Consultant of the Year 2017: Inauguration Ceremony

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The preliminary workshop for the event “Consultant of the year”, organised by OMEGA, commenced with the Inauguration Ceremony on 9th December 2017. The chief guest of the event Mr. Viswanath P, Chief of Technology and Transformation of Future Consumer Enterprise Ltd., is an alumnus of TAPMI Batch of 2011. The event was attended by the Director of TAPMI Dr. Madhu Veeraraghavan. Professor Ishwar Haritas the faculty advisor of OMEGA – TAPMI was also present. Sham Ranjan Shetty the Chairman – Student Activities and Professor Vidya Pratap Associate professor – TAPMI were also among the dignitaries present on the dais.

The Chief Guest Mr. Vishwanath P was handed a small token of appreciation from the Director of TAPMI, Dr. Madhu Veeraraghavan. The Director then addressed the gathering saying the students at TAPMI are encouraged to think and are taught to be independent in a sense that there is no hand-holding by the professors, it is a sink or swim process. This is helpful to the students when they enter the professional world.  He then elaborated on how Consultant of the Year event was divided into three parts. First, a two-day workshop would be conducted by Mr. Viswanath P. Then there would be a case study challenge. The top ten teams in the case study challenge would then work on a live project.

Mr. Vishwanath P began his speech by wishing all the students. He compared a consultant with a barber by saying that a once a consultant always a consultant. You are not a true consultant until it soaks into every part of your life. He then elaborated on what he planned to cover over the two-day workshop. He would cover the myths regarding consulting, the work involved, the different levels of strategy and also his own experiences. He would be conducting an interactive workshop.

Professor Ishwar Haritas then shared his views on the event by stating that he hoped that the students will gain knowledge regarding the scope of strategy and its applications in today’s world. Everyone one of us should make use of all the opportunities and resources available to us to increase our knowledge and build our skills. Professor Sham Ranjan Shetty also addressed the gathering and stated that he hopes the students get all the inputs they want from the workshop and that they should work hard to make the best use of it.

The inaugural ceremony ended with the chief guest planting a sapling for a greener future. There can be no development in business or technology if the progress is not aimed towards a greener future. This is a belief held by TAPMI which is a centre for inclusive learning.

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‘High Potential Manager’: Mr. Sudhansu Misra, Sr. General Manager-HR, TATA Motors

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On 7th December, 2017, Mr. Sudhansu Misra started the interactive session by asking the students to ask him any questions that they had for him. The students then asked questions ranging from the future outlook of TATA motors and electric vehicles to how can they become the CEOs in future. In return, he asked them what were they doing now, as students, that will make them the CEOs in the future. He then shared a few insights that he has learned during his career that will help the students become successful.

During the session, Mr. Misra talked about the important traits that separate an ordinary man and a successful manager and explained each of these traits with a lot of examples from his life. The first trait he talked about was the ability to keep experimenting and try out new things. He talked about Mr. JRD Tata who had the ability to experiment with things and how it made him the man we know him as. The second most important trait according to him was to keep learning. This was a trait he identified after observing many successful people holding important positions in TATA group of companies and outside. Then he talked about the processes and systems which we follow knowingly or unknowingly and how they impact us. The last trait that he thought would help the students become successful was identifying the areas of improvement in their behaviour and correcting them. This may require a lot of time, but the key is to keep working on it.

He then answered the question from the students about how they can become the future CEOs. He said that he had observed many CEOs and there were a few common qualities between all of them. This included humility, knowledge and forward thinking. The session ended with him sharing an incident in which he helped the victims of Latur earthquake and how it completely changed his thinking.

Ops Diaries 2017: Day 6: “Demystifying Operations”: Ms. Nivedita Konduri, Manager at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories

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On 11th November 2017, a notable alum of TAPMI, Ms. Nivedita Konduri started the lecture by discussing the elective subjects with students. She explained how certain subjects are intellectually stimulating and how students can apply the concepts in their workplace. She then spoke about her summer internship experience and how it helped her to broaden her horizons.

Explaining the concept of Procure-to-Pay, she said it is an essential part of any business in today’s world. The P2P process includes obtaining raw materials to provide products or services to the customer. She discussed the SAP and ERP models of the procurement process. Moving on to discuss the various ways of data interpretation, Ms. Konduri explained the importance of case studies, spreadsheets, and presentation. Data analysis is one of the most important aspects of any job. It includes data cleaning, crystal clear calculations and categorizing data according to value and volume.

