Archive for the ‘First Post’ Category

The PGPM class of 2010 started on Jan 15, 2010. With 86 students divided under four specializations (Information Management, Marketing, Operations and Finance), it’s going to be a rocking year for the SPJIMR and the class both.

Shwetabh Says:
We had already landed in Mumbai and all set to “Grow up Once Again!” as School Days were back (thanks to 3-idiots we proudly called ourselves Idiots back to School). The first day proceedings were not as per our expectations and we didn’t have any classes. Well, that is a live example of doing things “SPJIMR way”. The ‘SPJIMR Conclave 2010’ had begun and welcomed the PGPM batch of 2010. We took our first breath of fresh air of Management world not in classes but in the SPJIMR auditorium, relishing the thoughts of Titans from the international corporate world itself.

The day commenced with the welcome and orientation of PGPM609 batch. It included Dean’s speech, address by the Course Coordinator and then a grand lunch. Then, the Conclave ’10 started that manifested the level of professionalism and administration that we had to inculcate in our attitudes over the academic year. The three days of the program including the diverse facets of management – Conclaves of Marketing, Operations, Finance, Consulting, Information Management and Human Resource. We may have attended and even conducted few symposiums during our past careers. But the symposiums with a management orientation and the stalwarts from the industry and academic world themselves presenting it made us feel the rush of adrenaline.

One of the most creative models of a symposium was the one conducted by the marketing committee. A competition among the companies themselves to present their best marketing strategies with the SPJIMR Marketing Impact awards was very impressive. The highly insightful address by Dr. Vithala Rao on Enhancing Marketing Effectiveness though analytical marketing metrics was an eye-opener for this new face of marketing.

After this, we had to land our minds hovering way above the ground from the Conclave experience and get to the business of learning business in class. The first academic day, 17th Jan ’10, started with an address covering the academic year plan followed by a Quiz. A Quiz! You may ask, on what. Actually we had already started our learning process two months ago with the online pre-foundation modules. Sounds exciting, eh! But, then having test on that may not be so welcoming for all. Anyhow, again this is SPJIMR way – exposing us well in advance to the first feel of the academic rigor that we were about to jump into.

Amazed with the glamor of Conclave and then dazed with the stress of the first examination of our academic year, we started with the classes. We were kind of hit by a huge knowledge wave imbibing – How Learning Management can be done to know how to perform Cost Management reflecting in our Financial Accounting statements to control our Micro-Economic aspects leading to a high performance in Macro-economic world and leading to enhancement of Business Communication skills too.

This is just an overwhelming stream of subjects we were going through and had started liking it despite the rigor. We had the motivation of a seemingly brighter future ahead. The re-genesis we were experiencing was leading us to a few realizations and after the first week, sitting down on first Thursday evening (weekly holiday) I thought, “Was this end of the beginning!” and just then I realized that actually it is “Beginning of a new Beginning!” 


Harish Says:

New buckets and more new buckets marked the arrival of the new folks for PGPM. For once, this seasonal boom in bucket sales makes the Apna Bazaar owner realize that another batch of PGPM has joined again at SPJIMR and so obviously it’s January.
First day blues? Lonely at a new place? Nay…coz most of them had met each other during contact session. What had change since then is that this time they are going to stay much-much longer than mere 3 days. The few new panchhis are the telephonic interview guys.
“Dude what floor are you on?  Where did u get the bucket from? Who’s the room-mate? “
“That dhobhi is charging 200 bucks a month. I’d better not wash my own laundry”.
“The rooms on the 7th floor have an awesome view, but the poor fellas are going to be roasted dry in summers.”
“Hope the mess food is at least as good as what was served at my last employer. Do they serve non-veg? It’s a JAIN college you see. At least this place is close to college.”
“Were you able to connect to the net?  Do you know the proxy? Heard they have a download limit at hostel?”
“You have a licensed copy of what? Anti-virus? Who in the world buys that?”
“This place sucks; we’ll better go to Go-sip next time, the one bang across the street.”
“It’s bad I had to part with my annual bonus, it was due in March”
“Did u meet any of the telephonic interview guys?”
“Where’s Apna Bazaa? Do you get slippers there?”
“You married? Kids? Oh, so how often do you plan to visit them?”
“Where’s Andheri sports complex? We get a rebate on membership you know? Care for lawn tennis?”
“The Vodafone wallah is coming tomorrow evening; will pick up a connection. What about you?”
“And you know the mail that you all kept on replying, that was floated by a guy, unlike the name suggests!!”
People keep on asking these questions and keep forgetting the answers. Over food and drinks at Raj Palace, people refresh their memories and start recalling the names.
Back in Hostel, it finally dawns upon all that the course starts with a Comprehensive exam of the online modules. Each one’s taking secret comfort in the fact that the other one is equally unprepared.  With smirk, everyone’s off to bed.

