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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Learning ‘calculated risks’ at SCMS-Cochin School of Business and taking calculated risks at Bank of Baroda – Venugopal is loving every bit of the banking action!

venuThe Coimbatore (Main) branch of Bank of Baroda is in a perpetual state of “busy-ness”. The flow of customers – both current and potential – is unceasing. Amidst this maze, there is one section that gets the maximum traffic – the Credit Department. While this could easily be unnerving for any other summer intern, Venugopal is loving it. As he has learnt time and again during his first year at SCMS-Cochin School of Business, it is very easy to adapt when you love what you do.

“It is nearly one month since I began my internship at Bank of Baroda. This transition from business education to business practice has been seamless, because the culture in SCMS is very similar to that of a corporate entity.”

After completing his B.Tech from his state of residence, this youngster from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, decided to move out of his comfort zone. As luck would have it, Venugopal bumped into a few alumni of SCMS, quite high up the corporate ladder in reputed organisations. It didn’t take Venugopal long to realise that there was more to SCMS than being the best B-school of ‘God’s Own Country’. The added bonus was that if he got through, he would get the opportunity to pick up the finer points of the rich Kerala culture.

“By the end of my first year – before we moved out for our SIPs – all the factors that are required to survive in the corporate world had been well taught to me at the SCMS. I think that if you simply follow the rules of SCMS, you can easily survive and thrive in the corporate world.”

Coimbatore is famous for small-scale industries and Bank of Baroda is one of the major banks financing these industries. As part of the Credit Department, Venugopal has acquired a fairly wide knowledge about the working of these industries. He is at his workplace 10 A.M sharp every morning. His main job is to process the documents given by customers for availing of loans and, after analyzing all the pros and cons, arrive at the eligible credit facility. Over the month-long association with the Credit Department of Coimbatore (Main) Branch, Venugopal has established a good rapport with almost the entire team of 40 employees.

“Quite frankly, getting an SIP with Bank of Baroda was a smooth process. I forwarded my resume to the bank, applying for the summer internship, and was given an approval by the Zonal Office, Chennai, to do my summer internship in Coimbatore.”

Venugopal is conscientiously aware of the importance of his role in Bank of Baroda. The core business of a bank is very much in the hands of the Credit Department in disbursing loans and credit to the customer. There is a certain amount of ‘calculated risk’ which officials of this department take in selecting the customers. Venugopal applies all his learning at SCMS to bring down this element of risk considerably.

“My mentor, Prof. V. Srinivasan, is very helpful to every member in our group at SCMS. Through his corporate experience he has given us a fair idea of the nitty-gritties of a corporate organisation, and how to behave with our bosses. Add this to the stress on subject knowledge and punctuality, and you know why products of SCMS shine wherever they go.”

For Venugopal, each day in SCMS brings a new lesson, which is of immense help. He believes that anybody who follows the principles of SCMS-Cochin School of Business is bound to be successful anywhere he/ she goes.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Jayaram Vishnu of SCMS- Cochin School of Business has learnt that “Ideas have a very short shelf life in online retailing”, while interning with Flipkart

Jairam VishnuFor most of the brand managers and senior executives he connects with, Jayaram Vishnu is not really a student of SCMS, but “Mr. Jayaram Vishnu from Flipkart”. One month into his Summer Internship, Jayaram has become an expert at reaching out to multiple brand heads in order to seek brand information. This task assigned to him has helped him improve his written skills and has also increased his social network tremendously.

“Most corporates need and maintain a formal atmosphere, but not Flipkart. Being the foremost e-com organisation in the country, Flipkart necessarily has to be high on the ‘cool quotient’, as a result of which I’ve always felt at home here.  The management has always encouraged me to be a part of their core business, as quality and dedication is what they encourage, instead of hierarchy. My SIP here has given me a wider spectrum, for which I must thank my mentor, Mr. Govind, who has given me my own space to think and freedom to express my views and suggestions.”

Jayaram Vishnu starts his working day at 9:30AM with a cup of coffee and breakfast from the cafeteria. Initially, it took him time to approach anyone, as he was afraid of disturbing people in the middle of their busy schedules. But he soon realised that fresh, new ideas – even wild ones – are the basis of the e-com business…. and Vishnu is the king of wild ideas! He soon realised that because he was taking his own sweet time to frame and express his thoughts, his very idea would pop up on the competitor’s page. Things are different now. Jayaram has learnt how to frame his thoughts at a much faster pace and express them at the right time, to the right person concerned. Today, not only is he acquainted with all his colleagues, he has also made some good friends at his workplace.

