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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)


Edited by:

Ashwin Govindankutty (MMS 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!!


Nitu Nair

MMS (2012-14)

Jugaad – A way of life..!


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!


Shrawanthi Amruthwar

PGDM (2012-14)

Home away from Home : SIESCOMS

After completing my Engineering, one fine day I decided to introspect a little bit. Typical to all self-analysis, it was far from pleasant. To say the least, I was lazy, casual and highly indifferent. Though, I wasn’t unhappy, I realised that I lacked a clear sense of focus.

And just when I was wondering about how to straighten things up little by little; like a sermon from God, things changed drastically. On 22nd August 2012, at 2:45 pm, I received the news about successfully getting through one of the best business schools in the city – SIESCOMS! My joy knew no bounds. In a day, I was transformed from a ‘no good’ to an ‘MBA student’!!

After the initial euphoria of this phenomenal make-over died down, the facts dawned on me. I began to realise that I had to cover a huge back log of a month’s studies since I was a late entrant. As I nervously kept contemplating on my decision of joining the course for the first few days at college, I was pleasantly surprised when two of my batch mates from graduation landed up in my division!! I was ecstatic. We were soon able to make up for the loss, thanks to the entire class, which helped us newcomers get into the groove of the process, in a manner that was nothing short of lively and enthusiastic.

Juggling time between the gym, college and myself, I was finally getting into the flow. And that is when our professors bombarded us with a series of projects, assignments and presentations. For a girl with multitudes of sloth, 24 hours seemed to fly by in a jiffy. According to me, presentations are highly over rated and having public speaking phobia just makes matters worse. Look at me now and you’ll find me confidently expressing my view points through these very presentations which I once abhorred. Memories like these instantly fill me with pride because they are an indication that I am changing for the better.

Spending roughly 8 to 9 hours every day rightly makes me call my college, my second home. A home away from home protecting, teaching and nurturing just like every home does. Unconditional love and support from every soul of my second home helps me brave these long hectic hours. Besides that, every day teaches me something new about myself. Working with friends and colleagues, I have come to realise the importance of team work, leadership and sharing. The infrastructure, facilities, professors and the overall ambience make me realise how truly blessed I am.

Truly, it’s been a wonderful time so far and I am proud to call myself a SIESCOMITE!! Hopefully, I will prove myself worthy of this institution which rightly is, my second home!!

By: Neha Vinayak Joshi (PGDM 2012-14)

Sourced by: Ruchika Shrivastava ( PGDM 2012-14)

From IBM to Linux Classes

Jagjit Phull, a computer engineer by education and an entrepreneur by profession tells us what it takes to break the regular mould and go on the path less travelled.

When you are a computer engineer with a job at an illustrious multinational company, you’d be considered crazy if you even mention the idea of starting from scratch. But this is exactly what successful entrepreneurs like Jagjit Phull do. A graduate from Bharathi Vidyapeeth (1992-1996), Mr. Phull worked with D-link (Manufacturing electronic goods) for two years.  That was topped by General Electronics (GE) where he learned about the six sigma concept.  His next job at IBM, according to him, was by far one of the best learning grounds any engineer could ask for.

So what made him switch to his personal project of Linux Classes? He says, “It was the lack of a challenge”. Both technical as well as financial growth should go hand in hand for complete job satisfaction, but that did not happen. “There came a point when there was financial growth but technically it was not challenging enough and I was not enjoying it”, he recalls. The appraisals for the IT sector were no talking point either. One can soon get complacent and in no time, growth stops and you get the pink slip. “One should keep jumping, and continually find new stimulus.  So, I decided to jump to what I liked most – ‘LINUX’.

Every challenge comes with its fair share of difficulties but Mr. Phull seemed confident in his ability to weather any storm. The project started with only a small group of students and  involved training them in labs. Being a computer engineer he would connect the routers and switches himself. Marketing and advertising costs were curtailed as he did not believe in wasting resources. “We don’t even pass pamphlets, so we save trees too”, he adds jokingly. Clearly the only thing the project relies on is the robust word of mouth publicity they enjoy.

Although he was lucky enough to float by easily, Mr. Phull is unhappy with the lack of openness of our education system today. “Our current education system doesn’t encourage entrepreneurship. Parents only care about grades and what the society thinks. Students today lack emotional and spiritual intellect”. Mr. Phull believes there are four pillars of education: intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional. He staunchly advocates that today’s generation should go back to the gurukul way of learning rather than blindly emulating the Harvard way.

Finally, he ends with a Sanskrit shlok ‘sa vidya yeh ya vimukta’ which means ‘education liberates’.  “LINUX made a difference to my life and I want to give back to society and contribute to making India better.” I wish more and more truly educated students develop the courage of building their own stepping stones towards entrepreneurial success.

