Expert Talk Series – “AI and Automation changing the scope of Project Management” – Mr. Bishnoo Ananth – Lead Portfolio Manager, Ms. Monica Shrivastava – Lead Portfolio Manager and Mr. Mahesh Ghatke – Project Manager from VMware

 

On 10th August 2018, Mr Bishnoo Ananth, Ms. Monica Shrivastava and Mr. Mahesh Ghatke from VMware held an interactive session with the students of TAPMI on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are changing the scope of project management. Mr. Bishnoo Ananth is the Lead Portfolio Manager at VMware, with 16 years of experience in project management, client management and account management to name a few. Ms. Monica Shrivastava is also the Lead Portfolio Manager at VMware and has 15 years of experience in ERP, data warehousing, workforce management and optimisation related technologies.

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Mr. Mahesh Ghatke started the session on a very light note. He is the Project Manager at VMware with an experience of more than 11 years in transition, project management, business analytics and service operations. He gave the audience an insight into the company and what they do. Founded in 1998, VMware is the pioneer in putting “out of the box thinking” into practice by shifting their focus from data centres, routers and multipliers to cloud infrastructure for data management. In association with Amazon Web Services, the organization is the world’s no.1 provider in cloud infrastructure facility. Currently, it ranks 39th on the list of Fortune 100 companies and they serve 99% of the Fortune 100 companies. With 4000+ employee base in India alone, it has the world’s second largest R&D centre in India.

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Mr. Bishnoo Ananth joined the discussion by explaining what project management is, using Marvel Comics as an example. He talked about how Marvel started small and how they used the concept of project management to evolve and reach where they are now. He also mentioned that Marvel uses an Agile approach to phase their movies. Mr. Ananth then discussed the 10 commandments of Project Management.

The first commandment identifies the “team” as the core strength in project management. Taking the example of Marvel, what made them so successful is that they identified their core strength, i.e. the 7000+ characters they have and started tapping into that potential. In project management, it is really important to let the stakeholders know that you care about the project and you really have the skin in the game. Planning in advance or having an idea of the big picture is an important aspect of project management. The team needs to maintain the consistency and quality throughout their work.

Collaboration across teams is critical in project management, but at the same time care should be taken to make sure that this collaboration does not turn into a bottleneck, especially when working in a geographically diverse team. Also, when the team is trusted and given the freedom to figure out their activities, it breeds ownership. Mr Ananth emphasised that if the teams are diverse and working on their ways, ultimately it is the job of the project manager to be the “dot connector” and bring them all together. Mr. Ananth pointed out that, no matter how good and successful a team is currently, there will always be a change coming and the team should be prepared to embrace the change.

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Ms. Monica Shrivastava – Lead Portfolio Manager from VMware engaged the students in a game to help demonstrate how they must be adaptive to change. We need to adapt to grow and embrace the change to get ahead. Project management can be seen in everyday life. Everything that has an objective and has a start and end date is project management.

It is an art and science. The new era of project management has started with AI and Machine Learning (ML). AI is not a new technology, it has been in development for sixty years. It is a superset of deep learning and machine learning. AI works in multiple ways – data mining, algorithms, automation, pattern recognition, neural networks and so on.

AI and ML empowers and enables the workforce. It has to be embraced. In today’s business environment recruiters are looking for people who are highly adaptable, have problem-solving skills and are ready to accept and adapt to the rapid changes in the environment. AI and ML are used in different aspects of project management – integration, scope, time management, cost management, quality management, communication, HR, risk management, procurement and stakeholder management

There is a myth in the current industry that AI will replace the people in the workforce. This is not true. The augmented workforce will help us take human capabilities to new heights. There are three major aspects in which AI can never replace humans in the workforce – Human creativity, emotional intelligence and people management. We need to inculcate change in our outlook. Agile is here to stay and we should utilise it to deliver value to the customer.

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Guest Lecture Series: Mr. Gautam Mishra, Regional Head, Cremica Food Industries Ltd.

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On March 20th, 2018, TAPMI was graced with the presence of Mr. Gautam Mishra, Regional Head at Cremica Food Industries Ltd. He addressed a cohort of students on the growing marketing trends and changes happening in the FMCG sector.

He began with an overview of the industry explaining how there are nearly 8.4 million retail outlets in the country out of which 2.3 million outlets dealing in FMCG products contribute to almost 80% of the sales. He also emphasized the importance of distribution and the importance of both quality and quantity of distribution to be taken into consideration for optimal decisions.

He also highlighted facts about the contribution of the rural and the urban markets in FMCG sales. He talked about the different A’s of rural marketing namely, Availability, affordability, acceptability, and awareness, and also discussed how marketing strategies directed at rural markets were different with respect to communication mediums, transport facilities, electrification, etc.

Mr. Mishra then spoke about the premium rush and how Premium was the mass and super-premium the new premium in India today.

He emphasized three core values: integrity, speed and personal ownership that are necessary for each one of us to inculcate in ourselves to be successful in the future. These would help us to self-articulate our thoughts. He also listed four leadership skill sets that we should possess. They were thought leadership, people leadership, action leadership and result leadership.

