Guest Lecture by Mr. Joseph K Varghese, Head HR, Khazana Jewellery

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Mr. Joseph K Varghese, Head HR, Khazana Jewellery visited campus on 10th October for a guest lecture for TAPMI students. Mr Varghese began the session by giving an overview of the jewellery industry in India.

Emphasizing demand of gold in Indian markets, Mr. Varghese said 25% of world’s gold consumption is in India, making it the largest consumer of yellow metal in the world. Gold is one of the fastest growing sectors in India economy with an annual growth rate of 15%. Khazana, leading jewellers in South India has a very good name and brand image. First opened in 1989, it has grown from a single store to 41 plus stores in 2014 with a turnover of INR 3284Crore and an employment strength of over 2600 plus. Throwing light on expansion plans, Mr. Varghese shared that Khazana plans to open 100 showrooms across country in next 3 years, expand overseas in UAE, Singapore and also venture in ecommerce arena.

Explaining the Business Process of Khazana, Mr. Varghese apprised that firstly gold bullions are imported from South Africa and Switzerland or purchased from RBI, and then passed to goldsmiths with designs for every ornament given by Khazana team. Then, after karigars make the ornaments, jewellery is checked and hallmarked by Government of India Institute for purity, quality, durability and then Hallmarked. After Hallmark stamping, it is sent to showrooms for sales.

Highlighting the point of differences of Khazana jewellery, Mr. Varghese emphasized that the chances of gold contamination are nill and even diamonds are sourced by Khazana. Exclusive designers design unique designs of ornaments. Over a decade, Khazana has built dedicated customers across India. They were the pioneers to introduce ‘Purity’ Guarantee Cart with photo of the ornament, which ensures that if a customer ever wants to sell or melt the ornament will not lose a single rupee in the gold value. In today’s parlance, it is called BIS hallmarked ornament. Khazana has manufacturing hubs all over India and maintains quality, product finish and competitive pricing to its customers.

DSC02673Talking about Management Trainee Program, Mr. Varghese said that a Management trainee after undergoing 6 months development training and on the job training becomes Area Sales Manager. An Area Sales Manager has cross functional stints in area of sales, Product (which includes sourcing, making and pricing), business development and marketing. The major roles of an Area Sales Manager include handling cluster of showrooms, sales and operations, team management, crises management, customer retention and acquisition and driving customer-focus approach within team.

The deeply insightful session was concluded with Mr. Varghese taking barrage of students’ queries and answering everyone.

Guest Lecture by Mr. Sriram Iyer, Vice president Sales (INDIA), Wipro Consumer Care

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Mr. Sriram Iyer and Mr. Binu John Visited Tapmi on 15th Sept 2014, to have an interactive session with the students.

The session kicked off with Mr. Sriram taking students through the journey of Wipro, how Wipro’s business structure evolved and the series of acquisitions with which they went through.

After talking broadly about how Wipro evolved as a company, My Sriram moved on to talk about the evolution of their flagship brand from consumer care section- Santoor.

Santoor, launched in 1986 is one of the three toilet soap brands to have succeeded in the last25 years. Today, it stands as the India’s third largest toilet soap brand by value.

Mr. Sriram stressed on the importance of marketing research and how it has been an integral part of their strategy in making Santoor a successful brand. In 1984 In the Toilet soap market, there were over 100 brands and over 20 companies, however only a few brands dominated the market. Some of them were brands from HLL, Tomco, Godrej and Swastik.  At that time, lot of companies were entering the market through premium segment.

During that time, Wipro scanned the opportunity in the personal wash habits and attitudes of consumers, through research and findings. They found out that there is a tradition of using Haldi and Chandan as skin care products in Indian women. They also found out that no other player was operating in this segment. By leveraging on the opportunity of first mover, Wipro thought of offering the goodness of these ingredients through the convenience of soap. Also, apart from the premium brands, none of the brands talked about the natural ingredients in their offering. After the initial test launch results, Wipro decided to launch the product with communication focus on goodness of natural ingredients.

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Stressing on the importance and relevance of marketing and brand management courses, Mr. Sriram stated that you are not the consumer, so always think from the consumer’s perspective, not from your own perspective. He also stressed on the fact that one should not use their own judgement in finding out what communication is good.

Talking further about the journey of Santoor, Mr. Sriram mentioned about the downfall of the brand and how they managed to bounce back. During 1990’s, since the appeal of brand was limited, they ran out of ways to geographically expand the brand. That was the time they realised that it is important to convert unique product features into consumer benefits.

He also mentioned that to make your brand stand out in the crowd; find a benefit that is unique, never fading and always desirable. The main mantra of success is- “Don’t talk features, talk benefits”.  He further added that if your strategy is right, even an average advertisement can build brand volumes.

