Sunday, April 30, 2006

The World is waiting!

As I boarded the British Airways aircraft, i saw an adline that read "The World is Waiting".

World is Waiting?
Yeah, thatz exactly what my parents, friends would be doing for me as I begin my new journey. The decision is made. The investment has been done. The process has begun,and yes, the results will be awaited.!!

Yipee !! This is my first post from the Queen's University.Itz a great feeling. The wait had been too long for me.I am happy and relieved to be here. I took the flight from Kolkata and on the way till the London Heathrow Airport, I experienced a wide range of emotions. For a few minutes,I even wondered if it was really me who took such a bold decision to travel 10,000 miles to get my MBA?:)

I always wanted to get the know how of management,understand the basics/concepts,participate in the case studies, contribute to the class discussions coz these are somethings that simply stimulate and energize me.So,even before I went on to do my engineering,I had pretty much made up my mind that I would go for an MBA. So, am quite pleased with myself for making a choice.

The internet at my room is yet to be set! So,I am using the computer at the Information center at the Graduate residence to write this stuff. The time is around 6 am now.

The journey from Kolkata to Kingston was a smooth one. At Kolkata, I met cricketer Debashis Mohanty and had an hour long chat with him. As he was from my home state, we spoke in the local language.He was heading to Wales to play for the English season. Our discussions ranged from his spectacular contribution in the 1999 world cup against England to his his swing bowling speciality.We also discussed about cricket as a career, cricket selection issues, temprament of cricket enthusiasts in India and of course his inputs on the Saurav Ganguly debate.Mohanty is a down to earth person and perhaps the fact that among all the passengers,it was just me who could identify him, he felt good.! :)

The immigration check at Canada was an easy affair. The Queen's university is a big name here and things went really smooth .Took a Coach Canada bus to Kingston from Toronto. The driver was in a chatty mode and was constantly talking about the fun and party that the University kids have out there but I was so tired that I slept all through the journey.I checked into my room at 2 am and called my parents to inform them that I had reached Kingston.

In the morning, met the other Indian classmates. A friendly set of people,most of them are from the IT industry.We dis some shopping yesterday and even went walking to check out the Lake Ontario. Itz beautiful. Quite, Wide and majestic.

Classes begin from May 02 and till then I have some time to set my room,get to explore the University and catch some sleep. :)

Take care

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The past few days have been very hectic.I was busy shopping, meeting relatives,visiting temples,arranging finances for my education and gearing up for a hectic study schedule.

I am leaving for Canada this Wednesday night.After 6 long years,I will be heading back to school.

I opted for an enginering degree coz my parents wanted me to do that, but now I am doing an MBA because I want to do it.The decision to quit a job and head to school was not an easy one but I sincerely believe that this decision will help me realize my professional and personal goals.

Excited..Nervous..Tensed..Challenged..Adapting to change...
Going through all kinds of emotions these days.

So, here is some stuff to boost my confidence.:)

A Champion's Creed

Champions get up one more time than they have been knocked down.
Champions give their all no matter what the score.
Champions do what is right even when it hurts.
Champions know winning in not necessarily measured by the final score.
Champions take a stand for what is right, even when they stand alone.
Champions see every challenge as an opportunity.
Champions make those around them better.
Champions do the right thing even when no one is watching.
Champions dedicate themselves to prepare for success.
Champions put the success of others above individual achievement.
Champions understand winning is not the only thing.
Champions live by higher personal standards.
Champions stand firm when other around them fall.
Champions live by what they speak and speak what they live.
Champions lay down their own desires for the benefit of others.
Champions willingly accept responsibility, and graciously deflect honor.
Champions never sacrifice what is best for something good.
Champions may fail...but they never quit.

Becoming A Champion

1. Focus on a point.
2. Be willing to accept and learn from your mistakes
3. Stop comparing your performance with others'.
4. Don't let the discomfort of learning new techniques worry you.
5. Notice the things you are doing to make yourself successful.
6. If you feel tired, don't stop doing what you're doing. Dissociate yourself from the physical aspect of tiredness.
7. When you are tense, picture yourself in flowing, perfect performance.
8. When you feel tense, let your body relax through affirmations.
9. Play with people who want to succeed.
10. Challenge yourself.

Source: Life Positive - October 1998
We Are the Champions

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rude Brood

People relieving themselves on the streets, spitting, picking their noses, scratching their rears, and underarms is a common sight in the country. Even a man driving an expensive car will roll down the windows to spit. Do you feel that this is a common sight ?Increasing urbanization has brought in a lot of changes.

As common courtesies get increasingly uncommon, The Sunday Times of India carried an interesting special report on April 23rd on India's Rude Brood. Based on the poll, the rudest city in India is Patna. The second spot goes to the commercial hub of India- Mumbai, and the third to the capital city- Delhi.

The article states that Bad manners have indeed become the hallmark of a hurry-up world where no one has the time to hold doors open or wait for people to get off the train/bus/elevator before shoving their way in. The patience threshold has become really low . So, the trend is evident in the country.

"Gross" Domestic Product
Rudeness Index- Rankings based on Times of India response
1.Using abusive language
2.Drinking and misbehaving
3.Lewd behavior with women
4.Spitting in Public places
5.Picking Nose
6.Obscene gestures
7.Lighting in 'No smoking' zones
8.Breaking Queues
10.Jostling People
11.Noisy neighbours
13.Loud behavior
14.Talking Loudly on cell phone
15.Uninvited guests

Questions you might not like you when a stranger asks:
-What is your age?
-Are you married?
-Have kids or not?
-Why don't you have kids?
-Your monthly income?

You are a techno pest if you
-Force strangers to listen to your lengthy cell phone conversations.
-Break off a conversation so you answer your cell
-Don't begin emails with a "Hello"
-SNSN while talking to someone
-Don't acknowledge emails,SMS whenever needs information you requested.Jokes don't need an answer so don't waste money.

E-ticketing catches fancy of airlines, travellers in India

Are you among those who still use a paper ticket to travel by air? Or have you joined the growing numbers of air travellers and airlines that are realising the benefits of e-tickets and shifting to this cost-saving method?

A recent study done by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that during the second half of March this year, more than 20 per cent of tickets sold by airlines that are members of the global association were e-tickets, up from about 5 per cent during the same period in the previous year

Read the articles here

TCS restructures itself
India's largest IT company the $2.97 billion Tata Consultancy Services has restructured itself into five different units - BPO, consulting, infrastructure management, products and engineering which will be spread all across geographies.

TCS consulting unit has been divided into architecture/technology and process consulting. Rival Infosys already has a consulting practice based in US with a headcount of more than 500.

Read article here

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Complete Women - Do it All

Work, home and play. The urban Indian woman has become adept at multi-tasking, and as she redefines career goals, she is also nipping and tucking her relationships. Will she be the alpha mom, the beta career girl or a complete blend of both?The recent issue of India Today is a Women Special.If you can,do grab a copy of it and have a look.

Leading Ladies
There is an interesting article that features thirty achievers that show how women can be more than the sum of their cliches.From an investment banker to a singer with a soul, from a director who makes everyone dance to her tunes to an infotech warrior.These are the role models.Here are a few women from the Biz Section that caught my attention:

Cookie Cutter

Role call: She shattered the impermeable glass ceiling of the FMCG sector even before the big boys started talking about gender diversity at the workplace. Her career has taken her from being the worldwide head of marketing and strategy at Coca-Cola in Atlanta, USA, to working with the United Nations. An MBA from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, she began with Voltas in 1977, a Tata Group company focusing on consumer products.

