Mr. Nikhil Mehta, Executive Director, Corporate Strategy at Nomura

Adding onto the next chapter of the guest lectures by esteemed dignitaries, Mr. Nikhil Mehta, Executive Director, Corporate Strategy at Nomura interacted with the students at IIM Kashipur and gave them knowledgeable insights on Mergers and Acquisitions. He explained the length and breadth of financial market and the strategic reasons that drive organizations into M&A. The future managers also came across tactics of buyers and sellers and the important roles of Investment Bank in this arena.

Mr. Mehta is an expert in M&A and Strategy with 10+ years of financial services experience in mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategy, financial planning & budgeting and mortgage credit lending. He is an MBA from Georgetown University, a commerce graduate from Shri Ram College of Commerce and a Chartered Accountant.

Nomura is the leading financial services group which provides services across various divisions such as retails, asset management and wholesale. It provides a broad range of solutions to individual, institutional and government clients through its network in 30 countries. In 2009, it achieved a No.1 ranking for customer market share on the London Stock Exchange. Nomura was actively involved in the reconstruction of East Japan post the earthquake disaster and has contributed to the society through The Nomura charitable trust and Nomura foundation.

Rakesh Kumar from PGP ’12 on clearing the CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) exam

APICS (The Association for Operations Management) CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) program is the only certification of its kind in the field of operations and supply chain management

PGP ’12 student, Rakesh Kumar, recently cleared CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) exam. He shared his insights on importance of CSCP and approach that is required to clear it.

1) What is APICS CSCP Program and what is its scope in today’s context?

APICS (The Association for Operations Management) CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) program is the only certification of its kind in the field of operations and supply chain management. CSCP becomes even more important with enhanced role of supply chain management in success of business in prevailing cut throat competition, changing technological and economic dynamics. Accordingly this certification or designation is subject to renewal after five years as it becomes outdated after that due to obvious reasons like change in the ecosystem, technology, etc.

CSCP program requires prior work experience of two years as eligibility criterion along with bachelors’ degree. CSCP has only one exam, which consists of three modules (listed below) each having equal weightage-

  • Supply chain management fundamentals
  • Supply chain strategy, design, and compliance
  • Implementation and operations

All these modules expose you to the essential terminology, concepts, and strategies related to demand management, supplier planning, sales and operations planning, and more.

2) Who should pursue this program? How does CSCP add value to a regular MBA?

CSCP program is essential if you want to acquire comprehensive understanding of supply chain management right from the supplier’s supplier to end customer. This program becomes very relevant if you are interested in making carrier in operations field and to be specific in supply chain consulting or ERP systems.

CSCP helps you in enhancing your knowledge and skills in the areas like risk management, sustainability, SRM, CRM, ERP, six sigma, lean production, and continuous improvement, etc. Not only that it also enables you to comprehend and compare various practices and tools against each other at one place which is not the case with regular MBA. In regular MBA the things or courses are taught or learned in fragmented manner depending up on the availability & timing of the electives. Further CSCP program exposes you to various challenges, best practices, trends and developments of supply chain industry in a consolidated manner.

3) Do you think the popularity of the CSCP is growing? If yes, what advantage do students have in placements if there are already many people having cleared CSCP exams?

Since its inception in 2006, more than 13000 professionals in 77 countries have earned APICS CSCP designation, which is pretty much an indicator of its popularity in the business world.

In India companies across various sectors like IT, FMCG, consumer durables, consulting, etc. do spend money and time to make their employees undergo this certification. Hence having CSCP certification (along with at least two years of work experience) distinguishes you as an industry expert with specialized, high level knowledge and skills. It indicates that student has an ambition to make a carrier in this particular field. Strategically speaking this gives you an edge when you are doing MBA from an IIM as after completing this certification, you will be having most sought after combination i.e. an MBA from a college like IIM and CSCP from a body like APICS.

