Saturday, 27 February 2016

Union Railway Budget: IIM Raipur student’s take on it

The Union Railway Budget 2016-17 was unveiled by Mr. Suresh Prabhu, the Hon. Railway Minister in Lok Sabha on 25th February, 2016. In his words, "Every customer is our brand ambassador." Taking cue from it, we noted the views of young management students of IIM Raipur. Here is the take of budding managers on the Railway Budget:

Ms. Rucha Badhe, a 1st year management student, views are, “A visionary, consumer-centric and an all-encompassing budget by our astute Railway Minister that caters to the needs of the middle and the economically backward classes as well as to form and function- with the introduction of the 4 new trains, technologification of platforms, and introduction of bio-toilets. And all this in line with the Make in India initiative, boosting investments and employment."

“The Railway budget is focussed on improving the quality of travel in all aspects of journey and journey planning. The developed areas in the railroad topography have resorted to fewer gains from the budget whereas the untouched areas are to receive majority of the benefits,” opined Mr. Dinesh Venkatesan, a 1st year student. He conveys that states that were previously separated by tough geographical landscape like Assam, Mizoram and Manipur are expected to get boost for industrial development in North East region, because railroad connectivity stands as a key competency indicator for the ideal pro-business environment. This effort is conducive in supporting other ongoing projects such as the NH-54 Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project aimed at international trade relations.Dinesh further adds that, “Opening our own first auto rail hub in the country and registering for special purpose vehicle in the much awaited Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor is an addition to the self-reliance of the massive organisation. The sprouting aggressive technological transformation in the railroad transportation is heralded by the efforts as mentioned above. Also infrastructure of close to 500 stations are to be improved in the next two years by installing or enhancing the wi-fi hubs present, E-catering to all rail stations and increase in lower berth quota for women passengers and senior citizens, 33% women quota in all reserved classes, incorporation of children's food menu are measures proposed to improve the travel of women and senior citizens.”

Mr. Punit Agarwal, another management student, charted out the major highlights of the budget as,” the introduction of fully unreserved superfast trains on dense traffic routes, bar-coded tickets on pilot basis to tackle menace of ticketless travel and increase in seat quota for woman and senior citizen and no fare hikes. 17 States have approved to form joint ventures for rail projects which opens new vistas for ownership in railway sector.

He also announced the setting up of a full-fledged Railway University soon and the first auto hub in Chennai.”

Mr. Ajay Singla, a 1st year management student, commented, “The development agenda of the current government has clearly been complemented by the Railway budget 2016-17.
The provisions for WiFi facilities, increased quota for senior citizens and women, CCTV surveillance, GPS-based digital display, cleaning of toilets by requests through SMS etc. will help in improving the railways scenario in India. The new infrastructural projects announced in the budget require huge funds giving a hard challenge to the government given there are no hikes in the passenger fares. In the budget, there are no announcements of any new trains. However, the government has promised to add the new trains after the review about the capacity is over. Overall, the budget aims to facilitate the general public via various passenger friendly initiatives.”

Friday, 19 February 2016

IIM Raipur Placement Snapshots 2015-16

IIM Raipur proudly announces another successful year of placements. Backed by strong industrial relations, the placement season of 2015-16 witnessed an overwhelming participation from previous recruiters along with a host of new recruiters vying for some of the country's best minds.
The institute recorded a 12.3 % increase in the average CTC offered to the students over the last year and would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to all the corporate partners and associates.


The India-Africa relationship has a long and distinguished history and it goes back to hundreds of years, to the days of struggle against colonialism, poverty and illiteracy. The two nations have had long established trade relations, starting from the days when Indian traders made their way to the east coast of Africa in search of elephant tusks, gold and gemstones. Similarity in terms of rich natural resources, demography and a large domestic market showed them the way towards building partnerships.

