Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Xams, Xmas and a bit more...

It's been almost 2 weeks since I've penned something online. Is that right? "Penned"?? I guess I should say "typed", but who cares... :)

As you must have felt, I have been busy. I guess I took this term a bit lightly, messed up a few grades and now I'm slogging at the end trying to make amends. But I've learnt my lessons. I just hope I can get through this storm. 4 exams over in the first 2-day phase. 5 more at the turn of the year. Sadly, they end on 31st and I'll have to spend New Years eve in the train back home.

But that's not the only thing which has kept me busy. I've shouldered a new responsibility out here. I got elected as the Secretary for the Media & Public Relations Committee. (a part of SWAC, I mean SAC... I'll tell you about that later) You can say, I've helped myself become a bit more busier. But I guess it's fine. Always been passionate to work for this committee, and though it seems like a daunting task, I hope to do my duties well. One thing about being the head of anything is that, You very easily become the target of so-called "Critics". And these days there are many. You're scrutinized by every individual; One wrong move and Wham, they'll hit you right where it hurts. One thing I'm glad about.... I have a great team - 3 individuals (Srinath, Raj and Srihari) who have a very level-headed approach to everything and I hope we all complement each other in the days to come. Here's to you guys - Cheers!

This time round, the elections (yes even IIMs have elections) were a very new experience. People (including myself) campaigning for votes, making new contacts and even friends at times. Manifestos being presented, Questions being raised, Controversies and Rumors brewing. Some of it was truly painful and shocking, but all in all I guess I had my share of fun. I learnt how childish as well as how mature individuals can be. It all got over pretty fast. I'm gonna miss those days, and those posts on the News Groups.

Politics and Exams apart, it's been a dull last month of the year. The 2nd term just seems to be dragging itself for too long. It's become like one of those Saas-Bahu serials. I'm just dying to get back home to Udaipur and enjoy the Winter (Man, it feels so gud to cuddle up in bed and sleep all day long) :). I have to get attached to some NGO also during the same period. IIMs don't leave you free very easily :) Projects, assignments, Field Visits, Surveys... You name it, They've got it! I guess we all asked for it when we entered this humble abode. But I'm sure it's better than working for some IT company 15 hrs. a day. I can wait for another 15-16 months.

X-mas!! It's the season to be jolly. I guess we all are a bit jolly right now because of the 5 day gap between the two exam phases. Not too sure about Sections A & B; poor fellas have 4 classes every day, thats about 6-7 hrs of rigorous boredom. Sorry for you guys...
December kinda reminds me of the US. I miss the snow, the decorated streets and malls, the Christmas tree at home, those gr8 gifts :). I miss those days when school would suddenly be called off, the snow-man and the snow-fights! They're all a distant memory now :(

I watched a movie yesterday, "One-hour photo" where the protagonist speaks about the magic behind photos; about how families capture time in the blink of an eye, or should i say "shutter". Even I have so many pics from those gr8 old days, when ignorance was a bliss, when blunders were called cute by people, when you could get low grades and not even care. Were those days gr8 or what??! Wish I had a time-machine.. :)

Anyways, I gotta get back to work. Still 5 exams to go, and some work for MediaCom. See ya all soon. Hope I get some time b4 I go off home, to write some more... Adios.

Monday, December 8, 2008

IPL @ IIM Indore (Manoranjan Ka Baap)

So what if the Champions League (20/20) got cancelled; we at Planet I designed our very own IPL. The concept was new but the excitement for cricket was just the same. A combined event by our Marketing Club (Mercur-i) and Sports Committee, IPL was a bucket full of energy.

Rules of the Game:
Oh, don't worry, I wont list down loads of bullet points here like an ICC Rule Book. Let me just get you acquainted with the event. 12 Teams of 10 members each (6 for the cricket team + 4 for the Marketing) were formed and divided into 4 groups. If you think the teams were too small, think again! A ground the size of a tennis court and just 6 overs to slog. You've got a thrilling watch for your eyes.

The rules kinda reminded me of cricket at home during my childhood. I'm sure many of you have had innovative rules of your own. Ball hits the boundary wall, Superb Six! If it goes over the wall directly, You're back to the pavilion. :-) Last man allowed to play alone, and you can run him out at both ends. Remember such memories of childhood?
Our version of IPL had some such rules. I guess that's what made the game more interesting. We even picked up the idea of Power Play. A free over of smashing where you can only be run-out or skied out ( that's when u hit the ball over the hostel's 2nd floor).

Round 1 was intra-group, where each team played 4 matches. The best team from each, went on to the semifinals. The final 4 were Eagles, Ab tak Chhappan, Lemon Brothers and Master Batters. The tournament favourites "Eagles" were able to pull off a win in the finals, when they seemed to be struggling a bit for the first time. Ab tak Chhappan, which had an immense fan-following sure entertained their friends out their.

Cash (Read Mercuri Dollars) -
IPL wasn't just about winning the ball game. It was also about marketing your teams. Though this idea got a slow start, there was a bunch of creativity towards the end. The media up for buy (Each team had restricted amount of Mercuri Dollars and the media usage had to be paid for) consisted of posters, pamphlets, jingles, videos and even outdoor events like plays/speeches.

