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Face-to-face talk show with senior citizens and today’s youth


Today, we live in a world where man is progressing every single day. Just like every coin has two sides, along with progress on one hand, man has created lot many problems for himself on the other. These problems also include numerous social issues, out of which, one staring us in the face today is of the so-called ‘generation gap’. In view of the same, an initiative was taken up by SIESCOMS, in the form of ‘A face-to-face talk show involving the senior citizens and the youth’. The purpose of this event was to address the various problems caused by generation gap, and to inculcate a sense of social sensitivity in the student community.

The talk show was conducted on Friday, 05th October 2012. The participants belonged to two extreme generations, the ‘sixty-plus’ age group and the ‘barely twenty-five’ age group. The guests of the talk show were eleven members of The Senior Citizens’ Association, CBD Belapur. There were some in their sixties and others in their eighties. Nonetheless, each one of them was enthusiastic and young at heart.

The two hour long session, saw very lively and hearty discussions on the various issues faced by the two generations, and methods to resolve them. The start of the session saw the topic of the relevance of the older generation’s experience in today’s world. The answers from the students portrayed varied points of view. But, the lucid explanation given by one of the senior members as, “By the time a man realises that may be his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong” proved to be most convincing.

The discussion, then took a turn towards money matters and ‘Whether money is everything in life?’. Varied views were presented regarding the same. Some agreed with the fact that money indeed was the panacea to all difficulties and one should always focus on earning more money. Whereas, some others were of the opinion that, more than money, it is the peaceful sleep at night that matters. It was a nice attempt to make the younger generation realize, when and to what extent, money should be given importance.

The next problem addressed, was that of social and cultural aspects. Here, a few students were of the opinion that, both the generations shared common core values, the difference was only in the way the values were being implemented. Other students begged to differ, by saying that, it is the dynamics of the societal demands that leads to the changes in the value system of each generation. To this, the senior members had one unanimous point to make, that said, in order to progress in the right way, one essentially needs to have a right value system in place.

Next was a problem that hundreds of Indian parents are facing today, that of their children settling abroad, without caring for their old parents who are left behind feeling lonely and impaired. The various problems faced by such parents and also the reasons for the same were discussed. Also, some students opined that settling abroad gave them better opportunities to support their families in India and abroad. A solution to the issue was suggested by one of the senior members, as, “Probably, children should go abroad, as they must not miss out on the promising opportunities. But, they need to set a limit, on fulfilling which, they should fly back home and be there for their parents”. A sensitive issue, as it was, created a very emotional atmosphere.

As the session drew towards closure, it was unanimously agreed upon by both the generations, that with a little effort from either side, the generation gap could be easily bridged. The students were very content for having had the opportunity to interact with the experienced senior section of the society. They looked up to the senior citizens with renewed respect and gratitude. To this, the senior citizens reciprocated with a lot of concern and affection.

It was indeed a holistic learning experience and served as a value addition to the student community.  Such sessions, help us become more socially sensitive, and to relate to the various problems faced by the society. The students of SIESCOMS would indeed look forward to more of such interactive sessions.

By:

Rashmi Udayshankar

MMS – A (2012-14)

With Dr. Geeta Bharadwaj, Senior Economist


Dr. Geeta Bharadwaj was the Executive Director, IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (RBNQA) Trust. She is a Senior Economist and an avid researcher. She has played a guiding role in several research projects and was also an Administrator of IMC RBNQA.

Dr. Geeta is now the lead faculty for training programs at IMC RBNQA Trust. She is internationally recognized as the only ‘Indian Woman Quality Professional Leader’. Dr. Geeta is also a winner of MIFLORA MINOZA GATCHALIAN MEDAL 2006 conferred by International Asia Pacific Quality Organization for being a woman quality professional who has distinguished herself as a person with known integrity. She is also well known for her outstanding contributions to the promotion of quality innovation and practice in the Asia Pacific Region.

Q. Dr. Geeta, being an M.A and PhD in Economics, how did working in quality happen to you?

In 1993, Mr. Harsh Goenka – the then President of IMC, set up the Quality Technology Improvement Committee to bring in an award system for Indian organizations. I took charge of that committee. For two years, we studied all the awards all around the world like the Demming Prize, EFQN, Malcomn Baldridge etc. We decided to develop the IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Award (IMC RBNQA) on the lines of Malcomn Baldridge and that is how the RBNQA happened and this whole journey of Quality and excellence began.

