mahajan, Batch of 2005-06, Retail Management
Perhaps no one noticed it! Satyam + Raju = Satyam- cash in Maytas book will increase by the amount it
raju. Everyone failed to see the 'yamraj' nestled com- went down in Satyam book due to the buy out. Careful,
fortably in such juxtaposition. boy, this inflated no. is again fictitious, so you need to
tweak other line items to adjust for this swell. Umm
B. Ramalinga Raju chairman and founder and brother let's me see what I can fudge". Raju carefully studies
Rama Raju, Managing Director of Satyam Computer Maytas balance sheet. "Eureka! he ex-
Services has pulled out the most brazen fraud in corpo- claims" (Archimedes turns in his grave). "What needs
rate India's history. Raju should write a book "7 habits to be done is", he speaks in a drawl "the creditors num-
of highly corrupt people" and "How to manipulate fi- ber can be appropriately inflated on the liabilities side
nancial statements". Within hours of the hitting the to balance this swell on the asset side. Revenues would
racks it will become cross world Bestseller and it can need to be jacked up in the P&L (we can tell those in-
usurp Nilekani's ―Imagining India‖ hands down. vestors credit sales have gone up or something). Then
slowly, perhaps after a few quarters we can clean up the
Financial statements (for the uninitiated.. don‘t worry I mess by filling the fictitious cash by actual cash either
am no expert either) are very difficult to understand in from Maytas (though I doubt my son's ability, idiot) or
the first place. Cooking them with ample flavoring of by selling Satyam stake to some PE/FII/DII bumpkin at
condiments for a company of the size of Satyam de- premium.
serves a corporate mis-governance award. Doing that
repeatedly year after year deserves Padma Durbhushan. The curtain falls. As the light dims, we can see Raju
While it's early days to understand the repercussions of strumming his imaginary guitar and head banging on
this 5000 crore deception, I engaged myself with my the song "Money for nothing" by Dire Straits.
friend to figure out the fundamentals of this book cook-
ing. This is what, we surmised, was Raju's game plan. Thunderous applause by the Raju family.
Background: After multiple quarters of bloating num-
bers, the cooking has attained unsustainable propor-
tions. Or someone has unearthed the chicanery and con-
fronted Raju. He decides to act fast
Act 1: Cleaning up Satyam books. He decides to con-
vert his fictitious assets into real assets by a wonderful
stratagem. "I will reduce the fictitious cash on Satyam's
balance sheet by buying out my sons companies Maytas
Properties and Maytas Infrastructure", Raju thinks.
"This way cash will come down to reflect the actual
levels and assets will go up by the same number. All
other line items in the P&L and Cash Flow Statements
accordingly adjusted to reflect this transaction. Satyam
balance sheet cleaned", he grins at himself. Pleased he
selects the song "Raju ban gaya gentleman" from his
Act 2: "Hmmm.. now the mess has been transferred to
Maytas books", a frown breaks on Raju's forehead. "Ok
this is what should be done to clean that mess". "The
How technology is transforming
Venkatesh Sridhar, Batch of 2005-06, IB
I am from the PGDM 05-06 batch. Though I was an In- watch videos that interests you. This is an enormous tool
vestment Banking Management student, I have always in the hands of the marketer. Dell, has a „Twitter ac-
been interested in Marketing; influenced by the geniuses count‟ (Twitter is the most popular micro-blogging ser-
like Steve Jobs, to be honest I love the guy. We were vice which is similar to your status updates on Facebook
taught Marketing by Prof. Kulkarni. Marketing person- but different in that you can engage in conversations.),
ally for me is a lot of fun, because for me marketing has where they offer a special promo code for those who
always been a tool used by businesses to entice and in- follow Dell on twitter. For Dell, it is easy to calculate
fluence customers. the ROI on it. Twitter service is free; those who buy
products would enter the promo code to avail the dis-
You want to learn how to market, how to present, how to count, so Dell knows how many people it reached. Twit-
turnaround a company, how to make your customers sell ter does not charge for its service as of today, maybe
for you, you go and watch the video of one man, one they start charging later on, but in that scenario too it is
legend – Steven Paul Jobs on YouTube. The man is awe- easy to track and see how many saw it and can do all
some! sorts of analysis on it.