It all started with a few gr8 team names, names like Master Batters, Ab Tak Chhappan, The Lemon Brothers (I heard they even served Lemonade one day), GAY Men (Gaonwaale Angry Young Men); A few really good slogans, for example "Kyunki Hum Kisi Ka Ehsaan Nahi Lete" (MasterBatters), "The Nerds who love Playing with Balls" (Community Service). I'd love to put a few posters of teams Community Service and Master Batters up on this post, but my blog would start getting flagged for obscenity. :) I'll have to get publishing rights from the team managers b4 I can actually put up some of their creativity online. :)

Something Different -
Team ChidimaarR put up oval boards on the boundary and challenged the opponent teams' batsmen to hit them. The Prize?? CHOCOLATES!
One of the IPL teams blew up some creatively shaped balloons (if you know what I mean :-)) and hung them near the playing field.

In all, the online newsgroups at IIM Indore were flooded with publicity stints. And spectators were loving it. A round of applause for Sportscom & Mercur-i. Let's hope this fun-filled event becomes an annual fiesta.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

So Much is Happening...

We all take a few days off don't we? Well, I've been a bit busy with submissions recently, that I haven't had time to update my blog. But that doesn't mean that Planet-I has been silent. Rather, it's been the exact opposite.

So much has happened since my midterms got over on 19th November. You can say that we know how to keep our selves busy. As if our Profs don't give enough work. Didn't they tell you that elite institutes like IIMs are about holistic personality enhancement?? :-)
Now let's see... There's been our sports activities including our very own IPL & IFL, RTI week (Dec 1-7), Parthenon 08', our Freshers' Party (if you can call it that) and much more. Don't worry... I'll give you details, but in a later post. One post wouldn't be enough to speak about all of that. We'll take it one by one.

So what's this one about. It's about IIM Indore's newest member. No, no one has been given lateral entry into our institute, if that's what you're thinking. I'm referring to our recently appointed Director, Professor N. Ravichandran who joined us on November 27. Prior to this, Prof. Ravichandran was teaching OM & Strategy at IIM Ahmedabad for quite some time. With change comes waves of hope. And I believe that's exactly what many of us at Planet-I are hoping for. I'm not saying that things are bad out here, but we all know, everything can be improved.

Professor Ravichandran doesn't need an introduction; his credentials speak for themselves. You could google his name and find hundreds of links on him. You would probably learn that he's a great researcher and a great guru. We at IIM Indore are yet to know him better, but based on what I've read, he always means business. And yes, did I forget to mention, he has some great one-liners.
During his first interaction with the whole PGP fraternity, he made quite an impact. Though I won't and can't discuss everything he said, I must say I was impressed by his criticism. I've always felt that the only one who can make a difference is the one who identifies and accepts the loop holes in a system, big or small. There's no point in praising yourself among your own family members. Kind of reminds me of a friend out here, who proclaimed something during a certain event. He said "I'm here for CHANGE". Well, maybe he really had a point.

Bug then again, these have all just been speeches till now. I remember my IIM Lucknow's GD topic: "Words without Deeds, is like a garden full of weeds". So let's hope that the garden turns out to give real flowers. And as Professor Ravichandran said at the end of his introductory speech, "From nowonwards, let our actions speak and not our words".

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's raining Pink Slips!!

While surfing the news over the past couple of months, job-cuts have been catching my eyes.. It's like an unstoppable Big Bang! The only thing is, nothing's expanding... It's all falling apart. Doing an MBA, I sometimes wonder, are all the managers in the world just puppets. Are they all so helpless, that one huge storm (read Sub-prime crisis) can leave huge conglomerates to nothing more than beggars??
I was on such a gr8 vacation at home after my first term at IIM Indore, when my dad handed me the newspaper and showed me the headlines..."Lehman Brothers goes bankrupt". Who wasn't reading about the Sub-prime crisis?? Who didn't know that something like this was right around the corner?? But even then, that news left me shocked to say the least. I mean "LEHMAN BROTHERS" ??!!
I guess that's old news now. In the hindsight, people now just call Lehman Brothers a foolish company. Those same people who couldn't stop praising them as if they were god, have become their worst critics. See how the wheel of time can turn you around?
Coming back to why I started writing this post - The economic downturn has left so many people across the globe without jobs. Sudden pink-slips on your office desks are no more a surprise. Just to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, I'll quote a few of the figures from recent news articles:

1. Volvo - 6,000 jobs
2. General Motors - 3,600 at least
3. DHL US Express - 9,500 (in addition to reduction of 5,400 positions at the beginning of this year) ; part of their plan to cut operating costs to 770 million from the previous 4.2 billion euros
4. Nokia Siemens Networks - 1,820
5. Morgan Stanley - 19% of its 44,000 staff
6. Goldman Sachs - 3,200 (10%) ; in addition to executives losing their year-end bonuses
7. Sun Microsystems - 6,000 (18%)
8. Ford Motor Co. - 2,600
9. GlaxoSmithKline - 1,000 job-cuts (in addition to doing away with 800 vacancies)
10. Citigroup - 52,000
11. Bank of America - 7,500 and counting
12. American Express - 7,000 (10% of global workforce)
13. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) - 3,000
14. Virgin Media (owned by Richard Branson) - 2,200 (15%) by 2012
15. British Telecom - 10,000 jobs by March 09'

There are too many figures, but I'm sure you get the picture. Though the scene looks gloomy for the global Indians, number of job-cuts in the domestic Indian Market have been comparitively less stark. Let's see what the future holds for us MBAs...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Patal Pani