Q. Which are the ideologies of RBNQA that can be inculcated by us?

I don’t know if you can call it ideologies, but one thing which will help you on the road to excellence is ‘Practice’, because they say it takes 10,000 hours for a person to be excellent in anything. Be it violinist or a flutist, you need to practice those many hours. It also takes a lot of innovation and creativity to be excellent, only then others can be inspired by you.

Q. As you know SIES is also certified from RBNQA, what more can we do to excel?

One of the outputs of RBNQA is that it gives a feedback report in accordance to the application submitted by the institution. The institution can go back to the feedback report and find out the gaps in them and understand what needs to be done to improve upon them. It’s been 4-5 years since SIES won the award. Today, they take social media as a criterion, i.e. how well the institution uses social media to understand its customers i.e students, and their problems. Different students have different opinions and problems. So one of the important aspects is how to get this information from the students and then filter the required data.

I’ll give you a small example, ISB, as all of you must be knowing, Indian School of Business, it’s a beautiful place. I have been there, interacted with the students and people, and the system they have there is wonderful. I thought the students wouldn’t be having any problems there. But when I asked a person there, he said students do have issues and that they have a feedback form to know their problems. They have complains like ‘they have a fixed menu’ or even bizarre ones like ‘there isn’t a beauty parlour nearby’. No matter what, people will always have issues. Hence, customer feedback is very essential. It is necessary to see what the customer wants so that you can improve from the feedback you get.

Q. Please tell us about customer focus as an RBNQA criterion?

Customer focus is an important aspect in quality. Long back about 20-25 years ago, when ISO came with a standard for quality measurement, customers were not given much importance. It was more of a process oriented system. But now, if you want to achieve excellence then understanding the customer is a must. You can understand the customers by answering questions like ‘Is he coming back to you again?’, ‘Is he loyal to you?’, ‘Is he trying to see other options?’, ‘How vulnerable is your customer?’ In a rating of 1-5 if he gives you a rating of 1, then he is most vulnerable and he may shift any time, if he gets an option.

Quite often, the customer may not be satisfied and may not even be complaining, then you wouldn’t even know. So, you should be happy that your customers are complaining because it lets you improve and grow. Once you get your customer feedback, you have to improve upon the things that are lacking and give them what they want, so that they continue to be loyal. Customer is the fulcrum of the journey towards excellence; it is a summit where you must strive to reach.

Q. What are the learnings from RBNQA and how can it help us as students and budding managers?

Excellent organizations all over the world function during different times facing different challenges. What they do, what are their best practices, are all taken as criteria for the award. It’s not a prescriptive model but it is model which tells you what you are doing. It identifies the gaps, if any, and enables you to improve your quality in your own way, along with bringing in innovation and creativity.

As a student you will be able to understand how world class organizations function and as a business person you will be able to see and understand the best practices that other companies follow all over the world which you can try to emulate in your own organization.

Interview by:

Viresh Bhat (PGDM 2012 -14)

Malleswari Bhupathi (PGDM 2012 -14)

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Edited by:

Ashwin Govindankutty (MMS 2012 – 14)

MANAGING AND SAVING MONEY IN COLLEGE


College days are the most exciting times in a student’s life.  It is during this time that students learn new subjects and explore the career options available to them, in a safe, knowledge-based environment. However, at the same time, it is also important that college students also begin to form healthy financial habits in college. Too often, students that start off on the wrong foot make poor decisions later on, especially when it comes to their finances. College can be an expensive endeavour, even with scholarships and other kinds of financial aid. Everything from textbooks to food in Achija or Dosa Plaza to transportation and entertainment costs something. There’s no way around it, except following the old adage ‘Spend some & save some’.  But, saving money while in college may be a difficult thing to do!!

So, here are some ways in which students can save money in college and use their money in smart ways.  

  • Buy used textbooks :

You’re just going to sell them back at the end of the term. (Or end up wishing you had done so, five years from now.) You don’t need new textbooks.

  • Get Organized :

It might seem like a hassle, but saving receipts of everything you purchase — from small items such as a Dairy Milk or a CD, to big-ticket items like a new computer — is a ­great way to monitor your spending habits. Try it out for a month. When your thirty days are up, add up all of your expenses and see where your money went. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to cut back on unnecessary spending.