Factors such as similar socio-economic conditions in many of the African nations and India, no conflict of interest and sense of solidarity with the African nations contribute to the shared belief of the two nations to find a common solution to the existing problems.
The trade relations between the two nations have become more prominent with the growth of the once immigrated Indian diaspora in Africa. And with the passage of time, they have become critical elements in the export of African goods such as cotton, coffee and tea and the import of Indian products such as textiles and pulses.
Today the importance of Africa for India is quite evident in itself. India very much requires the support of the African nations, if it wishes to achieve its ambitions of being a global power and nowhere is this importance felt then on the issue of the UN Security Council’s expansion.Recent years have witnessed the African Indian partnership extending beyond trade to different spheres such as technology transfer, knowledge sharing and skill development .Trade growth from a modest level of US$ 24.98 billion in 2006-07 to US$ 53.33 billion in 2010-11 and CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 20.87%[1] proves that the economic relations between these two nations have grown many fold during the last few years. Some of the biggest Indian names likes Bharti Airtel, Tata Kirloskar, Mahindra, Essar Group are among the 250 other Indian companies having investment linkages with Africa.
A large number of factors such as trade Geography, composition of trade and investment in specific areas such as agriculture, mining and telecom define India’s Economic profile in Africa.
[2]Scarcity of oil reserves has made India heavily dependent on foreign producers such as the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel which form about 70% of the total supplies, and that has proved to be a key driving force for India’s African engagement because of its urge to diversify the portfolio of suppliers by increasing the amount of purchases in major oil-producing African countries. A large number of Indian companies are becoming livelier in oil rich regions of Angola, Egypt and Libya with some of them already possessing oil investments in Mozambique and investment in gas sector in Tanzania and Kenya.
In addition to it, Africa’s nuclear energy potential also drives India’s interest, with India exploring Uranium mining opportunities in Nigeria and Namibia. Apart from these factors, for a major jewelry market like India, richness in precious metals and gemstones garners huge interest. (Gems and stones constitute about 7% of India’s total imports[3]).
Africa is equipped with resources that are of vital importance to fuel the economic powerhouses of India, China and Brazil and the African Union is now in a position to take advantage of these assets and boost the trade and bilateral exchanges.
The Indian government has always been pro-active on the front of moving the partnership forward and the establishment of the India-Africa Forum Summits has certainly been an important step in that regard.
Although, India’s trade with Africa has been dwarfed by China, its overall trade in 2013 stood at US $ 70 billion compared to US $ 200[4] billion for China. But, because of the increasing dependency of Africa on the Chinese, the African leaders have started to look beyond them and India might just prove to be the right option for them and although India is yet to become a major player, under the new government it is likely to challenge the Chinese supremacy across Africa.
Africa is poised to become a global manufacturing hub in the coming future, with the working population to reach about 1.1 billion by 2040[5], according to a report published by McKinsey in 2010 and India’s capital building focused initiatives in Africa recognizes this fact.
The Indian tie ups benefit Africa in certain particular ways, such as the engagement with the rising economies that may help African economies to bypass. An important area of interest for Africa in India is the agribusiness, as it would definitely like to address its food security concerns by gaining from India’s range of knowledge in this particular field. At the same time it also knows that the Indian investment in Africa also means a boost of production. For example: the declining Cotton industry in West-Africa saw radical improvement with the launch of a three-year project by the Indian government.

