February 09, 2007

8 more days to go before the D-day.. companies are already scheduled with their slots, you know which companies you have applied to.. the only thing remains is the shortlist.. once thats out, you can at least gauge when you will be done with the biggest thing you pursued an MBA for.. at least I would know.. :)

The next post now will be with the details of all the interviews I did and the ones I was able to convert.. so bite your nails, like I am doing and be ready for a thumping victory post from me.. ;)

Posted by Mahesh Shenoy


87.5% MBA!!

Back after a sabbatical!!... :) Yeah today I am 87.5% MBA.. just one more term to go and I can call myself an MBA from ISB.. WOW!!... :) But I think it would be even better if I have a tag of a good job along with it.. and how many more days to go for that? Just 8 more days.. can you beat that? 8 more days and we would see the academic center buzzing with students right from the wee hours.. that would be sight which was missing since the core terms.. the only difference this time would be that students would be dressed with "white color" attire.. :)

Next term, we expect it to be one of the most chilled out terms.. if the profs allow it to be like that... :) I have picked up courses like Retailing, Negotiation Analysis, Global Issues in IT Management and Strategies for Success in Web 2.0 ..sounds interesting.. lets hope they are.. Tried to pick courses which have the minimum amount of work through the term but found none.. :( :) :.. Anyways.. I am ready to take the last term head on, knowing thats its the last one!!.. :)

Posted by Mahesh Shenoy


January 06, 2007

7th term begins!!

Our second last term begins on Monday and fortunately for all of us, almost all courses have been done away with the end term exams for this term. This would ensure that all of us will have at least a week then before taking on the placements head on.. I wonder how it would be then.. I mean the excitement in the air, mixed with sad and happy emotions.. dont know about others but I am definitely looking for those tense nail biting moments.. sitting outside the interview room waiting for your turn to get screwed.. :)

I hope all of us are placed well and at jobs that we wanted at the end of it.. 8th term would be so easier then.. almost every one around has made plans of just chilling out for that term.. I am so very looking forward to playing cricket every day in the front lawns of my student village... laze around in the shades of the founders lounge.. wow!!.. :) I hope we do get time to do all that after toiling so hard in the last few months.. :)

So yeah... we are reaching the end of one of the finest years of our lives.. and a great job would just add a bucket full of sugar on it!!


75% MBA

Here I come again, with another post on me reaching one of the milestone of being a complete MBA!! Today I was done with my last exam, Evaluating Technology Investments. I dont know about investments in technology but it definitely reminded me of the investment I have done of coming to ISB, giving up one year of experience and the money that I could have earned.. not to forget the loan for paying the fees here.. :) And time has come for me to make sure all these investments bear fruit.. yeah placements.. this word has ruled my posts for some months now.. and now its just a month more when we would have almost a clear picture as to where we are headed..

When it started off 8 months back.. I was like... will this be the kinda life I will spend for the next few months.. will I survive? But then as its said "practice makes a man perfect".. in my case, if not perfect, it has definitely made me a "dont-bother never-mind I will reach where I want to" guy.. :) and guess what.. I am still one of those "75% MBA" guys.. ;)


December 28, 2006

Marching towards 2007!!

Christmas eve celebrated... Annual Alumni meet, Solstice 2006 celebrated.. what remains? The new years eve.. but what will you find me doing? Studying for my 6th end term exams.. :) But no qualms.. why? Because I will mostly be on my way to make every new year to follow a memorable one with the kind of job I will probably get.. I mean I at least hope it to be that way.. :)

What do I see in retrospect? 6 terms at ISB.. added with 3 months at Infosys.. the ecstacy of at last making it to ISB after 3 years of following this institute.. the feeling I had when I finally got a mail which mentioned that I have been moved to the "admit" list from the "waitlist".. the response I got from so many of my friends whom I had pestered over these three years about me doing an MBA... the feeling on entering the campus of this grand institute.. the 6 terms of hard fought battle with assignments, projects, presentations, workshops, seminars, guest lectures, classes etc etc.. the new friends I made here and who will remain dear to me for years to follow..

What do I see in near future? One main final battle still remains.. the placements.. two more "xerox" terms remain.. though I feel it will be lighter than before.. then the grand day of graduation, will be ready to throw the hat in the air.. :).. then the first day at the new job.. the reputation of being an ISB grad.. all this awaits.. and how excited I am to take it on.. so here is a heart warming, bear hugging welcome to the year 2007!!... ROCK ON!!.. :)


Team ISB Cricket!!

This is the email alias we have for the official ISB cricket team... and we played, most probably, our last match on 16th December against Virtusa. We won it, though I wont say comfortably.. after all we should at least behave the way our Indian cricket team does.. try and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.. but seems defeat defeated us after all and we managed to win.. :)

I used the word "most probably" because we could not make it to the next round and with placements coming up in the next month.. the students wont be able to participate in the tourneys for another 2 months.. come March, we would have just one more month at the ISB and no tourney gets over in just one month.. so theoritically, it was our last match as part of the ISB cricket team..

