International Yoga Day 2017 – An Exhilarating & Rejuvenating Experience

 

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self and to the self”

      -Bhagavad Gita

Yoga provides a holistic workout wherein it helps us beat the stress and attain inner peace by relaxing the mind, making internal organs healthier and toning our body. Three years ago our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, persuaded the United Nations to declare 21st June as the International Yoga Day and the third edition of International Yoga Day was celebrated with full zest and enthusiasm by the Gladiators (PGPM batch 2017-18) at the Gurgaon campus of Great Lakes Institute of Management.

The day started with all the students geared up to take a step towards a better and healthier future. It was a time to recall the disciplines that originated in ancient India. Our entire batch of 120 students, along with our dear Prof. S K Palhan, did asana and pranayama to embark on the journey of a healthier and happy mind. The following meditation session was full of tranquillity and helped us eliminate all our anxiety and worries. Yoga session was followed by team games and nutritious breakfast comprising of detoxifying drink and fruits.

The ultimate purpose of International Yoga day is to promote Yoga and endeavour towards making it a part and parcel of everyone’s daily routine. Needless to say, the benefits of a yogic routine are numerous and keeping this in mind, we, as the future business leaders, pledged to practice yoga in our daily lives making the day truly successful.

 

Author: Sakshi Khurana

PGPM Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 56 – Responsibility

My dear friends,

The conventional meaning of responsibility is duty & accountability.

If you accept its wider meaning as ‘response-ability’, then the scenario expands.

Responsibility vis-à-vis ‘Response ability’

For example, if you see someone dying on the street out of an accident, are you responsible? The conventional meaning will suggest you “No”. But by the second meaning, you have so many options.

  1. If you are a doctor, you will try direct intervention.
  2. If you are not, you may call an ambulance.
  3. If you don’t have ambulance contact, you may yourself take him to the nearest hospital.
  4. If you are not in a car, you may stop the next passing car and escort him to the hospital.
  5. If you discover the identity of the injured person, you may inform his kith and kin.

Responsibility is enslavement or freedom?

Your eraser falls off a table. If you feel you are responsible, you have several choices before you:

  1. You could simply bend down and pick it up.
  2. You could ask someone to help.
  3. You might pick it up when you leave the table.

You have a variety of options. But if you don’t take responsibility, you have nothing to choose from. Which is freedom? To have choices or to have none?

Responsibility is self-application

When we praise a person as being responsible, what exactly we mean? Primarily we think that he takes charge of the job assigned to him. He does not lack “self-application”. I remember when I was the Chief (Planning) at NHPC, one manager was posted from the field. His table used to be absolutely clean with all the papers shifted from the “In” tray to the “Out” tray. The secret, I discovered, was that as soon as any paper would arrive on his table; he would start looking at it from the angle “which direction it should be marked to, downward, lateral or to some other department for action/ comments” in other words “passing the buck”. He was not prepared to take responsibility for any of the issues. He soon became a symbol of non-self-application and proved unfit for the department.

Responsibility vis-à-vis Courage & Leadership

Taking responsibility is the ultimate essence of personal courage. The following is a fine example of personal courage on one side and magnanimity & leadership on the other.

In 1979, India launched its first SLV-3 built by ISRO, whose Chairman was Prof. Satish Dhawan and APJ Abdul Kalam was Project Director of SLV Mission. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure. Failure analysis was done and presented to the chairman Prof. Dhawan. Everyone was convinced about the technical cause-and-effect sequence and future failure management measures got settled. Just before the meeting was over, Dr Kalam suddenly stood up and said “Just 4 minutes before the launch, I had observed some leakage of Red Fuming Nitric Acid (RFNA) but ignored it thinking it was insignificant. As a Mission Director, I should have put the launch on hold and saved the flight. In a similar situation abroad, the Mission Director would have lost his job. I, therefore, take responsibility for the SLV-3 failure” Touched by Kalam’s honesty and personal courage in taking the responsibility, Prof. Dhawan said, “I am going to put Kalam in orbit!”

