May 19, 2017

Student Experience, Bhavna Uttamchandani, MBA 2015-17 Batch

My rendezvous with Life - MBA Diary


Most of us have read the timeless poem “I have a rendezvous with death”  - by Alan Seeger;
“It may be he shall take my hand  
And lead me into his dark land  
And close my eyes and quench my breath—  
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death”
The beginning of the unforgettable MBA journey of my life had me with the feelings as depicted beautifully in the above stanza. Venturing into an unexplored journey with unknown fellows had taken my breathe but what attracted me more was the promise to explore and challenge my own limits. I was more than ready to quit my job and start this journey and finally it all started in 2015…
From business formal photo-shoots to restless nights to complete the tasks given by the seniors welcomed us to the IIT journey. Neck to neck deadline tasks, the gatherings, the discussions all of these activities introduced me with people from length and breadth of the country. Badminton, Squash, lush green playgrounds and a campus known for its own way of pushing you out of your comfort zone had set the stage for the upcoming exciting two years.
A unique transition one witnesses during the academic sessions is a horizontal system of ideas sharing not only from the professors but an equal reciprocation from the scholars. Every session was a transition within me from attending a monologue to participating in a dialogue. We often hear that theory classrooms do not make a difference in practicalities of life, but I am lucky to witness this hypothesis getting rejected when we got the opportunity to listen to faculties like Rahul Varman, Dr. Jayant Chatterjee who actually brought about a second transition from making their students strive for being person of significance than that of mere success
Mesmerizing PK Kelkar library encompasses in it lakhs of books which are beyond imagination, the flexibility to study any subject being taught in campus, learning foreign languages, working on live projects during course, are just some of the fascinating things that may not be required to get just an MBA degree but were definitely a stepping stone to gaining an altogether different experience of life.
It would be unfair not to mention about one of the most enthralling campuses in India. The feeling of riding bicycle besides beautiful peacocks, becoming habitual of their pihu sound, countless green trees laden with Gulmohar on either side of the roads, having your own Airstrip, are just a few of the perks one proudly enjoys being in IIT Kanpur. Being a foodie, New SAC became a place to enjoy delicious rolls, burgers or a domino’s pizza while enjoying a Sherlock series in Open Air Theater (OAT). Coffee lovers just cannot resist end up lending at the campus CCD daily on their way to library, or one must confess CCD becoming a library itself during exams…
They say that even if you do not play any sport or games or haven’t danced in your life, you’ll do all this in your MBA life here. I discovered myself dancing here, coordinating and managing events and finally falling in love with Snooker as a game.
This journey has materialized the popular conversation from Game of Thrones;
“Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?'
'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.”
All I have learned during the whole of this journey is about living the fears to convert them into your strength, wearing every fear of yours as an armor to bring the best out of you, to challenge the status quo, to come out of the fear of losing the job, to come out of failing an exam and to come out of treating yourself less than others and all this will boil down to a single point;
 “It will bring the men out of the boys and women out of the girls who will not fail the ultimate exam , the exam of life…”  
Bhavna Uttamchandani ( MBA | IIT Kanpur - 2015-17 )

May 13, 2017

Student Experience, Utkarsh Maurya MBA 2015-17 Batch

The word MBA resonates most often with academics and projects. But for me the two years into MBA were also endowed with activities, competitions, new learning, memories and a lifetime experience.

Even before we took a plunge into academics of the first semester, the committee formation process awaited us. I was selected as a member of the junior committee for IIT Kanpur MBA magazine-Avant Garde. Just 2 months into studies, I was selected in the IIT Kanpur Air Rifle Shooting team. This was my first tryst with shooting and it indeed turned out to be a beautiful one. I won 3 medals at district level- 2 bronze medals in men individual category and 1 silver medal in men team category over the 2 years of my MBA life. I was also the runner-up in the inter-hostel Sports Competition in this sport.

Juggling between sports and academics was not an easy task. The rigorous lectures, case studies and the project deadlines are just the academic part of your routine life. Then there are various quizzes and competitions that challenge your brain and provide you a platform to implement and showcase your learning. There have been times when I have stayed awake till 2 am completing some or the other task, getting 4-hours of sleep, waking up at 6 am to catch up with my shooting practice and then being on time to attend lectures. It was really hard to find time for practice along with academics. However this has taught me the very important lesson of time management in life. Also putting our heads together to solve numerous case studies helped me a lot to crack my job interview which was based on a complex case study.