Balancing act: Takes a day off to see a new place even when she's travelling on work. Is steadfastly single and happily houseproud. Her parents are her greatest support.

Worst cliché she's heard:
"You won't be able to take the travel because you are a woman."

Digital Diva

Role call: Perhaps the most powerful woman in Indian infotech today, she heads the Rs 9,000-crore American multinational company Perot Systems' operations in India and the Asia Pacific, with her 6,000-strong staff providing almost half its business. Her 20-year-career spans Oracle and Hewlett-Packard.

Balancing act: Being a mother of two, and yet travelling abroad almost every month for the past ten years, has been tough.

Significant other:
Ravichander, former wall street wiz, whom she married in 1981

Plough Back

Role call: The Wharton graduate runs Tractors and Farm Equipment, India's second- largest tractor manufacturing firm, independent of her husband, TVS chairman Venu Srinivasan. Since she joined as a general manager in 1985, the company's turnover has grown from Rs 86 crore to Rs 2,600 crore.

On the work-home balance:
"Every woman has to find her own formula."

Brick by Brick

Role call: The Yale and London School of Economics graduate was vice-president, Goldman Sachs, where she co-authored two acclaimed papers on the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies before deciding that India was her calling. Having recently moved from New York to Mumbai, she will work with Future Capital, the financial arm of Pantaloon Retail.

Balancing act: Flexible workspaces have enabled her to spend time with her partner, who works in the New York City Education Department, and do a lot of reading.

A typical day: Ten hours of analysing data-she specialises in demographics and migration. An hour at the gym.

It just gets better

Competition continues to be intense in wireless segment in the United States. This is yet another example of that.

Alltel, the nation's fifth largest wireless phone company, has fired the latest volley in the cell phone price wars.The company is announcing a new plan for customers on Thursday called My Circle that will allow people to make and get unlimited calls for free from up to ten people regardless of which phone company the other person is using.

The objective here is to increase customer loyalty.
Read the article here

Armani plans India entry

Finally, there is a timeline for one of the world’s greatest luxury brands to enter India. Giorgio Armani will set up shop in India latest by mid 2007, with four stores in two cities, Mumbai and Delhi.

As far as pricelines go, Armani would like to keep it on par with Dubai if not Italy (which is 10% cheaper).
Read the article here

Return of the Manufacturing Sector

-This February, Tata Motors advertised for about 50 vacancies.The response hit Tata Motors like a tsunami. Over 50,000 people responded to the advertisements!

-In the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, 91 per cent of MTech students have chosen manufacturing jobs.Even 73 per cent of mechanical engineering students have opted for hard-core engineering jobs,

-Some colleges like VES Institute of Technology, Mumbai, and PSG College of Technology, one of Coimbatore’s premier institutions, have already given day one placement honours to manufacturing companies.

-In Punjab Engineering College, 60 per cent of mechanical engineering students have taken to manufacturing-intensive jobs.

-Almost 550 of the 1,100 students of PSG College have taken to core engineering jobs

-The average age of the employee who heads units(responsible for cost, quality, shop maintenance, etc., with deliverables in each) at Tata Motors is between 27 and 30 years.

-The success of products like the Indica and Scorpio has helped attract talent. Manufacturing companies are spending more on R&D than ever beforeThere is a lot of innovation and a shift of emphasis to research and development (R&D). There are new kinds of jobs being created in the sector

-The salary structure is on par with the IT sector

Thousands of young engineers are now excited about careers in manufacturing. They could give Indian manufacturing the next big push..Are these signs of a resurgence of engineering and manufacturing careers?
Read the cover story in this week's Business World India

Curvy Mallika for 7 up

Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat is the brand ambassador for for new 7UP 'Curvy'.

7UP, the clear lime brand of PepsiCo India, debuts ‘Curvy’, its curvaceous new packaging that is a perfect mix of style, convenience and boasts of the smoothest of curves. The power packed launch saw the curvaceous Mallika Sherawat unveiling the new packaging of 7UP

The TVC, created by JWT and directed by Prahlad Kakkar, went on air on April 15. It features Sherawat playing the role of a princess who wishes to be more beautiful, curvy and the coolest of them all. To her amazement, her wishes are granted by none another than Fido Dido, who snaps his fingers and turns her into the 7UP ‘Curvy’ bottle.

Said JWT’s Senior Vice President, Rohit Ohri, “The brief given to us was to find a brand ambassador for the launch of the 7UP bottle. To launch the curvy bottle we looked for the most appropriate brand ambassador, and who could be more curvy than Mallika Sherawat.”

“I am positive that the new curvaceous look will be a rage with the youth. said Sherawat

Queen's University Photographs

Eddie from the Commerce Class of 08 has a photo blog of the Queen's University.
Do watch the pictures here at

Hyundai apologises amid scandal

Hyundai has made a public apology and pledged to donate assets to charity amid a widening probe into alleged corruption at the Korean car giant.The firm, which is being investigated by prosecutors over claims of illegal political lobbying, said it would fully co-operate with the inquiry.

Hyundai said its chairman Chung Mong-Koo and his son would set aside assets worth 1 trillion won ($1bn).
"We bow to the people and apologise," the firm said in a statement
Read the article here

Korean firm Samsung pursued a similar course of action in February, donating $800m in assets to a public fund after being embroiled in a number of scandals.

Korean society is very Confucian," said Mo Jong Ryn, a professor of political science at Seoul's Yonsei University. Hyundai is "asking for forgiveness instead of dealing with its problems legally."
Read the piece on WSJ here

Original Beers?

Scottish and Newcastle (S&N) recently announced that it was buying the Foster's brand across Europe for £313m.So,Fosters sold across Europe will be brewed in UK and not in Australia.
"It is very much still an Australian beer brewed to an Australian recipe, but we are obviously not going to brew it in Australia as that is a long way to ship it" says S&N head of communications Robert Ballantyne.
Most of the global beer giants today have their products brewed under licence overseas.Brewing overseas is common practice in the global beer industry.

-Denmark's Carlsberg and Belgium's Stella Artois have both long been brewed in the UK

-Guinness for example, the famous Irish stout, is actually brewed in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Read the article here

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Best MBA Employers lists the Best MBA employers.Each year, research firm Universum surveys MBA candidates on where they'd most like to work,Here are the:

Top 10 MBA employers
1 McKinsey & Company
2 Google
3 Goldman Sachs
4 Bain & Company
5 The Boston Consulting Group
6 Citigroup
7 Apple Computer
8 General Electric
9 Johnson & Johnson
10 Morgan Stanley

Read the entire 100 Top MBA employers list here

A few interesting observations
*Companies that used to be regarded as dot-coms -- and were very volatile on the list -- are now established as major recruiters.Google is one of the favorites! Consulting, finance and other Fortune 500 names dominated the top 100 list.

*The survey also broke down most desirable companies by gender. For women, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Walt Disney were unique to their top 10 list. For men, it was Morgan Stanley, General Electric and Lehman Brothers.

*Asked what career goals they hoped for within three years, MBA men and women selected "balance personal life and career" and "build a sound financial base" as their top priorities.

*The most noticeable change in the MBA scneario by far is that now, the top 25 or 30 MBA programs' students are about one-third international. To a much greater extent than before, you walk around on campus and see people from everywhere, from Buenos Aires to Beijing.

*An MBA with overseas work experience, or familiarity with one or more foreign markets, has a real advantage. That person can probably choose among several great job opportunities

*Technical skills - quantitative know-how are important, and strong communication skills are always in demand. But the biggest buzzword now is globalization.Now, the big U.S. tech companies, investment banks, consulting firms, and consumer-goods companies are trying to find people who can function globally.

