Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Global Brain - Satish Nambisan (XL '89)

Dear XL folks:

My new book on network-centric innovation has just come out:

The Global Brain: Your Roadmap for Innovating Faster & Smarter in a Networked World (Wharton School Publishing, 2007) (coauthor Mohan Sawhney, Kellogg School)

Sample book endorsements:

"This is a very important book on a very important topic by two of the world's foremost authorities in innovation. It bears the hallmark of great business writing. The authors do not sell a one-size fits-all prescription for every company's innovation problems. Rather, they offer different roadmaps that can be tailored to each company's situation. This is what makes their work so broadly useful." - Clayton M. Christensen, Robert & Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“Applied Innovation is what creates value in organizations; it’s just very hard to do it. Nambisan and Sawhney have written a book that constructs a truly effective bridge between network driven innovation and its application. A refreshing look at Innovation and its practice. Useful for every business leader who is perplexed at the thought of actually ‘getting Innovation done.’” - Azim Premji, Chairman and CEO, WIPRO Technologies

More details about the book are at: and also at

Best regards,
Satish (XL, ’89)


Satish Nambisan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Technology Management & Strategy

Lally School of Management & Technology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Troy, NY 12180

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Want to halt attrition? Go to XLRI

From Business Standard

XLRI Jamshedpur, School of Business and Human Resources, has drawn up a number of courses this financial year for companies to help combat attrition rate across industries.

These are expected to help managers and senior-level executives, especially HR personnel and team-leaders, to understand ways to retain employees and manage teams effectively.

Beginning November this year, a series of courses at XLRI will train managers in manpower planning, recruitment and selection, performance, career and succession management, managing and coping with the trauma associated with mergers and acquisitions, technological change, training, development and redeployment problems, retention and motivation strategies, empowerment and team-building, redundancy and downsising.

According to XLRI officials, the success of managerial efforts largely depend on the executives’ ability to develop and sustain team-spirit among the people under his or her care, both as a team member as well as a team leader.

The interpersonal skills for building and working in teams, and for managing conflicts, become essential prerequisites for managers as team leaders.

The new courses are therefore designed to help participants learn how to manage their own styles and orientations, while influencing others as leaders in their teams.

The courses will also help to understand the dynamics of peoples’ interaction within team members and to develop skills for working with others and leading teams.

Moreover, with the rapid growth of information technology , information systems has evolved to become the core of many organisations’ competitive strategies.

According to XLRI, the Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) capitalises on the synergy between the two precious assets, human resources and IT.

So, specialists and generalists in the area of human resources are required to develop and improve their information system competencies in order to add strategic value to their organisations.

The new set of courses are also designed to improve the participant’s understanding of technology and tools, the people who work with it, and their role in organisational performance.

The courses will impart training in evaluating, selecting and planning an appropriate human resources information system, re-engineering human resources for HRIS, the human resources processes of SAP HR, emerging trends in HRIS that involve networking, the internet, the intranet, as well as internet recruiting, privacy, security and employee self-service.

The courses will cost between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000. The duration of these programmes will range from two days to one month, depending upon the variety, magnitude and complexity of the topics covered.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dr Anand Jaiswal (06FPM) on BOP (

Guest Post: Anand K. Jaiswal on the Role of Small and Medium Enterprises

Submitted by Rob Katz on October 22, 2007 - 11:04.

Guest blogger Dr. Anand Kumar Jaiswal is a faculty in marketing area at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, India. He received his Ph.D. from XLRI Jamshedpur. His research interests include business strategies for low-income markets, sustainable development, services management and business-to-consumer e-commerce. He has published articles in refereed journals, besides several presentations at research conferences. His latest paper, Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: An Alternate Perspective, was featured on here.

By Professor Anand Kumar Jaiswal

Prahalad’s argument is that MNCs should play a proactive and important role in tapping "base of the pyramid" (BOP) markets. However, most initiatives catering to the needs of BOP customers have come from local entrepreneurs and SMEs. In India, participation of MNCs in BOP markets is mostly limited to products such as fast moving consumer products that are technologically less sophisticated. SMEs have shown better record in understanding the needs of BOP customers and fulfilling them effectively.