  • Be Creative With Your Leisure Time :

Everyone needs to unwind after studies, and the avenues are galore — movie theatres, cafes, shopping centres, etc. Enquire if any of these places offer student discounts. You can also think of alternative ways to have a good time. If you make the right choices and use a bit of creativity, you can have fun and save money at the same time. Plan a picnic in the park; make dinner for a date instead of going to a fancy restaurant; go for a bike ride around town; play Cricket or Football in Campus. All of these activities cost a fraction of the typical college experience and can be more fun.

  • Prioritize:
    It’s easy to think that too many things are necessities. Prioritize your “necessities” and cut out costs that turn out to be “wants” rather than “needs.”

Set a limit for everything you spend money on, from food to utilities to clothing to rent to transportation to entertainment. The natural inclination to stick to the budget, which will develop gradually, will go a long way in cutting down ‘unnecessary’ expenses.

You aren’t living on the same budget as all of your friends, so you don’t have to feel pressured to keep up with their lifestyle. It’s okay to turn down trips to Vegas or even an extra happy hour that week if you’ve reached your limit.

  • Avoid Credit Card Debt :

This isn’t so much about how to save money, but rather how not to spend money. If you are not responsible with money and aren’t in a position to pay off your monthly bill in full each month, then a credit card is not for you. Stick to cash until you adjust to your new budget. If you already have a credit card, remember that it is not free money. You need to pay that money to the credit card companies and they will charge you interest for each month you don’t. You don’t want to find yourself at 23, swimming in debt.

 Choose who you hang out with:

  • Don’t hang out with big spenders. Some kids have parents with deep pockets. Other kids are well down the road to financial trouble. Hanging out with them can lead you through the same path to doom.

 Finally….

  • Take advantage of College Facilities. There’s always something to do. If nothing, sit in the Library!! Get the most from your student ID!

 College is the time for students to show that they can function as responsible adults in society, and while many adults suffer from poor money management skills themselves, there is ample opportunity to set the bar higher. If nothing else, simply paying attention and understanding expenses will put a student ahead of the others in life. Following these tips will ensure that you not only have the best times of your life in college, but also that you leave college without the thousands of Rupees of debt, that you would possibly have earned otherwise!!

So…Save & Be Wise!!

By 

Amandeep Saluja

MMS 2012-14

Mumbai Dabbawalla- Efficiency without a degree


Monday mornings are the most dreaded ones for every working individual. In Mumbai, the business capital of India, millions of people hustle around without the usual Monday morning blues. What is most evident is the passion and fire to get the most sought after thing in the local train, which is ‘the window seat’. One giant leap and only a few lucky ones succeed in conquering the most coveted seat. But what about the fire in their bellies just about lunch time, who will put that off, especially, if they cannot do without the magic of their mother’s / wife’s fingertips? That is when the Dabbawalla of Mumbai, a 120-plus-year-old service enters the scene, a service that guarantees to deliver your home cooked food right to your place of work. It serves with an efficiency that remains unaffected even in the most extreme of Mumbai weathers.

The concept of the dabbawala originated when India was under the British rule. Many British officers who lived in India did not like the local food, so a service was set up to bring lunch to these people in their workplace, straight from their home. The man behind the vision was Hon. Mahadu Havaji Bache who started the Dabbawala system with a handful of 35 Dabbawalas in 1890. The organization has now transformed into 4,500 –plus dabbawalas who deliver 2,00,000 Dabbas, making close to 4,00,000 transactions every day.

The system the dabbawalas have developed over the years revolves around strong teamwork and strict time-management. At 9am every morning, home-made meals are picked up in special boxes, loaded onto trolleys and pushed to a railway station. They then make their way via local trains to an unloading station where Dabbas are sorted according to destination. The boxes are rearranged so that those going to similar destinations are indicated by a system of coloured lettering. The complete address of the destination is indicated on the dabba by means of simple coding language. The dabbas are further sorted based on the specific area and building. The dabbas are then delivered via cycles, hand carts or even on foot. The meals are delivered—99.9999% of the time, to the right address. An hour later the dabbawallas collect the empty dabbas, meet at the origin station and dispatch the empty boxes back to the residence.