Finally he concluded the session by sharing the success mantra of Santoor: “Always keep consumers at the core and keep innovating in the marketing mix”

Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for the students to complement their theoretical understanding of Brand management and marketing studies with real examples from the industry.

Guest Lecture by Mr Raghuveer HR, Sales Director, Dimensions Data India Ltd.

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Mr Raghuveer HR, Sales Director at Dimension Data, had an interactive session with the students sharing his experiences in the IT services industry. With a degree in Advanced Management from INSEAD and a PGDM in Marketing Management from University of Mysore, Mr Raghuveer started his career in the field of sales from HCL and later worked his way up through various companies, to become the Sales Director for Dimensions Data India Ltd. The company has a very impressive clientèle comprising of 73% of the global Fortune 100 companies and 59% of the global Fortune 500 companies.

Mr Raghuveer explained strategy as a planned approach to achieve goals. He went in depth in explaining the difference between customer and client and how they impact a business. He kept the session interactive and explained about the strategy which forms the base of the company. Mr Raghuveer had the opinion that a winning business comprises of efficient use of market opportunities, distinctive capabilities and employees passion.

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According to him, the key factors which play a major role in framing of a strategy are analyzing organization’s mission, vision and value statement, differentiation, Threat and opportunities, Stakeholders expectation, alternatives strategies, operational plan, contingency plan and monitor progress for effectiveness. He also stressed on the point that it is important to use a balanced scorecard to monitor progress of the strategy. He concluded with the note that the only thing that is constant in our lives is change and we should be ready to embrace it as and when it comes.

All in all the experience was extremely enriching for the students. The session came to an end with the Placement Committee of TAPMI sharing the vote of thanks and presenting the guest speaker with a memento on behalf of the TAPMI family.

“Product Management in Broking Industry”, Guest Lecture Session by Mr Vivek Shukla, Senior Vice President and Head – Product Development, Angel Broking

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Mr Vivek Shukla, Senior Vice President and Head – Product Development, Angel Broking visited Tapmi on 4th August, 2014 to deliver a session on ‘Product Management in Broking Industry’. Mr Shukla has more than 16 years of experience in the field of marketing, sales and product management. He completed his MBA from Nagpur University in 1997 and since then has worked with some of the biggest names in the Indian Corporate sector like Videocon International Ltd., BPL Mobile, ICICI Lombard etc.

He started the session with a brief introduction on broking industry. He gave a quick overview on the various services that were provided by broking firms. Angel broking was involved in equity trading, commodities, portfolio management services, IPO, advisory to name a few.  He explained about product management in the broking industry. He described about the importance of being close to customer and understanding his requirements.   

Mr Vivek Shukla also gave insights into the Broking Industry. He spoke about the various functional areas in a broking firm. E.g. – Sales, Research & advisory, product management, operations and risk management, HR, legal and compliance, finance, branding etc. Mr Shukla also gave students an idea about what it is stock brokers do, what are some of the software applications they use. He also faced questions from the students regarding requirements for various roles available in the broking industry. 

He displayed a few in-house softwares and trading applications used by Angel broking which included the advisory dashboard, portfolio tracker to name a few.

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The session ended with a Q&A round where the students asked questions to Mr Shukla. The discussions revolved around topics such as Financial Innovation and Regulation, IT and software in the broking industry, Investor perceptions and other general topics which also included the Modi-effect on the stock market.

The session was attended by around 60 finance enthusiasts who found the session to be highly informative and useful. TAPMI Students look forward to more such insightful sessions in the future.

Guest Talk on the FMCG industry by Mr Balaji Prakash, Business Head and GM, Marketing, Sales at CavinKare

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On 27th July, Mr. Balaji Prakash, Business Head and GM, Marketing, Sales at CavinKare bestowed his presence to deliver a guest lecture to PGP-I and II students. Mr. Balaji is Business Head with 15 years of experience in FMCG industry across personal care, confectionery, beverage and dairy markets. He is currently heading the beverage and dairy business for CavinKare handling sales, marketing and operations functions with profit center responsibility.

Mr. Balaji commenced with giving a discerning definition of FMCG by explaining each word of the abbreviation in great detail based on his experience of working so many years in this industry. The word Fast in FMCG denotes fast in speed, change and time. According to Mr. Balaji, fast is not just from sales point of view, but the whole market and industry changes so fast that in order to survive organizations need to keep pace. The consumers’ needs continually evolve and there is no time to stop but change. The only industry faster than FMCG is telecom industry. The marketers, retailers, even supply chain guys have no time to spare. The word moving signifies shifting, evolving and logistics. Today products, delivery mechanisms and the benefits are constantly changing. The last 8-9 years have been extremely rapid in consumer needs evolution. He consumers keep shifting between brands, the brands keep shifting and products keep shifting in this industry. And most importantly logistics can be a complete nightmare unless done right. Due to the complexities involved in supply chain and distribution, one needs to ensure that it works very well so that the customer does not walk out. Marketing is talking one to many which has its own complications and implications. The complication can be that not everybody understands what a brand wants to convey to them and the implication is that segment market is divided as finely as possible. This makes FMCG industry most exciting and interesting to work in also because you are part of consumers’ everyday life. The word consumer connotes the end point or actual users who consume the product. And lastly, Goods implies the materials or the physical presence.