“I’m essentially a traveller, not a tourist. That is why I get to meet new people while on a journey. Some of these people have played a major role in my life. I believe that being outdoors, and meeting new people and interacting with them, is always a big stress buster and also helps to build contacts. It’s the reason why, despite being from Trivandrum, I had no qualms about studying Tourism and Travel Management from Madras Christian College, Chennai.”

Jayaram says that he had a few doors open for his SIP, but his faculty mentor suggested he pursue an SIP using his own resources. This would not just be a great confidence booster, but could get him into an area of interest fit for his abilities. He took up this suggestion and ultimately, through a friend, broke into Flipkart. Once there, all it took was an informal interview with the Director of Flipkart apparels, Mr. Rohit C., and he was soon walking the talk at his dream company.

“Online business has always been an area that I wanted to explore. Three months of SIP with the market leaders is as good as it gets! My academic tenure at SCMS has given me new skills and helped me grow as a person. I have learnt the art of being patient and being a good listener here. SCMS has given us sessions and seminars with great experts. Some of the professors have really helped me to outgrow my limitations and channelise my career.  My faculty mentor, Prof. Bindu K. Nambiar, has actually helped me immensely to come to the decision that I’m best suited for retail as my specialisation.”

Jayaram Vishnu’s day at Flipkart winds up as late as 8 o’clock; but then, it’s not work when work is fun! It is probably for this reason that so far, his internship has been going “very, very smoothly”. The buzzwords for online retailing, according to Jayaram, are – innovation, novelty and promptness. He says that, because at SCMS the repercussions for accepting mistakes are always positive, he is now more ready to accept his mistakes and learn from them.

“This has been the single most important reason why the journey at Flipkart has been a cake-walk for me,” he concludes.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Internship, Student Life

 

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SCMS- Cochin School of Business helped Gayatri Nair balance fun and work during her summer internship with Madura Fashion Ltd. (VAN HEUSEN)

Gayatri NairWhen Gayatri Nair entered the Flagship Van Heusen Store – owned by Madura Fashion Limited – right in the heart of Bangalore, little did she know that it was a crucial day for its employees. The store wore a desolate look, with not a single customer in sight. The tension amongst the employees was palpable – It was the day of auditing. In true SCMS- Cochin School of Business style, despite being a Summer Intern, Gayatri buckled up for the challenge and got down to the task of helping the staff to the best of her abilities. Needless to say, Gayatri was accepted as part of the team that day itself… no questions asked!

“Many women have a wrong notion that retail is not their cup of tea; even I felt the same until a month ago. My store manager, Ms. Mitu Prasad, has brought things into perspective with her no-nonsense work culture. There is no gender inequality at MFL (Madura Fashion Limited).  Everyone at the store is treated equally and, as a manager, she exercises the same command as any of her male counterparts.”

An out-and-out Delhi girl, South India had only been a family holiday spot for Gayatri until she got through B.Tech in IT from St. Peter’s University. It was here that she began exploring management colleges and got excellent reviews about SCMS from seniors and alumni. She was particularly impressed by the strict discipline and serious academic approach of the faculty and management.

“SCMS is ranked 49th in the all-India list of management institutes. In Kerala, it is regarded at par with IIM Calicut. Along with impressive accreditations, SCMS has an excellent student-faculty ratio and an impressive track record of final placements.”

Gayatri says that the strong bond between MFL and SCMS was a big reason why she was able to get past the interviews. MFL’s decision to take interns from SCMS was exciting news for her as a retail aspirant. She recalls the butterflies in her stomach when she faced the HR team from MFL; it was the first time that she was facing an interview for a professional spot.

“I still remember the bliss I felt when the Placement Officer of SCMS-Cochin School of Business, Mr. George, mentioned that the MFL team had found me to be a good candidate. Before leaving for Bangalore, Mr. George also gave me insights into the corporate world and advised me on how to behave in a formal corporate environment. Midway into my SIP, I realise how true each of his words were. His advice has been of great help.”

Gayatri works from 10AM to 6PM from Tuesday to Sunday, with a committed 48 hours per week. The SIP has been truly hands-on for her so far. From details like folding clothes for visual delight, to billing, attending to customers, replenishment and visual merchandising, there is hardly an aspect of retailing that Gayatri hasn’t dealt with. For her, the most exciting part about being in a flagship store like the Indira Nagar Van Heusen is that it gives her ample opportunities to interact with a variety of customers who walk in with high expectations.  She has observed customers doling out brickbats as well as bouquets on a daily basis. Interacting with happy or aggrieved customers has helped her feel the pulse of customer behaviour and to grow as a retail student.

