IIM Trichy Conquers at Confluence, IIM Ahmedabad

Confluence, IIM-Ahmedabad’s International Business Summit, was held during Nov 29-Dec 1 this year.  The summit, themed “Traversing Turbulent Times – Obstacles to Opportunity”, is the largest of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region. One of the popular Finance events, ‘M&A Frenzy’, involved the valuation of firms on the verge of potential acquisition. The event was carried out in three stages and registered the participation of 383 teams from 278 B-schools globally.

Round 1 was an online quiz The Top-42 teams were shortlisted for Round 2. This also marked the beginning of Team tRichyRich’s (Prajwal, Pratik and Sumit ) hard-fought journey to victory. In December 2013, Team tRichyRich from IIM Trichy emerged winners in ‘M&A Frenzy’ at IIM A, ahead of IIM A (First Runner-up) and ISB Hyderabad (Second Runner-up).

(L-R, Sumit Panjwani, Pratik Gupta and Prajwal N at IIM A)

“Of course, we were really excited after being shortlisted but we knew that the next rounds were going to be quite challenging”, says Pratik Gupta of Team tRichyRich. Pratik , a graduate of BITS Pilani (Goa) joined IIM Trichy hoping to delve deeper into the disciplines of Operations and Finance. After a month into campus, Pratik formed a study group with Prajwal and Sumit to work around case studies and assignments. So here were 3 students who shared common interests, modestly aiming to negotiate a term. But what motivated competitive spirit? “After completing the first term, we felt that we should get a better picture of how we matched up in comparison with other fellow grads from different MBA schools in India”, chips in Prajwal Nagaraj, a district-level cricketer. Following Round 2 which involved the presentation of a buyers’ pitch in the event, 6 teams were sieved out.

 Apart from tRichyRich, the shortlist included teams from IIM A, ISB Hyd, IIFT Delhi, IIM Indore and UPES Dehradun. The final hurdle to victory was thus intensified with tough completion from top-notch teams and highly competent participants. “Presentations are always difficult. We knew we’d face tough questions but we were confident with our preparation”, says Sumit Panjwani the numbers-addict of the team.  After the presentations and panel questionnaire ended, the verdict was declared.

 And the verdict is a writing on the wall. We at IIM Trichy believe in our people-our students and our faculty. After all it is people who form the bulwark of great institutes. IIM Trichy is a mélange of backgrounds, skills and talents. Be it IITs, BITS or NITs, engineers or literature graduates, ace-sportsmen or stage performers, IIM Trichy is proud home to them all. Our students are consistently striving for excellence and our faculty is thoroughly guiding them on their way. Our placements and our achievements are merely testament to the training received in class from our professors. Gyanam Anantam!

So long… and thanks for all the magical moments!

Iconic founder, visionary and CEO of Apple Inc. recently resigned. The tech world, despite my oft-voiced opinions against Apple, is better off, thanks to Steve. He will be sorely missed, and so will his spectacular keynotes.

Fans (Phani, in particular) can hark back to his innumerable contributions here – Steve Jobs’ Apple: a timeline

In his honor, we have set our blog’s theme to emulate Steve’s aesthetics. Hope you all like it.

Shishir Bhat

Google+ or Facebook+ ?

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Google+, other than something that makes a mess of punctuation, is the latest social offering by the mighty Google after the failure of Buzz (AKA The Twitter-Killer) and Wave (nobody knows what this was). This has been touted as the next big thing, a Facebook-killer, and as with anything to do with Google, comes with a lot of hype and hoopla. Here’s a look at what it is and what it’s not and perhaps what it aims to be.

We all understand how difficult it is to wean a generation off from Facebook and on to a new offering unless there is some serious differentiation involved. So, Google has its task cut out and how does it fare? Let’s check out some of it’s well-advertised features –

1) Circles: Nothing more than a circular version of Facebook’s “Lists” feature. Now before I am violently accosted by raving Google fan-atics, I understand that “Circles” are useful in segregating your “friends” in mutually isolated containers so that you can force-feed your latest updates.

While interesting in concept, it’s not that well-implemented. Basically, when you write a post, you have to select the circles you have to share it with – by typing out their names (of course with Google+’s assistance – see what I mean, when I said it messes up punctuation?) or from a drop-down list –

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Of course, one can envisage the problems with such an arrangement. Imagine you have too many circles – which is bound to happen. I have circles for Acquaintances, School Friends, College Friends (3 different ones), Work friends, etc. Each time having to choose is a nuisance, especially if operating from a mobile device!

The Circles page itself is cumbersome to navigate –

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As you can see, it’s a mess. Facebook just needs to add it’s “Lists” option to posts and it’s as good or better than Google’s version.

