Three Musketeers Visit Village Schools!

It was a long pending thing. We had to visit few village schools as part of a course project to study the realty of Government Schools. It was not as bad as we thought. With the help from NGOs, they are improving.

For me it was the first visit to an internal village. If I had not taken this course on Social Entrepreneurship, I may have never gone to a village in the near future. It was an amazing experience; or rather an eye opener!

Wonderful people, some really talented children, very helpful teachers and villagers! that is a short brief about my visit to few villages in Hoskote in Bangalore! For a more detailed narration about our visit...please visit


An altogether different experience, different perspective and a different project in the middle of strategic marketing and financial projects...


Book Review : Understanding Digital Marketing by Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones


If you want to know what information overload is, think about online marketing! There are plenty of blogs, books and resources about digital marketing, online marketing and social media marketing. Daring to write another book is a rare thing. Yet I chose to take the book on Understanding Digital Marketing by Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones from library to learn more about digital marketing :)

If you are a person like me who wants to have all the information under one umbrella, this book is right for you. Also a word of caution - if you are a pro in online marketing, this book may not be for you.

I liked the book and its worth reading!

The book gives a good coverage of all aspects of digital marketing starting from good web design to online PR and interactive media.

One area I felt, the authors could have spent more time was on analytics. For example, it just touches the topics of A/B testing or web optimizer without giving much insight.

The chapter on Email Marketing is really nice; the one on social media needs improvement; considering the information available on social media is too much; I believe its OK :) A nice introductory chapter on affiliate marketing is also provided; however I felt it could have been also much better.

Though the book has its own blah blah gyaan, I felt this is one of the books that give some real insight or at least good knowledge bank for a new comer to the world of digital marketing! worth reading....

Book Review : Effective Proposal Writing by Vasudev Murthy



One good thing about studying one of the best B Schools is you get the opportunity to hear directly from in horse's mouth in many courses. Elements of Management Consulting is one of those electives I took this quarter and Prof. Vasudev Murthy is the instructor.
Can consulting skills be taught in a class?

NO was the emphatic answer given by the professor on the first day of the course. But few soft skills, best practices and valuable tools can be taught in class rooms. The book Effective Proposal Writing by Vasudev Murthy serves that purpose.

Very lucidly written, the book provides some good insights into written business communication.The most important part I liked in this book were the two example proposals provided. The chapter on 'Organization of a proposal' is also nicely written and worth it!

Some of the other useful things I got from reading this book were the concept of fog index and proposal checklist provided. The internet resources provided in the book are also worth viewing.

Overall a good book for a practitioner.

Can I buy some time???

One quarter gets over....before the time we submit all my due assignments and projects, the next starts...

I think someone should discover how I can buy some time ;) Q6 is over. It was an interesting quarter with most of the subjects being slightly philosophical! I got the opportunity to visit some village schools(more about that in a later post), work on two industry projects, take some career realted aptitude tests and listen to few social activists like Nikhil Dey, Vasimalai et al. who have shaken this country. I also got the opportunity to listen to our former president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and sit very near to him! The best celebrity I have met in IIM Bangalore so far.
One grade has already come and so far that is my highest ever!(3.91/4). So happy! I have been worrying for sometime since my CGPA had been consistently in a downward slope; in this quarter I am expecting it to stall to a flat level.

Fortunately, it is December, the grant holiday season!. So I believe I will be able to buy some time :) I am not going home and planning to invest time in studies, exploring etc. - see how dedicated I am? :P

I have been reading so many books these days since I am exploring new domains of marketing in office and exploring interest areas for final project....so expect lots of book reviews soon!

Closing this post by sharing with all of you an interesting talk by Daniel Pink on the science of motivation.

Marketing Communications - A Sneak Preview

This elective opens the door to a plethora of career options. Each topic in this domain is so vast that you can select further individual courses for many of them. My intention here is not to write in detail about the intricacies of this domain.

Irrespective of whether you are in B2B or B2C, marketing communications play a vital - how else it could have become one of the 4Ps! Promotion has taken a very important role that many a times other Ps are forgotten or not given equal importance. On a lighter note, read about similar finding in IBM CMO Study

If you studied Marketing 101 or you are in this field, I am sure you could not have missed the phrase - 'Integrated Marketing Communications'. As I understand, IMC is nothing but utilizing all the marketing channels in a comprehensive, mutually complementing fashion at an optimal cost. Gone are the days when print ads or television ads alone were enough; the channels to reach the end user has exploded so much that not only can one ignore other channels but have to be very vigilant in utilizing them.

