Saturday, February 25, 2012

37th Week@XIMB

37th Week- 19th February to 25th February, 2012

19th February - RLLE is an integral pedagogical component of PGDM-RM course at XIMB. The objective of this live experience of one month is to develop respect for the poor and rural people while living with them and listening to their joys & sorrows, and appreciating their capacity to lead their life with dignity amidst several odds. We worked with International potato Center on the phase of area identification of the project "Root & Tuber Crops for Food Security in Asia Pacific". We had done the work in two phases:

Secondary data collection, House hold listing and Field visit for identification of villages for the project area intervention & Primary data collection and analysis using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools in the selected villages.

This field learning and experience from the rural India was a joy of our life and definitely unforgettable for us. We want to share our moments through the process of  "learning by unlearning" and hope that it will help all to experience through our eyes.We documented the entire trip in a short video of five minutes - XIMB RLLE (2011-13)- International Potato Center

There is hypothesis that creativity isn't a linear, consistent phenomenon but rather happens in clumps and creative states are only super creative for a short time. Assuming our creativity can capture yours attention. This project would not have been possible without my teammates Mriganka Mondal, Chandan Kumar and Kuldip Kalita! All thanks to them.

20th February - I rested today. We finished our RLLE report and chart for RLLE mela. It was pleasant to see that each of us avoided credit grabbing. By giving credit to the people where it is due, creates environment of mutual trust and respect.

I saw a funny picture on the facebook about IRMANS that hold quite true for Rural Managers at XIMB also. I am reproducing the image here without any malicious intention -

21st February - RLLE Mela was much better organized than our anticipation. Our faculty and administration were advised by director to read book - Rethinking the MBA by Srikant M. Datar , David A. Garvin and Patrick Cullen.

22nd February - There was deep reading material given in REPP class of : Politics of Economic Growth in India, 1980-2005 (Part 1 and Part2) ; The paper stress that Indian government policies were more pro business than pro market. I somehow agree with that. This article is not having asinine views of the market but a different perspective about transformation of political economy of India before and after liberalization.

23rd February - Only 16 students attended CMIB lecture, rest of them were kicked out due to failure in submitting assignment at time. I don't have clear disdain but always a hidden anger against establishment. But at this time, the strict action taken to maintain class discipline was justified. As per mine opinion, punishment should be the last resort of any civilized society, but a society that is not prepared to punish those who would rule it by force and chaos is doomed to become uncivilised. "Stop passing the buck, nip it in the bud" is the best strategy to control the mob behavior. There are few students in the RM program who had track record of indiscipline in the class. That is why I supported the actions from the administration.

RIM: There is a general assumption of existence of the perfect merit and fair market among elite and higher caste students. Even the price discovery is a top-bottom approach in most of the commodity market. Hence, its very difficult to establish true people's market. One more hidden fact : Caste reduces the transaction cost in India. That was an important lesson that need to be much researched and studies by Indian management students. There is already research on this that suggests that socially backward castes do face disadvantages in finding regular employment in the sense that they face either higher transaction costs or social boycott by the trader community associated with entry into the market. Economic deprivation is a serious disability, So is social discrimination and oppression. One can access journal papers on the study of transaction costs at Ronald Coase Institute.

24th February - Mid term exams of BIS and MP were finished. There were two articles worth reading in such hectic schedule even - Dear MBA Class of 2011 by Sidin Vadukut: Advice for the worthies undergoing campus placements, delivered in Morgan Freeman-style to soft hip-hop-ish beats and ‘Uncertified’ managers of Anna Hazare’s village give management lessons.

25th February - Mid term exam of UDO was over. There were five fascinating essays in the course material: Social Action to Overcome Someday by Harsh Mander, Building Bridges across Boundaries : Partnerships for Development by Arun Maira, Grassroots Development through Community Action by Bunker Roy, Sustainability of Interventions : Withdrawal - The concept, Need and Implications by M K Bhat and Anita Cheria & NGOs Civil Society and Political Development.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

36th Week@XIMB

36th Week- 12th February to 18th February, 2012

12th February - It was a lazy Sunday morning. I visited to Balihanta Haat for the survey with mine RIM group. That was a different perspective of the markets often neglected by the mainstream.