4) How should candidates prepare for CSCP considering academic rigor in MBA?

Here is what I did/suggest –

  • When to take exam?- APICS Exam is conducted every 3 months (March, June, September, December). To leverage the exam to the max during the final placements, I decided to take the CSCP exam just after completing my summer internship and not in first year. I made the decision keeping in mind the following points:
    • Knowledge retention while facing the final interviews.
    • Extended validity of the certification after graduating, as the certification is valid for only 5 years. Taking the certification in first year would have lead to wastage of 1 year of certification during the second year of academics.
    • To be ready with the scorecard so as to include it in my profile at the onset of campus recruitment season given that it takes one month to get the score-card/result.
    • Avoid clash with academic rigor, although it’s a risky affair considering the fact that if you don’t clear the exam in 1st attempt you will have to wait till September for a retake and it will be already November by the time you will have your certification/score in hand. So one might want to consider taking this exam in March rather than in June.
  • What to study? – CSCP study material provided by APICS is a must as most of the questions are based on the concepts/ terminology mentioned in those modules. There are many useful references in these modules for those who want to study some concepts in detail. As far as the exam goes, I believe the given study material is sufficient.
  • How much to study? – Ideally two readings of APICS content is must. First reading should be done with the motive to learn in general, while the second reading should be focused towards passing the exam.
 

In a nutshell, a candidate should be ready to spend at least 100hrs towards the preparation. If you are taking the exam with academics in parallel then you should start at least two months before the exam so as to have a reasonable spread of the load. The week before exam is “the showdown week” where you must put in more number of hours and take as many practice tests as possible.

From 1 to 26: IIM Kashipur Fostering Women Managers

The number of girls in the PGP 2013 batch jumped from 1 last year to an astounding 26 this year around

IIM Kashipur has witnessed a revelation. Breaking the jinx the number of girls in the PGP 2013 batch jumped from 1 last year to an astounding 26 this year around. Such a staggering increase, though not completely unexpected due to the fantastic facilities on offer in the newest offering from the esteemed group, the IIMs, was certainly splendid news. It was also indicative of IIM Kashipur coming out of the shadow of the so-called ‘new IIMs’.

Quiz Sajal Luthra on why she left institutes like IIM Raipur, Trichy and Rohtak and she cites the welcoming nature of the seniors and easy access to information about the institute on various social media portals that tipped the scales in favour of IIM K2. Also an opportunity to learn from a dynamic and vibrant personality like the director, Dr. Gautam Sinha was an opportunity that she just couldn’t miss. She is also eagerly looking forward to the Spanish and Taekwondo classes starting shortly.

Ask Natasha Singh, an inhabitant of the hot and happening capital of the country and she attributes this to a lot of factors not least of which surprisingly, is the contrast the place offers. A retreat from the hustle bustle, traffic and incessant noise enables students to not only concentrate on the hectic schedule that they have to follow but also gives them a welcome opportunity to have quality interactions with each other. It gives them a chance to get their priorities straight; and if you ever feel the need to party after a hard week, the fellow students are just the right company. She also talks about the perks of studying in an upcoming institute; while other ‘established’ b-schools already follow a set procedure and a structured model, newer institutes can make their own rules. They can form their own clubs, face new challenges and take up ventures with only themselves and their peers to guide them and this baptism by fire not only refines them but redefines them.

Hostel life is something that not many girls had experienced before and they are embracing every ounce of it. The seniors are fast going to have to get used to romantic Hindi songs being played on the speakers instead of the heavy metal that they were used to; lose live football matches to music channels and lose at least some of the careless privacy that they enjoyed earlier.

