Why Women Are the X-Factor in the New Working Environment

New ways of working and leading are desired in today’s business environment.  In order to succeed in that system, organizations will need two fundamental sets of skills. The first being digital skills for which many organizations are actively hiring software developers, data scientists and analysts, experienced designers, and people with critical digital skills. The second skill set, however—is just as important: human-centred skills in areas such as communication, collaboration, motivation, emotional intelligence, creativity, and imagination.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, its economic disruption and uncertainty, has only underscored the need for these skills. Over the next decade, these leadership skills will become must-haves as traditional, top-down approaches decline in the face of fast, highly collaborative, agile organizations. Nonetheless, today’s leaders will have to navigate uncertainty and comprehend the needs and challenges of various stakeholders in the ever-changing scenarios. Leaders must be empathetic and able to encourage others, inspire teams, develop relationships, and learn with humility, in a business world with increasingly differentiated, multi-functional teams that operate independently.

A NEW LEADERSHIP MODEL

While algorithms can perform standardised processes and make straightforward decisions much faster, cheaper, and more accurately than humans, other skills – which only humans can leverage, such as empathy, imagination, and judgment—are essential for complex problem-solving.

That’s why, in today’s agile organisations, leaders don’t just issue orders based on their own expertise or experience instead, they identify a problem and then support autonomous teams that do the actual work of solving that problem. Such leadership necessitates a level of vulnerability, such as someone who encourages and supports people who have better knowledge about a given subject than their superiors and are more likely to find a solution. 

Then, the question arises – How can women leaders contribute to this change? Something that many people already know – women tend to be highly empathetic, with strong emotional intelligence, active listeners who solicit ideas, collaborate, share credit, and change course when necessary. It has also been observed that when there are more women on a team, the collective intelligence of the groups tend to increase. Moreover, gender-balanced teams are how diverse leadership teams boost innovation than their competitors, and perform better. While empathy and relationship-building skills appear to be uncommon among leadership candidates, most organisations will find them in their own untapped pools of women employees and managers.

GROWING EVIDENCE OF WOMEN’S ABILITY TO LEAD IN THE NEW WAYS

Empirical evidence suggests that many of the essential leadership qualities are more likely to be displayed by women.  For example, a recent study published in Harvard Business Review found that women in leadership roles were ranked higher than men in a variety of key competencies, such as encouraging and motivating others, building partnerships, cooperation, and teamwork.

When looking at more granular skills, researchers from a German university discovered that women, in general, can accurately decipher emotions from people’s faces. Another research discovered that women are better at reading body language than men. According to a third study, men detect subtle signs of emotion like depression just around 40% of the time, while women can notice them 90% of the time. Furthermore, a study published in the journal Science found that having more women on a team improved the collective knowledge of the groups. Rather than attempting to dominate a conversation or a task, women are more likely to consider others, elicit feedback, listen actively, and take turns contributing. As a result, women-centric organizations have become more collaborative and better able to tap into the potential.

For organizations that understand the need to work and lead in new ways, and the imperative of diversity, the message is clear: workplaces need to identify people with these skills and put them in leadership roles. That was true even before COVID-19, but the pandemic has emphasised the relevance of empathetic, collaborative leadership. Companies that wish to reap the benefits of these leadership skills must increase their efforts to recruit, retain, and encourage women.

About the Author:

Payal Singh, a Production Engineer by qualification is currently pursuing MBA (Analytics) from IIM Kashipur.  She is a part of  Team Insite- Admission Support Body at the prestigious institution. You can connect with her on Linkedin.

Rising Steel Prices: Can Fintech save MSMEs in distress?

The Alumni Relations Committee of IIM Kashipur has served as a bridge to beget valuable insights about the role of Fintech in MSME from our erudite alumnus. This article covers the questions surrounding the issue of rising steel prices and how Fintech can save the MSMEs in distress.

A sharp rise in raw material prices, (especially steel) over the last few months has impacted the recovery of manufacturing, construction, and small and medium industries from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The MSME industry needs to provide steel at reasonable prices so that export competitiveness of value-added products is maintained

A sharp rise in raw material prices, (especially steel) over the last few months has impacted the recovery of manufacturing, construction, and small and medium industries from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The MSME industry needs to provide steel at reasonable prices so that export competitiveness of value-added products is maintained.

Fintech lending platforms have the ability to address the credit gap for small businesses. Most digital lending platforms which used to rely only on equity and debt capital are now also looking at post loan origination sources of capital such as securitization and direct assignment transactions to improve liquidity. The fintech, banks, and NBFCs will play a huge role in powering small businesses in the post-pandemic new world and will help in reviving the economies. These new and innovative lending models will not only strike a right balance between financial stability and growth but also encourage a focus on the credit needs of small businesses in the country and NBFCs and fintechs are considered as better equipped to support this endeavour.

