Alumni Speak: “What Great Lakes offered was a holistic learning approach that helped me immensely in my career.”

Abhishek Agarwal graduated from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, in 2016 and is currently working as the Product Manager at 91Mobiles.com. We recently had a chat with him about his professional life after graduation.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

 

Q1. What were you doing professionally before joining Great Lakes?

Before I started with my MBA at Great Lakes, I was working at IBM developing business applications in SAP for FMCG and utility sector projects.

Q2. It sounds like you had an interesting job profile there. So, what pushed you towards pursuing an MBA and why did you choose Great Lakes for your Master’s?

Yes, it sure was an interesting and challenging job profile, but I realised that there are limitations to how much impact one can have on the decision-making without developing business skills and perspective. Once this realisation kicked in, doing an MBA was the fastest route to achieving my goals.

The prime reasons for choosing Great Lakes, Gurgaon, were the one year advantage, world-class curriculum and the location. Also, a lot of hard work and dedication went into getting accepted in this prestigious institute.

Q3. How did the one year at Great Lakes help you transform?

First of all, I’d like to clear the misconception that one-year MBA’s course structure and curriculum is less challenging than its two-year counterpart. If anything, the one year MBA curriculum is more arduous in nature than a two year one, as you learn the same amount of concepts and fundamentals in lesser time. And trust me when I say that the one year at Great Lakes was so hectic and challenging that now I feel I can take any challenge thrown in my way by the corporate world head-on quite comfortably with poise and ease. Also, Great Lakes made me more of a logical and structural thinker, which is extremely important for my current job role.

Q4. Tell me more about your current organisation and job role.

I am currently working as a Product Manager at 91Mobiles, which is a Gurgaon based startup that helps people find the right gadget at the right price. My job role encompasses everything from product conceptualization to its final implementation.

Q5. Mention the key highlights of your GL experience.

  1. Enlightening guest lectures, unparalleled practical exposure via industry interaction and great faculty
  2. Learning and fun always went hand in hand.
  3. And most importantly, I don’t think I slept for more than 4 hours per day on an average, during my one year at Great Lakes.

Q6. How would you describe the peer learning experience in and beyond the classroom at Great Lakes?

It was, without a doubt, a great experience meeting and learning from the people of my batch who came from diverse professional backgrounds. It made me understand the corporate world from so many different points of views. There is just so much that you can learn in a classroom, but what Great Lakes offered was a chance to learn even from my batch-mates and it is this type of holistic learning approach that helped me immensely in my career.

Q7. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

I would just like to tell them to make the most of their time here at Great Lakes as it will prepare them for the corporate world. You can learn a lot from the faculty and your peers, so keep your eyes and ears open all the time and learn as much as you can. Also, build a solid network as you never know when and where that scrawny kid or the school jock would be able to get you out of a mess or help you crack a deal. Always remember Uncle Bala’s (Great Lakes’ Dean Padmashri Dr. Bala V Balachndran) words, “Your network is your net worth.”

UPI and its Impact on the Mobile Wallet Industry

What is a UPI? How is it different from mobile wallets? Does it have the potential to eat away the market share of mobile wallets?

upi

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UPI (Unified Payments Interface) is an advanced version of IMPS (Immediate Payments System) which do bank to bank money transfer, just by using a Virtual Id/ Virtual Payments Address.

UPI or Unified Payment Interface is a payment architecture with a set of standard app APIs by the Reserve Bank of India in order to facilitate the next generation online immediate payments leveraging trends like increased smartphone adoption, increased app downloads and universal access to data and internet.

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Any smartphone user having a savings or current account with a UPI-partnered bank can download the app to make P2P (peer to peer) and P2M (peer-to-merchant) payments with the use of VPA (Virtual Payment Address).

Thus, in this case, the customer doesn’t need to disclose any sensitive information like bank account number or IFSC code for completing a financial transaction. It eliminates the requirement of entering one’s card details like number, CVV code, expiry date or OTP.

