What comes after an MBA?

What comes after an MBA?

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr ROHIT KUMAR

CX PRINCIPAL – SALES & MARKETING STRATEGY – INFOSYS

18th August 2018

The weekends at Great Lakes, Gurgaon, after an end-term exam, aren’t complete without an interactive industry engagement event. This one was particularly more exciting as the PGPM batch of 2019, The Ninjas, gathered around to welcome Mr Rohit Kumar, the CX Principal for Sales and Marketing Strategy at Infosys, for a session on various career options in the IT sector after an MBA. Being an Infoscion myself, I was eagerly looking forward to the session delivered by a fellow Infoscion of a calibre to look up to.

Mr Rohit Kumar: An engineering graduate from G.G.S.I.P. University, who later completed his MBA from the reputed S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research in 2012. After working for over 3 years as Senior Manager for Engagements at Nagarro, he took the helm at Infosys in heading the Sales and Marketing Strategy for the Oracle CX Cloud practice in 2016. He has more than 13 years of experience in business development, client acquisition, customer relationships & marketing. He has worked with clients across the world, focusing immensely on understanding the pain-points of the customers. Mr Kumar has an in-depth understanding of the IT industry and has varied project experience that gives a unique flavour to his working style. Before his MBA, he has worked with reputed firms such as IBM and SAP.

Mr Kumar set the tone for the session by talking about how the industry is segmented into various Verticals and Horizontals. He emphasized on how having a vertical depth or horizontal experience is the key to success. He also reinforced the importance of MBA graduates re-inventing themselves from time to time, once they enter the corporate realm, and being always able to think on their feet.

What are the options for an MBA graduate?

Mr Kumar walked us through the different types of profiles that an MBA graduate from an IT background can pursue, leveraging all his years of experience before choosing to join a B-School. He explained how a candidate with leadership skills and the ability to work under pressure can look for a role in Project Management. Having sound technical skills, a know-how of various business dimensions and a keen insight into the minds of the costumers make one perfectly suitable for this role. Additional relevant certifications are a bonus.

Consulting is another lucrative career option which is open to management graduates. Explaining the differences and drawing demarcation lines between Strategic and Management Consulting, Business Consulting, and Technical Consulting, Mr Kumar cleared all misconceptions and ambiguity that management students usually have regarding these roles. Sharing insights from his own experience in working with some of the leading service providers in the IT Industry, Mr Kumar shed light on the current scenario in the business world, especially on how the thin line between Business and Technical Consulting is disappearing with each passing day, and on how companies are preparing themselves to have a strong presence in both the domains.

He also spoke about other roles such as Business Analyst, Sales Management, and Pre-Sales Management. While Sales Management requires a candidate to be extremely innovative and creative, pre-sales demands domain expertise and the ability to think about multiple solutions to a given requirement in order to create a variety of offerings for the customer to choose from. A business analyst, on the other hand, is expected to have requirement analysis capabilities coupled with excellent communication skills.

What should be the approach of an MBA student?

Mr Kumar enlightened the students on the right approach towards pursuing the role that would do justice to their experience and skills. Identifying one’s own skills and also identifying the kind of work that would be truly enticing is extremely important for an MBA student. At the same time, it is vital for a student to follow the companies they aspire to be a part of and keep themselves abreast with what the industry experts are talking about. In addition to this, growing one’s network and developing a niche skill holds crucial importance in skyrocketing one’s career growth.

Importance of LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the social network for corporates, has become an important tool for corporate networking and Mr Kumar strongly emphasized on its relevance and how an MBA student can leverage it to improve their future prospects. He inspired the Ninjas to step out of their comfort zones and do what most people hesitate to – add a minimum of 20 influential people to one’s connection every day while sending scheduled emails on one’s professional and academic development every 3-4 months to all connections in order to gain more visibility. This tactic bore fruit for Mr Kumar as he landed 5 offers through LinkedIn alone by the time he graduated as an MBA. LinkedIn is a platform which every professional should use to the extent of its potential and connect with a number of people who would eventually open doors to more gainful opportunities and a fruitful career ahead.