To understand the reasons behind the bullish prices, we can look at some of the factors affecting the price of steel:

Supply And Demand-

As with any commodity, supply and demand is a huge factor that determines steel prices. The higher the demand and the lower the supply, the higher the price. As lockdowns were gradually eased and construction work resumed, steel prices started rising with the rise in demand.

Moreover, the prices of steel are determined not just by current supply and demand, but by forecasted supply and demand. The more information available, the better this can be predicted, and the less volatile prices will be. We must also strive to be aware of inventory in the supply chain in every link from the steel mills to the end-user.

Industry Trends-

Price is also influenced by the demand of the various industries steel is used for. If the auto industry is strong, for example, steel demand may be higher; the same goes for construction, packaging, and other businesses that rely heavily upon steel.

Costs of Materials-

Scrap metal and iron ore are two of the main materials used to create steel. If there is a limited amount of these resources available, demand exceeds supply, and the cost of materials will jump up.

Iron ore fetching a year-end price of $175 a tonne on the Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), is now the world’s best performing major commodity for the second year in a row. Indian Steel Association (ISA) calls for Government Intervention and demands a six-month ban on iron-ore exports, restriction of e-auction sale to steel- and pellet-makers. The Government suspects that the steel-makers might be indulging in the manipulation of production to lift prices, forming a cartel in the cement and steel industry. However, on the contrary, in the steel industry where two major players, namely, SAIL and Vizag Steel are government-owned are also a part of the same trend.

Costs of Shipping-

By the same token, materials used to create steel and finished goods can be costly to ship, a factor that may help determine the price.

Time of Year-

Time of year has its effect on many industries, and those that use steel are no different. Holidays, weather, and seasonal highs and lows affect the output of new products, either raising or lowering demand. Seasonality can impact shipping patterns and transit modes.

All these events have left the MSMEs in jeopardy. Nothing was happening for several months because of the pandemic. The projects were shut down or were on hold. The rise in steel prices is eating into their narrow margins making it more and more difficult for them to sustain. A big issue of MSME credit gap can be solved by fintech lending platforms if they are able to access reliable digital data sets that can assist with credit risk analysis and cash flow-based lending, the regulatory framework supports a low-cost KYC and customer onboarding process and if these platforms themselves are able to tap into a wider set of channels for their own sources of capital.

About the Author:

Mr. Shahrukh Khan, an Alumnus of IIM Kashipur who has completed his PGP in the year 2019 is currently handling the Product & Process – OfCommerce at OfBusiness. While at the campus, he has been a Class Representative and Joint Secretary of Wellness Coordinators. He has also represented IIM Kashipur in multiple TT Tournaments.

Management from a Homemaker’s Lens

The word Management as defined in the dictionary means the process of dealing and coordinating with people. Management is a never-ending loop that begins when one gets up in the morning and ends when one sets the alarm for the next day and goes to sleep.

 Management is always conceptualized as a fancy degree from a Business school and jargons like Presentations, Entrepreneurship, SWOT, ROI, etc. Management is inevitably present and significant in all these fields, but what we often forget is that management is applicable in all walks of life. It covers all facets of our lives. We ignore this fact because we have been so used to doing these roles that we have forgotten about the management nature. Even a trip to Goa with friends or relatives requires proper planning so to effectively manage one’s schedule for an enriching experience.

 If we deep dive into our daily life schedule, I see my mother implementing all my MBA lessons in some way and the best part is though those decisions or acts of her do not bring any life-changing decisions but are pivotal for the smooth functioning of the house.

 The duties of a homemaker are frequently looked down upon, but as we look closely, we can see that becoming a homemaker demands immense management skills. One of the most difficult examples of management is managing an entire family, taking care of everyone’s special needs, settling petty conflicts among children, maintaining the bonds intact, ensuring food is prepared on time. All this might sound so simple when we compare it to the life of an MBA graduate but it is equally challenging and complex.

 If we draw an analogy between the life of a manager and a homemaker, it is quite indistinguishable. The only difference is the nature of the work they both execute. Just like in an organization, A manager is the one responsible for streamlining the tasks, planning things ahead of time so that the needs of the clients are fulfilled on time, and addressing the grievances of its employees. In the same fashion, Homemakers must plan for the whole family, predict future challenges, multitask and make the most use of their resources, and be armed with plans for any last-minute hiccups.