“One year at SCMS- Cochin School of Business has made me a strong person. It has cured me of my deadline and hard work phobias. Thanks to the multitasking skill-sets that SCMS has given me, I am always the first one to take on additional responsibility. Balancing fun and work is an art and in the retail industry, this is the USP for a successful leader.”

Gayatri feels that the biggest plus of SCMS is that its students are not Delhi-ites or Kerala-ites, but united as PGDM Batch 21. The ecosystem makes sure that each of the 180 students is acquainted with one another, and she takes pride in the fact that she knows all of her classmates by name and face. Gayatri knows that it is this bond that will be her biggest strength when she steps out into the professional world. 

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Internship, Student Life

 

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Priyank Mehta says his mentors at SCMS Cochin School of Business were spot on about what to expect at Muthoot FinCorp

2012-02-14 13.49.46When Priyank Mehta was confirmed for a Summer Internship with the BFSI giant, Muthoot FinCorp, little did he know that it was the beginning of the greatest rollercoaster ride of his life. Just back to SCMS Cochin School of Business from his internship, Priyank says that when he cleared the two rounds of HR interviews – one at the Cochin office and the other a Skype interview with HR in Trivandrum – he thought he had made it. As it turned out, the interviews were the easiest part of his initiation into the corporate world.

“My advice to my juniors at SCMS Cochin School of Business is that before stepping into the corporate world, prepare yourselves to work very, very hard. Secondly, you should at all times bear in mind that the boss is always correct. Last but not the least, be ready to be hauled up for your mistakes, and don’t pull long faces. Take it for what it’s worth and just let it go.”

Priyank was assigned to the Delhi office of Muthoot FinCorp. Having done his B.Sc. in Applied Physical Sciences from Hindu College, Delhi University, he was sure this would be an advantage.

“On a typical day during the internship, I had to report to a given branch at 9 AM. My main job was to observe the customers, interact with them, find out their satisfaction/ dissatisfaction levels, and report back to the manager for redressal. I was also required to note facts and figures with regard to the vicinity of the branch for resource mapping as well. This was to help me compile my overall project report. Apart from this, I had to look for secondary data from the employees of that branch. This, of course, was the toughest part and involved a lot of pleasing and flattering. In all, I visited almost 16-17 branches across Delhi during the internship.”

Priyank Mehta says that Professor Sreekumar Pillai (faculty of Marketing at SCMS Cochin School of Business) had a major role to play in giving him a big start in the selection process at Muthoot FinCorp. He is also candid about the fact that the most important lesson about corporate life was that nobody had the time to sit him down and explain things. He was expected to find things out on his own. In such a scenario, he found most of the help coming from his faculty at SCMS Cochin School of Business.

“I had to learn to extract work from the employees and sometimes needed to flatter the project guide for some work or the other. This experience is totally different from whatever I had experienced before. No one has the time for you, there is not much merit in crying your grief to your boss… you have to take care of yourself at every step and have to carve out your own path. It was here that Professor V. Srinivasan – my faculty mentor from SCMS Cochin School of Business – was a great support. He guided me and shared his experiences of the corporate world, which really helped me during the SIP. In fact, most of the faculty members at SCMS Cochin School of Business have extensive corporate experience to share with the students. It is why SCMS Cochin School of Business has had an exceptional placement record for the 20 batches that have passed out.”

Born and brought up in Jhansi (UP), Priyank says that he did not have to think twice before travelling southward to SCMS Cochin School of Business for a good business education.

“The experience has been good till date. The southern part of India is as beautiful as I had heard. The weather is good and so are the beaches. I learnt a few words in Malayalam but it’s not like Hindi or English; it’s tough to learn. The difference in cuisine was also a challenge initially.”

Priyank underscores the fact that his time at SCMS Cochin School of Business has been full of sweet and sour moments and experiences, which he has enjoyed very much. He advises his juniors to take the college rules and discipline seriously, as they help a lot during the SIP.

 
 

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‘Standing out’ while ‘fitting in’ at PepsiCo – thanks to SCMS Cochin School of Business!

561788_405259276197780_1929446394_nAbhishek Sharma, by confession, is “addicted” to the hectic schedule of SCMS Cochin School of Business.

“The journey at SCMS Cochin School of Business has been very interesting so far, with lots of new things to learn. Infact when I’d gone home during the break, it was like life had come to a complete standstill!”