Micro finance is one area where local organizations in developing countries have been far more successful in reaching out to BOP customers. Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and organizations such as BASIX and nationalized banks in India have been instrumental in making micro credit an effective tool for fight against poverty. MNCs participation in micro finance in developing countries has been minimal.

BOP markets pose a different kind of challenge to multinationals. For example, in India rural markets are spread over 600,000 villages. About 82 percent of the rural population lives in villages with a population less than 5,000 (Swamy, 1999). Reaching out to this population is not easy, given the poor physical infrastructure. Large areas are not connected with roadways. The thin dispersal of rural markets poses serious challenges in terms of logistics, product shipment, delivery of stocks and reaching out to retailers. Lack of communication network and power unavailability are common (Venugopal, 2002). Further, because of low purchasing power, BOP customers buy lower volume of products on each purchase occasion, pay a lower price and consume smaller quantities on a per capita basis and hence transaction cost is much higher. These factors make it difficult for MNCs to achieve manufacturing and distribution efficiencies through increase in product volume. The high cost structure of MNC operations compounds the problems in BOP markets.

In general, SMEs are better placed than MNCs in serving BOP customers owing to their low overheads and small scale of operation. In fact SME involvement is more feasible and desirable. SMEs play a crucial role in economic development. They contribute towards large scale employment generation. Recent research has shown that in countries like India and China SMEs are leading the economic growth and development. It is estimated that in 2002, SMEs contributed about 60 percent of industrial output in China. Further, they provide employment to 75 percent of urban workforce (Economic Times, 2006). With focus on bottom line, MNCs prefer lean organizations with minimum workforce. As Prahalad himself has admitted not even 1 percent of the world population is employed by MNCs (Prahalad and Hart, 2002, p.10). This indicates that the contribution of MNCs in generating employment opportunities is marginal. Strong presence of SMEs has other advantages too. As they are more close to markets and have greater understanding of consumers, SMEs are often far more innovative in developing products suitable for BOP consumers despite resource constraints and lack of advance technology. They have been proved to be better in preserving local culture and often are more sensitive to environmental and ecological considerations.

Whether MNCs can cater to BOP markets in a similar way like SMEs is an important question. It is well accepted that performance of SMEs and local firms suffer as a result of the growing presence of MNCs owing to factors such as MNCs’ initial lower local content of inputs, their siphoning off local demand and their capacity to attract and recruit superior workforce by offering better pay packages (Aitken and Harrison, 1999, quoted in World Bank, 2002). MNCs’ dominance of BOP markets may result in weakening and possible closures of SMEs, the impact of which on employment opportunities and livelihood for low income communities can easily be predicted.

Role of Government and Social Organizations:

Though Prahalad has argued for BOP initiatives by the private sector, it is unlikely that the private sector alone can solve all the problems of BOP population. One should not ignore the role of government. The governments have critical role in creating system and regulatory framework for meaningful engagement by the private sector in the BOP markets. In areas like education and healthcare, government and private sector can complement each other. Through public sector banks in India government has provided banking services in remote rural areas where private sector organizations were reluctant to go. NGOs, not-for-profit and other types of social service organizations which are professionally managed and are operationally efficient can contribute in serving BOP population. Unlike large corporations, for these organizations profits serve as a means for sustenance, they do not have to continuously please shareholders and hence can play an important role in touching the lives of billions of the poor.

  1. Aitken, B and Harrison, A (1999). “Do Domestic Firms Benefit from Foreign Direct Investment? Evidence from Venezuela,” American Economic Review, 89 (3), 605-618.
  2. Economic Times (2006). “Start-Ups Propel India, China Growth,” December 7, 2.Swamy R K (1999).
  3. “Guide to Market Planning,” R K Swamy / BBDO Advertising Ltd.
  4. Venugopal, Pingali (2002). “Accessing rural markets,” Unpublished paper, XLRI Jamshedpur: 1-43.
  5. World Bank Policy Research Report (2002). “Globalization, Growth and Poverty - Builiding an Inclusive World Economy,” A co-publication of the World Bank and Oxford University Press, January.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

XL alum Lokesh Jindal (BM 92) in the news

BM 92 alumnus Lokesh Jindal was mentioned in our local Bay Area 'India West' newspaper yesterday in connection with the opening of a new CA dev center in Andhra Pradesh. Lokesh was part of our California alumni group (& attended one of the last well-attended picnics we had, back in 2002) before he moved to CA's HQ in New York. Looks like he is now in India & is heading this unit.

