Thursday, November 30, 2006

News Highlights from Queen's School of Business: November 2006

From the Newsletter

* Queen's MBA does it again! Ranked #1 for the second time running by BusinessWeek magazine's influential biannual rating of MBA programs outside the United States, Queen's has proven once again to be the best in class. [ more ]

* Queen's School of Business recently hosted its first Women and the MBA event in downtown Toronto. Attendees gathered with QSB faculty, staff and alumni to hear from a panel of women who have successfully completed their MBAs on how they balanced their personal and professional obligations. According to a recent survey of Canadian business leaders, the majority of women in senior positions believe many barriers stand in the way of women who want to pursue an MBA. [ more ]

* Queen's School of Business has announced a new annual bursary for students with financial needs following a generous donation by Andy Gross (BCom'79) and Nora Connolly Gross (BA'82). The Edwin C. Connolly Award will be given to an Ottawa student entering the Commerce program who demonstrates academic achievement and participation in extra-curricular activities, particularly sports. [ more ]

* Queen's School of Business professor Steve Salterio was recently one of 88 Ontario Chartered Accountants to receive the Fellows of the Institute distinction. Professor Salterio, who is also the PricewaterhouseCoopers/Tom O'Neill Faculty Research Fellow in Accounting, was honoured and astounded by receiving the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario's (ICAO) highest designation. [ more ]

* This past September, The Bank of Nova Scotia generously donated $1 million to create the first bursary dedicated to students with disabilities as well to help expand the Queen's School of Business International Exchange Scholarship and Bursary program. [ more ]

* Another major gift was presented to Queen's School of Business in September when President Tim Penner of Procter & Gamble Canada announced a donation of $250,000 in support of three important initiatives at Queen's University. The gift will provide lead support in the development of the Masters of Global Management degree, as well as funding for the School's Corporate Social Responsibility weekend and support for the activities of the annual IMPACT Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Society Conference. [ more ]

He is back

Was it performance? or Was it politics?
Did he employ a market strategy or a non market strategy.

Sourav Ganguly is back in the Indian Test team after ten months. The former India captain returns for the three-match series against South Africa, beginning December 15.

Let us hope he does well and restores the fortunes of the Indian side !

Queen's University joins iTunes U

Queen's University located in Kingston has become the first Canadian university to launch iTunes U, a Web application that offers up a wide range of download-able multimedia files to the university community as well as anyone else seeking a "taste of the university experience."

The now-portable aspects of life on campus will include audio versions of public lectures, videos of debates, football games, convocation ceremonies and even archival footage of the original live version of the university mascot Boo-Hoo the Bear.

While much of the initial content is being supplied by CFRC (101.9 FM), Tom Dean, an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will be the first to make his Operating Systems course lectures and labs available through iTunes U so that students can listen to them at their leisure, the University said.

"Queen's on iTunes U is an amazing foundation from which we can share a seemingly limitless amount of university audio and video content," says Richard Seres, executive director of Marketing and Communications. "It not only allows us to share news and information across the campus, but also to show off Queen's to the world."

Read the article here

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Global Economy

In the International Business class today, we discussed about national regulations in Global Economy. We learnt about how countries are following one of the two approaches - Race to the top or Race to the bottom to gain a competitive advantage. Read this article here.

I really like this subject. Some of the concepts are tough to understand but then I feel that this is one of the most relevant subjects for global managers. We will step into a world tomorrow where we will be utilizing the best of both worlds. It is very important for us to understand and be sensitive to certain issues.

Prof David Detomasi showed us a video on how Bangladesh is dismantling ships and generating steel out of it. There is child labor involved, unsafe practices followed and environmental degradation during this process. However, Bangladesh us doing this for its survival. Countries are entering a spiraling "race to the bottom" and this is leading to lower standards, reduced wages and cheaper resources. This will increase disparity and inequality for most people. Do check out this video.

Prof Detomasi is very knowledgeable and is one of the most approachable professors. He generates a lot of class participation in the class. For one of his classes last week, we had a guest attending his class- Nah, it was not a prospective student but was his father. It was nice to see to see a father watch his son teach a class of MBA students.

