Monday, February 26, 2007

Planning the next move ?

-S,R,A booked their tickets for India today.
-K is done with his classes at Queen's and is looking forward to the exchange program in Germany.
-P is planning for his Europe Trip ( You can always find him with a map of Europe in his hand).
-S tells me about her yoga tour to Morocco that she is planning.( And she didn't visit India - the Land of Yoga!!)
-D tells me about his plans to visit Greece with his girlfriend. ( Yeah, she is really happy that he has the time now )
-R is all excited to visit Austria.
-S is all set to kick start his new venture on completion of the MBA program. ( He bought a Honda CRV recently!)
-K is busy planning for her marriage in August ( Awesome couple..awesome website)
-M is totally into Private Equity.(He wants a career there and has met some folks !)
-N is concerned how she will survive the cold weather at Edmonton (same time next year.)
-J is happy that he gets time for his new born baby these days.( He is off to Toronto every weekend)
-Mi is very happy as he becomes the first person in our class to take the PMP exam and clear it. ( Talk about Russian determination!)
-NA is looking forward to the year ahead as he will become a dad.(He is leaving immediately once the last class is over.)
-A few others are busy with their job searches these days.
-B,A,R, V will be there at Antigua cheering India at the ICC World Cup 2007.!

The mood in the class is very different these days. Parties are being planned out. Career decisions being finalized. The road ahead is being discussed.
The MSN/Gtalk messages read "7 more weeks to go" !

I get emails from the batch of 2008 asking the same curious questions that I had last year.L and K are busy sending the packages to the admitted students.(As expected, they know all the names).B and S are busy interviewing folks for the next year's batch.

I observe the people ,scenario around me and notice things are changing.I am going to miss all this action next year. I am going to miss attending those classes.!

OK.Thatz it for now..Let me get back to that assignment due tomm evening.

Starbucks- "Watering down its brand" !

An 800 word memo by Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks, was posted on the website a few days back and this has caused a stir !

Two brands that I have observed who has a very strong fan following - Apple Computers and Starbucks. Obviously, if the visionary writes something like this, it is bound to generate some discussion.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The First iPhone Commerical

When the world is busy wanting to know who wins the Oscars, I am excited to see the First Apple Iphone commerical. Watch it here (30-second). Not very impressive !

I guess the ad was made before the Apple-Cisco agreement was settled. Hence, nowhere do u see an "iPhone" being mentioned. The MacWorld says that it has "in all clips from 31 different movies and TV shows were featured, with appearances by characters played Lucille Ball, Dustin Hoffman, Will Ferrell, and the animated Mr. Incredible from Pixar’s The Incredibles."

Hawaiian Party!

When it is freezing cold outside here in Canada, and if the MBAst class decides to have a party, what could the theme be? A Hawaiian Party? Yes, that is right.
Only a smart PhD scientist could come out with an idea like this!

M made sure that we all were there in the “mandatory” Hawaiian outfit. The folks had organized everything really well - there were decorations, tropical munchies, punches and even the vodka-filled watermelon too! I guess the only thing we missed were the beaches! Check out the pics.

Whoz drunk and whoz not ?

The Indians with the "white" Indian

Friday, February 23, 2007

Google enters business software market

Now, this is interesting !

Customers testing the new product include General Electric Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. For the annual fee, users receive telephone support, a reliability guarantee and realms of online storage space e-mail service, web calendar, instant messaging, a customizable

MBA Podcasts

Found an interesting series of Podcasts today.It is called the MBA Podcasts and is presented by The Times and Times Online.The podcasts are for about 30 mins.
There are some interesting podcasts ( like that of CKP) coming up in the future.
Bookmark the site if you are interested.

2 Podcasts are already up.Economist Joseph Stiglitz talks on 'Making globalisation work' and Colin Mayer of Oxford's Said Business School talks about 'Globalisation, financial markets and trust.'

Thursday, February 22, 2007

25 Hot Net Start Ups to Watch

Business 2.0 has an interesting article on the 25 Hot Startups.

Do watch the slide show here which gives a quick overview of what they are.

