Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Over the years, Finance stream has been regaining the momentum among MBA aspirants. In SIMSREE itself, more than half the batch constitutes of Finance aspirants. The reasons can be attributed to many and is beyond the scope of this article. Within finance, Private Equity and Investment Banking are among the preferred career options. The SIMSREE students were in for a pleasant treat when Mr. Parimal Sheth, from J.R. Laddha Financial Services came down to the campus for a guest lecture on ‘Private Equity, Venture Capital and Investment Banking’. Mr. Sheth, a CA by qualification with over 25 years of experience in Investment Banking, is the Director-Investment Banking at J.R. Laddha.
Keeping with the SIMSREE tradition of maximum industry interaction and corporate connect; this was a very good opportunity for all the students to get an insight into the field of private equity and venture capital. To be very honest, such opportunities are very rare to come by. The batch expected Mr. Sheth to share his experiences in his area of expertise and he did not disappoint. He was kind and humble enough to oblige and kept the floor open for discussions and doubts. Mr. Sheth also shared insights on the recent closure of an M&A deal by JRL wherein a Japanese stationery giant acquired an Indian Notebook manufacturer. Post this; he started off the presentation with a brief description of the means of finance for a company: the traditional means. That set the floor to begin the lecture on venture capital and private equity. Many of the students have wrong notions or misconceptions and people in the audience were clueless about these terms. Mr. Sheth then gave the objectives of a venture capitalist. Venture capitalists take higher risks for higher returns and help growing companies to become stable. The guest then took the audience through the different stages of funding, right from idea generation to a large business. The stages of private equity are many from seed stage, start-up, expansion, mezzanine, buyout and so on.
Sir then told about the sectors that venture capitalists look for and shared some live examples like Flipkart, Zomato, Quikr, RedBus, Jabong etc. The questions started coming in from the audience. The students seized this opportunity and kept flooding the guest with questions and doubts. One hot topic of discussion was the deal between Facebook and Whatsapp. The batch was eager to learn more. There was a very good question that India lags far behind China in terms of venture capital and private equity. Mr. Sheth was quick to reply that though India lags behind, India is doing pretty well to its standards and the situation is getting better.
A very big confusion among youngsters was cleared: Difference between Private Equity and Venture Capital. Venture capital involves high risk but less amount of investment as it deals with early stage of investment, whereas private equity involves high investment as well as high risk as it comes in to picture during the expansion stage of a company. From there on, Mr. Sheth went on to explain the PE/VC investment process. He concluded his presentation by sharing the success stories in the VC/PE deals like JumboKing, Gowardhan and BIBA.
It is rare that students get to interact directly with someone who has made his career in investment banking. It was great to see the level of interaction between the audience and the guest; full marks go to Mr. Sheth for bringing in the comfort level due to which the students could ask as many questions as possible. The Q&A session ranged from process of venture capital, the ways to attract VC funding, JRL role in fund raising process to Tata Corus deal.
It would be appropriate to say that the batch was more enlightened about the way private equity works. It was perhaps one of the most insightful lectures by a corporate on campus. Sir was kind enough to share his contact details and invited students to ask any queries or doubts anytime.
At this early stage of students’ careers, it is very important to learn from the successful people of the industry to attain success. Mr. Sheth brought with him a high level of humility and expertise and inspired everyone to have the same. He had little to gain from the session, but he cancelled appointments to make it on time. SIMSREE appreciates his way of giving back to the society in the form of knowledge.
Finally, SIMSREE students thank Sir for taking out time from his busy schedule and coming down to campus. Everyone is looking forward to such an eventful lecture on campus again.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Sunday afternoons are usually meant for sitting back and relaxing at home. But Sunday afternoon on 16th Feb was rather an exciting one for SIMSREE’ites. Because, they witnessed an industry stalwart unfolding his vast and profound work experience in front of them. An alumnus of 1979 PGDBM batch, Mr. Nitin Gokarn, visited back his alma mater on 16th February, 2014. He is currently working as Vice President of Supply Chain Management at Bharat Serum and Vaccinations. Prior to this, he has worked as Head- Supply Network Operations ( Logistics & SCM) at Merck Ltd, Head - WH, Distribution and CFA Management at Novartis and as Manager- Sales Admin and Distribution at Johnson & Johnson. He talked about ‘Supply Chain Management and its functions’.