Dr. Kalam was very frightened to face the media and answer their criticism of wasting millions of people’s money. Prof. Satish Dhawan took Dr.Kalam to the press meet and made him sit aside and he said “We failed! But I have very good trust in my team that next time we will be succeeding for sure” and made everyone believe in the team’s competence.

The very next year, 18 July 1980, the same team led by Dr. Kalam successfully launched Rohini RS-1 into the orbit. The whole country was proud and cheering for the success of the launch. Prof. Satish Dhawan congratulated Dr. Kalam and the team and asked Dr. Kalam to conduct the press conference that day. The rest is History. Dr. Kalam led many more successful launches and became “Missile Man” of India. This would not have happened without what Prof. Satish Dhawan did on the day of his failure!

“Taking responsibility is the greatest mark of a great leader.”

Former U.S. President Harry S Truman was known to say, “The buck stops here.” That meant that people below his level may “pass the buck” or not take responsibility, but he could not afford to do so because he had the ultimate responsibility!

Invisible emotions driving one towards responsibility

There seem to be three invisible emotions which drive one towards responsibility. These are Love, Fear and Greed. If you love someone you feel responsible towards his/her concerns. If you have some kind of fear like losing your job; you will be forced to take responsibility. If you have any sort of greed say getting a fast-track promotion, you would try to take higher and higher responsibility to prove yourself. Taking responsibility makes you win hearts, getting over fear and accomplishing scintillating success. So, Take the responsibility and win the world!

 

Satyamev Jayate!!!

With Best Wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu, BE (Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., D.Eng. (Hon), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)

Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurugram, INDIA

Alumni Speak: “The two years at Great Lakes helped me understand the dynamics and parameters of management from all possible dimensions.”

Abhijit Panda, a student of PGPM (E) 2015-17 batch, recently got recruited as a Pre-sales Consultant by HCL. Let’s find out what he had to say about his Great Lakes journey.

Q1. What led to your decision of pursuing an MBA?

“I’ll have to start at the beginning for that. I completed my B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from CV Raman College of Engineering Bhubaneswar, Odisha and after working on the technology front in IT sector for four years, the job profile got extremely monotonous and devoid of any sort of real challenge. I wanted to go back to school to unlearn and learn new crafts. I wanted to understand various aspects of business that help professionals take strategic decisions. I also wanted to have a 360-degree outlook of the global business scenario around me. Hence, in order to understand various key aspects of business (Financial, Marketing, Operational etc.), I decided to undertake a formal full time MBA course.”

Q2. How did the two years at Great Lakes help you transform? Did you achieve your goals for which you wanted to pursue an MBA?

“Absolutely. These two years at Great Lakes helped me understand the dynamics of management from all possible dimensions. I could understand the strategies, parameters, regulatory frameworks at play which govern the entire business ecosystem. The intensive classroom teaching along with guest lectures by industry experts broadened my learning curve and the live project opportunities were really helpful for my preparation.”

Q3. Mention two key personality traits that you acquired during your Master’s?

“The two important and key traits were Leadership and Time Management. Being a student council member as well as a member of various committees helped me immensely in acquiring the above-mentioned traits.”

Q4. That is great. So, what all communities were you a part of?

“I was a member of three student committees; BPR (Branding & Public Relations), Toastmasters and CREST (Annual Management Fest).”

Q5. Mention three key highlights of your program.

The three key highlights would be:

  1. Diverse and Industry Relevant Subjects offered in the course.
  2. High-quality Mentoring sessions by Professors
  3. Live project opportunities to enhance skill sets and be industry ready.

Q6. What advice would you like to give to the future Great Lakers?

