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Archive for the ‘ISB’ Category

ISB confirms its presence in the BIG League!

Posted by Girish Krishnan on January 28, 2008

I was delighted to find a mail from our Dean Dr Rammohan Rao telling us alumni that the latest list of the 100 top Global MBAs in the world released by The Financial Times today ranks ISB at Twenty (20), making it perhaps the youngest institution ever to be ranked among the top business schools in the world. The fact that ISB has been ranked 20th in the first time it participated in rankings is truly commendable. Check out this link –


This is a great news for our country that we have a prestigious institution that is considered among the truly elite class of B-schools of this world. It is important to nurture ISB’s reputation and make sure that going forward the government and politicians don’t do anything silly and ruin all the hard work put into achieving this laurel. We should also track the fast track development of ISB as a world class institution and try to emulate the success in the case of other educational institutes.

Posted in ISB, MBA Info-Sources, Work Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Wiki Video at Tera Mera Idea

Posted by Girish Krishnan on December 26, 2007

Check out this site –

Its an effort by some of us to create a collaborative video leveraging technology to enable distributed development of creative work. A perfect example of the amazing turns that life takes, our video creation spurred another set of creative individuals to come out with a rock band called “Musafir” ( They recorded a beautiful song called “Nishani” for our video and now are in the road to achieve far greater successes!

Posted in Art and Entertainment, ISB, MBA Info-Sources, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Key to being a successful B-schooler!

Posted by Girish Krishnan on August 6, 2006

Had a good time today – went back to my B-school, issued a couple of new books from the library, had a good game of basket ball, nice chit chat with some friends and dinner with an old pal of mine (whom I envy a lot for being able to stick around at the school for a longer period than I could manage :-)). Once again, saw the usual B-school market segmentation consisting of the sloggers, chilled out folks, enlightened ones etc.

 We might find a strong correlation here (though not a causation) with this segmented behavior of B-schoolers and the amount of introspection/thought they have put into their own careers, The key to succeeding (whatever that means in a relative sense) in B-school is “focus”. It might sound harsh but in simple terms if you don’t have “focus”, you are out of the creamy layer! My advice to all MBA aspirants/students is to take time, decide on what they want to do in life and have clarity of how to achieve it – That part is the toughest, and once it falls in place, the going gets much easier!

 For me the best thing about being in Hyderabad is the presence of my alma mater. It feels awesome to return to this vibrant temple of knowledge and get nostalgic walking along the familiar corridors. More importantly, I get to use the resources of the world class library which I had ignored when I was actually studying here. Not that I undermined the resources available, but it’s slowly dawning to me that an ISBian ought to have this one higher in priority among the zillion things he/she does during the intense program at ISB.

Posted in B-School Diary, ISB, Work Life | 4 Comments »

This email message reached me too…

Posted by Girish Krishnan on June 19, 2006

and i consider that a privilege!

The day i draft such an email, i would feel accomplished,The day i write like steinbeck, i would feel divinity!

I am reproducing the contents of the parting email sent by Dr Krishnakumar who taught us economics at ISB.

dear students:i’ve really enjoyed teaching the second half of global economics, and meeting you all inside and outside the classroom. thanks so much for your enthusiasm and for your kindness — today, the last day of classes, and on other days. i am deeply touched.
Economics, like real life, has its share of ambiguities, fuzziness, and dead-ends. but as john steinbeck wrote in his beautiful novel, “sweet thursday,” “…the clarifying leap springs from the rich soil of confusion, and the leaper is not unfamiliar with pain.” what i or anyone else can hope do in a short time is only rake this soil. the leap is yours to make. be bold. be irreverent. shift those graphs. good luck.


Posted in B-School Diary, ISB | Leave a Comment »

Notes from Marketing Gurus – Customer Centricity

Posted by Girish Krishnan on June 18, 2006

This post is taken from my notes taken on August 14th, 2006 at ISB

— The Principle of Refrigerator – Students who do their MBA from a cool place (Kellog's) would stay fesh for a long time as compared to other places!! – Dipak Jain

This is from a talk by Professor Dipak Jain who is the current dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Pennsylvania.Dean Jain received his B.S. in 1976 for Mathematics and Statistics, and his M.S. in 1978 for Mathematical Statistics from Gauhati University, India. He received his M.S. in 1986 for Management Science and his Ph.D. in 1987 for Marketing from University of Texas. He joined the Kellogg school in 1987 teaching Marketing research and became the Dean in 2001, which is a phenomenal achivement that every Indian can be proud of.