Throwing light on why there is so much hype about India and FMCG, Mr. Balaji highlighted that India is country of population of more than 1 billion. It has the fastest changing lifestyle adoption pace. Indians are generally more flexible than others and the rate of adoption of new and changing trends is very high. Another critical reason is vast availability of cheap labor. There is also growing “future consumers” and high numbers of “potential consumers”. A very low penetration of branded products creates a huge untapped potential. Future spending opportunity is rising both for Residential Indians as well as non-residential Indians. The FMCG industry represents nearly 2-5% of the country’s GDP which is expected to rise further. The size has tripled in the last 10 years and in last 5 years the compound annual growth rate has been 17%. Rural India accounts for more than 700 million consumers or 70% of Indian population and accounts for 50% of the total FMCG market. Food and personal care together make up two-thirds of the sector’s revenue. Cumulative FDI inflows into India from April 2000 to April 2013 in the food processing sector stood at 9000 crores while the soaps, cosmetics and toiletries at 3115.5 crores. FMCG sector accounted for 1.9% of the nation’s total FDI.

Defining the categories in FMCG, Mr Balaji explained that the categories in FMCG can be divided into personal care, household care, food, beverages and convenience products. Under personal care, the sub heads are hair care, skin care, colors and cosmetics. The household care can be categorized into fabric care, domestic care and personal hygiene. The food category has two segments which are emerging viz RTE or Ready to eat and RTC or Ready to cook. Beverages can be hot or cold. The convenience products are those like batteries, pre-paid cards and even internet packages.

Illustrating the special features of FMCG, Mr Balaji said that marketing is one to many. This makes communication very specialized area as it is not possible to check if everybody understands what the marketer actually wants to say. It is also most of the times an emotional buying decision for FMCG, durables, non-durables rather than being rational decision making process. For this, Brand managers work in great detail towards the motto part which makes them very integral to the organization. Consumer behavior is always flirtatious which keeps brand managers on their toes as there is always a possibility of losing customer to someone else. Sustaining relevance is important i.e. staying in the consideration set of consumers. Retaining existing customers is important. For this reason brands keep copying products. And there is constant need to innovate. Organizations, to go the next level need small innovations that can make big difference. He further explained, there are two ways to grow the existing business. First can be to expand the consumer base and second to retain existing consumers by giving better products. Since the future of growth lies in the hands of marketers, they are also referred to as the captains of the ship as they decide which way to go and which way to take. The reach to customers is important and the products should be at consumers’ arm length. Company needs to constantly increase its reach and progress relentlessly. Companies should constantly upgrade customers to next order or higher order benefits. FMCG has a multiple and complex structure which is beneficial as it requires human intervention in such case and people with career in sales are required. This juggernaut is very difficult to manage and the complexity and complications at every level calls for different skill sets. For this reason sales and marketing are very different domains. There is also need for channel partner collaboration which can be explained through IIC concept. IIC stands for investment capacity, involved in your business and Credit to market as not everything can be sold on cash.

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From supply chain perspective, explaining the special features Mr Balaji quipped efficiency is the name of the game. Various factors like vendor management, cost management, inventory management, working capital management and productivity improvement are taken to consideration.

The opportunities in this field for the budding managers are enormous. Conceptual skills are needed at every point and level. Managers need to analyze and make decisions. Seemingly unconnected data has to be connected and there are situations where data may not be connected but one need to connect and come to conclusion. Forecasting and envisioning capabilities are important and lastly motivation and leadership qualities are essential. The marketers/managers play key role in value creation, thinking, direction and leading and above all creating the future.

Concluding the enlightening lecture, Mr. Balaji listed some dos and don’ts while making a career choice. Managers should choose what they like and match and develop required skills and competencies accordingly. They should stay focused on the chosen career and in one particular sector to become an expert of the domain. Understanding organization and industry expectations is crucial. And track should be kept of progress and responsibilities and not designation. Some of the don’ts can be like not choosing what is popular or swaying from one sector to another as every sector has its own challenges. Managers shouldn’t go after money and rather work on their skills and experience which brings money. Clearing students’ doubts Mr. Balaji took a barrage of questions and ended on a note of invigorating the students by encouraging them chase their dreams and enjoying the chase at same time.