Concluding Thoughts

The session turned out to be an extremely enlightening experience and this was evident by the whirlwind of questions Mr Kumar received from the ever-enthusiastic Great Lakers. To wrap it up, the talk delivered by Mr Kumar will forever be etched in our minds as we prepare ourselves and follow his advice for our placement season and look for the right jobs in the right firms with the right attitude and approach. Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, expresses its deepest gratitude to Mr Rohit Kumar for sharing his extremely valuable insights with the upcoming graduates.

Author: Arpit Gupta

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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The Joy of Giving: Karma Yoga Session 1

The Joy of Giving: Karma Yoga Session 1

July 7th, 2018

“Don’t give to get. Give to inspire others to give.”

~ Simon Sinek

One such choice we made is to explore the side of our personality which allows us to be generous in giving, without expecting anything in return.

We, the students of PGPM 2019 – NINJAS, started our journey on 7th July 2018 with the same mission in mind. Red walls, lush green compound, enthusiastic students in the uniforms planting trees, joyful teachers; these are the visuals which welcomed us to the Primary Government School of Fazalwas, Haryana. It was euphoria all around; innocent faces, wide smiles, genuine conversations. We were elated by seeing the school kids deeply involved with themselves and maybe this is what it is called “being in present” or “mindfulness”.

After a quick introduction, we were pleased to witness various performances by students such as dancing, singing, and mimicry. Post the icebreaking session, we were quick in executing our plans for the day. Teaching tables through Vedic mathematics technique, unleashing the talent hidden in the students by asking different questions about their likes and interests, engaging them by playing games with them. We clapped, danced and laughed along with them and got lost in the moment forgetting all the worries, assignments or projects. There was a sense of belonging and blissfulness in those tiny classrooms with minimum facilities. It gave us immense pleasure to have connected with these kids when they were over the moon sharing with us their fantasies, friends, and little playful fights they had amidst strong bonding. At that moment, we felt there is a lot of selfishness in giving back to society which is the immense satisfaction and happiness you experience in the process.

Giving back to society not only makes us generous, it also adds purpose to our life and happiness in doing something for others who need it more. Giving back to society is de-stressing too, it helps us to realize our own self and manage our inner relationships to make us live a more balanced life, allowing us to keep a balance between our daily chaos and our need to become a more responsible citizen and an individual.

Seeing the sheer joy and happiness on the kids’ face and knowing that we have been a small reason behind those smiles has been an unparalleled experience. And we are forever in debt to the Karma Yoga initiative of Great Lakes, Gurgaon for introducing us to such joy.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or what you’ve accomplished. It’s all about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

~ Denzel Washington

Author: Urvi Sehrawat

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Life @ Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Life @ Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

“Memories are the Timeless Treasures of the Heart….”

The Initiation

It seems as if it was just yesterday when I received an offer letter from Great Lakes and now, in just a blink of an eye, this beautiful journey has come to an end. The Gladiators (PGPM 2017-18 batch) are now well equipped with paramount insights and knowledge to enter the corporate life again with a new and improved outlook. I remember the day when I anxiously stepped into the campus for the first time, feeling like a pond fish that has crossed rivers to land up in a mighty ocean, wondering how I will adjust to this new environment.

Offsite – Rishikesh

The thought of living in a hostel at an entirely alien place with 120 unfamiliar faces gave me jitters. But the ice-breaking offsite trip to Rishikesh, organized by the institute along with Prof. S.K. Palhan, completely erased all my inhibitions. In a matter of just three days, the entire batch of 120 strangers formed an indestructible bond of friendship. All due credits to white water rafting, rappelling and various other team building exercises of which we all were a part of during our trip.

The Fabulous Faculty

Entering a classroom after working for 3+ years was a grilling experience, to say the least, but with less than 365 days on our Great Lakes calendar, there was no rest for the wicked. And thankfully, the faculty did a brilliant job at educating us with their extremely innovative and interactive teaching methods and techniques.

From Professor Umashankar’s quirky and witty marketing classes to learning the concepts of balance sheets and P&L statements with Dr Preeti, the months just flew by. Dr Poornima made the HR classes fascinating by adding a gaming element with lifelines and it was mandatory to go through pre-reads before entering Dr Jones’ classes which coupled with countless other assignments and projects felt exhausting at that time but helped grasp the key concepts in an effortless manner.