Added to other things that ISB offered, I really am thankful for they had this official cricket team.. I could not have imagined a year without playing cricket.. and ISB didnt let me down.. :) The moments on the ground.. playing under floodlights on a field that could not have been any greener.. it was an experience I was not expecting at all when I joined ISB.. the fun of still going for a match with your end term exams hanging over your head for the next day.. but then after the exams feeling that it was a good decision to go for the match as any amount of preparation for the exam would not have helped... All these things were some things I would have to take another life for experiencing.. as I dont think I am in the mood of doing another MBA in this life of mine.. :D

So ya.. I had to write a word for the contribution cricket has done to my life here at ISB.. HAIL CRICKET!!.. :)


December 12, 2006

PAEV comes to an interesting end!!

If you have been a frequent reader of this blog, you would have observed that there was one post which talked about this elective course we had, PAEV (Planning an Entrepreneurial Venture). I had taken it up as I felt this would give me a holistic view of planning, launching and running a new business. While on the journey to finish this course, we experienced a lot of hurdles.. not the traditional ones that one would expect in launching a new business...these hurdles were of a different kind. These were the assignments, presentations, projects we had for the other courses we had taken. We had to literally pull time out of our schedules to prepare a good business plan. I had Sonali and Anshul, my ever dependable friends to give me company of this journey.

Finally last week we were done with the final submission of our business plan and heaved a sigh of relief. Not because we didnt like the course but because one load was off our shoulders.. :) But then came the testing times, we were fortunately or unfortunately shortlisted for the ISB B-Plan Competition, where in you are mechanically made to volunteer yourself as you had taken the course. With over 4 assignments to take care of over the weekend, we were a bit scared to devote the whole of Saturday into this. We made some stupid excuses to our dear Professor and he picked those up quite brilliantly, leaving us high and dry, and at the mercy of the judges for the semifinals on Saturday morning.

Then came the prime time with the "Escapades!" team (yeah that was our team and project name) standing in front of the judges giving a 10 minute presentation, only to find out that they could not finish their presentation within the stipulated time.. :) They didnt know whether to be happy or sad.. happy because this might have saved them half a day and sad because there was this opportunity to gain some satisfaction for the effort gone into it in past 3 months. The results for the finals were declared by Dr. Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of United States for Political Affairs. To our surprise and shock, our name was called out 4th from the 9 finalists.. the expression on our faces was worth watching with all of us standing with gaping mouths and clapping for ourselves.. :) The finals went well with us finishing the presentation in time but we didnt bag the final top 3 slots.. we werent sad.. it was a really rewarding experience for the effort which lasted over 3 terms. I would say the experience was really worth it.. and I am sure my colleagues would definitely agree to it!!.. :) A satisfying end to the course, I must say!!


November 23, 2006

Media Conclave just around the corner

The most awaited event of the past few months is happening at last.. the Media Conclave.. the first time at ISB. Why was it most awaited for me? Because it was eating up a lot of time from our schedule and we wanted to get done with it soon so that we are relieved.. ;) Kidding.. it was and is fun to organize these events as you to get in touch the YOU-KNOW-WHOS of the industry and its further exciting when you do receive replies from them showing interest. This is what the ISB tag can do.. help you in having people lend their ears and eyes to hear and see about what you have for them... :)

Now why this mail about the Media Conclave? Do you think I would write a blog about something I am not involved with? .. :D I am also one of the organizers for this conclave and we have top shots arriving for this one. You can just visit http://isb.edu/mediaconclave and find out more about it. Once the conclave is over, you will find more about the happenings on the day of the event in the ISB home page in the news section.. :) Catch ya all soon.. :)


62.5% MBA

I am done with my EGGJAMS!!! Done with it yesterday and ESPN had a perfect thing set up for me for the evening of the last day of my exams.. but guess what.. The Indian Cricket Team had other plans.. they managed to pull out an excellent defeat.. :) a disgusting one to be precise.. :) I think the ISB cricket team would have played better.. ;)

There are folks who have their exams going on till Friday but the question is "Am I bothered?".. I am not because I am done.. Next term starts on Monday.. and I have just two courses lined up as of now as I managed to get just 2 out of the 5 courses I bid for.. :) Will get more once the term starts, and now dont ask me why and how? The course selection and bidding for the elective terms is something you will understand more when you are at the warfront here to experience it. So me mentioning that I will be able to rope in two more courses once the term starts should be enough information to convince you that the system is good.. :)

So nows whats coming up? Chill out for today and tomorrow.. watch DHOOM 2... Man I want to watch this and Casino Royale as well.. lets see how it goes. Saturday is the day we play the third cricket match of another Corporate Cricket tourney, so YEEYYY it will be cricket again after two weeks.. :) Sunday evening, I am planning to again try and cheer up our forlorn India team against South Africa.. exciting weekend isnt it?.. :) I am excited, arent you?.. :P


November 18, 2006

Interviews kicking off

The placements have started off with a good note.. much earlier than last year.. and the recruiters are impressed. The scene around is also looking good.. applicants are positive.. most of them have decided where to go and where they are headed to. The scene as I remember at the start of the year was completely different. So many confused faces.. questions like "Do I know where to go?" were quite prominent on everyones face. But now its settled in, sunk in that "this is it".. "this is where I need to go"..