Since my livelihood is based on Marketing Technology Closer to home, Mina Seyahi, which runs both the Le
and my inherent love for technology, I have a fair under- Meridian Mina Seyahi and Westin Mina Seyahi is very
standing of its potential and its ability to be a massive much active on Twitter and gives its followers a special
game changer. Today, I will talk about the phenomenon discount for Valentine‘s Day special offers. Plus, when I
of Social Marketing, i.e. using social media tools like updated my twitter status with the news article about an
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Xing, You- outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at Westin Mina
Tube, etc to market your products and services. Seyahi, Mina Seyahi‘s twitter account responded with
the actions that they took and also clarified that Dubai
The opportunity is immense, you may ask why; what‘s Municipality gave Westin a clean chit.
the big deal in social networking sites, which are usually
for passing one‘s time when he/she is bored of work or Khaleej Times joined twitter and asked users,‖ What do
to catch up with his/her friends. The thing is that you you want Khaleej Times to talk about?‖ – Dialogue with
leave a trail there for the owner of the site to see. the customer is important! And such an unedited way to
interact is a double edged sword, be prepared to hear
As a marketer, focus groups, target segments are all ex- more complaints than you might hear praises. The right
tremely important but very difficult to identify and way to look at it is to understand that this conversation
measure the return on it. With the looming recession/ is unfiltered and that you can unearth hidden gems if
depression in front of us, ROI on all sorts of investments you look carefully.
including marketing is going to be very important.
Twitter allows you to trace and analyze what people are
Today, when you look at the total ‗ads spend‘ by major saying about your organization, your product, your ser-
advertising companies the split is highly in favor of TV. vice. When I recommended a particular product to a
Now TV is a very crazy investment to calculate your friend of mine who was looking for a tablet, the product
return on, and you can ask why. TV TRP ratings only I referred immediately started following me and sent me
talk about how many people tuned into the channel and a message thanking me for the referral. The company
cannot tell you how many muted the volume on their TV that I did not recommend also sent me a message asking
sets once ads started rolling. All of us have done it at me why I thought the other product was better.
some point of time or the other. TV advertising is ex-
tremely costly plus no one can do much analysis on who All of this conversation happened inside of 140 charac-
watched the ad, how they felt about it, etc. ters each (twitter imposes a limit of 140 characters per
update) back and forth. Companies were talking to po-
Compare that with Social Media, you are going to be in tential and current customers without paying a bomb for
groups where you have an interest in, or you are going it. And I just talked about one technology.
Let‘s take Facebook‘s example. Facebook ads are loca- campaign tool, a strategy which seems to have
tion based targeted ads, where you get ads relevant to caught the attention of the likes of L K Advani
your location. Recently, Facebook announced that it is in India. That‘s the beauty of the social marketing tools!
going to mine its user‘s data that will help it to target ads
based on the user‘s profile and activity on the website. Imagine doing all this with conventional marketing.
As a marketer, the opportunity is huge, imagine all you That is why I believe that if you are a Marketing major,
need to do is say I want to target customers with the fol- befriend these wonderful technologies to gain an advan-
lowing characteristics and voila Facebook will automati- tage during placements and also during your career, I
cally do that, so I spend effectively and efficiently be- will leave you with one of Steve Jobs favorite quotes,
cause I am spending it on the relevant target segment, ―When people ask me why Apple is focused on innova-
something I cannot do using TV. tion, I am reminded of what the great Hockey (Ice)
player Wayne Gretzky‘s quipped when asked what
That too irrespective of my business size, small or me- makes him a great hockey player, – ‗A good hockey
dium; I definitely gain a lot of ground against the bigger player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player
companies due to this ability to advertise effectively and plays where the puck is going to be. I skate to where the
to a larger audience and not spend a bomb like they puck is going to be, not where it has been.‘
would have to if I were to advertise on TV.
