May 19, 2017
May 13, 2017
The word MBA resonates most often with academics and projects. But for me the two years into MBA were also endowed with activities, competitions, new learning, memories and a lifetime experience.
Even before we took a plunge into academics of the first semester, the committee formation process awaited us. I was selected as a member of the junior committee for IIT Kanpur MBA magazine-Avant Garde. Just 2 months into studies, I was selected in the IIT Kanpur Air Rifle Shooting team. This was my first tryst with shooting and it indeed turned out to be a beautiful one. I won 3 medals at district level- 2 bronze medals in men individual category and 1 silver medal in men team category over the 2 years of my MBA life. I was also the runner-up in the inter-hostel Sports Competition in this sport.
Juggling between sports and academics was not an easy task. The rigorous lectures, case studies and the project deadlines are just the academic part of your routine life. Then there are various quizzes and competitions that challenge your brain and provide you a platform to implement and showcase your learning. There have been times when I have stayed awake till 2 am completing some or the other task, getting 4-hours of sleep, waking up at 6 am to catch up with my shooting practice and then being on time to attend lectures. It was really hard to find time for practice along with academics. However this has taught me the very important lesson of time management in life. Also putting our heads together to solve numerous case studies helped me a lot to crack my job interview which was based on a complex case study.
Along with my summer internship in Nielsen, I got another opportunity to work on a project in Finance domain on Equity Research. There I learned the nuances of financially analyzing a sector and a company. This project provided immense scope for learning and also helped me getting shortlisted in several companies during placements.
I was one of the coordinators of the HR event-Regnant Populi in our annual MBA fest: Prabandhan. I also got an opportunity to showcase a bit of the acting talent in me through the Dramatics event in PG cultural fest- Impressions. I was also the manager for the dramatics event.
This year, I was selected for the 23-member Indian delegation to participate in student exchange program JENESYS (Japan East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) -on theme: Economics, sub-theme: Energy -in Japan from 27th Feb to 7th Match 2017.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan promotes people-to-people exchanges between Japan and various nations of the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean region. The Asian and Oceanian regional component of this exchange program is called JENESYS. It was a fantastic learning experience as I got the opportunity to witness Japanese economy, technology and culture and interacted with youths from other countries. The details of the visit can be found on the link. I enjoyed and learnt a lot by indulging in all these activities apart from academics and hopefully they will enable me to be a better working professional.
Apr 22, 2017
Tips from Top - "Design Thinking: Innovating in emerging markets”. Mr. Ravi Kaushik, Country Business Director, Medtronic
MBA IIT Kanpur organised a guest lecture by Mr. Ravi Kaushik, Country Business Director at Medtronic for a session on ‘Design Thinking: Innovating in emerging markets’.
Mr. Kaushik gave a brief idea about the difference between invention and innovation. Where invention is about creating a new solution to a problem, innovation is trying to solve the problem in a better way, by bringing together existing technology. He cited the example of Uber which is trying to solve the problem of transportation using the internet through a new business model.
He talked about the two sides to marketing – downstream and upstream. Downstream marketing is mostly associated with product promotion, public relations, and advertising. Upstream marketing, on the other hand, focuses more on the strategy and analytics behind fulfilling the customers’ needs. According to Mr. Kaushik, due to their analytical ability, more engineers can and should take up roles in upstream marketing.
Elaborating upon the meaning of design thinking, he told that to derive success in business, it is essential to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs. The first step in this process is to understand the root of the problem. The next step is to define the problem. Once the problem definition becomes clear, one should brainstorm to get technological solutions to the problem at hand. Prototyping and rigorous testing should follow before implementing the technological solution to the market.
Mr. Kaushik shared his experience of working with General Electric in developing GELcore - an LED lighting solution created for the needs of supermarkets and its further adoption in varying applications in the global market. When confronted with the lighting problem in a supermarket, Mr Kaushik and his team instead of providing a technological solution right away, worked towards identification of the root cause of the problem and consequent development of the solution.
Mr. Kaushik talked about a product related to maternal infant care – The baby warmer, which he and his team worked on. The team observed the environment (rural, minimal primary healthcare), and interacted with people to identify the problem. They conducted ethnographic research and in-depth interviews to find the root of the problem. According to Mr Kaushik, customers buy a product to accomplish a job. Hence the focus should be more on the job rather than the product.
Based on their interaction, they identified the design needs and application needs of the baby warmer. Latest technology was mapped to the identified needs of the user and a prototype was developed. This prototype was sent to the maternity hospitals in villages to test and further modifications were incorporated in it. Modifications were made to make a globally accepted design and thus symbols were used instead of letters. Here, innovation, rather than invention came into the picture, guided by the insights provided by in-depth interviews and observation.
According to Mr. Kaushik, the business model for innovation should be a holistic one and should be based on the value proposition to the customer. The process adopted should be such that it simplifies the ambiguity of innovation.