Believe me, the stress of finding out that you are confused, is much more than any of the course that ISB can offer you. Moreover it gets worse when people around you fake that they are completely decided on their fate and they have it control.. and you are like.. "WHAT THE HECK? Am I the only one?".. only to find out later in the year that those same people are running haywire applying to all possible companies.. and you are the one choosing which company you want to go into.. :) So the gist.. if you are a prospective MBA candidate -

If you have decided where to go and are too sure about it, great!! Really great!! Hats off!!If you are confused (which was the state of most of us here), just make yourself believe something till the interview is over and then start off with your MBA. The initial few months that you spend at the school will make you find out what you are made for.. :) Overly planned people will be there around you, but this is no reason for you to be psyched about. Just chill and time will come when you will find out what to do..


November 02, 2006

Locking Supply to your Craving Mind

This is the name of one of the courses I have taken.. :) To make it simple, its Logistics and Supply Chain Management.. :) no qualms about taking this course and no one to blame but yeah its one of the toughest courses I have learnt. When I say learnt, I am questioning myself here as I am still to figure out what it is.. ;) Its so heavy.. even after my friends and alums telling me that the course is heavy, I ended up taking the plunge.. Now that I have, I will have to make sure I make the most of it.

The reason for the naming the post the way I have is because the assignments for this course are time consuming that I have ended up staring at the ceiling while trying to catch a wink.. what do you expect me to do when I get in to bed at 6am in the morning and have to wake up at 7 for a class at 8.. :)

All said and done, the course is good, if at all I had more time to give to it.. :) Makes me look at any "operation" happening around and wonder if there is anything that can be done to improve it.. ;) Thats what ISB does to you... adds perspective.. :)

Posted By Mahesh Shenoy


That time of the year again..

Its that time of the year again... when you keenly look into your inboxes to check if you have been shortlisted for the ISB interview. Now its been 3 years I have been a part the isb-pgp yahoo groups. First year as a rejected applicant, second year as a waitlisted applicant and now third year as a student.

I am aware of the exact emotions you feel during such a phase. Helpless.. you have submitted your application and just waiting with your fingers crossed for first of the special emailes to arrive in your inbox. The interview invite email.. every day, you end up checking your inbox at least 10 times to find out if its there, seeing some others get invites on the group, you end up calling your friend in the current batch who is busy with the tight schedule.. he suggests you to get in touch with the admissions department, you end up calling them just to find out that the interview invites for your city is yet to be sent. You are also told about the date they will start sending the invites for your city. Still this does not make you stop checking your inbox frequently..

The emotions on the yahoo groups reaches different levels. People receiving invites bombard rest of the applicants with the good news, some who didnt receive any mail after being from the same city feel that they have lost the battle... But friends its not the case.. who can tell you better than me who got in after trying a couple of years. It will definitely bore a fruit.. just be patient, work on your profile.. dont just sit for a year and apply again.. be positive and you will definitely make it. For those who have received invites, best of luck and be sure to crack the interview. Be prepared with your own application .. :) let the dice roll!!

Posted by Mahesh Shenoy


October 18, 2006

Hi "Placements"!!

Mails have started flowing in.. about what? About the job offerings that will be coming to ISB later this year. Everyone around is excited, tensed, happy to see these mails. Its weird.. this is what was the reason almost everyone had come to ISB for.. so we should be prepared to take it head on.. right? But still I dont see myself falling in that category... why? Hmm.. thats because there is a lot depending on the result of this one thing.. :)

Interview preparation groups are pepped up.. professional clubs have geared themselves up in conducting interview preparation workshops and sessions.. it all feels so different suddenly.. the focus has started shifting from grades to jobs... quite naturally. We have already spent 6 months on campus.. 4 terms.. doesnt feel so.. another 3 terms and positively everyone will have at least one offer on hand... then one more term and we are done.. with everyone walking in directions they seem fit for their future... :)

The scene looks really positive for placements, not just because of the mails, but also because of the market condition.. jobs are there up for grabs... its just a matter of you proving yourself worthy of it. Best of luck to all.. and news will flow in as the proceedings go.. :)

Posted by Mahesh Shenoy


50% MBA

Here comes the traditional post that appears on this blog after every term. Though its a bit late but yeah its the content that matters.. :)

Term 4, technically got over today with our last postponed exam in the morning. As far as the classes go, we could have safely assumed it to have been over by 6th Oct itself but because of an unfortunate or fortunate incident one of our term 4 end term exams trickled into term 5. All said and done, we can now call ourselves at par with those folks who have completed a year in other 2-year MBA BSchools... yes.. we are 50% MBAs.. :)

Term break started off a lot hectic than the actual term itself. Every soul on campus had stayed back for the first couple of days to innovate.. now you might ask what was that? Influenced by ISB last years success at the Innovation Challenge, we had over 30 teams participating from ISB itself this year. And everyone had the pressure of performing well this year as they expected to be at par with the last batch, if not better.. :)

Now after the term break is over, and this being the first of the elective terms, it was tension all around with some people able to get the courses they had bid for and some people still fighting for it.. :) Though eventually everyone has got what they wanted.