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Guest Lecture by Mr. Rohan Patnaik, Head – Inventory, Operations And Sales (IOS), Redbus

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On 29th July ’14, Mr. Rohan Patniak, Head – Inventory, Operations and Sales (IOS), Redbus, arrived in TAPMI to introduce the students to the travelling e-commerce industry.

Mr. Patnaik began the session with a brief introduction of the e-commerce industry and why it is on a boom in the recent years. A few reasons can be increase in the number of internet users, number of devices compatible with internet facilities, acceptability of online payments and proliferation of internet. Moving on to the types of e-commerce transactions, he explained that the Indian e-commerce industry that began with simple classifieds like eBay and Naukri, today is dominated by players like IRCTC – 5 lakh transactions per day, followed by Redbus (50 to 60,000), MakeMyTrip (30 to 40,000) and so on in the travel segment.

He pointed out the fact that the online travelling business is very different from the other e-commerce segments as there are no look-and-feel challenges; customers specifically know what they want. Consumer experience is the key. Moving on, he talked about enablers of e-commerce namely device, payments, internet and demographic factors and how enablers evolved from 0 broadband connections just a few years back to 100-150 million today. However, India’s internet penetration is very less than that of China’s. But there is a scope of 5 fold growth in the next 5 years in the number of internet users in India.

Further in the session, he explained how consumers have moved from non-stickiness to stickiness i.e. consumers want a proper place to take out their cars and make payments as against cyber cafes. Today, credit cards have taken over the payments world except for mobile payments and online recharges. Other enablers cropped up recently are cash-on-delivery and net banking which saw an increase in its number of users from 1% in 2007 to 7% in 2011.

He concluded the session talking about challenges in the e-commerce travelling sector in India, grievance redressal mechanism, inventory holding challenges, taxation, permits, how easy is it to replicate such a business model and attract investors, rapid evolution in the business model, and shortage of trained man power, higher attrition and customer loyalty issues coupled with high acquisition costs.

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The session attracted a lot of applause from the student community as Redbus is an established player in a fairly new industry and it has coped up with the challenges in the industry quite interestingly. As we presented Mr. Patnaik a small token of appreciation for coming down to TAPMI and interacting with the students, we hope that he would be coming back for such sessions in future also.

Insights into the ITES BPO Industry – A talk by Mr. Anil Joseph from Sutherland Global Services

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On Tuesday, 22nd July, TAPMI proudly played host to Mr. Anil Joseph, Vice President and Head of Service Delivery – Insurance at Sutherland Global Services. With a diverse experience across sectors like Financial Services, Hospitality and Concept Sales, over 19 years, Mr Joseph has indeed accomplished a great deal in a relatively short span. He was here to give the students an overview in general about what Sutherland does and in particular talk about careers in the ITES BPO Sector.  

The session kicked off with Mr. Joseph sharing the story of his own entrepreneurial venture started by him at the age of twenty three that offered the services to a large customer base in the city, which later has emerged in similar concepts like “Ask Me” and “Just Dial”. Although the venture did take off for three years, he had to wind it up for lack of scope and expansion possibilities in the location. Mr. Joseph used the reference to stress the importance of pursuing ones passion.

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Talking about Sutherland as a company, Mr. Joseph spoke about the different services offered by Sutherland namely – front office, back office and the knowledge services. The current strategy of Sutherland is pursuant on a transition from contact center services to a truly integrated BPO, essentially meaning that it would strive for non-linear growth – one where the firm does not merely grow proportionately the number of people but rather by building assets in technology, platforms and tools that generate revenues. Mr. Joseph also spoke about how the choices of office locations of Sutherland across the globe, was more due to the client preference than any other reason. While referring to the newly added Bangalore location, he mentioned the underlying reason being the acquisition of a business line managed by an existing client and the desire to retain the knowledge and experience of people working in it. He also walked the students through the various employee-benefits and employee connect programmes offered to the employees at Sutherland Global.

Stressing on the importance of adaptability – especially at the post B School stage, Mr. Joseph emphasized the importance of accepting change the way it comes. He encouraged the students to go the extra mile and communicate with the right people during the initial years in the industry and reap the benefits as they progress in their professional lives. As Mr. Joseph offered a peek in to the ITES/BPO profession, the audience were able to get a clear picture dispelling quite a few misconceptions built in their minds so far. Towards the end, Mr. Joseph entertained numerous questions from the audience who were curious about various aspects of the ITES BPO industry and in particular about the culture and processes at Sutherland Global.

Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for the students to obtain an overview of the business and operations of Sutherland Global Services and gain insights into careers in the ITES BPO industry.