Life as an MBA student at IIM Indore is like NFS. Why the analogy? Well, I was playing the game a while back and I realized how much it resembles the past few months of my life out here. Time has been running at such high velocity that everything other than Planet I has just crossed the corner of my eyes without 2nd thought. But of course, life here holds an element of excitement. There's nothing comparable to the night outs with friends, running around taking videos for projects, preparing presentations at 3 am as if the day would never end, or just chilling out in the mess. Fun with cricket, TT, Badminton or even Carrom.
The only thing that makes me sad sometimes is the fact that we're like birds confined to our cages. I sometimes feel like I've been pinned to a notice board from where I can just flutter as much as the thumb tack allows me. That's why, when Ashish suggested we go out, the other day, I was ready in a jiffy. Of course, we had to wait till the day's classes got over.
I had gone through some pics a few days back in a senior's orkut profile, and I knew the best place to go on a weekend to hang out - "Patal Pani". "Patal" in hindi refers to the deepest point of earth and "pani" means water. The place is actually a cascading waterfall with a lake formed at its bootom. This lake's depth is said to be unfathomable and believed to reach the mythological "Underground World" ; hence goes the name. The gorge between the two cliffs is approximately 200 feet deep.
Located approximately 20 kms from IIM Indore, this place is not a tourist hot spot and hence it's mostly calm and peaceful. The beauty of the landscape has to be seen to be believed. You kinda discover the place and just say "Oh my gosh". I say "discover", because the waterfall is slightly hidden from the common eye.

Another exciting part of the trip was the journey to Patal Pani, on a Yamaha Bike(Ashish was the lucky one, to get the far better Splendor). I must thank Rakesh T. for that wonderful experience (Dude, how do you manage without mud-guards??). Everything was going fine until we asked one dear old uncle about the route. He gave us a shortcut and assured us it was a nice road. Now I know what to expect when people from MP say "Nice Roads" (Honestly, the roads out here are pathetic!). Anyways, we took dear uncle's advice and ended up in Never-Never Land (I'm tellin u, never again...). The route went through bad roads and no-roads; through villages and unused roads. We had planned to buy some stuff to eat and drink, in addition to batteries for Abhiruchi's camera. Boy, we sure ended up on the wrong side of the railway tracks. We finally reached Patal Pani after the bike stopped me more than a dozen times.
On speaking to a couple of locals, we understood that drinking water meant "Hand-pumps" in the wilderness, and food...Well let's just not speak about it. Thank god, Neha had brought along with her a packet of chips and a bottle of Maaza.
So, the 4 of us (Abhiruchi, Ashish, Neha and Myself) went out to explore the vast lands before us and the waterfall beyond. The ambience was amazing and we went on a photography spree.

One more notable thing was the railway tunnel (Ajmer-Khandwa line) cutting through the huge mountains. It kinda reminded me of Doodh Sagar in Goa, which I could only visit from the seat of my train. We had a strong urge to explore the depths of the gorge, but considering the words of caution from people around, we decided against it. We just stood at the top of the waterfall and felt awed by god's creation.
As sunset approached us fast, we had to shrug the desire to stay back. We were worried about going back via the same road in the darkness. So we decided to set back, but after we saw the sun fall beyond mountains in the backdrop. It was a wonderful view, to say the least. The journey back was far more comfortable, mainly due to 2 reasons:
1. Ashish was the one sporting Yamaha this time :-)
2. We found a new and civilized route back to campus.
With dinner at Riddhi-Siddhi following our escapade into the wild, I would say, that was an evening that shall be cherished forever.

To my fellow nature-lovers who decide to explore Patal-Pani, "A few words of Advice":
a) Buy all supplies (that includes water & eatables) before you go beyond Mhow.
b) Be wise when you ask for directions. Don't hesitate to turn back!
c) Observe extreme care while at the top of the waterfall. The rocks are slippery. Better be Safe than Sorry.
d) Last but not the Least, Don't forget your best Cameras.
Good Luck.
I'll leave you with a few more pictures to tease your eyes. Click on the link below:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Klueless 4 challenges you !!

It's that time of the year when every one of you gets to be Sherlock Holmes. Yes, Klueless is back. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're missing something BIG!
Have you ever forgotten to sleep, eat and even go for nature's call. If not, I bet you this may be a first very soon. Get ready to get addicted. Because soon, you'll find yourself awake in the wee hours of the morning searching for hidden klues. If you think I'm joking, you need to think again. Once you're in, there's no coming out. You're with us till the end.
We understand your pulse.We understand your every move. We know you want more. And so, we'll keep coming back at you! We wanna see you go mad for that one missing string, that one missing link. Soon you'll be drifting away during lectures and family chats. What's on your mind Dear? "KLUELESS"
Switch off those cell phones, Close your windows and doors. Put up that "DO NOT DISTURB" sign. Because you're gonna be glued to that seat for quite some time.
Click on any of the Klueless banners if you think you can handle the pressure!

To proceed to the official blog of Klueless for live updates and more help on the event, click on the poster below.