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Virtual Payment Address is just like an Email ID, something of the form yourname@xyzbank, like sonal@sbi or rashmi@citi. No more hassle of entering the account number, IFSC and other beneficiary/payee details. On entering just this VPA and authenticating the transaction with your MPIN, one will be able to complete the transaction successfully in less than 10 seconds.

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UPI’s two-factor authentication makes it safe and only shares the Virtual Payment Address. It doesn’t provide any other sensitive information.

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How can we download the UPI app?

Steps to download the UPI App are as follows:

  • Download the UPI app from 19 participating banks on the below link

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=upi&c=apps&docType=1&sp=CAFiBQoDdXBpegUYAMABAooBAggB%3AS%3AANO1ljJBaXc

 

  • Let’s say we are using Axis Bank’s UPI app. Here’s the welcome screen. SMS will be sent for authentication

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  • Add bank account: you’ll just need to select your Bank & your A/c will show up automatically (based on your mobile number linked with your bank a/c)

 

  • Create a Virtual Payment Address (VPA) which can be sonal@pnb or 123@ubi or pkc@icici or any other name. The suffix will be based on the app you are using. You can create different VPA with different banks pointing to the same account i.e sonal@axis, sonal@ubi or sonal@vijaya can point to one bank a/c, say from PNB

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  • You can even collect money by requesting it from the other person’s VPA

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UPI v/s Mobile Wallets

Currently, there are more than 25 mobile wallets available in market today.

  • Mobile wallets cannot access the UPI Technology on their own because UPI is a cross banking transfer medium and hence can only be accessed by the banks themselves. For mobile wallets to access UPI Technology, they need to partner with some or the other bank. So, in a way for banks which were suffering from the onslaught of mobile wallets, UPI has come as a boon to them that has turned the tables in favour of the banks.

Now, let’s discuss whether UPI has the potential to make mobile wallets redundant in India. Below are some of the characteristics on which UPI and mobile wallets can be compared.

Characteristics UPI Mobile Wallets Conclusion
Transfer Limit Rs 1,00,000/Transaction Rs 10,000 for non-KYC

 

Note: It can be increased upto Rs 1,00,000 post doing a KYC, which very few customers do

UPI will be more advantageous in this case
Transfer to individual and companies Definitely yes In case of wallets, not all wallets can do transfer but yes the major ones like Paytm, Mobikwik, Oxigen etc. allow the transfer to individuals and companies Majorly, both score well in it
Payment at physical stores Any physical store can make arrangements for accepting UPI Transactions In case of the wallet industry, they have to do a personal tie-up with those physical stores like Paytm has done tie-ups with Pizza

Hut, KFC and payments via Paytm wallet is accepted at

their outlets. Similarly, Mobikwik has exclusive tie- ups with Big-Bazaar and CCD

UPI can easily capture this market
Online Payments UPI Can do very well in this Mobile wallets showed their excellence in online payments No Clear Winner here
Cash Back/ Discounts UPI cannot provide any cash back or discounts In case of Mobile wallets, since they have merchant specific tie-ups, they do provide a lot of cash backs and merchant specific discounts Mobile wallets definitely have a great advantage here
Request for payment In UPI, one can ask for money from any person who is registered on UPI network In mobile wallets, few companies are asking allowing request for payment or asking for payment but in their own network UPI has bit of an advantage here
Transaction Cost There is charge of 0.45 paisa on each transaction through UPI No charge is there on transaction in case of mobile wallets Mobile Wallets are the clear winners here
Outreach Possible outreach is larger due to GoI’s Digital India support. Awareness programs and implementation, if executed well, will encourage cashless transactions even in rural and remote places depending on the government initiatives Restricited to marketing and branding strategy of the mobile wallet company and customer segments made aware. However if Mobile wallets work with UPI network they can use it to their advantage. Usually reaching rural places is more difficult for private businesses as it does not make commercial sense UPI has more advantage here

 

There are some Pros and Cons of UPI and Mobile Wallets which have been discussed below:

  UPI Mobile Wallets
Pros ·         Easier to set up and lesser time to execute the transaction.

