Wednesday, March 31, 2004

ISB class of '04 maxes at Rs 20 lakh

HYDERBAD: Attracting the cream of international and Indian business for placement 2004, the Indian School of Business (ISB) has attracted the creme de la creme firms in India and abroad to campus for recruiting its students.

The average annual salary offered to its students has increased by about 9 per cent from Rs 8.30 lakh to Rs 9.05 lakh.

The highest offer in Indian rupees was at Rs 20 lakh, up by 11 per cent as against the last year's salary package of Rs 18 lakh. In dollar terms the growth was however much higher at 46 per cent from $ 103,333 to $ 151,000.

Out of total 219 students in the batch, 192 students participated in the placement process and the remaining have returned to their previous employers. About 221 lateral offers were made by recruiters, up by 22 per cent.

Companies that made highest offers include: Wipro ; Infosys ; Cognizant; Novartis; Johnson & Johnson. International offers came from the countries like: USA; Europe; Singapore and Hong Kong.

Percentage-wise, technology companies have emerged as top-most recruiters. Nearly 38 per cent of the offers have come from IT and technology companies.

The rest were as under: ITES 14 per cent; financial services 10 per cent; consulting 8 per cent; pharma and healthcare 7 per cent; banking and insurance 7 per cent; FMCG 4 per cent; telecom 3 per cent; diversified 3 per cent; oil and petroleum 3 per cent; automobile 1 per cent; engineering 1 per cent; and retail 1 per cent.

Though consulting firms were ranked fourth in terms of offers, consulting topped in the list in terms of functional areas. Nearly 29 per cent of students preferred consultancy. This was followed by sales and marketing, finance, business process management; and others.

A few other well known companies that recruited at ISB include: Astra Zeneca Pharma India; Bank of America; Citibank; Coca-Cola India; Colgate Palmolive; and Dell International Services.

HLL, Novartis hunt at ISB

DELHI/MUMBAI: The Indian School of Business (ISB) placement figures are out, and the Class of ’04 has much to smile about.

“While all figures have seen a sharp increase, we have made a breakthrough in lateral placements this year. Companies like HLL, Coke, Goldman Sachs and Novartis have picked up our students at levels like associates and area sales manager. In cases, this is the first time that these companies have come to a B-school campus for such senior positions,” ISB deputy dean Ajit Rangnekar told ET.

In terms of salary figures, the domestic average for the Class of ’04 is Rs 9.1 lakh while the global average is $90,000-$100,000.

The highest international offer is $151,000, while the highest domestic cost to company offer is Rs 20 lakh.

The companies that made the highest number of offers are Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson. Last year, the Indian salary average was Rs 8.3 lakh, while the highest offer received was Rs 18 lakh.

ISB salaries are not comparable with the salaries offered at other B-schools because the school emphasises the students’ workex.

They are placed at non-entry or lateral positions after graduation. However, just to provide context, the average domestic salary at IIMB for 63 students with 2-3 years of workex was Rs 7.3 lakh, while for the 20 students with more workex it was Rs 7.2 lakh.

Placement Performance of ISB

Articles in ET on ISBs placement performance. Also checkout the graduation pics at the ISB site.,curpg-1.cms

Article from Economic Times: India the big topic in B-schools abroad

MUMBAI: In the 1960s and 70s, Japan was the headline grabber when it came to business studies and the 1990s belonged to China. Could this be the decade of India?

"While the vulnerabilities exist, this is the most exciting time," says CK Prahalad, professor of business administration, corporate strategy and international business at Michigan Business School, who is ranked among the world's most influential management thinkers. "Five years from now people from around the world will come and benchmark with India."

Prahalad isn't a lone bull – not any longer. Tick off the top 10 campuses in the US and you can bet India's on their minds.

"India's hot," admitted Patrick Harker, dean of The Wharton School during a recent chat with The Economic Times .

"Certainly we do view India as a place of leading-edge business practice, which we hope to understand better," agrees Robert Dolan, dean, University of Michigan Business School (MBS). Reason enough for MBS to be the first Ivy League to set up a research centre in India later this year.

The signs have been there for some time: In 1991 when India's liberalisation began, interest was low.

"It was a closed and regulated economy that did not have a big impact on the global stage," says Robert M Conroy, research professor, Darden Graduate School of Business.

By the mid-90s India's potential to deliver world-class products in a global market were proved by the software boom and the emergence of players like TCS, Infosys and Wipro.

Since then, potential and performance have snowballed – making the country important for two reasons: first, the ability to provide a non-saturated mass-market opportunity for products and services (what Prof Prahalad may describe as the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid) and second to participate in the global restructuring of industries, driven by the communication technology revolution that's allowed India to harness its competitive advantage, people.

"How this convergence of policy and technology will play out in the future is a trend of critical importance to not only global businesses, but also to very traditional domestically-oriented firms and managers," says Conroy.

So, at MBS the India-global nexus will be researched through its soon-to-be-set-up India centre, as reported by ET on January 5, 2003.

MIT's Sloan School of Management has initiated research on professional outsourcing, under 'The Productivity from Information Technology' (PROFIT) Initiative.

Led by Lester C Thurow, professor of management and economics and Amar Gupta, co-director, PROFIT Initiative, this will analyse the impact of outsourcing of professional services on various constituencies in the developed and developing environments.

At Harvard Business School, Tarun Khanna, professor, strategy unit, is focussed on entrepreneurship in India, building the Indian MNC, role of the diaspora and China-India comparisons.

"Understanding India is much more central today to businesses in the West than it was five years ago," says Khanna, adding that his recent research focused on India and with comparisons to China have drawn "enormous worldwide interest".

Last August, Khanna and Yasheng Huang, professor at MIT Sloan, co-authored 'Can India Overtake China?' in Foreign Policy magazine, which considered the effects of the different development models embraced by "the world's next major powers".

Some Indian companies have been quick to pick up and capitalise on the academic interest.

"I don't think there's any large B-school that hasn't had TCS or Wipro coming and talking to them. Now, students are asking 'Why are we not joining these companies if they are growing at 30-40%?’” says Prahalad.