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After significant amount of brain storming with Prateek we have finally concluded that we used half approximation as a technique to analyze a stochastic exponential distribution. Case in point “Desafio”, the operations game at OJAS the annual fest at SPJIMR.

After spending 3 weeks at an MBA course curiosity took its toll; we wanted to test our ROI (return on Investment another management term) what did we learnt from our course , did the 5.53 lacs make a difference. What better way to do this than to see an actual application, a game designed to test out in-depth understanding of statistics and probability ( sometimes i think why Prateek chose this as a test of ROI neither he nor I have ever managed to solve any sums on probability for the past 26-27 years our existence on this planet). Let me mention clearly  offence meant to the game it was work of a genius designed by Harvard and was running on the Harvard University servers. But the problem lay with us , we had spent only 3 weeks , I cant even say it was half baked , more appropriate would be to say that the we hadn’t even approached the oven.

So with Prateek (popularly called cool patty) registering us for the game we were certain that using what we know of Statistics and probability which is as good as zilch ,we were surely going to make a fool of ourselves. Well it didn’t matter we were out to seek “justification for 5.53″ and it didn’t occur that. Anyway the game started , we were handed a sheet of paper , 2 sheets to be precise . I still think that the language used was Greek the question sheets didn’t make too much sense. We were reading it and nothing made sense. The question was simple ” Design a restaurants ” but the associated data using which we needed to design the damn restaurants was as bad as it could ever be, nothing made sense. 5 challenges using whose input we had to design were
1). How would you seat the customer whether in batches or no batches
2). Decide on the seating arrangement number of seating in bar and number of seats at the restaurants. Keeping the total number of seats constant break the arrangement into number of seats in the bar and number in the restaurants.
3). Decide on the waiting time for each dinner considering the fact that a customer goes away if the seating is full.
4). What kind of promotional offer you are going to give and between what time considering the bar is open between 6 and 10:30
5). How many chefs will you hire and between what time.

All the questions have associated costs with them and using a simulated 20 runs of each challenge we were required to design a restaurant. When i say simulated 20 runs i mean that with every setting we could have 20 simulated runs and we needed to make a decision on what setting to use.

Well finally using the 20 simulated runs we had to decide & design the restaurant in a given time of one hour. So much for the question , i still am unclear about how to solve it in true blue statistical fashion. But we did manage to solve it using pure and simple half approximation. Yes ladies and gentle men , not binomial distribution , not exponential distribution , no Probability NOTHING , just plain and simple half approximation. The designed restaurants made an average profit of 650$ (remember the game was proprietary of Harvard hence the dollars).Oh i forgot to mention , we did try to install Statpro add-in in excel and try something with it but Prateek if you know what exactly we were trying please add a comment in the blog.

