Dec 4, 2016

Introduction to Ford Global Data Insights and Analytics - Dr Anil Maddulapalli, GM, Ford Global

We at MBA, IIT Kanpur were lucky to host Dr. Anil Maddulapalli, General Manager, Ford Global, Data Insights and Analytics team, Chennai for a small session on ‘Introduction to Ford Global Data Insights and Analytics’.
Dr. Anil talked about various areas where analytics is being used by Ford to improve efficiency across the value chain including processes ranging from inbound logistics to after sales services, thereby enhancing overall customer experience.
He started with Analysis of Supplier footprint and went on to discuss the applications of analytics in financial risk assessment (Ford Credit and Enterprise Risk), Customer Analysis – for streamlining the customer demands and market supplies, Advanced Operational Analysis – for sustainability and autonomous vehicle research, Smart Mobility Analysis – for enabling connectivity and mobile solutions etc.
After sharing with us the work done at Ford on analytics he opened the session for discussions and solved the queries of students and faculties alike. It was an immensely insightful session for us in getting a brief understanding about use of analytics in Ford. 




Nov 9, 2016

Tips from Top- "Recent trends, Opportunities & Management of human capital in Retail businesses in India." Mr Naveen Prakash, AGM- Corporate Talent Acquisition, Spencer's Retail

Mr Naveen Prakash, AGM, Corporate Talent Acquisition at one of India’s largest retail chain – Spencer’s Retail, visited the IME department for a talk on Recent Trends and Opportunities in the Management of Retail Businesses in India.
Mr Prakash started the talk with an introduction to the retail market in India. With a total size of USD 530 billion, 47% of the market is urban, out of which 31% is modernized, while only 3% is modernized in rural India. The potential is to grow to USD 800 billion by 2017, with an even split between urban and rural areas and three fold growth of modern retail in rural areas. This is the kind of potential the modern retail business holds in India. Also apparel, furniture, jewelry and medicine have been the fastest growing sectors in retail.
Within the retail business, Mr Prakash told the students that it is the repeat customers who actually drive the revenues, and the aim of Spencer’s is to focus on this segment. The driving idea behind the firm’s efforts is to bring to the consumers those products that are inconvenient to find anywhere else. He apprised about how building preference has been the aim of Spencer’s and not merely profitability, for it will be a definite outcome if preference has been built.
Mr Prakash acquainted us about the importance of understanding the psycho-graphics of customers and making strategies accordingly. As an example he related to the audience about Spencer’s smaller sized “hyper stores” in many localities instead of a few big ones, for providing convenience that the Indian people majorly look for when shopping for grocery and other day to day items.
Another aspect which was discussed was less profitability in food products as compared to non-food products.  But nonetheless, to maintain brand positioning, Spencer’s has been putting majorly food products in their smaller stores.
Talking about the scenario of retail business on the whole, Mr Prakash mentioned the importance of increased efficiency of back end operations to the overall profitability. Also, since delivering absolutely everything to everyone was not feasible, targeted marketing becomes crucial. In order to create awareness of the offerings, tapping omni-channel i.e. both online and offline channels necessary as well as curtailing the losses in the back end is a must.
Mr Prakash concluded with briefing about the importance of noticeably understanding and implanting a single strategy that the firm wants to go for, be it selling volumes or capturing market share or any other. He parted with a message to the students about the huge potential in this sector a relatively low threat due to the large size of untapped market and opportunities of growth.

Nov 7, 2016

Tips from Top - "Management of agro business and key challanges faced" by Mr Mihir Mohanta, GM, Mother Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables division

Tips from Top organised a seminar by Mr. Mihir Mohanta, GM, Mother Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables Division. The Topic of the seminar was “Management of Agro Businesses in India – A Key Perspective”.
Mr. Mohanta started the seminar giving a brief about challenges faced in supply chain management during planning, costing, implementing, physical movement of goods from one place to another, etc. This was cemented through an example of horticulture train, an endeavour by the Government of India. The train that was considered to be a boon for transportation of food and vegetables was marred by lack of planning, ignorance in demand estimation, and inconvenience in loading on part of farmers.
Further talking about the F&V industry, Mr. Mohanta briefed us that although footfall of customers is soaring in this sector, but the risk to return ratio is very low. Reasons being fruits and vegetables are perishable items, have price volatility, and have uncertain demand. Also the supply chain is marred by factors such as seasonality, cyclicity and climate.
Mr Mohanta further stated that India is one of the highest producers of many F&Vs in the world but is unable to capitalize on this opportunity due to low processing rates of the items. India produces fruits and vegetables in superior quantity and variety. Yet people have access to only a minute proportion of it due to the inefficient storage facility and logistics. In a gist traditional logistics is still not completely efficient in transportation of goods. Also the cold storage facilities available in India are fragmented. Some of these options are costlier and hence can inflate the price of the commodity. Innovation and research in this area is the need of the hour.
The other adversity faced by F&V industry in India as per Mr Mohanta is the gap between prices paid to the farmers and the market price of items. This exists due to the lack of uniformity in the markets and market offerings in India.
The government plans to increase the engagement of small and marginal farmers through social reforms. However, it should understand that the engagement of farmers can be increased by understanding the demand of the consumers. The consumer demand is about quality, variety, convenience, etc. The government must try to bridge this gap.
 The other issue discussed is that of proper planning of harvest. India reports to have more than 30% of harvest losses. Yet the farmers have not been able to develop the means of incorporating ideas to reduce the losses.
The session ended with an insightful video on how Mother Dairy is working in the ground level with the farmers to rip the benefits of modern agricultural sciences and supply chain as well. It was indeed a knowledge gaining session about the various aspects of supply chain specifically pertaining to Indian Agriculture.