Lectures

Being from a software development background, I never imagined I’ll have anything to do with economics in my entire life but our esteemed Dr VP Singh made its concepts clear as a crystal by helping us create a small start-up and run the same in college for 20 days. The exercise turned the entire campus into a carnival. Everyone had their businesses up and running ranging from serving Nimbu-Pani and Bhel-Puri to Gaming zones and grocery delivery units. Later on, we analysed the revenue generated, break-even points etc.

Walking with the Giants

There was more than just classroom learning to Great Lakes as the industry interactions and CXO talks kept us busy throughout the weekends as well. People with extensive industry experience visited the campus and a lot of synergy took place. Being in the same room and interacting with some of the most celebrated names of the corporate world was like a dream come true for us.

Mr Pramod Sadarjoshi – Senior Director, HCM Strategy & Transformation, Asia- Pacific, ORACLE

Though inside the campus but never separated from the business world, we got ample opportunities to discuss the latest upcoming technologies and changes in the global framework of organizations. We participated in various conclaves related to SMAC, Human Resource, Marketing, operations and Finance where we had panel discussions among CXOs of different organizations to get an in-depth knowledge of the industry.

Committees, Clubs & Chaos

During the committee interviews, the entire campus was in chaos. We were all trying to find our strengths and decide where we fit in. Whether we’ll be a good fit for guiding prospective students for admissions or strengthening the brand of our institute? Whether organizing events was our cup of tea or assisting the institute with placements?

Admissions and BPR Committee

With a lot of preparation and cracking a grilling interview, I ended up in the Admissions and BPR committee. I was actively involved in the branding of the institute, writing blogs, handling the social media channels, volunteering for the admission process, answering queries of prospective students on Quora, guiding new admits under the flagship of Buddy Program and travelling to different locations for the same. This has given me a lot of exposure, and today, I am a completely changed and confident personality altogether.

Annual Events

We, as students, were responsible for organizing the events like TEDx, Crest (annual management fest), Sapience (annual management conclave), Foundation Day, Alumni Meet, and Dr Bala’s Birthday etc. Moreover, as a part of the Great lakes family, we also celebrated all the festivals from Onam, Lohri and Ganesh Chaturthi to Independence Day, Christmas and Holi with the same zeal and enthusiasm. Moreover, there were DJ nights, Fresher’s party, Halloween and a lot more parties which were organized to perfection by our student council.

TEDx GLIM Gurgaon

The Endgame

Lastly, not to forget, the point we all were here for – The Placement Process. The CCS team along with Placecom put in a lot of efforts in terms of interview preparation, GDs, resume review etc. Personal effectiveness sessions were conducted and mentors were allocated to students to have a smooth process. The proud feeling of getting placed and celebrating the placements of our friends was priceless.

This journey has been fantabulous and completely phenomenal amidst sleepless nights, group projects, assignments, exams, co-curricular activities and much more. The guidance and mentorship provided by faculty members and the staff paved our way for a better tomorrow. All of us have made friends, who will last a lifetime. The beautiful impressions will stay in our hearts forever. I would sum up this beautiful journey by saying,

“I’m really gonna miss this place, I am gonna miss my college days”

 

Author: Sakshi Khurana

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

What does Great Lakes Institute of Management look for in a Candidate

What does Great Lakes Institute of Management look for in a Candidate

“Do I possess the qualities required to get into a top B-School?”

This is the question that goes through the minds of all professionals a few years into their careers. Great Lakes Institute of Management goes through thousands of applications each year and only a select few get accepted.

So, what differentiates the selected applicants from the rejected ones?

Before answering this question, one must understand the fact that entrance exams like CAT, XAT, GMAT, etc. are just the tools for primary filtration. If a good test score is the only weapon in your arsenal then you’re in for a surprise as the final selection depends on a candidate’s performance in the subsequent stages that include PI, essays, group discussions etc. The basic idea behind such a rigorous admission process is that a candidate must be able to justify his/her test score with something more substantial.

The Great Lakes admissions committee is always on the lookout for that one factor in the applicants which makes them stand out from the crowd and if you possess even one of the following qualities, you’ll gain a significant advantage over rest of the applicants.

