Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

An investment in Reliance Group, rather the biggest one in its 53-year history, might just result in one of the largest ever foreign investment by any overseas company into India. This investor is none other but Saudi Aramco, which is not only the world’s largest and lowest cost-per-barrel producer of crude oil but also the most profitable company in the world [1]. This company is in talks to invest a handsome amount in the largest private-sector corporation in India.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

The relationship between Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries has already been a long one, 25 years to be specific. Saudi Aramco has already supplied 2 billion barrels of crude oil for processing at RIL’s refinery at Jamnagar till date. A potential 20% stake in the Oil-to-Chemical division comprising of Refining, Petrochemicals and Fuel Marketing Business of Reliance Industries carries an Enterprise Value of US $75 billion [2]. This deal will also result in Saudi Aramco supplying 5,00,000 barrels of Crude oil per day to Jamnagar refinery on a long-term basis [3].

However, the deal didn’t really have a great start. It fell apart on multiple occasions with Reliance demanding a higher valuation which, indeed, they were able to command with a much higher multiple than industry standards. As a part of the deal, Reliance industries will carve its oil-to-chemicals division and will become an independent entity in 5 years. However, for the first 5 years, Saudi Aramco will not directly own shares in the business division, though it will get a chance to appoint a key business leader, tentatively the COO, to oversee it [4]. Apart from this, Saudi Aramco has been on an acquisition spree and making other major investments in Asia to bolster its presence, building refineries in Indonesia, South Korea, China, and Malaysia.

PGDM student from Class of 2019-21 at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, Surya Jain, talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

To put things in perspective, Saudi Arabia’s oil export to the US was ~2,62,053 BPD in July 2019, nearly 62% down from 6,87,946 BPD as compared in August 2018, as a result of the US becoming self-reliant than ever [5]. This has resulted from the US Shale Oil Revolution and has been one of the major reason of OPEC production cut in 2017, resulting in reduced supply to the largest, transparent and timeliest market – The US. At the same time, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie, India will surpass China to become the second-largest oil demand growth center in 2019 remaining only behind the US and helping them offset a slowdown elsewhere through growth in Indian markets [6].

On the backdrop, this deal seems to be a perfect solution for Saudi Aramco to maintain stronghold and grip on the fastest-growing oil market in the world (bolstered by the swelling middle class) where it is facing stiff competition. By competition, we also mean the US, which is ramping up shale exports, and Russia who is looking for new customers and trying to making inroads

Suppliers of Crude Oil to India
Source : Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Stepping into Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s shoes and understanding the story from his perspective, the deal will provide Reliance with the much-required cash to de-leverage its balance sheet, bring net debt to zero by March 2021, and fund the Jio and Digital business [7]. This is part of the company’s larger effort to expand its consumer-facing business including its retail chain, and its effort to move into the technology sector and internet services by diversifying from its core oil refining and petrochemical business. This deal seems to be a perfect synergy between the interests of the world’s largest oil producer and the ambitions of one of India’s largest conglomerates.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

Written by: Surya Jain – PGDM “Apache” Class of 2021

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

References

[1]: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/the-worlds-most-profitable-company-4984378/

[2]:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-14/saudis-defending-coveted-indian-oil-market-with-reliance-tie-up

[3]: https://www.vccircle.com/reliance-to-sell-20-stake-in-oil-to-chemicals-business-to-saudi-aramco

[4]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/ril-to-hive-off-oil-to-chemicals-business-into-separate-company-in-five-years-rils-pms prasad/articleshow/70651943.cms?from=mdr

[5]: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/15/saudi-arabia-dramatically-changing-its-oil-exports-to-china-and-the-us.html

[6]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/india-to-surpass-china-to-become-2nd-largest-oil-demand-centre-in-2019/articleshow/67641257.cms?from=mdr

[7]: https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/reliance-industries-agm-live-updates-mukesh-ambani-jio-giga-fiber-jio-phone-3-ril-stock-price-reliance-plan-12-aug-2019/1672964/

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#instascam – Of Fake Accounts and False Prophets

#instascam – Of Fake Accounts and False Prophets

Mechanics of the Scam:

Influencer marketing is big business today. A study by Swedish e-commerce start-up A Good Company, and HypeAuditor, shows that Indian Instagram influencers have over 16 million fake followers, the third-highest after the US and Brazil [1]. Several influencers use these bogus accounts to boost their vanity metrics such as “likes” and overall engagement.