CA Launches State-of-the-Art Technology Center in Hyderabad, India

HYDERABAD, India & ISLANDIA, N.Y., Oct 17, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) --
CA (NYSE: CA) today announced the official opening of its India Technology Center (ITC) in Hyderabad at a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by CA President and CEO John Swainson.

The state-of-the-art campus, which cost US$30 million to build, reflects the substantial investment CA has made in staffing the ITC's research and development operations and sales departments. CA's workforce in India now exceeds 1,600. The ITC team will take a lead role in advancing CA's Enterprise IT Management (EITM) vision of unifying and simplifying IT management.

"The ITC underscores CA's commitment to India, both as a source of an exceptionally high-quality workforce with expertise across the full range of leading-edge IT disciplines and as a rapidly growing and dynamic IT market," said Swainson. "India is now home to nearly 30 percent of our global R&D staff - further demonstrating the importance of our operations here in our overall business strategy."

Led by senior vice president and general manager Lokesh Jindal, ITC software engineers will work on multiple high-profile CA product lines that will help customers govern, manage and secure IT more effectively and cost-efficiently - enabling them to adapt dynamically to changing business demands and optimize returns on their technology investments. The ITC team will also work closely with a number of India's top-tier systems integrators to help them with both their in-house IT needs and those of private and public sector customers around the world.

Jindal, who is also a member of CA's global Senior Leadership Team, is responsible for strategic leadership of the ITC and oversight of all major business functions, including product development and management, human resources, facilities and finance. Before taking on the role, Jindal was vice president of product management and strategy for CA's Business Service Optimization business unit. Prior to joining the Company in 2002, Jindal was a principal with the McKenna Group, a leading technology market strategy firm. Earlier, he worked as an entrepreneur in consumer marketing and people development and as a regional marketing manager for HCL Hewlett- Packard.

Built in the Nanakramguda Village area of the Serilingampally Municipality, the ITC is a leading-edge, 260,672 square-foot (79,452 square meters) IT facility that includes recreational facilities, a cafeteria and a 600-seat amphitheater.

Thanks Tipu for this info.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nokia organizes workshop at XLRI


MAXI, the Marketing Association of XLRI, conducted a workshop “Beyond Voice: A Sales and Distribution” in association with the world’s leading mobile phone supplier, Nokia for the students on 13th October, 2007. The workshop was conducted by Senior Executives in Product Development and Channel Development from Nokia. The team from Nokia consisted of Vivek Shah, Associate Product Marketing Manager; Saurabh Prasad, Channel Development Specialist; Vishal, Sales Manager for Bihar & Jharkhand Region and Ms. Anjana Chiramel, HR Trainee and an alumna of XLRI.

The workshop was meant to provide the young budding managers an understanding of the key concepts of Sales and Distribution and innovative solutions that drive the demand for a product in today’s competitive market. The workshop started with the Nokia executives speaking about the shifting focus towards the need for good distribution networks, followed by a discussion on the strategies adopted by Nokia India during the period 2003-2007 which saw its market volume increase tenfold. This was followed by the Nokia Team enlightening the students with various strategies that are employed by them. An insight into market segmentation done by Nokia on its customers was also presented to the students to gain a better appreciation of the STP concepts.

The workshop saw excellent participation from both the senior and junior batches. The participants were very enthusiastic as there were loads of prizes to be won. In addition to more than dozens of coffee mugs and bestseller books given to participants, two students, Hrishikesh Sudhir and Shilpa Rawat, won a spanking new Nokia 7500 Prism mobile handset each. The Nokia panel was extremely impressed with the kind of solutions suggested by them. They concluded by saying that they got some very interesting answers which even the students from the best of IIMs had failed to provide.