Potential to drive Business Impact through Leadership

Leadership potential is the top box to check when you apply to Great Lakes. We want to invest in an applicant who’ll go out and make an actual difference in the real world. Therefore, you will have to demonstrate that you possess what it takes to be a leader either in your work experience, academic life, extracurricular activities or elsewhere.

Demonstrated Track Record of Achievement

We keenly seek applicants who have a demonstrable record of achievement. We truly believe that achievement can manifest in many forms, from academic excellence to college extracurricular activities to professional accomplishments, to personal wins.

We value demonstrated achievement irrespective of its scale and sphere; whether you’ve started up a company, headed a project at work, captained a sports team or organized a relief fund, we consider all these as examples of achievement.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

As an MBA Grad, you’d be expected to not just be good at what you do but also effectively portray that you are good. You need to be able to market yourself and effective communication and interpersonal skills are the key to do that. If you are a brilliant professional but can’t make a pitch for your ideas and opinions or can’t convince others about your potential, then you probably aren’t ready for the big leagues. The essays and personal interviews are the stages of the admission process where you can showcase your communication skills.

Relevant Work Experience

Work experience of minimum 24 months is a mandatory eligibility criterion for applying to the PGPM program. But more than your career choice, you’ll be assessed on the basis of the progress you made professionally vis-a-vis your earlier self. The factors that make you stand out are the consistent upward movement of our career graph, roles & responsibilities on the job, team-building, managerial tasks and proactive approach.

Thought Clarity & Career Aspirations

When you’re applying to Great Lakes, you must have a few choices to help you lay down a foundation. Whether you wish to achieve a leadership role or switch careers or become an entrepreneur post your graduation, you must be able to clearly communicate it to the Admissions Committee. Remember, it’s not just about securing a place in a B-school, it is more about what difference you want to make in the real world and neither is possible without aspirations and ambitions.

Right Fit with the Program

All MBA programs have a personality. For example, the PGPM at Great Lakes is best suited for professionals who have proved their mettle in the industry and are now looking for an accelerated growth. The PGDM, on the other hand, has a completely different approach as it prepares the individuals to face the real world business challenges for the first time. In order to secure a place in Great Lakes or any other B-School, you’ll have to effectively justify that you’re not just compatible with the program but with the culture of the school as well.

We at Great Lakes are looking forward to meeting you. So, Good Luck and May the odds be ever in your favour.

 

Team Admissions

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

Is a dot-com bubble shaping up in general merchandise retailing?

Internet business has definitely altered the way we shop but internet retailing will keep existing along with Brick and Mortar shops in future. Yes, “along with it”, as people will always have socializing needs as well as convenience of shopping online. I predict that brick and mortar shops will soon convert into something like life-style-shops, where people will come to have socializing time in an ambience and environment that will allow them spend quality time along with shopping goods with confidence of touch and feel. For example, there might be Mid-size or large cafes having a small-boutique store inside with a classy-touch so that women can shop while their husbands can sit down, sip a cup of exotic coffee or play games on a play station (A large-scale existing model of this is malls with shopping stores along with food and gaming stores; such models may change but will not erode away) and socialize with other people around in many ways. There can be ways to incentivize customers to socialize, network with people and refer their “experience” further; this can induce exponential demand. The whole idea is about creating user-experience because people don’t just buy products/services now…. they buy experience, whether its offline or online.

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I would be delving into the internet retailing business in India to see if it’s another bubble-burst in making, more so for the top-three players that claim 70% of the market share in India viz. Amazon, Flipkart & Snapdeal and analyze who stand to win.  Among these three Amazon seems to be pacing much faster than other two. Each E-retailing company has its own strategy to increase its market share; What would help them to win would be business fundamentals rather than winning the “who-has-better-valuation-race” (based on some model, matrices and cash-flows in future….blah..blah …blah) While they are doing everything from price-slashing-discounts, Faster Delivery, exclusive tie-ups with brands, acquisitions to even backward integration in supply chain, the consumer is clearly able to get a different experience with every new move. Valuations can be subjective, over-optimistic or even completely off-the-track; what I would want to look at is whether this is again a bubble-bust scenario or is there some stability or sanity shaping in the online-retailing industry mostly driven by Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

As per industry report from various sources collated by Brand equity forum, Indian Retail Market is poised to grow at 12% per annum to about US$ 1 Trillion till year 2020 from US$ 600 billion in year 2015. Out of this B2C E-commerce is expected to reach US$ 102 billion by 2020 and US$ 220 billion (in terms of Gross Merchandise Value) and 530 million shoppers by 2025. Overall E-commerce market is expected to reach US$ 120 billion by 2020 supported by faster internet speeds and faster adoption of internet services along with increase in app-based customer base.