We were send weblink of the Statistical Year Book India 2012. The present issue of the Statistical Year Book India 2012 is 45th edition of the publication in the series. The present volume of the publication contains comprehensive data on economic and social sectors, spread in 44 chapters covering more than 350 tables. The data includes the latest state-wise indicators. In addition, a variety of graphs and charts have been given to represent pictorial data. [Official Source]

13th February - There was systematic preparation of the pictorial representation of the vision statement of any organization in UDO lecture.

The Mentorship Program for the XIMB aspirants-2012 was rolled out and I am involved in this initiative. I had also written possible list of the question that may be asked to aspirants by the interview panelists. Rural Management GD-PI Preparation ;

There was an intense discussion on Free Trade, Fair Trade and Price rigging at REPP e-group. The success of the nation nowadays increasingly measured on its ability to attract foreign investments rather than welfare of its people and territorial security alone. That is need to re-look the policies and practices in the institutes building minds of India. One learn by going much against the traditions rather than with it. One must a have a pinch of contempt for the authority, otherwise he will become spineless down the years by the system. The need for critical thinking by students to solve complex social, political and economic problems is more. Critical thinking starts with curiosity and observation. It saturates when one started asking questions about validity of the axioms. Critical thinking reach zenith when you can understand the complexity of dialectical thoughts.

14th February - I was inspired by hearing the word axiom  in today's REPP class. Currently, I lack zeal and intensity to write like a madman. I recalled those old days when I had written an article questioning the axioms on my blog with the sheer passion and fire burning within. I was once an elegant writer and have deep and nuanced understanding of the various topics. MBA education had somehow diluted the real me. I assume that it would take time to rediscover what I want to do again and maybe I just hasn’t had that time. The logical explanation being that once primary goals are achieved, there is a sense of emptiness. I have been taking lectures, quizzes and doing assignments almost non-stop from last one month. Even the holidays were spent in the journey. I am finding myself unable to plan for any B-plan or social entrepreneurship plan. Yet, I am happy with the academic pressure of this trimester. Its pushing me against the wall to utilize time in much more efficient way. A diamond isn't recognized as just any of the allotrope of carbon of unknown quality. It is a diamond because of the rigour and pressure it is put through in a specific environment. Hoping the same metamorphosis for me.

15th February - This was an off day. I thought about these stabilized seven months where I actually enjoyed the whole atmosphere. Tall peaks are not always better than long plateaus as true greatness must include protracted excellence for a sustainable time. I am enjoying mine current performance and stay at XIMB. The work I did for our corporate created their profits and I received a good salary, but it was making me miserable in the process. Rather than matching the job to ours skills, often we tend to match our skills for the jobs. That was a mistake done from my side also.

Why do one work in the project ? Either to increase our CV value or to have really social impact! There is always a choice. I assume that a person should go with what makes one happy. Forget the society. The society would not come to help you if you were starving and naked in a gutter. There are economic constraints but more often its a social status that barricades them from serving needy.

16th February - RIM : This class amazes and talks a lot about human, particularly in the consumption behaviour. Perception is the reality in the marketing. Rahul Gandhi tore apart SP memorandum without even reading in the public meeting. There is no rational behind this but it has a mass appeal that isn't there in intellectually debating over memorandum.

There was a talk about freedom and responsibility in the classroom deviating from regular studies. A manager can't afford to be an overpaid supervisor. There will be loss of credibility. A manager should be able to go in the details and also be able to get job done however.

When there is maximization of the individual freedom, that destroys the cohesive system. The basic framework should be maintained otherwise adults will not be able to make good choices individually. Only by putting constraints on the individuals, social returns can be maximized. I don't know whether to agree or disagree over this issue.

There are three material suggested for reading purpose : HUL's Nitin Paranjpe On The Capacity To Fail, HLL Is Reinventing Distribution, and How Companies Learn Your Secrets.

17th February - Capital Investment Decisions (CID): This was the first class of Prof Banikanta Misra. As is the popular wisdom, an educational institute is only as good as its faculty-members. This was the peak of our interaction of the first among equals in the several Professors of XIMB. There are five topics that a student should cover for learning Finance: Basic Statistics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Basic Accounting and Proper Communication Skills to frame the logic in the words.