 Let us take a few examples where we see homemakers implementing various concepts of MBA.

 Before buying any vegetable, she does a SWOT analysis for it and checks for if it is the best available product in the market.

She keeps a close record of all house expenses and makes sure every expense is recorded and gets tallied with the money she has in hand. In some or the other way, she exhibits great accounting skills.

She doesn’t have a degree but yes she is a perfect manager and a successful leader.

About the Author
Sakshi Poddar a Computer Science Engineer by qualification is now pursuing MBA(Analytics from IIM Kashipur. She is a part of various student bodies like the Media and Public Relations Committee and Admission Support Body. She is an IT professional with 2 years of experience in Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She loves traveling and dancing. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

Management is an Art!

There are many B-Schools to provide you with the Knowledge of Management but is that enough? Is knowing it all enough? I believe it’s not. To be a successful manager you need to possess the art of applying the right knowledge (the craft), at the right time (the vision) and most essentially, delivering efficiently to the right people (the communication). Books and professor’s knowledge can tell you what different tools and frameworks you can use but which to apply where needs an understanding so deep it will be a tragedy to not call it an art.

A good manager must also have imagination and the audacity to redesign their organisations or the way they work, just as an artist needs vision, and a strong commitment to realise them.

One may argue about the new and improving scientific methods being taught to and applied by the up-and-coming managers for better decision making, or about those skills to derive unexpected success by making probable failure surrender to competence and nerve. But Management has always been more than that. Not all great students have been great managers, and not all great managers have started strong. It takes more than just the technical skills and intuition to be a good manager.

To be a good business manager, one needs to perfect their skills in dealing with people and express themselves verbally, just as an artist needs to master his craft. 

Moreover, just like the art has no right or wrong similarly the managerial decisions can’t be labelled correct or incorrect. In fact, in management failures can lead to new opportunities. There is no perfect formula for success.

Therefore, I strongly believe that Management is an Art and the artist needs to keep on practicing the art to achieve the epitome of success in the career.

About the Author:
Dr. Ankita Gabhane, Dentist is pursuing MBA from IIM Kashipur. She is an active member of different student bodies like the Cultural Committee and Admissions support body. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Prominent platform for Entrepreneurship at IIM Kashipur

 “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

As per the above saying, anyone can become an entrepreneur who understands that entrepreneurship is a very long and arduous ordeal. MBA is also considered a gateway for achieving the entrepreneur dream. Every year, thousands of students take the CAT exam in the hopes of getting into a prestigious business school and taking the most sought-after course, the MBA. These students strive hard to gain admission to a prestigious institute such as IIM, with the hope of a better future and the drive to excel. Out of thousands of applicants, only a few hundred are admitted into an IIM. Some students hope to obtain a high-paying job after enrolling in an IIM, while others seek managerial training and an environment that will allow them to pursue their dream of becoming an entrepreneur. For those who want to start their own business and embark on an entrepreneurial adventure, IIM Kashipur is the place to be.

Among all the newer IIMs, IIM Kashipur is emerging as a hub for entrepreneurial growth. The most important aspect for becoming an entrepreneur is the requirement of a unique and novel idea that demands the necessity for innovative thinking. Understanding this requirement IIM Kashipur serves as a spoke in the DIC (Design Innovation Center) community which is involved in building the thought of entrepreneurship in the young inquisitive minds. Help-Himalayan education learning program, Hum- Himalayan upliftment movement, Hill- Himalayan innovation of land to the laboratory are the innovative outreach programs introduced to enhance the culture of innovation, design thinking, and creative problem solving among the community by disseminating the knowledge in every sphere of the society.

Further, IIM Kashipur is assisting future entrepreneurs by adopting an academic program to assist future start-ups, as well as launching projects such FIED by the Entrepreneurial cell of IIM Kashipur. The Foundation for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (FIED) is a project aimed at developing and improving India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. FIED is expected to incubate India’s most promising start-ups in the areas of tourism and hospitality, agriculture, art and craft, and education with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology, the Government of Uttarakhand, and other supporting partners. FIED operates with the intention of being the leading incubator by 2025, with the goal of establishing India as a hotspot for entrepreneurship research, growth, and training, as well as assisting start-ups with funding and comprehensive mentoring.