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Brand equity

I strongly believe that any business proposition has to comply to established economic theories; Like how a country cannot keep printing its own currency at will, without substantial products, services & other fundamentals in the economy to back it up, any business also cannot be ascribed a value/assessed without strong fundamentals, products & services to back it up. Brand equity reflects a lot of these parameters as it also covers the perceived confidence of sellers and buyers. While recognition of a Brand as a performing brand, increasing market share and price inelasticity reflect a lot about brand equity, Online retailing industry is not yet  in a price controlling position (Can’t raise their margins, they don’t have any for that matter).

a) Customer’s Side

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In B2C online retailing, Amazon has steadily increased its market share and has captured more than 1/3rd of the market-share, whereas Flipkart and Snapdeal combined have nearly 40% market share. If we talk about most used apps the numbers are still high for Flipkart at 34% along with 11% for Myntra and 6% of Jabong that it already owns. Amazon is installed on 21% of the mobile devices, whereas snapdeal on 16%. Noticeably Amazon seems to have picked up at the app-installation figures since November 2015, the time when Flipkart decided upon the strategy to provide mobile-friendly site for direct browsing rather than from app.

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b) Seller’s Side

An important point that I would make is that assessment of any online retailer from sellers’s point is as important as it is from customer’s perspective. As per the results from a study (Neilsen’s E-commerce Sellers study Q1 2016-Jan-March) highlighted by Business Standard, starting point to assess the brand equity  is the brand-recall for most sellers (Amazon-25%, Flipkart-21%, Snapdeal-20%), second is the overall awareness (Amazon-86%, Flipkart-82%, Snapdeal-20%.). Providing a favorable platform to sellers increases the brand equity of an online retailer manifolds.

Fundamentals

Tracxn Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Has its own list of Deadpool companies (online business) in India and has its own matrices (like shrinking team size, , suspended operations and decline in user traffic) to list them. This approach seems logical when we look at recent failures in e-commerce business like askmebazaar that suspended its operations due to lack of funds/Cash and  as reported, left 4000 employees jobless in August 2016 ,was looking out for a potential sell-out.  There have been many dead and walking dead companies in the Deadpool list of Tracxn. Looking at recent sell out of Jabong at much lesser a price than valuation (giving rise to a terminology called Jabonged) and downfall of askme bazaar there are new rounds of discussion on e-commerce bubble.

So simply building an online business & burning cash to achieve figures that help you to make it saleable (be it Plan A or Plan B) is a “well-planned-scam” under the daylight, atleast for the stakeholders (Investors, debtors, vendors, employees…..well not customer… they just have to download another app and shop like a boss). Though finance is fungible and the money can be rolled but there has to be enough cash to be rolled. A business that was not started with intent to run & sustain on its own constructs rather than just the mercy and so called loyalty of its customers is a scam as somebody is going to lose sooner or later. Abidali Neemuchwala, new CEO of Wipro (although from a different industry) interestingly said, in an interview for Mint, “I am not afraid about falling Revenue or profitability, I am excited about profitable growth, we will not buy revenue by sacrificing margins”. Most of the internet businesses focus on growth, expansion, revenues and await success that never happens. Simply put the business has to generate its own cash from margins. On contrary all online retailing companies (taken in this write-up) have negative profits.

In case of internet retailing there are lines of products mostly common across all companies (only Snapdeal, Flipkart & Amazon in this write-up) whereas services, value proposition & operations would definitely vary as per their own common or mutually exclusive strategies because each one of them is trying to differentiate & win maximum market share whether it is volumes, Revenues, Product segments etc. So to have a pulse of the industry and see which company is going which direction, we should look for their past & present operations as well as current strategies that have futuristic approach or scope for profits as well.

