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Monthly Archives: November 2012

“The faculty at SCMS-Cochin is sincere, dedicated and thoroughly professional. The management sessions have certainly impacted our behaviour system positively.” – Mr. T.K. Jose (IAS), Chairman, Coconut Development Board

The first Leadership Training Programme for the office bearers of the Coconut Producer’s Society of  Alappuzha district was recently held at SCMS-Cochin. During the 3-day Leadership Training Programme held between the 18th and 20th of September 2012, the Coconut Development Board (CDB) tapped into the management wisdom of the world-class faculty of SCMS-Cochin to churn out a local solution for the challenges being faced by the Coconut Producers Societies in Kerala. The Leadership Training Programme looked beyond coconut oil and kernel towards products that are nut-free, sugar-free, soya-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and nutritious, and could be produced from  coconuts. Apart from training on how to manage their societies better, the members of the Coconut Producers Society were given a wide knowledge of how products like the ‘4% low fat cream’ has a great demand worldwide. The various other products suggested during the intense three-day churning were Palm Sugar for diabetic patients, and Virgin Coconut oil that has been effective against diseases like Thyroid malfunctions and certain strains of HIV as well.

On the concluding day of the programme, Jaison Sam Mathews, a student of Batch 21B of SCMS-Cochin and a member of the Media Relations Club, had the opportunity to chat with Mr. T.K. Jose (IAS), Chairman, Coconut Development Board, on the vision of the programme and what made SCMS-Cochin the natural choice to conduct it.

Jaison – Thank you for your time, Sir. Can you tell us in a few words about the CPS project?

Mr. T.K. Jose – The Coconut Producers Society (CPS) project is aimed at strengthening the coconut producers and farmers in Kerala. It is an initiative by the Coconut Development Board of India and it has seen success in integrating the cultivators.

Jaison – How was your experience working with SCMS-Cochin on the Leadership Training Programme for CPS members?

Mr. T.K. Jose – We were here for 3 days as students. It was a worthwhile experience in SCMS and the faculty members, including the Director, were very sincere and dedicated. They adopt a very different approach and teaching style. The management sessions were professional in a true sense; it even changed our behaviour system.

Jaison – Despite numerous subsidies available now for coconut producers, people are not willing to take up coconut farming as a serious profession. How do you see this changing?

Mr. T.K. Jose – This was true earlier. But now the government is very supportive. There have been numerous initiatives by the Coconut Board in giving all kinds of help for coconut agriculture. In the long-term, these Coconut Producers’ Societies – which are relatively smaller groups – will be motivated to come together in federations of 15 to 25 CPSs. The Coconut Development Board, Cochin, that sponsored this programme in SCMS-Cochin, aims to form 10 such federations in the state. Once this is achieved, these federations will be organised to form a producing company, for which they will be mentored and facilitated for the next five years.

Jaison – How do you see the relationship with SCMS-Cochin take shape?

Mr. T.K.Jose – To achieve this objective, the CBD looks upon SCMS-Cochin as an important facilitator. SCMS holds the responsibility for CPS in Alappuzha. It is a very good initiative by SCMS. This will help develop the industry in the district. Those who have undergone training in this Leadership Training Programme will now have to share this knowledge with their respective societies.

Jaison – Thank you so much, Sir. This is also a huge learning opportunity for the students of SCMS-Cochin, as we observe how an industry reinvents itself.

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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in News Room

 

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Hi-tech Agriculture — The Future of Kerala – A Seminar by Mr. Sivdas B. Menon at SCMS-COCHIN

SCMS Cochin, recently awarded as Asia’s best emerging B-school at the Asian Confederation of Businesses, is really keeping pace with the fast-changing and ever-growing market of India, as well as the world.

In the 21st century, product innovation and technological advancement have been turning the wheels of success rapidly in the manufacture sector and IT enabled services. The modernisation of social media and various other sectors like Banking & Finance has also resulted in economic dividends. However, it is the agricultural sector that has experienced a steady decline in its share in the Indian Gross Domestic Product, irrespective of the fact that it employs a huge 52% of the total workforce.