What they are ?
How much funding have they got?
Who are the founders?
How many employees exist ?
What is the business model?
What are their bragging right!
Whatz their next move

Viacom recently signed a deal with ( created by the founders of Skype).
If Joost clicks, there will be some serious competition to You Tube, who have earned the reputation of displaying several copyrighted videos on their site without approval. Are the media companies backing Joost to tame Youtube. Perhaps !
We'll wait and watch.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

India Overheats

I was reading the Feb 03-09 edition of The Economist and the main article of this edition is "India Overheats".More than the articles, I liked the picture that the folks at Economist have used.

Look at the cartoon of the Tiger here.It is hilarious. The face of the tiger with a burning tail brings a smile to my face.! :)

As expected, The Economist presents an interesting perspective of where India is heading.It questions the sustainability of India's growth in the future.

Some interesting points
"It seems incongruous that somebody can own a mobile phone, yet has to waste hours queuing for drinking water. India's top computer scientists are feted around the world, yet most children in rural areas lack the basic education needed to find more productive work"

"Goldman Sachs forecast that India could sustain 8% growth until 2020, was widely trumpeted in Indian newspapers. However, the bank's report clearly stated that this would require better education,labour markets reforms and less red tape. Oddly, most newspapers failed to mention that"

We have heard so much about "India Poised" and "India Shining" that it would be worth the time and effort to read this article and acknowledge some of the areas in India where improvements are required.

Building India into an innovation-led country

Here is something that we had discussed in the International Business Class.The case was for Singapore. But this article talks about India.

I simply love it when I read an article in the newspaper,magazine and can relate that to the concepts learnt in the class.

Research by Sumitra Dutta, the Roland Berger Professor in Business and Technology and dean of External Relations at INSEAD, shows that countries make migrations across three phases — from low-cost manufacturing to high-quality manufacturing — i n their bid to become innovative.

There is huge potential for India to follow the same path. The country has the opportunity of creating new business models, products and services for the poor not just at home, but for countries in Africa and Latin America. Often, companies go for the easier solution, that is, capturing the high-paying foreign market customer.

The winner in the current scenario could be disruptive innovation: developing low-cost products for the bottom of the pyramid. These products could be taken to the other developing economies of the world in stage two. The innovator could then bring in higher-end features in the product to enter the higher level of the domestic market and, subsequently, launch the product in global markets.

On innovations in India, the author states:

To me, Bharati Airtel is the most innovative company of our times for the way it has created a successful business model. The company has outsourced everything but its customers, thus being able to offer mobile telephony at 10 paise a minute; nowhere in the world can you get such rates.

Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) is another great marketing innovator of our times. It launched innovative schemes to widen its market base. In September 2004, for instance, MUL launched a scheme aimed at teachers, in association with State Bank of India. Almost 10,000 teachers benefited from the scheme.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

One Laptop per Child

"It's an education project, not a laptop project."
— Nicholas Negroponte

Computers (or Laptops) are essential part of our lives today.We use it for numerous purpose-information,education and entertainment.But the high cost of computers in the developing countries make it difficult for children to get access to them. And hence the One Laptop per Child concept.

Wikipedia says:
"Why do children in developing nations need laptops? Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to learn learning through independent interaction and exploration.A noble from learning how the software, internet and communications benefits of computing can improve their economies, job prospects and lives, a conundrum commonly referred to as the digital divide"

A few months ago Scott McNealy from SUN was here at Queen's and was talking about this. I read this article today where it mentioned that Quanta has received orders for one million laptops today. This is great news.I feel that the costs would come down if there are more orders for these laptops as mass production (economies of scale) would lower the cost.The laptop is about $130 now and is expected to come down to $100 in the future.

The key stake holders in this project are MIT Media Laboratory,AMD, and Linux software developer Red Hat.The governments that have committed to buy laptops for their schoolchildren include Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand and Uruguay.

Stuctured Problem Solving

The school had organized an exciting session for us today.A Queen's MBA alum who is working as a Strategy Consultant with Arthur D Little was here to give us an overview on "Structured Problem Solving’. It was a Saturday but yet there was a good response for the event.The session was very useful as it gave us a good perspective on how to think, analyze and present ideas.
There were several take aways for me. The speaker recommended us to read the McKinsey Way, the McKinsey Mind and the Pyramid Principle to get a better idea about the structured problem solving method.