Wipro is a regular feature on campus, with Azim Premji, Vivek Paul and other top managers taking the stage at Kellogg, Wharton, Harvard, MIT Sloan, Columbia, Berkeley, Cornell and Carnegie Mellon, with more requests flowing in.

"They have shared their experiences on topics like outsourcing, entrepreneurship, quality imperatives, talent transformation and other thrust areas," says Sangita Singh, chief marketing officer, Wipro Technologies. "That's got people interested in outsourcing at close quarters."

Visits from students and faculty have also seen a surge since the beginning of '03.

From theory to practice, India is seeping into the MBA and executive education curriculum at these schools.

"Business executives are fascinated and concerned about offshoring. Most don't understand the phenomenon at a deep level, but awareness has really grown in the past year," says Robert Kennedy, associate director, CSIB group, The William Davidson Institute, MBS.

Some executive courses at Michigan now include a session specifically on India (alongside China, Brazil and perhaps Russia); and many of the international business programmes now include material on the globalisation of service activities. Darden is currently in the process of developing study material and expertise on India for its MBA and executive programmes.

"Overall, we believe managers need to understand how global trends can impact their businesses today and in the future. India has emerged as an important challenge and opportunity for all managers and if we are to be a truly global B-school, this must be reflected in everything that we do," says Conroy

Monday, March 29, 2004

List of Top 10 Management Gurus as cited by BusinessWeek:

1. Dave Ulrich : Human Resources -- Michigan
2. Ram Charan : Independent adviser -- Various companies and schools
3. John P. Kotter : Leadership -- Harvard Business School
4. Gary Hamel : Strategy International Management -- London Business School/Strategos
5. Jay Conger : Leadership -- London Business School
6. Peter F. Drucker : Strategy,Business Policy -- Various companies and schools
6. Michael E. Porter : Strategy -- Harvard Business School
7. Peter M. Senge : Organizational learning, organizational change -- MIT (Sloan)
8. Stephen R. Covey : Author The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
9. Noel Tichy : Leadership -- Michigan
10.C.K. Prahalad : Strategy, International Business -- Michigan/PRAJA
10. Tom Peters : Leadership -- tompeterscompany.

Monday, March 22, 2004

The transformation of TCS

Niccolo Machiavelli once said, "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

Transforming a leading, successful organisation is an uphill task, especially when a corporate is known for its pioneering efforts and proven business model. There are corporate case studies of successful business transformation, but the initiative in most cases is triggered by an event of great magnitude, as in the case of Apple Computer and, more recently, IBM. The task of transforming a corporation in order to meet a stated vision requires transparency, a willingness to change and a determination not to lose sight of the short term over the long term. These traits will enable Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to transform itself to be in the top 10 by 2010.

Where conventional wisdom decrees, "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it," TCS decided to willingly transform itself in its desire to excel and lead. It was this initiative that acted as the catalyst in the nearly year-old transformation exercise. The complexity of the exercise owed itself to the sheer growth of TCS in recent years in terms of employee strength, geographical spread and cultural diversity. So what does transformation really mean? S. Ramadorai, CEO, says, "Transformation, in my opinion, is a way of life. One needs to be proactive and prepared for the emerging trends of the future."

Mr Ramadorai emphasises the need to be responsive to internal and external factors. He says, "The change in mindset instills an ability to learn to live with change. This, coupled with empowered decision-making and an ownership-based approach, is aimed at ensuring that transformation is a continuous process." The changes on the customer front, caused by global competitive pressures, are throwing up a whole host of new opportunities and challenges for the company to act upon. In turn, these developments are forcing the company to take a close look at the organisational structure, practices and decision-making process. Says P. S. Vishwanathan, VP, transformation, "It is only now that people are settling in the IP (industry practice), SP (service practice) and geography matrix. We are already making adjustments."

However, changing organisational structures is the greater challenge TCS has to face up to. Mr Vishwanathan says, "We have always led; we have never been No 2. We take so much for granted. Success itself can be your biggest enemy. Yesterday’s formula for success won’t hold today. Implementing any change is going to be difficult." TCS is the first Indian IT company to designate a chief transformation officer (CTO), and one of only eight IT companies in the world to have such a designation.
The top management soon realised that the process of creating a new corporate reality required a clear understanding of the direction that the company would take. In order to propel itself into the big league, TCS would have to look within itself. The future reality map drawn out by the senior management had to be clear enough to convey the message that change was inevitable for survival. "The other aspect," says S Padmanabhan, VP, HR & OD "is the 'company learning programme'. We need to ensure that employees gain certain attributes. These attributes include communication and negotiation skills, and how to deal with a customer in a very competitive environment."

Today TCS is a billion-dollar company in terms of revenue. It is managed by nearly 25,000 people and has operations in 55 countries. The organisational structure has to continuously mutate and evolve to remain relevant. It has to transform itself to meet employee aspirations and ensure customer delight. Says Mr Vishwanathan, "There was a recognition within TCS that there was a need for transformation. You need to know where you are going. Only then will the mission, vision and values hold." The company launched a matrix organisation structure a year ago, but had to change it due to changes on the external front.

To make a corporate transformation exercise successful, the leaders should find out the cause of the current state of affairs. The first step in the process is to question existing practices and processes. People don’t resist change; they resist being changed in the process. Since it is difficult to get an insider to objectively carry out the process of challenging existing habits, TCS roped in an outsider to bring a fresh perspective to the change programme. The role of this person was to act as a facilitator and change agent.

Data-based managementThe corporate transformation model of TCS encompasses strategic planning, change management and alignment with project management to create business value. To make any exercise successful, it is necessary to have a performance measurement system (PMS) in place. Towards this objective, TCS introduced the economic value added (EVA) concept across the organisation.

The framework aligns corporate values with the performance of the constituent business units and the individuals who comprise these. The measurement is objective and creates transparency in operations.