With now placements in the near future, it adds even more pressure to our schedules with the normal assignments and the works still being there to keep us busy. So lets see how easily I am able to keep you all updated on the happenings.. :)

Posted by Mahesh Shenoy


October 01, 2006

TiE-ISB Connect 2006 - IT and ITES Track Summary

IT/ITES, numbers are promising, rewards look even more attractive. With growth of more than 11%, the industry is expected to touch $60bn turnover by 2009. India itself has more than 65% of IT outsourcing and around 45% of ITES share of the world’s market, and the pie seems to only increasing.

The forum will analyze the sustainability of this growth from India’s perspective while analyzing:

  • India’s human resource advantage and challenges
  • Competitive position w.r.t. China, and other geographies
  • Strategy
  • Infrastructural, academic and political issues.

Another amazing point touched on human capital was the attrition in growing organizations. The irony of higher attrition when the company and its salary have grown was touched upon to understand why these very employees stay with the company when it is small and cannot give as many monetary and other benefits. There thus must be more than money that a company offers to its employees. This conference touches upon these and many other such issues.

1.       Dr Ajay Kela [Symphony Services]

Dr Ajay spoke on balancing high rates of growth and at the same time maintain performance standards. He began with a history of the IT industry in India. The early 90s was marked by rapid growth in outsourcing of software operations of large multinationals followed by the BPO boom in the early 2000s and then to outsourcing of core revenue bearing software products and critical software processes. But there are challenges which Indian companies have to surmount in order to stay competitive in the coming few years. Dr Ajay, spoke of 3 ways to stay ahead:

a.       The first was the issue of managing human capital. In a software company, employees are the greatest assets. An organization can succeed by being compassionate to employee needs and institute HR policies which harness the potential of every employee. The idea is to bet on people more than strategies. Ultimately an organization succeeds by having talented and content employees who are able to realize their potential.

b.       The second key aspect is to invest in tools and technologies that help employees be more productive. Examples such as Video conference, working from home, the best software development tools were discussed.

c.       The final challenge is to continue innovating in products and processes. It need not be radical, but could be incremental. However it is necessary to keep the flame of innovation burning in the company. Companies which succeed are the ones which differentiate in terms of innovation.

2.       Ashish Gupta [Co-founder www.junglee.com]

Highlighting the VC investing patterns in the services industry Ashish started by stating the limited sources of funding available for ITES companies; with the F-network still meeting the maximum funding requirements of budding and existing entrepreneurs. Ashish spoke about developing a niche for yourself before one can attract investors. This is especially true for companies looking to enter the ITES sector as there are no tangible products to be marketed or presented that will speak for themselves. He emphasized two important points to enable you to stand apart from the crowd:

a.       Domain expertise: You would have to prove your deep understanding of the product/service/market/scalability/client base etc. to ensure that you understand the risks and rewards associated with your plan.

b.       Proven capabilities: A VC would typically look for proven track record of successful past client interactions, projects completed and milestones reached.

He also, emphasized that VCs like investing in Leaders, people who have vision and a passion to drive from the front. Though people skills are imperative, there is little scope for followers. Also, it is critical that the market space highlighted is interesting for investors with respect to growth, accessibility and overall potential.

3.       Kedarnath U. [Polaris]

Kedarnath largely emphasized the importance of driving your process and innovations based on client needs. Using several examples from past acquisitions he has witnessed to His address revolved around:

a.       Client driven innovations; do what client wants rather than what market drives

b.       Importance of educating employees on the financial patterns of a company

c.       Establishing credibility with the employees such that they see a career path within the organisation

IT Services companies need differentiation to succeed in today’s market. They need to be in constant touch with the customer to develop customer focus as their core strength, rather than technology focus. Employees also need to have a perspective of the customer’s business. Polaris focused on developing its core competency in finance domain, by providing its employees external training of the subject matter. Giving a different perspective to software development also helps Polaris in controlling its attrition rates. Polaris also believes in engaging its employees in CSR related work, which helps the employees in appreciating their responsibility towards the greater cause.

In today’s scenario, the customer is not looking for a great sales talk, it wants results. It is interested in building relationships/partnerships with its vendors, for which honesty and transparency is a must on the part of the services companies. They also need to focus towards future growth areas of Integration and Consulting services. Currently, nearly 88% of IT services work done in India is related to custom development and outsourced IT maintenance, but it will be the Integration and consulting services which will form the major chunk of the pie for next generation’s revenues (nearly 44%), clearly making it the center of focus for tomorrow.

