Winter School 2019 Inauguration Ceremony: “Heuristics of Finance” by Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Director of Harding Centre for Risk Literacy, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

14th January 2019 marked the commencement of the 3rd Edition of the TAPMI-MAX PLANK-SOTON Winter School on Bounded Rationality 2019. The program focuses on Heuristics of Finance this year. In congruence with the previous editions, TAPMI is hosting the Winter School 2019 program in collaboration with the MAX PLANK Institute for Human Development, Germany and Southampton Business School, United Kingdom. This program aims to foster a spirit of collaboration and cooperation among the participants in their common pursuit of research excellence. It also provides a platform wherein the research scholars from various institutes can learn from reputed academicians and industry stalwarts. This week-long program is sure to empower research scholars in their respective researches and enhance TAPMI’s stature in the global arena.

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The inauguration ceremony had eminent panellists such as Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Professor Konstantinos Katsikopoulos, Mr Vidhu Shekar (CFA Institute, India), Professor Madhu Veeraraghavan (Director, TAPMI) and Professor Kavitha Ranganathan (TAPMI). The program began with a short prayer sung by two students of TAPMI followed by the auspicious lamp lighting ceremony performed by the esteemed guests.

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Prof. Kavitha Ranganathan provided an apt epilogue by elaborating the reason of TAPMI hosting this one-of-a-kind program year after year and the benefits of this program. She mentioned briefly about various persons who were a part of the earlier editions of Winter School and who have all been benefitted in some manner by attending this program.

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Prof. Gerd then made the audience aware of some essential and minute nuances regarding heuristics. He stressed upon the fact that an interdisciplinary approach is needed to unearth true wisdom and satiate owns curiosity. He also mentioned that nowadays there are plenty of avenues for distraction but one needs to avoid them in their course of the pursuit of excellence in order to stroke creative thinking. Professor also mentioned that knowledge and courage are the two essential requirements for wisdom and enlightenment.

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After Prof. Gerd, Prof. Vidhu Shekar emphasized the importance of leveraging such a platform and also mentioned the how CFA Institute functions. Subsequently, Prof. Konstantinos spoke about how they had ensured that interdisciplinary and diversity both aspects were satisfied while choosing the participants for this program.

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Prof. Madhu Veeraraghavan wast the last speaker and he mentioned that the association between TAPMI and MAX PLANK Institute was not by chance and that it was the amalgamation of two institutes built by two visionary leaders, Dr TMA Pai and Max Planck. He highlighted the various existing thought camps in finance through a presentation. Lastly, he concluded his speech by extending a vote of thanks to the attending academicians and participating research scholars.

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Guest Lecture: ‘Talent Acquisition and VUCA’ by Mr. Umesh Roy, Regional HR Head, Huawei Telecommunications

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On 23rd September 2018, Mr. Umesh Roy, Regional HR Head, Huawei Telecommunications engaged the cohort at TAPMI in his lecture on Talent Acquisition and VUCA.  Manual interference in organisational processes is decreasing day by day.  So, Mr. Roy suggested that talent acquisition managers have to select highly talented individuals who align with the business strategy.  Mr. Roy spoke of VUCA and the importance of addressing it in the competitive world.

Mr. Roy informed the audience that talent acquisition is the process of attracting, finding and selecting those individuals who possess required competencies and who will integrate smoothly and productively into the organisation and its culture.  He described the challenging roles of HR professionals in terms talent acquisition, talent transformation, talent engagement, HR-operations and industrial relations.  He stressed the importance of happiness index in an organisation – higher the happiness index of employees, higher is their productivity and that of the organisation.

Mr. Roy highlighted the importance of talent acquisition in employment branding.  It provides for an organisation to distinguish itself internally and externally.  He said that effective sourcing requires accurate definition of needs.  Mr. Roy explained the significance of selection and pre-boarding processes of talent acquisition.  Quality of the hired employees, program satisfaction, time to hire, new-hire retention rate and the performance rating of the company after the hiring process measure the success of talent acquisition, he said.