Mr. Gokarn began with the session on a note that accuracy and perfection are of utmost importance in Supply Chain Management (SCM). “In SCM, we need to be 100% perfect for being successful”; Mr. Gokarn Said. Gone are the days when SCM was only about warehousing. It now spans across various functions such as Manufacturing, Quality, Customer, Finance, Legal aspects etc. Hence, SCM is said to be the ‘Central Nervous System’ of any organization.
Going deeper into the topic, he explained the factors that are important for raw materials and finished products from SCM point of view:-
Raw Materials Side
Finished Products Side
Customer Order Processing
Raw Materials Inventory
The epic moment of the session was when Mr. Gokarn gave analogy of ‘Bhagwad Gita’ to put more light on SCM. As it is well known, Arjuna had fought the war against Kauravas in Kurukshetra. In that war, Lord Krishna was the charioteer and there were 4 horses driving the chariot. Mr. Gokarn associated every element of it with different terms in SCM. According to him, Arjuna was the ‘Logistics Manager’, Lord Krishna was the ‘Director’ and he termed 4 horses as four separate functions within an organization viz. Production, Sales, Purchase, Finance. He opined that synergy and collaboration among these 4 functions, as was there among those 4 horses, is necessary for the smooth and efficient functioning of an organization. Further, he gave different illustration about 4 horses. Those horses can also be termed as ‘When’, ‘Whom’, ‘What’ and ‘Where’; referring to ‘Timely delivery of the right good to the right person at the right address’. As a result of this, the batch was able to envisage altogether a new perspective about the functions in SCM.
In today’s world, being lean and slim is of utmost importance. So how can any company be an exception to this? “No company wants to reduce the manpower in its sales department, as it’s a revenue function. So it tends to reduce manpower in the service area like supply chain”, Mr. Gokarn commented while emphasizing on the cost cutting measures taken up by the companies. Operating Costs, inventories, resources, budgets are always on the radar of an operations team within any company, as it tries to reduce the cost of all these factors. The main aim is to reduce the expenses on the non-productive and non-value adding factors and thereby increasing the productivity and hence profits. But it’s rather a cumbersome task as an SCM professional has to face plethora of challenges; the prominent ones being forecasting accuracy, sales skew & space crunch, huge rise in property rentals, rising freight costs, tropical & humid climate, shortage of drivers, conflict management etc.
As Mr. Gokarn has been associated with the pharma sector, he gave certain facts about pharma industry in India:-
• India has the largest number of USFDA approved plants outside of USA
• Though R&D hasn't been the core of Indian pharma industry, there is an intense competition within the sector
• No. of wholesalers: - 55,000
• No. of retailers :- 6,00,000
• Interstate permits make the distribution of drugs within the country challenging
• Pharma industry is growing at 12-13% and it is dominated by Indian companies
• Price Control & Government Regulations are currently posing the greatest challenge to an Indian pharma industry
India is a second largest exporter of generic drugs to USA. Recently, USFDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has raised concerns over the substandard quality of drugs produced and exported by one of the plant of a renowned Indian pharma company. Also, it has slammed the doors of American market on the imports of generic drugs from that particular plant. This is a huge setback for the continuously growing Indian pharma industry. Fetching reference to this incident, Mr. Gokarn claimed that for any pharma company it is necessary to understand the concepts and practices suggested by the watchdog (USFDA) on manufacturing, clinical practices, quality assurance, quality control and data integrity, across the supply chain. “Do it right the first time” is the key for any manufacturing company.