4.       Vipin [TCS]

Today’s IT companies need to match the speed of innovation, be it in the field of new technology, new services or new methodology. The companies need to under both the customer dynamics as well as the technology dynamics. Big companies like TCS, who are targeting to hit $10 bn in revenue in coming years have to not only keep pace with the technology frontier, they also need to develop back-up scenarios given the fast-changing nature of the market. They need to create multiple value chains in the company to ensure “Customer value creation” and to engage in regular “tune-up” of their strategy. Move from pure IT services to Consulting is one such move from companies like TCS and Infosys.

5.       Feroze Mohammed [Sierra Atlantic]

S.A. is a company which has seen a growth from 15 people to 1200 people, which has been the industry leader several times, and has lost that coveted place several times. It has seen a complete cycle of Growth to Decline to Growth again. It has been a profitable player is many niche markets, which soon became commodity due to the competition. Here are a few thoughts which Feroze shared regarding his company:

a.       Talent Management is key to any IT company’s success. The companies need to attract the right kind of talent, and it needs extensive market research on their part. Unlike many other countries, in India, the managers carry the responsibility of developing the available talent in the company. They need to recognize the “Stars” in the company and invest in them from a long-term perspective. It also needs to remove the “Bottom Slice” from its workforce to ensure the supply of the fresh blood in the company. In today’s scenario, Project performance and Billability are becoming key factors in determining an employee’s compensation. There is a higher emphasis to increase the variable component of the pay structure and link it to various measures of performance. Thus, it is imperative for the companies to ensure that their employees understand and appreciate the compensation package of the company (and more so of the competitor).

6.       Raghuveer Mendu [Metamor Enterprise Solutions]

Mr. Mendu, like Ashish highlighted VC’s perspective. He stated that the investment or company dynamics largely depend on where the industry is on the growth curve. He thus called for a need for companies to customize their offerings, strategies, and client relationships depending on the state in which the industry is in to ensure success and expected responses from the market.


TiE-ISB Connect 2006 - Semiconductor Track Summary

The theme of the Semiconductor track was about the opportunities and challenges in this industry, particularly from an Indian perspective. Surya Hotha from Broadcom, the track chair, started by talking about the TiE Hyderabad Semiconductor special interest group as a initiative to support budding entrepreneurs interested in pursuing this vertical. The question on everybody's mind was, "Is the opportunity we talk about, for real?" Does India have the potential, the talent pool, government support and the entire ecosystem to make this work?

The session started with a candid presentation from Bhavin Shah, an analyst from JP Morgan. He stated that the industry had evolved to a point where specialization was the means to success. While practically every south asian country has tried its hand at Semiconductors, only Taiwan and Korea have been able to create value. Korea focused on high volume memory chips and Taiwan has invested heavily in manufacturing, back end and foundry services. These being human capital-intensive operations, they have successfully used Employee stock grants to keep the labor force motivated. Another factor that contributed to their success is the return of US trained semiconductor experts to Taiwan in the 80s, which India is experiencing now. While he wasn’t convinced about the manufacturing boom, he did leave the audience on an optimistic note by pointing to opportunities in specialized services such as solar cell manufacturing and IC design. Aurangzeb Khan, the VP Market development from Cadence design systems, was the keynote speaker. His message was, 'Convergence drives integration'. In the competitive environment today, a silicon manufacturer has to be capable of providing a system solution inclusive of software, drivers and reference designs. The keynote was followed by a panel discussion. The panelists were Dr.Kumar Shiralagi (Intel Capital), Kishore Manghnani (Marvell), Stacy Fender (Xilinx), B.V.Naidu (STPI), Dasarath Gude (AMD), Venkat Vankayalapti (Cavera systems), Moderator: Surya Hotha (Broadcom). Following is a brief from this discussion:


Q. What are the opportunities and challenges for Indian Semiconductor industry?

Venkat: There are lots of opportunities for India in chip design and embedded design services, especially in the Communications, wireless, optical, applications.

Kishore: Do not restrict to India, look at it from a global perspective. VOIP services have grown tremendously in the last 2 years. The challenge is to figure out how these startups in India compete with others. Comparing to the Taiwan companies, they had no presence in the US, but their local market was strong.
On the other hand in Israel, most of the semiconductor firms have a huge presence in US. In the current industry trends it is essential to have presence both in India and the US.

Aurangzeb: An upcoming area is Lighting technologies, thought it might not be as glamorous. That is yet another area which has huge growth opportunities.
NaiduIndia has done well in services. The growing Indian manufacturing industry, the local market and the design base that most MNCs have in India provides the semiconductor industry in India the triple advantage to succeed.


Q. Where do you see the funding coming from for these new startups in India? Naidu: To set up a semiconductor Design unit, it takes $20-25 million. The government provides aids in indirect forms such as exemption of corporate taxes. STPI has also taken up new programs such as the incubation program wherein the government invests up to 35% in building up of corporate infrastructure. Currently, Indian develop IP but don’t own it; we are encouraging Indian companies are also encouraged to file IP’s. 