And so begins another academic year at IIM Kashipur; this time, with a lot more representation from the fairer sex. And the ladies have not only arrived on the scene but they are fast looking to capture it. There is not only huge participation but intense competition as girls are crashing the boys’ party in everything from sports and cultural events to core committee positions and academics. Sometimes, they miss their families and friends whom, for the next two years they are going to get just fleeting glimpses of. Sometimes the mountain of endless assignments and ceaseless quizzes seems unscalable but they still tenaciously manage to do it with flair. As Rocky Balboa says,” It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”Life is not about the things that you have put down in black and white marked ‘to be submitted’ which matter so much as the crumpled sheets of ideas and initiatives that lie in the dust bin.

It’s a new dawn at the youngest IIM in the country. A new beginning. A new tomorrow with endless possibilities awaits. New summits to scale, new heights to attain and new lessons to be learned. So here’s looking forward to two more exciting years.

PGP ’12 student Harsh Patel speaks about clearing CFA Level 2

“The structured nature of the CFA course is very beneficial, as it helps in getting concept clarity and brings out clearly the interrelation and distinction among various theoretical aspects of finance.”

PGP ’12 student, Harsh Patel, recently cleared the CFA Level 2 Exam. He shared his insight on need of CFA and approach that is required to clear it.

1) What is CFA Program and what is its scope in today’s context?

CFA program is globally recognized course in the field of finance. CFA program includes three exams (Level I, II and III). After passing all three levels and four years of work experience in finance field one can earn the CFA Charter. CFA program primarily focuses on portfolio management, valuation and investment analysis. CFA level 1 covers fundamentals of finance like financial reporting analysis, economics, statistics, fixed income, corporate finance, derivatives etc. whereas CFA Level 2 focuses on aspects of valuation. CFA level 1 and 2 exams consist of multiple choice questions. CFA level 3 focuses on portfolio management and it consists of essay type questions and MCQs.

2) Who should pursue this program? How does CFA add value to a regular MBA?

CFA is a good course to pursue for those who want to build a career in the finance field. Especially for MBA finance students, it is an added advantage.

Regular MBA is focused on case study and problem solving while CFA gives you much deeper insight into theoretical explanations and well developed US financial markets. The structured nature of the CFA course is very beneficial, as it helps in getting concept clarity and brings out clearly the interrelation and distinction among various theoretical aspects of finance. CFA exposes an MBA student early to complex financial fields like derivatives, fixed income etc., which are not covered in MBA 1st year. This will give students more clarity regarding their career preferences.

3) Do you think the popularity of the CFA is growing? If yes, what advantage do students have in placements if there are already many people having cleared CFA exams?

If we go by sheer numbers, latest data shows Indian students form third largest group (5,173 candidates) after US and China while the total number of candidates registering for CFA level 1 December 2012 exam stood at 48,981. India has seen a huge rise in CFA registration in the past decade even after financial crisis.

Clearing CFA exams are highly appreciated by recruiters. It shows dedication of the candidates who shell out thousands of rupees for reading thousands of pages!! Passing CFA level 1 is not only a strong resume point but also helps to crack the interview for summer internship. For final placements, passing CFA level 2 will be a differentiating factor.

4) How should candidates prepare for CFA considering academic rigor in MBA?

Considering rigor of MBA, especially of IIMs, candidates should start early (at least three months before exam on average) and put in regular efforts so that they can allocate reasonable amount of time for their regular academics too. For the non commerce candidates, CFA level 1 requires more time to prepare as they are getting exposed to nitty-gritty of financial field for the first time. Students appearing for CFA Level 1 in June will find the going a bit easier, as some of the concepts will be covered in MBA classes by that time. Once one gains conceptual understanding it becomes easy to build upon these for the next levels.

Apart from CFA books, there are numbers of materials available that compile the course for sort of crash course preparation. But that is not advisable as it is difficult to get learning or understanding out of that. So better stick to its original books. Candidates should start solving mock exam papers (like Schweser test papers) at least 15 days before exam followed by performance analysis. Scoring more than 70% (generally around 65%) in exam would suffice to pass the exam, but the primary aim should not be just to achieve the score instead emphasis should be on learning and application in the real world.