The workshop was of immense help to the junior students as it provided them with the necessary insight into Sales & Distribution which would help them in the future.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Joker In The Pack

Looks like our own Mediocre But Arrogant has a companion piece for the IIM way of life - Joker In The Pack written by two recent grads of IIML & IIMB. It is about life in IIMB.

96 BMD- Akshay Hiremath is mentioned on the site as having sent encouraging reviews and helpful information in taking the book to completion. :)

Thanks Tipu for bringing this book & Akshay's role in it, to our attention. :)

From the synopsis:
At IIMB, though, Shekhar faces a huge culture shock. While he had felt he had done enough by just making it to IIMB, he realizes that the fight had just begun. Within a week of attending hectic sessions in the day and dancing to the whims of mean seniors intent on ragging, Shekhar begins to question his ability to cope and whether the money that came after a life like this would ever be enough to make him happy.

He gets exposed to the various colorful personalities that make up life at IIMB - the dreaded Placecom headed by Crazy Panther, loud Northie Lafanders obsessed with booze and pornography, mild mannered Dosa Dudes, finance oriented Marwaris and wise Daddus. He also comes across Geniuses, Page 3s, and also Fighters like himself - people akin to wild card entrants in a grand slam who either didn't create any ripples or, ala Goran Ivanisevic, played the last tournament of their lives with all their heart and went on to become grand slam champions forever.

Ideas to IPO: MindTree co-founder tells all at XLRI


On October 10, Mr. N. Krishna Kumar, one of the co-founders of MindTree and currently the President and CEO (IT Services) of MindTree Consulting, visited XLRI to share the story behind the spectacular rise of MindTree.

Mr Kumar had passed out from XLRI in the year 1981. He addressed the gathering on how MindTree had transformed itself from just an idea to a $150 Million dollar public company and the challenges faced by them during its journey.

He spoke about how they had felt that the then existing model of low cost centres was not sustainable in the long run and about their decision to enter into the IT industry based on knowledge and expertise. He emphasised the importance of intellectual property for the success of any company in the services sector. He was disappointed with the fact that even today many of the IT companies were looking at maximising returns out of their low cost advantages which is slowly being eroded. He advised the Indian firms to move to a billing system based on the quality of output produced rather than the existing system based on the number of man hours invested.

He spoke about the current challenges that was being faced by the IT sector and gave tips to the budding managers on how to tackle them. Through many examples and experiences he spoke about the difficulties faced by MindTree during its journey from a start up Services Company to a reputed multinational. He also advised the budding managers to look at problems coming their way as an opportunity to reinvent oneself and come out of their comfort zones.

He also spoke on the challenges being faced by the HR leaders and how it is very important for an organisation to build confidence of its employees. He urged the organizations to convince employees that they would continue to back them in the long run in spite of small mistakes that maybe committed so as to give them freedom to try out new and innovative ideas. He also advised the future leaders to become role models for their employees.

Mr Kumar then had a brief interaction with the students of the one year GMP program. He spoke about the opportunities available for the executive management students from top B-schools and also on how they would fit into MindTree's expansion plans.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How well do you know your alma mater & the city ?

Shanta has finally put us out of our misery and given the answers to the XL Chennai Quiz.

That's it! You've had enough time to think!! The answers follow:

How was the 'R' in XLRI expanded earlier - 'Resources' or 'Relations'?
- Relations

What will be the total tution fee for BMD/PMIR Students joining XLRI in 2008?
- Rs.517,000

What is the PIN code that XLRI is located in?
- 831001

What is the official website of XLRI?