Previous episodes of Klueless:

To learn about other events at IRIS 2008:

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Earth from Above"

This post is not really related to life at IIM Indore, but I thought I'd share this link with those of you out there who love photography. It's a link to my other blog, and this particular post speaks about Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a great photographer and environmentalist, and his exhibit being arranged in NY city in 2009. You can find further links to his site and his photographs, which concentrate on planet earth and sustainability of life, in this post:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Indore runs for Peace

This October 2nd, the people of Indore took a strong initiative and proclaimed to the world that they have not been blemished by the recent violence across the city. As a tribute to the great Mahatma, 5000+ people were found participating in the Indore Marathon organized by IIM Indore. This event was to help create a platform where the people of Indore could unite and express their concern and tolerance. It also helped to create mutual affection among fellow residents.

The marathon, which started at 7 am, consisted of two runs-a 10km peace run and a 3 km celebratory run. It was a measure of a person's mental and physical stamina. The runners were a mixture of teenagers, youngsters and senior citizens; students and corporates. There were serious runners as well as people who were out there to make a difference and enjoy. I'm sure even Gandhi's statue at Regal Square would've felt like coming down and being a part of the cause. As many of us believe, his soul was surely with us that morning.

The 1st prize, a Honda Stunner, was bagged by Mr. Vijay Yadav, who finished the 10 km run in a mere 38 minutes. In the Female category, Ms. Smita walked away with the honors. There were other prizes as well, such as an LCD TV, a laptop, mobile phones, etc.

The event saw 200 odd IIM Indore students volunteering for the event in addition to another 100 NCC cadets assisting them. The main sponsor for the event was ACC Cements.The participants expressed their solidarity and felt that there should be more events on similar lines. The echoing "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" at the close of the event spoke loads regarding the resolve of my fellow Indories.

Now, let me rewind a bit for you....

This event was conceptualized months back in the minds of a few PGP2 students at IIM Indore. From then on there was no looking back. The entire IIMI community was involved with the event in some form or the other. There were student groups handling media coverage, sponsorship, operations and most importantly Participation. Around 50 students, in teams of 2, went to almost 55 schools, colleges and corporate offices in Indore to create awareness and enthusiasm for the event.
On the eve of the event, IIM Indore did not sleep! There were participants involved in tracking the route, putting up banners and signs, arranging check points and Food & Beverage stalls, etc. IIMI's bus was doing multiple runs across Rau and SGITS, bringing more hands for the event. It was a great learning experience for many of us at Planet I, and it brought us all together for ONE CAUSE.
Come 7 am and the people of Indore responded to our efforts and kept our smiles alive. I salute you Indore and applaud you all for the love and concern you've shown for our city. Long live Indore, Long live Peace!

To view some more snaps taken during the Marathon, please click on the link below:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CP Classification and CP Challenge

At IIM Indore, most of our courses have an evaluation component called Class Participation(CP). If you were to ask most students, they'd tell you that it's that grey area where professors can give you any grade they want. But maybe the system has some true purpose behind such scoring techniques.

I want to talk about the deeper aspects of CP. Yes, as an engineering graduate I love to classify things, so let me do that with Class Participation also.

a) Constructive CP: The most ideal form of CP, expected by the professors. Its characteristics include conciseness, preciseness and completeness. Very rarely found!

b) Prolonged CP: This kind of CP is like a long black tunnel where you can never see the other end. Yes, very verbose. It can put the class to sleep, and if it comes at the brink of a break, you might get a few dirty looks from your classmates too.

c)One-on-One CP: This is like a cartel or sometimes a dispute between 2 participants. If the professor is too innocent, such CP may lead to the two students even forgetting the fact that there's someone standing there to teach.

d)Desperate CP: Messed up your quizzes? Also messed up your assignments and the midterm? Then it's time for Desperate CP (DCP), a tool used to scale up your grades to a respectable level.

e)Little Professor's CP: This is when some candidates feel that they have the responsibility to answer all the doubts of their fellow classmates. I agree that we all mentioned at our interviews that IIMs are a place where you can learn from your peers, but then come on... There's a professor there for some reason too.

f)Redundant CP: The most common form of CP. As the name indicates, this CP is just a repetition, of what someone else has said earlier, in a slightly moulded form. Haven't read the case? Haven't done any pre-reading of the chapter either? No problem, this form of CP will rescue you every time. (Well, almost every time. Sometimes you may fall victim to the 1/62 probability phenomenon. Yes, you may end up being the 1st person to be asked to start a discussion).

g)Unconscious CP: A very strange form of CP. This occurs when a candidate has been dosing for the past few min and he suddenly wakes up and his hand shoots up in the air, with a question. Another minute or two later, you'll find him asleep again. A true talent still being researched.

h)CP Globe: Occurs when topics are more generic and abstract. This is when you can crap all you want.

Now, this is a very broad classification, and to avoid you getting bored I have excluded sub-classes. But I would like to touch upon a new innovation in CP, known as "The CP Challenge".

Classes sometimes need a touch of humor. A few students have found a fantastic way of including that as a part of the class via this new challenge. This contest requires a student to use a particular word or phrase as a part of his CP during a lecture. And yes, the CP has to be relevant, you can't just make any random comment. Sound easy? Well, not when the challenge includes phrases like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and words like "intercourse". Wondering whether it was accomplished? Of course it was; we aren't called the countries brightest minds for nothing..How are the words communicated among students during class? Another use for our dearest friend; yes, the cell-phone. Isn't technology a beautiful thing??