*42% of U.S. schools report that they're playing host to more and more recruiters who are there to find students from other countries, and to woo them for overseas jobs either in their own home countries or elsewhere."Anyone who has spent time in China and knows something about it, and also has an MBA from a top U.S. school - well, that person can pretty much write his or her own ticket"..says Greg Ruf, CEO of MBA Focus (

*Much of the demand is coming from those traditional stalwarts of MBA hiring - consulting, financial services, and consumer goods companies. The big brand-name investment banks and consulting firms do 90% of their recruiting at a "target list" of brand-name campuses - and it's a tiny number of schools, sometimes as few as six, sometimes as many as 14, but a tiny list.

Read the entire article here

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Listen to this

Some advice I received during the resume critiques exercise from a set of experienced folks (Managers,CFO,CEOs). Great stuff.! Sharing it with others

Focus on networking from day one, look at the industries that interest you and try to get to connect with people who are in that industry.
Make best use of your school’s alumni office as well as industry associations and trade fairs etc. as well as persuade friends, family and ex-colleagues to reach out to their connection.

Remember it is the “weak links’ that get you the jobs. Try for leadership positions in your school/batch representative/Finance club President etc., help out the placement office in your seniors placement.

Concentrate on job search through agents by the end of december 2006.

Choose your target roles in your set of target companies clearly.
Get inside info on these roles and companies through your networks of friends and acquaintances.

Approach the HR and the line manager through a reference if you genuinely believe that you are the right person for the job (not because you want to influence the process but because you want their time and attention)

Be focus and flexibile.Jobs are available to those who possess the ability to do multi-dimensional work – thereby enlarging the opportunities available to them, as they will fit in into more than one area of expertise.

Lastly, if you have the "stones" to do your MBA 10,000 miles from home,it takes guts and real determination... And that should come across in your resume while searching for a job.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Best Innovators

In the 1990s, innovation was about technology and control of quality and cost. Today, it's about taking corporate organizations built for efficiency and rewiring them for creativity and growth.
"Innovation does not have to have anything to do with technology." Says Vijay Govindarajan, a professor at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business and author of Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution.

To discover which companies innovate best -- and why -- Business Week joined with The Boston Consulting Group to produce our the 25 most innovative companies.

1 Apple
2 Google
3 3M
4 Toyota
5 Microsoft
6 General Electric
7 Procter & Gamble
8 Nokia
9 Starbucks
10 IBM
11 Virgin
12 Samsung
13 Sony
14 Dell

The full list is here:

Some observations:
-While 72% of the senior executives in the survey named innovation as one of their top three priorities, almost half said they were dissatisfied with the returns on their investments in that area.

-Today, innovation is about much more than new products. It is about reinventing business processes and building entirely new markets that meet untapped customer needs. Most important, as the Internet and globalization widen the pool of new ideas, it's about selecting and executing the right ideas and bringing them to market in record time.

-India and China are growing sources of innovation for companies, too.When asked where their company planned to increase R&D spending, 44% answered India, 44% said China, and 48% said Western Europe. Managers tended to look to the U.S. and Canada for idea generation, while a lower percentage looked to Europe for the same tasks. India and China, though, are still seen as centers for product development.

Some Innovations:
-To launch the iPod, Apple used no fewer than seven types of innovation. They included networking (a novel agreement among music companies to sell their songs online), business model (songs sold for a buck each online), and branding (how cool are those white ear buds and wires?). Consumers love the ease and feel of the iPod, but it is the simplicity of the iTunes software platform that turned a great MP3 player into a revenue-gushing phenomenon

-Toyota : The Japanese auto giant is best known for an obsessive focus on innovating its manufacturing processes. But thanks to the hot-selling Prius, Toyota is earning even more respect as a product innovator. It is also collaborating more closely with suppliers to generate innovation. Last year, Toyota launched its Value Innovation strategy. Rather than work with suppliers just to cut costs of individual parts, it is delving further back in the design process to find savings spanning entire vehicle systems.

-Procter & Gamble Co has transformed its traditional in-house research and development process into an open-source innovation strategy it calls "connect and develop." The new method? Embrace the collective brains of the world. Make it a goal that 50% of the company's new products come from outside P&G's labs.Tap networks of inventors, scientists, and suppliers for new products that can be developed in-house."The ideas tend to be bigger when you have someone sitting at the center looking at the company's growth goals."

-Starbucks recently started taking product development and other cross-company teams on "inspiration" field trips to view customers and trends.

-Each time BMW begins developing a car, the project team's members -- some 200 to 300 staffers from engineering, design, production, marketing, purchasing, and finance -- are relocated from their scattered locations to the auto maker's Research and Innovation Center, called FIZ, for up to three years. Such proximity helps speed up communications (and therefore car development) and encourages face-to-face meetings that prevent late-stage conflicts between, say, marketing and engineering.

-Infosys has a “voice of youth" program where each year the company selects nine top-performing young guns -- each under 30 -- to participate in its eight yearly senior management council meetings, presenting and discussing their ideas with the top leadership team.

-Nokia understood how illiterate people live in a world full of numbers and letters and came up with a new "iconic" menu that lets illiterate customers navigate contact lists made up of images. Other innovative ideas followed. By listening to customers in poorer countries, Nokia learned that phones had to be more durable, since they're often the most expensive item these customers will buy. To function in a tropical climate, it made the phones more moisture-resistant. It even used special screens that are more legible in bright sunlight

Obstacles in Innovation:
1.The No. 1 obstacle is slow development times. Fast-changing consumer demands, global outsourcing, and open-source software make speed to market paramount today. Yet companies often can't organize themselves to move faster.

2.A lack of coordination is the second-biggest barrier to innovation, according to the survey's findings. But collaboration requires much more than paying lip service to breaking down silos

3.One of the biggest mistakes companies may make is tying managers' incentives too directly to specific innovation metrics.

4.Getting good consumer insight is the fourth most cited obstacle to innovation in our survey. Blogs and online communities now make it easier to know what customers are thinking

Sources:Business Week articles
Most Innovative Companies
Cover Story

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Like marriage
Business Standard / New Delhi April 12, 2006

A nice article in Business Standard.

Indian companies are busy on deal street, merging and acquiring like never before—in fields as diverse as telecom and aviation, pharmaceuticals and software. Some weeks, there is more action overseas than in the domestic market—adding a touch of novelty. It’s easy to get excited by the drama, but some words of caution are also in order. As studies over the years have shown, a significant portion of M&As do not deliver their desired or planned value. That’s partly because of faulty pre-deal negotiations and partly due to mismatch in the strategic, cultural and human resource objectives of the merging partners. The proposed acquisition of Air Sahara by Jet Airways has highlighted, for instance, the dangers posed by different interpretations of government regulations.The costs of a faulty merger can be high. And given the high number of unsuccessful or half-successful mergers, it is important to focus on the best practices that create maximum value.

The experts say that successful M&As depend on superior execution, addressing specific value-capturing objectives. How can this be ensured? One common mistake is for the merger partners to view the initial negotiations and post-deal processes as two separate activities. Increasingly, M&A specialists say that the more successful cases are those which are treated as integrated activities with a process that begins with the pre-deal package (goals, transparent due diligence and fair valuation), moves to deal execution and culminates with smooth integration. Good execution of M&As should see all these activities as one holistic process, rather than as piece-meal activities. For this to happen, one crucial pre-requisite is top management commitment from both sides to ensure that the deal is kept on course during the entire process.