In government regulation, a race to the bottom is a theoretical phenomenon which occurs when competition between nations or states (over investment capital, for example) leads to the progressive dismantling of regulatory standards. This theory states that this reduction of regulation, welfare, taxes, and trade barriers will increase poverty, and drive the poor to the few remaining areas that retain protections.Race to the top is a process by which competition leads to the progressive improvement of goods and services provided to consumers. One example of the "race to the top" is the success of the computer industry in creating ever-faster and more powerful computers.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wal-Mart partnership opens door to Indian retail market

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's biggest retailer, is entering India's sprawling retail market through a tie up with Bharti Enterprises Ltd., beating off a challenge from Britain's Tesco Plc.
The joint venture will start opening stores in Asia's fourth-largest economy from 2007, and Bharti Enterprise Chairman Sunil Mittal said he expected it will have several hundred stores across the country in the next 4 to 5 years.

Read the entire article here

Sunday, November 26, 2006

MBA Squash ladder

18 folks have signed up for the MBA squash ladder and people are playing matches in the evening these days. Laurent defeated me last evening ( body is still aching!). He is one of the best out hereand might move up to the top slot soon.

Our team decided to go out for a team outing tonight. The Chinese guy in our team took us to a Chinese resturant and ensured that we ate the best and the finest food there.
The week ahead has a very exciting exercise. The class would be performing the Negotiation exercise and that is something I am looking forward to. I'll let you know in the next post what it is all about. Watch this space.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Elevator Pitch

"An elevator pitch (or elevator speech) is a brief overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The pitch is so called because it can be delivered in the time span of an elevator
ride (say, thirty seconds)." - Wikipedia

One of the things that the BCC has taught us at the school is to prepare ourselves for an elevator pitch. In this pitch, the students deliver a short speech of who they are, what they offer and what they are looking for. As folks start their off campus job search, a powerful elevator speech makes a big difference. Hence, the school arranged an Elevator speech competition on Wednesday.The wanna be entrepreneurs too got a chance to talk about their dream project.

We had the big wigs of the corporate world who took some time off their busy schedule to listen to our pitches and give us some feedback.

I got the opportunity to deliver my pitch to Mr Eugene Roman, Group President, Systems and Technology, Bell Canada. He gave some excellent feedback.

Some words of wisdom shared by him for our group:

-Talk about one BIG idea in the elevator pitch.Detail around that.
-Be a good story teller. It creates an impact.
-Projet Passion when you speak during your elevator speech
-Tone and hand gestures are important
-Have a commanding voice..exhibit confidence
-Improvisation is the key
-Learn to think on your feet

The best 8 elevator pitches were delivered again in front of the entrie class. One of my classmates whoze work experience involved working for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and hobbies include being a salsa dance coach walked away with the best elevator pitch.

Some of the pitches were so powerful that the MBAst board were impressed and wanted these guyz to contact them so that they could provide them suitable opportunities at their companies ! Now thatz what is called making an impact.

BTW, watch this video on elevator pitch

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yet Another Offer

A Management Consulting company made me an offer today. They have about 600 employees in 16 locations world wide and have opened an office last year in India. If I decide to join the firm, I will be posted at the Washington DC office.

The interviews were a long process. I had to go through 6-7 interviews before the offer was made to me. The company spent a lot of money on me, and wanted to make sure that I understood their work, culture and people before I decide to join the place. On two consecutive Fridays, they flew me down to Boston and to Washington from Kingston. They took care of all the expenses and wanted me to solely concentrate on getting to know the company well. A striking similarity that I admired in all the interviewers was that in spite of having solid accomplishments in life they were very down to earth individuals. They answered all my questions patiently and assessed if I could fit into their culture. I really like the place.
In the whole process, I connected to 4 Queen's alumni working there and all of them were extremely helpful. I really love this aspect of Queen's graduates.

I think I have more or less made up my mind on the place that I want to join. I turned down a final interview meeting with a leading bank in Canada last week. Once I accept one of the offers that I have in hand, I will withdraw my application from other firms.

This long process of recruitment was an energy sapping one. I am happy to see great results coming out. The Queen’s MBA program has been intense, very stressful at times. I have learnt and am learning to handle multiple things at one time.