So with $650 we were done, we had so much confidence that we didn’t stand a chance that during the prize distribution ceremony i went to watch Billu Barber while Prateek went off to sleep. I was enjoying the movie (yeah i do enjoy ShahRukh Khan’s movies AT RARE INSTANCES) on second thoughts it was not ShahRukh more of Deepika Padukone shaking “it” on the song with words like Khit Pit and Hit hit. Anyway while Deepika Padukone was mesmerizing me i suddenly got an SMS from Cool Patty, interspersed between the abusive language were the words ” We came first ” . I couldn’t believe him but i was too involved with Miss Deepika to go out and call him .The movie ended i called up and found Prateek Ecstatic about our victory.

The main reason i wrote this piece is to answer the people who asked us the question, which theory did you use to solve the problem. I couldn’t get away with saying that we got lucky because they all retorted “You could have got lucky in at most 2-3  posed challenges but getting lucky on all 5 is not possible”. So here it is “the theory” we used it was plain and simple half approximation and repeated trials of half approximation which gives a cumulative impact of change in center point moving it closer to the correct point. Huh!!! so much for Ken Black.

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Just a thought

There are times in life when so many things are happening around you that you do not get time to just stop for a while, think for a moment and then move ahead. The last one month at SPJIMR pretty much has been like that. Coz one thing you are definately short of here is time. Time to finish your assignments, time to spend quality time with your friends, time to listen to people and understand them, time to sit down and just introspect as to where your life is heading.

Our business stats class got cancelled today. And here I am putting down some random thoughts in my mind. As Harsha Bhogle mentioned yesterday during his tete-a-tete with SPJIMR students.  One thing keyboard does is, it brings uniformity in handwriting. That explains my courage to post as well.

A friend told me once. Life is not fair to everyone. I tend to disagree today. There are so many facets of life. Its upto you how you wanna live it . Gagan, my roomie, echoes my thoughts when he gets philosophical. Happiness, contentment,satisfaction…words are too abstract to come to you easily. You go searching for them and you ll return empty handed. You look for them in everything you do. And you’ll have it in in plenty.

After working for five and a half years in the industry, if there was one thing I had in abundance. It was time. Surfing channels on TV, pub hopping every weekend, joining dance classes, watching movies and basically splurging money. It got to a point wherein it didn’t really matter anymore. The bank balance was refreshed every month with a hefty salary. But the marginal utility of spending was waning. Each day, every week, while I was working; there was this inherent feeling that I am not learning enough.

Then MBA happened at SPJIMR. Over here, every morning we wake up; we look forward to an exciting day ahead. A day so enriching in experience, we are not gonna forget easily for the rest of our life. The hustle bustle at the breakfast counter every morning & then rushing to the classes. Some creatively out-of-the-box business stats lectures. An innovative way of learning during marketing sessions(read Raghu’s post below for what I mean). Watching NDTV Profit will not be the same after finishing our finance course. By the time we are done by 6 in the evening, we are dead tired. But the experience we take back while walking to the hostel room is extraordinary.

A friend, who happened to be a management graduate told me that MBA places you into a different orbit, you start seeing things from a different perspective, and all the other gyaan which MBA grads throw to their non MBA friends. I didnt understand what he meant then. But one month of time spent here has surely taught me that there s so much happening in the industry and in the world at large. Reading economic times everyday and writing java code surely wasn’t giving this picture.

Three assignments are pending. A financial report on Dena Bank, a marketing strategy for DTH industry and some distribution questions for business stats. Prakash and Santanu are waiting for me to complete FA ratios. Deadline is fast approaching. And here I am writing this post.

The problem with group work is, everyone in the group thinks that others are working.

Initially I wondered. 11 months to go. And I’ll be unemployed all this while. The perspective is different now. One month gone so soon. And only 10 more to go !!