Currently doing a Summer Internship Programme with one of the biggest global MNC’s, PepsiCo, Abhishek says that he hardly feels any stress at his workplace since he’s used to handling deadlines and stress at SCMS Cochin School of Business.

“It’s a nice company with nice people. I have a very young and helpful mentor, who is a boss during work hours, and after office is like a friend. I am in PepsiCo Premium segment where there are four brands of PepsiCo – Quaker Oats, Tropicana Juice, Gatorade, and Himalayan mineral water, which is manufactured by Tata and marketed by PepsiCo.  My project involves the placement of Gatorade in PepsiCo ‘PUSH CART’, which will be a new thing for PepsiCo since their premium brand is not placed in push-carts. I am doing a feasibility Study on setting up this business for them.”

A graduate from Ranchi University, Abhishek went to school in Kalimpong, a beautiful suburb of Darjeeling in west Bengal.At the fag end of his first post-graduation year at SCMS Cochin School of Business, Abhishek had sent his resume to the PepsiCo India Ltd., as they had announced vacancies for intern. A week later he was shortlisted and sent across a call letter for SIP.

“My communication faculty at SCMS-Cochin helped me in getting my Resume, and Cover letter done. Since this was the basis of selection in my SIP, it was crucial that my strengths and achievements were highlighted correctly.”

Abhishek’s workplace is in Gurgaon; a 2-hour journey by metro from where his residence is, in Noida. Since his project is market-oriented, he doesn’t have to go to Gurgaon everyday, but spends a substantive number of work-hours visiting distributors and vendors.

“On a given day, I sometime visit 3-4 distributor.In the NCR, this can be quite a task especially when the distance between distributors is 20 kms or more. I have to first take appointments from the CE (customer executive), TDM, and HOS (Head of Sales). My day starts at 7 in the morning and winds up at 7 in evening… that is, if I’m in luck with the Delhi traffic. Add to this the heat, and now the substantial rain, and you know the challenges beyond the workplace.”

Considering these challenges, Abhishek’s projects are coming along remarkably well. He attributes the unflinching support of his mentor at SCMS Cochin School of Business, Prof.R.T.R.Varma, as one of the main reasons.

“The most challenging part of my work is to coordinate between two teams of PepsiCo, which is the Franchise team – which has all soft drink brands – and the Premium team – which I am working with. Since my work is placement of Gatorade in pushcarts, which is controlled by franchise team, I have to convince them that the presence of Gatorade is not going to hamper the sales of their soft drink brands. You see, the franchise team doesn’t get any incentive for placement of Gatorade, while the incentives for pushing soft drinks are quite a bit.”

Abhishek believes that while classroom teaching is of great value when it comes to merchandising and devising strategies, at ground level sales you are very much on your own.

“Kudos to my SCMS mentor as well as my workplace mentor for helping me out on this front. Frankly speaking, education in south India, as a whole, is really good.  Educational institutions still insist on strict discipline, which is missing in North India. It is what makes a man, a gentleman and professional -absolute essentials in today’s corporate life.”

Often known to concoct elaborate meals for his friends and family, cooking is the one thing Abhishek misses most ever since he has joined SCMS Cochin School of Business. However, he does find time to carry forward his love for novels, and listens to devotional and soft music to relax.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in News Room, Student Life

 

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22ND batch of SCMS Cochin School of Business inducted with traditional grandeur

Mr. T.  K. Jose (Chairman, Coconut Development Board, Kerala) calls for inclusion of new generation management professionals in government machinery to maintain speed and professionalism

 Early on the morning of the 29th of July 2013, the auditorium at SCMS Cochin was packed with a select group of youngsters. Young men in their summer formals, and women in their salwar-kameezes and sarees spoke in excited, hushed tones on what was clearly one of the most important days of their lives. As the clock struck 9 AM, the inaugural session of the induction programme of the 2013-15 Batch – or 22nd Batch – of Kerala’s flagship B-school, SCMS Cochin School of Business, came to order. Dr. G. P. C. Nayar, Chairman, SCMS Group, presided over the function. He shared the dais with Mr. T. K. Jose (Chairman, Coconut Development Board, Kerala) and Mr. Ravi Soman (Senior Business Leader, VISA Inc., California) striking a balance of two eminent personalities from the public and private sector, respectively.