FLIPKART

  • Flipkart has acquired Myntra and Jabong that have already been leaders in apparel retailing and it is going for strong private brand tie-ups (like how Myntra’s 25% revenue comes through Roadster, Mast & Harbour and Dressberry). HRX by Hrithik Roshan is a lifestyle & sports clothing brand (and some accessories) which is soon going to tie up with Flipkart (Flipkart is targeting the majority stake)
  • As per a report by A.T. Kearney and Google; fashion is expected to be dominantly, the largest product category in online retailing by 2020. Fashion segment offers much fatter margins viz a viz books and electronics and in fashion, private brand tie-ups reap larger margins than third party.
  • Flipkart is much ahead than everybody else when it comes to fashion segment (with 12 private brands of Myntra). As per a commentary by EY, having private brand tie-ups helps a company learn about merchandising and branding giving them better negotiation power with external brands. Flipkart is aggressively trying to improve in this segment as it offers fat margins and may help them become profitable.

AMAZON

  • Amazon is consistently improving on Revenue and market share and surpassed Flipkart in gross sales in July
  • Amazon is catching up well in Smartphone segment with Flipkart while it is already a leader in book sales.
  • Amazon is coming up with its fulfillment centers in Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai with a total of 5.5 Million square feet storage space (adding to 2.5 million sq-ft. already existing over 21 centers in various states in Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Telangana, West Bengal) for sellers which shall bring down their fixed costs. This strategy as per my opinion is going to have double impact for Amazon as it will get products at real lower rates (bringing down storage/logistics cost for sellers, also building closer association with them-80% of sellers on amazon use its fulfillment service) and consumers will keep getting lower rates on Amazon with faster delivery (two important factors in user experience). This strategy will have a strong backward integration advantage and strong geographical hold across India in supply chain.
  • Amazon Prime is a paid service that gives customer a faster delivery (1 or 2 days). This has seen success in US and other markets. But Indian consumers want more than just the faster delivery. However even a small part of the 50 million user base can be enough to give benefits.
  • Fulfillment center and Amazon Prime combined can help Amazon do away with discounts. Any company that can build a strategy around this idea will eventually see the sustainable success (profitable growth). Amazon seems to have taken a formidable position.
  • AmazonBasics (by cloudtail India pvt. Ltd.) brand selling headphones, charging cables, bags and various other accessories contributes more than 40% of its business and is set to expand it substantially this year (2016)
  • Have aggressive plans in private label offering in electronics accessories, groceries and fashion segments. If this happens they can take Flipkart head-on.

SNAPDEAL

  • While GMV (Gross Merchandise Value-Value of goods sold on an online-marketplace company) has remained a dominant metric to monitor the growth, Snapdeal-CEO, Kunal Bahl said Snapdeal is focusing on net revenue rather than GMV. It has cut down discounts and cost of advertisements; helps fight cash-crunch situation.
  • Snapdeal has diversified portfolio wherein it has FreeCharge (mobile recharge), Shopo, Vulcan, Gojavas, Rupee power (online financial services platform), exclusively (luxury ecommerce site) etc. in its basket.
  • Shopo is a market place for sellers of handicraft products (with zero-commission in revenue, just a fee). It has seen good amount of success with one lakh sellers onboard in just nine months. Shopo can be a promising online shop for small businesses with logistics (connects to logistics companies) and payments tools (freecharge) embedded.
  • Vulcanexpress and Gojavas were conceptualized by snapdeal to compete with its rivals flipkart and Amazon as having in-house logistics is more economical for marketplace companies (it makes logistics reliable & scalable) but snapdeal was late to do this and has faced problems with these two ventures.
  • Freecharge has much younger customer-base 18 to 25 years (age-bracket), with 10 million app-install-base. Snapdeal has a app-install-base of 20 million and its customers belong to 25 to 35 years age-bracket.
  • While Snapdeal seems to have taken a diversified approach, success is yet to be seen in these ventures as well and focus will be shared on all such ventures, whereas its rivals are focusing to improvise on lesser diversified models.