 

·         No waiting for OTP

 

·         Device independent and form independent. One can use any bank’s app to transfer money in any other bank

 

·         Money gets transferred directly from bank account. We do not required to recharge any wallet or card in UPI

 

·         Marketing might of cash rich banks

 

·         Wallet companies are technology companies

 

 

·         Wallet companies are experts in user interface

·         Strategic tie-ups are increasing day by day and many of them are part of big- ecommerce companies, such as Freecharge is a part of Snapdeal. These help them in extra benefits which they pass on to customers in a way of cash backs, loyalty points etc.

 

·         Other benefits- mobile recharge, Bill Split, micro credit facilities etc which may not be possible for UPI to provide.

Cons ·         Lack of technology prowess

·         No Strategic tie-ups

·         Company dependent

·         Extra KYC for higher transactions

·         Fraud Concerns

·         Too much competition

UPI certainly has more advantages over Mobile wallets but as per the current scenario in India, it doesn’t mean that mobile wallets will become redundant.

In India, which is majorly a cash run economy both can co-exist as of for now. Mobile wallets have to do some tweaking in their business model and they are in a process of doing it. Some examples are listed below:

  • Paytm will soon get their own Payment Bank license through which they can enter in the main stream of UPI and can launch a UPI based Paytm app
  • Free Charge has tied –up with Axis Bank and will provide UPI based transaction on their platform
  • Phone Pe, which is owned by Flipkart, has launched a new app in collaboration with Yes Bank where both the UPI transactions and wallet benefits are there
  • ICICI pockets, which was a wallet by ICICI Bank but wasn’t doing well, has now been integrated with UPI. So, one can have the benefits of both in their Pockets app

We can have these apps integrated with the benefits of both UPI and Mobile Wallets.

 

Author : Sonal Gupta

PGDM Class of 2018, Great Lakes

5 hours and 247 pages: The Seven Day Weekend

5 hours and 247 pages: The Seven Day Weekend

Business team with hands together - teamwork concepts, isolated

 

Last night I opened a book and 5 hours and 247 pages later, the book had broadened my thinking. That book was titled – “The Seven Day Weekend”, authored by Mr. Ricardo Semler.

The best part of reading a good book is that the horizons of the reader’s mind get broadened and he becomes wiser than he was before opening the book. What I realised post this mini-readathon was – 1) I was ready for the scheduled book review session. 2) I got something to read which was insightful not just in terms of business perspective, but also helped me to focus on what I actually want from my professional life and 3) the approach I have had with me actually does exist in the business world and firms do exist and make good profit by implementing the same approach.

The primary reason as to why this piece of work is admirable and inspirational is that the author talks of having chosen employee happiness and satisfaction as the driving force of his business, unlike the more bottom-line obsessed business workplaces.

The author shares his experience of working at Semco (the company headquartered at Sao Paulo, Brazil), where he wants not just him (the CEO), but also his employees, customers, suppliers and community to be happy. The real motivation or the driving force behind a successful company is not growth, not profits, not power, not status, but Happiness.

Along the way, he asked himself, “If the workweek is going to slop over into the weekend, then why can’t the weekend, with its precious restorative moments of playtime, my time, and our time, spill over into the workweek?” The author then provides a roadmap to achieve personal and professional success.

The stressful and many a times overloaded workweek robs us of our passion and pleasure, it destroys family and community stability, and sets up businesses to fail once they have burned out their employees and burned through ever more manipulative and oppressive strategies.

The book describes how managers can turn the repetition, boredom and aggravation of the usual workweek into an environment that is filled with joy, inspiration and freedom.

I do believe that the old way of doing business is sprinting towards its deathbed, and the time has come to re-invent and re-engineer the way of doing business which could be more or less like the Semco’s way, aimed at fulfilling the central purpose of business. Thus, a satisfactory and rewarding life can be made possible for the entire workforce for their hard work. In order to achieve that, it is important to treat co-workers like intelligent mature adults by allowing them to manage themselves. This, as a business model, has worked like a charm for Semco and could possibly be put to use at any organization, anywhere in the so business world that wants to move beyond traditional thinking to a more democratic realm.