Thus it essentially revolves around one P of the 4Ps - Promotion.One may think that IMC is all about promotion. However IMC plays its role in branding and also pave way to managing the challenges like marketing expenses accountability, rapid improvements in technology and other developments like increased importance of database, internet and social media marketing.

Major promotional tools include, but not limited to the following:

  • Advertising (Good old advertising techniques, role of ad agencies, metrics, media buying etc.)
  • Direct Marketing (Database marketing, telemarketing, direct ads, collateral etc.)
  • Interactive Marketing (Internet marketing, mutimedia/interactive media)
  • Sales Promotions (coupons, discounts, psychology behind influencing buying behavior etc.)
  • Public Relations (Publicity, role of PR firms - remember Radia tapes, if you are in India ;) )
  • Personal Selling

In a single MBA level course in Marketing Communications, one will get the opportunity to get a flavor of each one of these. There are few universities that offer Masters level courses in IMC alone which deep dive into each one of these. A look into the detailed curiculum of such courses gives you a better understanding of what MC is all about. A couple of courses I came across:

Northwestern University's Masters Program
West Virginia University's Masters Program
A comprehensive list available @ Grad Schools

Limiting IMC to just to promotion won't be fair. It plays an important role in a firm's marketing strategies, branding and pricing. Communications happen at three levels:

  • Corporate (The Vision, Mission, Image etc.)
  • Product/Services Marketing(4 Ps)
  • Marketing Communications
In a course like Marketing Communications, we learn two aspects - creative strategy(the creative side) and media strategy (the platform for execution)
Few important articels that touchbase important concepts in Marketing Communications:

FCB Grid (Foote, Cone and Belding) [A nice illustration available here]
Elaboration Likelihood Model (details)
Rossiter-Percy Model (details)

Concept of Effective Frequency and Effective Reach
Importance of Word of Mouth (a nice article)

A good article on the role of ad agencies in IMC. Understanding the role of ad agencies and how it works is an important take away from this course.

I know, I was not able to clearly articulate what all you will learn in this subject; but hey! my intention is just to give a sneak preview; it is difficult to capture all that you learn in a 30 hours course or a course where you spend 18 months :)

I hope this post helped.... Please provide your comments!

Book Review: New Venture Creation

New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century by Jeffry Timmons & Stephen Spinelli was the prescribed text for my elective course on Entrepreneurship. Frankly speaking, the case studies, class notes and discussions were more than enough for the course. Since I like reading books, I made sure that I read the book even if it is after the exams :)


To be short, a nice book covering all aspects that one should know with respect to starting one's own company. The most interesting things that I liked in this book were the exercises that help you to understand yourself how much ready are you to start on own. I agree these exercises require at most patience to complete and guidance; but they were worth doing!

More than the chapters, the cases and appendices were more helpful. At times, the book goes well into a theoretical format which is of no use for practical purposes.

Also, I felt the chapters on Financing and Venture Capital could have included more details. For a course, it is a nice book; but can't be a ready reckoner for practical purposes! Also I didn't find a companion site or a web site from which I can download the exercises and templates. If any of you find it, please comment!

Quarter 6 - A wonderful beginning!


Half way through the journey of PGSEM; this quarter I decided to stay completely away from Finance subjects! Once again I took four subjects - 3 of them are taught by celebrated Professors in IIMB.

Time flies just like that; already 1/3rd of the quarter is over. Things are getting heated up with projects, assignments, events etc. etc. I have taken two Entrepreneurship related courses this quarter - New Venture Creation and Social Entrepreneurship. The third one is close to my heart (or rather work ;) ) - B2B Market Management. With learning all these new subjects on Finance, Marketing, Strategy - career dilemma is obvious and so in order to tackle it, I took a course on career management(read because I thought it will be a light-weight course :P)

This quarter is going to be tough with multiple projects in each course and other extra curricular. Its clearly evident in this blog itself with reduced number of posts these days. Meanwhile I take this opportunity to thank all readers of this blog.The blog has reached its viewership of ~11000 views from around 92 countries/territories as per Google Analytics!






Today Vista 2011 has started. It my second edition. Only PGSEMers get the fortune of attending/organizing it for 3 times ;) Visit http://www.iimb-vista.com/index.php for more details

Quarter 5 - A retrospective

So far the fastest quarter in PGSEM. After a month's break, this quarter started in a very lazy mood; by the time I was active, it got over!