Oct 24, 2016

Tips from Top - Emerging trends and advancements in the healthcare industry, Mr Biten Kathrani, Director, R&D, Boston Scientific

Mr Biten Kishore Kathrani, Director, R&D department for Asia, Middle East and Africa (AME
A) at Boston Scientific, visited IME department for a talk on “Emerging trends and advancements in the healthcare industry.” The session turned out to be extremely insightful and the audience got a lot of valuable inputs about the field of healthcare as well as the nuances of how business is done in the industry, the opportunities and the challenges that were pertinent in the industry.
Mr Kathrani began the seminar with an introduction of Boston Scientific as a company, its core values and the massive range of medical technologies that it offered. He discussed about the Indian office of Boston Scientific, its full-fledged facility with R&D along with an Advanced Science institute for surgeons training on the cutting edge technology.
There was also a brief discussion on the changing nature of healthcare industry from being a patient centric model to a transaction centric model, and with the advancement in technology, again a shift in trend to becoming patient centric. But with it arises plethora of issues to be addressed, one of them being the lack of understanding of people upon the monetization of digital services and their reluctance to pay for it.
Mr Kathrani also talked about 4As– Affordability, Awareness, Accessibility and Adaptability, which are indispensable for the industry. Out of these, the focus on Affordability – with a skewed perspective meaning “being cheap”, has led to neglect of the remaining three A’s, which in turn led to a loss of affordability as well.
There are two major shifts happening in the healthcare industry currently: decentralization – shift of delivering healthcare in hospitals to the patient’s home; and reduction in invasiveness of every relevant procedure – from making massive openings to lacerations to the use of nanotechnology for targeted delivery of medicine.
Talking of the trends in India, Mr Kathrani said that the industry is at around $90 billion with a CAGR of 15%, and it holds major potential. He related this to the growing middle class world over, and that is where the real opportunities lies as these are the people who want value based innovation to address their needs.
There was also a brief discussion about the 5 stage process followed for a successful company in healthcare sector. The stages are - Identify, Innovate, Design, Manufacture, and Deliver. The role of customer segmentation is pivotal in all the stages. Following the steps of these stages, a successful methodology for Biodesign process would be- Identify, Invent and Implement. 
Talking of challenges, Mr Kathrani said growing number of diseases, low hospital bed to patient ratio and physician to patient ratio, less prevalence of insurance cover, and the patient’s reluctance to access healthcare services were major challenges; while the key issues were cost, adapting to the market, digital innovation, and regulations & compliance.
The session ended after some discussion on the nitty-gritties of the healthcare industry and some issues it faced.



Oct 12, 2016

"People: Plug and Play?" - An article by Saikat Chatterjee (Student 2015-17 Batch)


We often talk about Motivation, Engagement, Stress and Conflict Management. These are trending issues in HR today and if we look closely most of them have a negative origin. People are frustrated at work, switching jobs, actively disengaged, not motivated, not satisfied, highly stressed and the list continues. But why? Is it a new trend in the global workforce or is it something else? Is it really an individual issue or it has its root somewhere else? Why we don't look at the human inventory management practices at organizational,social and national level and critically analyze if the problem is with the parts or its usage? People are more flexible to fit in situations compared to assembly hardware but how far? Can our education system and training workshops really convert iron ores to pure gold? It is time to think about it. We talk about stepping outside of comfort zone and taking up new challenges. But we often ignore the fact that the motivation to take up new challenges (achievement need) and the commitment thereafter come from within (Intrinsic motivation) not from what the external environment wants out of us. Why don't we look again closely and find the great use of iron ores in a different set of activities (perhaps more useful than gold in some context).Why don't we stop making random experiments with our precious inventory and properly catalog them according to their best usage? Why don't we scan the seed and put it in right kind of soils to help it grow organically? We don't want the terms like stress, frustration, disengagement and conflict to be the trends in HR practices, HR starts with human and it will come first, always and every-time.

Oct 5, 2016

Prabandhan (Pragyan) - Analytics in todays world, Ms Sridevi Vadapalli, Senior Practice Lead, Infosys

Pragyan- the guest lecture series of the IME Department, IIT Kanpur, organised under the umbrella of Prabandhan’16, witnessed an array of informative seminars delivered by some of the greatest personalities from all over India. One of the guest lectures on ‘Analytics in today’s world’ was delivered by Ms. Sridevi Vadapalli, an M.Sc in Statistics from the University of Hyderabad and having around 15 years of experience in analytics across industries like BFSI, Retail / CPG and manufacturing. Her experience includes indulgence in industries like Text mining, Market basket analysis, Cross sell, Upsell, Churn model, Web analytics etc. She presently heads customer and marketing analytics and operational analytics for FSI clients.

Ms. Sridevi commenced the lecture by explaining the importance of historical data via a real life example. Our present-day decisions become biased based on the already existing data with us. All in all, analytics is about analyzing the historical data, finding patterns in it and making use of those insights for future references. Analytics has had a roller coaster journey throughout its inception. It is about mining the data and then theorizing upon the insights, i.e. letting the data speak for itself!
Analytics has evolved from the descriptive model (reacting post occurrence of an incident) to analyzing previous data to a diagnostic model (questioning the occurrences to make arrangements for future consequences) - this is how the predictive model evolved- which is used by majority of the industries. Ms. Sridevi’s initial focus was on predictive analysis only. She also talked about how real time analysis in possible today due to the discovery and present-day-boom of big data. For example, pattern discovery and web analysis is done to evaluate the time spent on the internet by users around the globe.

Ms. Sridevi’s next part of the lecture threw light on what Infosys has in its bag to offer in the field of analytics. She talked about customer insights (web-based segmentation), customer profitability (providing differentiated services to the customers), attrition analysis (customers that leave you), transnational behavior analysis, loyalty analysis, campaign analysis, marketing promotion and social & web analysis. She also explained as to why attrition is a crucial factor, reason being that making a new customer is costlier than regaining or retaining an old one. On the importance of campaign analysis, she explained about the expenditure on campaigns for different loyalty levels of customers.
Ms. Sridevi discussed about uplift modeling, also known as incremental modeling, which is a predictive modelling technique that directly models the incremental impact of a treatment (such as a direct marketing action) on an individual's behavior.

She covered topics like operational analytics, risk and compliance analytics, customer life cycle, web analytics, predicting web path (market basket analysis algorithm). She also introduced us to the newer methods used nowadays- uplift modelling, machine learning, Markov’s chain (which tells us that our current position decides our next position), continuous learning, factorial design and survival analysis.