Considering the stressed out lives and the piles of work (some actual and some virtually created) out here , I guess we'll need more innovations on similar lines. This is what you call, Creative Gyan.

This is an addition to the already mentioned forms of CP, which came to light during Term 2.

i) Forgetful CP - Courtesy: Goli; The participant is so engrossed in raising his hand and getting restless in his chair that by the time, the Prof notices him and asks for his view, he's forgotten his insightful point.

j)Telepathic CP - This came up during a session when 1 participant made a point and subsequently, another student was asked to tell the class what he had to say (He had his hand raised a while back). The lad responds: "I was going to say exactly what he just said, actually the words were also exactly the same" (Is that possible, damn weird huh...)

k) CP on Demand - Aren't there occasions when you just want someone popular to give their holy views on a topic?? The same happens in class at times. Some such icons of my class would be Lama, Goli, "Nemo", Bhalla, "First of All", etc.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crash Landing !!

Since the Indian Government opened up the skies to private airlines in 1994, the aviation sector had been steadily showing growth. Up until early 2007, Indian aviation was considered the cherry on the top of our Economic Growth pastry. That was when the scenario began to change and many airlines had to come in for “emergency landing”.
Recent rise in ATF and cutthroat competition has pushed various airlines to the darkest corners of a lonely alley. The industry reported a total loss of Rs 40 billion in 2007-08, a figure expected to double this fiscal. Analysts attribute the situation to faulty business models that relied on pricing tickets below cost price to grab market share despite which airlines were unable to achieve break even. The plight of airlines is evident from the following incident. During a recent flight carrying less than 50 passengers from Hyderabad to Delhi on a 180-seater aircraft, the pilot announced, half jokingly, “Sit as comfortably as possible and stretch across as many seats as you like!”
Today’s airlines may call themselves low-cost carriers, but the truth is that they are just low-fare airlines. If this situation were to prevail for a few more years, we might see most private operators packing their bags and running home.
High fares have once again made air-travel a luxury meant only for the rich. Reduction of costs has led to safety worries among travellers. There has been a big dip in the quality of services as well. Though not too many airlines have given out pink slips as of now but there have been pay-cuts and a large amount of job-insecurity among employees. The largest benefiters of the recent aviation boom were other industries such as airports and crew training schools. These industries are facing severe problems today.

Scenario of some major airlines

Air India- Due to high oil prices and low yields, India’s only government owned airline is unable to turn around money fast enough to keep pace with its capital needs. Some of the steps taken by them are:
i. Reduce fleet - They have decided not to renew 13 leases on orders for new planes, which will expire in December this year.
ii. Cut flights which were huge losses for the company
iii. Cut costs on publications
iv. Cut costs on manpower travel

Jet Airways
- Its yields are better than others because of its business class revenue. However, seat occupancy has fallen and fuel costs have nearly doubled. Jet is losing more than $1 million a day. Jet Airways’ owner and Chairman Naresh Goyal has warned that if the trend of high ATF prices continued for another year, his airline may have to face closure. Some of the steps taken by them are:
i. Cancelled or down-sized many national and international flights
ii. Strict control on costs such as fuel consumption, payroll and capital expenditure
iii. Re-negotiating all contracts for goods and services

SpiceJet- SpiceJet has been unable to recover even the fixed costs on a large number of its flights, leave alone the variables. Every day, it flies only once, sometimes twice, between Delhi and Mumbai, India’s busiest route, and that too with less than 100 passengers on board a 180-seater aircraft. The more they fly, the more they lose. The losses have forced SpiceJet to hand out two board seats and quasi-equity instruments to investor Wilbur Ross, for a lifeline of $80 million. At the current rate of losses, that is about 160 days of blood. Some of the steps taken by them are:
i. Fleets down from 17 to 15 aircraft
ii. Flights down from 117 to 97 a day
iii. Surrendered landing slots in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur
iv. Closed Port Blair and Cochin stations

GoAir- This airline owned by the Wadia-group has been facing the maximum number of problems. Some of the steps taken by them are:
i. Cancelled the largest number of flights. From 561 flights every week, it is down to 200, and plans to cut 75 more
ii. Grounded one plane and looking at ways to reduce capacity
iii. Only airline that is laying off staff

Badly formulated business plans

Four years back many entrepreneurs entered the aviation market eyeing huge profits and a booming sector. Owning an airline became a symbol of prosperity. Even today, at least five corporate houses are sitting with licences for regional airlines but no business plans. Many of them achieved early success by pulling away train travellers with rock bottom fares as low as Rs. 1. Nine airlines were launched in 12 months that placed orders for over 200 planes. Pilots and CEOs were hired at exorbitant salaries. Without expanding the network enough, India’s low-cost carriers charged low fares to fill up planes, which pushed up the break-even levels of seat occupancy. The infrastructure crunch meant maintenance of 5-7 bases around the country with pilots, engineers, etc. at each, adding considerably to the already high overheads. The ultimate blow came in the form of rising oil prices, a 5-17 per cent monthly rise in aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices.
Aviation is also susceptible to regulation. It cannot function effectively if the other parts of the chain are held back, because of either regulations or lack of funds. The uncertainty in government policies has been a major cause for concern in the recent past.
One reason why uptake is not higher in India is that the air travel experience here is still so complicated. The difficulty in getting to airports and the chaos of subsequent processes scares passengers away. Hopping on a train may be slower but it is far easier.