The need of the hour is a drive that can pull even the urbanised workforce to consider the prospects of agriculture. Thus SCMSians were treated to a session of Institute Industry Interaction (III) with vibrant and dynamic agronomist, Mr. Sivdas B. Menon. After working in close association with various highly reputed Agri-tech companies like Amalgamation Group, Shaw-Wallace & Co. Ltd., etc., for almost two decades, Mr. Menon started out with an idea of his own. The thought came to him and was given shape in 1987 as Sterling Farm Research and Services Pvt. Ltd. (SFRS). This was a concept that changed his life, helped him share his vision and gave a mission to more than 250 employees working with him at present.

Kerala, also often called “Land Of Coconut Trees”, faced great problems with the disposal of coconut husks and coir fibre, which were  dumped, and  polluted the land and water. In such a scenario, SFRS created a market for waste products and created a revolutionary product that, according to Mr. Menon, can grow “vegetables on rocks”.

Putting the coconut husks through various organic processes and reactions, they actually succeeded in creating a soil substitute – Neopeat. It is an eco-friendly organic soil conditioner and soil substitute, and the best medium for Green House Farming, with a water holding capacity of 500 – 600%. It is highly suitable for commercial floriculture and horticulture and using Neopeat, SFRS produces tomato, cucumber, egg plant, capsicum, strawberry, melon, lilies, rose, etc., under green house conditions. Irrespective of the season, rainfall, etc., they manage produce which is up to international standards and is now exported to more than 30 countries.

The company is headquartered in Kerala and is also engaged in the manufacture and marketing of blended fertilisers, plant macro & micro nutrients, high analysis organic manure, coir garden care products, geo textiles and coir logs, besides others. Neopeat has proved to be the best soil conditioner for commercial plantations, flower beds, potted plants, horticultural crops, golf courses, landscaping, etc.

With such a revelation of a complete unknown segment of agriculture, awards and certifications soon followed. SFRS won the National Award from the President of India for Best Research & Development, and too many more to name, for its contribution to advancement in agriculture.

From this session with Mr. Menon, the one message that came across clearly from the personal experiences of this visionary entrepreneur was that today’s youth should think creatively and out of the box. They should be experimentally bold enough to leap into unexplored sectors. He motivated us to look for the opportunities that prevail in our surroundings and to make the best use of them. He also offered future help for consultation to budding entrepreneurs like us.

We, the students of SCMS, are privileged to have heard such a man of substance, who glamorised the unattractive sector of agriculture. Mr. Sivdas B. Menon is a game-changer and his story will influence the unrealised dreams of the students, who will be inspired to reach for the sky.

Jayeeta Putatunda

PGDM Batch 21B

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in News Room

 

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Young Filmmaker at SCMS-COCHIN.

Pramod John is a first year PGDM student at SCMS-Cochin, a creative young man who made SCMS proud by displaying his ingenuity through his short film, “Pakshi-the bird”. He says his journey of filmmaking began long ago, when he was still a child. He wrote short stories and later thought he could give his words sound and motion through the medium of a film. His story-telling was limited to his friends when he was a child but today, his work has been shortlisted for the “Lohitha Das Short Film Festival”. A gratified Pramod says, “I feel immensely proud and happy, for my hard work has been appreciated. And also that I could participate in a film festival named after one of my favourite writers”.

When asked about the title Pakshi, he says that he had often wondered about migratory birds, and their journey in search of food, habitat and shelter. In the movie, the lead protagonist leaves his homeland and settles into a fast-moving world of work and building a career. The film is a take on how, like the protagonist and migratory birds,  we humans often settle into a new rut in life and never return to our homeland.

When asked about his future in the world of filmmaking, Pramod says, “As of now, I would want to complete my PGDM successfully and after few years, would like to pursue my love for  filmmaking”. Making films is this management student’s passion and he believes that one should never give up what one loves doing, even if it is initially challenging to pursue one’s dream.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Student Life

 

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Vision and Promise of a new beginning: First leadership training programme for the office bearers of coconut producers society held by the CDB at SCMS-Cochin

‘Global vision for a local solution.’