Lastly she talked about the latest telematics techniques namely social media, real time analysis, image analytics (for frauds), drone data analytics, electronic gadgets data.

Ms. Sridevi kept the lecture an enthusiastic two-way interaction introduced us to a whole new world of analytics with several dimensions which couldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Oct 4, 2016

Prabandhan - 2016 ('Pragyan') - 'Trends in Private Wealth Management - Banking' by Mr. Anshul Garg (Director and V.P., Centrum Capital)

Mr. Anshul Garg, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur (MBA batch of 2005-07), currently the Director and V.P. at Centrum Capital Ltd, delivered a seminar on Banking and Finance as a part of ‘Pragyan’ during 'Prabandhan - 2016' . The following are the excerpts from this interactive session.
The discussion spanned across banking scenario in India, technology in banking and future scope in finance. As told by him, the motivation behind a career in banking is the fact that presently out of $5600 billion wealth in India; only $250 billion is actually in investment which he told implied a huge scope for wealth management and investment. However, building up mathematical and quantitative skills remains vital to work in this area.

He further threw some light on the tasks of wealth managers. One of the key tasks included assessing the product mix of companies and striking an ideal balance. He also explained some of the risks involved in working in the niche banking roles by providing the example of 2007-08 financial melt down. This also brought about the discussion of ethics and fraud currently prevailing in the industry.
Moving on to technology he talked about the new trend: ‘Fin tech’, which he predicted to be still in an emerging stage and purported that its impacts would be observed sometime in the future. Currently what can be seen is the emergence of account-less banking system brought about by ‘Paytm‘ and the likes of it. He stated that he perceives them as a threat to the conventional banking system. Further in the area of credit worthiness, technology is helping out in quick assessment by taking aid of S.M.S. information. Over the years technology acquisition has become cheaper. Banks are now utilizing this to reach out to a wider audience. He also predicted that bio-metrics and other identity verification systems would rope in rural masses as they make processes simpler.
Mr. Garg went on to answer further questions posed on revenue models of payment banks, competition regulation by government in banking and the importance of analytics in finance. He closed the seminar by providing insights on how cash flow is becoming the tool for credit rating and the fact that we are currently the beta testers for the technology which will eventually be aiding the rural population and the masses in the long run.

Prabandhan (Pragyan) - Start ups and Digital Marketing by Mr Sheraz Saeed(Cofounder, Websters)

Prabandhan 2016 organized Pragyan, the guest lecture series of IME Department, IIT Kanpur. The series was kick-started by Mr. Sheraz Saeed, Founder of Websters. Websters is a Dubai based social media company started in 2011 and specialized in web designing and digital marketing. It is a part of SoftAge Information Technology Ltd.

Mr. Saeed gave a seminar on “Start ups and Digital Marketing”. Giving a brief overview about himself Mr. Saeed mentioned how during his final year at BITS Pilani, Dubai campus he saw a requirement for web services in the Dubai market and from initially beginning as a freelancer he founded Websters, which offers a range of dedicated social media services along with other digital assistance in web development, app development, social media management, analytics, digital marketing etc.

Mr Saeed engaged the audience by probing about some start-up ideas. To the passionate budding entrepreneurs who had such ideas and the audience in general, he gave an interesting trivia, of discussing an idea with a group of friends on whom you could rely on for feedback before converting it into a business plan. He also encouraged some of the students to proceed with their ideas and work towards bringing it to the light of the day. Further he advised those keen to have their start-ups to always keep founders with different skill sets and at the same time have an eagle’s view of the entire initiative.


Dwelling further on the topic of start-ups, he mentioned an exorbitant number of start-ups do not recognize ‘need’ and sweat relentlessly on solving a problem that does not exist. He also cited this as being one of the reasons behind the failure of many start-ups after a small stint.  Mr. Saeed also emphasized on the pioneer versus follower strategy in marketing, by providing an example from the e-commerce sector in Dubai. The small and new entrants learned from the mistakes of giant players like Cobone and Groupon and differentiated themselves to become stiff competitors. Thus it is important to push forward the right and required needs into the market.

Moving onto the topic of digital marketing, which also happens to be Mr. Saeed’s area of expertise, evident from his clientele of big names like Zee, Dubai government etc, he shared with us exciting examples where digital marketing was instrumental in garnering millions of eyeballs. He gave examples like the post of one of the Zomato’s co-founder, Oreo’s post after a few seconds of power cut at Super Bowl XLVII etc. Mr Saeed also insisted on not entirely focusing on search engine optimization, but evaluating the investment in paid apps and likes , and also imperative is the creativity in digital marketing, thinking different and utilizing unseen opportunities to stay ahead in game.


The session was a lesson on introspection before jumping on the start-up bandwagon and how digital marketing is changing the marketing landscape with its vitality felt in the sustenance of any company worth its salt.

Prabandhan(Pragyan) - A talk by Mr Sourav Shah, Head Digital Marketing & CRM, Jubilant food works