The Dabbawalas at work

Dabbawalas became the first organisation in India and the second in the world to be awarded the coveted Six Sigma performance rating by Forbes magazine, the certificate which sadly lies in a cupboard of their possible office, simply eating dust.  The awards and accolades gathered by them is something that even the Tata’s can feel envious about. They have an ISO 9001: 2000 for excellence in services, certificate by “The Joint Accreditation System Of Australia And New Zealand”. They also have their name in the  coveted Guinness Book of World Records for the best time management and are also registered with Ripley’s Believe it or not. The icing on the cake is that the President of the Dabbawala Organization, Shri Raghunath Dondhiba Medge has been giving lectures at various business management schools, including the Harvard Business School and other colleges across the globe explaining the finer nuances of their business model and why it is so efficient and successful.

The Dabbawalas have an error rate of 1 dabba in every 6 million dabbas that is an accuracy rate of 99.99999%. In today’s technologically advanced time, the Dabbawalas are functioning with utmost accuracy in the absolute lack of technology. They have an excellent supply chain; though, they probably don’t even know what it means. Most of the people working with them are semi-literate but still they read the dabba code correctly and deliver it. Is their business model worth replicating in this digital age is the big question. Even if we replicate it, is it possible to sustain it with the efficiency in which they do? It is the question I leave you with to ponder upon!

By:

Ashwin Govindankutty

Batch 2012-14

 

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP


“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”   –   Peter Drucker

It felt like that day wouldn’t end. The sheer thought of another lecture put all my insides to sleep. I was mentally planning to cut off when I learnt that we would be discussing leadership as part of General Management! I thought to myself whether leadership truly existed in today’s scenario of corruption and other malpractices and growing public discontent. It was then that I decided to research on the same, only to be inspired to a whole new level.

Thought leadership is a term coined by Joel Kurtzman, for an entity or a person having innovative ideas and great insight supported by a strong vision. Rightly so, leadership is an siesocean made of the many drops of teamwork, excellent communication skills and most importantly sharing of one’s knowledge pool. A thought leader puts the dream of an organisation prior to his interests and eventually creates a sense of commitment, dedication and a sense of ownership in the team members who succeed in sharing a common goal.

Many business-to-business and industrial companies – including GE, Siemens, DuPont and PricewaterhouseCoopers are pioneers of thought leadership. GE has revolutionized the market with the idea of “Green Technology” by developing new ways to tap potential energy in the form of nuclear, gas, solar and wind power as part of their eco-imagination! Siemens is a brand that is a frontrunner in water treatment and purification technology. They have developed Facebook pages to create awareness among people as well.  DuPont, a leading chemical industry for colours has developed studios in New York for budding architects to create and design wonderful buildings using their colours. PWC hassies captured a large market share by developing technology that includes interviews, videos and insights from over 1,200 business leaders in 69 countries around the globe. That is truly brilliant! Consider this: Marie Hattar, vice president and CMO of Cisco provided some great innovative ideas for addressing the employees by creating an open platform for ideas exchange called simply “The platform-opinions and insights from Cisco” What a phenomenal thought leader!  Truly such examples of inspiring people are many.

However as students, words like leadership, vision and other such concepts seem far- fetched and highly improbable to implement. Yet, we inadvertently practice thought leadership as one of us takes the responsibility of the whole class as a CR or when some of us go out of our way to involve team members to strive for excellence in a presentation. Be it helping one another to study or taking initiative to think differently for the betterment of the college, there is a leader in each of us. All that is needed is to realize our untapped potential!

Each of us has something unique in us. If we can strive for excellence and succeed to the pinnacle through innovation and thinking “out of the box” then, the time is not far when articles on us are published.

SIESBy:

Neha Vinayak Joshi

PGDM (2012-14)

Evolving Trends in Marketing


Times have changed, so have the customers. Innovation is necessary; product placement has become vital; market is cluttered, consumer has power and choice and competition is cut throat!! Amidst this scenario lies the debate on traditional v/s non-siestraditional marketing techniques. Today, marketers are torn in between these two ideologies. While you have a well established, successful and proven method of traditional marketing on the one hand, you have the glimmering and promising yet unsure way of the so-called modern marketing, on the other.

As we approach the end of 2012, let’s have a look at some of the breakthrough trends and strategies that appeared this year. The year kick started with the thunderous response to ‘Why this Kolaveri Di?’ The song was officially released at the end of 2011 and instantly became viral on social networking sites for its quirky Tanglish lyrics which the youth could relate to. Apart from it, the viral marketing technique of uploading the song on the most popular website and targeting the right audience was what made it a rage among the public – A perfect execution of the ‘Strategizing-Targeting-Positioning’ principle. Many companies like Nike are joining the digital race, too. Their recent blockbluster video on Youtube is a proof of that.