Along with my summer internship in Nielsen, I got another opportunity to work on a project in Finance domain on Equity Research. There I learned the nuances of financially analyzing a sector and a company. This project provided immense scope for learning and also helped me getting shortlisted in several companies during placements.

I was one of the coordinators of the HR event-Regnant Populi in our annual MBA fest: Prabandhan. I also got an opportunity to showcase a bit of the acting talent in me through the Dramatics event in PG cultural fest- Impressions. I was also the manager for the dramatics event.




This year, I was selected for the 23-member Indian delegation to participate in student exchange program JENESYS (Japan East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) -on theme: Economics, sub-theme: Energy -in Japan from 27th Feb to 7th Match 2017.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan promotes people-to-people exchanges between Japan and various nations of the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean region. The Asian and Oceanian regional component of this exchange program is called JENESYS. It was a fantastic learning experience as I got the opportunity to witness Japanese economy, technology and culture and interacted with youths from other countries. The details of the visit can be found on the link. I enjoyed and learnt a lot by indulging in all these activities apart from academics and hopefully they will enable me to be a better working professional.


Apr 22, 2017

Tips from Top - "Design Thinking: Innovating in emerging markets”. Mr. Ravi Kaushik, Country Business Director, Medtronic

MBA IIT Kanpur organised a guest lecture by Mr. Ravi Kaushik, Country Business Director at Medtronic for a session on ‘Design Thinking: Innovating in emerging markets’.



Mr. Kaushik gave a brief idea about the difference between invention and innovation. Where invention is about creating a new solution to a problem, innovation is trying to solve the problem in a better way, by bringing together existing technology. He cited the example of Uber which is trying to solve the problem of transportation using the internet through a new business model.
He talked about the two sides to marketing – downstream and upstream. Downstream marketing is mostly associated with product promotion, public relations, and advertising. Upstream marketing, on the other hand, focuses more on the strategy and analytics behind fulfilling the customers’ needs. According to Mr. Kaushik, due to their analytical ability, more engineers can and should take up roles in upstream marketing.

Elaborating upon the meaning of design thinking, he told that to derive success in business, it is essential to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs. The first step in this process is to understand the root of the problem. The next step is to define the problem. Once the problem definition becomes clear, one should brainstorm to get technological solutions to the problem at hand. Prototyping and rigorous testing should follow before implementing the technological solution to the market.

Mr. Kaushik shared his experience of working with General Electric in developing GELcore - an LED lighting solution created for the needs of supermarkets and its further adoption in varying applications in the global market. When confronted with the lighting problem in a supermarket, Mr Kaushik and his team instead of providing a technological solution right away, worked towards identification of the root cause of the problem and consequent development of the solution.



Mr. Kaushik talked about a product related to maternal infant care – The baby warmer, which he and his team worked on. The team observed the environment (rural, minimal primary healthcare), and interacted with people to identify the problem. They conducted ethnographic research and in-depth interviews to find the root of the problem. According to Mr Kaushik, customers buy a product to accomplish a job. Hence the focus should be more on the job rather than the product.
Based on their interaction, they identified the design needs and application needs of the baby warmer. Latest technology was mapped to the identified needs of the user and a prototype was developed. This prototype was sent to the maternity hospitals in villages to test and further modifications were incorporated in it. Modifications were made to make a globally accepted design and thus symbols were used instead of letters. Here, innovation, rather than invention came into the picture, guided by the insights provided by in-depth interviews and observation.

According to Mr. Kaushik, the business model for innovation should be a holistic one and should be based on the value proposition to the customer. The process adopted should be such that it simplifies the ambiguity of innovation.

It was a one of a kind session which enabled students to look beyond the downstream side of marketing and work their way up by focusing on strategic product development central to user needs.