Struggling with four 3 credits course, with two demanding courses and one very demanding Professor, this quarter was a bullet train. The beginning of the quarter witnessed many crisis management, debates and altercations in the context of some events we organized, later a wonderful cultural night organized by the new batch.With this quarter, I am confident that I can read any case and make a presentation within 10 minutes! Irony was for a project in which we spent hour less nights, we got only a fair evaluation; while for a presentation we made within 1/2 hour @ 12AM because of other submissions, we got appreciation unimaginable! Strange world or is it the cliche 'only quality matters; not the quantity" :P

After lots of thoughts, I decided to contest in the elections for Students' Council and I am now the elected Secretary of PGSEM Students' Affairs Council! Its a huge responsibility and I believe it is a good opportunity to organize, plan and implement many of my ideas and improve my leadership skills ;)

Meanwhile results for 2 subjects are already out and the situation in this front are not improving :( Ironically in quarter 6 also I have four subjects!

Book Review : Advertising and Promotion


Marketing Communications was one of my first elective courses. Advertising and Promotion by George E Belch, Michael A Belch and Keyor Purani was the course textbook.

To be honest, the usage of the text book was very limited since the course reading material and the insights from the Professor was enough. Backed with the new work profile, the textbook looked so theoretical :P

The book contents is very extensive covering all aspects of integrated marketing communications beginning with a strong foundation on IMC. The coverage given in the text book for budgeting is interesting. It also gives a good view about ad agencies and its working and compensation; but I felt a more practical approach could have been even better.

A good coverage is given for creative strategy and media planning. The book also touches upon other topics like supporting media, personal selling and direct selling. The coverage for PR and Corporate Adverting is minimal and the coverage about digital advertising is poor.

The most interesting feature included in the book is the career profile applicable in various chapters :) Also make sure you visit the companion website.

Overallan OK OK book :)

time flies fast!

Just 3 weeks of classes left for 5th quarter to finish!!

This quarter seem to be the most hectic one among the quarters so far. I guess its because of the RAMBO effect :) I noticed I have slept only for 5 hours in the last 60 hours! Our final project in a course called consumer behavior is over. We were the unfortunate group to have both project and case presentation scheduled back to back. That meant 45%+ marks at stake in just two days!

Fortunately, we didn't get a blast for both the presentations from the Professor. For the first one, he said...."good presentation....in fact I had pushed this group to rework in the last minute; but they came back very vigorously!" LOL and for the second presentation..."excellent...good insights and amount of effort put in!"  Overall I felt, the time spent was worth it! It was literally pushing your limits in the last week.

So many more submissions in the next three weeks....I also noticed I have complete gone out of the radar of extra curricular these days! time just flies...

Eximius - The Entrepreneurship Summit of IIM Bangalore is coming. I wish I had participated in some of the competitions; atleast I will attend the talks and workshops...

Book Review : Positioning, the battle for your mind

A classic! 

Positioning The battle for your mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout is a must read for any marketer. The book has been there for 30 year now :)

Positioning is one of the concept that is stressed alot in marketing curiculum these days. This book gives a raw view on what the authors meant when they first conceptualized it. This is a holygrail, the concepts which have been explained, re-explained, built on by many others. Some of the key things that attracted me are below (For a new age student like me, at first glance it may look obvious :)).

Actually, there is no point in writing summary for a book like this!

- Positioning is creating a place in one's mind
- Once it is created, its very difficult to change
- If there is a strong competitior who has already created a differentiated position, its is next to impossible to change it; instead find the gap and fill it
- If your value proposition is unique, it doesn't matter whether you are first to market or not
- Name of the product should align with your positioning
- What worked for the leader may not work for you



and many more...

If you get the old copy of the book, you may not be able to comprehend the examples they are talking about since they are so old. The irony though is many brands they took as good examples are no more in business :)
Try getting the new copy with comments from the authors themselves. They have given comments on what they thought while selecting the brand and how the latest technological or cultural changes are applicable.

Some reviews available on net:

http://www.techiteasy.org/2008/10/29/book-review-positioning-the-battle-for-your-mind-part-3/

http://www.themarketess.com/2011/02/book-review-positioning-the-battle-for-your-mind/

drenched under deep water....

When I wrote a demotivating post in this blog, I wished I will never write one again. I am afraid that will continue...but hey! who said B School is only about the media hyped encounters and how else can an experience be memorable without having both sorts. So far this quarter has been the most hectic one. When my seniors said it will be suicidal attempt if you are taking Consumer Behavior along with 3 other courses, I took it lightly. Now I am rethinking did I take their advice lightly ;)

Last quarter saw the lowest grades I can get; or more is waiting me....only time will tell! From As to Cs, the transition was very smooth :P And the GPA is continuing its downward slope ;) Fifth quarter is no different with quiz marks starting at pathetic single digits like 1s and 2s....only respite is the topper is getting only 4 and 5 ;)

Is the extra curricular activities to be blamed or is it the office or is it my laziness! Obviously not the last one :P And to aggravate all these, had to face a lot of criticisms for the events in which I was part of the organizing team; the unfortunate part is that those who doesn't have any rights to criticize are on the other side....but again hey! are these the real learning from a B School or for that matter any school! Sometimes, I think should I be part of any of these; should I just go there attend the wisdom of professors and come back to study....sometimes I reinforce my self that that is not the only thing you should care about as I wrote in one of my first posts ;)

By the way, all these have motivated to goto library and take a book by Prof. Srikumar Rao. I will write a review soon .