Interaction with Industry expert: Mr. Nitin Jain, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, OCM

Mr. Nitin Jain (Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, OCM) visited IIM Kashipur on 29th Nov and shared his experience in marketing and brand building in the textile industry.

Mr. Jain has a vast experience spanning 15 years working with companies such as International Textile Group (ITG), Burlington Industries (now ITG) in United States and Nano- Tex in Hong Kong. He has also worked with Raymond (India) as President, Strategic Initiatives and has a keen interest in equity trading.

He started off the interaction by clearing some of the myths related to marketing. He briefed the students about the recent change in guard at OCM, and how it led to a rebranding exercise in view of OCM shifting its focus away from the ready-to-wear segment. The rebranding of OCM as “An affordable fashion for aspirational minds” and the ‘Face life’ campaign generated interest among the students. Participants discussed the finer aspects of the ad campaign and became curious as to why OCM moving away from using any brand ambassador.

Mr. Nitin Jain interacting with students of IIM Kashipur
Mr. Nitin Jain interacting with students of IIM Kashipur

The suiting offered by OCM come in a huge price window and catering to the age group of 25 yrs to 35 yrs. Students were inquisitive about the go-to-market strategy of OCM to which Mr. Jain highlighted that Single brand retail stores were not cost effective hence they moved on to Multi brand outlets as their primary customer touch point. This strategy helped OCM in catering to the tier 2 and 3 cities.

The discussion was followed by the one to one interaction with the guest. The students picked his brain with queries from various aspects ranging from financials, operational difficulties, retail marketing and brand makeover. “Tailor made suits are the biggest challenge we face. Tailoring is a dying skill” he added when asked about the challenges faced by suiting industry. He also provided the students with the insights on OCM and its work culture. The students of IIM Kashipur enjoyed the session as it provided them with a clearer picture of what are the challenges in the textile industry and also informed about the expectations from them in the near future, if they venture into the marketing space in textile industry.

My Internship Experience at Reserve Bank of India

IIM Kashipur, PGP ’11 Student, Sudarsan Puvvada, shares his  summer internship experience at RBI

Life was full of assignments, projects, presentations, surprise quizzes and I was eagerly waiting for some good news to have a short retreat from grinding life in IIM Kashipur. On one fine day, moments to rejoice had come with an internship offer from my dream company, Reserve Bank of India. Congratulations all around with friends started bashing, a common way of congratulating and parents wishing me all the best. Exhilaration subsided to half the levels as I would need to report in RBI, Kanpur rather than in Mumbai office. Being a south Indian, my Hindi speaking skills were very bad (better to say worst) and I had to spend 2 months in core part of Hindi speaking India. However, joy of getting an offer from RBI has allayed all the fears and scepticism.

After taking a week long refreshing break at home, I started on a 26 hour journey to Kanpur. I had to spend first 2 days at my friend’s home as there was a bit of delay in allocation of quarters. First day of internship was an induction program where I was introduced to Regional Director RBI, my mentor and some other employees with whom I had to work. I was very excited after my first meeting with my mentor as he is very inspirational, work oriented and I always looked forward for an interaction with him. Other interns from IIM Lucknow, IIT Kanpur, IT-BHU and other colleges have started joining and we slowly started moving together. Interns were given 2-bed room flats (too big for a person to stay) in RBI officers’ quarters which are located in a plush area in Kanpur. Adding to the comfortable stay, quarters were full of activity with children enjoying summer vacation in the calm and undisturbed surroundings often engaging us in cricket and badminton.

I was part of a team working on a live project to come up with suggestions to bring efficiency in government collections and payments. I had to conduct interviews to various stakeholders involved in the process along with an intern from IIM Lucknow. I enjoyed working with him and we shared views on various issues ranging from Currency system in India to Indian GDP. I got great amount of exposure in RBI as I participated in central level discussions on monetary reviews, gold imports, currency fluctuations which included deputy governors of RBI and other meetings with heads of State Government departments and national banks to discuss progress on financial inclusion and issues with electronic funds. I got a clear idea of how regulator thinks and should think as decisions taken at regulatory level touch all lives and enjoyed this experience in RBI to the fullest.