The second day of Prabandhan witnessed a seminar by Mr. Sourav Shah (Head Digital
Marketing and CRM,  Jubilant Foodworks) as part of the guest lecture series Pragyan. The prime
emphasis was upon Digital Marketing- A key perspective and future.
The seminar began with some interesting and insightful discussion on the Digital adoption rate
vis a vis the traditional media like TV, print media, telephone etc and it was concluded that
digital media had seen a far greater adoption rate than any other. Sir strongly emphasized that
going digital was the way to go for present and future marketers and it would be the most crucial medium and competition platform for business. Being innovative and proactive in the digital
space would be quintessential for competitive advantage very soon if not already. Sir bolstered
this argument with several examples such as Whats-app, Facebook, smartphones etc each of
which had offered unique value propositions and were being adopted at a rapid pace not just by
people but also by businesses.
Sir cited the case of an insurance company which despite having a relatively lower share in the
conventional agent based insurance market managed to create a niche for itself in the "term
plan" insurance by taking and promoting it online. Within a period of two years the insurer
became the largest insurer in the Indian digital space. This was made possible by exploiting the
reluctance of conventional insurance agents in selling "term plans" & combined with some smart
digital marketing to improve the reach to the customer; and the results had been overwhelming.
Sir extended the discussion into the cost effectiveness of digital marketing over conventional
marketing. The equivalent effect of a traditional TV advertisement costing billions could be
generated by systematic online target marketing in merely one hundredth of the cost. Sir added
however that unlike traditional marketing media, digital marketing worked mostly on the pull
mechanism and thus thrived on creativity and innovation to reach the target audience.
Talking about the scope of digital market in India, he indicated that the number of internet users
in India was 462 million while the internet penetration was only 30 percent. This gave immense
virgin opportunities to companies like Facebook and Google who had also been seen competing
to launch & Internet.Org and & Loon projects in India.
Sir apprised us that the presence in digital space was exceptionally vital for any company. Even
if the selling channel of a company was not online, its presence in the digital space in the form
of reviews, websites, social media etc had become an integral part of its existence. S.E.O.,
S.M.O., S.E.M., YouTube, emails were some of the digital marketing tools discussed with each
one being equally significant.
 In context of Domino's, he updated us that through the use of digital medium Domino's had
been able to increase its target base, reach customers in a much more significant manner,
increase its brand equity and also track and optimize the business through the use of analytics.
The job of digital marketer was about reaching the significant audience. 
Sir concluded the lecture by citing various live examples of smart digital marketing which were
unequivocally applauded by the audience. The seminar was a great learning experience wherein students got various insights on marketing media and channels of digital media and
their roles in brand promotion.

Oct 3, 2016

Pragyan - Prabandhan 2016: Talk on “Digital Marketing and Disruption in Finance” by Mr Manish Agarwal, Senior Vice President – Digital marketing & Innovation, Kotak Mahindra Bank

‘Prabandhan – 2016’ presents ‘Pragyan’, the guest lecture series of IME department, IIT Kanpur.
The second seminar of the series by Mr Manish Agarwal, Senior Vice President – Digital marketing & Innovation, Kotak Mahindra Bank, focused on “Digital Marketing and Disruption in Finance”. In an enlightening seminar, he talked about the changing trend in marketing from traditional to the digital marketing where technology plays the pivotal role. He enlisted three critical dimensions which are driving this paradigm shift, namely: Hyper Adoption, Digital Disruption and Customer Experience. These three dimensions are changing the entire marketing arena which has now become an end to end process. To drive the point home, sir gave the example of Tesla motors, which launched a new model in April 2016 and within 36 hours they received about 400 thousand bookings even before its industrial production had begun. This indicated the power of digital marketing.
He purported that the digital infrastructure in India was growing rapidly and the number of smart phone users in India shall cross the 650 million mark by 2019. He praised the developments in digital arena, relevant to Banking and Finance sector in India, and talked about the IMPS service which he dubbed as the best in the world! He told that ‘presence’ on the digital platform has become the top agenda for incumbents across all sectors, including the Banking and Finance sector. He stressed on the fact that the regulatory changes are continuously becoming more facilitative with inclusion of innovative tools and services like ‘Aadhaar-EKYC’. 
He laid emphasis on the need to continuously re-invent oneself, and talked about how disruption shall be the place where money shall exist in future. The technological developments as told by sir shall involve the masses and cover the majority of population in near future. He said this prediction is based on the increased willingness of the current consumers to adopt new technology and their readiness to switch to ‘pure-play digital banking services’.
He ended this enlightening session by giving a brief about Kotak’s legendary digital journey, and provided useful insights to the audience regarding the current developments and future visions of the company.

Useful References:






Sep 28, 2016

Tips from Top - Consulting as Career, A talk by Mr Amit Singh (Director, PwC) & Ms Shalina Bhatia (Associate Director, PwC)

Everyone has an idea about the world of consulting but only few are aware of what it actually is. To allay our doubts and provide a glimpse into it we had Mr. Amit Singh (Director, PwC) and Ms. Shalina Bhaita (Associate Director, PwC), who visited our campus for a session on Consulting and consulting to government bodies in particular.  Initially Mr. Amit gave us a brief introduction about PwC, its working and about the Smart city Project of Government of India to which he is closely associated.
 During his talk Mr. Singh emphasized on the skill set required for a consultant. The first among them was mentioned as the ability to learn and unlearn quickly. And for that one must read to stay relevant and contextual.  Further he mentioned how this must be complemented with peer to peer learning, with emphasis on learning not just from acquaintances but also from surroundings. Another prerequisite for a consultant was mentioned by Mr. Singh as building a good network of people with focus on long term relationships rather than short term benefits. He also mentioned the importance of perpetually staying ahead in the learning curve by gaining knowledge continually. Another paramount term about working effectively as a consultant was mentioned as the “Voice of Customer”, which implies gaining perspective from each stakeholder before reaching to a solution.  
Mr. Singh enlightened us to a dilemma faced by consultants, of choosing between being a specialist and a generalist.  Specialists have irreplaceable domain specific knowledge and generalists have a bird’s eye view about multiple domains. Mr. Singh along with Ms. Bhatia led us through a consulting exercise, where they put forth a problem that had been posed to them by their client. Making us put our thinking caps about all the possible challenges which might crop up and finding solutions for them, they shared an interesting insight- that technology no doubt can be a game changer but sometimes the need of the hour might be to think beyond that, as technology cannot be the panacea of all ills.
Mr Singh and Ms. Bhatia were also benign in sharing with us valuable insights about their current area of work- Smart City Project and indulged in answering the queries the students had regarding the same. The Questions ranged from- definition of a smart city, criteria for selecting a smart city, employment creations, financial viability, tourism potential, etc. Answering these questions, the speakers stated how definition for a smart city varies across countries. However in the Indian context the Ministry of Urban Development defines smart city as one with smart utilities, smart governance, and smart economy along with smarter people.
Cities being the center of all economic activities have a pull for people aspiring better lifestyle. With Urbanization in India being about 32% and a sizable amount of population shifting to urban cities, this could lead to crippling the resources in existing cities, and hence a need for new cities which are well planned and equipped with world class amenities. There was also a discussion about the Smart Pole project that was implemented in Bhopal for making the city street lighting system a revenue generating source.
The speakers gave an enlightening and engrossing session with great insights about how consulting firms are doing their part in nation building, by working today to create a better tomorrow.

