Archive for January, 2010

This one will be short. Just wanted to share the awesome panorama view of IIM Indore Academic Block as taken by Rakesh T (PGP2, IIM I).

Click here for the view and enjoy !! A bad experience sucks ! It does!

Recently I had a lot of travelling to do from Indore. I usually do my flight and hotel booking either directly through the Airline Website or through MakeMyTrip. This time I had heard a lot of discount and schemes on Yatra. Well I went on to make my domestic flight booking and it I got a Rs. 1000 discount voucher for a hotel booking. Generally all travel websites offer such discount as a way of marketing knowing well that majority of travelers rarely use such coupons.

So during my recent travel I needed to book a hotel and I thought why not use the discount to get accommodation in a good hotel. So I logged onto Yatra and made my booking. I was given a reference number and a Yatra Representative was to call me and confirm the booking. So it was time to wait!

And the wait just continued…. The journey time came and I didn’t get a call. Yatra never bothered to check up on the booking I made and that was really unprofessional by a travel website boasting of excellent customer service. I tried calling the Yatra Customer Care myself and it was just a waste of 30 minutes call time as the call was just put on hold forever.

I decided to make my hotel arrangements on reaching the destination. I reached the same hotel where I had made a booking and showed my reference number. The hotel staff was surprised and declined having received any request for booking from Yatra. So the “esteemed” travel website Yatra didn’t even cared to take the booking request forward. Is the Yatra Hotel Booking Service just for fun?

Further the hotel staff told me that the hotel doesn’t gives it’s rooms for booking on Internet, rather only 1 Room of each kind is given at discount just for marketing purpose. Now that was again a surprise! So the booking service is not a business, it’s a marketing scheme!! And it’s the case with all travel websites.

The experience which I had with Yatra was pretty disappointing and caused me a lot of inconvenience. Atleast Yatra is not going to be my preferred travel website for a very long time.

18th December and it’s the last day of the visits with only the Guest Talks remaining on 21st, we were all set for Telekom Malaysia. Having already visited Maxis, this gave us an opportunity to visit a government entity thereby comparing the strategies of two major players of Telecom Sector.

Telekom Malaysia is the largest telecommunication company in Malaysia. It has a monopoly on the fixed line network and has a considerable market share of the mobile communications market after its acquisition of Celcom and merging with its mobile operation arm, TMTouch. TM has an internet service provider subsidiary (TM Net) offering narrowband and broadband connectivity. Broadband connectivity is through DSL under TM Net’s Streamyx brand. Due to its near monopoly of the last mile connections, TM Net is now the sole DSL broadband provider in the country.

The visit began in an awesome professional style round table arrangement corporate presentation. The best thing about the presentation was the passion with which the speaker was delivering and providing us insights into the operations of Telekom Malaysia. The presentation moved to discussion mode with questions on regulatory issues and difficulties in Malaysia vis-à-vis India, the 3G services and acceptability of such services in Malaysia. There was more discussion on how despite being a government entity, Telekom Malaysia was able to give a strong competition to private players and how monopoly of Telekom Malaysia on certain services enabled it to compete. The insightful presentation was followed by a superb lunch where it was taken care that Indian Food is provided which was a pleasant sight. This was followed by a visit to a simulated “Digital Home” set up by Telekom Malaysia to show its users how high speed internet can be used to change the way of life for good.

The experience was really wonderful and gave a lot of learning into the telecom sector and how the sector can contribute massively to an economy.

Check out the pics of the visit here

Rupee appreciating again…

We’ve seen the highs and lows of Rupee with it reaching Rs/$ = 39 mark and also depreciating to Rs/$ = 52 in March 2009. Now again it is on an appreciating spree. Since March 2009 last year it has now reached on the verge of breaking the Rs/$ = 45 mark. Till the time this blog was written the currency exchange rate was Rs/$ = 45.7. According to Business Line Rupee forwards in the non-deliverable forward (NDF) market are trading at a discount to spot rate resulting in arbitrageurs becoming active in the Indian currency, thus contributing to the current up-move. Moreover, given excellent equity returns in the Indian Stock market compared to global indices, FII inflows have been very positive which has also led to rupee appreciating. BSE gave a 70% return in 2009. Although, the dollar has been trading strong against other major currencies over the last fortnight but it has not made any headway as strong economic data brought back risk appetite stunting the greenback’s gains.

Such an appreciation has implications for companies whose revenues are dependent on exports. One such sector is the IT sector which is already facing the lows due to less business given the recent financial turmoil. Companies like Reliance, Hindalco, Tata Steel which have a significant portion of revenues from exports might take a hit.

According to Business Line in the intermediate term, trend in the currency is up and it can move to 45.2 or even 44 over the medium term. In the short term of 5 day span the rupee can spend a few sessions moving in the zone between 45.8 and 46.5. Rally above 45.8 can take rupee to 45.2.

The views expressed in the blog are personal of the Blog Author. Feedback and Comments are welcome.