By the end of the session, students had got a fair idea about SCM and about the important challenges faced by it and also the pharma industry in India. All in all, the Sunday afternoon proved to be worthwhile for the students of SIMSREE. They found the session to be highly informative, filled with lot of facts and real life examples pertaining to current affairs. SIMSREE thanks Sir for taking out time from his busy schedule and helping students understand the different aspects of SCM.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
On 15th Feb 2014, Corporate Relations Committee organized Corporate Connect with Mr. Ajjay Tavaadia at SIMSREE. Mr. Ajjay Tavaadia is Regional Manager for Wireless Business Development SME at Tata Teleservices Ltd. With more than sixteen years of rich and unique experience across Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Operations, he has worked in three sectors namely Telecom, Retail (FMCG) and Banking. He has held positions of AVP – Current Account at HDFC Bank and Chief Manager – Operations at Reliance Retail.
The session began with Mr. Tavaadia sharing his career transition from a non technical field of commerce to managing technical businesses like telecom, banking and Retail-FMCG. At HDFC Bank, Mr. Tavaadia was instrumental in setting up CANI project (Current Account New Initiative).
Mr. Tavaadia delivered a talk on the “Telecom Puzzle” which encapsulated how the telecom structure in India is on a path of constant change and evolution. The sector was opened for private player operations in August 1995. The mobile phone subscriber base has moved from 5mn in 2001 to 940mn in 2013 with 80% market of GSM. With the launch of the New Telecom Policy in 1999, private players entered the business to offer landline connections. It marked the introduction of the Internet and its convergence with Telecom, moving slowly to mobile internet (2G, 3G), ISPs, DTH, FTTH (Fibre To The Home) and an extension to 4G LTE (Long term Evolution). He gave more insights on the current scenario of all telecom companies and how some players entered the business and have exited over these years. The real puzzle, as per Mr. Tavaadia, could be solved most probably by the end of this calendar year with a lot of changes expected that involve JVs, mergers and acquisitions happening.
Mr. Tavaadia laid out a fair and competitive structure for telecom business in India, the factors for which are as follows:
1. Focus on Quality Customer Acquisition
· Stringent process for acquisition, attractive schemes and customized tariff for bulk customers
· Service through defined TAT and processes that are audited
· The current cost of acquiring a customer is less than retaining, so back-end processes need to be improved
2. Focus on Retention
· Understanding the customer and his pain points
· Offer / solutions (call top 100 revenue generating customers and present them plans to get their feedback)
· Focused and tenure based tariffs for existing customers
3. Focus on Productivity Enhancement
· Stringent productivity norms for employees and channel partners (dealers / distributors)
· Loyalty Rewards/Bonus for high productivity
· Customized Payout model – “Battle for Survival Strategy”
In the final phase of the session, Mr. Tavaadia answered all the queries put forth by students. Some of which involved technology up-gradation in telecom (2G to 3G to 4G), its impact on the business. He informed the students that firms have invested heavily in each of their technologies including 3G, so companies will be cautious first to cross break even and start earning profits before moving to new technologies like 4G. Even the license fee for starting the telecom firm is exorbitant in India compared to that of the US, Europe.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Continuing the rich tradition of guest lectures by eminent industry professionals; February 14th, 2014 marked one more of such memorable occasions. SIMSREE students were blessed with the presence of a well-known veteran in the field of consulting industry: Mr. Ashvin Parekh. Mr. Parekh is currently working as the Managing Partner - Ashvin Parekh Advisory Services LLP and Sr. Expert - Advisor, Global Financial Services - Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd.
The distinctive feature in Mr. Parekh’s illustrious career is that he has worked across all four of the “Big Four” consulting firms. He has been a Partner and National Leader at Ernst & Young. He has been the Executive Director of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India from July 2002 till June 2005. He also held senior positions in Arthur Anderson, Price Waterhouse Coopers and KPMG. He is considered as an expert in financial services industry, having worked on gamut of areas like business strategies, corporate planning, institutional strengthening and business transformation across industries including banking, insurance, pension and capital markets. He has also been working closely with the government, having been part of several committees set up by Ministry of Finance, RBI, IRDA and SEBI.