Sep 25, 2016

Tips from Top - Seminar on Advanced Analytics by Mr Siddhartha Roy(GM Advanced Analytics & Cognitive Solutions, IBM)

The morning of 24th September started with a thought provoking session, when Mr. Siddhartha Roy, General Manager, Advanced Analytics & Cognitive Solutions at IBM, visited IME Department of IIT Kanpur for a session on Advanced Analytics, Big Data and recent trends. An alumnus of IIT Kanpur, Mr. Roy started  by defining consulting as a guiding force for thinking right  in order to bring out best solution for a set of defined problems. Talking about ‘data’, he said it has both quantitative and qualitative parts, and knowing how both of these match is the key to understanding it.
Mr. Roy mentioned how every problem or case starts as a nebulous one. To emphasis his point and to impart an approach to students for tackling real life business problems, he carried out an interesting activity by dividing the students into groups and presenting them with a problem faced by a certain company having dipping market share of its products. With the required focus on the market metrics used to analyse the data, each group presented their approach towards solving the case. After all the groups presented, Mr. Roy explained about use of four core metrics in analysis, which was certainly a great insight for the students.

Diving into the technicalities, Mr. Roy talked about data analytics being used for finding relationship between cause and effect which has wide applications in the field of direct marketing, forecasting, identifying critical influencing drivers and segmentation. He talked about the tools used for analytics such as R, SAS, gretl, MS Excel, Hadoop, python, etc.
Mr. Roy talked about continuum of advanced analytics which includes Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive analytics. Talking about the phenomenal growth of analytics and its usage in the business world, he mentioned about data analytics being used in surveys, tapping into transnational data, social media, and marketing. Mr. Roy further illustrated on how something conventionally thought of as an unrelated factor can have a huge impact such as weather can actually affect sales and businesses as a whole.
From the business point of view, behind all the jargon's, the essence of analytics boils down to making and saving money. It was interesting to know how big names like P&G, Amazon, Google, Netflix use data analytics on an extensive scale to leverage their competitive advantage and base critical decisions on the results obtained from such studies. Moving into an era of competitive analytics, Mr. Roy gave examples from the business world of P&G and Walmart using analytics for supply chain and consumer behavior, MCI using data analytics for networking and pricing, etc.
Mr Roy, a true expert in the field, parted with some pearls of wisdom by advising those interested in analytics to pursue it passionately, as this path can be unforgiving and requires one to keep learning, keeping the inquisitive child alive and letting the creative juices to flow.

Sep 23, 2016

Tips from Top: Corporate roles and career in consulting - a key perspective, Mr Himanshu Verma (Lead HR, IT Consulting Services, KPMG)

“How to become a ‘leader- across all levels’? How to generate confidence for providing solutions to a myriad of problems? And not only that, how does one proactively simulate problems, solving them even before they occur, and step ahead in the learning curve?” These are some of the intriguing questions that were raised and were very efficiently answered today, by a very young and dynamic persona; Mr. Himanshu Verma (Lead HR, IT Consulting Services, KPMG) when he delivered an enlightening seminar on ‘Corporate roles and career in consulting, a key perspective’ while addressing an audience of MBA students at IIT Kanpur.

Mr. Verma began by defining the two terms: ‘consulting’ and ‘consultant’. He stated that consulting can be understood as a process of not only giving solutions but also creating (simulating) problems proactively, in order to get efficient solutions beforehand. According to sir, a ‘consultant’ is not just a job role; it’s a breed of people with relevant domain knowledge, with a mindset to analyse thoughts and with a capability to arrive at useful conclusions. In that sense we are surrounded with consultants, including our parents, doctors, lawyers and people from all walks of life. The key for success here being, the ability to perform the role, perpetually and progressively; learning and innovating at every stage.

Sir candidly listed and lucidly explained few key traits that budding managers can inculcate in order to achieve unprecedented success in not only the field of consulting, but across various fields. First and foremost being the ‘Theory of Questioning’, the zeal towards asking relevant ‘self-questions’ and finding the answers via introspection. Sir emphasized the importance of this by giving an example of children below the age of 6 years, who ask more than hundred questions per day and as a result their learning graph is very high as compared to the elders. According to sir, the power of questioning can help in increasing one’s experience and knowledge base. When performed on a daily basis, this has the potential to provide all answers in life!      

Moving forward, Sir talked about the golden concept of 'polymorphism'. In the context of consulting, it can be understood as the ability to provide what is actually good for clients, but in a manner that also looks good to them. This according to sir can be achieved by developing a flexible mindset and ability to connect the dots, which in turn are attained by asking relevant self questions and categorizing the thoughts sequentially. Sir advised students to improvise and evolve continuously because nobody is perfect and it’s always a pursuit to perfection!

Last but certainly not the least, Sir talked about the significance of effective time management.  According to him, and rightly so, this is the soul of all concepts for managers. Sir suggested that performing SWOT analysis on an individual level and allocating a good part of time daily for self-development can help in structuring the valuable resource of 24 hours productively. This when followed with an ardor to think different, can provide a vital edge and can indeed lead one to become a ‘leader all across’!  The breed that doesn’t follow trends but sets them!  