Second, it is important to focus on value creation and tapping the synergies of the merged entities. To do that,integration activities are best prioritised according to the value they create. The problem is that in many mergers, integration activities are sequenced on a functional basis rather than on a value-addition basis. For example, while consolidating marketing activities, IT systems and rationalising policies are important, but each of these activities needs to be prioritised because not all of them yield equal benefits.

Third, the partners will have to marry speed of execution with cultural sensitivity. This is easier said than done. From the time of announcing the deal, bringing the merger to complete closure in integration planning activities is important. Depending on the size of the deal and nature of activities of the merged entities, this could take up to a couple of years. During the early phase of this period, when regulatory agencies may be reviewing the deal, the two merging entities often engage in intensive integration activities, till the required government clearances come in. These interim periods are crucial because it is times like these that can lead to postponed strategy implementation, dilution of brand equity, lowering of employee morale, and workforce and customer defections. Having a proactive strategy in place to take care of these contingencies and related cultural issues is crucial.

Fourth, the right way of achieving people integration is crucial. Issues of compensation, designation, hierarchy, way of doing business, retention of people, top management structure and graceful exit of redundant manpower are all important. In this, optimum communication throughout the organisation is needed. Finally, greater clarity of government policies and guidelines will help the companies a lot on what can be done, and what cannot be—as seen recently in the civil aviation sector. What should be clear is that, as industries consolidate and companies supplement organic growth with mergers and acquisitions, success down this route is not guaranteed just because a deal has been done, and has to be worked for over time after the deal is signed and announced.

Service to preload web on laptops

A hi-tech start-up called Webaroo is aiming to shrink the web so that it can fit into a laptop.The company has designed its service so that people will not have to go online to access information found on the net.

It has already signed a deal to put its snapshot of the net on laptops sold by PC maker Acer.Read the article here

Sportswear giant Adidas is facing complaints over a new trainer that some say features a racist cartoon image.

Sportswear giant Adidas is facing complaints over a new trainer that some say features a racist cartoon image.The offending footwear includes a yellow picture of an Asian youth with bowl-cut hair, pig nose and buck teeth.Asian-American groups have complained that the picture on the shoe's tongue portrays an anti-Asian stereotype.

Adidas said it had intended no offence. The image was designed by US graffiti artist Barry McGee who has previously used it in an anti-racist commentary
Read the article here

Muhammad Ali sells rights to name, likeness

Famed boxer will get $50 million in exchange for giving up majority control of the rights to his name and image.

He may always be known as "The Greatest", but famed prizefighter Muhammad Ali will now have to share the rights to his name and likeness.Entertainment and licensing firm CKX announced Tuesday that it is paying Ali $50 million in cash in exchange for selling 80 percent interest of his name and likeness.

Read the article here

Nasdaq Takes a Slice of the London Stock Exchange

In a surprise move, the U.S. exchange has paid $782 million for a 14% interest.
Read the article here

Top 10 best jobs in US
MONEY Magazine and researched hundreds of jobs,
considering their
- growth,
- pay,
-and other factors.
These careers ranked highest.

1. Software Engineer
2. College professor
3. Financial adviser
4. Human Resources Manager
5. Physician's assistant
6. Market research analyst
7. Computer IT analyst
8. Real Estate Appraiser
9. Pharmacist
10. Psychologist

Read the article here

For all you folks in IT, here is some info:
1. Software Engineer
Why it's great :Software engineers are needed in virtually every part of the economy, making this one of the fastest-growing job titles in the U.S. Even so, it's not for everybody.Designing, developing and testing computer programs requires some pretty advanced math skills and creative problem-solving ability. If you've got them, though, you can work and live where you want: Telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread. The profession skews young -- the up-all-night-coding thing gets tired -- but consulting and management positions aren't hard to come by once you're experienced.
What's cool: Cutting-edge projects, like designing a new video game or tweaking that military laser. Extra cash from freelance gigs. Plus, nothing says cool like great prospects.
What's not:Jobs at the biggest companies tend to be less creative (think Neo, pre-Matrix). Outsourcing is a worry. Eyestrain and back, hand and wrist problems are common.
Top-paying job: Release engineers, who are responsible for the final version of any software product, earn six figures.
Education: Bachelor's degree, but moving up the ladder often requires a master's.

2.Computer IT analyst
Why it's great: Seems like the entire world is at the mercy of information technology folks, thanks to the rapid spread of computers and swell of the Internet. And all of these jobs pay well, from desktop support technician to Webmaster to database wonk.Entry-level analysts make $60,000 and above. Senior database specialists and IT managers command six-figure salaries and decent bonuses. A bachelor's degree is enough to get started.
What's cool: Telecommuting and freelance gigs abound. Plus: e-mail snooping!
What's not: Carpal tunnel syndrome; outsourcing will mean fewer entry-level and non-specialized jobs.
Top-paying job: Network operations directors, who are responsible for a company's intranet, earn $250,000-plus.
Education: From a B.S. to a Ph.D.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Great job or a good career
-Rahul Kapoor

A good article in Economic Times

Every year, thousands of students complete their education and begin their hunt for a job.But when a good job doesn’t come their way, many end up taking the first job they see without giving it as much as a second thought.But problems begin when they enter the organisation.In a hurry to create an impression, they either end up over-doing things or underplaying themselves.Both ways, they end up unsuccessful.The following tips will help you build a sound career, and not just a job:

Don’t be in a hurry
Never be in a hurry to take up a job, especially if it is your first one.Look around, meet people, and go for a few interviews to evaluate what the industry has to offer.Then, sit back and ask yourself what kind of a job you really want to do.You will always have an advantage if you pick a job that you enjoy.Your focus should be on a career and not just that one, particular job.

Great Job Or Great Salary?
The eternal dilemma! Many people evaluate themselves on basis of how much they earn on their first job and give little importance to their job profile.Such people are rarely satisfied with their work in the long run.Therefore,gather as much information as possible about the job you are being offered. Be clear about the profile before agreeing to work for someone. One should work with a great team and a good boss who you can learn from.The size of the company does not matter, what does is the corporate culture, work atmosphere and growth opportunity. Money follows good performers, and it will come to you as well. So, for now, simply concentrate on getting a good job.

Put In Long Hours
Your first job is an opportunity to learn, make mistakes and experiment at the cost of your employer . The objective of the organisation that your work with is to train you as quickly as possible and make you productive from their business point of view.Thus, the time you take to grasp and master things becomes important.This gives you a good chance to create a positive image.Work hard, for long hours and be sincere.Learn as much as you can.The faster you learn, the more you will be noticed .

Be Open To Criticism
It is only natural that you will take time to get things right on your first job, and people may get critical of you.But do not get discouraged or demotivated with such feedback.This happens to almost everyone.The best way to deal with such situations is by accepting your mistake without justifying yourself.Also, express your commitment to perform the job well the next time.

Concentrate On Quality
Every boss loves quality.You must be careful while doing your job and make sure that you deliver results .Your performance can improve drastically by asking questions for clarification.If you have a point of view, discuss it with your boss and take his concurrence on things before executing your idea.Always cross-check what you have done before meeting your boss with updates.There is always a tendency that your boss will look out for mistakes and if he finds some, you will rarely get credit for the good work that you would have done.So be careful.

Do Not Get Influenced
Everyone in the team will have an opinion about everybody else, so don’t get influenced by fellow employee opinions or judge others.This can create bias and may hinder your work. So take your own time and evaluate people on how they treat you. Maintain a positive attitude even if you feel that someone is being negative.