And brands bite – the study estimates that the fraud has cost marketers $750 million globally. Marketing firm Mediakix predicts that influencer marketing on Instagram could reach $2 billion by the end of 2019. “Influencers” on Instagram and other social media enjoy a wide outreach and leverage this to strike deals with brands and earn sponsorships, pushing products and services to their fake fan base. Many of these influencers try to game the system and make easy money by coaxing brands into thinking they have a larger following than they actually do; they buy followers, likes and even engineer comments on their posts. Companies end up paying a fortune to these influencers for collaboration and in the form of free give-aways to non-existent persons. It is quite easy to buy fake engagement and fake followers online for anyone who knows where to look.

Influencers get more and more creative with their tricks in making their fake followers look genuine

A Cat and Mouse game:

Unfortunately, there is no single fool-proof workaround for this. As much as social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. work to identify fake users, the shady services that sell fake social media engagement always find ways to stay one step ahead. In his great “Manipulating” series on YouTube, Destin Sandlin explains how these social media websites are at war with fake news and fake engagement [2]. You could once spot fake following by checking social media analytics websites such as Social Blade and look for unusual spikes in follower count, given that there has been no major external event that may to the spike [3]. However, services that provide fake engagement have gotten smarter. They allow you to gain followers in a slow, consistent, steady fashion that seems organic to the algorithms of social media websites.

Influencers have a number of fake followers in the form of people, often themselves, and as bots.

So what can be done about it?

Technology companies have dedicated a vast amount of resources to solve this problem using AI-driven algorithms to terminate fake accounts. However, there are certain elementary methods to identify if an account is fake, apart from the ones mentioned earlier.

One of the ways is to analyse the comments. Comments posted by bots or the influencers themselves usually follow a common theme in terms of vocabulary and sentence structure. So if you look for patterns in them, you will usually find overwhelming polarized content and limited writing variety.

Another method is to check the profiles of some of the commenters. If they are overwhelmingly empty accounts with poor post frequency, skewed following-to-followers ratio (fake accounts usually follow a large no. of accounts to engage but have low follower count), or just don’t seem to have any personalized content, there is a very good chance the influencers are buying engagement and scamming companies out of their money.

A typical fake Instagram profile with high Following count as compared to Followers count and a single post, with the image of a celebrity.

In Conclusion:

Methods to spot fake profiles are certainly not fool-proof and can be quite cumbersome, but they can still provide a fair idea about an influencer’s account. Skepticism could be helpful to marketers so that they can take a calculated risk if they’ve got Influencer Marketing on their minds. They should be cognizant of the fact that any random “influencer” may not have their best interests at heart. Nevertheless, influencer culture is here to stay, whether we like it or not. While large corporates may not [need to] invest in this, struggling start-ups and local brands may still try to walk this road as a cost-effective means to create awareness among masses, instead of expensive mainstream advertising.

Written by: Anant Gupta – PGDM “Apache” Class of 2021

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

PGDM Class of 2021 (Apaches) student Anant Gupta

[1]: https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/social/indian-instagram-influencers-have-over-16-million-fake-followers-says-new-study-5830303/

[2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUiYglgGbos&list=PLOY__sF3NWC1rqjRh_KVftNj0j4slUd3Z

[3]: https://socialblade.com/

Summer Internship Stories ’19

Summer Internship is an integral part of a two year MBA program. The experience exposes students to the corporate environment and work culture. It is also an opportunity to network with the peers and seniors working in the industry. Most students in Great Lakes Gurgaon PGDM batch are freshers and summer internship gives them a sneak peek in to the lives of working professionals.

In this series our students from the PGDM batch of 2018-2020 share their experience of interning with different organizations.

Let’s read Simaran Priya’s story talking about her stint at Reliance Retail Ltd. as described by her in her own words.

Consumer behavior was the core area of focus for my internship project at one of the largest retailers in the country, Reliance Retail Limited. As a marketing research intern, I had to study the consumers’ behavior and experience at various Reliance Retail outlets.

The Experience

This research involved direct interaction with over 1000 customers. I had to do everything from working out a questionnaire, to interviewing customers, to gathering and collating all relevant information, to drawing insights. This showed me the true side of a customer’s overall shopping experience – what problems they face while purchasing, how satisfied they were with the availability and variety of products, the quality of the products, their interaction with the store staff, their checkout experience, and so on. Marketing begins with understanding the pain points of the customers. And this is exactly what I was looking for. It was my responsibility to understand the problems faced by clients, what went wrong, what went right. And basis this, I had to suggest viable solutions to tackle those problems.