A number of events are lined up in IIMB like eximius, vista and also we have to plan for some of our own events...not sure how much time will I get to participate in all these...

Till next post....enjoy some of the other blogs of new PGSEMers:


And quarter 5 begins with a bang...

First year and core courses over! Over to 2nd year with just those subjects that I really like... (really?)
This quarter, I have taken 4 subjects, two marketing, one finance and one slightly technical. Two marketing subjects are more or less focused in B2C segment - consumer behavior and marketing communications. We already had our first quiz in CB. I heard alot about the Prof; but thought, what marketing without learning CB. Lately, coming to understand what this blogger meant when he called the prof Rambo :) Marketing Communications professor is cool; once again we have heavy weight-age to class participation and fixed seating arrangement - once again became an official back bencher! We are already established negotiators :P we changed her mind to make the quizzes announced instead of surprise!

I am not sure why I took a finance subject, I have taken Investments; first two classes were not impressive. My intention was I will become a good trader after this course :P (oh yeah, I struggled alot in CorpFin and got a C!)

Last subject is Telecom Strategy. Back to engineering days; but this time its more economics and strategy of communication. I hope we will spend some time in 2G spectrum saga also ;) The prof is good. Apparently he is also in some of the well know committees that are in the recent news :)

Another very enthusiastic PGSEM batch has joined and we are no more first years...that means my future mba life blog posts will be unique - possibly more inclined towards marketing and strategy. However all other aspects remain unchanged.

We have some issues to sort out that popped out during orientation of new batch :) These are instances where you learn the real crisis management, mold yourself to receive criticisms, some constructive some just demotivating!

Now that we are in 2nd year, we have to drive all the activities which are legacy to PGSEMers. That means increased responsibility, at the same time improved opportunities. Whether I will be an active participant in all the extra curricular activities?....only time will tell!

Book Review : Social Media Metrics By Jim Sterne

One of the best books I have read on social media!

It doesn't talk about what a blog is or what twitter is or general blah blah on how to tweet, when tweet or blog frequency. Though the book touches on all these aspects, the book takes an altogether different approach of making sense in real value from these. That of course is in terms of increased prospects or sales leads or actual sales!

More or less like AIDA model, the author Jim Sterne talks about following phases for a meaningful success in social media:

1. Getting focused - Identifying the goals
2. Getting Attention - Reaching audience
3. Getting Respect - Identifying influence
                                   4. Getting Emotional - Recognizing sentiment
                                   5. Getting Response - Triggering action
                                   6. Getting Message - Hearing conversation
                                   7. Getting Results - Driving business outcomes
                                   8. Getting Buy-In - Convincing colleagues
                                   9. Getting Ahead - Seeing the future

Some of the topics where he discussed about twitter, the importance of retweets, measurement of blog-personnel-resource were really good. At the same time I felt the author was going into a blah blah mode when he was discussing Convincing colleagues.

The resources given in the appendix are really good. Overall I enjoyed reading the book! Was handy for some of work requirements too....

we are seniors!

We welcomed the 14th batch of PGSEM on Friday. Once again I got the opportunity to stay in hostel even if it was just for 3 days.

This time, the orientation was scheduled for complete 3 days because of the CSITM workshop. Though I didn't expect to see many new students at 7 AM on Friday, I was proved wrong with atleast 10 people already present before I reached campus! After initial hiccups, we got the hostel keys and asked them to assemble at auditorium. Slightly different from our orientation, we started with very formal presentations introducing them to IIMB, PGSEM and other nuisances of the courses. After some presentations, question & answer sessions and registration processes, we dispersed. Later the day was followed by a session by Prof. Agrawal, Inauguration & an alumni session. The alumni session was really interesting even for us :)

A late night with lots of games; we allowed them to go back to hostel with lot of things to prepare by 12 AM. This was because CSITM workshop organizers wanted us to leave them early so that it will not affect them....hmm

Majority of Saturday was CSITM workshop....later we got hold of the juniors :) Some hours of outbound activities and later some running around the campus :) Again we allowed them to go early back to hostel than what our seniors allowed us!!