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Mr. Roy presented an overview of the concept of VUCA.  VUCA is a combination of qualities – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, that when taken together, characterize the nature of some difficult conditions and situations, he said.  The U.S. Army War College introduced the concept of VUCA to describe the multilateral world perceived as resulting from the end of the Cold War.  But more frequent use and discussion of the concept began from 2002.  He said that it has subsequently taken root in emerging ideas in strategic leadership that apply in a wide range of organizations.

Failure in itself is not a catastrophe, but failure to learn from failure definitely is, Mr. Roy said while detailing about VUCA.  It is not enough to train leaders in core competencies without identifying the key factors that inhibit their using the resilience and adaptability that are vital in order to distinguish potential leaders from mediocre managers.  Mr. Roy strongly feels that anticipating change as a result of VUCA is one outcome of resilient leadership.  He concluded by suggesting how the aspects of the modern-day organisational dilemmas can be tackled with vision, understanding, clarity and agility.

 

CXO Leadership Series Talk by Mr. Ashu Malhotra – HR Market Lead, Indian Sub-Continent & Malaysia, Cargill India Pvt Ltd

“Life is all about the choices you make and the consequences you face” – Ashu Malhotra, HR Market Lead, Indian Sub-Continent & Malaysia, Cargill India Pvt Ltd.

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On 15th September 2018, Mr. Ashu Malhotra, in an interactive session with the students, discussed the various aspects of management and leadership. He enlightened the students by sharing his learnings from the rich and diverse experience of working with several organizations. He shared the deep insights he gained, working across various sectors of the industry, from FMCG to E-commerce, and also in his current capacity as HR Market Lead at Cargill Pvt Ltd.

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Stressing on the how our choices define the outcomes in life, Mr. Malhotra spoke about how tough choices will lead us to new paths and directions. Such challenging situations push us to grow and teach us valuable life lessons, he continued. Embracing change, one must be prepared to face the consequences of the choices one makes, and not to run away from it.

“The biggest impediment in life is when you place constraints on yourself, which restrain your capacity to achieve more.”

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Mr. Malhotra then went on to discuss the importance of striving towards self-improvement and demonstrating values like honesty. To be a true leader, one must set high standards for oneself and make the right choices. One should be ready to set a good example, through one’s actions and words. Embarking on that journey towards accountability and becoming a role model would require careful evaluation of our actions at every step, he underlined. Constructive feedback can help aid such an evaluation and should be welcomed, not shunned as criticism.

“A manager cannot be a leader without being a true role model”, Mr. Malhotra said in conclusion. A leader, therefore, needs to have a vision for the future, articulate the same and energize the people to strive towards achieving the vision.

Guest Lecture by Mr. Sujitesh Das, Vice President – Global HR, Microland

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“You can’t have HR run without the HeaRt.” – Sujitesh Das, Vice President – Global HR, Microland.

On 17th August 2018, the students of TAPMI had the pleasure of attending a guest lecture by Mr. Sujitesh Das, Vice President – Global HR, Microland. The entire session was extremely invaluable, as the insights shared by Mr. Das, who has a lot of experience in the industry, couldn’t be found in the books. Also, since he covered the trending topic of technology or digital in HR, the students were very involved in whatever he had to say. It’s not every day that the students get to learn from the first-hand experience from someone so learned. The session started with Mr. Das probing students for questions, and the one that stood out revolved around the rise of technology and the ‘threat’ it posed to the domain of HR.

So, will technology be able to replace the ‘human’ part of ‘human resources’? No, he says. “The two letters in the word ‘heart’ are ‘H’ and ‘R’ and you can’t have HR run without the HeaRt.”

He further emphasized on the mundane tasks like data processing, information reporting, routine transactions being automated by technology, while the decision making would continue to be with human beings. Another part of the discussion, was on understanding the importance of HR in an organization, especially with the existence of all other domains and line managers. Drawing the comparison of an organisation to a family, Mr. Das enlightened the cohort, “The same way that while you have others taking care of you and you are expected of from others, your primary care takers are your parents. To understand HR, look at your family. All the concepts of HR exist in your family – leadership, culture, motivation, politics, crisis, chaos, conflicts, success, failure.” This analogy between a family and an organisation was very well received and assimilated by the students.