The Learning

Interacting with customers at a retail store, especially during peak hours, is a herculean task. It’s very difficult to find respondents who would be willing to spare their time for a questionnaire-based survey. Patience is the key to succeeding in such a job, especially when respondents behave in an unwelcoming manner. But there have been some pleasant experiences as well. And you never know who you might be fortunate enough to meet and talk to. My most memorable interactions were with a couple of humble and down-to-earth people I met when they were shopping for jewelry at Reliance Jewels on the occasion of Akshay Tritya. They were the directors of American Express and Housing.com. It was absolutely a delight talking to them and understanding their shopping experience.

The Takeaway

Marketing classes have always taught us to put customers first. Understanding consumer behavior is of utmost importance to any business. The internship experience only reinforced these learnings. When you’re out there, on the field, interacting with your customers, you realize that there is often a stark difference between what the customer wants and what he is sold. Companies cognizant of this fact take all steps necessary to understand their customers first, just like Reliance Retail does. And as an aspiring marketer, understanding consumer behavior has already become the cornerstone of any marketing job that I would take up in my life.


Summer Internship Stories ’19

Summer Internship is an integral part of a two year MBA program. The experience exposes students to the corporate environment and work culture. It is also an opportunity to network with the peers and seniors working in the industry. Most students in Great Lakes Gurgaon PGDM batch are freshers and the summer internship gives them a sneak peek in to the lives of working professionals.

In this series our students from the PGDM batch of 2018-2020 share their experience of interning with different organizations.

Let’s read Emmanuel Swain’s story talking about his stint at S&P Global Inc. as described by him in his own words.

My internship with S&P Global Market Intelligence, Gurgaon (SPGMI) for 9 weeks was one of the most memorable part of my MBA journey.

SPGMI is known to provide actionable insights about the Market to Clients to help them take decisions with convictions. SPGMI was named the 2019 Best Overall Data Provider by Inside Market Data. S&P Global’s India Offices received certification for “Great Place to Work” in 2019. So, I was lucky to grab the opportunity to be a part of the organization as an intern.

The Experience

The internship with S&P Global was exciting, enjoyable and a great learning experience. During the tenure, I got to work on some Challenging and fascinating projects like Building Multiple Predictive Models to find the probability of having a data point in a transaction, Time Series Forecasting for Data Inflow, Python script to use OCR and extract texts from Scanned PDFs. Each of the projects was either to automate the workflow or implementing LEAN on the workflow. Apart from the projects, working along with a group of extremely energetic, creative and talented people was a great experience. The award of “Great Place to Work” was clearly justified.

The Learning

I learnt to use a new tool i.e. Blue Prism (RPA) to create digital workforce for the Organization. Apart from that I learnt how to deal with huge volume of data, Categorical Variables with Multiple Levels, treat missing values, Random sampling, finding the correlation between Categorical Variables using Cramer’s V to build Predictive Model. I got to learn Time Series Analysis algorithm – ARIMA. I got to develop Predictive Models which had a lot of challenges in it. Given a chance to go back to SPGMI as Full time employee, I would love to accept the offer.

The Takeaway

I have always aimed to leverage the power of Data to predict the future. Data Analytics has always been fascinating for me. The projects related to predictive analytics, report building, analysis of data, extraction of data, etc. which S&P Global provided me during my Summer Internship really interests me as I find my aim of joining MBA getting fulfilled.

Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain, with 37,855 restaurants serving over 69 million customers daily in over a hundred countries worldwide [1]. Short time-to-serve, attractive pricing and offers, adapting to local tastes and preferences in different countries, and the traditional McDonald’s Happy Meal have been some of the prominent strategies of the chain that have stood the test of time. They understand the desire of their consumers and keep upgrading and evolving, not just for the consumers but for the benefit of environment as well.

Two British children,aged 7 and 10 have, launched a petition stating that the plastic toys that come with McDonald’s Happy Meal cannot be recycled and often end up being discarded. This petition has already garnered 325,000 petitions [2]. This movement gives a new direction to the firm in a constructive manner. Amidst growing environmental concerns, the fast food chain is also trying to live up to the expectations for minimum or no disturbance to nature. In the past, it has replaced plastic straws and cups with paper ones. Now the focus has shifted towards plastic toys given away by McDonald’s as a part of its Happy Meal packs and its hazardous effect on the environment.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s can now explore new avenues such as “Sweet Edible Toys” of different flavors, which children can enjoy playing with, and would be not only be harmless but also serve as a neat dessert idea after a scrumptious Happy Meal. This would curb the menace of plastic pollution and, at the same time, would entice more kids to ask for a Happy Meal at an outlet. Introducing new variants of these toys with trending animated movie and comic book characters would help the brand and the product build and maintain its clout among its young customers.