Q. What is the Xilinx Corporate VC fund about and how can it help entrepreneurs?

Stacy: We focus on areas where we can learn alongside the companies we support. We intend on funding ventures that are strategically aligned to our goals and that help propagate our ecosystem of programmable logic. 


Q. On Building Industry and Academia relation.

Kumar: Intel plans to train a million teachers on IT by 2010. Centers of excellence have been set up at major institutes to improve the design curriculum and provide design tools.

Gude: Back in 1993, there was no VLSI talent in the country. I am proud to say that we established a college that focuses on design and produces the bst of the breed.  
Stacy: Xilinx has started a internship program with IIT. They also offer VLSI and SMDP programs. In 32 different institutions. 


Q. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs

Kishore: The core team of any entrepreneurial firm is very essential. Apart from this, good source of capital and an established customer base is essential.
Gude: One doesn’t need to have large source of money. One can build small subsystems or sell an idea at first, then reinvest the revenues to build larger businesses.

Aurangzeb: Try and develop skill sets that set you apart from others.

Kumar: Intel capital looks for businesses that pose as a good financial return opportunity and as a strategic opportunity. A few companies that Intel capital has invested in are Tejas networks, Insilica and Vignyani. Intel has also focused on educational and rural PCs.    


The session ended on a positive note where everyone agreed that there is an opportunity, be it design services, testing services, manufacturing, etc. Problems such as building a talent pool, an ecosystem and funding need to be addressed to ensure the success.


TiE-ISB Connect 2006 - Technology Track Summary

The technology track began by around 3:30 PM on 21st of September. The track chair Mr. Sudheer Koneru introduced the panel members to the audience and invited Mr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, professor at IIT-M, on stage to give the key note address. Mr. Jhunjhunwala enthralled the audience with the achievements of the TeNet team of IIT Madras in reaching out to the rural areas with latest technological innovations. His initiative has spawned more than 10 companies in the past with a focus on development of rural sector. The next talk was given by Mr. Pradeep Gupta from Dataquest on the innovations that can be achieved in the fast changing world. He also touched upon the important fact that R&D now is increasingly sourced from outside instead of inside, giving rise to the possibility of outsourcing of R&D in the future. Mr. Srini Koppalu gave a perspective of technological changes from the perspective of Microsoft.

The session was opened up for panel discussion and all the panelists were invited on stage. Panelists included Vani Kola, Mr Ajit Deora of LightSpeed (VC), Mr Srikant from Persistent among others.Participants flooded the panelists with questions. Mr. Kalyan Manyam and Mr. Sudheer Koneru moderated the discussions. Several questions on open source posing a threat to technology, taking new innovations to markets, venture capital funding, and innovations related to wireless technology were discussed during the panel discussion. Due to time constraints all questions could not be addressed.

Perseverence of an IIT professor who took leave for a year to study Marketing and other aspects of a business in order to be better able to handle questions asked by VCs like "How will you sell it?", "Whom will you sell it to?" stood out as an example for other budding entrepreneurs. The emerging idea revolved on the value that a VC brings to a business, and also on the question that every VC asks before committing to fund a venture - "Will this business become the market leader in the long run?".

The discussion was an enriching experience for all participants. Budding entrepreneurs were inspired by the opportunities that were discovered during the course of the session.



TiE-ISB Connect 2006 - Real Estate and Infrastructure Track Summary

The RE and Infrastructure Track was held on September 21, 2006 from 3pm to 530pm.. The track comprised some prominent industry professionals and was introduced by A.J. Jaganathan, Director with Indu Projects. Jaganathan discussed that in most countries infrastructure precedes real estate development rather than following it. Since in India the opposite is happening, it poses challenges in terms of provision of organized and quality developments.

Speakers for the track:

·         Manisha Grover, national Directo, Head Strategic Consulting & Research Jones Lang LaSalle India

·         Prakash Gurbaxani, CEO TSI Ventures

·         Ashish Chandak, Lead Specialist Business Development (Industrial and Commercial Infrastructure) IDFC

·         Kiran Kumar Gandhi,  Managing Director GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd – Keynote Speaker for the track


·         I. Shyam Prasad Reddy MD & CEO Indu Projects Limited

·         AJ Jagnathan, Director Indu Projects Limited

·         Ram Pujari, Director and Group CFO Indu Projects Limited

·         Mr Hariharan, Ex-Chairman Andhra Pradesh Infrastructure Authority

The first speaker of the track was Manisha Grover. She provided an analysis of the Indian real estate scenario and the key drivers that are going to determine its long-term growth. She also provided a sectoral overview of the followed by investment trends. The presentation pointed out that there is currently a substantial mismatch between the micro level markets and availability of infrastructure. Manisha Grover pointed out that rental yields in major cities in India were showing downward trend, which was likely to continue with increased standardization of products and supply moving from tier 1 to other tier cities.

The other key trend of the real estate sector in India is transformation of development companies. There was “paradigm shift” with companies increasingly asserting a national presence as opposed to localized / regional influence. This was likely to further the standardization of products across different sectors.