While highlighting how flexibility in work time and self-management by employees can work wonders to improve a company’s bottom line, it also narrates how self-organized employee groups can harness extra potential to bring about change in productivity just by eliminating time lags. The book supports encouraging employees to rely on their own intuition and use it in the workplace with a combination of reasoning and experience to reach a decision.

The book is full of stories from Semco’s everyday existence and is a joy to read. Time and again these stories illustrate that one must not opt for the easy way out.

On one hand, it is a thought-provoking guidebook that reveals how freedom and happiness can lead a business to success. On the other, it is an easy, fun to read book as it shares the day to day experiences at the workplace. Also, it is 100% free of MBA-jargons.

Author : Kinshuk Chaturvedi

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes

B2B Marketing – Changing the framework

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Business-to-Business Marketing (B2B Marketing) directly involves the sale of a product/services from a company to another company.

B2B marketing techniques rely on the same fundamentals as consumer marketing, the difference lies in the execution of strategies and techniques. In consumer markets, the decision to purchase a product/service lays not just on the price, but also on its popularity, status and/or any other emotional trigger. While in the case of B2B, purchase decisions are made primarily on the basis of price and profit potential.

Core fundamentals of B2B marketing revolve around building relationships that guarantee lasting customers, which is the primary goal (other than having a larger customer base) for any company irrespective of its size of operations. It is a domain which is less focused upon but is the frontier for any business to grow and sustain in any industry. It has been the focus of many organizations, where the sharpest of business minds had the untapped potential which could be brought to use not just to generate revenues, but for making enormous profits from their business activities.

A lot of focus has been directed and emphasis has been laid upon different horizons surrounding the B2B marketing that ranges from market structures and drivers to growth, customer categorization and buyer types to decision aspects, etc.

The main attraction of B2B marketing lies in the evolution of its framework, i.e. from product oriented approach to a solution based model. The product oriented model is well known as 4Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion and Place) and it has been used by marketers for decades. With the ever evolving technologies and the presence of web services has made the classic principles appear archaic as modern buyers learn almost everything about the business, the 4Ps of marketing are increasingly at odds with the imperative to how B2B marketing functions in this modern age. Hence, retooling the 4Ps has become a necessity for today’s B2B reality.

It is not that the 4Ps have become irrelevant, but there is a dire need to reinterpret them to serve B2B markets. The model shifts the emphasis from Product to Solution, Place to Access, Price to Value and Promotion to Education/Educate, i.e. SAVE.

SAVE

Solution: Instead of marketing the products, the focus needs to be shifted to a solution based approach. Basically, it means selling of benefits instead of just features.

Access: The idea here is not to disseminate the base location, but to create a cross-channel presence that considers a customer’s entire purchasing cycle/process and not just the place to seal the deal.

Customers want the business to be accessible and available as per their time of requirement, suitability, and a mutual assurance that you (the business) have their backs if something goes wrong.

Value: Compelling and convincing communication about the benefits rather than features is something that helps businesses gain pricing power. Thus, value based pricing holds a distinct advantage and has a better approach over competitive pricing.

Education: Educating prospects as to what the solution is and how it meets their unforeseen needs/requirements by interacting with the customers and evaluating their needs. Thus, providing information and advice to create a sense of familiarity and trust even before the purchase is made. In other words, educating prospects about the business solution attracts more than just promoting the product or service.

In a nutshell, the organizations that continue to embrace the fading model of 4Ps, run the potential risk of involving their business into a repetitive and increasingly unproductive competition.

As the customer has more say in the business-customer relation, embracing a framework that would reflect the actual concerns of the customers should possibly help marketers create and provide better value for the people and meet their needs.

Author : Kinshuk Chaturvedi

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes

Faculty Speak: Prof. Umashankar Venkatesh, Director, PGPM Gurgaon

Great-Lakes-Prof.PURNA CHOUDHARY INTERVIEWED PROF. UMASHANKAR VENKATESH, DIRECTOR – PGPM AND PROFESSOR. PROF. UMA HAS A RICH EXPERIENCE OF OVER 26 YEARS. HE IS AN EXPERT IN THE FIELD OF MARKETING.