Some solutions to the present scenario

i. Expand consumer-base - Even today, the bulk of Indian travellers use trains and a very few fly
ii. Save costs - Withdraw publications, charge luggage, reduce on-flight services such as movies, charge food items
iii. Fuel cost management - Even though hedging rules were notified in July 2007, no airline in India has used the option.
iv. Mergers and sale of stake - Rumours suggest that GoAir promoters, the Wadia family may be in an advanced stage of talks to sell a substantial stake in the airline. Reports also suggest that UB Group chief, Vijay Mallya, may be in talks with SpiceJet's main promoter, Bhupendra Kansagra, to pick up the Kansagra family stake of 12.9 %.
v. Stop paying commission to agents on ticket sales - Currently, agents are paid 5 per cent commission on the value of the ticket sold and they sell about 90 per cent of all airline tickets.
vi. Variable fares for luggage

Looking at the present state of the Indian aviation sector, the government of India seems very unlikely to come to the rescue of private airliners. These carriers will have to do a complete rework on their business models. Implementation of no single policy can solve the imminent problems. Not only their own, but the plight of Indian air-travellers also lies very much in the hands of these airlines. Moreover, if something is not done soon, we may see the sector returning to the by-gone era of Government monopoly and air-travel for only the rich. We will have to wait and see whether history repeats itself.

Friday, September 5, 2008


There was a bit of sadness at the end of session 24 of OB (Organizational Behavior) yesterday. Saying goodbye (even if it's temporary) to a great professors is not very easy. You know, HR is probably considered the most boring field of management. But with a person like Prof. S.K.Ghosh around... well, things were quite different. He used to have us captivated throughout the 70 minutes. Of course, there were an odd 2-3 guys dozing off some times. You can't blame them , Prof. Ghosh used to call it absence of Physiological needs, and would discourage us from waking such people up. :-). We're like OWLS out here at Planet-I. Prof. SKG is one person the class could really connect with, speak our heart out, even if at times it made no sense. Many of us feel he looks like George Fernandes (much much younger though). A really good sense of humor and an awesome story teller. :-)
We have changed the name of OB from GAS to GLOBE (One friend of mine even pointed out that the word itself has OB in it).Kinda sounds better, though it's all the same. Why GAS and GLOBE? Well, the nature of the subject needs you to be creative sometimes.And most of us who are engineers mistake that to be "bullshit" and "global gyan". I pity Professor Ghosh as well as all other OB and HR profs, for the crap they have to read, but then again,a good laugh can't do you harm. Then there were occasions of crazy CP (class participation). People blurting out everything they've learnt in Moral Science since childhood. It was all great fun.
But let's leave exams aside for some time. Coz i doubt anyone will get a D in OB (They won't want to face the embarrassment of that as Prof explained). Prof SKG really created interest in many students to actually read concepts of OB. Unlike sir's assumption that we never read the text, we actually did sometimes. I'll never forget some of his examples..
1. A wife comes home after work and with her hand writes on the table,"I love you" for her non-working hubby. Hubby may be happy but what the wife actually meant was- "Can you see the dust on this table"- This was an example to explain Ulterior transaction.
2. And his quote, "Tum bhi maar lo!" to explain "KICK" (games people play), under the life position "I'm not OK, you're OK"
3. His funny comments on Bengalis; "When 2 bengalis meet anywhere,you'll have a durga pooja. When you have 3 bengalis, there'll be 2 durga poojas" :-)
Though he himself is a Bengali, I guess he'll still never be able to pronounce Sayani's name correctly (believe me guys, it's not pronounced the way u think it is).
It's really gonna be dull without him next term..

Sunday, August 31, 2008


I'm sure that on hearing the word aperture all sorts of thoughts regarding Physics come to some of our minds. Don't worry, I'm not planning to discuss any Science in this post.
But it's about another aspect of aperture, and that's the modern digital camera or DG-CAM as many of us call it. You would be amazed to see how the true beauty of any object can be enhanced with digital editing, yes I mean software like Photoshop.I'm sure we all agree that the olden day cameras have become antiques and the photo rolls have all become a thing of the past. Digital cameras are better, cheaper and have a much higher utility.With digital pictures,came the idea of photo editing, which has created whole new avenues to explore for the photography-lovers.
Now you're wondering,Why am I talking about all this on an IIMI blog?? Well, I hope my previous post "Beyond Acads @ Planet-I" gave you a taste of our extra-curricular activities. But that post was just the beginning.You would be amazed to see the numerous talented photographers we have on campus, hiding under the Managerial veil.But, "Aperture" has set out to discover and kindle the dormant passion inside participants at Planet-I.
Aperture is a club run by a few people on campus who are enthusiastic about photography.This club conducts workshops and competitions for anyone who may be interested.In the past, there have been "Best Pic of the Month" competitions and the response has been phenomenal.Another thing which Aperture has done is that it has brought out the beauty of our serene campus which will be evident from some of the photos I've posted below.I've mentioned the name of the participant who has contributed the snap below each photo.I'm sure you'll agree that all of them should get a big round of applause and some comments from viewers..Love to hear your views. Hats off to you guys!!