Conclusion

5

The financials available for the online-retailing companies (on public forums and platforms) do not give a veritable insight. However, I have tried to track the fundamentals and strategies being followed by the major players in the industry.  While Amazon and Flipkart seem to have taken the formidable position of top-two players over last one year, Snapdeal despite its move to focus on profitable growth, is losing market share and its strategy doesn’t seem too focused. Snapdeal is trying to grab everything it can, Flipkart is much focused on its most profitable segment, Amazon has a sound approach of wooing both customers and sellers on its market place and is working towards weaning off the discounts. My personal opinion is that Amazon and Flipkart can be the last survivors with profitable growth. Snapdeal and other players may lose the game. It’s a boom-bust situation for everybody else than Amazon and Flipkart.

Disclaimer: This study is based on use of data from private company database, newspaper articles and internet-trends. The data collated through different sources like “similarweb” etc. have been duly credited to and are indicative in nature. The author doesn’t claim any ownership or the veracity of figures mentioned. The ideas that have been borrowed have been duly credited and other self-proposed ideas are inconsequential and meant only for the academic-engagements of the institute.

Author : Gaurav Chauhan

Senior Research Fellow, Great Lakes

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 49 “Education & Spirituality”

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 49 “Education & Spirituality”

My dear friends,                 

Once I was captivating introduction of the new batch of MBA at NPTI. The dialouge went as follows:

A Student:          Sir, I am Shrivastava, BE(Elect)

Me:                       I am not interested in your surname and your degree

-These are on our records

Student:             Sir, I am Mahesh Kumar (Imaginatively substituted name)

Me:                      That is your name given by your parents-drop it

Student:             I am a student of NPTI

Me:                      That’s your present occupation-I know it

Student:             Sir, I am a boy

Me:                      I am not interested in your gender

Student:              I am becoming conscious now, who am I?

Another Student: I am feeling intrigued, I am thinking now,

His next:               I am sensitized on my existence today,

Next to next:        My conscience says I am God’s creation,

Yet another:         I am motivated to think, I am divine.

Me:       When you drop all your labels, you come out as “the pure you” :

  • Your consciousness (awareness)
  • Your conscience (sense of right and wrong)
  • Thinking & feeling part of you
  • Your sensor/ sensitivity
  • Your motivation/ inspiration
  • Your divinity

-is your Spirit . Keep it awakened!

We need it all the time for the spiritual paradigms of our MBA education at NPTI, I indicated. I further clarified to them that subjects like “Power Reforms” , “Customer relationship & Entrepreneurship”, “Energy Environment Interface & Sustainable Development” etc. derive their essence from holistic spiritual paradigms of our survival. Besides technicalities, they involve ethics and ethos, human values, customer care, environmental sensitivity, resource renewability, society’s anxieties over clean energy, electricity for all and its availability 24×7 and so on.

Spirituality

Spirituality is a rather mysterious term for the scientific community who keeps experimenting with external and physical world only. There are several inner dimensions of human existence which can not be denied; for example Mind, Intellect (consciousness transforms intellect into wisdom), Innner voice/ Intuition (sixth sense) etc. An encounter with one’s own “inner dimension” is spirituality.

Spirituality is manifested by original qualities of “the spirit or the soul” such as love, compassion, wisdom, bliss, peace, purity, humility, power, forgiveness, sacrifice, contentment, self-responsibility, values, self-esteem, harmony and connectedness to others.

Spiritual literacy is a basic literacy for all that enables the understanding and use of the deeper meaning and connection in all aspects of life. Spirituality teaches us how our lives fit into the greater scheme of things.

Education & Spirituality

 Swami Vivekanand said : “Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated just five (5) ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library.

A semi-literate man “Anna Hazare” also talked of 5-ideas

  1. Pure Thoughts
  2. Pure Conduct
  3. Unblemished Life
  4. Sacrifice and
  5. Capacity to withstand humiliation;

which he assimilated, practiced and demonstrated, becoming the most literate man of today, saluted by the Indian Parliament.

Education is not merely Academics

Somehow we have misunderstood academics to be education

– We teach our children to read and memorise history but we don’t teach them to create history

– We teach them geography, but not geographical cultures and respect for them

– We teach them science, but not the science of life

-We teach them external management, but not internal management of Mind

Education is to lead a person to knowledge (know-how & know-why) graduating further to wisdom (discovery of truth by himself) to see life in its totality and to face it in its completeness. It is to set a higher goal of life, inner transformation, vision of oneness and genuine care for others.

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI-Scholar, D.Engg. (Calif.), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI) Govt. of India

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)