So, I wish you all the best for your program and for your
Are you thinking that it is only for consumer focused placements and remember to differentiate yourself; skate
products and services think again! Barack Obama is to where the puck is going to be not where it has been.
credited with using the social networks as an effective
Thoughts for the day
Anilavo Datta, ITM GMay08
Wikipedia defines Tagline as “a variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and ad-
GMBA defines taglines as: “A space where jobless people write about their feelings so all their friends
A student broadcasting the latest job opening
―Jobs available on NH 8......JD: Spreading nails on A student on the varying grades
Highway to develop competitive advantage for your cli- ―SPJCM grade market is more volatile than the Indian
ent Babloo puncture wala ;)‖ Stock market‖
A Dec‟08 student commenting at the time of his 1st term A student on the current economic crisis
exams ―Never marry an investment…trust me…times are such
―the marginal utility of sleep has increased and i have that even Men are better!‖
upgraded myself to a different indifference curve!!!!!― And also, ―The financial situation is so bad that women
are marrying for love‖
A May‟08 student commenting after her last term
exams: We know current affairs…as well as nursery poems:
"Pad likh kar kya karna hai, Akhir 1 din sabko marna ―Raju Raju, Yes Papa.. Cheating us, No Papa.. Telling
hai, Mar kar bhi agar janam liya, to fir nursery se hi to Lies, No Papa.. Open the balance sheet, HA HA
padhna hai!! So enjoY!!" HA!!! ;)‖
Advice for the novice
―Statutory Warning: Dissertation & Dating do not go
Corporate governance &
Impact of economic crisis on
Sandeep Bhattacharya, VP, ASEAN at Ramco Systems
What is your view on India’s first corporate governance hard work. Chinese professionals sometimes lack good
scam? English speaking skills. In case of Philippines they are
extremely good in English skills and they are also very
This is something damaging to hit the Indian IT indus- good with areas like call centre outsourcing, infrastruc-
try. It took the Indian IT industry 20-25 years to reach ture management etc but they lack sufficient volume and
where it is today. The whole world respects the Indian experience to deliver end to end outsourcing solutions
IT industry and professionals. This has happened with which most customers demand.
Satyam but it would have repercussions for other com-
panies in India as well. Now what we can actually do, What new government and private agencies role you
first of all, is damage control, we have to show that Sat- foresee to prevent such incidents in wake of such a cri-
yam is only an isolated case. The effect is partly in Dol- sis?
lar terms with a larger part being intangible. Then, we
have to work towards rebuilding and regaining trust. We The responsibility lies with the companies as well as
have to demonstrate that good corporate governance is government. It is a shared responsibility. First of all it is
the rule rather than the exception. the company‘s responsibility to put the governance in
place and the way they interact with the external world.
Do you think the Satyam Fiasco will affect Indian soft- This responsibility then drills down to individual em-
ware industry’s brand equity and if so then how will it ployees. To build a reputation takes years of hard work
affect the IT outsourcing spending in India? and to maintain the same is very crucial. The Govern-
ment is the flag bearer of a country‘s reputation, every
The spending may not get affected from a total Indian company is the flag bearer of their own reputation, and
perspective as the choices offered to worldwide custom- every employee is flag bearer of his/her own reputation.
ers are not too many. Because of English language skills Hence the first responsibility lies with the people, then
Indian IT is regarded as one of the best. Even interna- with the company and then the government, in that or-
tional firms like IBM, Accenture who have large deliv- der. If all individuals do their work with correct govern-
ery centres in India and employ thousands of Indians ance such problems will never appear. But there may
portray themselves not as Indian firms but as Global still be a few people who work in a malafide manner;
firms. The customer choices are with these types of hence you need company corporate governance. Addi-
firms. My personal view is that Indian economy would tionally you need public bodies like SEBI to advise, im-
not be affected due to the Satyam incident. There may pose and practice external corporate governance. The
be a set back to IT outsourcing due to the economic government has reacted quickly and has taken the right
downturn but not due to the Satyam incident. The Indian moves to secure customer needs and delivery capabili-
IT software export revenue in 2008 is approx USD 43 ties.
