Random B-School Musings

Random B-School Musings

Even as term 4 for PGPM 2018 is underway, it seems like yesterday when I entered the campus of Great lakes institute of management, Gurgaon. I think it will be fair for me to say that by now our learning curve has grown exponentially (I was actually looking for an even more superlative word) for having studied twenty two courses in these four and a half months. In the aftermath, however, we have sixteen ‘not so frequently opened’ yet bulky pillow sized books for our perusal (I honestly don’t know when and how these will actually be used.)

But as I recount the seemingly short experience here, I struggle to describe how awesome this journey is panning out to be. I am unable to elucidate that feeling where, on a Friday night – 11:53 PM to be exact – you are still in the Academic block and ceaselessly trying not to miss the midnight deadline for a class group project and at the same time keeping your subconscious mind alert about the pre-reads you have for next day’s schedule that has an early morning lecture on Statistical methods for decision making and Financial accounting.

TGIF? Nah, not for a B-schools student. (Now I know why corporates crave for Fridays)

But all this seems lame and off-centre without the most important ingredient in this recipe for what I call the ‘B-school Khichdi’ – “The almost ready future Manager”.  Yes, the My B-school herd has been the most entertaining and the most Heteroscedastic (Prof. Bharadwaj, please forgive me for the usage) bunch of individuals. Ok, a quick recap – Heteroscedasticity refers to the circumstance in which the variability of a variable is unequal across the range of values of a second variable that predicts it. Thank me later.

These people have made life interesting and I would be irreverent if I don’t mention the kind of people I have encountered here. So, in no particular order, let me first introduce you to:

  • The Future CEO. No, the batch’s current CEO. PGPM batch of 2018 knows who that is. This person is extremely good at everything without being the best at anything. We all know the phrase – “Jack of all trades and Mas…” (Just kidding. Or am I?) Talking of class participation, this person speaks regularly and intelligently in class without ever saying anything remotely controversial. Diplomacy is the word!
  • Ok sorry. I am getting ahead of myself – In economic theory, and also in lay man’s opinion, there is a notion that whatever goods and services are provided, they must be paid for by someone – that is, you don’t get something for nothing. As Prof. Himadri would say, “There ain’t no such thing as free lunch”. Or as I abbreviate it, Tanstafl.
    But we sure have “Free- wait for it-loaders”. These are the clever ones. They know the knack of delegating responsibility without giving the slightest notion that part of the onus is on them too. But we all sure have a lot of things to learn.
  • Moving on, we have the ‘Friend-setters’ who have continued their trendsetting attitude of being jovial and cordial with everyone. But there are also people from the exact bipolar end.
  • The Solitary Reaper – No, that is too optimistic a phrase for this person who thinks the world is an illusion and human interaction is a mystery. William Wordsworth would never want me to tag such a person with his beautifully written metaphor of a nightingale. The lone wolf would be a suitable phrase, yes. But who knows. Although termed aloof, they are the fiercest of friends and they have their own little world. They are focussed with full intent on one goal. Ok, too much philosophy. Apologies.

By the way, this ‘One goal’ theory brings me to the most important subject of discussion that any B-school has to offer – Placements.

Needless to say, even as I am drafting this, the Pre-Placement preparation scenario is in full swing and it never ceases to give jitters as soon as a JD from a firm that is offering jobs is released. But the most dominant part of this preparation has to be the “Group discussion” prep and it is hilarious at times.

I hope the PlaceComm doesn’t throw me as an outcast when I talk about the observations I have made in these sessions. The observations are actually on the participants. So I think I am safe.

Every group discussion (I’ve observed) has these. And I am one among them (so much for modesty). Here’s a broad categorization of the four typical characters I have encountered in GDs so far:

  • The “Know it all” sort – The genuinely, just, ridiculously smart person of the batch who often brings up unusual and weird (yet relevant) opinions on the table during a discussion. This person sure has a way of getting noticed, for the right reasons. Sadly, all we can do is look up to him/her.
  • The “I agree with you” sort – Always finishes the other person’s sentences and adds the aforementioned phrase. Seldom has unique points but vehemently participates nonetheless.
  • The “Search engine optimist” – This person has gone through that One link on the internet (Invariably the first link that pops up on a basic google search. No matter how remotely irrelevant the current topic of discussion is, this genius will try to bring in some fact or figure from that One link
  • The “Silencer” – The loudest noise this person makes is from his pen when he is scribbling stuff during the initial two minutes that are given to gather ones thoughts. This person has all the right points to discuss, but fails to bring them out in speech. Definitely noticeable when the group discussion is a fish market.