Intending to transform itself into a data-driven organisation, TCS decided to implement the balanced scorecard (BS) system simultaneously. A balanced scorecard, with integrated performance measures or key performance indicators, helps companies like TCS track and evaluate their progress in achieving goals. It helps to align the functional targets and goals with the organisational objectives. It integrates the corporate vision with internal business processes, learning, financial measures and reaching out to the customer.

What does transformation mean?Any transformation exercise has to have a clearly measurable and tangible goal. Transformation for the sake of transformation will be counter-productive. Mr Vishwanathan says, "Sometimes people think it is an impossible task to be in the top 10 by 2010. It might sound like a political slogan, but, to put things in perspective, ten years ago we had revenues of Rs 253 crore and 4,000 employees. This increased to Rs 550 crore and 6,900 people about five years ago. Today we are a billion-dollar company."

To cut a long story short, an organisation is about structure, systems, processes and people. And that is TCS’s biggest asset.

Monday, March 15, 2004

TCS (IT companies)
Moving up the consulting value chain
Nasscom Special

The last couple of years have seen a slowdown in the breakneck growth rates of software exports. There has been tremendous pressure on billing rates in this period and India’s software services giants have begun to take their first steps on the value chain ladder by offering consulting services, observes Prashant L Rao

Pawan Kumar suggests that fixed price projects vs. time and materials-charged deals, is one strategy for India Inc to move up the value chain
There hasn’t been a lot of good news for the software industry of late. Billing rates have been squeezed and customers are cutting back on expenditure, thus forcing upon the industry the need for soul searching and introspection. However, there is a bright spot.

Pawan Kumar, ex-head of IBM global services India and founder of vMoksha says, “Indian IT services companies have moved up from coding, migration and testing to design, analysis and project management.” Kumar suggests that fixed price projects vs. time & materials-charged deals, is one strategy for India Inc to move up the value chain. “However,” he cautions, “if the sizing, estimation, project management and change management is not mature, it could be high risk.” He also stresses on the need to learn value pricing. “If we charge the same price for a designer as that for a programmer where is the value?” he asks.

Towards consulting
Perhaps the single most significant factor driving IT services companies towards consulting has been the phenomenon of billing rates and margins dropping heavily in the last couple of years, as buyers started calling the shots. Across the industry, IT services companies are looking at consulting as a route to increase visibility. Most IT services giants embracing consulting look at it as a way to garner downstream revenues—implementing IT strategy involves a lot of services work.

“Many of us are taking steps in the right direction. In a couple of quarters, hopefully the Western economy will turn and spending will kick off. Big projects will be launched and we will be in a position to compete head-on with the Big Four. We need to use this time to develop a track record,” says Girish Paranjape, president for
finance solutions at Wipro Technologies.

The reverse phenomenon is also visible. The Big Four aren’t sitting still. Accenture is increasing its head count in India. EDS has similar plans. Consulting firms are finding that there’s more money in implementation work. Essentially, these firms are coming down from their consulting perch, while IT services companies are moving up towards consulting.
Consulting rates are higher and projects are priced in terms of time and materials. Consulting work typically brings double the rates in IT services at the minimum. Premium consulting work brings in over $1,000 person/day.

Downstream benefits
“Large companies come to you with a problem; you start a consulting engagement involving business processes, optimising workflow or some new concept. You study their existing operations and give them a roadmap on how to improve operations suggesting rationalisation, tools and technology. This could result in downstream projects for the consulting firm. There are multiple opportunities on a top-down basis,” says N G Subramaniam, vice president of TCS’s Bangalore operations and head of the Banking Industry Practice.

What does it take to succeed? Companies have to pick out focus areas and decide if they are going to focus on manufacturing or BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance). Practice lines must have frameworks in place that will allow them to scale up and pass work downstream to other parts of the organisation in a consistent manner. “Consulting thrives on people, frameworks and a knowledge base,” says Dr Anurag Srivastava, CTO of Wipro Infotech.

Then there’s domain expertise. “You need domain expertise to understand what’s best-in- class,” says Anjan Mukerji, country leader of IBM’s Business Consulting Services.

Last but not least, don’t count out the professors. “You should have the right collaboration with academics (TCS collaborates with Harvard) and empanelled external advisors,” adds Usha Srikanth, head of TCS’s retail banking.

IBM Business Consulting Services (IBM BCS) is the newly established consulting arm of IBM Corporation, formed after IBM acquired PwC Consulting. The world’s largest consulting services organisation, IBM BCS is also India’s largest consulting service organisation. Express Computer examines this giant’s strategy and business model with a view to throw some light on what India Inc has to do in order to succeed in the business of consulting.

IBM BCS has an understanding in key solution areas such as CRM, supply chain and financial transaction management from the PwC Consulting acquisition. At the same time, IBM Global Services (IGS) is an old hand at handling mammoth outsourcing projects worth several hundred million dollars.

Business Process Transf-ormation Outsourcing (BTO), optimising processes along with BPO, is a speciality. IBM is a model for wannabe consulting giants with its ability to handle enormous projects.

N G Subramaniam says consulting firms have multiple opportunities on a top-down basis, as consulting could result in downstream projects for the firm
Services offered

Strategy consulting—leveraging technology to change business models.
SCM—APO, production planning, sales, product and material management.
CRM—customer care, billing
Human capital solutions—aximise productivity of human capital, set up portals for business to employee (B2E), balanced scorecard.
Financial management solutions.
E-business integration—for financial services.
Verticals and solutions

Industrial—Automotive, Oil & Gas—SCM, PLM, R&D.
Distribution—consumer goods, pharma, retail, life sciences—SCM, CRM.
Communications—telecom, utilities—CRM, billing, customer care.
BFSI—optimising processes for public sector banks, BPO and capturing customer data to classify customers by profitability for private banks, BPO and Six Sigma for foreign banks.

India’s largest software company, TCS, has been planning its consulting strategy for a little over a decade now. In the early nineties, TCS recognised that to move up the value chain it had to create domain capabilities. The company built up industrial practices focusing on BFSI, manufacturing, telecom and healthcare. At the same time, it also built service practices with expertise in architectural consulting, application development and maintenance.
“For any engagement, technology is not sufficient. You need to add domain capability. For every 5-7 people at TCS, one or two are equipped with business or domain knowledge,” says Subramaniam.