Mr. Parekh made it clear at the start of the session that rather than having a set format for the lecture, he would welcome students asking him various questions and pointing out the topics they would like him to talk about. Students responded with plethora of questions, with topics ranging from financial inclusion, to valuations in mergers and acquisitions.
Mr. Parekh started with his take on the Indian economy, clearly pointing out the differences between pre-2008 and post-2008 situations. He pointed out that between 2003 and 2007, Indian economy grew at a rapid pace and foreign investors were generally positive about India. Post 2008, however, this enthusiasm has largely reduced and investors (FIIs and FDIs) are not very convinced about India’s growth prospects. He cited signs of policy reversal as one of the reasons, pointing out issues like spectrum allocation and retrospective taxation.
He then talked about his experience in the banking sector, having worked as a business adviser with almost all large banks. In 1992, Mr. Parekh was closely involved with the formation of four new private banks, which was a unique experiment at that time. He opined that the experiment was largely a successful one, benefitting customers with product innovation, technology and improved service. However, he did not share the similar views regarding the new banking licenses about to be issued by RBI. He questioned the need for the formation of new banks, and stated that strengthening the present banking system instead was the need of the hour. He also stated problems such as the stringent clauses affecting the viability of the banking business, and the issue of corporate governance coming into picture. Talking about regulation, he strongly advocated Urjit Patel committee report, and the need for the monetary policy to be rule-based.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
The tradition of industry stalwarts delivering guest lecture to the students continues unabated in SIMSREE campus. SIMSREE students got an opportunity to interact with a veteran from Media world, Mr. Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer(CSO), South & South East Asia at Grey Group on Thursday, the 13th of February.
Dheeraj is the author of a highly acclaimed marketing book ‘Consumer India – Inside the Indian Mind and Wallet’, published globally by John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pvt Ltd, Singapore. Till recently, he led the strategic planning function for Bates (WPP Group) network in Asia, across 13 countries. He has worked in advertising for over 14 years across McCann Erickson, Euro RSCG and bates. His thinking has impacted brands across categories and markets. Colgate, MasterCard, LG, DBS, Tata AIG, TVS, Virgin Mobile, Max Bupa, Fiat, Reckitt Benckiser, Emirates, Dabur, Park Avenue, Ashok Leyland, Marico and CavinKare are some of the brands that he has been associated with. Dheeraj has twice been the winner of the prestigious Atticus Awards (WPP’s award for best published thinking). He has won several effectiveness awards, including the Jay Chiat Planning Award by the 4A’s, the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Award and the Yahoo Big Idea Chair. He has won at EFFIES in India, last five years in a row. He has a Post Graduate Degree in Communications from MICA and a Graduate Degree in Economics from Delhi University.
Sir began the lecture with looking marketing through the lens of India. Although he is a CSO of South East Asia, he has had a keen interest in Indian market owing to his deep study on India. He started with how the Indian culture and the mindset have changed from Brahminical to Kshatriya way of life, meaning there is a shift from intellectual doings to action oriented doings. He substantiated his argument with examples such as winning is more important than mere participation, fielding is equally important as batting in cricket. He also stressed that how bollywood knows the pulse of consumers, the same way marketers need to use cultural changes and traditions to their advantage. He gave examples such as changes in morality in 2 different eras were beautifully captured by 2 different movies, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge(DDLJ) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi(RNBDJ) and other being Vedic maths used by students for their CAT preparation.