There are innumerable memories that are etched on our minds since the past four and a half months and I am sure a lot more is in store for us as we head on to the placement season with vigour and zeal.

Godspeed!

Author: Samuel Johnson

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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The Great Lakes Approach to Learning Microeconomics

The Great Lakes Approach to Learning Microeconomics

The concepts of microeconomics are the driving force behind the key personal and business financial decisions that we make in our daily lives. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the core fundamentals of microeconomics via experimentation rather than through mere theoretical observation. Coming from a technical background, my concepts of economics were, let’s just say, a bit blurry. But, I and many of my classmates who share the same academic and industry background learnt the entire concept of Microeconomics in a matter of days through experimentation.

The Micro-Economics project of Term-I at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon was very different. As part of this project, the batch of 120 students was divided into groups of six and every group had to start a business inside the college campus. The business could be anything from product manufacturing and home & personal care to food delivery and miscellaneous services. Our investment cap for the business was established at INR 500 and initially it seemed impossible to start a business under that amount. But all the groups then started analyzing the market, needs and demand of their target customers. Everyone did extensive market research before starting the businesses to understand the requirements and needs of their target market. Market research was done through questionnaires, by conducting interviews, taking suggestions etc. Every group collected the primary data about their prospective customers before starting the business. After the research was over, it was time to put it to use and execute the business idea. There were twenty groups and hence, twenty businesses. Some of these were SantaKaBanta (a soda point corner), Fortune Coffee (a small scale coffee house and coffee delivery service), IceExpress, DeliverIt, a Bhelpuri corner etc.

Our group started a business named “Need2Home.” It was a delivery business in which we delivered anything and everything that is required by the students on a daily basis and could be bought from the nearby areas. On day 1 we designed our team’s pamphlet and distributed those among the students and staff members. We then started taking orders. Initially, we didn’t get many orders and most of the orders that we did get were from immediate friends. But, slowly our business started picking pace and after 2-3 days of providing impeccable services, we became quite famous among the students. We enjoyed managing all the important aspects of running a business like marketing, operations and maintaining balance sheets. Although it was a project of Microeconomics, we applied the knowledge of all the subjects that we had learnt in Term-1 of our course.

We had quite a free hand when it came to experimenting with our business. We (i) fluctuated the price of the services depending upon the market conditions (ii) reduced the profit margin (iii) made demand forecasts etc. Initially, we had kept a higher profit margin but due to severe competition from another team, we had to lower our margins. However, due to this, we managed to secure a large number of orders and as a result also managed to increase our sales figures substantially. And yes, we had a competitor in this small business space. We also felt threat from Amazon, Flipkart and other e-commerce entities because, as a small scale business, we did not plan on entering the online marketplace.

The Happy Customers!

Altogether, it felt like having a real business. By the time the project got over we earned more than INR 5000 in revenue. Considering the fact that we invested about 100 bucks in the venture, it was a tremendous achievement.

Finally, we had to prepare a report based on the data collected from our business. We used all the basic concepts such as demand equations, curve, cost function, profit maximization, regression analysis and demand forecasting techniques to prepare the business report.

This project helped us in the following ways: (i) It broadened our vision towards the various business dimensions, (ii) It helped us understand the concepts of Microeconomics, and, (iii) it gave us the ability to realize and overcome the challenges in business world.

It was truly an extensive and amazing learning experience and we enjoyed every bit of it. I believe such projects help a lot in practical understanding of the theoretical concepts and we are extremely grateful to our faculty, Dr V.P Singh Sir, and the college for providing us such wonderful opportunities to learn in a practical manner.