She also advised students about the importance of having certain certifications such as SCPro Certification, Certified Supply Chain Professional and Certified in Production and Inventory Management. She also emphasized on participating in competitions which helps in the practical understanding of the subjects and also, network with students from other business schools.

Discussing Supply Chain Management, she elaborated on the processes of sourcing, planning, logistics, and strategy. She gave the students a glimpse into the role of an Operations Manager in manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. In the manufacturing sector, the role would typically include production planning, capacity planning, inventory management and manufacturing strategy; whereas in the non-manufacturing sector, the roles would include functional and management consulting improvement projects, quality control, and operations excellence.

Coming to the end of her lecture, she answered queries from the students. It was a very enriching and fulfilling session.

Ops Diaries 2017: Day 6: “Operations Management in Financial Services”- Mr. Midhun Rajagopal, Management Consulting Analyst, Accenture Strategy

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On 11th November 2017, Mr. Midhun Rajagopal addressed the students at TAPMI regarding operations management in financial services. He started the session by giving a brief about his work experience across various companies. He briefly described why operations management is important for financial services, citing examples from his work experience. He said that 80% of the problems that arise in financial firms are related to operations. He listed out three different cases of operations management playing a major role in financial services from his work experience and promised to walk the students through the same sequentially.

The first example he quoted was the process transformation journey for a large global bank. He mentioned the problem statement for this client, which was to reduce its operational and technological costs. He gave a brief of the methodology followed, which included re-engineering the process, defining process hierarchy, standardizing process across all geographies and mapping detailed end to end target state process for all functions of the bank. He then explained the outcomes of these processes, few of which were mapping 1600 activities across all functions, standardizing process across 29 countries with 80% commonality, reduction of operational and technological costs by 27% etc. He mentioned the key operations concepts used in this project which was access mapping, business process re-engineering, process standardization and to be mapping.

He then moved on to the next project which was to enhance customer service guarantee for a leading Indian NBFC. The problem statement here was to increase its market share in lending business by offering supreme customer experience through faster and transparent loans processing. He briefly explained the methodology followed, which included redesigning the loans processing flow, developing a BPM workflow solution, developing a comprehensive MIS for management reporting, supporting the client to roll-out the revamped process in key branches, training the staff and ensuring process adherence. He then listed out the benefits due to this process which was standardized process flow, better oversight of branch operations and enhanced customer experience.

The third example mentioned was to optimize client due diligence for a multinational bank. Moving on to the methodology he briefly explained the “as is CDD (Customer due diligence) process” and “To be CDD process”. He then listed out the benefits received through this process, few of them were: Standardized screening process, FTE reduction, reduced vendor licenses, reduced training costs, reduced screening touch time and improved screening quality. He listed out the key operations concepts used in this process, which were capacity planning, functional specialization, touch time reduction and stakeholder management.

The enriching session ended with Mr. Rajagopal engaging the students in an interesting Q&A session which facilitated a healthy flow of ideas.

 

CXO Leadership Series 2017: “Building a business in emerging markets- A practitioner’s view”- Mr. Mithun Kamath, Group CEO – Arc Skills

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On 11th November 2017, Mr. Mithun Kamath interacted with the student fraternity of T. A. Pai Management Institute on building business in emerging countries. Citing examples from his diverse experience of working in Africa, Latin America and Asia, he informed the students that the economic needle is moving towards Asia and Africa. He cited that the driving factors for this change were Scale, Socio-Economic conditions, Cultural conditioning, Languages and Strategy vs Opportunity.

He said that the disparity in population makes India a massive market which operates under a single currency. On the other hand, he mentioned that Africa has markets operating in 54 countries each with different territories and currencies. Mr. Kamath stated that in the retail sector, the profile of distributors, the number of employees, the transportation, etc. are deeply influenced with changes in the socio-economic conditions. He disclosed that in Latin America and Africa, retailers buy stocks for extremely short duration and usually stock up multiple times a day. The sub-distributors in S. Africa were not exclusive to a particular retailer unlike those in India. The Indian distribution and merchandising strategies he concluded, would, therefore, fail if applied in Africa and ergo these emerging countries.

Mr. Kamath went on to mention that 70% of adults in Latin America lack high school graduation leading to a huge talent crunch. He disclosed that the cost of living in Africa is 2.5 times more expensive than India because the majority of commodities are imported. He remarked that in Africa there are two types of companies – the ones who cater to the top of the pyramid and others who cater to the bottom of the pyramid, unlike India that has a middle-class market. Therefore, he enunciated, a completely different planning and strategizing was required to sustain in the emerging countries.