We watched Swades movie as apart of CMIB course to understand about community mobilizer. I was able to see the positive impact of religion in the rural India and transformation of SRK from Bisleri to tapwater with more ecstasy. I had once written an article of the impact of this movie upon me. Revisiting old memories again Swades: 5 years onward...

18th February - There was case study discussion in BIS class. Leveraging Information and Communication Technologies for Sustainable Development in Rural India - A Case Study on India’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI)

CID: Second lecture was slow and steady in the nature. Yet, we were ashamed of our low knowledge level in accounts and finance to openly interact with such a good professor. Literally, the whole class was spent in the awe of him.

The whole day was long and tiring for me. There was be a Guest Lecture on e-Governance at the end of day.

Guest Lecture - Mr. Rudra Prasanna Mohapatra , Management Consultant

The invited speaker told us about the use of a web-portal to give voice to the people and on the same lines making available all the government records in the public domain. There was quite open and healthy debate on the problems like Computer Illiteracy, Conversion of hard copies to soft copies of records, beneficiary feedback for project evaluation, lack of data operators even at block level and technical limitations of the web-portal. Time Issue and Coordination Issue were the major factors behind delay of the project. Time Issue becomes more intense with the decentralization of the plans. Converging all micro Planning at the village level to the macro extent is a challenging task that can be faced by any organization.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

35th Week@XIMB

35th Week- 5th February to 11th February, 2012

5th February - IRMA has declared their GD-PI list one month ago. XIMB-RM cut off for rural management course had been declared now. This year CAT, XAT & IRMA scores are valid for the entrance from this year. I welcome this diversification of application with different scores.

Lot of debate and analysis will go again in the rural management community.It is a course that has unique fusion of rural development and business management. Rural Management is a different course whose people are convinced of the superiority of their mission and are obsessed with the inferiority of their merit on CAT/XAT scale. As per mine opinion, a rural manager must be more professional and learned as comparison to the normal MBA college manager as one has less capital and more complex problems to deal with. More about rural manager as per point of view of an IRMA  at pagal guy.

I respect IRMA for their immense work in the field of development. Yet, governemnt and IRMA adminsitration have failed to set up more number of colleges on such pattern. With 32 years of establishment, there is no substantial increase in the number of seats offered from 80's to 2010. A very low increment of seats while the population has 65 billion to 112 billion people shows lag of government in the higher education. This is a drastic policy lapse from both IRMA and Central Government. They should take lessons from IITs and IIMs who are opening colleges without the illusive fears of quality dilution by few elites. Here, I will lay emphasis on the private colleges like XIMB that are putting efforts for developing such niche program with a different framework. Yet, reservation of seats for a youth from BPL card holder family by IRMA is a nice move. I heavily appreciate this progressive step. Way to go !

6th February - Quiz in IRV ; I was selected in the new XSYS Team that is the Systems Association of XIMB. That is a good progress happening slowly in mine professional life.

There is much beyond classroom to learn. The attitude of Spoon-feeding knowledge has killed the spirit of questioning and search for the solutions. Its hard to get the spirit of questioning in the last stages of your academic career.

7th February - ADM end term exam was there and hence it led to the official end of the 2nd trimester today. I missed two classes of REPP and RIM for the exam. It was a low point of my post-graduation academic session. There was huge and open discussion on the caste system with referring to an EPW article : An Obituary on Caste as a System by M N Srinivas. The changing social dynamics of India throughout centuries was well documented in this. Yet, the article misses to say much about caste system in Islam and Christianity of the converted community.

Mr. Sandeep Rajan and Mr. Harihar Dubey of PGDM(RM) 2010-12 batch have won the Earthian Awards 2011-12 declared by WIPRO.

8th February - I heard the name of Harsh Mandar who is a bureaucrat turned activist in UDO lecture. This was the last class of IRV. Prof summarized the class with anecdotes of his life and a nice video giving message to live simply.

Life is like Coffee

9th February - "What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over ― Aleister Crowley". Robert Chambers points out different type of biases that a rural manager should be minimizing. Its often true that we convert our developmental intervention as rural development tourism. In 1983, six biases of such visits : spatial, project, person, seasonal diplomatic and professional - against seeing, meeting and learning from the poor people were identified and described. In 2008, the seventh bias of security was added and all these biases continue to reinforce popular wrong perceptions.

