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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Jayeeta Putatunda’s summer internship with Volvo India is powered by SCMS Cochin School of Business

IMG_6845(1)Far away from the campus greens of SCMS-Cochin, Jayeeta Putatunda barely has the time to breathe these days. Her typical day at Volvo India Pvt. Ltd. starts pretty early at 9 AM and is packed till late in the evening. Given her project topic, she needs to talk to various business heads and process owners, which needs a lot of organisation and running around for meetings. The meetings are not easy to come by, as time is a luxury no one at Volvo can afford. Then there is the question of coming across a lot of terminology and processes which are completely new to Jayeeta, and require a lot of background study; especially because she reports directly to the HR-Head, India and has been tasked to come up with a process flow and suggest recommendations to make operations smoother. Volvo CE has just undergone a business strategy changeover, and the complete business process of HR has to be mapped and assessed for its effectiveness. The pressure has also increased manifold, as this process is going to be audited by ISO shortly.

Jayeeta admits that working with complete clarity on the intricacies of handling business is quite challenging. The responsibility she has been given belies her status as an intern at Volvo India, but she is confident that she’ll be able to deliver. “Employees here have working experience of more than 10 years. I don’t have any friends or, for that matter, people of my age at the workplace; yet everybody around me is very cooperative. The HR fraternity all goes for lunch together and we spend quality time discussing various social and economic issues. This also gives me new perspectives. There is no specific time for going off-duty; everyone here works till the work is done. I usually leave by 6 PM, but stay back to assist my company mentor if she has work to complete.”

Born and brought up in Kolkata, Jayeeta Putatunda graduated in Economics (Hons.) among the top three in her college. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that Jayeeta is among the top five students of her batch in SCMS-Cochin at the end of her 1st year. Academics aside, it is on the personality front that she feels SCMS-Cochin has really brought about a huge change in her.

“Coming to a distant place from a home which is culturally very different, it was difficult for me to cope with the new environment initially. But with the help of extremely supportive teachers, I have been able to do fairly well. Also, I have been lucky to have found a few good friends who take care of me like family and never let me miss home, even when I’m all alone in hostel on the weekends. Post-dinner walks round the beautiful campus of SCMS-Cochin are what strengthen our bond. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the core editorial team of the student newsletter – Prateek. Also, being a part of the MRC (Media Relations Club) Writers’ Team as well as the Head SPOC for media matters helped me grow and mature. But the one platform that has given a real fillip to my public speaking skills is, no doubt, the IMLP (Integrated Management Learning Programme). Thanks to the weekly presentations and role-plays back at SCMS-Cochin, I’m able to confidently stand and make presentations to the management team at my workplace, Volvo India Pvt. Ltd. I salute Prof. R.T.R. Varma and Prof. Sudheer Sudhakaran for giving me such a wonderful platform.”

Jayeeta recounts various other events during her 1st year at SCMS-Cochin which have had a deep impact on her. She believes that the OBT (Out Bound Training) at Munnar, the grand Onam celebration, the Sports Day, the CSR activities and even Parivarthana… all have helped her discover dimensions of her personality hitherto unknown. She emphasises that despite all her intrinsic talent, had it not been for the personal connect of her mentors within the industry, it would not have been possible for her to land this plum SIP with Volvo India.

“For this SIP, I was thoroughly guided by my college mentor, Prof. Mariakutty Varkey. She has been my pillar of strength ever since I set foot in SCMS-Cochin. She has been supportive in everything I do and has encouraged me with her continuous appraisals. Further, I was referred to the Volvo CE President by an SCMS-Cochin faculty member – Prof. V. Rajagopal. Once shortlisted on the basis of his recommendation, I was telephonically interviewed by the AGM- HR, Volvo India. My internship was confirmed about two weeks after the interview. The day I was given the Appointment Letter, which also included my stipend of Rs. 5000/-, I was beside myself with joy! Prof. V. Rajagopal has done a lot in following up on the process, and has given me invaluable tips on how to approach interviews.”

Jayeeta is certain of the fact that her specialisation in HR at SCMS-Cochin ensured that she was ready to shine in her SIP. Throughout the entire 1st year, the HR faculty has equipped her with all the inputs that can be fruitful for future reference. Her stint with Volvo India has assured her of her eligibility to stand in front of corporate bigwigs… all thanks to the grooming at SCMS-Cochin

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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Student Life

 

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Turning obstacles into stepping stones A chat with Harshad Ali – serial entrepreneur and connoisseur of all things beautiful

MT6A3155 (1)As you get out from the benign Kochi sun and walk in, the first thing that strikes you is the air conditioning; it’s perfect. You look around and take in the ambience– the lights are just right, the walls seem to be custom-made for the expansive designs that adorn them, the seating is snug and comfortable. You lift your eyes to the stage and realise that this is a setting with a difference. You’ve come in early to hear one of your favourite artists unplugged, so there is no performer on the stage; and yet, you can barely take your eyes off it. The backdrop is an immaculate white, and the single black amplifier, the black cord running to the microphone, and the black mic on its black stand – all stand out like three mute characters of a pantomime act. As your eyes adjust to the wall in the background, a sparse, grey interpretation of a Bodhitree springs to life.