I am thankful to my friends, relatives,team, the Queen’s Staff for the support and guidance. And yes, for a man like me, who believes in the supreme force called GOD, I am grateful to him.

Be it hard work, be it fate or be it luck..I am happy that things turned out in my favor.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Didn't I tell you that the folks are really good.

Here are a few updates from the case competition:

  • Queen's MBA Team bagged the first position at the Corporate Social Responsibility Case Competition held at the Rotman School of Management. The team comprised of Monica,Laurent,Sonu and Daniel.
  • Queen's MBA team secured the third position in the FEI "Best in Class" Case competition at the Schulich School of Business. The team comprised of Karim, Phil,Nabil and Adrian.
Congrats folks ! May you win many more competitions.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Skirt length 101

One of the girls in our class is already making news. Check out this article that features her.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wii want to have fun!

During the marketing class today, Ken Wong, the Marketing Prof asked some of the students their comments on gaming consoles. One of the students ( Father of 3 kids) was not in favor of such activities as there is no physical exercise. He would instead want children to go out and play and become more social. Definitely valid points!

Another class mate of mine is from the Video Games industry. He loves the field and said that for him gaming consoles is FUN.

Well, Nintendo is all set to release its next-generation gaming console Wii and the reviews have been great. It might just turn out to be the next revolution.

Some points in itz favor are the $250 price tag and is fun!
Forbes has a great review on it. Read it here

Some interesting comments;
"Suddenly, videogames are fun for everyone--old or young, male or female, regardless of prior gaming experience. I lost count of how many times I heard non-gamers say, "Wow, I want to get this."

"The simple mini-game replicates an actual tennis match as well as any I've ever seen: Since you're actually swinging the remote like you would a racket, you can hit with varying force or apply spin to the ball, depending on how you move your body."

KFC - The Restaurant For Aliens

KFC President Gregg Dedrick says, "If there are extraterrestrials in outer space, KFC wants to become their restaurant of choice."

Check out the article here

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Case Competitions have begun.

There would be 2 teams representing Queen's at the "Best in Class" Invitational Case Competition this weekend.

Queen's School of Business ( Undergrad and the MBA program) have a good history of doing well in case competitions. One of the reasons for such performance is because of the support and guidance the professors provide to interested students.Tips and feedback are provided to the students - both on the content as well as the presentation style. There will be another team participating in the Corporate Social Responsibility Case competition this week at Rotman.

BTW,Boston University is conducting a International Tech Strategy Business Case Competition on Mar 29-31,2007.This is by invitation case competition and we will have a team from Queen's for this.

Let us hope that the MBA class of 2007 wins some laurels for the school

Phew !

The past few weeks have been hectic and stressful.I have been preparing cover letters,resumes, traveling and attending interviews.

I received a call today afternoon from one of the Partners of a Consulting firm and when he extended me a job offer, this "long and tiring" process hardly mattered now. The whole experience looked nice. !

For all those blog readers who quiz me about my job status,this post is for you. I received an offer from a Consulting firm today. Would be primarily involved in Tech Strategy.

Don't quiz me more as I won't share the details.!

Take care,

Sunday, November 12, 2006

India and Globalization

On behalf of the Council on Foreign Relations, Manjeet N. Kripalani lead a teleconference discussion on Globalization and India. Before joining the Council, Ms. Kripalani was the India bureau chief for BusinessWeek.

Her talk and comments were insightful. She described India as an ancient culture but a young country and said that India's philosophy now is -"Quest for the best at the least"
Eg: 2 Cents/Minute mobile call by Bharti Enterprises, A car for 2000$ by Tata Motors

There is a lot that India needs to learn from China. India's structure is inside out and not outside in. Improvements are happening inside the country (private sector).Outside structure – improvements in infrastructure changes and FDI investment needs to increase.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Everything in life is a negotiation."

As an MBA Student, when we enter the work force tomorrow, we will be placed at different situations... where we would have to negotiate so that the best results are achieved for both sides.

One of the courses this stage is Negotiations. We have two text books for this stage. One of them is the text book written by our Dean and the other one is the popular book -Getting to say Yes.