Prakash Gurbaxani followed with his presentation. The presentation focused on the changing scenario of the real estate sector in India and the challenges and opportunity this provided. Some of the key challenges for the sector were identified as:

·         Fragmented and largely unorganized industry

·         No National Players yet

·         Industry not known for focus on Quality and Customer Experience

·         No organized investment structures (REITs etc.)

·         Land laws archaic

With respect to the opportunities, Prakash Gurbaxani pointed to with a total market size of Rs 600 billion with an annual growth of 30%, all sectors were open to opportunities but the industry will need to fine tune both the financial and regulatory aspects of development. While the financial mechanisms were increasingly being put in place with new investment avenues such as REIT, REMF, and adoption of world-class processes; the regulatory processes such as archaic laws, high stamp duties, lack of defined exit routes, low supply of government land and restrictive FDI regulations still acted as an impediment for the industry.

Ashish Chandak provided a comprehensive overview of Indian infrastructure scenario. He corroborated A.J. Jaganathan’s comment about the need for infrastructure to precede real estate in India. However, he went on to add that “India had arrived” and had made quantum leaps with respect to its assessment of its infrastructure and recognizing the critical role infrastructure is likely to play in the overall development of the country.

Some of the key risks likely to hamper growth of the country were identified as:

·         Oil prices

·         Interest rates

·         Infrastructure shortfall

·         Fiscal slippages

·         Reform slowdown

Ashish Chandak pointed out that infrastructure is the “backbone” of the country’s development and needs to be priority. He also mentioned that for this happen, financing of infrastructure needs to move from government centered projects to more public-private partnerships. While this had started to happen in some sectors, the need and pace of the financing activities and PPP model of development needs to keep pace with demand.

Mr Chandak discussed the progress made in each sector of infrastructure and pointed out the need for liberalizing the real estate sector as well as the need for stronger capital markets in order for the sector to really take off.

Mr Kiran Gandhi, the keynote speaker for the session, shared his experiences of Delhi and Hyderabad and some of the key challenges he has faced and the opportunities he saw in the near future. 

Some of the key messages from his discussion include:

·         Sustained investment in infrastructure and real estate can alone hold India’s GDP growth at 8%

·         Indian infrastructure and realty sector today, is in the threshold of liberalization

o        There is an immense opportunity for the professional talent, which is an outcome of increase in emergence of these projects. One of the key challenges going forward would be talent development and management

·         Opportunities are immense, yet infrastructure & real-estate is an unexplored entrepreneurial domain

·         New cities need to be developed around the major metropolises in order to sustain the high growth projections and the subsequent demand it is likely to pose

Kiran Gandhi spoke about how Hyderabad was on the forefront of the development process engulfing India and could provide the right benchmarks for the country.

After the keynote speaker, the panel convened to discuss the presentations from the speakers. Mr Hariharan, based on his experience as the Chairman of APIDA, spoke the need to garner political influence in order to move things forward. He also mentioned that any future model for development will need to be growth oriented and co-opt the public sector.

Mr Pujari, speaking from his experience as the ex-SBI officer with more than 24years of experience with international banking, risk management, and asset liability management provided a more financial point of view to the proceedings of the panel. He started the discussion by pointing out that risk should be viewed as a possibility / opportunity. However, he also discussed that asymmetry of information in this market was likely to cause imbalance in development and there was a critical need to build better databases for the industry, which will serve the industry going forward. Some of the key points of discussion were:

·         Quality of information will be one of the biggest challenges facing the industry

·         There was need to build talent in the sector and increase the human resource capabilities

·         Regulatory risk posed one of the biggest risk in the development of the industry

·         Financial risk comprised largely of poor availability adequate debt in the organized market for the sector

The panel concluded with answering audience questions. Mr. S.P. Reddy Indu Projects thanked the participants for sharing their insights with the track.


TiE-ISB Connect 2006 - Sports and Fitness Track Summary

Growth of Sports in India was one of the main tracks covered during the three day Tie-ISB Connect meet. An eminent panel of guests addressed a number of delegates from various organizations as well as the ISB student body. Pullela Gopichand, the former All England Badminton Champion, delivered the key note address. He painted a bright picture for the future of sporting activity in the country and said that “Sports in India has come of age.”  He emphasized a need for better infrastructural facilities so that our country can produce world class players. According to him, health and fitness are moving up the priority list of the population just the way infrastructure is becoming a focus area for the government. He said that this change is coming about because Indians have largely had a very sedentary lifestyle and health problems are pushing people to become physically active. Also, people are realizing that one can get involved in sports for excellence or for fun and recreation. Moreover, given the work pressures, sports can be used as a stress reliever.    

Pullela was happy with the fact that more and more parents are willing to spend money to groom their children in various sporting activities. He strongly emphasized the need for a school with sporting excellence as well as academic excellence so that children would have an opportunity to experience the best of both worlds. This would give them the opportunity to identify their strengths and accordingly pursue careers.

