Friday, September 30, 2011

Management jargon demystified- A corporate newbies guide for MBA aspirants

"What have you specialized in?" is a common question that people ask freshly minted MBAs. The answer to that one is usually marketing, operations, HR, finance, etc. Some even specialise in strategy! However, once you pass out from a B school and enter an organisation reality hits you! The above management functions take on a whole new meaning. This is roughly what they mean to me after having been in an organisation for 4 months.
  • Marketing = Selling my company's value proposition/offer (and not a product) to kirana stores in slums of Mumbai! Now, not even Kotler can help me with that.
  • Operations= Spending twelve hours in the Goods Receiving Area with truck drivers for company. 
  • Strategy= Making ppts with interesting charts and diagrams and talking GAS ( similar to the "we are selling an offer and not a product mentioned above)
On a serious note, I think an MBA tag makes it even tougher to gain acceptance in the organisation. Humility and empathy are the most important traits required for winning the trust of many in the organisation who believe that a mere MBA is not sufficient and will always look to point out flaws in your work. So while an MBA might ensure a hefty pay packet and a great start designation wise, it also invites ire and discontent of many for the same reason.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Harish Hande-The man who lights up lives!

It was sometime in Jan 2010 that Ifirst heard about SELCO. One our alumnus, Thomas Pullenkav was on a panel which was discussing social entrepreneurship during IRMA’s B school fest Udaan.

Thomas was one of the first employees of SELCO. His talk on his (then) company was fascinating. After the panel, SELCO was an organization everyone wanted to intern at for the summers. However, some practical difficulties ruled out SELCO for me. Their stipend minus accommodation in Bangalore was a disappointment. Also, they wanted engineers! One of my batchmates did intern at SELCO and had a good experience.

SELCO again came up when a doctoral student at IRMA gave a lecture on social entrepreneurship. SELCO was used to discuss the issues surrounding scaling of a “social enterprise”. In one more panel discussion, Prof. Sriram pointed out the stringent process that Harish Hande followed in accepting capital from various sources particularly the for profit venture funds. A case study in the rural marketing class drove home the point that SELCO’s business model was something that had many people fall in love with it.

Therefore I was extremely happy when news about Hande receiving the Magsaysay award reached me. That he has received this honour in a short period of time (SELCO has been in existence since 1995) is an indication of the wonderful impact that he has had on the communities whom he sought to serve when he set up SELCO.

India needs many more Harish Handes!