Finally , good luck and have a great career!
(The writer is the Founder-Director of the Kapoor’s Workshop on Effective Communication)

Social Networking getting Popular

Sites that link up users in affinity groups are wildly popular.
Sources for this write up: Recent articles in Businessweek. Read them here and here

Are Social Networking group Popular?
You bet!...Here are some stats to prove that
-MySpace,which was said last year to be making profits in the millions of dollars -- has become larger, and according to News Corp.,more profitable.
-LinkedIn, a subscription-based social-networking site for professionals, has turned cash-flow positive after about three years of operation.Last year it grew two to three times in size. It is expected to have 10 million registered users by the end of this year.
-Facebook, a site for students, is now the seventh-busiest spot on the Web..
-Media giant Viacom (VIA) has hired social-networking experts of its own and has even been in talks about a possible acquisition of or investment in Facebook. is a social-networking site that creates a buddy system for people who want to lose weight.
-Mobile social-networking holds a lot of promise, too. AirG is geared toward cell phone users. That makes good business sense, according to co-founder Frederick Ghahramani.

What are the popular Social Networking sites?
MySpace and Facebook, where teenagers and young adults trade messages on home pages loaded with photos, profiles, blogs, and more.LinkedIn is a 3-year-old social networking site for grownups(25-to-65-year-old category).

Why is social networking taking off right now?
Co-founder Konstantin Guericke of Linked In: Over the past 10 years, the media have become so noisy; it's hard for advertisers to break through unless they can afford something like a Super Bowl ad. And even companies that can afford them sometimes question whether it's worth it.Word of mouth cuts through all that. That's one reason blogs and social networking are taking off.

How are they running the show?
The companies have attracted major investors. LinkedIn has received venture capital from Greylock and Sequoia Capital, which helped launch companies like Google (GOOG), Yahoo!, Cisco (CSCO) and Apple Computer (AAPL). Facebook raised $12.7 million in venture money from Accel Partners, a backer of Internet music and video player RealNetworks (RNWK).

Are the business models viable over the long-term?
Some experts say the answer is yes. The Internet in general is becoming a more legitimate medium for advertising. "Online rates continue to climb. The cost rose 20% last year," said Jeff Lanctot, general manger of online advertising firm Avenue A/Razorfish.

How are they generating money?
Social-networking sites are attracting a rising number of major advertisers. Most of them come from the entertainment sector, although consumer products companies are active, too .Target (TGT), NBC (GE), and Procter & Gamble (PG ) have run ad campaigns on MySpace.
Social-networking sites have some natural advantages for advertisers, too. Even if the environment can be a bit wild, it creates an opportunity to develop powerful affinity groups and to collect a mother lode of demographic data about its members.
Procter & Gamble used MySpace to launch Secret Sparkle, a deodorant for 16-to-24-year-old girls and women. It linked the product to the home pages of musicians that used MySpace and appealed to the same demographic.When users listened to new songs by The Donnas and Bonnie McKey, they were exposed to ads for Secret Sparkle and offered a chance to participate in a Secret Sparkle sweepstakes.

Any other methods of generating money?
Advertising isn't the only approach to making money in social-networking. Some sites are having some luck with getting users to pay.That's a difficult thing to do on the Web, where information tends to be free. But LinkedIn uses a combination of free access and tiered levels of service that range from $60 to $2,000 a year.

Are you sure that this is not like those dot com days.?
Some believe that this is like the dot-com era. A few companies will get wiped out.
Molly Wood talks about 5 reasons why social networking won't work.
1. There's nothing to do there
2. It takes too much time
3. Traffic alone isn't enough
4. Strangers kind of suck
5. We already have the Internet.

Any conclusion?
The business models for the social-networking market are still evolving. No doubt, plenty of them will fail, providing fodder for jokes that compare them to or Friendster, a social-networking pioneer that lost its lead.The rise of social networking has created plenty of comparisons to the Internet bubble of the '90s. For sure, that era had more than its share of losers.But it also created Yahoo, Google, eBay (EBAY), and Amazon (AMZN). It could well be that a few of the next major Internet companies will come from the ranks of social networking.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Goldman Sachs wins BE Quiz '06

Winners of this year Brand Equity Quiz are Sridhar Adepu and Naveen Giles of Goldman Sachs Services, Bangalore

The winning answer for the evening: Which car is named after a small feral horse of south-western United States. The answer: The Mustang, also from Ford.

There were eight teams in all in the national finals — Goldman Sachs (Bangalore), KPMG (Chennai), Vizag Steel (Hyderabad), Torrent Pharma (Ahmedabad), Accenture (Delhi), UTI bank (Mumbai), TCS (Kolkata) and Savoir Faire (Pune).

Can a "personal MBA" match the Real McCoy?

Do you really need to spend upwards of $80,000 in tuition and take two years off to become senior management material? The supporters of an alternative method, the Personal MBA (PMBA), say no, and it's an idea that's developing some traction.

According to the advocates of the Personal MBA, all you have to do to measure up to the pricey MBAs turned out by B-schools is to keep gaining work experience, read a series of books at your leisure, and talk about them with an online community.

Herez the complete article.

Here is the list of books that ha been suggested at Josh Kaufman's site on Personal MBA:
-Mastery by George Leonard (B&N)
-Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton (B&N)
-Getting Things Done by David Allen (B&N)
-The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (B&N)
-What the CEO Wants You to Know by Ram Charan (B&N)
-Profitable Growth Is Everyone's Business by Ram Charan (B&N)
-On Competition by Michael Porter (B&N)
-Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne (B&N)
-Seeing What's Next by Clayton M. Christensen, Erik A. Roth, Scott D. Anthony (B&N)
-The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker (B&N)
-First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman (B&N)
-The One Thing You Need to Know by Marcus Buckingham (B&N)
-The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett & Lawrence Cunningham (B&N)
-Poor Charlie's Almanack by Charlie Munger
-The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Finance for Nonfinancial Managers by Robert A. Cooke (B&N)
-Essentials of Accounting by Robert Newton Anthony and Leslie K. Pearlman (B&N)
-The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt & Jeff Cox (B&N)
-Lean Thinking by James Womack & Daniel Jones (B&N)
-The Substance of Style by Virginia Postrel (B&N)
-The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman (B&N)
-Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt (B&N)
-The Marketing Playbook by John Zagula & Richard Tong (B&N)
-Purple Cow by Seth Godin (B&N)
-Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin (B&N)
-The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki (B&N)
-The Bootstrapper's Bible by Seth Godin
-Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler (B&N)
-On Writing Well by William Zinsser (B&N)
-How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (B&N)
-Influence by Robert B. Cialdini (B&N)
-The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer (B&N)
-Flawless Consulting by Peter Block (B&N)
-Real Estate Principles for the New Economy by Norman Miller & David Geltner (B&N)
-Getting To Yes by Fisher, Ury, and Patton (B&N)
-Principles of Statistics by M.G. Bulmer (B&N)
-A Primer on Business Ethics by Tibor Machan & James Chesher (B&N)
-Brand New by Nancy F. Koehn
-American Business, 1920-2000 by Thomas K. McCraw, John H. Franklin, and A. S. Eisenstadt (B&N)
-The Little Book of Business Wisdom by Peter Krass (Editor) (B&N)
-Re-imagine by Tom Peters (B&N)
-The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun (B&N)
-The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch (B&N)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Big Test-Three lakh students appear for IIT-JEE

Three lakh candidates will compete for 4,935 IIT seats on Sunday. The government has changed the eligibility criteria for the IIT Joint Entrance Exam, the country’s toughest entrance test, this year and allowed more people to join the competition. The exam will contain all-objective questions this time, but that won’t make it any easier. The government may introduce a 27 per cent quota for OBCs next year, so the exam on Sunday may be the best chance many people have to make it to IIT

Friday, April 07, 2006

21 Indian firms have the potential to take on the world

A nice article in DNA India

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Confederation of Indian Industry reveals that among emerging global companies, 21 Indian companies have the potential to emerge as serious challengers.