“My advice to the future Great Lakers would be to come to Great Lakes with an open mind to learn and create new dimensions. You will receive an enormous amount of support from everyone out here as well as ample avenues to showcase your talents. Work hard, build new skills, innovate, participate in prestigious B-school fests and be the best version of yourself as you walk out of the campus post two years.”

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.”

Analytics v/s Content in Marketing

Stephen Covey in his highly acclaimed book wrote the following,

“But shortly after World War I the basic view of success shifted from the character ethic to what we might call the personality ethic. Success became more a function of personality, of public image, of attitudes and behaviours, skills and techniques, which lubricate the processes of human interaction.”

To a great extent, marketing is also fighting a similar character v/s personality syndrome; of course, in its own flavour. For example, the founder of Stayzilla stated the following during the time of its closure, “During the last three to four years, though, I can honestly state that somewhere I lost my path. I started treasuring GMV, room-nights and other ‘vanity’ metrics instead of the fundamentals of cash flow and working capital.”

He further adds, “In one of my digital marketing campaigns, I got the chance to work with a renowned CMO directly. In one conversation, he stated that nowadays there’s a lot of fuss around analytics. It seems that analytics tend to drive everything but in reality, it’s the other way round. Analytics provide you with the insights of your campaigns and give you more intuitive understanding of SWOT elements of your marketing campaigns. But if you are first deciding the metrics and then, deciding the rest, you are playing a very risky business.”

In recent job description of marketing, you will easily find responsibilities parts as:

  • Drive online traffic
  • Track conversion rates
  • Utilise range of techniques like paid search, SEO and PPC
  • Social media strategy

In only one JD of digital marketing, have I found the following words:

  • Content development
  • Email marketing
  • Excellent writing abilities
  • Creative/consultative slide ware/content creation
  • Creativity, passion to innovate

The point I am trying to make is that marketing is a creative work. When a prospect visits your website, he/she will only become hooked when he/she comes across remarkable things, which in turn is driven by content. If your content has high engagement potential, metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on a webpage will definitely be rewarded. Take, for example, YouTube viral videos. Kevin Alloca in his TED talk mentioned that a viral video comprises humorous and surprising elements with a point to get across to its audience. Can we see any analytics-based approach? It’s pure human emotions that are defining such viral videos’ success, not Google analytics or super computer algorithm. Yes, such insights will help you in deciding what to publish on YouTube to make it more productive. But again, it will be content that will decide the success of the upcoming video.

In conclusion, I would like to end with the following quote by Seth Godin,

“Content marketing is the only marketing left “.

 

Author: Rupam Lathwal

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Purple Cow

Destructive marketing is built in products

Traditional ways of marketing are gone. The old virtuous cycle of ‘buy ads – get distribution –sell product – buy ads’ is now gone for good. So, what is the new way to cut the hyper-clutter and stand out in marketing and sell your product?

Stop advertising and start innovating.

Seth Godin, the marketing guru and bestselling author, explains the new era marketing strategy in a unique manner of a purple cow. Suppose you are travelling to someplace and you see the normal black and white cows that you encounter almost every day. Would you look at them twice? Would you talk to your friends about them? No, right? But, what if it’s a purple cow? The chances of discussing a purple cow are definitely much higher. In the same manner, any product which is remarkably different than the ones existing in the industry will raise curiosity among the potential customers.

Remarkable Product

It comes from people who are making something for themselves.  From here, they are able to project the same for multiple audiences. Here are a few examples:

  • Howard Schultz spent months in Italy, drinking coffee and learning. He was in love with coffee. Thus, Starbucks evolved.
  • Rony Abovitz, CEO Magic Leap, drew inspiration from his childhood fascination with scientific fiction in Star Wars. Later, he started working on augmented reality in his garage in Miami and went on to becoming the fastest Unicorn after first equity round.
  • Ray Kroc, coming from the sales background, fell in love with McDonald’s on his very first visit. Later, during the opening of his first store in Chicago, he emphasised on creating the exact taste of French fries and went on to contact research fellows in many universities to replicate the same Californian taste.
  • At around late 2007, roommates Chesky and Gebbia could not afford the rent for their apartment in San Francisco.They decided to put their loft on rent online(on their own website) with beds for three guests and homemade morning breakfast. They named this concept as Air bed and breakfast which is now known as Airbnb.
  • On a snowy Paris evening in 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had trouble hailing a cab. In order to solve this very obvious and every day modern human problem, they started Uber – tap a button, get a ride. How simple can it get!