Here are the key learnings from the session:

As a Consultant, you should be very good at 4 things:
-Structured Problem Solving
-Creating Effective Presentations
-Writing Reports for the client
-Delivering Presentations

Key steps to work through a problem:
-Structuring the Problem
-Initial Hypothesis
-Analysis Design (AD)
-Gathering Data
-Interpreting Results
-Presenting Ideas

Use the SCQ technique

-Realize when you want to use a deductive logic and inductive logic
while making presentations

Gathering Data:

Primary Research
Annual Report
-Start with the CEO report, report to shareholders
-Perform Ratio Analysis, Calculate Key measures
Eg: Increasing sales, sales per salesperson per region

Web Search Engine
-, Annual Reports Publications industry and company info of over 1000 journals Dow Jones Interactive

-Other Info sources in the firm (KM system)

Secondary Research
- Buy the information from research firm

Client Interviews
Before the interview
-Write an interview guide, a list of key 3-4 questions that you would want to ask
-Send the interview questions to interviewer in advance

During the interview
-Be an engaged listener. Show "uhmm."
-Politely but firmly kept the interview on track

Some more tips:
-Always remember the 80/20 rule
-Make a chart everyday
-Don't make the facts to fit the solution
-Always ask "What's the so what"?
-Perform Sanity Check

He also gave us some excellent tips on making presentations.
Over all, a Saturday that was well spent !

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Google without the L

Did you observe the Google Logo on Valentine's day.
It had the L missing !
Herez why :)

India and Valentine's Day

Pic Source: BBC

If you are a smart marketer,what would be one of the ways to increase revenue?
Create a new market.!

Perhaps, that is what the smart marketers did.With a new India shaping up, and in spite of several protests, Valentines Day market is 12 billion rupees
($270 million, £140 million).Phew!!

What is being offered?...Spas, financial services, luxury brands and even
tech brands..Anything that the "new" Indian would buy !Check out this article in ET.

Hope you guyz had a good Valentine's Day !

World's first "commercial" quantum computer solves Sudoku

Source: engadget

OK..Itz not ready yet..but what the heck, it solved a Sudoku puzzle !.
Read it here
I remember in the IT Strategy class, I gave a 15 minute presentation on Quantum Computing..and I had asked the audience to be ready to take a Quantum leap of faith.!
So, are we ready for something that will change the world. We'll watch how things shape up!

The world is waking up to a New India

Rediff carries an interesting article on how the world wants to "to have a piece of the pie in some way or the other. So angel investors or private equity funds, they are all swarming India right now and we shall make hay while it lasts"

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The telecom market in India is getting intense.

GSM firms add 5 m users in Jan.
Source:DNA IndiaOnly six months ago, India had joined the 100-million-mobile club, including GSM and CDMA. Then, at the end of November, GSM subscriber base crossed 100 million. India is now placed third, after China and Russia, in GSM subscriber numbers. But, the country’s GSM base has grown the fastest in the world at over 21% in the past six months, according to industry statistics.

Vodafone wins Hutch Essar auction with $19 bln bid
India becomes the third largest market with 24.4 million subscribers after Germany and US

Airtel services from your dabbawala
New channels of distribution. Perhaps !
Check this

Tata firm catches 'Reliance spy'
Espionage..Perhaps !!
Check this

The Great Indian Telecom Story
Read it here

Friday, February 09, 2007

An Ipod as a money benchmark

Yes, you read it right. A Bank in Australia, the Commonwealth Bank, decided to use Apple's Ipod to compare global currencies and purchasing power in 26 countries.

So, what did they find?
The website says
Of 26 countries surveyed, Australia is the eighth cheapest place to buy a 2 gigabyte (gb) iPod nano in US dollar terms. The most expensive country is Brazil (US$327.71), the cheapest is Canada (US$144.20), while in Australia the local purchase price of $219 in Australia converts to US$172.36.

But don’t we already have a Mac Index ?
Yes, but the website of the company says that this is different.
The Big Mac index has some limitations, one being that hamburgers cannot be traded across countries. Additionally, the Big Mac index is updated only irregularly. So, in the same spirit as the Big Mac index, CommSec has compiled the iPod index – a comparison of prices for the popular iPod nano music player across the world. Results released today showed that Apple sold 21 million iPods in the past quarter

I have two questions now. First, will the Ipod craze remain the way it is in for the next few year.Second, will this Ipod Index gain popularity.In any case, I realize that if Canada is where Ipod is the cheapest in the world, then why not pick up one from here ? ;)
(Pic Source:

Changes in Weather....Life

“The only thing constant in life is change”
------François de la Rochefoucauld

The Canadian Winter is here.Sameer(a classmate of mine) posted some
pictures of frozen Lake Ontario today.