Mr. Kamath emphasized the importance of understanding the culture of the country you are working in. He reminded that it is important to understand the local languages and accept their beliefs which may be very different from ours. Also, he said that we as Indians try to utilize incremental methods of getting the job done as quickly as possible. “We don’t strategize but implement the assigned work. We seek direction. While this trait helps us earn our bread and butter, it is also the reason why we are second to major world competitors”, he explained.

He went on to say that we needed to realize our potential and enter the strategy phase of projects. “We have some major strengths like adaptability and hard work which we should use to improve our impact globally. We should stop following paths of least resistance and start building brands instead of providing labor”, he reminded.

Mr. Kamath emphasized the need for collaboration with locals of a country as a very crucial aspect of managing a business in various countries. According to him, International Business requires a good knowledge of acquisitions and joint ventures which is very different from the usual deal-making. Any strategy that we make, he pointed, has a very small shelf life in the global dynamic world.

Mr. Kamath concluded the discussion by emphasizing the need to be dynamic, understanding risks and failure and thinking out of the box. These, he summarized, would help us stay relevant.

Leadership Lecture Series: Mr. Ramakrishna Vyamajala, Director-Human Resources, IDFC Bank

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On 5th November 2017, Mr. Ramakrishna Vyamajala talked to the students of TAPMI about Employee Stock Options. He started the lecture by asking the students having a prior work experience if any of their previous employers offered them any stock options. He explained that the Employee Stock Options or ESOPs as they are called, are long term incentives that the company gives to its employees whom they want to retain for a long period of time.

He talked about the different types of ESOPs like Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPPs), Restricted Stock Units and Stock Appreciation Rights. Between the time when employees get the stocks and the time they finally sell them, there are four stages involved. The first stage is Granting, where the company issues the grant letter to the employee. The next stage is Vesting, when the employee becomes eligible to buy those shares. And then comes Exercising, when employees exercise their right to buy the stocks. Then is the stage where the employees finally sell their stocks and get the money. The ESOPs are good for both the employee as well as the employers as it attracts employees, motivates them, enhances their job satisfaction and aligns the employees with the company’s goals.

He gave the examples of companies like HDFC, Infosys and Citrus Pay where the employees made a lot of money by selling their stocks. But there is a chance that the stock prices go down after the employees receive the ESOPs and to avoid the problem, the best times to exercise ESOPs are when an increase in stock prices is expected, prior to expansion plan or listing of shares or prior to any merger or corporate events.

He ended the session with some recommendations to the students on when to accept ESOPs from their employers. He asked to students to choose the right instruments basis the life cycle of the organization and if there is too much uncertainty involved, it is better to go with the cash component instead of stock options.

CXO Leadership Series 2017: “The scope of Leadership Assessment and Development in the lifecycle of an employee in today’s organization” – Mr. Tojo Jose, CHRO, Muthoot FinCorp Ltd

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Mr. Tojo Jose started the session by answering the question – What is the most difficult thing for an HR in today’s world? According to him, assessing the leadership pipeline is the most critical thing today. The definition of a leader has changed drastically. In the dynamic and everchanging environment of today, one who navigates through these choppy waters and makes it is called a leader.

According to him, leaders are required at all levels of the organization because of several reasons. These include a dynamic business environment (Demonetization, GST), New Skills (Big data, analytics) and competition from machines. He explained with the example of demonetization in his organization.  Today, organizations expect employees to value-add from day one. It is expected that each and everyone in the organization needs to be more adaptive and flexible to catch up with new skills such as big data and analytics. The introduction of machines to this already complex scenario adds a new dimension.

 A common phenomenon today is that the average age of CXOs is declining in India and the World, in general. It is happening because of various reasons such as diminishing hierarchies. Other reasons include performance-based culture, diffusion of decision making at all levels, diminishing departmental boundaries, measures to tap ideas from frontline staff, Knowledge Management System.

HRs today are looking for people who can wear different hats and can manage a lot of things at once. It is important for employees to go beyond the project requirements. That is the basic trait of being a leader. In his opinion, ‘It is important that we remove the transactional mindset and adopt the transformational mindset’. Employees who can understand the intangibles in the services are the people who move up the ladder.

He discussed the competencies that a management student should possess. According to him, competency is a combination of practical and theoretical knowledge.  The competencies that all corporates look for irrespective of the industry is curiosity, challenging status quo, learning new skills, volunteering and execution skills. Apart from these, any organization looks for cultural values such as trust, integrity, collaboration, and excellence.

He then answered several queries of the students before ending the session. The students really enjoyed the interactive and enlightening session.