Mar 29, 2017

International Exposure: Japan, Utkarsh Maurya, MBA 2nd Year

JENESYS 2016 from 27th Feb to 7 March 2017.
About JENESYS 2016
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan promotes people-to-people exchanges between Japan and the various nations of the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean regions. The Asian and Oceanian regional component of this exchange program is called “JENESYS 2016”- Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths.
Around 250 students and working professionals were invited for the 7th batch of JENESYS 2016 (Theme: Economics) from 12 countries: India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Brunei and Vietnam. The objective is to promote mutual trust and understanding among the people of Japan and participating countries, and regions, to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation.
The Indian Delegation
23 youths were selected from India; out of them 15 were students and the rest were working professionals. From IIT Kanpur, 3 students were selected.
The journey begins
The Indian delegation met at Delhi International Airport to catch flight to Tokyo/Narita Airport on the evening of 27th February. We arrived at Narita International Airport on the morning of 28th February. Government officials from JICE (Japan International Cooperation Center) were there to welcome us.  We got accommodation in a Disney group hotel: The Emion Tokyo Bay. After quick refreshment (The Japanese are very punctual), we, along with the delegates from other countries, attended the orientation program in Tokyo. The countries were divided into various groups. Two coordinators from JICE were assigned to each group. Every morning, health check-up was done for all the participants.
On 1st March, we attended keynote lecture on Japanese geography, culture, politics and economy. We got to know lots of interesting things about Japan. Then Group A (India, Cambodia, Philippines and Thailand) was move to Akita Prefecture by Shinkansen Bullet Train. The journey of 657 Kilometers was covered in less than 4 hours while enjoying the view of cities, mountains and snow in Akita. We stayed in the warm and comforting Akita Youth Hostel.
Akita Prefecture
On 2nd of March, Akita Prefectural Government delivered lectures on roles of local government, regional SMEs and their relations with participating countries. Then we visited two power plants: Tohoku Electric Power Plant and Kazeno-Matsubara Wind Power Plant. We were given outline of the power plants and also got an opportunity to interact with engineers and company officials.
On 3rd March, we attended presentations by 3 companies: Nippon SMT Co. Ltd (Information and Communication, Energy), Hokuto Bank (Finance) and Dynamic Sanito Inc. (Pest Control). Then we had luncheon with local business persons and officials.
After that came the most significant part of our visit. A two-day homestay with Japanese families. I, along with 4 other Indian delegates, stayed in a cheerful farmer family (with all the modern day gadgets). We had the opportunity to interact with them (using Google Translate and a Japanese-English translation book given to us on the first day J ), have authentic Japanese Food-Sushi, Kiritanpo and Green Tea, wear Kimono (tradition dress). The host family also took us to snow clad mountains and freezing Lake Tazawa-the deepest lake in Japan.
On 5th March, we attended the farewell party with our host families. The Mayor of Akita City was there to welcome us.  When we went back to the youth hostel, all 23 of us sat together to discuss our action plan which we had to report the next day. The presentation was to be divided into 3 parts: our knowledge and image on Japan before coming, what we learned in this program and what we would like to do after going back to home country. After a healthy discussion, we prepared our 8-minute presentation.
Tokyo
On 6th March, we moved to Tokyo. Filled with enthusiasm to be one of the presenters for the action plan reporting from the Indian side, we delivered our presentation to Japanese Government officials, embassy representatives of the participating countries and all the participants. It was well received. We were awarded certificates from JICE President and Managing Director. Then we had our farewell party in which each country presented a 3-minute cultural program. We departed with the hope of meeting our new friends from other countries in future.
Departure

On 7th March, we boarded flight from Narita Airport to Delhi Airport. We reached our home safely with good memories and a great learning experience. I am thankful to the Japanese Government for providing us a fabulous opportunity and on being a fantastic host to all the participants. Long live Indo-Japan friendship!!!

-UTKARSH MAURYA
 MBA,
 2nd Year 

Feb 25, 2017

Tips from Top - "Impact of Technology on Human Behavior in Industry: Human Behavior and the Future of the Corporate World”. Mr Prateek Dubey, Director – HR, IDFC Bank

On the bright morning of 25th February 2017, the students of MBA, IIT Kanpur had the opportunity to interact with the HR Director at IDFC Bank – Mr. Prateek Dubey. Mr. Dubey, with his work experience in various major firms of the country – Coca-Cola, Suzlon Energy, and Jindal Saw Ltd to name a few – provided invaluable insights into the world of human relations and psychology. Sir covered a variety of topics in his talk and kept the seminar engaging with many activities and brainstorming sessions.

Mr. Dubey started off with engaging the audience with a rudimentary question – what is MBA? He went on to explain that MBA can be defined as the most beautiful attitude, as it is the attitude of the manager that makes him a leader and makes all the difference. As an example, he claimed that a Chartered Accountant would probably know much more about how the finances of any firm work than an MBA would, but it takes the decision-making ability and aptitude for quick thinking that makes him/her the manager.