I had been to the lake a few months ago and I was overjoyed seeing the
blue water there.I loved the sight.With the winter here, I wanted to see how
the lake had changed now.Today morning,when I walked to the lake ,I was delighted
to see the frozen lake. The same lake that had looked bright and fresh a few
months ago was quiet and pale now.Change is a big aspect of life and watching
the lake in different states over the past few months, I had some lessons to
be learnt.

Temperatures have dropped here in Kingston and we all are experiencing the
cold Canadian weather.Check out the below pictures taken by Sameer. He has
done a great job by capturing the same shots at different times of the year!

Just wait for a few more months and the lake will appear bright with
the blue water.

‘Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant.’
-- Anthony J. D’Angelo

Tree During Fall

The same Tree Now (Winter)

Shoreline Fall

Shoreline Winter

Lake View Fall

Lake View Winter

Ice on the shore

Lake Icicles

Frozen Surface

India Rising - The Debate

Pic Source: BBC Radio

A few weeks ago, the Times of India came up with the "India Poised" campaign, celebrating the dominance of India in the world .There has been mixed reactions to this -Some agreeing that the time is right and some feeling that we are celebrating too early.

There was this article in the Fortune magazine recently which hits India hard. At the other end, BBC Radio is running a series on “India Rising” from Saturday, 3 February to Sunday 11 February 2007.

There is an interesting debate here and you can follow it here.

Some interesting quotes I liked:

Momentum = Mass * Velocity = More than a billion ppl * Growth at > 08 % )
(Karan Bilimoria,founder of COBRA beer)

CK Prahlad’s comment on how India would be by 2050:
-200 Million Graduates
-500 Million Trained technicians
-20 companies from India in the Fortune 100 list
-10 Nobel Prize Winners from India

And the best part that CKP said was:
“India will become the model on how to live in a extraordinary diverse society in a sensible fashion”

Management Tools 2007: An Executive’s Guide

Bain & Company has come out with a PDF titled " Management Tools 2007: An Executive’s Guide ". It is an interesting piece , and I feel covers the list of concepts/tools that managers are expected to be aware of (Not to worry. We have discussed almost all of them in our class!). The list is provided below and you can download the article here.

Here is the list :
1. Balanced Scorecard
2. Benchmarking
3. Business Process Reengineering
4. Collaborative Innovation
5. Consumer Ethnography
6. Core Competencies
7. Corporate Blogs
8. Customer Relationship Management
9. Customer Segmentation
10. Growth Strategy Tools
11. Knowledge Management
12. Lean Operations
13. Loyalty Management Tools
14. Mergers and Acquisitions
15. Mission and Vision Statements
16. Offshoring
17. Outsourcing
18. RFID
19. Scenario and Contingency Planning
20. Shared Service Centers
21. Six Sigma
22. Strategic Alliances
23. Strategic Planning
24. Supply Chain Management
25. Total Quality Management

TMT Predictions for 2007

Deloitte Canada has come up with the Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT)Predictions for 2007. You can hear the podcast here.

Some predictions/ trend for Canadian TMT Market :

-"Power to the people"
-Marketing and R&D working hand in hand
-Technology goes green
-User generated content useful
-Virutuenomics ( Making money through virtual world !)
-Interactive television ( Eg: Canadian Idol, interactive shopping)
-Long live Mobile Video !
-Net neutrality

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Focus Factory

( Picture of Shouldice Hospital in Ontario)

Every person in our class for sure would have had his or her favorite class of the year. As I went to bed last night, I was reflecting on the classes that we attended over the past three stages and wondered if there was a class that had the most impact on me. I didn’t have to think for long. It was an easy decision!

Over the past few months, we have been exposed to several classes and we have enjoyed attending them. Some of the classes had an "Aha" or a "Wow" effect on us. There were Profs, who bcoz of their excellent teaching style kept the class always involved and interested. And hats off to them for that!