Three things that I liked most in RBI were library, people and food. RBI’s library is a book lover’s paradise with books ranging from Indian culture to Indian currency in abundance. Employees (with average age of more than 50) were extremely proficient in banking knowledge and always guided me in my project. Hindi was never a problem in office as everyone can communicate in English and I have learnt a bit of Hindi (seriously not an exaggeration). Food in RBI was simply superb with around 12 different types of curries serving all palettes at the cheapest possible cost and lunch time was most awaited by one and all in RBI. Apart from these, never ending chats among interns at quarters, daily visit to rave-3 mall, a movie in a week, outings to Varanasi, Lucknow, Agra and Mathura made my sojourn in Kanpur the most memorable.

IIM Kashipur successfully conducts Six Sigma course

IIM Kashipur successfully conducts Six Sigma course

When it comes to Quality education, IIM Kashipur put its best practices to provide quality knowledge through a quality source. This was again proved by the 3 day Six Sigma Certification workshop organized at IIM Kashipur for the PGP ‘11 batch in partnership with Think Excellence Pvt. Ltd., specialized in lean six sigma training program. IIM Kashipur became one of the few b-schools to provide Green Belt Six Sigma certification to its students.

The idea of the workshop cropped up when the student showed their interest in“Quality Management”. Under the leadership of Dr.Gautam Sinha, Director, IIM Kashipur, a number of actions have been taken for the realization of the vision. One such action is the collaboration with Think Excellence in order to give the best education to the student. Under this association, Six Sigma Green Belt workshop was held from 25th to 27th September 2012. “Quality education is our for-most priority and student should learn best in class methodologies and techniques” said K.N. Badhani, In-charge of Academics.

Three day workshop was taken up by the Master Black Belt in Six Sigma, Aparna Thandavan who is also the director of Think Excellence. Aparna has 13 years of work experience in Industry and has done projects with various organizations such as Phillips, Bharti Retail etc. She has a vast experience in conducting training for corporate and education institutes.

The workshop kicked off with the small game on process improvement. She tried to emphasize that process improvement is not a rocket science and quality can be improved if the end cause is identified before it affects the quality. The very structure of course was designed to give students the insights of what is meant by Six Sigma, how the quality can be managed, how to undertake a project, when to take up, various statistical methods etc. Workshop also explained the six sigma methodology which provides the technique and tools to improve the capabilities and reduce the defects in any process.

“It was a great experience, the course learning’s can be applied in the assignments taken up while doing live project with the companies” said Kapish Saini, PGP second year student.

“Just Tools and techniques can’t give you the improvement until it is used at the right place, and this workshop gave the structured approach on when to use and where to use these techniques in a project” said Kapil Vaish student of operations. The methodology student learnt is known as DMAIC- Define->Measure->Analyze->Improve->Control which is the structural methodology for six sigma projects undertaken at any organization. Student also accomplished three real life case studies on process improvement.

PGP ‘11 student, Cobi Sarangal told that “This program will also help us once we enter the industry as it provides the methodology wherein we can streamline a running process in a company and generate value to the company, which is what makes Six Sigma even more useful”.

Dinesh a student of operations also pointed out that “This program not only provides the structure, but also provides us tools and techniques which can be used in isolation under any standalone process”.

At the end of the workshop student underwent through the evaluation process to secure their Green Belt Certification. On concluding note Aparna told “students showed great enthusiasm towards learning and their knowledge is at par with industry standards”.  IIM Kashipur now boasts of 75 percent of the batch having Six Sigma green belt certification.