There is Ganesh Devy and Mahashweta Devi who are working for tribal languages unknown to most of us. While they are unheard by most of us, we tend to read more Dickens than Mahashweta Devi to understand our own backyard. I was lucky to get a TED talk by G N Devy. Professor Ganesh Devy talks about how languages evolve. And how local Indian languages are dying, taking with them a treasure of historical knowledge and wisdom.

RIM: I learned about Distribution strategies and tactics of rural market. Companies are reviewing the rural marketing concept and trying to outreach rural market with NGO's and SHG other than the channel partners. There was discussion on SHG. The average life of SHG is 39 months as per a study (No reference document available).

There was a video shown on Project Shakti of HUL. HUL collaborate with self-help groups and non-governmental organizations to identify underprivileged women and train them to be saleswomen.

Film on Project Shakti

Congratulations to Suma Pratyusha and Sreevidya Gowda of RM-1 batch for finishing at Silver Level in the Acara Challenge 2012 organized by the University of Minnesota. Kudos to them !

10th February - It was the last day of National CSR Conference. Only lecture of REPP was possible with Joseph C Kumarappa. Economy of Permanence is a famous book written by him. Unfortunately the book is out of print but was downloaded and supplied to the whole batch by GB. [Download PDF Version]

11th February - There is case discussion in BIS over CCD. The approach to teach BIS completely through case studies is quite strange with most of the public coming from agriculture and commerce background. As they have consider BIS a technical subject with unheard jargon.

Guest Lecture by Biju Dominic

Biju Dominic is an alumnus of XIMB. He is currently CEO of FinalMile Consulting. . He mostly focused his talks om behaviour architecture- changing human behaviour with the help of Cognitive Neurology and Behavioural Economics. He talked a lot about solving macro level problems with micro- management.

- The genuine question raised by him was - Does Brain take a shortcut ?

- Indian politician is a person to learn man- management.He gave various example from Kerala to US Presidential elections to prove his claims.

- Sucking out of money phenomenon. This is happening to the big farmers at Noida and Gurgaon who had became suddenly rich with the higher prices of the real estate. The habit of austerity has given place to mindless consumerism. And they consume most of their money within few years, and never make a substantial investment . It has lot of do with irrational nature of the human beings that neo-liberal economics fail to explain.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

34th Week@XIMB

34th Week- 29th January to 4th February, 2012

29th January - The whole day passed in the train journey back to the college. I was retrospecting about my career shaping at XIMB. It was the right question that led Atanu Dey to a different career. His question: “Why is India poor?”. Asking the right question can make all the difference. Critical thinking is the most effective approach towards learning and self discovery. I have initiated that process 3 year ago with the series of failures and wrong choices. We all know that streak of losses can be self-perpetuating. And one start to wonder where that elusive win will come from. One start blaming luck and all other external factors. One start hating the crowds and find oneself in that rut but until, one starts to win/gain even a small achievement. I am feeling confident with good academic record and grasping of the subjects in the rural management program. Atleast now, I am asking the right questions.

30th January - IRV assignment and UDO quiz welcomed me in the morning. Break even point analysis came handy while studying capacity strategy in OM class. For any profit and non profit organization, the cost effectiveness and efficiency in operational planning is must for achieving the suitable outcome. We learnt about the theory of constraints (TOC) that adopts the common idiom "A chain is no stronger than its weakest link" as a new management paradigm.

There was lecture in IRV on basic concept of design of market and valuation of assets. There was further heavy discussion on Law of one priceInformation Asymmetry, Gambling and Legitimate Risk. The regulatory behaviour of market led me thinking into the zone of US model of laissez-faire and the European model of deficit-driven welfare states. There is always need for the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. Also, the tax imposed on the companies should not led us back into the license-raj era since welfare state depands on how much taxpayers are willing to pay for them. Present day recession is caused by too-big-to-fail banks and big cartels that could have been averted by stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system.