Sep 12, 2016

Tips from Top: Business Intelligence and Analytics, Mr Manish Menon (Manager, Business Technology, ZS Associates)

Mr. Manish Menon, Business Technology Manager at ZS Associates, visited IIT Kanpur campus on 11th September. The topic of the seminar was Business Intelligence and Analytics.
The seminar began with how analytics affects every walk of our life: from taxi aggregating service Ola, e-commerce giant Amazon, superstores like Walmart, to healthcare services such as Apple Health Kit. Mr. Menon elaborated on the shifting focus of analytics over the years from “what to do with data and where to get the data from?” to “how impactful can we make it?”
Mr. Menon talked about the evolution of analytics from centralised passive reporting, periodic monitoring and data warehouse to decentralization, active experimentation, advanced use cases and data lakes.
He also emphasized on a pragmatic saying – “fail fast so as to recover quickly, learn the lesson, and move on to other projects”.
Mr. Menon discussed how the growing trend of cloud computing and storage of huge quantities of data on remote locations might not be as much of a fail-safe and fool-proof idea as the general perception was turning to be because of varied concerns like security.
He also briefed us about what stages or steps advanced analytics entails to arrive at a solution. These include- descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analysis. Descriptive analysis deals with “what has happened” and thus includes business intelligence and dashboards, Diagnostic answers “why it has happened” using model fitting and data mining, Predictive helps us to formulate “Will it happen” through forecasting and statistical prediction and last is Prescriptive which mentions the future course of action or “what should we do” using optimization models.  Mr. Menon emphasised on the role of analyst’s intellect and intelligence on each and every stage of analytics, using certain pragmatic examples. The icing on the cake was a case study task for the students, which invoked active participation from the enthusiastic audience. It gave hands-on experience on using appropriate analytic analysis’ stages while approaching the problem.
There was also a brief introduction about the various analytics tools available that are also being used in corporate. He emphasised on how the key to a successful analytics project is to ask the right question! Furthermore he gave guidance on approaching an analytics problem. He also recommended certain books that he reckoned would help in streamlining the thought process. 
Mr Menon ended the enlightening session with-
“If you don’t pursue your passion as your work, you will end up in a job and not a career!” 

Sep 7, 2016

Tips from Top - Big Data Analytics, Mr. Sanjay Sharma (MD, Accenture; Data Science Lead)



The fundamental requirement in corporate is not only about survival but about thriving in chaos. Thriving in chaos and not letting oneself be unnerved leads to growth. Targeting the sunrise opportunities, learning continuously and evolving perpetually were some of the insightful learnings from Mr. Sanjay Sharma (Managing Director, Accenture; Data Science Lead – India), who was at IIT Kanpur, MBA for a seminar on “Big Data Analytics”.
Mr. Sharma simplified the definition of Big Data and gave a generic definition for us to understand. According to him, Big Data is collection of unstructured data to derive useful information out of it for making decisions. According to him the huge amount of data available has generated the need for Big Data Architecture. For example Banks need to maintain a lot of data due to rules, regulations and requirement of customers. A lot of querying on this data is necessary to generate information out of it. This is where cloud computing and distributed computing comes into the picture. According to Mr. Sharma the need for Big Data analysis arises because unlike small data that has more signals and less noise the big data has less signal and more amount of noise. Hence processing of this data becomes necessary to fetch useful information..
He stressed that working with data analytics, a person should always think from a business perspective and not from data perspective since it is the business that drives an organization, data only assists in it.  
Further elaborating the scope of SAS and R in data analytics, he explained that SAS being licensed software, it is used in industry where security and trust is of utmost importance and R being open source tool and its ease to connect with Spark has led to R being widely used in industry.
Furthermore he also stressed that analytics as a career requires an appetite for coding and programming. Doing MBA specialization in Data Analytics helps to get insights about the business perspective. However, the technical know how is also a must.
According to Mr. Sharma the next big thing in analytics is going to be in operations where data processing, information management, visualization, predictive analysis would be required. Citing an example from the aviation industry, he said that tracking information from the regular operation of an aircraft, the company can prioritize the maintenance of a particular dysfunctional part instead of the overall maintenance.
Talking about career prospects, Mr. Sharma said that a person should always strive to search for sunrise opportunity. However, if a person is passionate about his aspirations than irrespective of the growth in that industry, he should follow his heart. The session came to an end with the students discussing about scope of data analytics and how they can plan their future in Data analytics.

Sep 3, 2016

Tips from Top, Digital Marketing – A Key Perspective by Mr Vikash Kumar and Mr. Mohit Goel (Trident Ltd)

Mr Vikash Kumar, Chief Digital Officer at Trident Group India Ltd, visited the IME department at IIT Kanpur along with his colleague Mr Mohit Goel, GM at Digital Trident, on the 3rd of September, 2016. Talking about the changing scenario of digital marketing and the challenges and opportunities that it poses for today’s marketing managers, he shared his insights as the Chief Digital Officer of the textile giant Trident India Ltd, about the marketing and branding strategies being followed in the current scenario.

Mr Kumar stressed upon keeping the session as informal and interactive as possible, making it into a dialogue rather than a one-way lecture. He started with defining digital marketing as a medium that provides two way flow of information or communication on world wide web.
He emphasized on how the rapidly changing world of digital marketing has made textbook knowledge insufficient, and further emphasized the importance of learning on the job, staying unique, and believing in one’s own capabilities. Mr Kumar said a wonderful line that “If you don’t ask a question, the answer is always no”, which was also his formula for kick starting his own career as a manager at Trident. He helped us in relating the issues that textile giants like Trident Ltd faced when trying to make the switch from B2B to B2C market. 

There was also a detailed discussion about how “touch & feel” of the product plays an important role in deciding consumer behavior and buying pattern for certain products when shopping online. Probably this is the reason some of the biggest sellers in the eCommerce market in India are those products that do not require a touch and feel before purchase, such as electronic goods and books. As a result of this it has become challenging to get consumers to buy apparels and other textile related items such as bed linen and towels, which although are much cheaper than Smartphone, but yet are not bought so often over the internet. There was also a small exercise done where all the students were asked to provide their insights into how this problem could be tackled.

After a short break, the talk turned towards the digital marketing trends as a whole. Mr Kumar talked about how in order for a technology to become truly successful, there must be widespread acceptance, so much so that the technology should become a part of any consumer’s routine. He discussed how the multiple marketing and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide varied opportunities to marketers in targeting different consumer segments.
The session came to an end with some discussion regarding the scope of digital marketing in B2B markets, and how positioning of different offerings by the same company may affect the consumer perception and purchase behavior. The students were glad to have such an insightful and interactive session with Mr Kumar, and he too left with appreciation for his audience.