Today, I write about the class that I really loved attending. After attending this class, I just had one thing to say to myself "This class was worth traveling all the way from India to Canada .This class was value for money”

I am talking about the Shouldice Hospital Case in the Operations Management subject. The case is an interesting example of "focused service delivery" system. I enjoyed reading the case. Our team had to come up with three issues and recommendations prior to the class based on the data in the case. On the day of the class, Prof Roman simply amazed me. First, he showed us the "line of sight" , the theory that service companies should adopt.. Then he talked about the "focus" that the Hospital displays and lastly showed us a wonderful documentary on how the Shouldice Hospital operates. And the best part was that we had a guest - The Business Development Manager of the Hospital analyzing our recommendations and presenting his views on that.

Why did I like this class a lot ? As I reflect, I think there are three key reasons for it.
a) I like the concept of Shouldice Hospital and its approach on focus service delivery
b) I loved the documentary that was shown by Prof Roman. Shouldice is not just another hospital. There is a community feeling out there among the patients. The culture existing in the organization is difficult to replicate. I had a good laugh when I saw that the Hernia patients even have a reunion every other year. The video showed how people with the same pain gelled together.
c) I liked the way the Business Development Manager from Shouldice presented his views, answered our questions and worked through our recommendations.

Of course, Prof Roman is one of my favorite professors, and I really admire the way he teaches. I later got to know that the Shouldice Case is one among the Harvard's bestseller case-study list. Here is an interesting article on the Shouldice Hospital that appeared in Globe and Mail a few years ago. I loved attending this class!

Some excerpts from the article:
"The Shouldice model of service delivery has helped train hundreds of thousands of future managers in about 500 business schools. The hernia repair process is part of the basic toolkit on customer service that the world's senior executives carry to the corner office.

In fact, Shouldice's reputation as an executive learning tool rivals its medical stature. "I've maintained that the hospital will not be famous for hernias in 50 years--it will be famous for its service delivery model," says Daryl Urquhart, the private, non-profit hospital's director of business development.

What it teaches are the benefits of doing one thing extremely well and building all processes and infrastructure around achieving that result. In Shouldice's case, the "product" is a three-day admission-to-release process that puts gimpy-groined customers on their feet and back to normal as quickly as possible. ......Everything about the hospital is designed toward that end. Shouldice believes recovering hernia patients should walk around. Thus, there are no televisions or telephones in patient rooms.Meals are not taken to the rooms but provided in a central dining area, for which access requires some traversing of stairs. But the stairs are built with lower risers than normal, and the extensive grounds are gently sloped for easy walking. What's more, the participation of patients in their own recovery cuts Shouldice's costs for things like service to rooms and one-on-one physiotherapy.It is, in essence, a hernia factory. Harvard calls it "a focused factory," which gives the case a relevance that extends beyond health care and customer service and into manufacturing and processing.

Mr. Psellas first learned about the case in Queen's adjunct professor Paul Roman's operations management class last summer. In the past decade, Mr. Urquhart, whose family still owns the hospital, has taken to visiting MBA classes in major business schools to provide personal testimony. He now makes up to a dozen class visits a year, as well as several teleconferencing appearances.

The effort clearly pays off. The study asks students to suggest strategies by which the hospital can expand beyond current capacity, and various options are suggested, such as diversifying into other procedures or going global.Yet the hospital remains a single-purpose hernia factory with the same 89 beds as 25 years ago -- although it has been able to increase the number of patients per year.

Harvard's bestseller case-study list

1. Lincoln Electric Co., published in 1975.
2. Benihana of Tokyo, published in 1972.
3. Wal-Mart Stores, published in 1994.
4. Shouldice Hospital, published in 1983.
5. Sealed Air, published in 1982.
6. People Express, Case A, published in 1983.
7. Optical Distortion, Case A, published in 1975.
8. Caterpillar Tractor Co., published in 1985.
9. Cumberland Metal, published in 1980.
10. Toyota Motor Manufacturing USA, published in 1992.

Strategies That Fit Emerging Markets

(Pic source:

I have always loved working on International Business Assignments.I love reading news, articles etc and this subject demands more of that from me. For the individual assignment, we were asked to do an analysis of a developing country and prepare an economic strategy for the country.

I wanted to write about a country that in spite of several challenges was working hard towards success.So, I chose Bangladesh as my subject.Over the past few days, I have been reading a lot of articles and like the spirit of this country.
(The Grameen Bank concept is wonderful!)