Please brief us about your educational and work experience prior to joining GLIM, Gurgaon.

PROF. UMA: To start with, I was an agricultural sciences student and earned a graduate qualification in agricultural economics before joining an MBA program. After my MBA, I worked in the FMCG industry for a while before reverting back to academics. Started my career as a faculty member in a state university and went on to a series of business schools in India, wherein in many, I was a founding member. In between, I completed a doctorate in management in the specific area of consumer behaviour. I have been deeply immersed in academic administration; entrepreneurship and quality management since my Lectureship days, which continues till date. Prior to joining Great Lakes, I was Professor and Area Chair – Marketing, at the International Management Institute, New Delhi. My research and publication focus largely around issues in consumer behaviour and marketing of services. My recent published work is in the area of internet shopper segmentation and use of social media in tourism. Two of my co-authored cases are published by Richard Ivey and are listed in the Harvard Business School Publication’s Case Inventory. I also conduct MDPs and other training programs in industry and academia mainly for banks, civil services, PSUs, hospitality companies etc.

What interested you most towards the field of marketing?

PROF. UMA: Always fascinated by aspects of consumer behaviour and trying to understand why people manifest a particular kind of buying behaviour. The underlying thought process and value system that individuals approach purchase situation with, is something that is of enormous importance for anyone wanting to be a marketing professional. I cut my teeth in marketing as a practitioner first and that too in the cutting edge area of sales management. The FMCG selling process is something that gave my first hand exposure to the dynamics of consumer buying behaviour and since then I have been learning new things about this every day.

Please guide us with the various career prospects in the domain of marketing.

PROF. UMA: Obviously, the digital space is the happening space and you should look at aligning your learning and skill building endeavours with this domain. Internet and mobile based businesses are ramping up at an astronomical pace and will remain a fertile area for future entrepreneurial and employment opportunities. Marketing analytics is another emerging area that will grow rapidly in times to come. You have the option of getting skilled in this area and leverage the same to create opportunities for yourself. Another thought that comes to mind is that we must readily lend ourselves equally to sales and sales management oriented roles within marketing along with other marketing roles such as – product/brand management; research; customer care etc. This will really enhance your possibilities and increase the scope of growth areas and roles that you may be able to land.

If you are not teaching, what else do you like to do?

PROF. UMA: I travel frequently to the hills whenever I find some time and find solace in reading stuff that I do not get the chance and time to read, which is fiction and poetry.

Humour is an integral part of your lectures. How much of it would you attribute to your being a follower of Russel Peters?

PROF. UMA: Well, I pre-date the gent so named hence he should be asked this question…!! On a more serious note, I do believe that this is an effective way to impart understanding as otherwise some topics and subjects can become a bit too dry and pedestrian to impart to a set of (impatient) learners.

– PURNA CHOUDHARY

Samurais, PGPM Gurgaon Class of 2016

A Terrible Affair

Last time when I had this feeling I was in eighth standard and I shouted in the hollow halls of my mind, “et tu Newton”. I had seen his pictures sitting under a tree with an apple and thought of him as a nice lad; little did I know that he would turn out to be one of my tormentors later. His three laws were like three Japanese anime women, very innocent and pretty upfront but as you live with them and dig deeper they reveal their nastiness. Anyhow, with false self-confidence I wasted my few years trying to master it.

They say “history repeats itself”, never expected my history cycle to be so short. Coming back to the present, last week I had a blind date with this old forgotten feeling. “Et tu Lintner and Sharpe”, I cried yet again in misery. The two noble men as in Nobel winning men one fine day decided that it was up to them to give this world a standard method for measuring risky investments and expected returns. The length of the previous sentence is too short to justify the complexity of the method and too long considering my answers in the exam sheet. After a lot of work and toil they named it after their favourite after-high snacks as CAPM. Capital Asset Pricing Method.