TCS’s industrial practices are empowered to create knowledge bases, which will store reusable business components and prototypes in addition to documents, proposals and charts.

Pricing models:
Value-based pricing—for the right level of expertise, customers are willing to pay.
ASP-based pricing—pay for use.
Risk participation—take a part of the fee up front and the rest comes from a percentage of cost savings that the customer derives. Accounting policies are tough to handle in this model.
“Technology is driving business. In any consulting engagement you have to look at technology solutions and enablers that will make a strategy work,” says Subramaniam.

Services offered

Architect a customer’s IT strategy, both business and technology.
System selection—entails lots of practical experience.
Business Process Outsourcing —initial activity, defining BPO, getting the customer ready for process.
Business Process redesign /reengineering.
Innovative offerings:
Companies often have huge legacy systems that they don’t want to touch as these systems have business processes and rules embedded into their fabric that are crucial to the business. The Business Innovation Lab at TCS has come out with a technique by which legacy systems can be componentised and business processes and rules aren’t lost while making the transition to a new technology.


BFSI, manufacturing, telecom and healthcare.

Skandia Bank (Switzerland): TCS came up with the overall strategy for the group’s financial services and e-commerce initiatives. It helped identify product direction, conceptualised a solution, worked with local regulators for getting a banking license and defined banking processes.
LaSalle Bank, Chicago: TCS did a strategy study on rationalising applications to leverage new delivery channels and provide cost benefits.
General Electric: TCS suggested an approach of total ownership outsourcing for GE’s fleet services operations.
CUSCAL [Credit Union Services Corporation (Australia)] : TCS came up with a wealth management strategy.
TCS has undertaken consulting assignments for many Indian companies like Tata Chemicals, the Taj Group, Tata Telecom and Tata Teleservices. It has provided the complete technology roadmap and done the software, hardware selection as well as facilities management for Tata Teleservices.

Wipro Infotech
Wipro Infotech’s consulting services notched up nearly 40 customers in its first nine months. The company’s consulting arm is leveraging its expertise in business practices like Six Sigma and PCMM to help its customers deploy best practices along with technology. The basic premise of Wipro Infotech’s consulting strategy is that it has strong business transformation services and technology. “We have positioned ourselves as being able to give realistic and tangible revenue growth using Six Sigma and PCMM and also technology-enable clients,” says Wipro’s CTO Dr Srivastava.

“Earlier you used to see consultants walk away after making a good recommendation. Our approach differs. With Six Sigma we can show tangible improvements. It is only after one or two cycles of such improvements that we walk away,” says Srivastava.

Wipro Infotech undertakes consulting work in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and India. It plans to expand its services to the US and Europe too.

Dr Anurag Srivastava says consulting thrives on people, frameworks and a knowledge base
Total Outsourcing Services
IT responsibility of the customer organisation over a large contractual period. WI has bagged two such projects with contracts ranging from 5-7 years.

Wipro Infotech has a separate consulting division with 54 core team members. It leverages the rest of the organisation to form a 140-plus strong team.

Horizontally, Wipro Infotech offers technology and business continuity and risk management services. Vertically, it offers business transformation and BPR.

Financial services, manufacturing, IT enabled services, telecom.


Shaw Wallace: Wipro’s job was to increase organisational efficiency, reduce costs and monitor performance on a daily basis for Shaw Wallace, a leading liquor company.
Retail organisation in Australia: Sales process improvement and technology direction.
ISPAT—Six Sigma related process improvement.
HDFC—rolling out Six Sigma-based organisational improvement programme.
Wipro Technologies
While Wipro Infotech has a separate consultancy service, Wipro Technologies has consultancy services attached to each vertical. The Finance Solutions division started its consulting service six months ago when it hired a practice head from McKinsey. Of Wipro Tech’s Finance Solutions division’s 1,800 employees, a dozen comprise the core consulting team that leverages the expertise of the rest of the group when required. Then there’s a domain consulting group that has another 30-40 members who have domain expertise in the banking and insurance verticals.

Wipro is moving toward a model where its customer facing staff is made up of locals. Deals like the one where it paid $26 million for the energy practice of American Management Systems will be the norm and help the company swell its ranks of consultants, say officials. Wipro Technologies projects that strategy consulting will account for 10 percent of its technology revenue. Though that may not sound like much, its consulting assignments with the likes of General Motors will help create long-term relationships and, in turn, outsourcing revenue.


Wipro recently won a high-level contract from Storage Technology Corp to outsource the design and engineering of a line of tape-storage devices.
The company has taken over an R&D facility for Ericsson.
The Lattice Group outsourced its optic fibre network systems integration in the United Kingdom, a $70 million contract, to Wipro.
An insurance company in the US gave Wipro the task of helping it understand the real issues behind its lack of success in fulfilling expectations of its partner insurance agents. Wipro Tech’s strategy team did an eight week study and found that many areas were not a technology issue at all but process or policy related.

Infy has been developing its consulting arm for 3-4 years. Its strategy is to use the company’s strength in execution to move up the value chain. “We are not like the Big Four, like IBM or EDS, acquiring companies to get there. We are taking Infy’s strength, its existing and new customers and moving up to very focused execution capabilities,” says Jan DeSmet, vice president for Business Consulting Services at Infosys.

Vijay Sharma says consultants need to be trained on the technological strengths of the company to understand what the organisation can do downstream
Supply chain optimisations or assessment have resulted in large downstream projects in the retail and consumer space for the company.

The core-consulting group is 150 strong. 800-900 people at Infosys undertake consulting work. Its consulting group is growing more aggressively than the rest of the organisation.

Industrial products, consumer, retail and financial services.

Infy has undertaken consulting engagements with Monsanto, and American Century Services.

i-flex undertakes value added services around Flexcube and business process reengineering. “In the last two years, our rates for consulting work have gone up. It has also brought downstream revenues on the IT services side,” says Vijay Sharma, head of i-flex Consulting.