Another option they can explore would be personalized happy meal boxes. Young patrons can have their own pictures or personal messages printed on the biodegradable paper boxes used to pack Happy Meals. Binding this with customer-driven social media campaigns for user-generated content can turn out to be a cost-effective marketing strategy and drive more customers to go “I’m Lovin’ It!” Social acceptance and bragging rights are some of the top priorities of the digitally-enabled youth worldwide. Engaging customers in content co-creation would be mutually beneficial for the customers as well as the brand.

The fast-food giant has started taking all possible steps to reduce the harm caused to the environment by its activities. By 2025, McDonald’s plans to use renewable, recyclable and certified materials in all kinds of packaging [3]. “With great power comes great responsibility”, and McDonald’s is very well cognizant of this fact. To survive in the long run, it is imperative for the company to be sensible enough in taking rational decisions which is in-line with the expectation and need of the society as a whole.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

Children these days need not always be enticed with physical incentives such as toys and the likes. Proliferation of technology and increase use of personal devices by younger demographics have opened up doorways to new ideas for types of incentives. A brand like McDonald’s can bring about a revolution and transform itself into an environmentally-responsible brand by going eco friendly or by going digital, or both. This is where we would let the creative heads at McDonald’s’ marketing fraternity do the thinking.

Written by: Ranjeeta Gupta – PGPM “Spartan” Class of 2020

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

References:

[1]: https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/mcdonalds-statistics/

[2]: https://www.wsj.com/articles/mcdonalds-happy-meal-toys-caught-in-backlash-over-plastic-11562583605

[3]: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/mcdonalds-packaging-sustainable-cut-renewable-recycling-latte-levy-a8162231.html

Welcoming the Apaches – PGDM Class of 2019-21

Welcoming the Apaches – PGDM Class of 2019-21

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM Batch of 2021

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, was bustling with energy and excitement on 9th July, 2019, as it welcomed a fresh new batch of PGDM students. The program saw a total of 144 students pouring in from different parts of the country to make this state-of-the-art campus their home for the next two years.

The inaugural ceremony was presided over by dignitaries from Gartner, world’s leading research and advisory company, along with the renowned faculty of Great Lakes Institute of Management.

Dr. Debashis Sanyal, Director of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, with Mr. Arindam Mukhopadhyay, Vice President and Global Head of Consulting COE at Gartner

Dr. Debashis Sanyal, Director, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, addressed the new batch of PGDM students, and applauded them for their well-deserved candidature. He expressed his delight over the growing competition and high-quality of applications that the institute received. After introducing the students to the faculty, he went on to share his wise counsel with the students. He informed the students that this day marks a transition from a structured environment to an unstructured world, where qualities such as flexibility in thinking, benevolent mindset of working in a team, optimism in the face of challenges and failures, and making the most out of time in the campus will help them succeed.

At the commencement, Mr. Arindam Mukhopadhyay, VP and Head, Global Consulting COE, Gartner, delivered the keynote for the orientation of the fresh young minds He congratulated the batch for making it to the premier institute and threw light on what awaits them after they graduate. His presentation drove home the fact that we are living in a dynamic world, where fundamental shifts are occurring across sectors, thus frequent innovation is indispensable to continuous growth. He emphasized on the importance of Industrializing Learning, which refers to developing cognitive thinking in future managers on a wide scale in order to drive constant innovation. He strongly advised students to demonstrate a Champion Mindset. The mindset urges an individual to follow the mantra of “Know it, Own it, Do it, and Persevere” to enhance growth on a community, organization and an individual level.

Furthermore, Mr. Ravi Kumar Anand, Campus Recruitment and Relationship Leader, Gartner, recommended that students research and understand the kind of role they would like to pursue in the future and use this platform to work towards the same by developing the required skillsets for their dream role. He inspired the students to expand their view of possibilities and take charge of their careers by putting sincere and constant efforts.

Dr. Vikas Prakash Singh, Program Director for PGDM Program at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, and Professor of Economics

The commencement event concluded with Dr. Vikas Prakash Singh, Program Director for PGDM at Great Lakes Gurgaon, delivering the vote of thanks and, keeping up with the Great Lakes tradition, announcing the name of the new PGPM batch – The Apaches.