For Full-size view,click on the pic... :-)

Photographed by : Rakesh T. (Batch of 2010)

Photographed by : Kishan Kariappa (Batch of 2010)

Photographed by : Rakesh T. (Batch of 2010)

Photographed by : Rishi Ramesh Pathak (Batch of 2010)

Photographed by : Rakesh T. (Batch of 2010)

Photographed by : Kishan Kariappa (Batch of 2010)

Photographed by : Rakesh T. (Batch of 2010)

Photographed by : Rakesh T. (Batch of 2010)

Friday, August 22, 2008


India’s FMCG sector has finally proved to be one of the front-runners in India’s growth marathon. During the past few years, this sector has shown shocking double-digit growth figures. According to a survey conducted by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry), sales will grow by 16% to 9.52 trillion during this fiscal year as compared to 14.5% growth in the previous year. The survey attributes this growth to factors such as increased literacy, rising aspiration levels, growing consumer demand, etc.

The industry's future prospects look bright, seeing the rising incomes and the modernisation of retail. However studies have shown that there is still a large amount of untapped potential in this field and possibilities to grow further.

Main Drivers for Growth in FMCG:-

1. Higher Consumer spending –
The per capita disposable income of people in both urban as well as rural areas has seen a good rise in the past few years. Differential pricing has helped consumers from all economic demographics experiment with new products based on their needs and abilities. A prominent shift has been seen from consumer electronics to other consumer goods such as cosmetics, soaps & detergents, etc. Most FMCG players have been targeting the consumer’s needs and converting these into strategies and final products.

2. Benefits of Organization in Retail FMCG –
Organised retail has been a boon for both the consumers as well as suppliers. This is evident from the success of recent retail players that have entered the market such as Reliance Fresh, Big Bazaar, More, etc. For suppliers, especially farmers, organised retail allows them to receive better prices for their produce. For consumers, the benefits include ease of shopping, better comparison of products, good ambience, etc. But the most important factor is that consumers spend more on a product’s value and less is wasted in services such as distribution.

3. Penetration –
FMCG majors have been looking to penetrate the mostly untapped rural as well as semi-urban areas of India. To achieve this, they have planned to implement better distribution networks. According to Asschom, FMCG will witness more than 50% of its growth in the rural and semi-urban segments by 2010. In the urban regions, due to cut throat competition FMCG players have gone in for other promotional strategies such as branding, product differentiation, package innovation, highlighting the functional aspect of foods, etc. The development of better and faster means of transport will increase FMCG penetration in the long term.

4. Indian competitiveness and global market –
India has an advantage over other nations in FMCG due to certain reasons, such as
a) Easy and cheap availability of various raw materials
b) Cheap labour
c) Spread of Indian companies across the complete value chain

5. Shift of demand from unbranded to branded goods –
Consumers have become more aware of the benefits of branded commodities in food, clothing, toiletries, etc. This has resulted in a willingness to shell out more money for such products.

Trends that may be expected in FMCG over next few years –

1. Inclination towards environment-friendly goods –
Consumers are expected to appreciate socially responsible trade. This shall lead to a move towards products with ingredients that can be replenished and more natural/herbal cosmetics and skin care products.

2. Use of more technology –
The coming years will see a greater amount of e-marketing and blogging for promotion of goods. IT is expected to help in consumer-tracking as well as Supply Chain Management.

3. More goods catering to the youth –
With the increase in youth population in India, the FMCG sector is trying to come up with more products which appeal to this class of consumers. This will include more branding of commodities such as clothing, cosmetics and other accessories.

4. Health food categories –
This mainly targets the health-conscious, rich urban Indian. Some goods already existent in this segment are skimmed milk, diet soft drinks, multigrain bread, sugar-free, etc.

5. Inflation impacts –
FMCG majors are coming up with various measures to combat the double digit inflation. These measures include repositioning of product lines, variant packaging, strengthening distribution and logistics, etc.

If FMCG is GOD, who are the ANGELS??
Yes, I’m talking about the big FMCG players in India that have brought this sector into the limelight. Some of them are listed below in order of their net worth. Each company is a leader in their respective sector.
1. Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
2. ITC (Indian Tobacco Company)
3. Nestle’ India
4. Amul
5. Dabur India
6. Asian Paints
7. Cadbury India
8. Brittania Industries
9. P & G Hygiene and Health Care
10. Marico Industries

Problems that this Industry may face in the near future –

i. Stiff competition among domestic and foreign entrants-
Players from the organised as well as unorganised sector continue to grab at each other’s market shares. The entry of existing players in new segments has resulted in high pressure on margins. This has been tackled by more expenses on promotion and advertising.

ii. Poor transport facilities –
The highly scattered market basket is difficult to cater to with inadequate infrastructure. Rural and semi-urban penetration in such conditions becomes a great challenge.

iii. Low Brand-Awareness –
The lack of knowledge of branded, genuine commodities among people in small towns allows local dealers to sell spurious products.

iv. Increase in factor prices –
The sustained inflationary market has put a major dent in the FMCG industry. It has led to higher costs of raw materials as well as packaging and distribution. Most companies try to transfer the burden to consumers to some extent by price hikes and smaller SKUs. Even then, margins go down. Generally consumers stick to their preferred brands as long as price hikes are reasonable.