Revenue from consulting is not much by itself. However, consulting lets i-flex deliver complete solutions and cross-sell IT services. Large accounts stay with it and business from these accounts grows in a continuous stream.

i-flex has a core team of 35 consultants with an average experience of 12 years in banking and technology. The consulting division leverages people from the rest of the organisation based on project requirements. i-flex has undertaken consulting assignments in 31 countries (18 countries last year). In Q2 it acquired nine new customers in consulting. i-flex Consulting also undertakes quality assessments for IT organisations.

Each year, i-flex Consulting derives its focus areas from the overall organisational strategy. This year it is focusing on:

Risk management for BFSI.
Business Process Reengin-eering.
Process and Quality Consulting.
Solution Architecture
i-flex Consulting also crafts business strategy and how a company should go about implementing a particular solution.

“IT organisations take a technology angle to consulting. People who get in should appreciate technology. Consultants need to be trained in these aspects and understand what the organisation can do downstream,” adds Sharma.

Banking, financial services and insurance.


Process modelling for the International Monetary Fund, covering lending systems and requirements across countries with the aim of improving operational efficiency.
Implementing Flexcube across Europe for Citibank, here the consulting team is training users in usage before the product implementation.
Data Warehousing strategy: i-flex Consulting designed and implemented a data warehousing solution for RBI. The implementation is in a soft launch phase. It aggregates data from 19 departments across 300 systems. Most central banks go in for data marts, RBI has gone in for a central data warehouse.
Kuwait Stock Exchange: i-flex is helping it select a solution for stock exchange operations. As i-flex doesn’t have a product in this space, it can offer package selection.
Islamic Bank: Telephone banking. Study, strategy for all centres, solution selection, project management for implementing a call centre.
European banks are required to implement Basel II solutions by 2006. Each bank has a capital adequacy requirement. If risks are covered well, the bank has a lower capital adequacy requirement. i-flex Consulting did the requirements work for a German Bank. As a result, i-flex is developing a solution for the bank. This is a case of downstream revenue accruing as a result of domain expertise.
The African Banking Corporation (ABC) of Zimbabwe had acquired banks in different countries with varying technology platforms and processes in place. i-flex did Business Process Architecture work to define a framework across the five countries ABC operated in, bringing down cost and improving customer service in the process. The framework will handle future acquisitions as well. Right now i-flex is implementing change management.
CMM assessments: Cosdac the Korean Stock Exchange, Powerice in China, Amsoft and BlueStar (CMMi) in India. In places like Brazil or China, i-flex Consulting works through interpreters. This kind of project helps understand non-English speaking markets from an organisational perspective.
Bank Verlag (BVK): This entity offers its member banks shared services. i-flex Consulting is helping devise an internal rating system for corporate and retail lending. The framework will let banks use a common system.

Cognizant has extended enterprise consulting and transformational outsourcing services to existing customers and used it as a point of entry to win new customers. Cognizant’s entire executive management is based in the US and Europe, which helps it build CXO-level relationships. The company recruits senior level consulting folk with over 15 years of experience from the Big Four consulting companies and end-user organisations. Its leads in CRM and e-business, Peter Grambs and Sean Narayanan, are from Booz Allen and Hamilton; Cognizant’s CTO and chief architect are from Farmers Insurance; and the CIO is from First Data Corporation.

According to Jan DeSmet, Infosys' strategy is to use the company's strength in execution to move up the value chain
Enterprise Consulting is an integral part of Cognizant’s business. Its solutions start from consulting and extend to application development, application maintenance and BPO. Cognizant believes that any assignment starting from consulting will have a downstream effect and will lead to providing application development and maintenance services and vice-versa.

Transformational outsourcing services includes application portfolio analysis and rationalisation, performance rescue and save our systems (SOS), and digital security and forensics. Its Enterprise Consulting practice includes program management, CRM, ERP, business intelligence and e-business solutions.

“Our portfolio analysis and Rationalisation service helps organisations maximise savings by quickly identifying all systems suited to offshore outsourcing and then further reducing costs and processes by eliminating redundant systems,” says Deb Mukherjee, CTO for Cognizant.


Metlife: Transformational outsourcing and enterprise consulting solutions.
Sallie Mae: Portfolio analysis and rationalisation services.
Cognizant helped the company inventory its capabilities and identify opportunities for cost efficiencies and performance improvements. Cognizant also helped Sallie Mae archive a large knowledge base that is frequently tapped in the decision-making processes.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Snapshots from Hell
by Peter Robinson

I finished reading Peter Robinson's "Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA".
The book wasn't available at Barnes and Noble and was out of stock at many other places. Luckily, I got one in India and finished the book in a week.
The book is not a must read.It is set in the 70s (i think) and not very much relevant to the current context (it talks about Excel sheet as a wonder!) but then if one wants to get an idea of what one experiences in a B-School, it is worth reading.
BTW, one will be amused to see the number of blogs of B-School students with the title - Snapshots from Hell :) Hmm...Be it hell or heaven, I have to get in next year !

About the author:
Peter Robinson served as speechwriter to Vice President Bush and as special assistant and speechwriter to President Reagan, writing the historic Berlin Wall address ("Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"). A fellow at the Hoover Institution, Robinson hosts the PBS television program Uncommon Knowledge. He is the author of the business bestseller Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA and a senior director of the White House Writers Group. Robinson lives in Northern California with his wife and their four children.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Techie Dude's words of wisdom..

Hopefully, I won't be sued for copyright violation..but then I have this blog to capture all the information from everywhere and store it at one place. Hopefully, techiedude will not mind.