This, in a ‘nutshell’, was the outcome of a three-day Leadership training programme held for members of the Coconut Producers Societies from Alappuzha District. Between the 18th and 20th of September 2012, the Coconut Development Board (CDB) tapped into the management wisdom of the world-class faculty of SCMS-COCHIN to churn out a local solution. Speaking in the concluding session on 20th September 2012, Mr. T.K. Jose, IAS, Chairman, Coconut Development Board, stressed the importance of learning from a management institution like SCMS-COCHIN.

“We have to think differently”, he said. “Coconut oil and kernel are not the only products we can produce from the coconuts that we harvest. Products that are nut-free, sugar-free, soya-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and nutritious can be produced from these coconuts. We have to gain knowledge from experts like SCMS-COCHIN,  and share ideas to improve our lifestyle.”

Mr. Jose also pointed out that the Biotech department at SCMS has already introduced these projects.

Apart from training on how to manage their societies better, the members of the Coconut Producers Society were given a wide knowledge of how products like the ‘4% low fat cream’ has great demand worldwide. The various other products suggested during the intense three-day ideating were palm sugar for diabetic patients, virgin coconut oil that has been effective against diseases like those impacting the Thyroid, and certain strains of HIV as well.

Providing some ‘food’ for thought for all, Mr. Jose pointed out that even the smallest and simplest products like charcoal, fiber, etc., are being used to change lives and routines.

“Your task does not end here,” Mr. Jose pointed out to the members of the coconut growing fraternity who had undergone training at SCMS-COCHIN. “You now have to educate others in your respective societies about what you’ve learnt at SCMS-COCHIN. The need for care given to the trees, the manure used for its growth, and the medical cure required, needs to be improved.”

Mr. Jose’s session then grew into an active exchange of ideas, with harvesters discussing various improvisations that could be carried out to create new products out of the coconut, and how to get better yields out of their coconut harvest.

In the long term, these Coconut Producers Societies – which are relatively smaller groups – will be motivated to come together in federations of 15 to 25 CPSs. The Coconut Development Board, Cochin, that sponsored this programme in SCMS-COCHIN, aims to form 10 such federations in the state. Once this is achieved, these federations will be organised to form a producing company, for which they will be mentored and facilitated for the next five years. Clearly, to achieve this objective, the CDB looks upon SCMS-COCHIN as a natural partner.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in News Room

 

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“I am proud to have been a part of Parivarthana 2012” – says, Sneha Murali, SCMS-Cochin MBA, Batch 10 student

What do you get when you combine enthusiastic students, peppy music, creative dialogues and the inherent responsibility to educate students on “Road Safety”?  You get ‘Parivarthana 2012’, bigger and better than ever. Our experiences of ‘Parivarthana’ cannot be limited to just a few pages. Memories were made, important lessons were learnt, relationships were built and personalities were developed in the process of helping society, by creating an awareness of road rules and safety measures among school children. After days of rehearsals and hours of practice, we were sent out in teams of 15 to schools near and far. Our mission was to instill in school children the awareness they would require once they were on the roads of Kochi. We believed that through ‘Parivarthana’, they would learn and imbibe these practices for the future, and prevent accidents and casualties.

We are confident that we were able to reach the children through our coordinated efforts. With the support of our faculty, we were able to choreograph an excellent show, which did not only entertain the children, but also educated them at the same time. Children related well to the dialogues between “Yamraj” and “Chitragupt”, as the skit we put up appealed to their sense of humour, but also made them think.  The flamboyant charm of “Sumesh Bobby” and a special spoof of ‘Ningalkum Agam Kodeeshwaran’ with a blend of ‘Road Safety’ in it did not fail to amuse them either. If these weren’t enough, the children had the opportunity to croon and dance to the peppy number “STOP LOOK and LISTEN”, and also on the theme to ‘safe crossing’ while on the roads. Leave it to SCMS-Cochin to deliver only the best, and come up with outstanding results. We, the management students, learnt just as much as the children we reached out to in the schools. We learnt teamwork, coordination and most importantly, we were able to come out of our shells. Being socially inept was not acceptable as an excuse not to participate, because ‘Parivarthana’ aims at putting everyone in the spotlight, even if for a short while. And in this manner, many developed confidence, and their personalities shone through.