The Indian investors are also looking forward to spend around $2.5 billion on the large hectares of land in East Africa in order to grow produce such as rice and maize for export, especially to India0. (The graphical representation also shows that India has increased its share, as a major rice supplier to South Africa by approximately 800 times in 2012-13 in comparison to 2010-11)
The burgeoning ICT sector is another area where Africa looks to benefit from India, as India with its tailor made-technology for SME’s and vast knowledge and experience in the field of education and Information Technology can have a huge impact in the development of skilled human capital in Africa through transfer of knowledge and skills which is more crucial than just providing extended lines of credit. A very good example of that of Uganda, where Indian technology led to nearly threefold electricity being generated; from 300 MW to 1000[6] MW. India’s ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) framework which focusses on deputation of Indian experts abroad and training is particularly useful for African nations for knowledge transfer through ITC.
The online education industry with an expected worth of $1 billion by the end of the decade, is one area of ICT that could of particular benefit to Africa, India is a major player in this field along with the likes of United States. The lack of skilled teachers and rising internet penetration in Africa provides the ideal ground for a large scale growth of online education system. The said industry has already taken off in South Africa with launch of services such as EduNet and the other African nations should take a hint from it to tap into India’s expertise in this field.
India is also a major player in pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry and that is another area where Africa can benefit from.  The model of development that India has to offer based on the multicultural and democratic setup is perfectly suited for the diverse ethnic, religious and tribal divisions of Africa.
Moreover, the growing demand for commodities in India and China has somewhat helped in the redirecting the African exports toward the Asian market and away from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations.
India has looked to position itself to exploit Africa’s niche areas while avoiding direct competition with the Chinese and has been a major collaborator in African development both from outside and within the continent.
The recent developments in terms of expanding business relations and investments ensures that the partnership has moved beyond a verbal repetition of the South-South cause. The Indian investment in Africa is by and large different from that coming from other areas of the globe, which tend to drive out local competition whereas the Indian firms operating in Africa promote the local integration of their workers and tend to engage in sales to local African units. For sure, India needs to gather resources for its growing middle class and strengthen its diplomatic ties in the global South but the investors are also nurturing another vital asset i.e. the human capital, and it can be rightfully said that the Indian- African partnership is all about person to person growth on both sides of the Indian Ocean.
To conclude, India’s relationship with Africa and vice-versa, has its own opportunities and reservations, but with unique benefits and drawbacks for each of them. Therefore. It becomes imperative that the economic ties between the two nations is approached on terms that recognize this uniqueness.
[2] Source (pie chart): U.S. Energy Information Administration, Global Trade Atlas.

First Published here
By: Kumar Abhishek
PGP 1st year (2015-17)
Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Online to Offline Commerce (O2O)- The way ahead

Have you ever heard of Groupon, Zomato, Justdial, Dineout, Table Grabber, Bookeventz, 
and Quicksearch? What do all these businesses have in common? Well, they all bank on the 
online to offline commerce (020).
Offline to online commerce is the new buzz word among industries and it has received a lot 
of traction and investments in China. It is new business model which basically connects 
online digital world to offline world. It is a strategy which involves finding consumers online 
and enticing them to visit offline stores. It basically integrates the online commerce and 
offline brick and mortar stores. 

Here, companies employ various techniques to make consumers aware about their products 
and services online and then attract them to visit offline stores where actual commerce or 
purchase happens. The goal is basically to drive the consumers away rom online space and 
enticing them to visit physical brick and mortar store to make the purchase.

Why O2O is a trillion-dollar opportunity?

According to TechCrunch, O2O is a trillion-dollar opportunity. As per the eMarketer, online retail currently constitutes 0.9 % of the total retail sales. It is expected to reach to 3 percent by 2020. If we consider US where online retail space has already saturated, online retail only contributes about 8 percent of the total retail sales. This is testimony to the fact that offline channels pose a great opportunity which is still untapped.

If we talk about India in particular, then people still believe in touch and feel concept and they park more trust with offline retailers as opposed to online retail space. There is also a term called “Showrooming” where consumers visit local stores to actually touch and look at the products and then they end up purchasing that product online. For some industries like Car and Restaurants, it becomes even more imperative to create the brand and product awareness online and entice customers to shop offline.

 A lot of startups have flourished in O2O space which promises to combine both online and offline channels. We all are very well aware of the Zomato which is local search and discovery service for restaurants. It leverages the potential of O2O space and has turned into a global giant in a short span of time. Similarly, there are a host of startups offering restaurant booking service. Also, services marketplace has been growing at an unprecedented rate in India. Some of the prominent companies in this domain are Justdial, Sulekha, Yellowpages, Urbanclap and Quicksearch.

Businesses are employing a lot of techniques and tools like e-coupons, Store locators, emails, newsletters and other form of direct marketing to make the consumers aware of their product and services online. The ultimate task is to make those consumers visit the offline brick and mortar stores where actual purchase happens.