Think of yourself as an entrepreneur who is going to sell a product to potential Venture Capitalists across the country. The entrepreneur is you; the product is your application and the Venture Capitalists are the admission committee members of the various Business Schools. Assuming that the cost factor is in place (you have competitive GMAT scores in comparison to the application pool) and the product is of considerable good quality (your background, Work Experience etc. are commendable), how are you going to market the product to the potential venture capitalists in order to get funding? (Or get an admission). Think that all your competitors also have similar products (cheap and good quality) – so how are you going to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pool? In one word, i.e. Strategy

I would break down the Strategy into 4 important points:
- Which potential customer segment you are targeting and why?
(Which schools and why them?)
- How the funding will help you to grow your company? (Why MBA?)
- Why this is the right time to market? (Why now?)
- How your product is different from your competitors? (Uniqueness)

Picking Your Schools

I think this is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your MBA application process. Half the battle is won if you pick the right schools assessing your competition. (People will argue that it is difficult to judge your competition but a thorough research will help you considerably in making the right decision.) I have seen friends with competitive stats applying to tons of schools just based on school rankings and then getting rejected from all. It is very important to understand what your values are and what is important to you and compare it to the value system of the school to evaluate whether it is the right fit for you. A good idea would be to get in touch with the current students and alumni or visit the schools or attend the information sessions. (Remember the Brochure is a marketing tool – so it may give a rosy picture hiding the realities.) I think it is a safe bet to apply to maybe 5-6 schools – 2 schools above your reach, 2 schools where you will be fairly competitive and 1-2 safety schools. Pick the safety schools wisely. Though personally I don’t believe in the safety school theory. (Unless and until this is THE year to go to school.)

Why waste time visiting 10 venture capitalists with a weak product strategy when you can get the funding by only visiting 5 of them with a much stronger product portfolio? You have a higher probability of landing the deal in the latter than in the former.

Why MBA? Why now?

It is very significant that you completely belief in your product before you can sell it. And in order to belief in your product you have to do thorough introspection to figure out why you need an MBA? Why now? And where the MBA will lead you into the future? It is very easy for the admission committee member to figure out whether you have concocted a story or whether you mean it from within your heart? I remember 2 of the schools when they gave me rejection feedback in 2002 they raised the same points – why MBA was not clear? Your future goals were not clear? Now, the long-term goal can be opaque, but the short-term goal has to be crystal clear. So, make sure you have this story right. Lastly, dream big.


Uniqueness – well we have heard this word many times, what does it actually means? You are a venture capitalist and you have 10 products in your hand of the same quality and price, which one will you pick and why? Obviously, you will pick the one, which has additional characteristics and features that distinguishes it from the rest. So the challenge here is to separate yourself from the rest especially if you are among the pool of innumerable management consultants or Investment Bankers or Indian IT engineers applying each year. Taking the example of an Indian techie (the pool which I belong to) I will highlight the following characteristics that can differentiate you in this demography:

(a) Technology – Most of the people who are coming from this demography are either engineers, leads or managers. I believe that the one who is different from the rest is the one who has an expertise in a particular technology rather than just a programming language or software. For example, expertise in telecommunication or networking product niche, Operating Systems, E-Commerce or other industries. A thorough knowledge and experience in a particular industry really helps. Additionally if one is involved with the technical forums or groups like IETF or DSL FORUM or ITU or IEEE or Cable Industry Alliance etc. which drives the future of technology is an added plus.

(b) Function – Bschools dig that : Cross-Functional Experience. It really shows the variegated nature of one’s experience especially if an engineer is involved with product management, sales engineering, future product roadmaps, customer interaction or service and marketing. Think about the richness of your knowledge enhancing the experience of your classmates.

(c) Non-Profit Experience – Doing it passionately. It is very difficult to imagine that a candidate will get admission into a Top Bschool without any non-profit experience – It is an unwritten rule in most schools that community involvement is a must. A solid short-term involvement carries much weight than a frivolous long-term participation. And if you are in a leadership role like a Board Member in a Non-Profit Organization or you have founded one – Bingo!! You have hit the Bull’s Eye. Most notably, anything you do, you should do it passionately.

(d) Extra-Curricular Involvement – Tangible Achievements. Most of us have lot of extra-curricular activities that are intangible and may not have a significant impact on our application. For example, I love watching movies of Kurusowa, Renoir and Bergman and frequently attend film festivals; I am a voracious reader and have a deep interest in Philosophy – but do they carry any weight in comparison to being a chairperson of a particular genre in a film festival or founder of a local philosophy club. The later are tangible achievements while the former are not. So the more tangible extra-curricular achievements you have the more unique you are.

(e) Background – This is the most difficult to crack. I am 100% sure that we each have our own uniqueness in our background – but the tricky part is searching for those attributes which are not shared across this demography pool. Is being reared in the agricultural capital of the world, unique? Is being a southpaw, distinct? Is being able to run for 10 miles in a marathon, exclusive? I can’t answer these questions as it differs from person to person – but you have to figure it out yourself, which is the one you want to highlight in your application.


Now even after doing all this introspection and figuring out your strategy, some of the venture capitalists refuses funding for your product – Do you give up? Remember it is not a reflection on you as an entrepreneur but rather a reflection on your strategy and business plan of your product. So, Never give up, all visionary companies were built on the foundation of skepticism and cynicism.


ISB ELP project

In a path breaking survey, The Smart Manager teams up with the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, to discover India's truly world class managers. An unique framework, using a specially developed methodology, is used here for the first time to identify 25 of India's smartest managers. The in-depth profiles look at their strategies and leadership styles to understand the secrets of their success.