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credit crisis in spjimr

credit crisis in spjimr

….A board at SPJIMR hostel canteen. I am convinced, world is in crisis… Even canteenwala is facing liquidity issues and poor people like us have to face Credit crunch, what to do? 🙂

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The US Presidential Elections on Nov 4 ,2008 heralded a new era for United States  as for the rest of the world.The run for the elections itself was unprecedented as for the first time ever ,a Woman – Hillary Rodham Clinton and an African American-Barack Hussein Obama  were in the League for the World’s most Coveted office -The Oval Office of the US President.As the world watched the coverage and counting live,Barack Obama,the Senator from Illinois was elected the first ever African American President of the United States beating his rival John MCcain by a 52.9% vote.

In his acceptance speech to the people of America he reaffirmed their faith in him and assured them

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer…”

But the world watches as Obama has assumed the reigns of the what is called the ‘The LoneliestJob in the post 9/11 world’  and is now faced with turmoils that that have bombarded the world namely the ‘The US Financial Meltdown’ and the ‘Mumbai Terror Strikes’..

Will he be able to keep his promise to the world and to the people of America,will he be able to ensure a world free of Terrorism and War by way of the ‘War on Terror’ declared by the US post 9/11,will he be able to revive the economy of many countries first the USA,followedby the EU,Japan,Iceland,Russia etc that have slowly been gripped by the financial crisis,what will be his policies on Outsourcing and how that is going to Impact the burgeoning IT economy in India…

Well there are many such questions that the person in the most Coveted and the also the most challenging office in the world is faced with,but the answers to which only time can unveil..

But till then lets do our bit by praying for the peace for the souls of the people killed in the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai and to provide strength to their families.

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How does one go Bankrupt!

Once there was a little island country. The land of this country was the tiny island itself. The total money in circulation was 2 Rs as there were only two pieces of 1 Rs coins circulating around.

1) There were 3 citizens living on this island country.  A owned the land. B and C each owned 1 Rs.

2) B decided to purchase the land from A for 1 Rs. So, now A and C own 1 Rs each while B owned a piece of land that is worth 1 Rs.

* The net asset of the country now = 3 Rs.

3) Now C thought that since there is only one piece of land in the country, and land is non producible asset, its value must definitely go up. So, he borrowed 1 Rs from A, and together with his own 1 Rs, he bought the land from B for 2 Rs.

* A has a loan to C of 1 Rs, so his net asset is 1 Rs.
* B sold his land and got 2 Rs, so his net asset is 2 Rs.
* C owned the piece of land worth 2 Rs but with his 1 Rs debt to A, his net residual asset is 1 Rs.
* Thus, the net asset of the country = 4 Rs.

4) A saw that the land he once owned has risen in value. He regretted having sold it. Luckily, he has a 1 Rs loan to C. He then borrowed 2 Rs from B and acquired the land back from C for 3 Rs. The payment is by 2 Rs cash (which he borrowed) and cancellation of the 1 Rs loan to C. As a result, A now owned a piece of land that is worth 3 Rs. But since he owed B 2 Rs, his net asset is 1 Rs.

* B loaned 2 Rs to A. So his net asset is 2 Rs.
* C now has the 2 coins. His net asset is also 2 Rs.
* The net asset of the country = 5 Rs. A bubble is building up.

(5) B saw that the value of land kept rising. He also wanted to own the land. So he bought the land from A for 4 Rs. The payment is by borrowing 2 Rs from C, and cancellation of his 2 Rs loan to A.

* As a result, A has got his debt cleared and he got the 2 coins. His net asset is 2 Rs.
* B owned a piece of land that is worth 4 Rs, but since he has a debt of 2 Rs with C, his net Asset is 2 Rs.
* C loaned 2 Rs to B, so his net asset is 2 Rs.

* The net asset of the country = 6 Rs; even though, the country has only one piece of land and 2 Rs in circulation.

(6) Everybody has made money and everybody felt happy and prosperous.

(7) One day an evil wind blew, and an evil thought came to C’s mind. “Hey, what if the land price stop going up, how could B repay my loan. There is only 2 Rs in circulation, and, I think after all the land that B owns is worth at most only 1 Rs, and no more.”