 Social websites viz. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. are no longer just youngsters’ domain. Most businesses which are big brands today have opted for these to garner more loyalty and increase penetration. Marketers have started to realize the importance of social sieschannels. Gone are the days of living with a static website, if you want to be a ‘brand’. Interactive websites provide a platform for the customers to share their stories, grievances, and happy moments associated with the product which develops a bond between the consumer and the brand.

Many advertisements from the top brands are uploaded on their social pages, rather than spending huge amount on printing them on a regular basis in magazines and newspapers. Even the print advertisements have some twist integrated in them to make it attractive. A recent example is the two-page advertisement for the Polo and Vento in the Times of India, the first page is bare but for the headline “Feel the shiver of excitement?” go to the second page and the light sensitive box starts vibrating.

Earlier products were made and sold to the customers. Now, customers decide on the type and innovations they require and such a product is introduced in the market. Hence targeting the specific audience is essential which is very much possible through digital advertising, social sites, mobile marketing, geo – targeting.

Despite the fact that the traditional media are getting replaced by new upcoming online marketing trends, businesses still see benefits of traditional marketing. The surprise package here is, Television. Although a traditional medium, television continues to enjoy a lion’s share of revenues in the media industry. Many attribute the growth of non-traditional media to the economic slowdown. Every marketer wants to tighten the budget and still ensure higher returns.

So, should a business follow the online race? The answer is Yes! You simply cannot turn a blind eye towards the modern way of marketing, because your reticence now could be someone’s opportunity. In the age of evolving digitization and online marketing, remember that you are a part of the clutter unless you are interactive and innovative!!

siesBy:

Nitu Nair

MMS (2012-14)

Jugaad – A way of life..!


DISCLAIMER:

I do not intend to write a white paper on ‘what is meant by JUGAAD?’.  By now, every human cell in India is definitely aware of the term. If not, please start living in 2012. Awaken yourself and have a look at your surroundings, you’ll find jugaad in plenty. This article has been written solely for the purpose of creating confusion and is purely intentional.

Now, coming to the topic, JUGAAD!

Does jugaad mean creativity? Well, it probably could, since it is the art of doing things differently and making something out of limited resources. These resources can be time, money, people, space etc. Also one more very desi alternative to the term jugaadis ‘setting’. So much has been said and witnessed about this term, that management gurus have given it a second name, ‘Innovation’. But, many would also argue that this kind of innovation often provides only a short term solution to a problem. This solution bends all the rules and regulations and often, even the laws, which renders it inefficient towards a long term fix.

A result of Jugaad..!

Juggad is a blessing in disguise, which helps us save our skin, when the Almighty fails to answer the prayers of his people, the Janta. Think about this, when the content in our presentation is not up to the mark, we choose to add some attention grabbing videos. This by itself is a kind of Jugaad. Or how about this, many a times, we use jugaad to clear our exams. We divide the syllabus among our friends, each one reads a particular section and explains it to the rest of the group. I still don’t understand how, but mostly, we do fair decently. Jugaad rocks!  One more way of seeing this technique may be called as ‘delegation of work’. It happens in organizations as well. Since independence, India has thrived on Jugaad. Many organizations, no matter how big or small have survived and are growing owing to this one principle.

Many corporates and multinational companies, also, ultimately resort to collaborate in the Jugaadu way with the personnel in power i.e. the Government, to get their work done. Consider the various scams that have happened in the recent past. All these were also a jugaad in some form or the other, involving various ministries. Since, these ministries were part of the government they are not expected to get involved in Jugaad. In such cases, the jugaad failed terribly.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jugaad is practised by almost all Indians, in order to make the most of what they have. It is implemented in varied situations, by finding new uses of the existing daily-use objects. Just to quote an instance, every Indian kitchen will definitely have two to three Horlicks or Bournvita glass jars filled with spices like mustard seeds, salt, chilli powder etc. Even my kitchen has a Cadbury Celebrations chocolate jar, which currently stores incense sticks comfortably. Thanks to the length of the jar!

So SIESCOMITES, as I said before, Jugaad is an inevitable term in every Indian’s life. But, it is up to us to draw a line and decide the extent to which we would depend on it. Going overboard with Jugaad could prove to be dangerous, as we tend to think that everything in life can be achieved through it. But the harsh fact is that, not everything in life has a shortcut that could be called Jugaad!

By:

Shrawanthi Amruthwar

PGDM (2012-14)

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