A wonderful session on case study was the show-stealer on Sunday with a quick closing function since we started loosing audience exponentially :) Did we make them stretch too much? ;) :p

That marks my first year of MBA complete. Now just electives...will miss the core courses not because of subject content, but more because all 75 of us were together! Now onwards, we will in different classes attending different subjects!

Book Review: Your Marketing Sucks By Mark Stevens

The title attracted me to pick up this book from the campus library. Even though the title was attractive, the book was not so. Some of the topics he covers are worth reading. I got a feeling that he is just coining a term 'extreme marketing' for effective marketing.

Some of the ideas like 'every dollar spend on marketing should yield more than a dollar in sales'  and 'marketers just try to imitate competitors' are stressed in the book. At some points, I felt the book sucks! especially the examples given about IBM, infomercials etc

Overall, just a one time read!

I came across a good summary of the book. I believe reading that is enough!

http://dotconnectorblog.com/favorite-ideas-from-your-marketing-sucks-by-mark-stevens/

Interesting quotes from classrooms - I

Whether I pay attention to what is being taught in the class or not, I pay attention to all the interesting dialogues from professors and keep a note of it :)

Here are some of them that I noted down over past one year @ IIMB. Some are funny, some need the context to understand, some I still don't understand and some are thought provoking....


Microeconomics Professor: You can bring anything to the exam hall; its an open book test, but those may not have anything to do with the test!

Microeconomics Professor: If you are not good in maths; don't worry. Einstein was also not; If you are good in maths, you are mediocre :p

Microeconomics Professor: I am giving you an empty threat - exam will be tough; what is my payoff?

FINAC Professor: We will learn GAAP completely including Games All Accountants Play

Statistics Professor: "Finally, it's a stat exam. What's the worst that can happen? Your score is a random variable. Have a good time!"

"In India, even if you are a one in a million kind of guy,there are a thousand more just like you!!" - Courtesy: Prof. Shankar Venkatgiri, IIMB

OB Professor, "Contracts are like bikinis; they show all  exciting parts, yet cover all critical parts!"

MANAC Professor (after postponing a mid term), "I felt happy to see some of you enjoying the cultural program thoroughly. I felt  I would have done a great mistake if I had kept the exam on Sunday. As  professors we not only perform through you all, but also enjoy through you all."

Entrepreneurship Professor, "I am not here to hear you intellectual masturbation; give some viable solution!"

Law Professor(mocking cyber wing): Police may even take printer & power cord; you never know where the evidence of a cyber crimer is :p

QM Professor: Visualizing in higher dimensions take years, you can add 1 dimension in 10 years; now I can visualize in 4th dimension!

OB Professor: Our five year plans are masterpieces of fiction!

OB Professor: If you can get into a PSU, even six of you can get into an ambassador :p

OB Professor: Why is the AC not working in this class? I thought only Government is bankrupt; has IIM also become bankrupt?

CorpFin Professor: I am a humorless plain person; I guess money make all in this profession so!

CorpFin Professor: At 11:45, the doors will be closed because I have a concentration retention disorder and people coming into class after I start is distracting for me!

CorpFin Professor (recalling an old joke during his IIM days):

   Professor: Good Morning Class
   IIMC Students: Good Morning Sir!
   IIMB Students: Good Morning yaaawn..
   IIMA Students: will write down it in their notebooks :p

OB Professor: For the next 10 weeks, you are stuck with me; I am stuck with you, so lets make the best use of it!

OM Professor (after giving a 'get out!' for using mobile phone): I am sorry; I run my class like a Hitler!

OB Professor: Genes matter; Childhood matters; Environment matters; But ultimately, you matters the most!

Strategy Professor: Presentations should convey insights not how much work and effort you have put in!! (not exact words)

For the second part, read Interesting quotes from classrooms - II

40% MBA

YES!!

First year of PGSEM is over with the submission of last assignment pending. An eventful year, a turning point or whatever you call it; it was wonderful!

Next one month is a break from hectic weekends, classes, assignments and exams :)

Days passes by very fast; A year back this time was also eventful, first with a waiting list, then a long pause with crossed fingers and finally IIMB opening its doors for me.

Looking back, I have learn t 13 subjects, attended or closely worked with 16 professors, wrote 20+ exams, 10+ projects, 20+ quizzes and many heated discussions & simulation games.

Do I remember all that I learn t so far or will I apply whatever learn t so far? A big NO!!

But the knowledge that was imparted to us will be helpful one day or another for sure. A typical example being - I am using some of the concepts that I learn t in marketing & strategy classes in my current role @ office. That is one of the best things one can get. I was unfortunate with that so far since I joined software development, while I learnt for four years about electrical engineering during my under graduate days.

Now with just electives left and having a decent grade to get any elective I want (of course, provided I maintain my grades), I believe I will be able to enjoy more the classes in the coming months!