billion and going forward we may see slower growth
rates due to the economic conditions. How has this scam dented the confidence of the client
firms and what steps are being taken by them to miti-
How serious is the threat from emerging outsourcing gate their risks against such setbacks?
hubs like China, Philippines etc. and after this scam
how can India counter, their surge in gaining a share of Client confidence is unlikely to be dented much, as de-
the outsourcing pie? livery capabilities remain intact. The scam was the
handiwork of a few people. The client‘s confidence
Countries like China and Philippines may not be able to usually comes from the people who work for them di-
leverage the Satyam incident. There are certain skills rectly, as it is this group who represent the company. If
which they will need to develop and this takes years of there are people to give long term confidence to the cus-
tomer, the client may continue with same vendor. It is nities to new graduates. Given the current
fairly complex to come out of a long term agreement. Sat- environment, graduates need to look harder
yam has its work cut out with their customer- facing teams and wider to uncover opportunities. Increased
to restore faith in the firm. awareness of SPJCM in the market will cer-
tainly help. Then it is up to the individual
Singapore Economy in current crisis candidate to showcase the value adds they
What steps is the Singapore Government taking to lessen bring to the table as a management graduate.
the effect or pull back the economy from the current cri-
sis? What skills would the employers looking at in prospective
candidates in wake of the current crisis?
Singapore‘s economy is heavily focused on exports and
the worldwide export market has been shrinking signifi- The industry usually looks for product/domain specializa-
cantly and hence Singapore‘s economy has been affected. tions more than generic Finance, IT or Marketing skills
Singapore‘s domestic consumption is comparatively which they assume you have. If you take an Finance they
small. Singapore economic drivers include manufacturing, may look experience with derivatives, swaps, bonds, trad-
BFSI and tourism which contribute a very large percent- ing etc. In IT they may look for experience with SAP,
age of their GDP, both of which have been hit. The effect Oracle, Ramco, Lawson etc. Certain industries look for
of the crisis in Singapore is drastic. Having said that, there language skills. You can also consider pure technical roles
are still certain sectors which are doing well such as Phar- which the industry needs as well as semi technical roles
maceuticals, Healthcare, Oil, Food and Beverage, Educa-
tion, Government and Construction. These sectors are ei- like Pre Sales Consultants, and Business Analysts. For
ther doing steady business or growing. These are the sec- such roles, industry is willing to invest in training. Pure
tors where the growth and jobs are present and the govern- technical roles will help you to develop an industry do-
ment is launching several initiatives to strengthen this. main expertise. Pure Project Management roles are also
Overall Singapore has strong fundamentals and is nimble good to give you an overview of the clients business.
enough to bounce back.
Any other piece of advice you would like share with our
What has been the effect of the crisis on the IT spending readers?
Opportunities exist but they are less in number. You need
Manufacturing is hit badly so Manufacturing IT is also to look harder for them. In the current circumstances it is
affected. Headcounts are shrinking in response to drop- difficult to be choosy, it may be better to take up what is
ping demand. Going forward, IT spending will be heavily on offer from the industry. Build up on your skills during
based on ROI and cost efficiencies. Overall IT spends are the downturn and then you are much better positioned &
either flat or dropping. equipped with experience and skills to take advantage of
growth. Business is always cyclical so for every downturn
How open is the Singapore market now in terms of hiring there will definitely be an upturn. All of us have to work
new graduates? harder in looking for the proverbial silver lining in the
The Singapore market is always open to proving opportu- dark cloud while we wait for the sunshine to come.