The significance of January 5th 2010 was not evident until the realization dawned on me that my FRM Exam Results are going to come out today. The tension mounted for a moment but then soothed out after remembering the month of November 2009. I felt confident about the efforts I had put in and the fact that results would be out when I am asleep, made me stop worrying about it.

November 2009 was indeed one challenging and eventful month for me. I had decided on giving my FRM Exam in August, so I was way behind people who already had put in 3-4 months of preparation for the exam. That was evident when I visited Pagalguy for getting some gyan on FRM, and I saw people sharing their experience of reading the 3rd module. I sure was way behind but somehow I felt I can do it. Moreover, it was the last time GARP was going to conduct Full FRM Exam, so it was all the more essential to grab the opportunity. As it happened, my plan and schedule for the prep was going excellent until October end when the MBA exams came up. By start of November, I was lacking big time.

Another craze that I had developed in me was to participate in competitions in 2nd year. If you are doing MBA you will know that all major competitions come in the month of November. I was participating in many but the cherry was the Cognizant Board Room Contest. I and Viren were participating and we made it into the first round. I decided to cut myself from every other thing and now focus on two things: The FRM Exam and Board Room Contest. Both were on high priority and at time it was to decide who to give higher priority.Hard work paid off and level by level (report submissions, video conference presentations) we made it to the finals of the competition.

The bouncer for the month was the dates of the two things.

Cognizant Smart Business Plan Board Room Contest ——— 20th November 2009

Full FRM Exam ———————————————————————- 21st November 2009

17th November I managed to finish off my FRM reading once and 18th went fully into the competition planning and PPT. I planned a schedule to leave Indore 19th evening, reach Chennai(the venue) by 19th evening (there isn’t a direct flight to Chennai), do the presentation on 20th morning, leave for Delhi (my exam site) on 20th evening and appear for exam on 21st Morning !!! Believe me, it felt extremely difficult if not impossible to be of sound mind after so much stuff in just two days.

Finally the 2 day events started with our flight journey and we landed at Chennai Office of Cognizant on 2oth morning. It was a awesome experience being in the Finals. We met with the other teams, the judges and some of our IIM I alumni. Being in the finals of such a huge competition and the hard work we had done for it made the experience worth capturing. We started our presentation with confidence and we did pretty well. However, as it turned out, the judges found other ideas to be better and we didn’t made it to the winning zone. A disappointment definitely, but certainly not the end of the world. The next thing on mind was my flight to Delhi and FRM Exam where certainly I don’t want to fail. Luckily I reached Delhi in time and after a good night sleep I reached my exam venue. Hassle-free venue and a really cute invigilator (she was a MBA student of that college itself [:p]) made the day and my exam went smoothly.

Well, after the sweet November, here I am. Just checked my FRM Results.


17th December, another beautiful morning and we gather up in front of bus after a not so good (for vegetarians) breakfast. The next visit is to Proton. Car fans among us got really excited at the prospects of getting to see magnificent cars like Lotus in real. Some even thought of a test ride [:p].

Proton is a Malaysian automobile manufacturer headquartered in Shah Alam, Selangor, with a manufacturing plant in Tanjung Malim, Perak. Founded in 1983, it was Malaysia’s only carmaker until the establishment of its competitor Perodua in 1993. Its name is a Malay acronym for PeRusahaan OTOmobil Nasional. Proton exports cars to the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia and the company is aggressively marketing its cars in several other countries including the Middle East. Besides that, Proton has also been exporting a small volume of cars to Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Cyprus and Mauritius. With the acquisition of Lotus technologies in 1996 from ACBN Holdings (a company owned by the owner of Bugatti), Proton has gained an additional source of engineering and automotive expertise.

The visit started with a corporate presentation about the company which was extended to a visit to the manufacturing facility of Proton. The facility is a mix of automated and manual processes and many of us were of the feeling that it can be fully automated. We got to see the sequential implementation of the operations and the synchronization needed. The ultimate experience was the testing zone where cars were being tested for speed upto 200kmph, stress testing, high temperature and shower testing. It was a useful experience with many of us visiting an automobile manufacturing facility for the first time.

Check out the pics here

16th December, we boarded the bus after a heavy lunch at Maxis and moved towards ABB. ABB’s history in Malaysia began when the first power generator was installed in 1904 by MFO Oerlikon. Today, most of ABB’s operations are consolidated under ABB Malaysia Sdn Bhd which was established in 1973, with its head-office based in Subang Jaya, Selangor.As a leader in the power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customer to improve their performance while lowering their environmental impact, ABB integrates high technology products from Europe and the United States of America, with cost-efficient engineering and manufacturing capability in Malaysia.
At the start we were given a safety brief regarding the visit to the shop floor which would happen later. After that, a short interactive session was taken by Ms. Nirmala Devi telling us about the importance of branding. The students were fortunate to be able to have a short interaction with one of their senior managers who brought to the notice of the students the importance of execution. The shop floor visit showed the students the actual implementation of the 5 S models. ABB has already implemented the Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. Kanban is also implemented at ABB and Kaizen is in the phase of implementation.
It was a wonderful experience to know how a multinational company has sustained and established itself firmly into Malaysia.

Check out the pics here