I worked with 4 set of people so far - 

1) those who with the best brains and top in everything 
2) those with the best brains and never use it unless they really like to apply it
3) those who never feel dejected and keep trying to be at the top
4) those who doesn't care whatever be the case!

Some of the myths were broken in the first year such as (again it is just my personal opinion):

- The majority are normal guys who works hard even in the best IIMs
- Not all faculty will be the best even in top B Schools
- MBA is not easy; Getting there is only half way, the remaining half is even tougher
- Finance is dry; All go just behind money. Otherwise why didn't all these engineers didn't take B Com or some other finance major for their under graduation
- HR is not that boring as portrayed
- Even though managing corporations effectively and inefficiencies in bureaucracy and hierarchy are taught in these schools, it is still a bureaucratic government organization


Overall a memorable year. I enjoyed the following 3 subjects the most:

- Managing Organizations
- Principles of Marketing
- Strategic Management

Quarter 4: A Retrospective

I know I have been keeping away from this blog for a very long time. The number of posts had dipped. This quarter was the craziest and I hated it to the highest extend possible. The last week of this quarter is fast approaching.And I am left with 2 case submissions, 2 projects, a quiz and 3 exams!! If fortunate, a surprise quiz too.

My CGPA has started behaving like a sine wave with consistent ups & dips. I am sure this quarter it will be a huge dip like stock market crashes :(

Finally decided to say bye bye to Finance though have taken an elective in next quarter :) I am not sure why I am 'finance' challenged! I studied only corporate finance this quarter so far and I am struggling hell a lot there!

Organizational Behavior has been a free ride so far; I hope it will be the same when it comes to end term also :) I have no idea what Operations Management is, so many theoretical terms and I am sure I will struggle there also irrespective how much ever time I spend there.

In terms of learning, I enjoyed the corporate finance as subject; OB was interesting when some psychology related topics were discussed, but later it became very boring....I enjoyed the simulation games in Operations Management classes :P

Overall, a pathetic quarter. No events in the campus though we had started planning for next batch's orientation.

Waiting eagerly to get the end term exams get over :P and enjoy a month's break :)

Book Review : Principles of Corporate Finance

 A wonderful theoretical book! I really liked the extra things available as part of the book more (CD, the online resources & links) :P
The books really talks in a nice fashion. No doubts why it has been famous for years!

 Personally, some of the things I felt lacking are solved problems. Even though there are quizzes with answers for every chapter; I feel a need of more solved problems or at least answers to the Practice Questions. If you can get somehow the solutions; its the best book you can get even for a complete self study.

 Make sure you visit all the web resources given in the book & also the CD. They are truly valuable! Overall the book covers every basic concepts of Corporate Finance and well the concept of time value of money and other very basic foundational concepts.

If you are planning a career in finance or are a finance enthusiast, corporate finance is one of the most fundamental subjects and this book is a treasure indeed

one by one leaves fall...

Its the right time to listen to 'One by One' by Enya. So many adios, so many good byes some we will not see again some we will surely!

"One by one my leaves fall.
One by one my tales are told."



Last couple of weeks have been good bye time in office, campus and where not...
Another batch in graduating on March 31; its happy at the same time sad that a set of seniors who helped us a lot will be leaving us soon; happy in a sense soon we will be the seniors to the next batch :)

Yesterday was the graduation dinner put forth by the batch for professors and families. It was a nice one! In office also it has been good bye team including mine. I will miss a couple of my colleagues for sure. The new team looks to be great, lots of change in work culture, domain & nature of work! I hope this will be a break through in my career :)

Another sad thing happened this week was the sad demise of one our most sought after professors in IIM, Prof.Thiru. I wasn't fortunate enough to sit in his class; he was an authority in Marketing discipline which makes me even sad :(

over to marketing!

2010 -> 2011
EGL -> Manayata
Engineer -> Manager :P
Coding -> Marketing!

Yes I decided to change my career direction drastically and a couple of managers were kind enough to provide me an opportunity also. I am not sure whether this is the right direction, only time will tell!

I will be working in the goto market team for a segment of products in requirements & quality management domains. So i can write a little bit on that experience also going forward!

By the way, this quarter is pathetic. The OB subject is very vague. I thought I will learn some psychology and coach many people :P But looks like to read that book itself, I need a coach! I have been seriously doubting nowadays I am I that mathematically challenged? I am not liking any of the finance subjects! The professor for corporate finance is good, a person who held high level positions in the industry turned an academician. Operations Management professor is in his world, we are in a level apart :P

This quarter will be interesting with no mid term exams as such, but only with lots of assignment and projects. Soon I guess I will start saying exams are good!