Sep 2, 2016

A talk by Mr. Vikram Ahuja, C.T.O. of ‘Vlink’

“A leader not just shows the way, he walks with you on that path”- Mr. Vikram Ahuja, C.T.O. of ‘Vlink’, shared these immortal words whilst his candid session with the students of MBA IIT Kanpur. Sir gave the perfect example of Elon musk to drive the point home. World famous personality, Musk with his futuristic and altruistic vision has raised the bar for innovation. The solar city venture by Musk, aims at scaling up the entire level of civilization of our planet!
Mr. Ahuja led us through his journey after leaving the portals of IIT Kanpur, his experience at his family owned business from where he moved to Boston to work with companies in the domain of healthcare, retail and artificial intelligence to his post Harvard experiences in start-ups, as an angel investor and as a business strategist.
He added in particular how the case study method deployed at the IME department was helpful to him at Harvard where the same methodology is applied, and how case studies bring students closer to the practical scenario, urging them to think innovatively to solve the problem at hand rather than getting engrossed in the theoretical details.
Mr. Ahuja also shed some light on the difference between the work culture in US and India and how in US innovative ideas are more encouraged and ample opportunities given to employees to further nourish and market their ideas, even though Indians are more hard working.
He emphasized on the differences between the start-up ecosystem in US and India, where the US system is one step ahead with more prominence on innovation whilst the Indian system is still in the e-commerce stage primarily. He further talked about the disruptions caused by social capitalism where in companies like ‘AirBnB’ and ‘Blah-Blah cars’ have changed the market scene and are getting increasingly popular with the public.
To a query on how he identified start-ups to invest in, in his capacity as an angel investor, he mentioned certain parameters like the idea and its relevance in the current market scenario, whether the startup has a genuine business model and competence for meeting the customer demands. He also shared an observation of his, of how in the US, it’s mostly the MIT graduates who start the company but it’s the Harvard graduates who sustain it as the former would have moved onto another innovative venture.

The session was immensely inspiring and uplifting as is also evident from Mr. Ahuja’s ‘LinkedIn’ page where he has asked people to contact him for help in Business & marketing Strategy. In a nutshell he advised us to be leaders and not just managers; and to innovate and not shy from taking risks; as the biggest risk in today’s time is not  taking a risk!

Aug 28, 2016

Tips from Top by Mr. Jagadeesh Kunchey (ITC) - FMCG Supply Chain Management - A Key Perspective


Apt to the theme, the seminar started with defining Supply Chain Management. In the words of Mr. Jagadeesh Kunchey, National Supply Chain Head of ITC - “Supply Chain is the flow of material, money and information; and Supply Chain Management strives to stream line the flow, in order to ensure availability of right things at right place, in an optimized manner.”
The first slide of his presentation rightly summed it up as “The enabler of business growth”.  There after a brief overview was given about the FMCG industry in India, which stands at around 170,000 crore today, growing rapidly at a CAGR of 17% over last 5 fiscals. Following pie chart was presented, depicting various sectors of the FMCG industry in India as on date and as a matter of fact, ITC has presence in almost every sector!
Mr. Kunchey said that being one of the youngest and most populous countries in the world makes India one of the most attractive destinations for many companies. In terms of the FMCG sector this translates into a scenario of a whole lot of opportunities as well as challenges to the Supply chain. Increased premiumization, growing urbanization, evolving life styles, favourable government schemes, growing modern trade and increased rural income provide many opportunities to Supply Chain Management.
However, the increased income levels in rural areas are posing a threat because of reduction in availability of cheap labour in urban cities. Moreover, increase in logistics cost,
and surge in customer preference for variety are some of the challenges to supply chain. Further, talking about FMCG he said that the key challenges in this industry are: meeting customer expectations, Supply Chain Planning and Logistics infrastructure & execution.
Talking about technology, Mr. Kunchey said that Big Data, IoT and Social Media would be an aid to the Supply chain management since it would help in reducing risk, cost and inventory. Also implementation of GST, increase in ease of doing business, and disruptive start ups would provide an improved environment for Supply Chain management.

He further talked about the evolution of ITC brands through constant diversification. ITC has over 6 businesses, operating in over 20 categories, having more than 3000 store keeping units (SKU) with overall logistics expenditure over 650crores. The key challenges faced by ITC as discussed were- Complexity, Demand fulfilment, Supply side planning &; Execution and Alignment with stakeholders.  Citing example he said for product like cigarettes maintaining reliability is the most important factor while for a product like salt which has low margin, reducing the logistics cost is crucial.  There was also a discussion about the ways of reducing Bullwhip effect through segmentation of SKUs and innovation in reducing costs.

As a matter of fact, the spaces are going to be costlier in future. Hence to tackle this, the
way forward is a ‘Lean Supply Chain’ i.e. reaching directly to customer through start ups, moving from forecast to market orders and reducing the number of warehouses post GST. The enlightening session came to an end with an exhaustive discussion about supply chain, the newer challenges faced by it, and the way ITC is tackling with the same.


Aug 21, 2016

Tips from Top by Mr Animesh Kumar(Cisco) - Corporate Strategy, Acquisitions, & Strategic Ecosystem