(8)  A also thought the same way.

(9) Nobody wanted to buy land anymore.

* So, in the end, A owns the 2 Rs coins, his net asset is 2 Rs.
* B owed C 2 Rs and the land he owned which he thought worth 4 Rs is now 1 Rs. So his net asset is only 1 Rs.
* C has a loan of 2 Rs to B. But it is a bad debt. Although his net asset is still 2 Rs, his Heart is palpitating.
* The net asset of the country = 3 Rs again.

(10) So, who has stolen the 3 Rs from the country ? Of course, before the bubble burst B thought his land was worth 4 Rs. Actually, right before the collapse, the net asset of the country was 6 Rs on paper. B’s net asset is still 2 Rs, his heart is palpitating.

(11) B had no choice but to declare bankruptcy. C as to relinquish his 2 Rs bad debt to B, but in return he acquired the land which is worth 1 Rs now.

* A owns the 2 coins, his net asset is 2 Rs.
* B is bankrupt, his net asset is 0 Rs. ( he lost everything )
* C got no choice but end up with a land worth only 1 Rs

* The net asset of the country = 3 Rs.

************ **End of the story; BUT ************ ********* ******

There is however a redistribution of wealth.
A is the winner, B is the loser, C is lucky that he is spared.
A few points worth noting –

(1)    when a bubble is building up, the debt of individuals to one another in a country is also building up.
(2) This story of the island is a closed system whereby there is no other country and hence no foreign debt. The worth of the asset can only be calculated using the island’s own currency. Hence, there is no net loss.
(3) An over-damped system is assumed when the bubble burst, meaning the land’s value did not go down to below 1 Rs.
(4) When the bubble burst, the fellow with cash is the winner. The fellows having the land or extending loan to others are the losers. The asset could shrink or in worst case, they go bankrupt.
(5) If there is another citizen D either holding a Rs or another piece of land but refrains from taking part in the game,  he will neither win nor lose. But he will see the value of his money or land go up and down like a see saw.
(6) When the bubble was in the growing phase, everybody made money.
(7) If you are smart and know that you are living in a growing bubble, it is worthwhile to borrow money (like A ) and take part in the game. But you must know when you should change everything back to cash.
(8) As in the case of land, the above phenomenon applies to stocks as well.
(9) The actual worth of land or stocks depends largely on psychology.

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For those who use Firefox and GMail daily, it might now be a very common thing to find an error message while loading – “This is taking longer than usual. Try reloading the page.” Amazingly, I am yet to see this same error in Chrome. Google released some Javascript tests which show Chrome to be 10x faster than Firefox and IE. Firefox later rebuted them by releasing its own tests.

But, what is the main point here that I am trying to convey? Whether Chrome is faster is immaterial as Google knows how to make it behave so. Google is been developing a lot of (heavy) Javascript-centric WebApps. Whether it is optimizing them to be used with Chrome or they are making optimal usage of Chrome. Either way, they are forming a dependence on Chrome. Chrome might comply with all the standards, but it has optimized implementations only in areas which Google prefers (as seen from Google tests) and not so much in some other areas (as seen from Firefox tests).

So, as a user am I forced to use Chrome whenever I use any Google app? Is Google going the Microsoft (Internet Explorer) way? What could be the impact now that Android is poised to dominate embedded devices? Some of these fears might be highly exaggerated, because Chrome (or chromium project) is after all open source. So other browsers may learn a trick or two. But, will Google’s preferred areas inhibit development in other areas.

I, personally, am an ardent Google fan and like the way they present their (even ugly looking) applications, just for their simplicity. Google has been a game changer in many fields. Their advertising revenue model enables them to earn even from their competitors. For example most of Orkut’s competitors serve “Ads by Google”. Google’s strategy in such cases has been to challenge the competition, but never to kill it. Why kill when they can pay?

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