FIED has successfully incubated 150+ ventures, has engaged 500+ entrepreneurs, raised 50 crores of funding, and has established a network of 100+ investors setting a stage for the budding entrepreneurs to learn and establish their dreams. It has also started two new ventures RKVY – RAFTAAR, and Drishti to promote the start-up culture in the young minds of the student fraternity. With the immense success of the very first program it undertook, RKVY RAFTAAR, FIED had a very successful start-up year. More than 350 applicants from across the country applied for the program, of which only 37 start-ups were chosen at the IIM Kashipur Campus for the two-month training program. Ultimately, 22 start-ups, up to 25 lakhs, obtained final funding from the Ministry of Agriculture. 

  • RKVY – RAFTAAR: RKVY Raftaar – There are two programs offered to start-ups under RKVY Raftaar – Sahas and Saksham, which provide an opportunity to receive funding, mentoring & help for the launch and support of commercial products. 
  • SAHAS: Sahas is mainly an Agripreneurship orientation program for startups at the pre-seed stage. The start-ups which are in the ideation stage and have their focus areas concentrated in increasing the efficiency of agriculture can apply to this program. The start-ups have the opportunity to receive 5 lakhs grant-in-aid after the successful completion of this program. The trainees who are selected for this program receive a stipend of Rs 10,000 for a period of two months. The focus areas of this program include – Sustainable inputs, Animal husbandry, Innovative food technology, Supply chain technology, Smart agriculture, Agri Fintech, Agri Biotech, Soil, water & weather technology, Farm mechanization, post-harvest technology, Fisheries, Farm fresh retail, Urban/vertical farming, ICT/IOT in agriculture. 
  • SAKSHAM: Saksham is mainly an Agripreneurship incubation program for start-ups at the seed stage. The start-ups with at least a minimum viable product/ prototype based on innovative solutions in Agri and allied sectors. The start-ups have the opportunity to receive grant-in-aid up to Rs 25 lakh after the successful completion of the program. The start-ups would also receive additional help and mentoring for the successful commercial launch of the program. The program offerings and focus areas of the program are the same as that of Sahas initiative. 
  • DRISHTI: Drishti is a start-up and incubator program by FIED for start-ups working in Edutech, Foodtech, e-commerce, and food safety. The initiative is mainly to mentor and supports the start-ups in the successful launch of the commercial products. The start-ups would also get an opportunity to connect with various investors and partners where they would be guided by industry experts on various growth strategies. The start-ups can avail of seed funding as well as an IIM certificate after successful completion of the program. 

FIED of IIM Kashipur not only imparts the zest to achieve and follow up their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur in the minds of students but also helps the entire community to nurture and foster the start-up culture. With the DIC and FIED, IIM Kashipur never fails to astound us with its steps and ventures in sculpting an entrepreneur to serve the future community.

About the author:

Deshmaa R T who is a Biotechnology engineer by qualification is currently pursuing MBA (Analytics) from IIM Kashipur. She is a part of various student bodies like Media and Public relations committee, Quest – The Quiz club and Team Insite – Admissions Support Body. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

An Internship Experience at Agri-Tech Startup and how it converted to a PPO

PPOs are a major aspect for B-School students in securing a qualified and exclusive offer from companies that they wish to work for in the future. The idea to convert your Summer Internship into a full-fledged Placement Offer is not easy but not impossible too. This article provides a better glimpse of what one needs to keep in mind while looking to secure a PPO.

Agrigator, which is a seed-funded Agri-Tech Startup, is involved in Supply Chain and Logistics stream for providing a B2B Marketplace between the Producers and the Buyers. It was duly catering to HORECA outlets (Hotels, Restaurants, etc.) and FPIs by transporting food grains directly from Farmers and related sources, leading to a reduction in transaction costs, time, efforts, and simplifying the operations of such an unorganized system.

Keeping yourself in such a position, there are a few things that you can follow to slowly chart yourself and the learnings you receive in due course. Firstly, it is important to completely familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the concerned organization and the sector that it functions in. Usual ways include following Annual Reports, Sector-Specific News from verified sources, Online Government Resources and Databases, and interaction with Industry Experts and the employees of the organization themselves. This will build up a robust base for you to understand your line of work for your project

Next, you must continue to interact with your assigned mentor or individuals who work in the same fields/organization to also understand the core competency, relative competition, domain-specific business strategies, and business models. This will ensure you are now settled enough to understand the assigned problem statement for the project and the outcomes/metrics that will measure your performance for the same.

Post this, it is time to directly jump into your project and use your acquired knowledge and resources to design a flowchart of your activities to arrive at a solution. This will involve a preliminary plan to proceed, important parameters to focus upon, following up on previously devised industrial practices, framework analysis, and carefully constructed notes on emerging trends and developments in the industrial market.