Interview by: Malleswari Bhupathi (PGDM 2012-14)

Edited by: Manjiri Durge (PGDM 2012-14)

How to start reading a Business Newspaper – PART II


So, here you are again! Congratulations!! Because the fact that you are back to read this proves that you are REALLY interested in inculcating this essential habit. We hope you have already started implementing the tips that we suggested in the previous article, if not, please do yourself a favour and start ASAP!

Once you start following news regularly on TV / the internet or magazines, the task of reading a business newspaper seems not-so-petrifying! Well, the petrifying part of business newspapers is in their ‘language’. English, it is! But if you are reading a Business newspaper for the first time you’ll realise how English can feel like German!! So, in this case, reading isn’t a big deal, ‘understanding’ it is the challenge that faces a newbie reader.

Note: Again, I’m assuming that you are a newbie reader and that you are not / have not been an avid newspaper reader!

To start with, there are quite a few renowned Business papers in the market – The Mint, Business Standard / BS, Economic Times / ET and Financial Express (in increasing order of complexity/difficulty, personal opinion!). All of them provide the same news, but each with a different treatment. ET is most recommended in B-schools, while BS is also a good business daily.  But the fact is whichever newspaper you choose to stick to; each of them is simply an overdose of information. So, it is wise to not start reading a newspaper with the aim that you will finish reading all of it! Trust us, no one does!!

What to read?

The newspaper is wisely divided into sections to cater to the interests of a diverse variety of people. So most people only read sections / headlines / news that interest them. And that is what you can do too! The first page of any Business daily, gives you the top stories and several headlines that are continued in the subsequent pages. Reading the first page gives you an idea about what may / may not interest you in almost the entire newspaper. Also, most articles feature an ‘in-set box’ that gives a gist of the situation / news. That could also help you gauge whether you want to read further or not. However, as a Business student there will be certain sections like the Editorials, Finance & Economics in which you might have to ‘generate’ interest! So start with areas that interest you and slowly, but steadily, move to these ‘heavy’ sections! Especially for those intending to specialise in Finance, once you start getting a hang of the Business daily (and possibly fall in love with it), try developing a taste towards a particular sector and analyse the industries in it. Start with a small one and slowly move to bigger industries. This is a little far-fetched, but surely you could take help from your Professors or your ever-helpful seniors!

When to read?

You could read whenever and wherever it suits you. People read them while travelling in trains and buses, while having breakfast, during the break in college. …You could decide on whatever suits you best! Just make sure you do allocate time for it!

Don’t just READ!!

Well, let’s consider, it’s your first encounter with a business daily and you start reading the top story on the first page. It reads, “IIP shocker dims hope of recovery”. Hmmm….IIP!! Now, this is where no matter how many business magazines you’ve read, no matter how many top stories you’ve followed, nothing will come to your rescue, ‘coz this is hard core economics! And most often, business dailies are teeming with Finance and Economics terms. So, what do you do? There are two ways to deal with this:

One, you read through the entire article and chances are that you will understand what the term means by the end of it.

Two, you fail to understand what it means and so, you Google it to find out. But, this isn’t feasible for each & every article and for every term that you come across. So, most people let the term linger in their minds till they come across the same term in a book/ in a lecture/ or may be in an article the next day or they ask a friend to get better clarity on it.

But, we’d suggest that, every day make it a point to Google / read up on at least one difficult term that you come across. Maintain a book / a Word document of such terms and their definitions. This would mean some value-addition every day. For a newbie, reading a newspaper is on such high-priority that she can be greatly satisfied with herself if she spends 2 hours ‘reading’ the newspaper. But then, did you gain anything out of it? That is the question.

Read & Reflect

Edmund Burke says, “To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” You gain nothing out of either of the exercises. So, even if you read just two articles of the newspaper in the one-hour that you’ve allocated for newspaper reading, make sure you KNOW what you read! After reading every article, take a few minutes and explain to yourself what you read. This will give you a better understanding of what you read and will also help some questions surface. Let those questions linger, if you don’t have the time to sort them out. Sooner or later the answers will surface, too. But, take 2 minutes and do reflect on the Who, What, Why and How of every article you read, that should be your take-away.

Discuss & Share

Whenever you are with a friend or a group of friends and you are short of things to talk about, the day’s headlines can be good starter. I know, you must be thinking that you’ll rather strike a discussion about the latest movie than talk about IIP or Maruti’s Manesar issue. Well, the choice is yours. It’s just a suggestion!  Sharing & discussing news with friends is a good way to learn & understand things better. It helps you form opinions on issues and helps you understand other points of view that your friends may bring up. So, Movie or Maruti…you choose!