With the Indian economy on a high growth flight, the one-billion plus population proves to be a tremendous asset for the FMCG sector. But at the same time, it may be a very difficult place to operate in. The companies will have to strategize and make sure that they are aligned to the prevailing market scenario. In all, we can say that the FMCG GOD is omnipresent.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beyond Acads @ Planet-I

The i-clubs at IIM Indore are the heart and soul of everything that happens outside the academic arena. Ask any student at IIMI and you’ll be told that there are at least 2 to 3 events being conducted every week by the various clubs. These are in addition to the various activities organised by different committees of the institute. If an image of long and boring sessions of talks is coming to your mind, then think again. These clubs and their events have a good mix of fun & knowledge to assure that at Planet-I every participant is involved. These clubs are not social warehouses of all talk and no deeds. They’re true instruments of innovation and creativity along with application. And the best part is that it’s a complete student run initiative. If you don’t believe me, then just read on for a short journey into the life at IIMI.
IIMI has a balance of clubs to represent all sectors. There’s Currenc-I targeting international business and economics, the E&C club focusing on 2 huge domains of management- Entrepreneurship and Consultancy, Pragat-I which is a social welfare and development initiative and the Quiz club meant for the masters of riddles. But that’s not the end. There are Mercur-I, Equit-I, Infinit-I and Operand-I which focus on Marketing, Finance, IT and Operations respectively.
The clubs are often helping students with various academic related problems, one recent example was the MS-excel workshop organised by Operand-I. These i-clubs have also been giving guidance to students regarding certifications such as NCFM and APICS. The E&C club has started a mentorship program for budding entrepreneurs and in line with that plan to contact the true risk takers in the market to give the students guidance. The club has also encouraged students to participate in the Retail Summit being organised by TiE Delhi Retail SIG next month.
Among some of the most interesting events organised in the past month was “Jumping the product-extension line” by club Mercur-I, which gave students a hands-on experience of advertising. That’s not all. Mercur-I also plans to organise an event tagged “Utsaha” some time in Feb next year, which is promised to be a true festival. The event is actually meant for surveying prospective customers, meant for certain online-projects from the industry.
For those of you who think all this is linked to management, you must explore the Theatre club - Idanim and our very own Quizzing zone head by Tejas Kulkarni. One recent event in which students took great interest, despite heavy rains was 4-play. Yes, it was as good as the name sounds. A collection of spoofs based on various fairy-tales, 4-play was a bag full of nitrous oxide. The quiz club, like many others, organises events in the dead of the night, but you’ll never see an empty hall. Among some of the other events in the past month, there have been the ‘Distribution Game”, “Mantrana” and the paper writing competition “Mudra”. Now you know why Planet-I stays lit till the wee hrs of the morning.
The IIMs have been known for overall skill development, and truly speaking I would give a large part of the credit to these Interest clubs. May the flame of enthusiasm continue to burn at IIM Indore!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Mafia Game...

First, I'd like to wish you all a very Happy Independance Day!
What has been happening at Planet-I today. Well, we had the usual flag hoisting, Director speech and tea. But this year was slightly different. We spent the day out on an informal Mentor-Mentee picnic, a group of almost 300+ students, staff and family members out to Mayank's Blue Water Park.
There were mixed feelings among students regarding the picnic, some wanting to just stay back and rest, but I guess at the end of the day every1 enjoyed in some way or the other. There were group activities, water sports and of course food..
But I would say, the new attraction of the day was "The Mafia Game". No guys, we weren't terrorizing the nation on 15th August. It's a psychology-based stationary Group Game originally invented by psychology student Dimitry Davidoff in Russia, 1986. The game involves strategy and bluffing. People play as a member of the mafia, police, doctor(or Healer) and town. The object is to eliminate the mafia before they eliminate the entire town. Its a lovely game and if you're interested, follow the links below:
The game has many variants("Are you a werewolf?" , "Lupus in Tabula", "Assassin", etc.) and you can search online or create your own ways of making the game more complex and interesting.
The game will truly show you how deceptive people can be... and you'll probably discover new dimensions of your psyche as well. So, enjoy playing guys and I'd love to see your comments on the game.

A scene showing Voting during a game of Mafia

Another scene showing members of the Town sleeping

Our MAFIA team...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Midterm Nightmare...

Its already been about 40 days since i crossed the gates of IIM Indore into a world which I've always dreamt of. The past 6 weeks have been memorable to say the least. And I'll make sure you get a view of it in the form of flashbacks.

But the recent happenings first... My first mid-term at Planet-I:3 days, 6 papers. For all the great brains out here (excuse me if I'm being a bit boastful) , these papers have been a real eye-opener. Who says a Supply curve or a Demand curve is the simplest part of economics...? Add a bit of consumer-preference and 2 professors' brains, and you have the Economics Olympiad. The IT revolution has been so deep that it will haunt you even in Management. I'm not joking guys.. Management Information systems was a true nightmare. Most of us will probably just scrape through. I'm not going to bore you with any more details, but these papers are worth appreciating. A wake up call to all the PGP participants.You wanted the best've got it.
During these midterms, the funniest part has been peoples' g-talk status messages. To quote a few -
"Now surprise quizzes seem much easier :)"
"First day of midterm...and I'm loving it...Kindly read the sarcasm in my lines"
"ye IT kyu hai"
"Why even try"
"Getting so much used to the indifference curve that it makes no difference anymore"
and my very own... "The Midterm nightmare continues"
I'm off to get a wink guys. Will keep you updated. And I'll write again very soon. Just pray that tomorrow's last 2 aren't a full stop. :)