Companies from theserapidly developing economies (RDEs) have ambitious leaders, low costs, appealing products or services, and modern facilities and systems to back their global thrust.

“India’s unique advantage has been the labour-cost advantage. Will it (the advantage) go as salaries and wages rise?” asks Arun Maira, chairman of BCG India. His answer: “Our analysis reveals that Indian companies will continue to enjoy the advantage.”

-There are five Tata group companies featuring in the list of 21 Indian global challengers: Tata Consultancy, the software services company, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, the lowest cost steel producer in the world, Tata Tea and VSNL, the international long distance player. All of them have made global acquisitions at some point of time in the recent past. Very few local companies, barring Tata Tea, which acquired Tetley, have global brands in their portfolios, though.

-Apart from the Tata companies, the findings reveal a diverse list of Indian companies from diverse sectors. There is Videocon International, Venugopal Dhoot’s flagship consumer durables company, that created a stir when it acquired Thomson group’s European plants. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries features in the list as it unfolds a global strategy to take on the Du Ponts and British Petroleums.The company gave a hint of its global ambitions when it acquired Trevira in Europe.

-The Thapar group has also made a comeback after group company Crompton Greaves made an impressive turnaround under scion Gautam Thapar. The company had gone through a dramatic overhaul and is now preparing to compete globally with peers like ABB and Siemens.

-ONGC is the only public sector Indian company featuring in the list.Bharat Forge, the second largest forging company, and Mahindra & Mahindra, represent the automobile ancillary and utility vehicles and tractor space.

-Among drug majors, it is Yusuf Hamied’s Cipla which dished out a cocktail drug combination to take on global pharma majors for treating Aids and bird flu at bargain rates.

-Kumar Mangalam Birla’s AV Birla group has Hindalco representing it, while Azim Premji’s Wipro and Infosys Technologies are among the software stalwarts

News from the Queen's School of Business

1)MBAst competes alongside Wharton, Kellogg, Sloan, Stanford, LBS and others in Boston The only competition of its kind anywhere, the 1st Annual International Tech Strategy Business Case competition, hosted by Boston University School of Management event brought together the world's best business schools with technology acumen to compete head-to-head on a strategy-oriented technology-based business case. Each team had 24 hours to address the subject, "How should Motorola go about achieving its vision of 'Seamless Mobility?'"
See full press release here

2) Queen's study looks at internal challenges to business success
How a Canadian business is financed, planned, and managed will determine its success or failure says a new Queen’s School of Business report. The study attempts to identify the challenges that business owners are facing within their companies and what can be done to help them. "Growth challenges are mystifying to managers because they are largely invisible and intangible," said the study's lead researcher Dr. John Gordon, professor emeritus and former dean of Queen's School of Business. "This is the first study to define general patterns and trends in management as barriers to SME growth. Our intent is to offer SME leaders a starting point for change." See press article here

3) Queen's prof comments on a growing trend: the office spouse
It's not a love connection but there are corporate couples who share a marriage-like relationship on the job. And they say the bond makes them happier and better employees. These couples are "office spouses" -- corporate couples bound by mutual respect, common interests and that particular chemistry of friendship. See Professor Julian Barling's angle here

4) Queen's prof comments on the truth behind loyalty cards
Are those loyalty cards in your wallet actually betraying you? Check out what some say are the dangers of invasive marketing, and what Queen's prof Jay Handelman has to say .Read it here

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Back to basics – what an MBA could really mean to you

The MBA or Masters in Business Administration degree is now probably the world’s most popular and widely recognised post-graduate qualification and every year over 100,000 students will invest large amounts of time, effort and money to gain one. But what exactly is it and is it really worth all the effort?
By Adrian Barrett (

The first MBA programme was developed at the Tuck School in New Hampshire in the US during the early years of the last century and was originally a largely administrative qualification with an emphasis on finance and accounting. The programme remained more or less unchanged until the 1950s when the new business school at Harvard developed teaching based around real-life case studies – a methodology which remains the basis of most business school training to this day. Modern programmes are designed to give students a basic grounding in the key tools of business management and consequently cover such areas as finance and economics, human resources, marketing, IT, strategy and leadership. Core subjects are then supplemented by a range of electives in such subjects as entrepreneurship, consulting, brand anagement or ethics to round off the candidate’s experience. Some schools are now going beyond the ‘generalist’ approach of traditional programmes and are introducing courses with a high degree of specialisation. The ESSEC School in France, for example, teaches an MBA in Luxury Brand Management, Nottingham in the UK offers one covering Insurance and Risk Management and Liverpool University has developed a programme focusing on Football Management.

Study options
MBA programmes come with a wide variety of study options. If you are feeling sufficiently committed and want to focus completely on your studies, the full-time option may be your best bet. Programmes vary in length depending on which school and even which country you choose. In Europe, programmes vary between one year and eighteen months, but in the USA, and across the Pacific Rim, two years is the norm. What the right length is, is an argument without end. Advocates of the short programme maintain that it is highly concentrated and has the advantage of taking you out of the workplace for the minimum time. Their opponents argue that longer courses give you more time to digest lessons learned and deal with subjects in greater depth. The debate has yet to be satisfactorily resolved. For any of these full-time programmes, work experience is vital, as you will be both learning from, and contributing to, your class’ pool of knowledge. Consequently, most schools will insist on a minimum of six months previous work experience and this rises to more than two years at the better known international schools.

If you are unwilling or unable to face as long as two years out of the office then you should consider studying on a part-time basis. Taking an MBA in this way usually means completing a large part of your studies on-line using distance learning technology, supplemented by occasional evenings or weekends in the classroom. It gives you the flexibility to work around your day job, when and where is convenient and it also allows you to stretch your training over a long period – anything up to eight years. It does however call for a lot of self-discipline, stamina and a sympathetic family, who are willing to put up with you disappearing to tackle the mysteries of financial analysis when they would prefer you to be helping with cooking, cleaning or looking after children. Jane Tansley, who works for the United Nations in Israel, decided to take an MBA to get a qualification, which would help her to move into management when she returned to the UK. She chose the Open University Business School course as it seemed to offer maximum flexibility. She freely admits that she was very daunted by th e prospect when she began. “I received the brochure through the post and my initial thought was, ‘Oh, my God, how will I get through all this?’ but then I made a call to the school and spoke to a real person who was helpful and provided the reassurance I needed. It’s all about discipline and commitment and a good system. You’d often find me in the middle of the night in the online library catching up with colleagues in the chat room because that was when it was convenient for me.”

The third route to those prized three letters after your name is the Executive MBA. These tend to be used by organisations that want to develop leadership and management skills in employees with high potential and usually combine short periods in the classroom with some online work. The major difference between this type of MBA and those discussed earlier is that your employer sponsors your training and consequently foots the bill. Time, perhaps, to start being as nice to your boss as is humanly possible.