The topic then veered to youth brands and branding in general. Sir mentioned that there are many young looking brands in our country but very few brands for youth. We have 60 % population in the age group of 25-45 years, but we hardly have youth brands. Youth in India generally bypass sanctions; they look to find a way through the system. To capture this idea, Sir and his team came up with a campaign for Virgin Mobile, which proved to be a great hit amongst youth audience. Sir played a few very amusing videos from this campaign, which kept the audience in splits. There was another campaign made by Grey group on Killer jeans to market it as an environment friendly product amongst youth, which also picked up and created a lot of buzz in India. Further, Sir started explaining in depth about branding scenario in India. He began explaining that we are currently living in a Beta world and marketing is talking today to a different audience so marketers should engage with the audience by means of debates, conversations rather than on consumption patterns and monologues. Marketers should look at their target group as fluid people and not as consumers with fixed mindsets. He said that the future of marketing lies in strategising things in real time and not doing everything in a pre-planned manner. People need to be provoked and marketers need to bring in an aura of exclusivity by creating a Lehar (a Wave or a Buzz). Next, he spoke about challenger brands. Indian consumers buy into proven successes rather than niche experiments, so challenger brands need to play by leadership values. Most of the brands end up targeting only the age group of 25-45 years, but there is a huge potential to target the older group above 45 years and also people less than 25 years. So he also mentioned a scope of “Second Innings” market for Travel, Housing and finance sectors.
He threw more light on the aspects of branding by enlightening us with new concepts such as Access brands. Access brands are the brands which feed on the imagery created by leader brands. He gave examples of Action cashing on Nike, Micromax on Samsung and Kakaji Namkeen on Lays. These brands are kind of parasitic in nature but they do not kill the leader brands. They cash on the popularity of leader brands and make their profits on volumes. He again stressed upon the point that we need to take our past along with us; marketers/brand managers need to take into account the cultures, traditions and people’s mindsets while planning & strategizing various things.
Finally, he spoke about 2 Indias that we are living in. One India is very progressive with people in it leading luxurious lives whereas other India is still struggling to keep itself afloat. So marketers need to be inclusive and take both Indias ahead not through charity but through profitability.
Last but not the least, the session ended with a round of interesting Q&A session. Students asked some inquisitive questions on importance of market research, reviving a failed brand, sir’s take on marketing strategies used by BJP, most recent being 'Chai pe Charcha' & whether media awards are losing its sheen etc. Sir answered each of the questions convincingly and with clarity of thought.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
One of the main reasons for SIMSREE being one of the top B-schools in India is the industry interaction that the students receive. The Business World, Dewang Mehta Awards, etc. are fine examples to prove the point. The aim is to try and interact with stalwarts from almost all industries which will make the institute better prepared to face the corporate world. After all, MBA is more about gaining practical knowledge.
It was yet another highlighting moment for SIMSREE on the 8th February, 2014 when the campus was graced by the presence of Mr. Vibhor Gujarati, the Marketing Head (India) at Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd. (Alternative Investments – EAAA). Thereby, adding another star to the list of guest lecturers at SIMSREE.
Mr. Gujarati took the session on marketing in general and in fact, marketing across different industries. He started the session off with a brief on his background. He earned degree of engineering, post which he was associated with a Production Engineering company and then followed it up with an MBA from PUMBA. Now here’s the best part - he has around 14 years of experience in five different industries viz. Engineering, FMCG, Finance, Television and Alternative Investments, holding important portfolios. That set the bells ringing for the batch and questions kept cropping up. Some confused, some inspired, some in awe.
The session began with a small exercise and point was very clear made after the exercise: In marketing, you need to know as a marketer what the end consumer is thinking. Brilliant!! The applause that followed was the batch’s way of appreciating the idea. When you put an idea to the crowd it gets them to think and subsequently the questions that come up are natural. As a result, there were a lot of questions thrown at Mr. Gujarati, which he managed to answer with ease as he could relate all of them to his experiences. They were all backed up by live examples. There was one question which Mr. Gujarati had for the batch, “What is it that a customer looks for when he buys the product”. Replies came in chorus, “Value for money”, “Service”, “Trust”, and so on. But the batch missed out on the most important point that Mr. Gujarati was looking for, “Satisfying the need of the customer”. Getting to know the need of the customer is very important. Marketing has to be done on the foundation of customer’s need.