Talking about the impact of technology on our lives, Mr. Dubey talked about how in today’s world, we tend to think about how another person can benefit us, and only then do we consider spending time with him/her. We have social media like LinkedIn and Facebook to reveal all such information for us, and in future, everyone will have access to psychometric profiling software that will enable us to gauge another person’s usefulness without even meeting them. This has long term impacts on HR and recruitment, as psychometric tests will enable a firm to hire or reject any potential candidate. Here, Mr. Dubey gave a disclaimer: however intelligent AI becomes, the need for humans will always be there in order to consider all the contingencies before making a final decision.


Another aspect that Mr. Dubey talked about was leader-follower dynamics. More often than not, it so happens, that we tend to blindly follow our leaders. This is a dangerous attitude, as it can have grave consequences. The leader might falter, but more than that, the followers will not have a chance to grow themselves. Showing the audience, the other face of the coin, Mr. Dubey told us about the followership theory: a successful leader comes only out of diligent followers, which is to say, the ability of the leader is limited by the attitude of the followers too.


Mr. Dubey kept the talk an engaging one by carrying out many group activities throughout in order to elucidate many concepts relating to psychology and human behavior. He also touched upon a variety of topics such as moral duties of humans, cognitive biases, group dynamics, placement scenarios in colleges, the history of IDFC, and a lot more. It was on the whole, an enriching experience with innumerable lessons that the students got to learn on a simple Saturday morning.


Feb 21, 2017

Tips from Top - "An Interactive Session with our Distinguished Alumnus”. Mr. J N Gupta, M.D. – Stakeholders Empowerment Services.

There is nothing better than getting important insights about the real world from someone with immense experience. The exposure becomes even more valuable when the knowledge comes directly from the top and from someone who has been in our situation prior to their glorious journey. The students at MBA IIT Kanpur were fortunate to get such a golden opportunity when the 1977 batch Alumnus of the institute, Mr. J N Gupta, M.D. at Stakeholders Empowerment Services, visited the campus during the recent 40th year reunion.



Sir began his address by emphasizing the importance of clear communication. He went beyond emphasizing by demonstrating the same throughout the seminar. He suggested the audience to always be content with their current possessions and to never draw comparisons with what others had. Further, he added that in every situation, one must try his/her best, yet keep realistic expectations. This according to him was the mantra for happiness in life, which he himself had practiced over the years and as a result he could proudly claim that every single day of his life had been happy!

Moving ahead, sir revealed the trick to build confidence in superiors about oneself. This could be achieved with a ‘never say die’ attitude and resolute self-confidence. The consistency to take well informed and considerate decisions bolstered the same according to him. He suggested that as everyone was intelligent in retrospect, hence every decision should be evaluated according to prevalent situations when it was taken, by putting oneself in the person’s shoes.

Noting the glow in eyes of the aspiring future leaders, sir listed his success mantras for the audience. These included importance of team work, habit to exceed service expectations, and presence of faith in self-abilities. Emphasizing on team work, he said that co-workers should be treated as family members and a strong bond of trust should be built with transparency, fairness and dependability. Further, he suggested that one’s opinion should never be subservient to anyone’s and instead it should be independent of all others’.


Sir ended the enlightening session by quoting the legendary leader, Nelson Mandela: “I never lose. I either win or learn.” 

Tips from Top - "An Interactive Session with our Distinguished Alumnus”. Mr. Pravin Tripathi, C.E.O. – Magic 9 Media & Analytics Private Limited.

The students at MBA IIT Kanpur were fortunate to get golden, pragmatic insights into the world of media analytics and marketing research when the 1977 batch Alumnus of the institute, Mr. Pravin Tripathi, C.E.O. at Magic 9 Media & Analytics Private Limited, visited the campus during the recent 40th year reunion.


Sir briefed the audience about his company’s work which provided services like: advertising, media planning, brand consultancy etc. Wherein the core functions included analytics, design and quality control.

Sharing his knowledge with budding professionals, he spoke about his past projects and the nuances involved in successfully completing those. Remarkable out of the same was a project for U.I.D., which involved design of a continuous learning program to get insights about its potential adopters. Emphasizing upon the importance of the continuous learning program, sir stated that consumers continually provided useful insights and hence marketing researcher ought to listen keenly. There existed a statement in every move of consumer (purchase/ no purchase) and every single transaction was pregnant with ‘learning’ according to him.