Is an MBA right for you?
So is an MBA right for you? Before you start imagining yourself rubbing shoulders in the classroom with the best in the business world, let’s examine some of the negatives about taking an MBA. First, it’s extremely hard work and second it can be expensive. While there are schools in Europe that charge as little as US$10,000, (not too bad if you say it quickly!), two years at The Wharton School in the USA will leave you with little change from US$70,000. On top of this, you will need to add accommodation, travel, food and drink and, of course, your lost salary. Altogether it can prove quite a significant investment.
It’s also highly important to identify exactly what you are looking to get from your time at business school. Too many candidates come to the course with the expectation that it will change their lives, or at least the path of their career, beyond recognition. It won’t. An MBA can give you more confidence in your abilities, can introduce you to new ways of doing business or working with colleagues, but it’s a hard fact of life that most recruiters still regard it as ‘icing on the cake’ and not the cake itself. If you’re an accountant or a lawyer you may find yourself moving into a more strategically oriented role, you may even be able to move into some form of consultancy, but unless you are one of a relatively small group who pass through the very top schools fairly early on in life, it’s unlikely that your career will change direction completely.

Your future earning power
That’s some of the bad news. Now let’s look at the good. An MBA can definitely make a difference to your future earning power, particularly if you are willing to make the investment of studying at a world-class school. According to figures from the Columbia Business School in the USA, students increased their remuneration level by 232% in the three years after graduation. Similarly, MBAs from London Business School saw their earnings rise by 189% and graduates of the Saïd school at Oxford University, by 145%. After a downturn in recruitment in the wake of the dotcom crash and 9/11, demand for MBAs is now consistently rising again according to the latest research from QS, which surveys over 400 employers around the world every year. At INSEAD in France, Mary Boss, director of corporate development, reports that consulting firms are, “ now hiring for thirteen offices compared with 2001 - 2002 when they only came to campus to hire for five or six offices”, while according to Abby Scott of the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley Campus, “Students are finding jobs in industries all across the board.”
One unexpected bonus stemming from the downturn in the early years of the decade has been a broadening of the range of organisations interested in hiring MBAs as we enter a period of recovery. “When time s were tough individual students and career departments at business schools had to go out and find new opportunities outside the ‘usual suspect’ banks and consultancies,” says Mike Holmes of the specialist MBA career service, Global Workplace. “That meant selling the value of the qualification to a much wider variety of employers – small, growing companies, specialist consultancies, family firms and public sector bodies. Now these organisations have seen what an MBA can contribute, they’re keen to come back for more.” This increase in demand is having a demonstrable effect on remuneration levels. According to the QS research, average salaries for graduating MBAs around the world have increased 27% in the past eight years.

MBA international business qualification
In a shrinking world, the MBA has the advantage of being the only truly international business qualification, much more so than even the most widely accepted accountancy qualifications such as the ACA or ACCA. “I’ve already worked in Belgium and the UK and when I graduate I want to get experience in China, which seems to be a market with tremendous potential for the future,” says Ida Huang, a student at Manchester Business School. “An MBA helps you to consolidate and build on what you’ve already learned in business, but, perhaps most importantly for me, it’s the qualification which offers almost total international mobility.” Her opinion is reinforced by MBA, Johanna Bengtsson, who studied at EADA business school in Spain. “The MBA gives you a quality label that works wherever you want to work.” However, the international aspect of the MBA can go much further than opening doors in countries around the world, it can also provide invaluable insight into markets and business methods overseas. “Working with people from such a wide variety of cultures and countries really helps to give you a global perspective on business, which I’ve found invaluable since graduating,” says Piyush Unalkat, who took his MBA at IE-Instituto de Empresa in Madrid. “Since completing my MBA, I’ve stayed on in Spain, working as a venture capitalist and now founding a company there – not too bad for someone who came to the country five years ago with a beginners guide to Spanish he bought off Amazon!”

As the student bodies on MBA programmes become more and more diverse - Instituto de Empresa in Spain, for example, now boasts some 48 nationalities on its Madrid-based programme, while at INSEAD in France fewer than 10% of participants are recruited from the home country – the business school experience can help to plug you into an international network that will become increasingly useful as your post-graduate career develops. According to Elif Kulac, who took her MBA at MIP Politechnico di Milano in Italy, mixing with a wide range of fellow students is a vital part of the business school experience. “I’d say that the people were one of the best parts of the MBA for me,“ she says. “The high international profile of the class and the unusual blend of backgrounds gave me really valuable experience.
Working together, we learned to be more open minded and look at problems from different points of view.” Veli Vardali, who studied at Koc in Turkey and is now Innovation and New Beverages Manager for Eurasia and the Middle East with Coca Cola, shares her view. “The alumni community is getting bigger all the time and we’re all in managerial or other positions of influence. It’s invaluable to be part of such a wide-ranging network.”

Ryan Air - Flying for free?

"We want to be known as the Wal-Mart of flying,"

Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Ireland's Ryanair (Research), Europe's most profitable airline, wants to make air travel free.Ryanair has grown massively since its creation in 1985, from a small airline flying the short hop to London from Ireland into one of Europe's largest carriers.Michael O'Leary quickly learnt that the key to low fares was a quick turn-around time, no frills, and no business class, as well as operating only one model of aircraft.

Last year it flew 35 million passengers to more than 100 European destinations, while its customers paid an average fare of just $53. The airline enjoyed revenues of $1.7 billion, up 20 percent over 2004, at a time when most competitors were stuck in a holding pattern.

Here is a look at some of the things they have been doing to grab the market share:
-The Irish airline puts a price on virtually everything except tickets, from baggage check-in to seat-back advertising space. As a result, last year Ryanair collected $265 million--15.6 percent of overall revenues--from sources other than ticket sales.

-Ryanair embraced a single type of aircraft--the venerable Boeing (Research) 737. Likewise, it focused on smaller, secondary airports and began to offer open (unassigned) passenger seating.

-Ryan air removed seat-back pockets to reduce weight and cleaning expense--O'Leary passes the savings along to customers in the form of lower fares.

-It charges passengers for practically every amenity they might consume. There are no free peanuts or beverages on Ryanair flights; 27 million passengers bought in-flight refreshments on the airline last year, generating sales of $61 million, or an average of $2.25 per person.

-Ryanair does not employ an advertising agency, instead producing all its advertising material in-house.

-On March 16, Ryanair eliminated its free checked-bag allowance and began charging $3.50 per piece--a "revenue-neutral" fee that was offset by cutting ticket prices by an average of $3.50. Ryanair expects the move to save $36 million a year by reducing fuel and handling costs.

-Today, 98 percent of Ryanair's passengers book their flights online, and the company's website sees roughly 15 million unique visitors a month--making it Europe's most popular travel site.

-The airline uses that traffic as a marketing tool for related services; each time a passenger books a rental car or a hotel room, Ryanair earns a percentage of the sale. Linking customers to such services brought in more than $100 million during 2005.

-O'Leary is also starting to turn his planes into media and entertainment plays. He's offered advertisers the opportunity to repaint the exteriors of Ryanair's planes, effectively turning them into giant billboards. (Hertz, Jaguar, and Vodafone ) have purchased space on the fuselages of Ryanair's 737s.

-For passengers seeking distraction, Ryanair intends to offer in-flight gambling in 2007, with the airline earning a tiny cut off of each wager. O'Leary thinks gambling could double Ryanair's profits over the next decade, but he's not stopping there.

-He also envisions a day when the airline can charge passengers for the ability to use their cell phones at 35,000 feet.

-And he's expressed interest in partnering with operators of airport parking lots and concession stands to capture a bigger slice of the cash that passengers spend on the ground getting to and from his planes.

Ryan Air criticism
-The airline has come under heavy criticism in the past for its poor treatment of disabled passengers

-Ryanair also refuses to refund taxes and fees when passengers cancel their tickets.