He talked about Customer Centricity in Marketing which is nothing but the customer making informed choices. Today's customer is more informed than his predecessors and companies need to really get this into their brains. Try sending a package through Fed Ex Standard(before the clearing time) which costs $9. It makes it to the destination at the same time (before 10am the next day)as a the FedEx Priority services which costs $13. The reason is that it is not a efficient thing for operations to treat packages from the two services differently. Eventhough some people understand this caveat, the Priority Services enjoy a huge customer base from big knowledge companies like the Mckinseys, the ATKearneys etc. The crux here lies here in the fact the customer feels happy that he is treated as a priority customer and Fed Ex exploits on this!! There is also the underlying fact that the customer can get a better value from the markets if he receives the mail before 10am.When someone guarantees this for you, you sense a value add. The big question is that when products and services become same globally, as it is happening right now, how could we think of creating differentiation?

The Market Response Strategy could consist of Redefining the Market, Resegmenting the Market and creating the Sandwich effect. Thumb rules which could be applied here include the fact that customers don't switch unless there is more than a 15-25% difference in price and we could easily charge a 5-10% extra than our competitors. We are our own biggest competitors and if we can get the customer to pay more for what we offer, we would be better off. Its also time to define businesses in terms of metrics which point towards the successful performance of customers. This would reflect on the true value add we are giving to the customer. For FedEx this would read something like "We help you plan your day better"!!. Any company needs to focus on the customer resources and satisfy their needs in terms of managing the time of their resources better.

"Price is transparent but value is opaque". How do we create a Sandwich? We should move in the direction of our strength or towards the "Core value proposition". As it is always better that we cannibalize our own product than leaving it for others to gobble up, try to modify our current product as the other alternative. Remember that the most difficult part in any business is to get a customer (read acquisition costs vs retention costs).

The whole concept can be explained with the stories of war between Fed Ex and USPS. FedEx improved on all the three dimensions of service (Speed,Reliablity,Quality) when they came out with a flat rate service ($12 to anywhere in US). A shocked USPS responded with the Express Mail for $8.95. Before any substantial effect could happen, Fed Ex split its services – Standard (@ $9.00) and Priority (@ $13.00) and then imposed a killer blow with giving Tracking facility to its customers. Two effects happened because of this..Fed Ex's own $12 customers upgraded to the $13 service and USPS's express customers also migrated to FedEx standard.The surprising end to the whole episode happened when USPS outsourced its Express Service to Fed Ex and sold off all its planes retaining just two of them. Further more they came up with a 2 lbs @ $2.35(?) service which served a different target segment altogether. Here also, people scaled up just like they did in the case of Fed Ex. There is full consolidation in the postal business with both players catering to different segments and the bond is visible in the form of a Fed Ex drop box in each US post office!!.

Professor Jain suggests that a Mindset shift in marketing is happening with the movement of the Product/Service mentality to a Total Customer Experience and the rechristening of Product Life Cycle as a Customer Life Cycle. To help in making this transition,it will be useful to think of the transition of Knowledge from Data to Information to Insights. Another way of looking at this definition is to view the Outcome as the sight and the process which led to that outcome as the insight.

Future predictions by Professor Jain

  • Industries which will do extremely well in the next ten years will be in the business of
    • Customer Well Being (Healthcare and wealthcare)
    • Customer Engagement (Media and Entertainment)
    • Customer Hospitality (Tourism,Restuarent)
  • Airline Industry in India will consolidate..Problems for airlines in US likely to happen here also
  • More ROMEO model businesses (ROMEO – Retired Old Men Eating Out — Restuarents have a fast food counter as well as a sit in)
  • Next move for Fed Exs of the world is to get the package delivered before 5 am — to give the customer an advantage to do global businesses.

Read "Freakonomics" … why did the crime rate in US come down in the ninetees?

Posted in ISB, Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Tips to an entrepreneur

Posted by Girish Krishnan on June 18, 2006

This post is taken from the notes made by me on August 13th, 2005

— Not all those who wander are lost: Tolkien 

Being in the premier business school of our country for the last four months has given me the chance to hear a lot of good speakers.Akin to companies, there are good and great in this field also. Manish Saberwal falls into the second league. I didn't quite believe it when our PAEV (which stands for Planning An Entrepreneurial Venture) professor Dr Ramachandran said he was a great speaker. The feeling didn't kick in even during the first 10mins of the speech. But it did'nt take long before i was hooked on completely, and what a strong one that was!!