2) Hangouts: While admittedly a nice concept, I am yet to try this one out. You can do video-chats with up to 10 persons and I find this unwieldy enough in real life, so I cannot understand the viability of this feature. Still, a very handy feature and well-implemented.

3) Sparks: It’s just Twitter trending under a different name.

One wonders if these features are enough to convert a sizeable portion of the 750 million+ patrons of Facebook. It is clear to see that these features are an evolution of existing Facebook features and whether a mere cosmetic change in these features is sufficient, is up for debate.

Of course there is the curious nature of the name “Google+”. Google sees it as an extension and unification of all its services – Docs, YouTube, Mail, Reader, etc – most of which are beta-grade stuff, which is often a pale imitation of stuff that already exists – http://www.timacheson.com/blog/2011/feb/imitations_of_popular_tech_products or services which are not recommended for professional use (as Google themselves advise – http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/07/google-recommends-that-businesses-hold-back-for-now-says-curre/). This presents a unique predicament for the end user in terms of the current trend of companies trying to lock the user in their ecosystem, but that discussion is for another day.

The lack of features and the general pre-launch feel of the service may be dealt with during the actual launch, but so much depends on the success of Google+ that it may make or break Google. Even their only truly successful product – the search engine, stopped innovating (and started borrowing from Bing) a long time ago. New paradigms of Social search, as demonstrated in Bing seem to have woken up Google to the far-reaching importance of social networks and clearly Google+ is an attempt to play catch up to that. But, saying you “+1’d” something doesn’t roll off your tongue the same way as saying you “liked” something. This might also prove detrimental to Google+’s cause.

As it stands, Google+ is worthy social network for a new user (a rare specimen indeed), but it presents little value to existing Facebook users who will also get the benefits of association with Skype, Microsoft and integration into a budding mobile ecosystem – The Windows Phone. From the end-user point of view, one can only hope for success of both Google+ and Facebook networks because monopoly of any sort cannot be a good thing. But, I hope Google can offer more than just “Facebook+” as our only alternative to the ubiquitous Facebook.

— Shishir Bhat

Value Proposition of IIM Tiruchirappalli – A Perspective

Creating a value proposition is a part of our long-term strategy. According to Kaplan and Norton – “Strategy is based on a differentiated customer value proposition. Satisfying customers is the source of sustainable value creation.” (emphasis by me). The key words here are “differentiated” and “sustainable”. The brand IIM Trichy must not only be differentiated, but also sustainable. By “sustainable” we mean enduring, something that grabs the attention in the short term and leaves a lasting mark.

Creating a value proposition is also based on review and analysis of benefits, costs and values an organization can deliver to its customers and prospective customers. It is the latter we are interested in most, simply because all our “customers” are prospective. Understandably, “We are the first batch” has become an overused rhetoric by now, but it doesn’t negate the fact that we do have to face those challenges and persuade our prospective customers to indulge us and invest in us. How do we do this? How do we create an impressive value proposition?

“Value Proposition” involves two terms – “Value”, which means a quantity or quality which only we can uniquely provide and “proposition” which means an offer. Combined together, I hope we can come up with an “offer you can’t refuse” (I know, I know!). In simple terms, the companies – our prospective customers will look for something unique, that only we can add to their organizations.

Now to the actual value proposition itself. I, with my meagre understanding of this concept, believe that the statement should be simplicity itself, should have a certain phonetic quality that makes it retentive and lastly should be something classy. Our value proposition should hinge upon the following qualities:

Enthusiasm: This is the most unique differentiating factor of IIM Trichy. We have that zest, the spirit that few institutes have. While they enjoy the comforts of established practices, we revel in the glorious uncertainties, armed with only our enthusiasm.

Erudition: The most sacred purpose of this institute is to mould us into veritable sources of knowledge. Our every endeavour will hinge upon this quest for knowledge and hence erudition, not just any, but one that contributes to the societal well-being should be unique to us.

Excellence: Finally, excellence. This has been stressed upon us since the very beginning by our mentors and well-wishers, and with good reason! Even Sachin Tendulkar – the best there is, in his field, says – “getting better never stops”. Surely, having started out just now, we should strive to take up the long and arduous road to excellence?

When combined together, these three powerful concepts arm us with a belief and image we can attract our prospective customers with. And the realisation of these concepts will hold them in our sway and build lasting synergistic relationships, which will make the brand IIM Trichy unique and powerful.

–Shishir Bhat

Disclaimer: Clearly, the value proposition presented here is limited by my understanding and ability. This needs to be improved and built upon.

Source: Wikipedia

I Hate You… Like I Love You

Well this is not at all about the comic item song of Amir Khan from his latest movie but it is just that I have “innocently” borrowed the catchy title out of habit. It is early morning, six in fact, on a lazy Sunday morning while I am writing this and I am purposely mentioning the time as I am not up because of my early rising habits but I am woken up by the alarm of usual power cuts in morning.