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world ( about 998 persons per square km).In a country where poverty is wide spread, corruption is rampant (rated most corrupt nation 5 times in a row!) and natural disasters(floods) occur on an annual basis, the country is working hard to overcome its current challenges and follow a path similar to that of its Asian neighbours: India and China. Observing the growth (5-6%) in Bangladesh’s economy for the past few years (2000-2005), Goldman Sachs has predicted that Bangladesh will be one of the nations in “Next Eleven”, a set of countries that will follow the BRIC nations.The other countries in the Next Eleven are Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam.

One of the excellent HBR articles that I read in IB was called "Strategies That Fit Emerging Markets" by Tarun Khanna, Krishna G. Palepu, Jayant Sinha. The article talks about considering a few factors such as Political and Social System,Openness,Product Market,Labour Market,and Capital Market while making decisions when investing in an emerging market.I also enjoyed learning about Porters Diamond Model.

Do go through this stuff on India too

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Better late than never

Finance Strategy is a subject that I found very tough initially... but towards the end of the term, before the exams, as I read more, I started liking the subject . (Don’t judge my interest in the subject by the marks I get!).

The best part from the course is that when I read the Financial Times now, the contents makes more sense. When the Tata group acquired Corus, I had my own set of comments and analysis.

Anyway, here are some key concepts that I liked in the text book on Mergers and Acquisitions:

Some sound reason for acquiring companies
-Economies of Scale
( Chevron and Texaco, the firm's combined costs were cut by $1.8 billion per year, and $400 million per year of further savings.)
-Economics of vertical integration
-Complementary Resources ( Eg: eBay and Paypal)
-Surplus funds ( not invest in negative NPV projects)
-Eliminating Inefficiencies
-Industry Consolidation

Some dubious reason for mergers
-To diversify ( stock holder can do that themselves)
-Increasing earnings per share ( Boot strap game!)
It generates earnings growth not from capital investment or improved profitability, but from purchase of slowly growing firms with low priced earnings ratios.
-Lower financing costs

So what are the Defense Tactics ?
Pre offer Defense:

Shark-repellent charter amendments:
Staggered Board: The board is classified into three equal groups. Only one group is elected each year. Therefore, the bidder cannot gain control of the target immediately

Super majority: A high percentage of shares is needed to approve a merger , typically 80%

Fair Price: Mergers are restricted unless a fair price ( determined by the formula or appraisal is paid)

Restricted Voting Rights: Shareholders who acquire more than a specified proportion of the target have no voting rights unless approved by the target's board

Waiting period: Unwelcome acquires must wait for a specified number of years before hey can complete the merger.

Poison Pill: Existing shareholders are issued rights which, if there is a significant purchase of shares by a bidder , can be used to purchase additional stock in the company at a bargain price
Poison Put: Existing bondholders can demand repayment if there is a change of control as a result of hostile take over.
Pac man defense : Try to take over the attacker before it takes over you.

Post offer defense:
Litigation: File suit against bidder for violating antitrust or securities laws
Asset Restructuring: Buy asset that bidder does not want or that will create an antitrust problem
Liability Restructuring: Issue shares to a friendly third party or increase the number of share holders. Repurchase shares from existing shareholders at a premium.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

End of Stage Party and Brown Jam

We had the Marketing exam on Thursday morning where the teams were asked to work on a live project. We presented a marketing strategy for a company that was experiencing problems with its market share .The senior folks in the company had a poker face ( they were asked to do that) all through the presentation and asked us a lot of questions on the strategy that we proposed. This was the last team presentation and although, I was tired

It gives a good feeling to answer questions confidently to vice presidents etc of companies. It just goes to show the kind of confidence we have gained over the past few months. There were prizes and the winning teams bagged a sum of 3000 CAD.

( End of Stage 03 party)

Anyway, the the end of Stage 03 was celebrated by one and all. One of the guyz decided to host the party at his place.The winning team of the Marketing Strategy exam decided to sponsor the liquor. A beer barrel was bought at and there were several contests held- from flip cup to drinking beer through a funnel. There was a lot of chaos , noise..We had solid fun ,and acted wild.