* Mukesh D Ambani, Reliance Industries Limited
* Rajivnayan R Bajaj, Bajaj Auto Limited
* M S 'Vindi' Banga, Hnidustan Lever Limited
* Kumar Managalam Birla, Hindalco Industries Limited, Aditya V Birla Group
* Davinder Singh Brar, Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited
* Ashwin S Dani, Asian Paints (India) Limited
* Yogesh C Deveshwar, I T C Limited
* Carlo M V Donati, Nestle India Limited
* Yusuf K Hamied, Cipla Limited
* S Jayaraman, Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited
* Baba N Kalyani, Bharat Forge Limited
*Kundapur Vaman Kamath, I C I C I Bank Limited
* Harsh C Mariwal, Marico Industries Limited
* Gulu L Mirchandani, Mirc Electronics Limited
* Nandan M Nilekani, Infosys Technologies Limited
* Madhukar B Parekh, Pidilite Industries Limited
* Azim H Premji, Wipro Limited
* Aditya Puri, H D F C Bank Limited
* Arun Kumar Purwar, State Bank Of India
* Subir Raha, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited
* B Ramalinga Raju, Satyam Computer Services Limited
* Jeurgen Schubert, Siemens Limited
* Narotam S Sekhsaria, Gujarat Ambuja Cements Limited
* Venu Srinivasan, Sundaram-Clayton Limited
* Ratan N Tata, Tata Motors Limited, Tata Group

Monday, March 08, 2004

April 16,2003
ISB Institutes Sumantra Ghoshal Award

MUMBAI: The Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, has instituted the Sumantra Ghoshal Award for corporate strategy, leadership and change management. The award will be an annual feature at the management campus, beginning this year.

The awards will be presented to the student who excels in two courses—corporate strategy and management of organisations. Along with the launch of the award, the campus is also going full steam with the rolling placement process that was launched sometime back.

Quotes - Prof Sumantra Ghosal

On the ISB

The most critical resource of the ISB is this coalition that has been put together. Absolutely startling coalition (governing board, academic council and executive committee of the ISB) if you look in terms of the international companies, the Indian companies, the business schools and so on. To build such a coalition takes time. The progress so far is impressive…

On What Makes a Great B-school

At the end of the day, a business school is not as good as its building, not as good as its governing body, not as good as anything; it is as good as its students. So what the ISB will become ultimately will depend on its students. That is its greatest strength. Ultimately, they are not substitutes for getting great students, putting up great programmes, and getting good faculty.

On India

The talent pool that is available in India... the world recognises it. The very best of India is the very best anywhere in the world -- people know that.

On his income
This may sound very arrogant… because salary is very small part of my income. My large income is so speaking, consulting; it is internationally done, and if I'm spending half my time teaching in India, it is going to end up in a significant reduction in my income. But that's par for the course. My kids are now out. I don't really need to worry very much at this stage. So that's okay.

On significance of the Human Capital

The challenge for business leaders today is to look beyond financial capital, strategic content and shareholder capitalism, and focus on building human capital, shaping an organisation's behavioral context and ensuring equal distribution among different investors. It's not enough to think of employees as assets. Perhaps we should think of them as volunteer investors, choosing to invest their talents in the organizations they have joined.

On Indian Businesses

The need for the hour for Indian business is to go through a fundamental transformation to focus on human capital because that is at the core of success in the new emerging trends.

On Change

The fundamental shift required is in the mindset -- the evolving perspective. During the last decade, India has gone through an enormous change and this transition has been mainly led by the way technology has evolved changing the way business was conducted.

On Team Spirit

Accumulate best talent and build on them. The team spirit should be there -- a team which could share and integrate knowledge, skills and be able to leverage their collective intellect.

On Future Readiness

To ready ourselves for the future, we should ask two basic questions -- how to lower the cost to consumer and how to get better customer engagement. The fundamental question at the root of this is what the basis of business success is and what must be achieved and how to ensure that one gets the monopoly right.

On Big Corporations
Big corporations have emerged as perhaps the most important social and economic institutions in our modern society. They are much more than money-making machines. They are what holds society together and provide it with the means of progress. The problem is that their managers don't always understand this bigger role and, if they do, they don't always like all that it implies.

On Managers

It is crucial for our societies that the managers wake up to their new role and, more than that, that these giant organizations learn how to re-invent themselves so that they can go on producing wealth and driving progress for us all.

Prof. Sumantra Ghosal dead
Founding Dean of ISB

September, 26, 1948 – March, 4, 2004

Prof. Sumantra Ghosal -Management Guru, Faculty, Author, Humanitarian

Born in India, educated in the USA, worked the world-over, though predominantly in Europe, Prof. Sumantra Ghoshal was a management thinker, great teacher, prolific author, and much sought-after consultant in international management .

Referred to by The Economist as the world's leading EuroGuru, he had published 11 books, over 70 articles and several award winning case studies. His research and teaching focused on strategic, organisational and managerial issues confronting large global companies.

One of the Founding Fathers of the Indian School of Business, he was serving as a Robert P Bauman Chair in Strategic Leadership at the London Business School. He was also serving as a Professor of International Management at the LBS and was as a member of The Committee of Overseers of the Harvard Business School. He had also variously taught at INSEAD, France, and at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Ever so passionately on his belief of creating world-class institutions in India, he was instrumental in establishing the School. He pushed himself in redefining limits, and gave the ISB its dream start by aiding efforts in getting a great founding batch. Prof Ghoshal was significantly attached with the ISB in several capacities – founding father, faculty for Post Graduation Programmes and Executive Education Programmes, helping the School get Corporate patronage and support, besides being increasingly accepted as a preferred location for research. It was his vision to see the ISB as a globally leading B-school, on par with the very top Schools in the world.

Prof. Ghoshal turned conventional management gurudom on its head, arguing for a kinder, more compassionate corporate culture that liberated the individual worker, re-invented the way organisations work and focussed on the individual as entrepreneur, the basic building block of any company.

Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution, a book he co-authored with Christopher Bartlett, has been listed in the Financial Times as one of the 50 most influential management books and has been translated into nine languages.

The Differentiated Network: Organizing the Multinational Corporation for Value Creation, a book he co-authored with Nitin Nohria, won the George Terry Book Award in 1997.

The Individualized Corporation, co-authored with Christopher Bartlett, won the Igor Ansoff Award in 1997, and has been translated into seven languages.

His last book, Managing Radical Change, won the Management Book of the Year award in India.

He had doctoral degrees from both the MIT School of Management and the Harvard Business School, and served on the Editorial Boards of several academic journals. He had also been nominated to the Fellowships at the Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business and the World Economic Forum.

Ghoshal’s death early on Wednesday came at the end of an 11-day critically ill period at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead in London. As the news of his death spread throughout the Global business and management community, reaction ranged from abiding grief to a sense of loss that he died relatively young.