What are the 2 rivers of Jamshedpur?
- Subarnarekha & Khadki

By what name is the Theatre Society at XLRI known?
- Dracula

In which year was the 3 year BME program begun at XLRI?
- 1966

In which district of Jharkhand is Jamshedpur located?
- East Singbhum

Born in Jamshedpur, she went on to become Ms. World in 2000. Who?
- Priyanka Chopra

What is the name of the band that has had such 'hits' as 'GMD' and 'XL ki Kudiyan'?
- Bodhi Tree

After whom are the women's residences at XLRI named?
- Nilima Acharji & Mother Teresa

What was Tatanagar Railway Station earlier known as?
- Kalimati Railway Station

What is the medal given to the best outgoing BMD student called?
- ICI Medal

Which naturalist and author of books such as 'My Family & Other Animals', was born in Jamshedpur?
- Gerald Durrell

Who is the chairman of XLRI's Board of Governors?
- B.Muthuraman

Who was the recipient of the Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial & Social Peace in 2007?
- K.V.Kamath

Who, along with Fr. Quinn Enright, founded XLRI in 1949?
- Fr. Bill Tome

Whose birthday on March 3 is celebrated as Founder's Day?
- Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata

How many electives must a BMD / PMIR student mandatorily take at XLRI?
- Eighteen

The best PMIR student receives the JM Kumarappa Gold Medal. The second best?
- Dean Kamala Mathur Medal

Before being renamed 'Jamshedpur', what was the city known as?
- Sakchi

After whom is the Library at XLRI named?
- Sir Jehangir Ghandy

Which professor from XLRI addressed the UN General Assembly on July 5/6 2007?
- Tata L. Raghuram

What is the name of the train that connects Chennai Central & Tatanagar Junction?
- 3352 Dhanbad Express

XLRI to aid Chhattisgarh in drafting HR policy

From The Business Standard

XLRI to aid Chhattisgarh in drafting HR policy
R Krishna Das / Raipur October 10, 2007

Jamshedpur-based Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) will help Chhattisgarh in drafting a management policy for better utilisation of human resources available in the state.

The department of school education has been assigned the task to prepare the human resources management policy for the state. "The state government will take the help of renowned management institute of Jamshedpur - Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) - to draft the policy," secretary with the school education department Nandkumar said.

The State Institute of Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT) will be the nodal agency to coordinate with XLRI in drafting the policy. XLRI will complete the work in six months and will assign three experts to complete the work within stipulated time, Nandkumar added.

XLRI will first study the present human resources policy and norms of the state government and indicate the present and future requirement of human resources in the state.

The official said the requirement of necessary training to the officials and employees would also be included in the policy. Official sources claimed the state government has taken several measures to develop the states human resources. The state would extend support to small scale and village industries based on agricultural, forest and mineral resources so that they could expand and to add value to produce besides generating additional employment.

The state government was also giving emphasis on vocational and employment-oriented education.

Sources said that the government was reviewing the relevance of the present academic system in the primary schools, exploring use of IT enabled education, contemplating free IT education for poor girls of all categories in secondary and senior secondary schools under the Indira Soochna-Shakti Yojana, and looking at enabling IT education in all secondary and senior secondary schools through private participation on user charge basis for other students.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dracula's Oktoberfest

Hi all,

Dracula conducted a Seniors vs. Juniors lit-fest on campus this last Saturday, Sunday and Monday. We intended this to be some sort of an intellectual Ratanjee for the less physically inclined :) and we were more than pleasantly surprised when the turnout far exceeded our expectations, with the Small Audi getting close to full! (Not a euphemism for "Only Freddie and the participants were there", honest!)

Most of the show was managed by the Junior (Batch of 2009) Drac, and they did a completely outstanding job.

Anyways, the point of this email is to increase hits to the Dracula Blog [ ] by making you folks head on over there and read the entries we received for the Creative Writing contest called "Once Upon A Time...", which had as its theme:

"Here's to alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems!" - Homer Simpson

The winners are indicated in the blog post, and were decided by a (curiously enough) Fin-panel consisting of Profs. Sabyasachi Sengupta and Uday Damodaran. We had initially planned for our very own lit-God Gango to judge the entries, but he was (and still is, incidentally) out of town :-|

Given the encouraging response, we're hoping to make Oktoberfest an annual thing, and hope our junior team, next year, will carry the stellar torch they lit. We might even take it inter-college, logistics permitting! :-) Or does anybody think we should keep it positioned as an "intellectual Ratanjee"..?