Candlestick Charting

IIM Kashipur, PGP ’11 student, Varun Agarwal,  A finance enthusiast shares his insight on Candlestick Charting

In the 17th century, the Japanese developed a method of technical analysis to analyse the price of rice contracts. This technique is called candlestick charting. Steven Nison is credited with popularizing candlestick charting and has become recognized as the leading expert on their interpretation.

Candlestick charts display the open, high, low, and closing prices in a format similar to a modern-day bar-chart, but in a manner that extenuates the relationship between the opening and closing prices. Candlestick charts are simply a new way of looking at prices, they don’t involve any calculations.

Each candlestick represents one period (e.g., day) of data. The figure below displays the elements of a candlestick.

The interpretation of candlestick charts is based primarily on patterns. The patterns are examined in three main groups as “Bullish”, “Bearish”, and “Neutral”. These groups are further subdivided with respect to the type of the patterns as “Reversal”, “Continuation”, and with respect to their reliability as “High Reliability”, “Medium Reliability” and “Low Reliability”

Candlestick charts are flexible, because candlestick charts can be used alone or in combination with other technical analysis techniques. A significant advantage attributed to candlestick charting techniques is that these techniques can be used in addition to, not instead of, other technical tools. In fact this system is superior to other technical tools. Candlestick charting techniques provide an extra dimension of analysis. As with all charting methods, candlestick chart patterns are subject to interpretation by the user.

Examples

BULLISH MORNING STAR

Type: Reversal

Relevance: Bullish

Prior Trend: Bearish

Definition

This is a three-candlestick formation that signals a major bottom. It is composed of a first long black body, a second small real body, white or black, gapping lower to form a star. These two candlesticks define a basic star pattern. The third is a white candlestick that closes well into the first session’s black real body. Third candlestick shows that the market turned bullish now.

Recognition Criteria:

  • Market is characterized by downtrend.
  • We see a long black candlestick in the first day.
  • Then we see a small body on the second day gapping in the direction of the previous downtrend.
  • Finally we see a white candlestick on the third day.

Explanation:

We see the black body in a falling market suggesting that the bears are in command. Then a small real body appears implying the incapacity of sellers to drive the market lower. The strong white body of third day proves that bulls have taken over. An ideal Bullish Morning Star Pattern preferably has a gap before and after the middle candlestick. The second gap is rare, but lack of it does not take away from the power of this formation.

Important Factors:

  • The stars may be more than one, two or even three.
  • The colour of the star and its gaps are not important.
  • The reliability of this pattern is very high, but still a confirmation in the form of a white candlestick with a higher close or a gap-up is suggested.

BULLISH RISING THREE METHODS

Type: Continuation

Relevance: Bullish

Prior Trend: Bullish

Definition:

The pattern is characterized by a long white candlestick followed by three small bodies in three consecutive days. The small bodies represent some resistance to previous uptrend and they may even trace a short downtrend. These three reaction days usually have black candlesticks but the bodies remain within the high and low range of the first day’s white candlestick. The pattern is completed by a white candlestick on the fifth day, opening above the close of the previous day and closing at a new high. The small downtrend between the two long white candlesticks represents a break during the uptrend. The upward trend then resumes and continues.

Recognition Criteria:

  • Market is characterized by uptrend.
  • We see a long white candlestick in the first day.
  • Then we see small real bodies defining a brief downtrend but staying within the range of the first day on the second, third and fourth days.
  • Finally we see a long white candlestick on the fifth day opening above the close of the previous day and also closing at a new high.

Explanation:

The Bullish Rising Three Methods Pattern typically represents a rest in the market action. This may be used to add new positions by longs. The pattern is the reflection of doubts about the ability of the trend to continue. This doubt may increase because of small-range reaction days. However, given the fact that a new low cannot be made, the bullishness is resumed and new highs are set quickly.

Important Factors:

  • The high-low range includes the shadows.
  • The reliability of this pattern is very high, but a confirmation in the form of a white candlestick with a higher close or a gap-up still is suggested.