MBA hummmmm....

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fortune at the bottom of pyramid.

C.K.Prahalad's The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits espouses the concept of tapping the hugely unutilised section of society comprising of economically weak people. Most companies target high or middle income sections for their products/services. Lower income groups form the fringes of their target populations, at best.

Y'day while browsing thru current issue of Business Today, I read this interesting article. It cites some case studies of Indian companies having positioned some product/services specially for the huge lower income section of India. Some of them are ..

# HLL's project Shakti
# DHFL - a housing finance co giving loans at decent terms to lower income group ppl. (I was shocked to read that other companies may charge as high as 25% interest to economically backward ppl whereas the default rate for them is lower than what is for normal home loan customers.)
# A PC priced in the range of 8,000 Rs.
# A low cost ATM machine.
# A telemedicine project by Apollo hospital to reach far n wide.
# A project to provide low cost, efficient water purifiers to rural India. (everybody knows many still dont have access to clean drinking water even)

Sounds good. But sceptics say all this is also very difficult to achieve & more of management speak. Well, I for one, certainly hope, that these surely succeed.

Bridging the divide between the haves & have-nots is the numero uno hurdle India has in its path to being a developed nation.

btw, interesting discussion on BW forums on the same topic.

Monday, March 28, 2005

MOSCOW principle.

Read in some Godforsaken project document.
Sometimes they follow the MoSCoW Principle to define project/product requirements.

It stands for - Must have, Should have, Could have, Would have.

Damn, a nifty piece of mgmt lingo crap. Gotta learn them & start inventing some too.

Good reads.

# First one on the role of 'Product Planner' in a software products company.
M$ in this case.
http://www.gavinshearer.com/weblog/archives/2004/07/index.html .

Thanks to this UW 2nd yr MBA student for a wonderful post.

# Role of analytics in Mgmt Consulting.
This industry is a black box for me. But after reading this article, I was able to appreciate why MC companies' entry level jobs are so research/quants/analytics oriented.

Research is the key ... is it ?

3 reasons people invest their resources in MBA degrees are :
# Learning (academic or otherwise - from whatever sources on campus)
# Tap into the alum network ( a very very tangible takeaway)
# Better Job than existing one.

You can order the above 3 according to your priorities.

After listening to some general B School gyaan, I am somehow getting the feeling that B Schoolers' efforts to find the best fit job are not enough at worst, or misguided at best. And this is more true in the case of fresher schools where 200 or so companies ram into the campus in the space of 3-4 days.
This article : http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2005/mar/23rashmi.htm only corroborates the above arguement.

If landing a best fit job is such an important outcome of the MBA education, why is adequate effort not put into that ? Again, I would risk answering this question. Coz of foll. reasons :

# Overdependence on Brand of the institute

No doubt - brand equity absolutely rules in corporate world. But if a top B-School student thinks that best companies will fall over each other to bag him/her, there could be only 2 possible outcomes -
- disappointment on not bagging the wanted job
- disappointment on discovering what the wanted & bagged job entails.

# Herd mentality/Half knowledge

Typical MBA jobs - Mgmt consulting, i-banking are always the most glamourous & most sought after on most campuses. Any background, any skill -- the brand of MC companies & lure of i-banking paypackets are enough to sway anyone. True, that kind of money & contacts can help anybody make career shifts 5 yrs down the line but this cannot be planned. & there are associated downsides with them too.

# Misdirected effort

Dont think I need to dwell on this one. Self explanatory.

So what should one ideally to ? MBA opens (atleast theoretically) to so many possible positions, companies & sectors. How does one take a decision ? Set some criterion (in terms of brand, pay package, location, etc) & apply blindly to as many companies as possible until you get a job.
Another method could be to narrow down your search in terms of sectors, companies, positions, work location & then target fewer companies but in a much better way. (Obviously hoping that other factors notwithstanding, there are enough companies for you to take a shot inspite of so many filtering criterion).
What are the probable advantages of the latter method ?

# You have more negotiating power during interviews.
# Better preparedness because of focus.
# No surprises.

I am sure corporates like candidates who are well prepared. You may be the topper of your B school batch & have a top undergrad degree to boot, but if you show no interest in the company, it doesnt sound sweet to them.

So, now I wonder, how does one arrive at such a situation? How does one decide that he/she is gonna crack the acads so that he/she has a decent shot at the consults coming ?

Key to all that is, I guess - research & more research.

Reading up, talking to alums, talking to HRs -- all indispensible in arriving at this decision. And then, a couple of terms at B school would settle the issue I suppose.

Some online resources which could be good pointers to typical career descriptions:

wetfeet.com
vault.com
careers-in-business.com
mbajungle.com
Internet Discussion Forums like businessweek.com, pagalguy.com/cat, wharton s2s boards, etc.


Let me see if I can gather some sense out of these sources.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

B School Blogs

Blogging is a rage these days with prospective/current B school junta. Primarily because it serves as a veritable mine of first hand info/experiences of ppl who are actually doing things + it serves as a webpage (& comes as free ofcourse !).

mbaleague.blogspot.com is one site where lots of good (!) B school blogs are aggregated.

Am personally surfing thru many current B school students' blogs for nuggets of wisdom.
Planning to link up some terrific articles/discussions/links on the web/info sources here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

To chill out or work up ?

With a little more than a month to go, this is the question which lingers in my mind. What should I be doing ? Taking it easy & relax till I can or tighten my seatbelt & get ready for the ride. Probably a little bit of both. Dont want to laze toooo much that I get used to it. & shouldnt be getting too worked up that I lose steam when actual thing starts (read Term 1 studies). So, as always, Balance is the key. Hummmmmmmm.

The ISB-Admits-05 Y! groups is one place where lots of good discussion going on. When people who hv been there & done it talk abt stuff like Mgmt Consulting or Role comparisons in Hi Tech Product Companies Vs Service Companies, it no less than a B School class. The composition of ISB Co 2006 seems to be good. Alum meet at Delhi a few weeks earlier was a good indication of that. For a techie like me, whos been surrounded by techies/psuedo techies in last 5 yrs or so, its a refreshing thing. I think this helps one in shedding a lot of baggage (read unlearn) which one picks up during corporate life & get ready for new learnings & experiences.

One more thing, I am about 3-4 weeks away from meeting my new classmates at ISB. But am already starting to feel the effect (through discussion groups). When a focussed group comes together, what ensues is .. lots of cross learning, peer pressure, some arbit cp, a sense of purpose. I think its a good buildup to 1 yr with Co 2006.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Hello Blogworld !

Taking the plunge into Bloggerville. Want to keep this more as a diary for self reference.
Am going to Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad in about a month from now.

So, lets get down to business right away. Humm, so what am I gonna put here, & what not.
Starting with what am I thinking about putting here :

# Tidbits about ISB life.
As I see it. Sure will be one hell of an exciting year. Sharing the class with experienced ppl from diverse industries is surely a mouthwatering prospect. Am totally looking forward to this aspect of ISB

# Minor learnings, keynotes, small pointers.
Which generally we miss in Textbooks. Which generally we pick up in Classrooms from Profs & other students. These could come from anywhere .. a case discussion, a lecture from one of God-like Profs at ISB, group study or some arbit discussion/gyaan session at anywhere on the campus or anywhere else for that matter. So often, I have felt the urge to note down some concept, some funda, some link I just heard about & which I am sure I will forget. So, this place will also work as a postit board for me. More so during MBA, when learning will be like trying to drink from a fire hose.

# General gyaan.