Business 2.0 Magazine
Ryan on Wiki
Case Study

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Why U.S. Business Is Winning

An interesting article by Sebastian Mallaby on why Why U.S. Business Is Winning.

Here are a few reasons:

-The first answer is that competition is fiercer. The United States has relatively few trade and regulatory barriers for firms to hide behind, so bad companies either shape up quickly or go bust.

-The next explanation for American superiority is a healthy indifference to first sons. Bloom and Van Reenen report that the practice of handing a family firm down from father to oldest son is five times more common in France and Britain than in the United States.

-The best guess about the "X factor" is that America's business culture is peculiarly well-suited to contemporary challenges.

-Moreover, America's business culture is perfectly matched to globalization. American executive suites and MBA courses are full of talented immigrants, so American managers think nothing of working in multicultural firms.

Band of Angels

They are a bunch of men who have been there and done that, and now they want to help others live the dream that they have lived—of turning entrepreneurs. They are the Band of Angels.

Business Today carried an article on the Band of Angels in India.
The article can be accessed here.

Also,Mahesh Murthy (formerly of Passion Fund), Pravin Gandhi and Bharati Jacob (both from Saurabh Srivastava’s Infinity Venture Fund) formed a $10- million (Rs 45-crore) angel fund called Seed Fund.

Also, The Top Ten Lies of Venture Capitalists by Guy Kawasaki.

IT Outsourcing: Big rewards from the big renewals?

Business Today has a cover story focusing on the $100 billion worth of IT outsourcing contracts that are coming up for renewal in the next two years. The article examines the chances for Indian firms to "break the stranglehold of the IBMs
and the Accentures, and grab a piece of this (action)".

I read the magazine in the train while traveling and I have lost that edition.
Anyway, googled for some info and herez something for us to ponder about.


*Customers are increasingly breaking up contracts, looking for multiple vendors and specialist, best-of-breed vendors around the world

*Indian IT services firms are considered the best in the application maintenance and development space

*The value proposition of Indian vendors-the global delivery model-has matured today, and there is enough confidence on the client side in Indian vendors, as well as on the vendor side on the implementation front

* With Indian companies integrating into the consulting space, they are able to provide a total solution-for instance package implementation, infrastructure hosting, applications development all together-to clients

*The capability to offer an integrated solution is also resulting in Indian companies aiming for larger-value deals, in the $500 million-$1 billion (Rs 2,250-4,500 crore) vicinity

*In many large, single-vendor outsourcing deals, customer expectations from outsourcing haven't been met, which is reflected in the termination of a few contracts

Google launches Google Romance!

This is cool...Google launches Google Romance !
Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using our Soulmate Search™, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life.

Check it out here and let me know how it was !

The age of the Indian MNC

*Moser Baer is the world’s largest optical media and CD manufacturer
*Videocon the world’s largest maker of glass shells for TV
*Bharat Forge the second-largest forgings maker
*Ranbaxy the ninth-largest generics company
*Asian Paints among the 10 largest decorative paint-makers.
*Add to that the fact that Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata have the resources to set up the world’s largest refinery and make the cheapest car respectively.
*Several Indian entities like Reliance Industries, ONGC and Indian Oil feature in the Fortune’s list of top 500 global companies
*Businessmen like the two Ambani brothers, Azim Premji, Sunil Mittal and Kumar Mangalam Birla figure among the top 150 in the annual Forbes list of global billionaires.
*Success stories of Indian firms have become case studies in prominent B-schools.

So, can the Indian Companies be called MNCs?
The new breed is confident it can successfully compete with the best in the world. It is aggressive, innovative, ambitious, flexible and unafraid of entering new markets. Some have even built brands that are recognised globally. Does this mean this century will witness the making of dozens of Indian MNCs that rub shoulders with the Pepsis, IBMs and Microsofts of this world

"Just going to another country does not make you an MNC. You have to make a sizeable contribution to the world market to be reckoned as a major force. You should also have a deep pocket to make investments which international markets require." -Venugopal Dhoot, chairman of Videocon Industries, which calls itself a $2.5-billion Indian MNC with interests in consumer electronics, appliances and petroleum.

Asian Paints decided to tap markets in smaller developing countries rather than larger developed markets in the US or Europe. Today no one can dispute the company’s MNC status with a turnover of around $585 million and 29 manufacturing facilities in 22 countries, servicing consumers in over 65 countries.

Tata Steel decided to take over Nat Steel Asia in Singapore, a company with manufacturing presence in six countries—Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Australia—and Millennium Steel in Thailand, and also signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran to set up a plant there

The new crop of MNCs needs to be able to scout for knowledge and technology globally and then use it to build world-class, innovative and cheaper products.Says columnist Gurcharan Das, "The real story is not going abroad. It is how capable Indian companies are to take on the world market. The real sense of becoming an MNC is to build a globally recognised brand. Very few Indian companies have reached there yet."

"Give us another 10 years," he predicts, "and we can show the world what we can do."
Read the complete article in the Outlook magazine here

New Yahoo! Mail Beta - Impressive

The New Yahoo! Mail - a sweeping redesign of the service's look, feel, and function!
I liked Rediff email because of its lightining speed. Then I moved to Yahoo Email coz of the various options it provided.Then switched to Gmail as I liked the conversation,label and starred features in it.In office, I have been exposed to the lotus notes as well as the outlook style emails.And now Yahoo has come up with something new in its Mail section.

The overall look of the New Yahoo is an Outlook-styled, three-pane window with folders in the left vertical pane, headers top right, and a message preview pane below the headers. Thus, Yahoo! becomes the first major e-mail provider to keep the Inbox in view while reading a message

Check out its review here.

My verdict: I tried the beta version and I liked it. If you use outlook this is almost the same as that.

FORTUNE 500: A new No. 1

FORTUNE's annual ranking of America's largest corporations

Which company knocked Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, from its four-year reign in the top spot? Exxon Mobil Corp,the largest oil company in the United States.It topped the list of 2006 Fortune 500 largest companies, consigning Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to the No. 2 spot on the magazine's annual ranking of the U.S. largest publicly traded companies.

The revenue of Exxon Mobil reached 340 billion dollars in 2005, a 25.5 percent increase over 2004, and had 36.1 billion dollars inprofits, the most by any U.S. company in history,

Ranking the second in the list, Wal-Mart's revenue hit 315.654 billion dollars last year, a 9.5 percent increase from the previous year.

General Motor Corp. barely retained its hold on the No. 3 spot,while Ford Motor Co. slipped to fifth place from No. 4.

The top 10.
1 Exxon Mobil
2 Wal-Mart Stores
3 General Motors
4 Chevron
5 Ford Motor
6 ConocoPhillips
7 General Electric
8 Citigroup
9 American International Group
10 Intl. Business Machines

The list is available here

Monday, April 03, 2006

India Calling to live the BRIC dream

"At Goldman, friends and colleagues encouraged the decision by saying that this is living the BRIC dream. Look, this move will be a big change, but living in India has always been an aspiration."

The big buzz at One New York Plaza, global headquarters of Goldman Sachs, is about V-P and global economist, global investment research, the London bred and LSE and Yale-educated Roopa Purushothaman putting in her papers and is taking an assignment with Pantaloons in Mumbai, where she will head its economics and strategy group.

Roopa Purushothaman is a global economist, covering global thematic issues as a member of the global research team. She co-authored the influential Goldman Sachs Paper "Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050", as well as a follow-up piece called "The BRICs and Global Markets: Crude, Cars and Capital".Roopa holds a BA in Ethics, Politics and Economics and International Studies from Yale University and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

Read the entire article here
The BRIC report is available here