There on, he took us to the concept of 'Push-Pull Marketing'. With a simple example of a credit card sale, Mr. Gujarati was able to get the concept of creating need and pull marketing. Selling & marketing becomes difficult if you fail to keep a balance between push & pull. The questions kept pouring in regarding all forms of marketing viz. digital marketing, movie marketing, push-pull marketing, e-commerce, etc. The ease with which the questions were answered and how every answer had a supporting example convinced students the sheer experience and rigor of our guest.
The discussion later shifted to the different industries that Mr. Gujarati has worked in. The reason cited by Mr. Gujarati for shifting to so many industries was that he wants to taste each and every pie because for the top job, one is required to be someone who has hands on experience of everything. It somewhere made the young-MBAs realize how important taking risks are in one’s career. He spoke at length on to how it was not so difficult changing industries because at the end of the day it all came down to marketing. Answering one of the students, Mr. Gujarati did not rule out entrepreneurship in the near future.
At last the discussion led to the industry he is currently working in i.e. Alternative Investments. The sheer ignorance about just the industry name speaks volumes about what to expect further. Mr. Gujarati spoke at length about the industry and cleared many doubts that students had. He spoke about how Indian investors are still not confident of engaging a specialist wealth advisor to grow their wealth. Mr. Gujarati attributed this to poor sales strategy and high attrition rate among RMs. He also gave his view on Insurance need in India by saying there is still long way for us to catch up with the western world.
We all aspire to be successful in our careers, but few manage to achieve that because it is all depends on our attitude. He requested the batch to keep on doing the work they do. “Enjoy it. Do it with passion and never do anything just to expect anything out of it” were his pearls of advice to SIMSREE students. He also gave a very important piece of advice to the batch to concentrate on their strengths rather than someone else’s strengths and weaknesses. Last but not the least he told that focus is the key to success. For the question, “Having worked in so many industries, which one has been your favorite industry? What did you enjoy doing most?” Mr. Gujarati’s straight reply was “Marketing”. This one word reply sums it up, his dedication for his work and the fact that he thoroughly enjoys what he is doing and importantly how he manages to keep his feet on the ground inspite of holding such an important post is really commendable. Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.
Mr. Gujarati came to deliver the session in spite of a severe cold and bad throat. He kept his date with SIMSREE even though he had nothing to gain out of it. SIMSREE would like to thank Sir for gracing the institute by his presence and enlightening the students on various aspects of Marketing.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The Alumni Committee was delighted to welcome back to campus Ms. Deepti Gadekar, an alumna of the batch of 2002 and currently the Marketing Communications Manager of South Asia at DHL Express. Ms Gadekar was at SIMSREE to address the batch of 2015 about 'Integrated Marketing', and demonstrate a case study in which she explained how the process of Integrated Marketing was conducted at the world’s largest logistics firm, DHL.
Starting with a short history of the company and a few fun facts, Ms Gadekar soon switched to the crux of the presentation – the challenges and methodology of developing a marketing campaign that would cater to the requirements of a diverse set of people from the bankers in South Mumbai to the tanneries outside Agra. With a detailed presentation, the audience were able to visualize a clear picture of how the ‘Speed of Yellow’ campaign was implemented across different channels like television, print, digital, outdoor and cinema to reach out to a defined target audience. Ms. Gadekar effortlessly explained how technical ratings like GRPs are used to make decisions about choosing channels to advertise on, while also explaining the rationale behind choosing unconventional methods like advertising in cinema. Many other facets of marketing communications like tie-ups and sponsorship for the brands like Manchester United and Formula One were also highlighted. The concept of Television AFPs (Advertiser Funded Programs) was also explained to the students with examples of how DHL used relevant content as television programs to reach out to consumers and improve brand recall.
At the end of the case study, Ms. Gadekar provided the batch with an impressive list of statistics that showed the efficacy of the marketing campaign. The session ended with an interactive question and answer round in which all the queries of the students were addressed with aplomb. The batch benefited greatly from the case study since it exposed students to a real-life example of how Integrated Marketing was used by organizations to reach out to consumers.