PGDM 2021 Cohort at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Know it, Own it, Do it, and Persevere.

Compiled by Elim Panda, PGPM “Spartan”, Class of 2020

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Why should an Experienced Professional pursue a One-Year MBA Program?

Why should an Experienced Professional pursue a One-Year MBA Program?

Experienced Professionals
PGDM vs One Year MBA Course

Many of us are attracted towards the prospect of earning an MBA within one year by pursuing a PGPM (Post Graduate Program in Management), instead of investing two years in a conventional MBA program, commonly known across B-Schools in India as the PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management). There are ample of institutes and universities abroad that offer one-year full time MBA for working professionals, taking in the best of these experienced professionals and training them to take up much higher roles. And you read it right, these programs are full time and are not the same as part-time executive MBA programs. But how is a two-year course delivered in one year and how does it differ from conventional two-year programs? Who is this program more appropriate for? What are the gains and ROI on a one year MBA? Let’s find out.

Where is the sharp contrast when it comes to a one-year MBA?

A one year MBA program, designed for professionals with at least two years of work experience or more depending on the MBA colleges or business schools offering it, leverages the same experience and industry exposure to steer classroom discussions. Yes, discussions, and not lectures. A typical classroom session involves a faculty member guiding the discussion around concepts and students relating to those concepts through their own professional experiences, applying them to historic business cases and developing pragmatic solutions to business problems. A whirlwind of insights and perspectives ensue, questioning conventional wisdom and the status quo itself. This pedagogy eliminates the need to begin from basics and the faculty can get down to business quicker with such a cohort.

Peer Learning facilitates faster learning and wider perspectives
One Year MBA vs PGDM

Summer internships are not a part of the one-year curriculum as the students already have the industry exposure that they need. Instead, live-projects and experiential learning programs provide an opportunity to work on projects with companies, under the mentorship of a faculty member (and often also an industry mentor) and develop innovative solutions to real-world business problems. This helps a student to be confident as a management professional by the end of the course.

A one year MBA program cuts back on redundancy and gets students to speed by leveraging their own experience. The quality and completeness of the curriculum is maintained to ensure a holistic learning experience, with peer-learning forming a major component of it. People from different educational backgrounds, industries and job profiles come together to share their insights, applying their experiences to concepts and relating them to real-word examples.

A mature and more industry-aware cohort
One Year Management Program for Executives

How intense does it get?

As stated by most premier business schools conducting such programs, one-year programs are quite rigorous but they do bring out the best in each student. Class hours are longer than those in other programs, followed by assignments, projects, readings and case analysis for the next day. To quote a one-year program alumnus from an Ivy League business school, the first few core terms are in fact a pressure cooker. But that same rigor trains a student to stay charged up and handle tense situations and unpredictable challenges at workplace. And what else does this reward one with? Let’s look at the benefits.

A much lesser opportunity cost:

The longer you stay as a part of a workforce, the harder it gets for you to take a break and live without a steady income while pursuing higher education. This opportunity cost increases with the duration of hiatus. Here the opportunity cost is the income that you forego when you take a break from work and pursue higher education. Existing loans and family responsibilities make it even more difficult to take a break for two long years. A one-year program halves the opportunity cost and lets you get back to your professional and personal life in a year.

A quick leap:

There are those who work hard and wait for the next appraisal, traverse the hierarchy and climb up the corporate ladder. And then there are those who jump a few levels and take up managerial roles by investing their time and efforts in management education. It’s one year in a business school versus years of appraisals and job changes. An investment of money, time and effort in the former saves one all the time and effort that would be spent in the latter.

A step ahead of the rest:

While fresh minds are still in their second year of management education and busy getting placed, the one-year graduates are already awaiting their first appraisal. Who wouldn’t want faster returns on investment?

Students from diverse backgrounds in a one-year MBA course

One year programs are gaining more and more traction every year with some of the best MBA colleges in India, such as the Indian School of Business (ISB), Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai and Gurgaon, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), and others offering the One Year MBA in India for experienced professionals, among other MBA courses. Admissions to these programs are conducted through major management entrance exams such as GMAT, CAT and XAT, and follow the same rigorous admission process with Test Score and Profile-Based Shortlisting, Essays or Statements of Purpose, Written Ability Tests, and Personal Interviews. Both types of programs cater to different types of audiences and carry equal credibility. It’s just a question of how appropriate a particular program is for an aspirant based on experience and background.