The rest of the session was dedicated to showcasing technology in the domain of HR; he walked the students through the app of ‘Microland’, where most of the HR interface was digitalized. From using e-Cards to celebrate and wish employees; to sending dynamic e-Business Cards via external applications like WhatsApp; instantly viewing the service tenure of a particular employee; the app ensured that the technology was being used in the right sense with an intention to increase productivity, while taking over the monotonous jobs, that didn’t quite require human intervention. Another plus point of the shareable e-Referrals was that it was shared with a Microland watermark, which helped the company in branding via and amongst its own employees! The app also hosted regular polls asking its employees of suggestions and inputs regarding their culture. Hence, the app not only ensured run-of-the-mill HR tasks, but had superlative long-term benefits as well.

“Now, while technology has found several use cases in HR, aspects like company culture will always require a human touch”, Mr. Das said, “striking out a balance between automation and touch”. A brilliant orator, Mr. Das articulated and presented his points in a manner that was easily understood by the fresh batch of HR students. The highly interactive session concluded with students lending him a round of enthusiastic applause for the sheer knowledge he had bestowed upon the batch.

About Microland:

Microland accelerates the Digital Transformation journey for global enterprises – across Private and Public Sector, enabling them to deliver high-value business outcomes to their customers. Headquartered in Bangalore, India, Microland has more than 3,800 professionals across its offices in Australia, Europe, India, Middle East and North America. Microland enables global enterprises to become more agile and innovative by integration of emerging technologies and the application of automation, analytics and predictive intelligence to their business processes.

Disha 2018: Closing Ceremony

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The very eventful 6 days of DISHA 2018 came to end on 1st September 2018. The closing ceremony began with an address to the judges and audience, with the speaker thanking them for their time and inputs. Post that, TAPMI’s Director Professor Madhu Veeraraghavan was called on stage to give our prizes to all the winners of various competitions held during Disha, like Embauche, We The People, Vrondi etc. He then went on to thank various guests, for their valuable time and expertise, the faculty and staff of TAPMI, and the students for actively participating in the conclave. He also spoke about meeting about 95 guests, out of which 66 came to TAPMI for the first time- post which he congratulated all the student bodies for executing the event so successfully.

Rohit Sharma, an alumnus of TAPMI, was also invited on stage to speak about his coming back to TAPMI. He emphasised on the rigour the institute instills in its students and how valuable the same is.

Lastly, Mr. Sohum Kumar, convener of Placement Committee, shared his vote of thanks with audience, thanking everyone who was directly or indirectly involved with the execution of the event.

The closing ceremony thus ended with a huge round of applause by the students.

Disha 2018: Day 6: Guest Lecture: ‘Agility in HR’ – Ms. Shweta Khanna, AVP HR at eClerx

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On 1st September 2018, Ms. Shweta Khanna delivered a highly interactive lecture on the concept of agility in HR, as part of the final day of Disha 2018. Stressing her love for the HR domain, she began by discussing how HR is an immensely rewarding career choice for those who wish to create a positive environment for the workforce. Ensuring that the employee is heard and understood is an important part of the job, and therefore, she underscored, it was essential for HR professionals to practice effective listening.

Moving on to the central theme of her lecture, she asked the students to explain their understanding of the word “agile”. “Swiftness”, “adaptability” and “speed” were some of the responses that the audience collectively agreed on, based on which she further built on the concept. “So, is agility a methodology or a process?”, she probed. “Neither”, she continued, stating that it should rather be understood as a mindset that enables one to be flexible and adaptive to various situations. Imbibing such a mindset would enable businesses to rapidly adapt and respond to a rapidly changing and turbulent environment.

She then linked the concept of agility to HR and spoke about how organizations need to attract, recruit and retain talent who are agile, nimble and adaptive. In talent acquisition, for instance, she explained how recruiters are leveraging the power of digital tools, including social media, to build a talent pool and search for potential candidates. The drawbacks of current performance management systems can also be overcome using agile concepts. While traditional methods were characterized by rigid goals and annual reviews, the newer, agile systems focus on frequent feedback provided at regular intervals of time and more flexible goals. This results in a more continuous and comprehensive appraisal system, she continued. She illustrated the use of agile processes in Learning and Development, through digital learning platforms that can help employees learn at their own pace, and track their progress in real-time. Agility also has implications for employee engagement, she stated; creating a positive employee experience would help the organization keep its people motivated and engaged.

She then opened the floor for discussion and answered student queries on the various business implications of agility, while considering factors such as cultural resistance to change, the rapidly changing environment and so on. The session ended with thunderous applause, as Ms. Khanna encouraged the students to embrace agile traits to stay ahead in today’s VUCA world.

DISHA 2018: Day 5: Panel Discussion on ‘Driving business advantage with Digital Transformation’

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On 31st August 2018, Mr. Rakesh Singh (Senior Practise Manager ERP, Inspirage), Mr. Rushmeet Arora (AVP, Marketing), Mr. Amit Roy (Director, Fin Guy, PwC), Mr. Ashish Gupta (Regional Logistics Manager, Shell India Markets Pvt Ltd) graced the student moderated Panel Discussion with the theme, “Driving business advantage with Digital Transformation”, held as part of Disha 2018.

Mr Rakesh Singh started the discussion by pointing out that ‘Digitalisation’ implied the advent of generation of enormous data with every transaction. People are generating a footprint, leaving behind a signature with every web activity, transaction and clickstream. He observed, that previously companies were unaware of their customer’s tastes and preferences and thus they conducted market research. However, now companies have access to an unprecedented amount of data generated by customers and can come up with algorithms, patterns, that that can be used to herald a new future for the economy. On a final note, Mr Singh urged the students to form strong networks amongst themselves, to continue to innovate and think of out of the box ideas. He advised the students to keep their minds open to learning and only then, he said, the world can be conquered.

Mr Rushmeet Arora talked about how digital transformation is the need of the hour for all organisations- it necessitates transformation for all their processes. He stated that many companies like Uber and PayTm have already achieved the same, and managed to make their processes customer-centric. When asked about digitalisation with respect to social media marketing for companies, Mr Arora cited the example of his own company. When AVIVA realised that customers were facing a problem in understanding different term plans, insurance terminology and comparing different policies, they set up E-KYC systems and chatbots to help them. He insisted that companies have to be present socially and digitally. They need to be aware of what kind of solutions customers want, in order to stay ahead of the game and be successful.

Mr Amit Roy started off the panel discussion with an anecdote about his experience with a shopkeeper asking him for his Aadhar number after he purchased some goods. Using a biometric instrument, the shopkeeper took the fingerprint of Mr Roy and upon entering the Aadhar number the machine automatically debited the amount for the goods purchased by him. This experience made him realize the potential of Digital India. Mr Roy also spoke about the difficulties the companies face while changing to digital. To elaborate on companies using digital as a medium, he gave the example of Smule, a music app on how they conduct their business.  Answering an audience question on data security and data privacy, Mr Roy emphasized the importance of regulations to maintain the security of data. He also put the onus on the individuals too to keep their data secure.  Mr Roy said that it is the best time to be in the industry as the investment is on ideas and not just experience. If one has the right ideas, experience doesn’t matter as people aged less than 30 are becoming CEOs of start-ups.

Mr Ashish Gupta spoke about how the Operations team in an organization should drive the change in the business. There are a lot of systems that needed to be changed on the back end in order to produce this change. He also spoke about the important skills like IoT and Blockchain one ought to learn and implement, in order to sustain the business.  Answering an audience question on data security and data privacy, Mr Gupta said that despite all the concerns of data privacy, measures are being taken place to ensure a seamless and secure experience to the end customers. Mr Gupta also spoke about his own sector and how his organization works. Once the customer places a request, the algorithms running at the back end gives an estimated delivery of the product to the customer. The organization is thus saving a lot of cash by optimizing the supply chain through the use of technology. The flow of information is driving the legs of the organization.