One of the advantages that O2O commerce has over traditional e-commerce is that performance of digital campaigns is easily quantifiable. On one hand, traditional e-commerce measures conversion using cookies and pixels while on the other hand, it is difficult to track conversion in offline commerce alone. Here comes the O2O which integrates the both channels and makes it easier to track conversion rate and performance of online marketing campaigns. In the nutshell, businesses can generate high value for themselves as well as the consumers by bringing the benefits of online commerce to offline channels

By: Rahul Ranjan
PGP 1st Year (2015-17)
Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Monday, 15 February 2016

My Journey To IIM Raipur And Beyond


Amid conclusive year of my Graduation in Mechanical Engineering, I began planning for CAT ‘12 having a fantasy of getting into IIM A, B, or C and when the application form was out I just ticked A, B, C and L for the choice of IIMs I wanted to be in. I scored 98.6%ile and I was having a tinkling of hope of getting a call from IIM-L but unfortunately I didn’t.

Since 2012 I have wanted to be in an IIM. I got placed in Tata Motors Ltd and joined it in Oct 2013. I did not appear in CAT ’13 because at that point of time I wanted to explore more in then recently joined TML.
After working for 10-11 months in TML I realized that although I was good at technical knowledge I did not want to be in technical field anymore, so I started preparing for CAT only via test series of different coaching centres (TIME, CL, Testfunda and SIMCATs) from 15th Aug ’14. Furthermore, this time when I filled CAT application form I ticked all the IIMs as I would not want to continue technical job. I scored 96.97%ile.
I used to take one or two mock tests a day every day from 15th Aug ’14 to 14th Nov ’14 and used to score 98+%ile consistently in AIMCATs. After getting the results for the recently taken test I would review it, the questions I had not attempted or attempted but incorrectly, I would refer the theory for those particular questions and then do the same for the subsequent mocks.
A little disappointed I was as I scored less in my second endeavour at CAT while I was hoping to get a 99+%ile this time, likewise I was performing admirably in my mocks. Be that as it may, I discovered that it happens with numerous; I was by all account not the only casualty :P .. It is rightly said “What you deny or ignore, you DELAY. What you accept and face, you CONQUER”
I converted all 6 new IIMs (Rp,Rtk,R,T,K,U) and chose Raipur over all other IIMs. As I scrutinized a great deal considering the parameters i.e. Placements, Infrastructure, Playgrounds, Permanent Campus, Faculty, Exchange Programs, Hostels, peers’ profile, Lateral Placements, Summer Internships, profiles offered and so forth and so on. After conducting extensive research on all the factors of all 6 new IIMs, Raipur emerged to be the best in my case.
First 6 months at IIM Raipur
The very first day in IIM Raipur was surprising. All that I encountered was more than my desires.  Seniors having work exp. of the prestigious companies like Honda, Coal India, Accenture, Tata Steel etc. And when I was acquainted to my amazing peers who hailed from institutes such as IIT Bombay, IIT Roorkee, IIT Guwahati, AIIMS Delhi, different NITs, SRCC and having work exp of Herman, Bharti Airtel, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors, Deloitte, Make my Trip, Reliance and so forth. I was more than blissful.
And then I attended classes of our savant faculty, I have never attended such vivid classes. Every Prof imparts his/her awe-inspiring perspectives while solving distinctive case studies.
As the batch size is small one gets all the opportunities of performing in any activity one wants. Also, everybody gets individual attention from the faculty, whenever a student feels any difficulty in any subject, Profs are effectively receptive for any uncertainty, for any doubt at any time as every prof knows every student singularly.
There is zero communication gap between students and administration of the institute which is a very conducive environment for any student to self-explore him/herself.
PGP 2015-2017
First published here

IIM Raipur conducts first edition of Fin-TALK: The Guest Lecture Series

Finatix, the Finance Club of IIM Raipur invited Mr. Gurumoorthy Mahalingam, Executive Board Member, Securities and Exchange Board of Ind...