Sir also talked about an interesting project in Karnataka, in which public survey was done to gauge the political sentiments prior to an election in the state. A remarkable feature of the project was the usage of 'WhatsApp' to transmit live data (during on field interaction with the respondents) to the control room.

Further, he discussed about the N.C.C.S. (National Consumer Classification System), its historical evolution via S.E.C. and lucidly explained its paramount importance for every marketeer.

Moving ahead, sir told about an ongoing TAM (Television Audience Measurement) project for BARC India (Broadcasting Audience Research Council). He stated that in simple terms, the project objective was to answer the question: ‘What India watches?’ The discussion spanned over the technicalities and nuances of marketing research process. The students were enlightened about the real world challenges in such a large scale project and subsequent pragmatic methodologies to overcome the same.  

Feb 5, 2017

Tips from Top - "Various dimensions of leadership." Mr Amit Kasliwal, India Head - Corporate Sales, Ford India.

Leadership is one of the most desired traits for success in life and MBA students at IIT Kanpur were fortunate to get a fresh perspective on the topic from the top echelon of corporate world, when Mr Amit Kasliwal, India head of corporate sales at Ford India visited the campus to interact with the students.


Sir described leadership as the zeal to identify and solve problems. Citing an example, sir said that India has a myriad of problems and out of those; transportation was one of the major issues. Ford is dedicated to solve this problem. Talking specifically about the corporate sales department, he told that by selling cars to taxi operators, they created entrepreneurs, thereby solving the problem of job creation at that level.   

Further describing leadership, sir claimed that a leader must have a long term view, and should be enthusiastic about other’s agenda, thereby creating opportunities and ‘win-win’ situations. According to sir, and rightly so, sustainable leadership can be achieved by exhibiting the desired qualities consistently and perpetually.



Moving ahead, sir candidly listed and lucidly explained the traits of a successful leader as the ability to prioritize in life, being conscious about one’s behaviour, ability to leverage other’s perspective by being sensitive to their feedback; and the competency to gauge people’s strengths and weaknesses. A true leader must support the weaknesses of the team members to ensure the best outcome for the team.

Sir then asked the students to think about how the world has evolved over the years, and we could reflect that life had become more convenient over these years. This according to sir was made possible by none other than the leaders of the world, who kept on solving various problems at various levels!

Opening the Jackpot, sir advised the aspiring leaders in the audience that to become ‘C.E.O.s’ they must spend time with C.E.O.s! A leader must be able to adapt faster and must not get carried away by extreme situations. This trait, according to sir was evident in Virat Kohli, current captain of the Indian cricket team. Further, Sir said that it was important for a leader to build trust by meeting the commitments, which in turn should be made by thinking properly before doing so.


Sir ended the enlightening session by motivating the audience to take the charge of their lives by taking the ‘remote control’ in their hands because the key to success according to sir was this consciousness about one’s life.


Jan 6, 2017

Launch of 10Digi - An innovative mobile telecom service

Ding Dong. Who? Your Sim Card at your door step Sir.
This is no more just a thought, but a reality. Softage Information Technology, providing services in document management came out with an innovative initiative '10Digi', truly representing their tagline- “Ab Ghar Baithe Sim Mangvao”. This application enables Mobile Technology users to purchase sim cards, dongal and data cards online.  10Digit.com has tied up with Reliance, Tata and Idea in their initial phase. Mr. Ozair Yasin, Co-founder and MD of 10Digi, Sherjil Ozair- an IIT Delhi alumnus and also a Co-founder and CTO of 10Digi; and dignitaries from the likes of Reliance, Tata and Idea were present to grace the occasion.

Until recent times, to buy any of these services the user had to physically go to a store and provide the necessary documents. In today’s busy life style, people hardly get time from work to get these services. With 10Digi a user can order these services online. The nearest services provider will come to the door step for verification and collection of documents. Not only this, the user can also compare types of plans, number portability, recharge and bill payment using payment methods preferred in e-commerce domain. The sim cards will be activated in 1 to 4 hours as compared to 8 to 24 hours.

The company aims to tap 5% of the market in initial one year. It is also in talks with other service providers to expand its bandwidth.


10Digi provides hassle free, cashless, paperless service to the users !