( The ad for Mehfil)

On Friday, the Queen's Indian Student Association had "Mehfil" , the annual formal event. It is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the University. It was held at Portsmouth Harbour and featured DJ TnT and SOS . Folks were expected to come in Indian outfit. The girls were there in Sarees and looked very elegant.Some of the Canadian and Chinese girls too were there in sarees. They looked very good.It was fun watching all of them dance to some bollywood and bhangra numbers. A few of my classmates ( From France, Lebanon etc) too were there and am sure they had good fun. They even volunteered to learn some Hindi so that they could impress the pretty Indian girls.!

Check out a few pictures

Thursday, February 01, 2007

An Experience Called Team !

"When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.”
- Joe Patreno

When Business Week had rated the program #1, this is what they had to say about the team based learning at the team office."And it's here where much of the magic happens. Students learn how to work as part of a team--resolving differences and solving problems--in a way that can't be taught in the classroom"

Stage 3 came to an end yesterday.Stage 4 is when we choose our electives.This also means that the team with which we have worked together for the past 09 months won't work on the same deliverables again. As I think about it, I realized that I have
mixed feelings now.

The past few months have been very different. We all in this team came from different backgrounds, cultures, mind set, and had our own working styles. And in a high stress, time bound environment were asked to deliver results (projects, presentations, reports) that are of the best quality. The expectations of each individual from the program was different and then there were team expectations that were set. When the team was formed, we formed mission,values and norms for our team and tried to follow it religiously.

When we had differences in opinion, we debated over it and resolved it. When we had a slack in performance by a team member, we discussed it. When a team member lacked guidance, the team supported the person. When some one tried to become dominant, we made the person aware of this fact. Some things changed quickly, some things took time to change and some things simply did not change.:)

We argued, we confronted and discussed things to make sure that we got things on the right track. When we won, we celebrated! When we lost, we debriefed as to what went wrong.It is no secret that our team has been one of the top performing teams of this year.We have consistently bagged some of the best grades in various subjects.We aced a few subjects, had some of the best presentations and raised the bar high for other teams when they competed with us.And trust me,it has not been an easy ride to get such results. We all had our individual strengths,and worked towards the team's interest to achieve these results.

If there was someone who had the “big thinking” mind, there was another who had attention to detail.If one was good at making superior presentations, the other was good at number crunching numbers. If one was good at research and information gathering,the other was very good at executing things.

6 smart brains,1 team ,we worked hard to deliver the best results in spite of all odds.

On a personal level, I think all of us had a lot to learn from each other. We became more cultural sensitive, realized that itz not the intellectual power that makes the difference but getting the best from the person that is important. We ought to understand that every person needs to be handled and communicated in a different manner. I think we all were stretched beyond our “comfort zone” to deliver high quality stuff, and realized a "new potential" in each of us.

As for me, the team based experience has made me more mature and confident.( Oh yes..I look old now!).There were (are?) weaknesses in me. During the course of the program, it was all revealed! I was constantly challenged to improve myself and deliver stuff. There were strengths in me and I made sure that my team made the best use of it.

There have been days when I have had the most stressful moments ( and I hated it!) , and there have been moments which made me feel really good about myself ( the team loved me for it!).As I write this post on my blog, I realize that there was a unique quality in each individual of my team that I really liked.

• S’s excellent attention to detail and her organization skills (One of the best I have ever seen in my life!)
• M’s big approach thinking on various issues and his intensity to "nail" assignments.
• Se’s passion and focus on things that he loves doing (I was inspired.)
• V's confidence in himself (Mentally very strong.)
• J’s determination to fight all odds. (Managing work and taking care of family was no easy task).

I hope to take these learning’s with me as I graduate in a few months from now.The team based learning that one gets here at Queen's cannot be measured and quantified.Itz an experience of a life time.Before coming here, I had worked closely with Americans, Britishers, Indians and folks from Singapore. I had worked in teams and led teams, but I have never had an experience like this.

The team based learning model is something that connects all the present,past and future MBA students of Queen's.A few months ago, I met a Queen's Alum in Toronto at his office. He works as a Director, Corporate Development in one of the major multinationals.When he met me ,he asked me how my team experiences were.
We both had smiles on our face.! There was a lot that was said in that smile.

As I finish this post, I realize that I carry with me some of the memorable experiences of my team based learning.Take the best, and leave behind the rest.!

Gooooooooooo Team 108 ! We survived, We excelled...and we finally made it.