Authors: Akhilesh Tripathi & Shubham Singh

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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

365 Days @ Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Should I start off like any other “typical” narration about “The MBA/PGPM Life” or is there another way? In fact, that is what I learnt first here at Great Lakes. There is another way. All you need to do is stop “running” and enjoy the view because the picture you’ve wanted to paint all along is turning out to be better than expected.

There were obvious apprehensions prior to the dawn of the program, leaving the professional world as we know it in hope of embarking on much challenging journeys in life through unchartered waters. Yes, I know that feeling because I was reading up on schools like you are right now. That feeling will soon be put to rest once you realize that the friends you make here are going to last a lifetime.

The “Ice-breaker” trip we had to Rishikesh drove home the realization that of all of us “are in this together” and made us work that way from that day on. Win or lose, we’d do it together (especially the white water rafting). And, either way we would end up indulging in multiple rounds of “bunta juices: A delicacy of the location”.

The Outbound Trip

The Outbound Trip

I’m writing this post at the very end of my program here at Great Lakes. Well, almost. And looking back I really can’t understand how the time has flown by. Yes, there have been a ton (quite literally) of trainings, classes, exams, late night study sessions, projects, more projects, and the always entertaining group assignments. Watch out! This is when the person you would’ve killed a thousand times over in your mind becomes a friend and you realize that you were judgmental. To anyone in any B-school past / present saying otherwise, trust me they’re trying really hard to be cool. To all the B-school grads that’re reading this, am I right? Or am I right?

Assignments & Fun

Great Lakes, Gurgaon is known for two things in particular. First, we are the front runners in having in our curriculum two of the fastest growing industries in India, Energy and Big Data & Analytics. Big Data & Analytics isn’t just a mammoth sized file with a gazillion numbers but indeed is a thinking business. “Lateral thinking” methodologies are put to the test and all Great Lakers are Analytics minors at Gurgaon. Second thing Great Lakes is known for is the extraordinary faculty- Great Lakes has spared no measures in reeling in the best of teachers who not only cater to other premier schools in India but abroad as well. Having a global perspective of learning has only strengthened the meaning of our motto “Global mindset. Indian roots”.

While I could give a run-down of the academic portion, projects and lecturers of the program it’s also important to describe other critical aspects of the program and that is the out of class experiences that are critical to our development as business leaders in a culturally diverse world. Great Lakes, Gurgaon has a lot (And I mean “A LOT”) of Industrial speakers who take the time out from their busy schedules and interact with the student. Imagine meeting and interacting with HR head of Ikea, the founder of Shopclues and the former MD of Wrigleys within a week of you being in the campus! These interactions are important as they are a link between what we learn in class and what the business world really expects from us. While our “live-projects” and Empirical research projects also gives us such insights, the sheer quantum of knowledge that is shared in these sessions can be compared to none. Uncle Bala calls it “Experiential Learning and insights”. We couldn’t agree more.

Mr. Sankar Ramamurthy, Executive Director - PwC

I was among the lucky three to visit the Chennai campus for three days. Although both campuses are identical in academics and most events are replicated across locations, the student life is completely different. To put it in a nutshell: “In Chennai, I know more people. In Gurgaon, I know people more”.

Let me shed some light on the activities. While some enjoy swimming or working out when we find the time to, there are some who diligently play every day. Yes, every day just by learning to manage their time better.

“Be an opportunist” Uncle Bala’s words were taken a little too seriously. Be it going that extra mile to make things happen in college or quite literally going “the extra mile” to land in Jaipur for a weekend at a classmate’s place! Either way, the fact is that we’re a culturally diverse group and know very little of cultures other than our own. This program also gave us an opportunity to live and experience other cultures. Yes, I am from Bangalore and have now come to realize that “sarso ka saag” tastes a lot better than it sounds.

Celebrating Onam

“The best year of your life” has long been associated with Great Lakes’ PGPM program. Having experienced it myself, I realize calling it “the best year of my life” is merely an understatement. Never have I been exposed to such miscellany, where differences are celebrated and they blend perfectly to form a different kind of culture beyond religion, and other social nuances. A culture filled with humility, respect, and at the same time, courage and tenacity to take on the world.

Group

It has been an honor and I hope this narration has been helpful. From the corner table of the classroom, Yogesh Babu, signing out.

– A Titan