Answers to Quizzarium
Jerome Kerviel, who was blamed for Societe Generale's biggest ever trading loss
Wipro and Megasoft
Company Owned, Company Operated
Straight from the heart
Sindhu Holla, SMM GMay08
Dedicated to people who have lost their lives in the terror attacks across the world over all
Why should I die before time? Didn‟t I deserve a dignified death?
I did ask for a quiet place I did complain about world not being a good place
I did demand for peace of mind to live in
I loved to be left alone I did mention that life is not a fair game
Didn‟t I deserve a dignified death? I cried when things didn‟t go the way I wanted them to
I wanted to run away and hide myself in a cocoon
I never favored any caste But when did I say I want to say good bye
I was not a part of any procession So why was I chosen to be killed by them?
I detested people getting slaughtered in the name of Didn‟t I deserve a dignified death??
So where did I go wrong?
The Speaking Tree
Quantity equals quality if you fail a lot!
Sindhu Holla, SMM GMay08
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing
the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he
said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all
those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in
his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the ―quantity‖ group: fifty
pound of pots rated an ―A‖, forty pounds a ―B‖, and so on. Those being
graded on ―quality‖, however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a
perfect one—to get an ―A‖.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of high-
est quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It
seems that while the ―quantity‖ group was busily churning out piles of
work—and learning from their mistakes—the ―quality‖ group had sat
theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for
their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
First Prize - Bhavitya ExcogITation Business Plan
Areez Elavia, Deepak Sharma, Rishi Dixit, GDec08
Team Catalyst from the S P Jain Center of Management, Singapore, comprising of Areez Elavia,
Deepak Sharma, and Rishi Dixit of the Global MBA Dec-08 batch participated in the BhavITva -
ExcogITation Business Plan contest held in SPJIMR, Mumbai, India and won the first prize. In
the process they came ahead of teams from other prominent institutes like IIM Ahmedabad, IIM
Lucknow, SPJIMR, IIFT, JBIMS etc. The competition required teams to submit a business plan
about an innovative/unique software product/service offering which could bring about changes in
the business processes of a particular industry. Team Catalyst chose the retail apparel industry
and gave forward an idea to reduce the waiting time for customer trials by use of 3D imaging and
modeling, letting users view themselves with the clothes on their created 3D models instead of
trying them on physically.
First Prize - The WOMM 2.0 Contest, ISB
Sumit Agarwal & Neha Rajoria, ITM, GMay08 GDec08
It gives us great pleasure in announcing that two of our friends from IT Management May 08 Batch Mr.
Sumit Agarwal and Ms. Neha Rajoria, have been awarded the ―First Prize‖ for this year‘s ‗The
WOMM 2.0 Contest‘. This prestigious contest is organized by the SocialTwist, a unit of Pramati Tech-
nologies and the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, India. This competition provides a platform to
showcase your knowledge and creativity in the Web 2.0 Word of Mouth Marketing space. Our friends
showcased beautifully, a very simple yet powerful concept of ‗Arranged Marriages‘ which are influ-
enced by the ‗Power of Word of Mouth‘. For more details on the contest, check out the following link:
Rising Start Award, CEB
Apurva Chiranewala, ITM, June 07 Batch, SPJCM
On 20th Dec, 2008 Apurva Chiranewala was awarded the "Rising Star" award in
(Corporate Executive Board) CEB. He was competing against several MBA and non-
MBA graduates from top institutes around the world. The "Rising Star" seeks to recog-
nize an individual who embodies CEB values, and is great at executing his responsibili-
ties – super product creation skills, team spirit, and firm citizenship.
Appointed Vice President, Invest
Vishal Rao, Batch of 2006, SPJCM
Invest Northern Ireland, the agency responsible for economic development in Northern Ireland - one
of the four constituent countries within the United Kingdom, has appointed Vishal Rao (Batch of
06) as Vice President, Business Development, for its Indian office. With experience in sales and
market research, Vishal will take the responsibility of creating more awareness about Northern Ire-
land's inherent strengths amongst Indian IT and ITeS businesses.