Mr. Mishra then mapped out his journey from working in Onida, Perfetti van Melle, Britannia and others to Cremica currently and how he added value to each of these organizations through his hard work and strategies. He discussed his initiatives in areas of distribution, value chain, sales, etc, that helped them grow and become more efficient. Overall it was a wonderful learning experience for all of us and we took great insights into the FMCG sector and the career path that can be taken in this area ahead.

Manthan 2018: The Closing Ceremony

Manthan 2018, the annual budget conclave of TAPMI concluded on 12th March 2018. The two-day event saw various guests from the world of finance come to TAPMI and interact with the students of TAPMI through various events conducted during the two days.

The closing ceremony started with Professor Aditya Mohan Jadhav addressing the gathering and thanking all the guests and the faculty and staff of TAPMI for helping make the event a success. This was followed by the distribution of prizes to the winners of Arthneeti, an event where the students don the hat of the finance minister and present the Union Budget. The team that came out as a winner after three rounds of intense competition was Team ‘Chennai Normal Kings’ and the runners-up was Team ‘Chanakya’.

The prize distribution was followed by an address by Mr. Ashish Agarwal, the Co-Convener of Finance Forum, TAPMI. He talked about the various events that were conducted as part of Manthan 2018. Mr. Shiva Shrivastava, the Convenor of Finance Forum, TAPMI ended the event with a vote of thanks to all the guests, faculty, staff, participants and the student committees who were directly or indirectly involved in Manthan 2018.

Manthan 2018- Day 2: Arthneeti

Arthneeti, an intra-college event where the students take up the role of the finance minister and present the Union Budget, was conducted as part of Manthan 2018. The event was conducted in three rounds, each one being an elimination round. The first round was an online quiz on finance, economics and budget. The top 12 teams from the first round went on to the second round in which the teams had to present their analysis of the Union Budget 2018. The top 5 teams from this round went into the final round of Arthneeti where they donned the hat of Finance Minister and presented a sector-specific budget for the next 5 years based on a set of objectives and targets that the teams chose for their respective sectors. The event was judged by Ms. Mitali Chitre, Principal at Baring Private Equity Partners India, Mr. Kishor Baghri, Sr. VP and portfolio manager at ING Investment Management Pvt. Ltd and Mr. Gaurang Trivedi, an independent senior consultant with over twenty-eight years of experience.

The top five teams which presented the sector-specific budgets in the final round were Chennai Normal Kings (Industrial Production), Bong Finatics (Telecom sector), Vikings (Agricultural sector), Fin Champs (Infrastructure sector) and Chanakya (Automobile sector). The teams were given 10 minutes to present their budgets and explain the rationale behind their decisions. In the budgets presented by these teams, there were some great ideas ranging from focussing on skill development and increasing the contribution of the manufacturing sector towards the GDP to digitization and automation of the agricultural sector. Each presentation was followed by a Question & Answer session with the judges. The teams were grilled by the judges on the details of their analysis and the students impressively managed to defend their ideas before the judges.

Chennai Normal Kings were declared the winners of Arthneeti and the runners-up were Team Chanakya. The winners were facilitated during the closing ceremony.

Manthan 2018: Day 2: “India as an emerging superpower”- Mr. Satyendra Nayak, Consultant, Spectrafin

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The second day of Manthan 2018 started off with a guest lecture from Mr. Satyendra Nayak, Consultant at Spectrafin. In his interactive session with the students, sir talked about India as the emerging superpower.

Mr. Nayak started by talking about the ancient history of India, how it has never been just a nation, but a continent. India is second largest in terms of the population today, and according to him, it is one of the greatest resources that we have.  It’s not just population, but also the demographic profile of India, which is growth conducive. 45% of India’s population is between the ages of 15-35; which is the productive segment of the population. This results in faster growth rate in the country’s GDP. In the last two decades, China was the highest growing nation in terms of GDP, he said. Overall GDP is affected by output produced and wealth of the nation. Also affecting the GDP of a country is the circular flow of income; the factor payments and factor income like wages and salaries, interest, rent, and profits. Thus, increased spending by the population generates more investment which leads to greater production and wealth creation. Assets such as houses, educational institutes, corporates, which last for a lot of years are wealth creations.

Apart from economic progress, Mr. Nayak talked about the agricultural, military, nuclear, infrastructure and qualitative or the spiritual strength of our country. He also mentioned that the vast natural resources of the country are a huge advantage to it. He called India the agricultural basket of the world but said that it will be underutilized as long as proper technological innovation is not initiated in rural segment of the population. In military strength, he said, we are the 4th largest, but we are also the largest importer of defense equipment. He declared that India is slowly moving towards developing the infrastructure to manufacture the equipment on its own. Indian railway connectivity is one of the largest in the world and thus, also adds to the strengths of the nation. Finally, he insisted that no territorial expansion is possible for a nation- economic progress is what makes a nation a superpower. And when a nation becomes a superpower and owns material prosperity and wealth, they pursue spirituality and religion. In this aspect too, India is superior as it has a storehouse of spiritual and religious knowledge, so much so, that many other major countries are now following our traditions and customs. Thus, he reiterated, India is emerging as, and is set to become a superpower soon.