So, here we are at the end of our wits, having poured out all possible tips that we’ve learnt over a year of trying to learn to read Business newspapers. What we have tried to do is make you aware of all the possible issues that you will face and how you could tackle them. But remember, reading this article does not empower you with supernatural abilities to master the art of reading and understanding business dailies. You will have to sweat and diligently devote time and efforts to this task. Trust us, the long term benefits that you’ll reap are worth the pain!

So…..Go ahead! And enjoy the journey!! We really hope this helps!!

Sharon Mary John

With Valuable Inputs by:

Rohan Pinto, Sneha Shenoy, Preeti Singh, Ankit Shah, Riddhima Sharma, Ashwin Balakrishnan, Sindhu Sundaresh

How to start reading a Business Newspaper?

After joining an MBA course, I’m sure you haven’t found a single professor who has failed to tell you, “You must read ET…daily!!” Well, though ET stands for Economic Times, the language of the newspaper seems so Extra-terrestrial (ET) that I thought I would never come to terms with it. The dull shade of the newspaper, or any other business paper for that matter, would make me feel dizzy. And to add to it, if you hail from a Science background, like I do, it is most likely that inculcating the habit of reading a business newspaper daily will be a nightmarish experience!

Throughout my academic years, I’ve never taken the efforts to even read the Times of India, there was never a need, I felt. Bombay Times and once in a while, Mumbai Mirror if it’s a lucky day and that would be my daily dose of news. So, you can imagine the mental agony I must have experienced in order to start reading a ‘Business paper’, which I am sure many of you are going through right now. This article is the result of a year-long struggle with newspapers. Many ideas and tips that you will find further ahead are not my sole intellectual property but are inputs by very good friends of mine who are avid newspaper readers! And therefore, at several places throughout the article ‘I’ will be ‘WE’, because this is a collective effort.

So, here you go. I hope you’ll find this helpful.

P.S.: I’m taking the liberty of assuming that you, who are reading this article are not / have not been ardent newspaper readers.


So, to begin with, why should you be reading a Business newspaper?

Reason#1: Because professors force you to.

Reason#2: Because it helps in Group Discussions & Personal interviews.

Reason#3: Because you really want to know what’s happening in the world around you. You are really interested in ‘being aware’.

Though the first two reasons are true, trust us, you will never successfully achieve this goal of starting and sticking to daily newspaper-reading if these are your primary reasons. Reading a newspaper needs patience and enthusiasm; it can’t and shouldn’t be done because you are told to!! So, the first step must be to generate interest within yourself. And the best way forward is to start by reading business magazines. There are a bunch of them like Business World (weekly), Business Today (fortnightly), etc. which will give you ‘complete’ stories, viewpoints and analyses unlike newspapers which often only ‘report’ daily happenings. For me, not knowing the background of a particular incident/news was always a deterrent to reading newspapers, and then I would become as disinterested and demotivated as always. So, reading business magazines will help you assimilate a few stories and will create that interest, zest and curiosity within you to find out more. We’d suggest you dedicate the next 15days (minimum) – one hour daily – reading business magazines and generating interest.

 To ensure that at the end of these 15 days you acclimatize yourself to news & current happenings, we’d recommend a 360˚ approach. And that is, use the TV and the Internet as an aid to your efforts. India Business hour @ 9pm on CNBC TV18 gives you the top headlines and news of the day, NDTV 24×7 has discussions on key issues @ 9 and 10pm. With no additional efforts, all you need to do is switch on the TV and hear as you have dinner. Of course, there are umpteen news channels and programmes that could suit your interests and timings, we leave it up to you to explore further. This is a slightly less strenuous way of obtaining the day’s news and catching up on top stories, and one of the best sources for starters. Also, as an MBA student you will be spending 90% of your time on the PC / on your laptop. An innovative approach is to make Google News or any other News website your home page! Each time you use your web browser, you’ll be updated with the latest news and happenings. Isn’t that easy and cool!

So, starting today implement this 360˚ approach and tell us if you see the difference.

A word of caution: This will work only if you diligently dedicate time to this endeavor  EVERYDAY. We understand assignments, presentations and lectures eat up most of your time, but make it a point to set your priorities right. Lectures and presentations will come & go, you might gain something out of them, but investing time in inculcating the habit of reading will reap benefits for a lifetime.

Make a definite plan and put it into action right away.

Once you’ve done this, you are ready to dive into a business newspaper……….

 ……..To be continued in Part 2.

Sharon Mary John

With Valuable inputs by:

Rohan Pinto, Sneha Shenoy, Ankit Shah, Preeti Singh, Riddhima Sharma, Sindhu Sundaresh, Ashwin Balakrishnan.

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