The man who had always wished for Indian companies to become globally competitive, put forth the '525 rule' – meaning that 25 per cent of a company's sales revenue should accrue from products launched during the last five years. He was recognised for his research and teaching on strategic, organisational and managerial issues confronting global companies.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Dinged -Lessons Learnt

Read this mail in the grp...From a person who received a ding from ISB !
He has written down his lessons learnt. Good post mortem.Iam sure he must have had some backup plans and would get succes over there.

I recd. my reject letter y'day. Looking back, I feel I could have done my interview much better.
Just thot' of sharing what I think went wrong during my interview which would probably help the
applicants whose interviews are scheduled in the future.

**Think of interview as a new round. It is your responsibility to explain them clearly about anything
they ask you. Do not go under the assumption that the people at the adcomm would have read your
whole application package (though most probably they would have).

**For some reason, if they hadn't read your application package, then you are a complete stranger to them and it is in your benefits to tell your positive points.
For example, when they ask you "Tell us about your work experience",then you may have to clearly tell them your accomplishments so far. Let us say, you had been an Onsite coordinator (for IT guys), then don't assume they know what is Onsite Coordinator (one of the panelists may know very little about IT).
You have to tell what you did as Onsite coordinator and how that would help you add value to the class.

**Do not expect the interview to go in the way you think. Probably you would have attended a few mock
interviews before the actual but the actual interview is a different ball game than your rehersals.
Be prepared for questions that may not have been posted by the applicants in this group. The very
first question could completely take you offguard. It need not always be "tell us something about
yourself or tell about ur work exp".

** Practise for every combination of questions possible. What if they ask about your uniqueness as very first question, when you had thought that would be somewhere in the middle. Then probably, you may have to give the contents in a different structure than what you had rehearsed for. This is a very important thing to be kept in mind.

Have a thorough knowledge of what you are expressing about your future plans. They will be drilling
on this. Suppose, you say you want to have your own business, they are going to drill you on your
business plans. You should be able to convince them that you have researched on that particular area
and you really know what you are going to do.

**The adcomm is willing to listen what you say with patience. Use this to your advantage and put
forward all the points you want to say in a structured way.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

In a nutshell-What one should do to apply to a B-School (Post GMAT)

1. Get the Montauk book .. Read it religiously .
2. Decide why u want an MBA .
3. Decide your target school range .
4. Research all schools in thsi range rigorously .
5. start deciding on ur schools .
6. Talk to students ... alums .
7. Get a mentor in the app process .
8. Most Importantly ..Start thinking about ur life ... Every small and big ..
You have done ... why ??? and hows ??? and Note it down .

Monday, March 01, 2004

Feathers in the cap- Recent achievements of ISBians

I) Manifestations Paper writing competition at Vista 2003 – conducted by IIMB
1st place (Finance Category):
Karthik Srinivasan, Ashish Rai Sidhra

1st place (Strategy category)
Atul Satija, Anuj Sahai

II) BT Acumen Quiz Competition – South India
2nd place:
Krishnamurthy Josyula, Amalesh Mishra

III) IIMA Confluence
3rd place in the marketing quiz:
Krishnamurthy Josyula, Amalesh Mishra, Piyush Shah

3rd place in Marketing Simulation Game:
Sunder Balasubramanian, PB Badri, Sabyasachi Kar

Finomenon quiz:
1st place:
Team Name: Finatics, ISB Hyderabad (score 8/10)
Team Members: Ashwin Shanker,Gaurav Sachdeva, Santosh Srinivas, Tejasvi Mohanram

Marketing Case Competition:
1st place: PB Badri, Sunder Balasubramanian

Strategy Case Competition:
3rd place: Shyam Murali, Arjun Chittoor

IV) Thunderbird Innovation Challenge
ISB team ranked among the top 20 B – Schools:
Karthik Jayaraman, Kalyan Chakravarthy Tadimeti, Sunder Balasubramaniam, Chaitanya J Reddy, PB Badri

V) Thunderbird Business Plan competition
2nd place: Subramani Rich

VI) XLRI Jamshedpur
2nd place, NITS Summer project contest: Shilpi Wadhi
1st place, NITS case competition: Gaurav Shukla, Srinivas Rao Tati

VII) University Challenge on BBC World.
Finalists: Krishnamurthi Josyula (captain), Amalesh Mishra, Bhargav Desabhatla, Mubin Pagarkar

VIII) SGI Business School Affaire, Mumbai
Presentation on “Performance driven Brands build sustainable enterprise value”
1st place: (Won the Center for Change Management (Dewang Mehta Foundation) Trophy)
Nakul Gupta, Manu Saxena

IX) Smart Manager Case Contest
Finalist: Santanu Sengupta
(finished in top 10 out of a field of 800)

X) TAPMI Atharva “HDFC Young Business Leader” Competition
2nd place: Gaurav Sachdeva

XI) Business Today ACUMEN - 2003 Case Game contest
1st place: Santhosh Bandreddi

XII) MDI, Guragon Ad-Mad Campaign @ e-blast
First Runner-Up: Sachin Pai

3rd place: Sunanda Mitra
Ranked in top 10: Published in Journal: Aakash Chaudhry, Kulmeet Bawa

XIV) IIMK, Backwaters – AdMad Competition
1st place: Sachin Pai

XV) IIM Ahmedabad Business Plan Competition (Anveshan)
2nd place: Subramani Rich, Kaushal Khakhar

XVI) ISB Leadership Summit
Technology Paper Contest:
1st place: Saurabh Khanna, Arti Gupta

Brasstacks, Bulls and Bears:
Investment Simulation Game
1st place: Lalit Rai, Ramakrishnan RS, Roy Rodrigues

XVII) Indiana University Business Plan Competition
Consolation Prize / “The Most Promising Business Plan”:
Subramani Rich, Kaushal Khakhar

XVIII) University of Nebraska Venture Capital Competition
1st place VC Round ($5,000); 2nd place B-plan Round ($3,000):
Subramani Rich, Kaushal Khakhar