Sneezers

Zespri had a daunting task to launch a new kind of kiwi which is golden in colour with an edible peel. Instead of mass marketing the new food in U.S., Zespri took a risk and introduced it in an upscale Latino community. This community is a regular eater of mangoes and papaya which closely resembles the new kiwi but tastes very different. Such niche Latino community had both the time and the inclination to try something new and different. Over a period of time, this Kiwi grew in popularity among Latinos that Zespri (back in 2001) made a business of $100 million worth.

Sneezers are the first category of people on earth who will, willingly, learn about your product, take the risk to try a product, and bear the pain of introducing it to their friends. This way, marketing strategy becomes much more productive and cheaper. Another benefit in targeting such genre of potential customers is that they are always on the lookout for new stuff. This requires minimum advertisements and marketing expenditure. All you need is to be creative enough to come in their eyesight and, automatically, the rest of the story unfolds.

In case, if you are short of ideas,

  • Find the niche market
  • Create the remarkable product in the right way 

Law of Diffusion

Today, even with narrowing down your potential customers through digital means, your marketing efforts can still fail. The reason being you are one of the 50 marketers who is targeting the same individual for the same set of products and services.

Hence, rather than a push marketing, marketers should devise a pull strategy.

 

law-of-diffusion

  1. Left to Right

Most of us are already aware of ‘Crossing the Chasm’ by Geoff Moore. How can’t it be given a serious thought over here? An idea spreads from innovators to early adopters to the early/late majority (sneezers comes before these). The company should target the innovators and early adopters and strategically build the initial marketing efforts around these two categories. Using the typical mass media strategies would not be of much help at this stage.

  1. Marketing Budget Offloading

The maximum sales and profits come from early and late majority people. Only when your product is being accepted by these people, then only you should offload your maximum budget. Many great astonishing products spent most of its capital on mass marketing. Such marketing efforts came too soon before the idea spreads.

Take-aways:

  1. The message that Tiffany’s blue box and Leaning Tower of Pisa delivers, Pantheon in Rome does not. The marketing is not done for a product. It’s built right in.
  2. Greatest remarkable products and companies such as Starbucks, Apple, Disney, Reliance Industries have been started and successfully ran by marketers. From product development, manufacturing to communicating the value proposition, such passionate marketers have their heads involved in the entire product cycle.
  3. When the company becomes big, it loses its entrepreneurial charm and focuses on profitability. Hence, pick the right maverick in your company for product development and get out of his way.
  4. Work with sneezers. Get Permission from them. Alert them beforehand on upcoming products. Work with them to sell your idea to a wider Audience. (Donald Trump utilised such ‘Stakeholder Driven Media’ internet platforms like breitbart.com to spread his ideology to significant yet unique Americans).
  5. If your company has reached a stage, where nothing seems to be working and marketing department is facing the major brunt, talk to your engineers or product developers and customers. Rather than selling what they wanted to sell, new Best Buy CEO, Brad Anderson, listened to customers and realigned the entire strategy based on their inputs. Often, it was hard and longer in approach but produced more results (and, cheaper too), than typical boring ads and staying that way.
  6. Learn from people who have a track record of launching such remarkable products. Dive deep into the fans’ magazines, trade shows, design reviews – do whatever it takes to feel what your fans feel.