Quarter 3 - A Retrospective

This quarter was the fastest so far and most hectic!

Four subjects, some of them being very attractive high-fi-turned dullest ones and some other good old ones. Principles of Marketing was one of the most awaited subjects and it didn't dissappoint me at all. The professor was too good with all fun, in-class excercises and case studies. We got the bible of marketing - Kotler :) and the professor was also special in a sense she was a disciple of Kotler during Phd :p

 The subject I hated the most in this quarter was Operations Research. I don't know why, the subject seemed to me interesting in the beginning; may be Prof ;) The approach of the professor was very different. He wanted to build the basics, but it went to high mathematical stuffs! So I was completely lost and ended up in  a 'C' grade ;)

Another subject from accounting, this time a better one Managerial Accounting. We were able to relate it to old engineering days. All about production, costs, budgeting, so on and so forth...The professor was very senior. I liked hearing from him about his professional experiences rather than the concepts :)  With him, already 3 professors who have authored various books that is being followed in B Schools have already taught me!

The last one was Law. I wished I will be a geek in law arguing whatever I can from a legal perspective. But I was disappointed. The professor just opened the door to a never-ending world of laws and legal systems. I got a basic understanding of how our legal system works, the Constitution, so on and so forth. The guest lectures were amazing.

Thats pretty much a gist of what we had in Q4!

crisis management

It has been days since i have written a post in the blog. Last few weeks were extremely busy ones with lots of work at office, assignments & projects at IIM. Now that 3rd quarter is over, I believe I can spend time in blogging :)

This quarter was hectic with four subjects which included some vague ones. I will write about third quarter in a different post.

So far one of the most important skills in which I improved is crisis management :p
With 5 project submissions, this quarter peaked in testing one's ability to manage time, patience and crisis. The beauty of group projects is that you learn more than in class if you are doing the project sincerely. For each and everything, there will be four opinions, four suggestions and obviously reaching a common ground is tough. There will be free-runners and there will be worker ants. Often, one's role gets switched. And automatically, this will become an issue in the group as you might have guessed rightly!

With no reduction in work pressure and obligations to family, there is no wonder you will become a great crisis manager!

Next quarter starts on March 11. There are some changes in my role at work also.
So combined, it will be a roller-coaster ride in the next quarter. Meanwhile, behind the scene work has started for 2011 batch orientation has started and also there is going to be a conference on IT during orientation. It also includes a research paper presentation event. For more information visit:

http://www.iimb.ernet.in/centres/software-mgt/upcoming-events

arbit CP

Well, its a well know acronym in B-Schools - Arbitrary Class Participation. For those who are not familiar, let me give a brief idea about it. Usually in IIMs, case method is followed for teaching. It is definitely the pedagogy for subjects in Strategy and Marketing. In these courses, you will be given a case for each class which you are supposed to read, analyze and put forth your suggestions while it is discussed in the class. This is class participation and it carries some weight age for grading. However, many a times it goes in the opposite direction, with participants discussing for the sake of discussing!

Its a fun thing to hear to peers discussing enthusiastlically about anything and everything that you teach in class :) All these guys seem to be 'a pro' in whatever is taught in the class.


For a back bench-er (I am forced because of my name) like me, the chances of even an arbit CP is bleak let alone the actual participation. But somehow I find chances here and there to make my point during case discussions.

Nowadays, I have even fallen victim of arbit CP :p, the latest one being disagreeing about a movie review discussed during a marketing class. Now you know how arbitrary the 'arbit CP' can go! You are left with no other option if the course caries quarter of its weight-age to class participation; of course it also depends on whether you really want grades or not! But you never know, that 20 marks may be the deciding factor that changes you from a 'C' to 'B' grade.

Below is are two links that talks about 'CP' - one a positive note and another a comical portrayal.

Art of CP, Rashmi Bansal

ArbitCP Cult

Book Review : Plain Truths About Investments By Debashis Basu

MBAs study about investments @ institutional levels. So you need to learn also about personal investments. A friend of mine thought so :) Hence he presented me this book. It was a light book; so easy to finish fast.

Well, talking about the book, I would recommend only if you don't know anything about investing or you are a youngster who is going to just start thinking about savings and investing.