Shrikant Narasimhan
XLRI Jamshedpur
BMD 2006-08

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dena Bank funds Social Entrepreneurs at XLRI

Dena Bank funds Social Entrepreneurs at XLRI

Company Brief
Jamshedpur, October 08, 2007

Dena bank has offered to wholly fund a business plan about community health, developed by Debayan Sinha, Rochak Agarwal and Amit Amitabh, second year students at XLRI Jamshedpur. This novel business idea proposed the distribution of packaged health food delivered to corporates in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, etc.

The plan came into focus at the Social Entrepreneurship Fair held at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. The fair aims to encourage entrepreneurs who would act as agents of change in society and is a meeting point for active social entrepreneurs, emerging social entrepreneurs and venture funds. The entry from XLRI was made in the community health category and addressed the need of a healthy India. After making the initial cut of 22 proposals, their business plan was evaluated by none other than Padmashree Anil Gupta and was selected to be one of the 8 teams who would present their proposal to an eminent panel of 12 judges which included the top brass of Dena Bank, venture capitalists, Social Entrepreneurs and Faculty from Indian and Foreign B-Schools.

Impressed by its innovativeness and feasibility the judges awarded the trio from XLRI the first prize which included a cash award of Rs. 25000.

Dena Bank, which has an active interest in building new ventures, were so impressed that they went a step further and offered to wholly fund the project. Debayan, Rochak and Amit were called for a separate meeting and the offer was made to them, along with the communication of the terms and the additional parameters that Dena Bank was interested in.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finance Training Program at XLRI

The valedictory function for the Customized Finance and Accounts Training Program, an in-house training program conducted from July 09th to October 10th by XLRI Jamshedpur for executives of ETA Star Group Dubai, UAE, was held last evening here at XLRI Jamshedpur. ETA Star Group is a UAE-based company, established in 1973, with an annual turnover of over 4 billion USD, and over 51, 000 employees in 23 countries.

Fr. N. Casmir Raj, Director of XLRI Jamshedpur, presided over the function. It was attended by Mr. K Jafar Ali, National Head (HR) of ETA’s India division, who had come down from Chennai for the occasion.

The event started off with a welcome address by the Program Director, Dr. Gourav Vallabh. He reminisced about the three months that had passed, and the emotional bond that he had developed with the students. He also exhorted the students to be aware of their newly-acquired status as brand ambassadors of XLRI.

Father Casmir Raj spoke about the all-around development that the students had acquired in their three-month stay at the institute. He hoped that the students had absorbed some of the culture of XLRI, and told them to use it for the benefit of not only ETA and Dubai, but the rest of the world as well.

This was followed by Mr. K. Jafar Ali, who spoke about ETA’s relationship with XLRI, and its eagerness to develop the same. Noting that this was the third course that XLRI had conducted for ETA, he said that ETA had been hugely impressed by the facilities on offer at the institute. He also remarked that, due to XLRI’s fame in the area of Human Resources, his firm had not realized initially that the institute also excelled in other fields such as Finance.

The event concluded on a warm note with speeches by two student representatives. They focused on how helpful the faculty and staff at XLRI had been, and especially thanked their Program Director, Dr. Vallabh, for everything he had done for them.

Friday, October 05, 2007

moving on from bodhiTree and other Stories.

Hi All

What's happened to bodhiTree, you ask? Well, Bangalore, Connecticut, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai is what has happened to it. The new song 'Mohan Nahale' which premiered at Mumbai Alumni Meet is shelved due to production quality issues. We tried very hard to compose from
multiple locations but it just did not work. Someday, hopefully.

In the meanwhile I've joined the Indian Folk/Fusion Band Swarathma as bassist. The music is an earthy mix of Carnatic Classical, Indian folk and Rock. Check out the music at Please join the Orkut Community

If you're in Bangalore, tune into BIG 92.7 FM at 8.15AM tomorrow (6 Oct, Saturday) for a one-hour special featuring an interview and a live performance.