Manish is a pragmatic guy and that reflects in his speech. What makes it better is that he is flashy too; his speech has a lot of seasoning which everyone in this part of the world like! Manish started his professional career in 1990 with the Nagarjuna Group. He went to Wharton to do his MBA in 1994 and had a clear cut vision to make an entrepreneurial entry into the insurance sector in India. During his summer break, he came back to India and visited 15 cities as part of his investigations on whether his Insurance venture was feasible or not. In 1996 India Life was born. From pension/ asset management it went into provident fund administration to payroll administration to offering full-scale HR outsourcing services. In between, it had raised VC funding from VIEW Group. Got into a JV with Hewitt (to form India LIfe-Hewitt) in 2000 and later, Hewitt bought out 100% equity. Manish is now in the process of stabilizing and growing Team Lease to be the largest private sector employer in the country!!!!!!

As our professor rightly said, there are not many entrepreneurs who are successful every time they start a venture..Manish seems to be among the very few who got it right the second time also.

Here's what i found interesting in his talk:

  • Myth of starting from scratch; Einstein
    Key is not in discovering new lands but seeing with new eyes
  • Focus on big opportunities; same energy for 10 cr or 100 cr
    Biggest danger is not aiming too high and missing
  • God is not on the side of the biggest armies but the best shots
    If she’s on the other side, think again
  •  Money;  Raise as little as you can, as late as you can
     Team;  As good, as early as you can
  • Myth of individual hero; entrepreneurship is team sport
    Can’t fire a missile from a canoe
    Don’t Need; impulsiveness, charisma, operating experience, flamboyance, intelligence, or money
    Need; team, optimism, and courage 
  • Commitment sets into motion forces you cannot and need not understand
    Hernando Cortez; burn boats
    Boldness has power, magic and genius
  • To form a Team
    You have to kiss many frogs before you find the prince
    Get some grey hair also in the team, Give equity, P&L responsibilities

Controversial Lessons:

  • Perspiration can only take you so far; Inspiration.
    More cooks or Better recipe?
  • Uncertainty is what makes journeys meaningful; Maktub
  • Some problems cannot be solved but must be survived
  • Human Beings are irrational and imperfect; cracked vessel
    Fear, greed, ignorance, bounded rationality, aversion to change, etc
  • Power of timing; Auspicious moment? — I believe it is true!
  • Power of fidayeen — It works
  • The only thing worse than being wrong is being confused; Mask of Command


  • Hang out with smart people who dream big
    Athletes call “fast field”
    Walk with a cripple for a year and you will start limping; Bertoldo
  • Indian Family Businesses – Sexually transmitted CEOship vs. self destruct
  • Best bet is hybrid; Bisexual gets a date more easily!!!
  • DNA Authoring – Go for a Baby and not a Dwarf when you envisage a company
  • Confluence of ethical and practical
    100/0 are bad odds; Playing to win is not playing dirty
    Softest pillow is a clear conscience (When in Rome, don’t do as Romans do)
  • Remember- Anybody can be lucky or unlucky; being unprepared is unforgivable
    Good judgment comes from experience
  • What we teach and what you need to learn
    The hardest part is “the beginning of work”

 An overwhelming applause at the end of it all doesnt do as much justice to the speech as anyone would expect. I guess somebody putting some of these pearls into action would clear the debt we have towards thanking this great speaker. As he concluded…"Good Luck and Godspeed"..

Posted in Entreprenuership, ISB | 2 Comments »

Pre-Graduation Trauma

Posted by Girish Krishnan on April 10, 2006

This is one honest confession that me, the author of this blog is making now. I was under depression for a couple of days before graduation! My “extra-long duration” sleep cells were over come by nostalgia and the living creature in me desisted from sleeping as much as possible. My parents were supposed to be here on 6th evening and even that thought didnt help. After sometime many of my friends (who had yet not slipped into this particular mode) started noticing the extra “brood” length of my already long face and started that horrible sympathy wave, which though essential is unwelcome to one’s manliness.