I felt the first half to be plain truths in blah blah.... The section on Stocks seemed to me to be worth reading. Overall, for the price of the book, I feel its OK to spend. The author covers sections on:

Mutual Funds
Stocks
Fixed Income Instruments
Non-traditional Investments




If you have noticed, I have used an affiliate of flipkart here like Amazon. Nice!
In terms of MBA jargon, they are a cloner, I guess :)

A SME Visit

Yesterday was a nice day! We visited an SME(Small and Medium Enterprise). We are doing a project on a silk saree manufacturing firm as part of the Managerial Accounting course. After years, I visited a factory. It was amazing to see how a saree in created from raw silk. I felt software coding is easy :)

Its a good experience that we can see all that we learn in production and management accounting classes even if it is at a micro level enterprise. I was astonished when I heard the facts on margins the actual manufactures take and what the so called 'middle men' like whole sales and retailers take. No wonder the middle men are called a necessary evil in the value chain!

We are planning to apply some of the concepts we learnt so far in the Management Accounting classes and hopefully will suggest some useful improvements to the firm :)

Its 100% true that you cannot learn all from texts, you have to experience it! Not only we try to apply the learning in the class, we are understanding a new industry. I never thought making sarees in this process oriented :) or rather I would have never thought in such terms...we just buy...right? ;)

Introduction to Operations Research

Operations Research is considered to be a foundation subject for Production and Operations Management. Though that is the case the application of OR is wide ranging from Computer Science to Finance to Engineering to ...

As per wikipedia,  

operations research, is an interdisciplinary mathematical science that focuses on the effective use of technology by organizations. In contrast, many other science & engineering disciplines focus on technology giving secondary considerations to its use.

Linear Programming, Transportation & Assignment Problems, Network Flows and Non Linear Programming are some of the areas in Operations Research.

I found the subject to be interesting, but little tough and its hard to explain or have some notes in a single post. Hence I am providing some of the links to the most simple, helpful and preservable resources available in the net.


Video Lectures:


Fundamentals of Operations Research By Prof. G. Srinivasan, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras

Advanced Operations Research By Prof. G. Srinivasan, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras


Lecture Notes:

Practical Optimization: A Gentle Introduction By Prof. John W. Chinneck,
Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University


Linear Programming: Foundations and Extensions By Robert J. Vanderbei

Course Notes By Prof. Rudi Pendavingh, Eindhoven University of Technology

If you are inclined more towards geometrical interpretations, following resources will help:


Introduction to Convex Optimization, MIT Openware Course

Video Course on Convex Optimizations:

Convex Optimization I By Professor Stephen Boyd, Stanford University

Convex Optimization II By Professor Stephen Boyd, Stanford University


Reference Books:


An Introduction to Operations Research by Hillier & Lieberman

Operations Research: An Introduction By Hamdy A. Taha

Book Review : An Introduction to Operations Research by Hillier & Lieberman

A classic book for an introduction to the subject. That is clearly evident from the 40+ years that have passed since this book was published first.

All the concepts are explained very lucidly with good examples. This book covers everything from the basics to the non linear programming and at an introductory level the topics on forecasting and decision making.

The CD is a very valuable resource and the OR tutor is really good. Though a lot of other animations and applets are easily available on the net.

The book covers in depth the simplex method and also introduces other topics like application of PERT, game theory etc. A book that can be used for more than a term!

The CD comes with some extra solved problems. But I expected a lot more considering this book exists for decades! Also this book lacks coverage of any of the geometrical interpretations of linear programming.

Overall, a book that can be preserved for life time!

Don't forget to go through the CD and the Student Resources @
http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0070600929/student_view0/index.html

Unmaad 2011



Finally, a cultural festival @ IIMB!!!
Unmaad, the cultural fest of IIMB is happening from Jan 21-23. I am excited to see all the fun and performances ;)

2010: A year that was...

2010 was one of the important years in my life! It started with lots of frustration in work, fights with managers on various issues and a January that I eagerly waited for a good CAT result. Unfortunately, I didn't get any calls and that was the point when I felt totally helpless!

However, the month of March changed everything with IIMB giving an interview call, though I was still pinched in work. I was happy and the interview went well. But, the final result was again a 'too near, yet too far' with I ending up in the waiting list. The waiting list for PGSEM rarely changes and hence I started preparing again for CAT 2010!! However the good news came in the 3rd week of May(just a week to start the classes) that finally IIMB has opened gates for me!!

8 months have passed by now. I have learn t already 10 subjects, attended a couple of business festivals, helped organizing events and attended lots of so called 'industry talks'. I will be able to grasp some of the aspects in the annual reports of companies, discuss authoritatively on the fiscal & monetary policies :p and strategies of companies and do an industry analysis!

I can forecast roughly anything since everything follows a normal distribution(side effects of the subject on probability & statistics :) ) and mentor managers on the importance of organizational structure, culture & behavior!

Two more years of gyaan on management & business and hopefully by then I will become equipped to become a good business leader :)

I hope you all enjoy reading the posts in this blog. Please provide your valuable comments...

Wish you all a happy new year!