You could also tune into Radio One 94.3 FM every afternoon...

Rocking faithfully on,

Bummer - 06

Proctor and Gamble organizes M&A case study at XLRI

Head honchos from the FMCG giant Proctor & Gamble (P&G) visited XLRI today to select a winning idea which could give them big returns in the global market.

The move comes in wake of P&G taking over the popular men’s brand Gillette globally.

Significantly, XLRI was the only B-school that the FMCG giant approached.

“Many mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve the desired synergies because the organisational issues are not given the importance they deserve. So P&G floated this competition amongst XLRI students to arrive at solutions to several of their problems,” said Madhukar Shukla, faculty of organisational behaviour at XLRI.

The contest, named “The Big Leap”, saw an enthusiastic participation from 33 groups at XLRI, out of which seven ideas were finally selected for today’s presentation by the FMCG major. The event was aimed at the analysis of various management-related issues involved in the acquisition of Gillette by P&G.

“XLRI is in the process of revising their the curriculum for the PM/IR courses where the emphasis would be more on industrial participation within the classrooms. Hence this contest would help students get an insight into real-life managerial problems and how to solve them,” said Shukla.

But what marked the highlight of the entire event was that the four-member jury from the multinational — comprising Varun Bhatia, VP (HR), Asia Pacific region, Mohit Nayyar, country HR manager India, Sonali Roychowdhury, senior HR manager India and Surya Rai, HR manager products and supply — were all former XLRI students. For the jury, it was a homecoming.

“Its always good to be back on campus, no matter after how long,” smiled Roychowdhury, an alumnus of the 1998 batch.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Herd Mentality

From Business World

‘There Could Be An Element Of Ego At Play’

Herd mentality in business is perhaps a natural extension of human behaviour. BW spoke to Madhukar Shukla, professor of organisational behaviour and strategic management at XLRI, Jamshedpur, and author of Competing Through Knowledge, Building a Learning Organisation, to understand the behaviour of herds. Excerpts.

Why do businesses display a herd mentality?
A lot of opportunities spring up when a new sector is opened. Many try to exploit this. Since the sector is new, there are no benchmarks. Capability issues arise only later.

Do they have clear strategies for new opportunities?
They would have, but they would not be tested. They rely on previous experience, what they already know from other sectors and other countries. But that may not work for a new segment and local markets.

What are the risks they face?
When huge markets such as India open up, the picture is always incomplete. The retail sector, for example. More than 95 per cent of the sector is unorganised. The organised players think that even if they capture 5-10 per cent of the unorganised market, it would be great business. But there are too many unknowns. The strategy that worked in other developed markets may not apply in India.

Some businessmen don’t quit even though they do badly...
Sometimes, they stick on the hope that the sector would mature sooner or later. There could be an element of ego at play sometimes that clouds decision making.

Read the entire article here

The Times of India :: Lead India Contest

The Times of India group has started a competition for selecting a national political leader for India who would be eventually trained in the John F. Kennedy School of Political Leadership. Post-training he/she would be provided with seed funding/media support to contest Lok Sabha elections in India. Two XLers have reached the regional finals who would eventually go through to the National finals.

1) Ms. Aparna Banerjee

2) Mr. Sandeep Agarwal

This rounds winners would be determined on the basis of votes received by the candidates through online or SMS voting.

Please do vote for them by clicking here: or


To know more about the contest and selection process, please click here:

We also have one other "genetic" Xler (or Xler-by-genes) in the list.
Nisha Millet in Bangalore list is the daughter of Aubrey Millet of 72 batch.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Leena Menon (92PMIR) - BT's "25 Most Powerful Women in Indian Business"

From Business Today, India

Leena Nair
37/ Executive Director (HR), Hindustan Unilever
Education: BE Electronics and MBA from XLRI
Work Experience: 15 years
Career High: First woman ED at HUL
Hobbies: Bollywood movies, reading, outdoor sports and travelling Success Mantra: Look for a win-win in every situation

It's a hat trick, in some sense. Leena Nair isn't just the first woman to make it to Hindustan Unilever's Management Committee (mc), but also the youngest Executive Director (ED) and that too one in charge of not a profit centre, but human resources. As the HR boss, Nair heads a team of 250 people who look into the well-being of about 15,000 employees across 70 different locations in the country, including 45 factories and four regional offices.