All in all, we were very proud to be a part of this great initiative, and we hope to be a part of more such CSR activities at SCMS-Cochin in the future. We are thankful to the management and our incredible faculty, who guided us and moulded us to be who we are now. ‘Parivarthana 2012’ can definitely be considered a grand success.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Students Speak

 

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Taking on Electoral Politics

T. N. Seshan, former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), was not the first middle-class “crusader” who plunged into the arena of electoral politics, and he won’t be the last. The latest to throw his ‘topi’ into the ring is the Jan Lokpal torchbearer, Arvind Kejriwal. Both Seshan and Kejriwal were civil servants before they captured the imagination of the masses with their much publicised anti-corruption campaigns. The big question is – will Kejriwal succeed where his predecessors have failed?

There is a big difference between television politics and electoral politics, just as there is a yawning gap between the poverty alleviation programmes and the real thing. For so long, Team Kejriwal was typified by the single agenda of establishing a strong anti-corruption law. And the television-middle-class cheered. However, the new political party has a grandiose goal, as stated in its vision statement. Even with the hype created by the agitation and on-screen persona of Anna Hazare, it is doubtful whether the electoral middle-class will forego its ties with caste, creed and local connections when it comes to the ballot.

The questions we ask ourselves is whether the middle class, the major constituency backing Team Kejriwal, is ready to make sacrifices for this crusade; to achieve something larger than the ‘silent candle-light marches’ and ‘Made-for-TV fasts’. Will it come out of its consumerist culture for a cleaner political system?

By promoting a wider political agenda, Team Kejriwal might alienate the original constituency that created the movement in the first place. However, the question of how a top-to-bottom clean-up of the system will be achieved with the mere nudge of a media-backed agitation remains. Instead of an overarching goal of capturing national power, Team Kejriwal should try to win smaller constituencies, steadily establishing itself as an undeniable political entity.

– Evita Liz Eldhose

PGDM  21B

SCMS – Cochin

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Students Speak

 

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“The Industry does not expect extraordinary talent from freshers, just a lot of discipline, dedication and sustained performance over a period of time”, says Mr. Melwin Kottayil, Faculty, SCMS-COCHIN

After working for several years in industry, Mr. Melwin Kottayil joined SCMS-Cochin in August this year as Assistant Professor. He is a Chartered Accountant and has worked with National Stock Exchange and SPG Consulting. He is also a Certified Information System Auditor certified by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, USA.

Mr. Melwin Jose Kottayil deeply respects every student’s individual potential and strengths – and he brings this belief to his classes as well. He collaborates with his students to understand them and then tries to urge them to attain higher levels of performance, “We are not trying to bring everybody to the same platform; all students are at their own particular levels, and we need to see where they stand. In the period of these two years, we try to push them to the levels they are capable of attaining.” Perhaps this thought process has evolved owing to Mr. Kottayil’s own experience in the corporate world.

Finance is Mr. Kottayil’s field, and he has always enjoyed sharing the nuances of the subject with others. Mr. Kottayil’s completed his CA in 2008 and began his career working as a consultant with SPG consulting in Mumbai. He moved to NSE in 2009. At NSE, he conducted several sessions on Finance for different sets of people – and realised that he enjoyed it! That’s when he started contemplating teaching and SCMS-Cochin being a part of his home State just made the decision easier.

Mr. Kottayil says he doesn’t have a particular teaching philosophy. “I deliver sessions, which can last for 12 minutes, 3 hours or even for the whole day. I have a broad outline defining what should be covered and then, depending on the response of the participants, I decide the length of the session.”  However, he stresses that students need to be technically sound. Once technical expertise has been taken care of, the other big employment factor, according to Mr. Kottayil, is a professional’s ability to network and communicate. He doesn’t feel that industry expects extraordinary talent from freshers, just a lot of discipline, dedication and sustained performance over a period of time. Employers also want the candidate to be flexible and open to adapting to the organisation’s culture.

Advising management students, he says, “Today, people hop jobs more frequently than ever but one should have sound reasons for doing so. I wouldn’t change a job in less than two years, since you learn in every organisation.” He feels it reflects on the resume and personal learning is also impacted. Fond of reading books about his sphere of interest, Mr. Kottayil’s is also keenly interested in investments. He is also a happy traveller, but is most content when playing with his two year old son!

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Faculty

 

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