“New generation management should enter the field of governance in order to maintain the speed and professionalism in both the public and private sectors,” Mr. T. K. Jose was quoted as saying in the occasion. Mr. Jose also highlighted how SCMS Cochin School of Business has been instrumental in bringing in good management practices to the coconut industry of Kerala. “It is high time the qualification for government jobs in India is changed to include professionally qualified individuals for specific positions, so as to improve speed, objectivity and transparency. No Indian university is offering a degree or PG programme in coconut processing, whereas several such courses are available in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.”

On his part, Mr. Ravi Soman praised SCMS Cochin School of Business for its multi-cultural learning environment and a diverse set of students from various states in India.

“Google can give information, but never experience,” said Mr. Soman, while handing out one of the most important lessons to youngsters entering the world of business management. “That happens only through the ambience and environment of an institution.”

The incoming students were given a panoramic view of the business world by two of the stalwarts of SCMS Cochin School of Business, Dr. V. Raman Nair (Director) and Dr. Filomina P. George (Academic Dean).

The 2-year PGDM programme at SCMS Cochin School of Business is split into six terms in all. First, of course, the students have to go through a Foundation course. The aim of this Foundation course is to bring all students from different academic backgrounds up to a certain basic level. To achieve this objective, students are taken through sub- courses on the Principles of Management, Business Environment, and basic skill development modules on Accounting, Quantitative Techniques, Computing and Language.

“Getting through SCMS Cochin School of Business is a dream come true for anybody, especially if you happen to be from Kerala, as I do,” said one of the new comers enthusiastically . “The mix of academically and professionally qualified faculty members, who also come with rich industry experience, gives SCMS the edge. The stress on discipline, adaptability, social values and ethos has ensured that SCMS alumni do extremely well wherever they go.”

During Year One the Batch of 2013-15 will be given basic knowledge in all the functional areas of management. A lot of emphasis will also be laid on soft skill development, experiential and self learning through an Integrated Managerial Learning Program (IMLP), Outbound Training and co-curricular activities that supplement the courses. Year Two will comprise a full term internship in a chosen field with an organisation. This will be followed by three to four courses in General Management. Marketing streams are offered to all specializations along with 4 courses in each term in their respective areas of specialization.

Here’s wishing the 22nd Batch a great learning experience in the sprawling, beautiful campus of SCMS Cochin School of Business!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Events, News Room, Student Life

 

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Ms Benaazir Mukherjee, SCMS Cochin Alumnus’ MoodSwings Jewelry by Benaazir specializes in making one-of-a-kind handmade pieces

Profile 3The aim of B schools is not only to create corporate bigwigs of tomorrow but also to build the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst students. That’s something SCMS Cochin School of Business seems to have done for Ms Benaazir Mukherjee, who started her jewellery business in 2010, called MoodSwings Jewelry by Benaazir.

But modest Ms. Mukherjee quickly plays it down and gets talking about her entrepreneurial sojourn. “It was my passion to be involved in craft that I could convert into a sustainable business” she explains. That was the birth of the business idea for Benaazir but the road she took towards her goal deserves a special mention.

Benaazir doesn’t come from a business background, nor did she want to rely on anyone to finance her project. So she accumulated the funds for her venture before setting it up; definitely a commendable move for a woman entrepreneur. But she doesn’t see it that way. “I do not find any difference between a man and a woman entrepreneur.  What really matters is your risk appetite, confidence and your product,” she says.

You can see her independent and business-oriented mind at work here. Wonder how much of these beliefs and notions were built during Benaazir’s years at SCMS. “The theoretical knowledge learned at the institute was quite helpful. You do get some exposure to marketing when you work on somebody else’s business,” she admits but adds that setting up your business is a different ball game altogether.

Benazir was always inclined towards the idea of being an entrepreneur. The Computer graduate worked for a while after completing her PGDM. But in 2008 she quit her job to pursue her passion of travelling and jewellery. How did she decide that it was the right time for her to turn entrepreneur? “There is no right time, but when you have your finances fairly sorted out and have no pressures on them, it seems like the time to take the plunge,” she says practically.

Jewellery business is quite competitive at the best of times. How does a woman entrepreneur manage to stay motivated and deal with the rough tides that are a part of business? “Every business is competitive. Trying to excel in your chosen field; I do not see that as competition. It’s like running a marathon against your own willpower,” explains Benaazir. You can’t help but notice her refreshing perspective on business that makes her stand out.

The same attitude is probably reflected in the quirky brand name. “It’s fun and has several interpretations; women relate to it, husbands and boyfriends can relate to it. The name suggests jewellery for every mood one might have,” says Benaazir, who seems to be in a winning mood herself.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Alumni

 

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