The 37-year-old Nair joined Hindustan Lever (as it was known until recently) straight out of XLRI, Jamshedpur, 15 years ago, and has risen quickly through the ranks. From being a factory personnel manager to management development planning manager to hr manager for the detergents business, Nair has been there, done that. But how does it feel to become the youngest and only woman Executive Director on the mc in HUL's history? "It is definitely a big honour for me because HUL is not just a big organisation with a great history and heritage, but (my elevation is) also a testimony to how much hr is valued here," says the tall and trim Nair.

She could say that again. Until recently, in most organisations, hr didn't get a seat at the high table. For one, hr wasn't seen as a profit centre and, for another, it was not considered strategic enough. But with talent becoming scarce and the only real differentiator at most companies, boards are waking up to the strategic importance of human resources. No wonder, Nair says her challenge is straightforward. "We have to do well and excel to make a difference to the organisation. My team must also make a difference to excellence in hr in the company and in the country," she says.

On staying put at the FMCG giant, Nair says, "When your job is interesting and you are feeling stretched and challenged, and when you have great bosses and you are working with talented people, you don't want to leave." HUL must be hoping that she can spread the same kind of enthusiasm around the organisation.

Appeal from an XLer 90batch - Sam Placid

I am forwarding a mail from Placid Sam of 90batch (samplacid[at]rediffmail[dot]com)
"I wanted to let you know that I have been supporting a charity for the past 5 years which helps children of lepers(they are probably among the most ostracised class in India)get a chance for a better life.We provide hostel accommodation for these children along with food,clothing and medicines.It is managed by an uncle of mine who also happens to be a priest(though he has no love lost for the traditional church and I suspect they reciprocate the same feelings).We currently have 300 kids(boys and girls) and also run a school from the same premises for these children.

We are now trying to build a school building as without a proper and separate building the UP govt.authorities will not grant recognition and without recognition these kids will not be allowed to write the board exams.

Is there any possibility that we can raise some funds for this thru the XL network or thru similar organisations like the MFF?

I do not normally talk about this work and would prefer to do this quietly.

The name of the charity is NAYEE ASHA and all contributions are income tax deductible.

P.Sam(BMD 90)


Monday, October 01, 2007

Golf sessions for XLRI students

As recent studies have shown, in today’s business environment networking is a tool that no manager can do without. Golf is one of the primary ways by which managers network as it provides numerous opportunities while eliminating rank and formalities. Innumerable business decisions are taken and contacts built over a friendly round of golf.

XLRI as a part of its endeavor to make its students tomorrows’ global managers has started a golf awareness and initiation session. The Sports Committee at XLRI launched Golf 101, a series of 20 sessions to help familiarize and teach the students the basics of golf.

To introduce the students to the game, a primer session was held last Wednesday, September 26th. Mr George Olapally, an XL alumnus from the 1975 batch who had specially flown in from Bangalore, and Mr. Bushen Raina, CEO, Tata Tinplate and Captain, Beldih Club golf team, spoke to the students about their love for golf. The interest and the passion that these two gentlemen shared rubbed off on to the students and what followed was a very interactive and informative guide to the world of golf.

They briefly outlined the golfing rules, terms and etiquette. This was followed by a demonstration of the golfing equipment used. They told the budding golfers on how to get started by giving them tips on the kind of equipment to purchase and the golf clubs to approach for membership. They clarified that one can never be too old or too young to play golf and encouraged all present to learn the sport.

They spoke about how invaluable golf had been to them both in their business as well as personal life. They said in addition to providing networking opportunities it is a great stress buster and basically a way to just have fun with one’s friends and family.

By the end of the session the students were all set to tee off.


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