After hearing the views of a sportsperson, it was time to listen to a business perspective from Anirban Das Blah, co-founder and Vice-President of Globosport. He manages leading Indian players in tennis, badminton, squash and cricket. He advocated three key strategies to achieve dominance in a given sport. The strategies being world class action closer home, emergence of an icon and media overdrive. He emphasized the need for a better understanding of sports management and various market opportunities.  He said sports management in India currently means cricket management. There is a need for focusing on other sports and he suggested ways and means of doing the same. He said that sports should be build in a way that transcends the sports page of a newspaper and becomes a part of people’s lives just the way cricket has in our country.

He got strong support from Ashok Ahuja, Head of Department, Sports medicine at NIS. In fact, he took the discussion forward by identifying various business opportunities for the country in the field of sports. He highlighted the fact that most of the sports equipments in India are imported from various countries. Ashok strongly urged young entrepreneurs to take a leap forward and develop capabilities for equipment like Electrotherapy machines, microwave diathermy, motion analyzers, etc.  

Dheeraj Koneru, MD of Latitudes Pro, brought a totally different perspective to the discussion by highlighting the key advancements and opportunities in fitness and healthcare. According to him, “high quality service” and “tangible results” were the secret behind competitive advantage in the business of health and fitness. He emphasized that weight loss is an emotional topic for most people and should be dealt with care and sensitivity. He also underlined that execution was more important than innovation in the field of fitness.

The last speaker for the day was Rajbir Rai, a student of law and an entrepreneur with the experience of running a shopping mall and restaurants in the US. He has also worked as an investor advisor to a mega-sports brand. He is currently helping set up India’s largest sport shoe manufacturing plant at Hyderabad. He was very optimistic about the opportunities in sports manufacturing industry in India.

The talk was followed by a Q & A session where Anil Singh, M.D. Pro cam International energized the crowd by his experiences and un-conventional ideas. The audience was delighted and the whole session was an insightful and a learning experience.


TiE-ISB Connect 2006 - Internet Track Summary

Kris Seshadrinathan (Track Chair)

Ajit Balakrishnan (Rediff)

Sandeep Murthy (Sherpalo Ventures)

Hitesh Oberoi (naukari.com)

Raghav Kher (70mm.com)

Sameer Sood (Google)

Sanjeev Bikhchandani (Naukri.com)

Sanjay Swamy (mChek )

Ganesh Rangaswamy (Greylock Partners)

Probir Roy (Paymate)

The track for internet and internet services comprised a panel of distinguished speakers and professionals. The moderator for the discussion was Mr. Krishnan Sheshadrinathan. The discussion was kick-started by a speech from Mr. Ajit Balakrishnan from Rediff.com. He provided the audience with valuable insights about the nuances of running a successful internet business, and the features essential for the same. The precision with which he pointed out the problems that most of the internet businesses run into, and the mistakes that they often do, was truly inspiring and motivating. With every passing moment, the audience’s appreciation of his work, knowledge and aura kept growing. He talked at length, about the choices that firms have to make to either be a service provider or be a media company in an internet business. He urged the budding entrepreneurs to focus on three aspects, essential to running a successful internet business, viz. focusing on the long tail, network effects and innovation.

Following him was another eminent speaker, Mr. Sandeep Murthy from Sherpalo Ventures of KPCB. He provided the audience, a perspective of a venture capitalist, looking to invest in interesting and promising internet business models. Keeping it plain, simple and short, Sandeep wooed away the audience by his compelling arguments and amazing clarity, on the issues related to funding businesses. He also spoke little about three of the most recent ventures that his firm had invested in, and went on to invite the panel for discussion.

As Mr Sheshadrinathan threw some interesting questions to the panel, the audience, mainly comprising of budding entrepreneurs, got multi dimensional perspectives of venture capitalists, whom they are here to woo anyways, and of some the people who had once been in their seats, looking for funding to kick start their ventures. While the panel also talked of emerging trends in the Indian market, a word of caution was thrown in by Mr. Ajit Balakrishnan, every now and then, warning the enthusiasts about the consequences of falling into the trap of copying the US or the Chinese business model.

Finally, the house was thrown open to questions from the audience, which most of them were eagerly waiting for. While many of the audience members had generic questions to the speakers, about the emerging trends in the industry and the ways to bootstrap their way out of the financial viscous loop, others had a completely different plan. Not willing to let go of the tremendous opportunity that Tie-ISB offers for these entrepreneurs, to convince the investors about the bright prospects of their business plan, many of the audience members asked specific questions, specifically to the VCs, if they would be willing to invest in their business model.

Finally, Mr. Sheshadrinathan, gave a note of thanks to the entire panel and traditional ISB memento to the speakers. The track was one of the most popular tracks of the Tie-ISB event, and the magnitude and the enthusiasm, of the audience and the panel, was a testimony to the fact that internet revolution is here to stay for long.

Prepared by :

Sukanya Ghosh

Vibhor Singhal

Yashovardhan Gupta