Two days back when the election process for one committee was going on, one candidate “disclosed” his “discovery” that Trichy sucks. I want to elaborate more on this discovery. Yes there are few factors which will primarily be the basis of this finding but I think they all are external “macro level” conditions which we will have to handle with till we are here in NIT campus. But as I have already spent “comfortably” two weeks in IIM Trichy system, my trait of optimism makes me to take it in a positive manner. One of the biggest advantages of being in this temporary campus is that we have nothing to do… except study. One of the other advantages is that this campus is so huge that some of my friends here thought of starting a commute agency in the campus, but the positive point here is that these long walks enable us to have lengthy “fruitful” discussions with our friends.

But most importantly I love this place because IIM Trichy is housed here. A small group of energetic, enthusiastic, bunch of people, full of dreams are trying to shape the future of this institute which is in its infancy. Right from Director to faculty to admin staff to students everybody is very busy in carrying out duties at the same time enjoying this process. It is similar to parents looking after their baby, showering their love, planning for baby’s future and carefully shaping up a responsible citizen for the society. I feel proud to be part of this experience.

— Vikram Budania

Election, selection and everything in between

This is final week of June and we are about a fortnight old in this new setup we call IIM Trichy. Life hasn’t picked up pace yet and for most people it is running as smoothly as ever, though we anticipate a spurt of activity in coming weeks as we move into July.

Being in a new setup is always an experience of its kind. Policies are to be formulated, loopholes are to be plugged, and whatever remains unplugged again has to be plugged in. Things have to be started and kept running. There are issues in plenty. One of the major issues that has been the campus buzz lately pertains to the election/selection of the most important student body (unarguably)  ”Placecom”. We, being the first batch have got all the say in how should it be forged.  And… when I say “all the say” I do mean it. And what happens is a chaos. All the people making rightful use of this franchise coming up with all sorts of ideas. Most of them are rational thoughts with sound logic, difficult to be refuted. But too much of mulling over results in commotion and the primacy of the objective that we set out with is lost. There isn’t a “single truth” or “single solution” to most problems in real life. And at times a group needs a leadership, a decision, a policy more than an agreement to achieve the objective. Perhaps this is the learning that we take from this exercise.

The leadership did step in and now we are on right course, and surprisingly I haven’t come across any talks of dissent once the decision was taken by the administration. This is when there were dozen ways of going about the procedure under consideration a short while ago.

As rightly recounted by one of the profs in class “Even best of the managers are right just 60% of the times” – Kotler

Period.

— Vaibhav Tewari

P.S. This post is intended to be a diary entry of life in IIM Trichy, meant for posterity.

Belief – The magic sauce behind all success

Belief – It is the strangest of all the capabilities a human being is bestowed with. It is often the source of greatest strength yet can render one cripplingly helpless if misplaced. It is not something that can be called upon at will; it is fleeting, like the apparitions in front of your eyes – lost when you focus on it. Now that we’ve unambiguously established the nature of this ambiguous quality, let’s delve further into how it can be an immeasurable source of strength to us.

Why should a topic which should be relegated to the back pages of poorly written self-help books be of any interest to us, you say? But you would be wrong, for it is belief that led us here, led us to choose IIM Tiruchirappalli over other well-established institutes. It is belief that we can succeed despite the odds being stacked against us that drives us so. Such is its magical nature that a strong belief in success inevitably leads to success. Circuitous logic you say? History is teeming with examples of success inspired by such resolve:

Half-time score: Liverpool 0 -3 AC Milan. Occasion: Champions League Final, Istanbul, 2005. Surely it is game over? How often has a team recovered from such a deficit and gone on to lift the trophy? But that was precisely what happened. When the chips were down, it was the belief armed with tenacity that saw Liverpool through and the achievement left its mark in the history books forever.

The year is 1997 – 12 years after he was unceremoniously sacked for refusing to compromise on his philosophy and beliefs, the iconic Steve Jobs returns to his position as the CEO of a floundering company. His first action was to reinvent Apple according to his beliefs and fortify them under his banner. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Belief is the hallmark of all successes – The indomitable Rafael Nadal, Team India at World Cup, or our soldiers at the battlefront. Belief, like laughter (and slumber) is infectious. This is why it is of utmost importance that we infect ourselves with a strong dosage of  belief – in ourselves and our vision. This is what will carry us through the next two years of uncertainty and the challenges that are bound to crop up for a fledgling institute like ours.

The way I see it, we are in a game where we are betting on ourselves to succeed and belief in ourselves might just be the magic sauce that will ensure that we do!

Shishir Bhat