Getting over this pre graduation trauma was tough, especially because the bondings that you have in a B school are a bit more special than the ones you create at your school or undergrad time. Here are people with similar business focus, having fundamental knowledge about various things, more mature and returning to college after few years of work. The result is that most likely you will find definite wavelength matching with many of them, and of course, the makes life tougher for you towards the end irrespective of your previous seperation experiences.

How do you get over it? I dont know if i can generalize this, but i have kind of got over it now and the way to do this is to keep hanging out with ur friends. For the last one month i have been going out for dinner with my pals almost every day and daily hope that the fun keeps going on. Playing helps a lot, the volley ball marathons in ISB start at 10 in the night and continue till 2 or 3am, beyond which also sleeping is tough! Sprains and muscle pains are forgotten during those intensive Baskey matches in the midnight – gosh, I love my team so much, and this is one thing i am going to miss for the rest of my life.

Once the clock hits 2, its time for some movie or comedy or similar crap -you stare at those till you fall asleep. The day dawns early for you, and you run to the breakfast hall to be able to get someone to chat with you. The saga continues throughout the day and you end up being in the main building area most of the time, catching up with your friends and trying to savour as much of the remaining moments in this school as possible! Guess the advice is pretty ineffective as you can already see the depression taking over me at the end of each activity! – the only way to get through it is to go through it – sometimes sadness is cured by being sad…..

Posted in B-School Diary, ISB | Leave a Comment »

The weird term 8

Posted by Girish Krishnan on March 16, 2006

It is a weird feeling that is going through me this term. First is of course, the laziness to go to work again – my pop is not a millionaire and he doesnt have tea estates or industries which i can look after – which means i need to work to earn a living. The life at ISB is an awesome rollercoaster ride and it is so luxurious for a middle class person that u get a shock whenever u get out of campus. Speaking of going out, my quaddie “The C dog” took us for a party today to a place called Seventh Heaven in the city. Its a pretty cool place to dine, the ambience is pretty good. We stuffed ourselves with weird curries (as usual trying out aboriginal names in the menu card when someone else is paying !!).

Ok, again i am deviating from the main topic, which was weirdness..hmmm – i am trying to visualize something of me that is 45 years old and i am not able to draw that picture. Not sure if that is because things are changing very fast nowadays and so are careers..No one can be sure what will happen in the future. But the fact i am unable to extrapolate the current situation to the future and come out with a rough measure of “mera kya hoga kaliya”, troubles me big time!

The weirdness is also because of the ISB public – No one seems to be knowing the perfect way to spend the last term. There is so much of emotional confusion that we havent charted out this terms’ modus operandi. In a one year course, the bondage between people becomes really strong because u r together in an environment of pressure. Another reason is that u find people of the right wavelength, and the connections are better than in an undergrad situation where we are less mature. Well, whatever may be the underlying reasons, the weirdness remains. It will last for another 20 days, and beyond that i can only hope that i am able to stay in touch with all these special people who are called ISB-ians!!

Posted in B-School Diary, ISB | 3 Comments »

Moving to the battleground

Posted by Girish Krishnan on March 1, 2006

Time is running out, the training camp is coming to an end..Soon we shall be left free in the battleground. The fitter would survive, the rest wont. It is indeed a restless feeling when u know that you would have to fight it out at ur job, but currently have to play the patience game till u get out of college. Please dont think that i am too eager to work myself. Its been an exciting vacation at ISB and it is extremely tough to get back to work again. We have all been pampered to the maximum and the first few months of work is going to be rehabilitation time 🙂

Posted in B-School Diary, ISB | Leave a Comment »

Special People

Posted by Girish Krishnan on February 24, 2006

A small milestone along the long winding road; being agnostic about achievements is probably my greatest differentiator. I felt nothing great when i got my first job – my neurons just repeated the feelings this time around. God knows how many people will stick to the first job, last year’s attrition rate was pretty high.

Pardon me if i sound a bit too philosophical, but that is how i am. I got to see many intelligent beings going through the hills and valleys of pulsating human psyche. But there were a few unruffled souls in whom i saw the spark of brilliance shielded by a sea of calm. I know i could have got tense had my placement got delayed, but not these guys…They are extremely confident about themselves and dont mind waiting for the right job. Being able to counter the high placement stress, peer pressure etc with patience and self confidence is no mean deal and i am sure that these champs will do great things in life. I wish them all the very best!!

Posted in B-School Diary, ISB | 2 Comments »