And you think to yourself that if Steve Jobs had designed a cafétucked away somewhere in Palo Alto,  it would’ve been just like Café Papaya.

However, this best-thing-to-have-happened-to-Cochin-in-recent-times, is the brainchild of a few homegrown geniuses of Kerala. One of them is Harshad Ali, a product of Kerala’s flagship B-school, SCMS-Cochin. With its unique setting, it is not the least surprising that Café Papaya is not the work of a hotelier, but the offspring of a bunch of “music, movie and mocha crazy” designers.

“Papaya Media Designs is a group of creative people who are passionate about movie-making and design,” says Harshad Ali, who passed out of SCMS-Cochin in 2001-2003. “When we started, we were planning to market ourselves in Europe for Online design projects. One of our friends suggested the name ‘Papaya’. We felt the name would be of some interest to our prospects, papaya being an exotic tropical fruit. Then we did some design projects for Malayalam movies – Big B, Daddy Cool, Salt n Pepper, 22 Female Kottayam, etc., which helped the Papaya brand gain popularity. When we ventured into setting up a cafe, we actually couldn’t find a better name than this. CafePapaya is a venture initiated with Mr. Aashiq Abu (filmmaker of Malayalam movies) and Jithu Livingstone (manager of the band Avial).”

Barely one month into its existence, Café Papaya has nearly ten thousand three hundred followers on Facebook, and is being hailed as the place with the best ambience, best music, and certainly the best coffee in town.

“The men behind the scenes are all childhood friends. We are all passionate about the music we listen to, the movies we watch and the food we eat. Some time ago we were on a trip to Coorg and while hanging out at Orange County resorts, we had a sip of their coffee. “Ssssuperb!” was the unanimous verdict. Without a second thought, we struck a deal to source our coffee beans for Café Papaya from them. And the rest, as they say, is history.”

As for the coffee, serious R&D has been put into the food served at Café Papaya. Thanks to Ayaz Salim, who takes care of the food department, the pastries and sandwiches are of an international standard. The olive, multi-grain and herb breads for the sandwiches are home-made and for pastries, unconventional recipes using ingredients of international standards have been developed. In true perfectionist tradition, Café Papayadoes not put a dish on its menu unless it has passed its very high standards. Owing to its connect with music and movies, the café is now as good as an open studio for budding and established musicians.

“SCMS helped me ride into the corporate world and when, after 7 years in B2B, Pharma, Banking, Insurance, etc., I felt a lethargy creeping into my life, what was taught at SCMS came back to me again. I quit and ventured into Papaya Media and started coordinating projects on movie designs, branding, social media, videos and photography.That is when I truly realized what I had gained from SCMS. Yes, my PGDM from SCMS-Cochin helped me be ‘liquid’. It helped me adapt to any situation, in any industry. After two years of design and media, we floated Café Papaya, which is a complete departure from everything I’ve done. I love the liquid life! Now, every day is a new day and I’m doing things I could not even have imagined three years back.”

Everything was a hurdle when Harshad Ali started, but he and his friends survived to prove that all these obstacles were actually stepping-stones to success. None of his colleagues has a background in hospitality and yet they managed to get things right at the café.

“The market is just an illusion,” says Harshad, echoing the ideas of Steve Jobs, who refused to do any sort of market surveys for any of the Apple products. “It’s the entrepreneur who creates or defines the market.”

Harshad signs off with a short message for his juniors at SCMS-Cochin – “Do what you love”. He reveals that the coming months will be jam-packed with performances and events, including those of Mili Nair of (Meethiboliyaan fame (from the film Kai Po Che), Yatra, BadriBadriya, A. R.Rahman tracks, and Jazz musician.) There’s also the launch of Manta Ray comics – a graphic novel publishing house – on the 1st of September, and some very interesting workshops on sound engineering for musicians.

Clearly, at Café Papaya you are likely to get your fill of exciting music, eclectic movies, books, sound recording studio and perfect more mocha… and, ofcourse, bump into the men behind it all, including SCMS-Cochin’s very own Harshad Ali.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Alumni

 

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