On the 21st of August, Mr Animesh Kumar, HR Business Partner and ER Manager of Cisco Systems India, visited IIT Kanpur and gave a talk on corporate strategy and acquisitions, and the strategic ecosystem with focus on Cisco India.
The session started on a lighter note, with an easy demeanor,and this was maintained throughout. Mr Kumar talked about the vision, goal and strategy of Cisco and how it is implemented constantly despite the changes that the company has gone through over a span of around 30 years of its existence. Showing some of the current trends and future projections in the networking industry, we got a brief idea about how cloud computing has currently become the most prevalent technology, and about the shift towards the Internet of Things (IoT) concept, which is known as the Internet of Everything (IoE) in Cisco. It is a concept of connecting “people, programs, data and things”, wherein everything around you will be connected via wireless networks and can make a revolutionary change in the way the world works.
Mr Kumar also talked about how surprisingly only 0.6% of all devices, appliances and ‘things’ are connected in the world, with the potential to connect the remaining 99.4% as well. He claimed that since with less than 1% connectivity, innovation at such amazing scale has taken place, the potential for innovation can only be imagined for when full connectivity is achieved. He talked about how hyperconnectivity can greatly increase speed, lower cost, and increase the volume of innovation.
The seminar took another turn with a description of the strategy of Cisco Systems, which was mainly focused on hardware – routers and switches, architecture – security systems and inter-cloud collaboration, and the outcomes – data analytics and IoT. He described how Cisco applies five concepts, namely: Build, Buy, Partner, Invest, and Co-development, in order to continuously grow in an industry which is changing and expanding at an incredible pace. There was also a brief given about the importance of divestment, keeping the organisation lean, and investment in areas of rising potential in order to stay relevant.
Other then the technicalities, the emphasis on the importance of improving and diversifying one’s skills on the job in order to stay current with the prevalent scenarios of the industry was also mentioned, as complacency will not lead to growth and might even result in obsolescence. Mr. Kumar talked about how Cisco also followed this practice of improving skills of existing employees by providing them on the job training as well as allowing them to work on cutting edge technology in their numerous incubation centers.
There was also a description on how this approach allowed Cisco to function in the best manner possible. It allowed the firm to “see around corners”, accelerate innovation, and helps in providing end to end solutions to customers. This is part of Cisco’s shift from a hardware oriented company to a solutions and security oriented company while still leveraging its reach and reputation it gained via its product manufacturing network.
Mr. Kumar also talked about how Cisco was working in collaboration with industrial giants such as Ericsson and Apple in a mutually beneficial partnership, and even presented videos to the same effect. He talked about how Cisco believed in acquiring firms that showed potential of growth in the new technology sector, and that Cisco had acquired around 185 companies till date. He went on to elaborate upon the procedure that Cisco follows when the Corporate Development team identifies a potential company for acquisition, right up to the point where the company is fully integrated into Cisco.
There were highly valuable insights given into the nuances of the industry and especially the industrial icon that Cisco is. Mr. Kumar parted with advice to the students about the importance of understanding the business model of any company, and how it would help in understanding our own role better, and contribute to the organisation in a much better manner.

Tips from Top by Mr Sudhakar Mishra(Philips) - Product Management with Focus on Healthcare Sector-


The session was divided into two parts. The first was about Mr Mishra’s  journey after MBA from IIT Kanpur. The second focused on various nuances about the healthcare industry, market position of Philips, and the role Product Manager.
Mr. Mishra shared his experiences and key learning in the corporate world- working with a start-up, Entrepreneurial experience and journey with Phillips. He explained the importance of mentor, agility in start-up, learning as a key factor for growth and evaluating stock option opportunity while working with a start-up. He further moved to his own entrepreneurial journey with the alums of IIT Delhi and IIT Roorkee in health care sector. The key learning which he shared from this experience included working with managers’ vs working with entrepreneurs, tapping market opportunity, importance of constant innovation and improvement, recruitment as per need, hindrance to decision making due to too many partners, equality among partners, etc. 
Mr Mishra went on to elaborate his experience with Phillips and the corporate learning. He talked about efficient and effective time investment in stakeholders, the importance of shining by performance and being visible by doing your job right. He emphasised that true growth can be brought upon best by taking up diverse projects, and being unique is the way to go.
The second part of the session Mr Mishra talked about the current scenario of Health care industry in India and the potential and growth opportunity in this sector. Mr Mishra then went on to talk about what exactly the role of a Product Manager is, and touched upon many different aspects of the job from his own personal experience. He talked about various different processes that a product goes though in its life cycle, from inception of an idea to conceptualization of the product, and on to the actual production, testing, marketing, distribution, and after-sales services. He emphasised the importance of reliability and safety of any product especially in the healthcare sector, where a minute fault can be a matter of life and death of a patient. In order to ensure this, he explained, the companies have a stringent quality testing procedure, as are the regulations imposed by the governmental agencies.

The session came to an end after a fairly exhaustive discussion about many different nuances of the healthcare industry with focus on Philips Healthcare, with a healthy interaction between the speaker and audience. Mr Mishra parted with the advice that we as students look into opportunities in the healthcare sector as there is a lot of scope which can be beneficial to both us and the Indian society.

Aug 7, 2016

The Dawn of New Beginning - MBA Batch 206-18



Enthusiasm, zeal, hopes, ambitions resonate high in the spirits of the new batch of IME department, IIT Kanpur, which is en route a new journey. A new journey brings along with it a set of new experiences. And the journey at IIT Kanpur has been no different.
From setting up our tiny rooms (which ultimately turn into a hotchpotch clutter), to detouring the huge campus (IIT Kanpur is spread in 1050 acres of land), owning the most prized vehicle on campus – a cycle, and the sight of National bird of IIT Kanpur- peacock, the initial days were a vacation. However the fun was yet to start. And how does this fun kick start- the fun activities and assignments (believe me how much you tend to hate them; they are indeed fun to do). It was an amazing experience with the ad making assignment- gathering at CCD for the subsided Devil’s Own on pretext of brainstorming creative ideas, the retakes and bloopers and then the final product-the ad. All the fun activities are scheduled at 11. Don’t take it for 11 AM. It’s 11 PM. However late they might be, you would not want to miss them, for through these activities you learn to work in team and other important aspects that you require as efficient manager and in corporate world and not to forget the most important part- having fun with friends. And how can one not mention the committee selection rounds that go till 5 and even 7 in morning.
MBA is about management and the first management lesson that you learn is Sleep management. You will efficiently manage 1 day’s sleep in two. Lectures, case study analysis, committee work there are a lot of things to take care off. If you think IIT Kanpur is just about all work and no play, then you have not seen the 20 feet deep swimming pool, the flood lit hockey ground, gymnasium, tennis court, dance club, dramatics club. You name it and IIT Kanpur has it. Ahhh did I mention about the OAT. Yes IIT Kanpur has a magnificent Open Air theater where movies and sport matches are screened. Watching RDB and YJHD under open sky and on a gigantic screen is an experience in itself.
The two weeks so far have painted life with myriad of colors. The times ahead are tough and broadening the horizons is the obvious thing to do. The nostalgia of your home, friends, city, and people always stays in the backyard of our mind. However, the enigmatic journey to a new horizon subdues all the powers and motivates you to live the dream you had always dream of.