I just finished reading this short book and here are some of the key points from the book:

People find themselves in two ways to negotiate: soft or hard. The soft negotiator wants to avoid personal conflict and so makes concessions readily in order to reach agreement. He wants an amicable resolution; yet he often ends up exploited and feeling bitter. The hard negotiator sees any situation as a contest of wills in which the side that takes the more extreme positions and holds out longer fares better. He wants to win; yet he often ends up producing an equally hard response which exhausts him and his resources and harms his relationship with the other side.

Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by 3 criteria:
Ø It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible
Ø It should be efficient
Ø It should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties

Golden rule is NOT to bargain over positions. Your ego becomes identified with your position. You now have a new interest in "saving face" - in a reconciling future action with past positions- making it less and less likely that any agreement will wisely reconcile the parties' original interests

Negotiate on Principles
The method:
1. Separate the People, from the Problem
2. Focus on the Interests, Not positions
3. Invent options for mutual gains
4. Insist on using objective criteria

1. Separate the People, from the Problem
a) Negotiators are people first. They have emotions, deeply held values, and different backgrounds and view points, and they are unpredictable as are you

b) Every negotiator has 2 kinds of interest- In the substance and in the relationship

c) The relationship tends to become entangled with the problem. Anger over a situation may lead you to express anger toward some human being associated with it in your mind.

To find your way through the jungle of people problems, it is useful to think in terms of three basic categories
- Perceptions
- Emotions
- Communication
The various people problems all fall into one of these three baskets.
2. Focus on the Interests, Not positions

Interests define the problem

How do you define interests?
Ø Ask Why?
Ø Ask "Why not". Think about their choices
Ø Realize that each side has multiple interests
Ø The most powerful interests are basic human needs ( security, economic well being, a sense of belonging, recognition, control over one's life)

Talking about interests:
Ø Make your interests come alive
Ø Acknowledge their interests as part of the problem
Ø Look forward, not back
Ø Be concrete, but flexible

3. Invent options for mutual gains

Four major obstacles that inhibit the inventing of an abundance of options
1. Premature Judgment
2. Searching for the single answer
3. The assumption of a fixed pie
4. Thinking that "solving their problem is their problem"

Diagnose, Prescribe, Brain storm and Analyze the options

4. Insist on using objective criteria

Develop Objective Criteria and use Fair Procedures

There are 3 basic points to remember
1. Frame each issue as a joint search for objective criteria
2. Reason and be open to reason as to which standards are most apporpriate and how they should be applied
3. Never Yield to pressure, only to principle.

What if they are more powerful?
Develop your BATNA- Best Alternative to a negotiated agreement
- The costs of using a bottom line
- Know your BATNA
- The insecurity of an unknown BATNA
- Formulate a "trip wire"

Making the most of your assets:
- The better your BATNA, the greater your power
- Develop your BATNA
- Consider the other side of BATNA

What if they wont' Play?
The second approach is to Use negotiation jujitsu
If BATNA approach is not being accepted and they continue to use positional bargaining, you can resort to a second strategy which focuses on what they may do. It counters the basic moves of positional bargaining in ways that direct their attention to the merits

The third approach focuses on what a third party can do. If neither principled negotiation not negotiation jujitsu gets them to play, consider including a third party trained to focus the discussion on interests, options and criteria. Perhaps, the most effective tool a third party can use in such an effort is the one text mediation procedure.

Negotiation Jujitsu:
If the other side announces a firm position, you may be tempted to criticize or reject it. If they criticize your proposal, you may be tempted to defend and dig yourself in. If they attack you, you may be tempted to defend yourself and counter attack. In short, if they push you hard, you will tend to push back.

DO NOT PUSH BACK. When they ascertain their positions, do not reject them. When they attack your ideas, don't defend them. Whey they attack you, don't counter attack them. Break the vicious cycle by refusing to react. Instead of pushing back, side step their attack and deflect it against the problem.

Typically their attack will consist of 3 maneuvers:
Ø Asserting their position forcefully
Ø Attacking your ideas
Ø Attacking you.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

From Singapore to Dubai?