My MBA was going great, I made ardent notes in the classes of Organizational behaviour and applied all my intellect learnt while preparing for IITs in the HRM lectures. The customer decision journeys were way easier than my own and I could relate to the trinity point (it was impossible to keep all three women happy at the same time). To foolishly extend the point as a habit, I would say that I even conquered the Bernaullis and the Poissons, it was tough but I did it and I was all Alexander till I met the Financial Management of Managementshire.

I was told that it was a thin stream of fresh water which will provide me with fresh perspective and widen my horizon like never before. That tiny stream turned out to be a salt water lake shored up by quick sand and had crocodiles as its natural habitat. I faced it bravely for the first couple of lectures but sadly in the growing perpetual pain I had to sit up without discounting the hazards of failing end term. I clenched the rope when I heard that only two lectures were left, and I was smiling all too happily. Then someone in his usual tone shouted, “guys!, guys! …we have our midterm in the next class and after the two left classes we will be having the end term, and Oh yes, you will have to submit the projects by the end of month.” Undeniably it gave me fresh perspective and it did widen up my horizons.

It was during the midterm that I realized that I had a very peculiar disease called SETD(specifically exam time dyslexic). I had my first stroke while giving the financial management midterm and my God that was horrible. I could not even construct the words and read them because of which I could not perform my level best otherwise I was well prepared. I still think it was my competitors’ plan; they must have brushed my exam paper with LSD powder. That time I thanked God that the exam paper had alternatives and we had to tick mark.

After that amazingly horrific experience I just waited for the course to get over and then…I met my blind date. Her name was ‘Beta’ and it represented the risk sensitivity. True to its name, it played a major role in the end term. While I was ball dancing with CAPM, Modigliani and Miller played the Music in the background trying their best to make my life hell. Finally, the course was over with Mr. Miller who ended party with a toast to the Unlisted firms and bankruptcy, and I said to myself, “what an Irony?”

The end term is over now and I am yet to calculate the cost of capital involved here, but I have learnt one law (nature’s or otherwise) that “higher the risk, higher the gain” so let us see, the risk is definitely on the higher side, I expect the returns to follow too.

– Animesh Bajpai

PGPM Class of 2015

My Summer Internship Experience

Summer Internship, I was told, was one of the most important part of my MBA as I would get a chance to apply the knowledge gathered and get a reality check on my progress over the first year. So, naturally, I was all excited to start my internship at Feedback Infra Services Pvt. Ltd. – a Consulting firm in Gurgaon, which provides services in varied domains extending from Energy, Transport and Hospitals to Real estate.

I am doing internship in the Energy Domain, specifically in Transmission & Distribution under able guidance of my company Guide and would like to share my first month’s experience. On the very first day, a project on “”Detailed Analysis of Privatization of Transmission & Distribution” was allotted to me. The scope of project was to carry out a detailed study of the Power Transmission & Distribution sector from the very beginning – i.e., the inception of the first Electricity Act 1910. I happen to have worked in Transmission & Distribution for almost 4 years in Reliance Power Transmission Ltd. and was expecting to work on something new during my internship. Nonetheless, I was kicked about it as I saw this as an opportunity to delve deeper into the history of one of the greatest discovery of all times – Electricity.

I was determined to prove my mettle with this study and to improve my prospects at getting better projects in the future. This was one of the numerous life lessons I learnt from my professors during my first year at Great Lakes – that in order to get something, you must first deserve it. So I worked and worked and worked hard for it. And it paid off too, as my next was a live project on “Market Assessment of EPC Companies in Transmission & Distribution” for a foreign investor.

It has been little over a month since I joined and I have got the opportunity to work and be a part of about 10 different projects out of which, two were specially assigned to me by the Associate Director of Feedback Infra. Some of the projects are tough as no data or information is readily available for analysis but that’s what has made work fun – especially making reports after analyzing different upcoming/projected programs in the power sector.

My first month here at Feedback Infra, was very challenging to say the least but there was also a lot to learn and I would like to thank my mentors at Great Lakes for providing me such a wonderful opportunity.

Vipul Tiwari

Member, Student Council
Ojas, PGPM (Energy) Class of 2014
Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon