Guest Lecture: Mr. Santosh Deviprasad, Senior Recruiter, Akamai Technologies

Santosh Deviprasad, Gold Medallist in MBA from Institute of Business Management and Research – Bangalore, conducted a guest talk session at TAPMI on 12/10/2013. He has an experience of over 6 years in the field of Human Resources, building global teams across product and services organizations in the field of IT. Having worked with global leaders like Kodiak Networks, NetApp India and Global Edge Software, he is currently working with Akamai Technologies India Pvt Ltd as a Senior Recruiter.

The topic for discussion revolved chiefly around his organization AKAMAI and its omnipresence in the high-tech network optimisation domain around the globe. Immaculate presentation by Mr Santosh kept the audience effortlessly oriented towards the discussion. The session began with an introduction and establishment of AKAMAI Technologies in which he gave a detailed account of events and happenings that led to mercurial rise of AKAMAI in a short span of 15 years. Out of the top five Forbes Fortune-500 companies, four companies are amongst its clients.

The Core Technology of the company is network optimization to enhance the hyper-connected internet performance. There were some interesting facts and figures disclosed about the trends on web-security, cloud computing and increasing video traffic over the internet. Mr Santosh cited that estimated cost of downtime over the internet due to malicious security infringements is of the tune of hundred thousand dollars. He also discussed the growth opportunities present in Cloud Computing domain, which is poised to grow by three times the current market scenario by the year 2015.

The complexity arising in providing seamless internet services over all the platforms like smartphones and computers/laptops has been attributed to the high internet-enabled devices per user ratio, which is expected to be 10 devices per user by 2020. Much of the relevant details regarding the technical processes involved in handling complexity were discussed. He also gave few insights about AKAMAI’s strategic server locations, which are present at the ISP locations of major telecom service providers like Orange (India), TATA Indicom in select few cities.  

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Mr Santosh discussed with students about the different technical, functional and administrative domains in the company. He gave a brief about Business Development, Field Sales and Sales Support,    Relationship Management, Solutions Engineering, Technical Consulting, Customer Support, Program Management and Product Management and Marketing.

Mr Santosh laid emphasis on the culture of Akamai. He laid importance on the cultural fit of an employee. He told that Akamai looks for this compatibility in the candidate before recruitment. Further dwelling more into culture of organisation he explained the Akamai DNA. According to Mr Santosh Akamai’s DNA lays focus on passion, right attitude, drive for perfection and agility.

Entrepreneurship: A Promoter-CEO’s Perspectives – Mr. Amrit Basu, MD and CEO, and Mrs. Kalyani Basu, Director, Vanilla-Beans Consulting Private Ltd

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On the fourteenth of October, 2013, TAPMI played host to Mr. Amrit Basu and Mrs. Kalyani Basu, of Vanilla-Beans Consulting Pvt Ltd. Mr. Basu addressed the students of TAPMI on Entrepreneurship, but from the perspective of a Promoter-CEO. It was an interesting lecture that served to give the students a flavour of what it is like to be an entrepreneur, and more specifically what it takes to be one.

Mr. Basu started off by first making a distinction between a CEO and a promoter CEO. In his view, a CEO merely drives and implements, whereas a promoter CEO ideates as well as executes. He made it clear that his talk was targeted at those students who seek to become entrepreneurs but are unsure about the nitty-gritties of the trade.

Then, he proceeded to talk about the base reason why so many people want to be entrepreneurs. He talked about the desire for freedom, control, and the need to excel. He pointed out that the first and most important thing any entrepreneur requires is courage – the courage to give shape to your ideas and go the full distance with it, despite many failures and setbacks. At this point, he also briefly described his journey from his early days in banking and foreign exchange trading to HR Consulting, and to the more recent Management Consulting domain. He used this as an example for the need to constantly seek out new avenues – a must for any entrepreneur.

Mr. Basu now set out to describe the various skills that a student, hopeful of becoming an entrepreneur must develop and polish. The first skill he touched upon was Business Development. Here, he highlighted the need to know the market (in particular competitors and differentiating factors) and constantly look out for opportunities to tap.

The second skill that is a must for an aspiring entrepreneur, according to Mr. Basu is the skill of negotiation: the ability to strike a balance, maintain long term relationships and price competitively, with an eye on the competition. Undercut (after evaluating the market conditions), where and if possible was a mantra he suggested here to stay competitive.

Another skill he talked about was the elevator pitch. Mr. Basu urged the TAPMIans to build an elevator pitch of both the company profile, and the self (for budding entrepreneurs). The idea here is that an aspiring entrepreneur must be able to pitch his business or himself to a potential funder within sixty seconds. The key to doing this is to put provoking questions in the minds of the funder, so that he/she will extend the time and ask you more questions and give you a chance to impress further.

Finally, he also touched upon a few other key skills to be developed: Crowd-sourcing (for ideas/money), marketing and social media, technical skills in the relevant domain, etc. He also impressed upon the TAPMI students the need to know the language and the jargons of the business and Entrepreneurship world, such as OPEX, CAPEX, Mark-up, Business Plan, and Return on Investment. He highlighted the need to meet investors early and convince them, not with presentation skills (as that does not work!), but with hard facts. A potential investor needs to tangibly see the potential returns.

Now, Mr. Basu ventured to give an idea about how to build your company. He talked about the kind of policies and systems that need to be put in place, which need to be employee-friendly. The work culture, in his opinion needs to emanate a sense of the freedom to innovate and a sense of ownership.

Mr. Basu concluded by urging the aspiring entrepreneurs amongst the TAPMIans to be courageous, have the fear of missing out (as it is a key driver), and to believe in the old adage “Winners never quit, Quitters never win”.

This was an enriching session that gave the TAPMI students practical tips and ideas about the skill-sets they need to build to be the outstanding entrepreneurs of the future.

How to leverage the MBA education to plan one’s career

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Mr Umesh Gaur interacting with the students

On 3rd of July, students of T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) had an opportunity to learn the intricacies of corporate challenges from the speakers from JDA Software. The event was divided mainly into a series of two guest lecture session delivered by the top management of JDA Software Group, Inc. out of which the first lecture was given jointly by Mr. Umesh Gaur and Mr. Muralidhar J.

Mr. Umesh Gaur, who is presently designated as Senior Director (Consulting) at JDA Software started off the session. His agenda of the speech was “How to leverage the MBA education to plan one’s career”.

Mr. Umesh quoted some examples from his life when he was himself a student; he shared the experiences of his early corporate life which actually started at IIM Lucknow, when he was pursuing his management education.  Mr. Umesh also mentioned the challenges he had to face while his association with Wipro and i2 Technologies. He also shared his experiences in the supply chain domain which he had to manage during latter stage of his career.

Mr. Umesh spoke on different challenges that the management graduates are facing nowadays. According to him the most important element for a management graduate is the job profile, which consists of elements like Area, Role, Functional and technical aspects. Mr. Umesh stressed on the fact that students from other functional streams of management (Marketing /Finance) are joining IT firms in a profile which they are not conditioned for, and this specifically is hampering their career growth as they are losing out valuable time.

He mentioned how the young graduates are overlooking long term benefits and pursuing short term targets based only on monetary constraints. Mr. Umesh recommended that management students should have more practical knowledge and have hands on experience of the latest technology to achieve expected corporate growth.

He gave examples of some experiences which he gained over the years in the field of supply chain management. He mentioned the importance of global exposure and its impact on shaping up ones intellect and attitude.

Mr. Umesh also mentioned the different career tracks in IT like Business development, Project Management and IT consulting. He emphasized on the role of a solution architect who has good command on domain as well as process knowledge. Finally he finished off by stating that one should choose his/her career based only on factors like core competency, interest, academics, personality and desire rather than focusing solely on monetary aspects.

The second part of the lecture was taken by Mr. Murlidhar J., VP Consulting Services, JDA Software. He started off the session by sharing incidents from his childhood days, his traditional upbringing, his struggles while pursuing graduation and his experience at JDA.

The agenda of Mr. Muralidhar’s lecture was “Change and Leadership” and its importance in career growth. He spoke on the importance of change in the present context. In his own words “Change is an inevitable phenomenon and the corporate should be willing to adapt to this“. His lecture on change was divided into four major parts – What is change, Why Change, When to change and How to change.

Mr. Muralidhar gave examples of technological and economical changes happening across the globe; he also mentioned the fact that changes in customer needs have evolved new growth opportunities for businesses.

He spoke on the competition that the present economy is facing and the importance to adapting such changes. According to him change is risky but not changing is a riskier proposition hence adoption is the only option. He also recommended that one can create lasting changes by forming habits that stick.

Mr. Muralidhar spoke on the context of leadership; he gave example of leaders like Imran khan and Winston Churchill, who had displayed courageous leadership in testing situations.

He ended his session by stating the importance of having a vision strategy, taking right decisions, empowering others and Communicating effectively. His only suggestion to students was to keep on learning as it is the only parameter that will help them in the long run. And with this the first part of the guest lecture series came to its end.