The MBAst Office has organized a guided tour and dinner at Fort Henry today.
I am traveling to Boston and will have to miss this event ! :(

The International business subject is becoming really interesting. I am liking this class for a number of reasons. There is a lot of current affairs in it. There is a lot of readings and we talk about the various non-market strategy that companies employ to do well. We also discuss about economies of various eccountries, and kind of do a SWOT analysis on them. Today's class had a discussion on Singapore where one of the teams gave a 25 minute presentation on how inspite of being a small country with little natural resources, Singapore has become competetive. With the Chinese and the Indian economy growing, Singapore has moved to a stage of innovation. A lot of focus is now on the Bio Tech and the Hi-Tech sector.

What makes these classes really interesting is the class discussion that is generated. With folks from 15 different countries in the class, one really gets to hear different views. If, we have a Phd reseracher who has worked in Singapore giving his views, we also have a person from Hong Kong sharing his thoughts on how Singapore is different from the other SE Asian countries.We also had a person from the Middle East who talked about how Dubai is a competitor to Singapore.

Class diversity adds great value to these discussions. Future cases would be on Brazil,Nigeria, India, China, Canada, US etc. My team is going to talk about "Why China is a good place to invest" instead of India. There would be a small competition with the other team that would talk about "Why investing in India is a better decision". The class will then vote after our presentation and decide where they would want to invest their money.!

Marketing Strategy

It is Sildenafil citrate. It was being tested by a group of pharmaceutical chemists working at Pfizer's research facility. It was initially thought to be sold for reducing hypertension (high blood pressure). Had the marketers stuck to this idea ,the product would have been sold for about 3$ max.

But the Marketers found a "need" in the market. Clinical trials had suggested that the "drug could induce marked penile erections ".So, the product was packaged and sold as Viagra for about 30$.It became a great success and annual sales of Viagra in the period 1999–2001 exceeded $1 billion.

Thatz the power of Marketing Strategy. The course is being taught by the guru Ken Wong. His classes are extremely interesting. I learnt about the 4 types of buyers - Compliance, Convenience, Relationship and a Value buyer and got a good idea of how products should be priced. I think I am a convenience buyer.

Value proposition, Product Leadership, Operational Efficiency are some of the terms that I understand much better now. There are two things that really make Prof Wong's classes interesting. Firstly, he makes us understand complex concepts in a simple manner. He draws fantastic analogy between a concept and human activity. He shares personal stories, anecdotes to illustrate a point. Secondly, he has a terrific sense of humor. Be it the Indians, Canadians or Chinese folks in the class, everyone in the class has a good laugh.

There were a couple of MBA prospective students attending the class today and no prizes for guessing which school they would like to join now. ;)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

India's Bangalore Changes Name To Bengalooru

India's technology hub of Bangalore changed its name to its vernacular original Bengalooru on Wednesday in what is seen as a bid to appease locals upset at the influx of outsiders.
The name change was announced to mark the 50th anniversary celebrations of the formation of Karnataka state, of which the city is the capital.
Read the article here

Narayan Murthy comments here

MBA Without Borders

My personal opinion is that the true value of one's education is achieved if one can make an impact in the world with the knowledge acquired. Some of the opportunities posted at the MBA without Borders truly excite me. It is all about making a difference and touching the lives of people.

I get tempted to work in such areas. But with an education loan to clear, I restrict myself not to think about these opportunities for the next couple of years.

"Founded in Canada in 2004, MBAs Without Borders (MWB) mission is to contribute to the business and social development of upcoming nations through work rotations of MBA professionals. "

Do check out the website here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Diwali Parties !

It looks like Diwali in Canada spans for a month. The different Indian communities here ( The Indian Students association, the South Asian Association and the Indo- Canadian association) had their Diwali parties.

For some one like me who is missing India, the food and the warmth, I made sure that I attended all of them. Pictures below are from the Indo-Canadian Diwali night held this weekend. This is the one held on the biggest scale. There were folks who had come from Ottawa too. There was great food and the Desi DJ played some good numbers.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Pictures

A few pictures from the Halloween Party...More to be uploaded soon.
It was great fun..and there was a nice turn out.
The Halloween pubcrawl was organized by the Dracula Man...Who definitely made a 'Mark' on us ! :)