Manthan 2018- Day 2: Samnidhy Investors Meet 2018

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On 11th March 2018, the Samnidhy Investors Meet for the year 2018, was held as part of the second day of the Annual Budget Conclave, Manthan 2018.

Samnidhy is a one-of-its-kind, student-management investment fund at TAPMI, and the only one to be legally registered in the country. It has completed 3 years of operation, since its inception in 2014. Comprising an official board of directors, it is regulated by strict guidelines and protocols and is mentored by an advisory board consisting of senior capital market professionals.

The Samnidhy 2017 Board of Directors included Mr. Abraham Mathew (CEO), Mr. Dhanyakumar M. H. (CIO), Mr. N. Phani Kumar (CRO), Mr. Dinesh Guna (CMO), Ms. Abhilasha Mathur (CHRO), and Ms. Bhargavi Mittal, the interim CIO. The team also comprised of 52 Analysts covering 13 sectors.

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Prof. Aditya Mohan Jadhav addressed the gathering and spoke about the roots of Samnidhy, and its evolution over the years. Ms. Mitali Chitre, Principal at Baring Private Equity Partners unveiled the Samnidhy Newsletter for 2017-2018.

This was followed by the formal presentation by the outgoing Board of Directors on the stock selection and review process. The key highlights of the presentation are as follows. For the year 2017, Samnidhy had a corpus of Rs. 7.9 Lakhs, wholly contributed by the students of TAPMI. The corpus has grown by 127% since their beginning in 2015, and the fund reaped in post-tax returns of 18.6% for the current year. They suffered a loss of 2.7% because of the bear market. The portfolio holdings mainly consisted of those in NBFC, Banks, Automobile, FMCG and Infrastructure sectors.

They also presented the key activities during the past year, such as weekly and quarterly publishing of the Samnidhy Newsletter, a periodic “Stock of the month” analysis shared with the TAPMI community, sector presentations by Samnidhy Analysts and guest interactions for Samnidhy Analysts.

This was followed by an interaction with the distinguished guests, who provided several suggestions ranging from analyzing and choosing stocks, to improving their marketing communication. The student investors also posed questions to the Board of Directors.

The meet ended with the introduction of the new Board of Directors for Samnidhy 2018 -19, consisting of Mr. Subhajit Bhattacharjee (CEO), Mr. Saket Golchha (CMO), Mr. Sanjay Sawhney (CIO), Mr. Akshay Salot (CRO) and Ms. Christina Sebastian (CHRO).

Manthan 2018 : Day 2: “Opportunities and Challenges of M&A” – Mr. Manas Datta, Group CFO, Wockhardt Group

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On 11th March 2018, Day 2 of Manthan 2018, Mr. Manas Datta delivered a guest lecture in our campus on the opportunities and challenges of mergers and acquisitions. He began his lecture by giving a brief overview of M&A and asked a few questions to the audience to understand their knowledge on the top as well.

Mr. Datta then showed some 2015 historical data points on M&A. About 52% of world’s M&A trade happens in USA and in India it’s just 1%. This shows the high competitive advantage USA possesses. He also showed Global M&A 2015 figures on relative performance by sector. The maximum M&A activity is happening in consumer products and technology. The least is in aerospace and defense.

He took the example of inbound and outbound data regarding M&A across the world. India amounts to approximately $8,911 million outbound and around $33497 million. India also clocked the highest M&A growth over a period of 5 years in 2016. India had an estimated M&A value of $48.5 billion in 2016 which was a huge increase from $27.7 billion on 2015. Mr. Datta then elaborated on the impact of geopolitical events on global M&A. Based on a survey by PE Outlook, the results showed that 41% of them believed in strategy M&A as the key driver of Global M&A, 26% believed in consolidation, 17% in attractive valuation and the rest on improved financial conditions.

Mr. Datta then focused on the visible global slowdown in M&A in 2018. The Q1 of FY 2018 showed a reduction in M&A activity across the world. Indian M&A declined from $15.8 billion in Q4 of FY 2017 to $6.8 billion in Q1 of FY 2018. These can be attributed to the Government policies across the world, changing market conditions and other external reasons. M&A according to him will definitely increase in healthcare industry in the future. That is a sector to watch out for. Pulling Rank by Baker McKenzie and Oxford Economics gives the ranking of a country based on its IPO and M&A activity. India ranks 33rd while Hong Kong is 1st and USA is 14th.

The motivations for M&A as an instrument for growth is critical but it is an iterative process. The key factors in achieving a successful M&A transaction are effective integration, economic certainty, accurate valuation, proper target identification, sound due diligence processes and stable regulatory and legislative environment. A way to refine M&A strategy is to map the business strategy to the M&A strategy, Setting target lists and Go/No-Go criteria, Aligning the executives and shareholders to the vision for the M&A strategy. A balance of these three results in an M&A success. He took a few questions from the audience bringing the curtains down on what has been a very informative and engrossing lecture. The audience was hooked throughout his lecture and gained valuable insights from him.