31st January - I learned in MR class that consumption pattern depends on occupation, education, values and socialization of the household. While during socio-economic surveys in urban areas, there is comparison through education-occupation matrix, the rural areas are compared by type of house and education. We didn't take income in survey as that is difficult to gather due to the privacy reason and may be seasonal in the nature. The occupation otherwise is more stable form of variable.

Professor at BIS lecture presented Cisco Telepresence Magic to show the future of the technology.

There is lot of positive thing that can be done by technology in the area of health care and education. As we are finding Aravind (India) or Narayana Hrudayalaya (India) using the latest medical technology for serving poor. I am more cautious with the approach. As higher technological innovation comes with patent and research cost leading to the monopoly of the producer company.

Heard first time about NCAER socio-economic survey, Thompson Rural Market Index and MICA rural market ratings.

1st February - While learning about Institutional Capacity Assessment and Organisational Diagnosis in UDO lecture, I came across Weisbord, Marvin R. Six box diagnostic model and McKinsey 7S Framework.

The symptom of undeveloped district in India can be easily seen through credit deposit ratio of the bank. It is same like checking cash inflow /outflow in the company. Micro Planning lectures are good and must be put forward in our civics books from 10th onward.

SEC elections were held in the night. They were full of candidates with inflated promises and flattery. How defenseless we are in the face of flattery! I was viewing the whole election as market segmenting, art of choosing and irrational nature of targeted consumers. The networking, deceit, lies and articulating speeches were making it look like a sop opera. It all lasted more than six hours. Speaking about the candidates : Flamboyancy created a mass following but also reduces the credibility with a poorer image. In the time of goodwill, erosion of credibility and intentions into question, no individual, company or NGDO can survive.

I will paraphrase here about “state of nature” and social contract. Any human condition absent from any political order, usually termed the “state of nature”. In this condition, individuals' actions are bound only by their personal power and conscience. Then, individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept corresponding duties to protect themselves and one another from violence and other kinds of harm. From this shared starting point, social contract theorists seek to demonstrate, in different ways, why a rational individual would voluntarily give up his or her natural freedom to obtain the benefits of political order.In our democratic political order at college level, it is necessary to qurantine the early intruders (unworthy candidates) in bud. Otherwise the well-meaning and merited representatives will be kicked out by these intruders either personally or by proxy depending on the nature of appointment or election. That is the summary !

2nd February - In CMIB, there was discussion on case study between the two approaches of development : facilitator or advocate what's the difference ? We again encountered the terms like 'critical thinking', 'paternalism' and 'sustainable development'.

Cavinkare Private Limited - Serving Low Income Consumers: The case discussed in RIM lecture highlights the understanding for rural market and innovations needed for the successful tapping of opportunities present in the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) markets. The Lessons :

1- A regional brand with the good market research and iinovation can beat MNC's in its backyard easily. Good example : Ghari moves out Wheel to be No 1 in laundry market.

2- Multi-attribute segmentation is key to the successful business. Tapping of economic activity clusters like Haats and Melas show the quick feet thinking of Cavin Kare. More about Marketing of Chik BY C K Ranganathan

3- FMCG companies like Perfetti with the brand like Alpenliebe represent the operational efficiency and low margin-high volumes segment.

The block launches of MAXINATIONS started in the night with the event 'Last Manager Standing' in which GR2 was clear winner.

3rd February - Paul C Mueller of US Consulate delivered a talk today. It revolved around New Silk Road strategy proposed under Hilary Clinton. They also talked about bilateral trade and investment in the infrastructure for longer terms with lower interest rates. I participated as audience of GR2 in the quizzing event of Maxinations.

4th February - Classes were cancelled at the last moments. I was busy in assignments. An important thing done was to vote in Pagal Guy Ranking 2012. An aspiring student should have more information with the higher level of transparency and competence provided by rating agency. Yet I don't have high regard for the Ranking and Admission criteria used by any magazines like Outlook or India-today. There sample population is very low and the process is not much transparent. They may be influenced by external factors like financial sponsorship. But most of the B Schools or Engineering colleges have a conviction based on a pervasive cult of their superiority which cannot be reasoned with. Colleges use the ranking system whatever shows them in good public light. Access to quality education for a student depends not just on availaibility and affordability, but also on the information gap between aspiring students.


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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !


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