 

Author: Rupam Lathwal

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 55 “Sincerity”

My dear friends,

Please think if you have ever searched for,

  1. A single term which can be the root of all the attributes you wish to count and evaluate at the time of appraisal of people working with you.
  2. A single characteristic which distinguishes you as an outstanding and successful person?
  3. A single virtue which can revolutionise our national life and character.

It is SINCERITY, SINCERITY, and SINCERITY!!!

Please don’t get surprised to know that-

  1. I have had a professional friend who if promised me a time when he would revert over the telephone; never failed in his life; MTNL, VSNL, be it any service network, never failed him.
  2. A relative of mine was known for his punctuality so much so that people used to correct their wrist watches with his time of reporting to his own high office and other social events.
  3. I have a family friend who has never failed till date to wish me, my wife, my children and my grandchildren to greet us on our respective birthdates.
  4. My wife has not failed even once to feed me on time till date in the last over 40-years of our married life.
  5. My boss in England, suddenly having trouble with his eyesight one day in his office, was to be rushed to the Hospital. Before leaving office he dictated a two page letter regarding my forthcoming visit to Scotland for the concerned person to receive and take care of me and my wife since we were foreigners visiting their country for the first time.

I can go on counting such examples which are propelled by one single characteristic i.e. “sincerity”.

Sincerity encompasses a large domain of virtues

Sincerity means Genuineness, Honesty, Loyalty, Seriousness, Earnestness, Authenticity, Truthfulness, Integrity, Probity, Forthrightness, Bona-fides, good faith, trustworthiness, straightforwardness, openness, candidness, uprightness, unpretentiousness etc. etc. Sincerity comes out of love, respect, commitment and human virtues imbibed within.

Sincerity Vis-à-vis Job Performance & Success

At Reliance Energy Management Institute, Mumbai we once discovered that all the dozen odd evaluated attributes for Job performance like Job knowledge, quality & quantity of output, time management, cost consciousness, planning & organising, initiative, customer orientation & responsiveness etc. were all linked to “Sincerity” at the roots.

Swami Vivekananda once said “Every successful man must have behind him somewhere tremendous sincerity and integrity and that is the cause of his signal success in life. The degree of sincerity marks the degree of success everywhere.”

Sincerity at the focal point of a strong national character: Japanese Example

Let me start from a story that stays in my mind since long. In a Japanese Railway compartment an old lady takes out a needle and thread from her purse and starts stitching a seat cover that had opened up. Someone asked “was it not the duty of the railway authorities” She replied, “it was the duty of every citizen since it was a national property”. The Japan Railway and other connecting subways and systems are well-known for their incredibly punctual schedules. As such, when there is a delay of even “a minute”, they issue late slips for passengers to take to their employers. After all, it leaves a very bad impression if you’re late to work.

It’s not uncommon for people to work several more hours after their contractual quitting time to complete the day’s targeted output. No overtime payments expected!

Japanese tourists pick up trash from around camp sites and rest stops even when they didn’t make the mess themselves. Japanese students clean their schools by themselves for a good 30 minutes each day. Making it your business to keep communal space clean is a distinct mindset emerging out of your sincerity towards the environment.

Soon after arriving in Japan, when Casey Baseel was still getting used to commuting by train instead of a car, he left his bag on the Yamanote Line. As soon as he noticed, he told the stationmaster, who suggested him to wait for 60 minutes until the same train came back around, as the Yamanote is a loop line. Sure enough, when it did, his bag was right where he had left it. Nothing was taken from inside. I found similar things happening with me in London Tube Train!

The latest government survey on national character has found that 83% of Japanese if they were to be reborn, would choose to live in Japan rather than anywhere else though more than 60% said they feel apprehensive about natural disasters.

Sincerity to each other, sincerity to the Community, sincerity to the Society, sincerity towards Environment, sincerity to the Nation, sincerity to the land of your birth-all in one !!

Can we take some lesson to enrich our life?

 

Satyamev Jayate!!!

With Best Wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu, BE (Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Eng. (Hon), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)

Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurugram, INDIA