To make things easier, communicate with various stakeholders and experts that provide a concise view on the strategic feasibility, implementation, and impacts that a step of approach creates to resolve different issues. Gradually, clarity evolves to choose the optimal way to proceed that provides or maximizes the utility of the defined outcome. Typical meetings or regular brainstorming of ideas can greatly reduce doubts and little hiccups that you encounter on the way. Therefore, don’t rush to obtaining a solution without confirmation and thorough research of facts to avoid last-minute crisis. These little things go a long way to ensure that your final presentation is well received by the majority of stakeholders that reflects the ways and values the company aligns itself to.

Last but not the least, be prepared with anticipated questions and doubts that you are likely to face regarding the work you have done, outcomes achieved and the notes on the Final Presentation you will present to the concerned officials. It is no wonder that your Presentation skills should be excellent with the concise textual matter but supporting visual reports and facts that enforce your views and looks to the proposed solutions concerning various scenarios.
Keep a cool mind and be confident. The rest is on your meticulous way to manage your time and efforts to the fullest.

Getting a PPO depends not only on how well you did, but how well you reflect your skills and knowledge to be part of the company!

About the Author:

Som Samantray, a Chemical Engineer by qualification has pursued MBA (Marketing and Data Analytics) from IIM Kashipur. He has been part of various student bodies like the Econs-Economics Club and TEDxIIMKashipur. He is a fresher and is an ardent reader of books and novels and a blogger. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

FPM Perspective-Qualitative reflections of a Quantitative Researcher

Being a civil engineer who pursued an MBA in Operations Management, followed by enrollment as an FPM student in the Operations Management area, I had always classified myself as a person who was more (or only) inclined towards quantitative research. I always recognized and was fascinated by the power of numbers.  

Then, in January 2018, We, a group of 15 research students, entered the qualitative research methods class. Some of us were excited about the qualitative aspect of research, and some were absolutely disinterested; I am ashamed to admit that I, then, belonged to the second category. I later realized that I had been keeping a blind eye towards the ‘dark’ aspect of numbers. I, in no way, wish to belittle the quantitative – orientation of research, but qualitative research is beautiful in its own way. The qualitative research articles, if well written, provide a vivid image of the phenomenon that leads the audience to discover deep meanings of human experiences.  

I now understand that a good researcher should learn about both paradigms. The qualitative and quantitative approaches have distinct and complementary strengths. Both come with a different set of challenges and require different skills to overcome those challenges. For example, as a qualitative researcher, I can always adopt a grounded perspective where I do not need to identify the dependent and independent, nor do I necessarily need to propose hypotheses. My primary responsibility as a  qualitative researcher is to capture individuals’ hidden meanings and explore the phenomena’  possibilities, but it is easier said than done. The experience is like deep-sea diving; we know we are looking for something, but we do not actually know what we are looking for.  

During this journey, I came to realize the beauty and power of text. Sometimes I can feel the ‘dryness’  associated with the numbers in quantitative articles because numbers in no way explain the human feelings that should have been captured. I now recognize and appreciate the mental and emotional strength of qualitative researchers because I believe that risks and concerns are more significant in qualitative research, mainly because of the researcher’s level of involvement with the research process and the participants.  

If I am asked to clarify my stand regarding which type of researcher I would classify myself, I will find myself in a great dilemma. I would instead argue that one should appreciate the different values which are drawn out of the two different paradigms. A researcher who has familiarized himself with both the frameworks may develop a more profound intellectual capability. Reflecting on my learnings over the past years, I can conclude that I have developed more patience, and my inclination towards sheer objectivity has reduced. I have indeed developed slight but noticeable acceptance towards subjectivity and abstraction. I have grown to realize that there will always be things that can never be measured or analyzed quantitatively.  

Today, almost three years later, my qualitative exposure surely helps me reflect on the quantitative work better. 

About the author:

Taab Ahmad Samad is currently a Ph.D. Student (Operations Management) from IIM Kashipur. He is currently working in the field of crowdsourced logistics. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

IIM Kashipur emerges as a rising star in the Dare2Compete Awards 2021!

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”  – Rabindranath Tagore 

Let’s start with the journey of a student who gets admission in a prestigious institute like an IIM after persistent preparation and trading off career opportunities. With dreams of flying higher and higher, this student has a feeling of great achievement and an equivalent responsibility to do justice with this success. He sees a glorifying career ahead in the upcoming two years and is highly enthusiastic about making the most of his MBA life. But how does he paint the canvas of these two years? Which hues does he select? This entirely depends on his strong will and determination towards learning clubbed with the opportunities and motivation offered by his institute. 

IIM Kashipur takes pride in playing a phenomenal role in the life of this student who enters the institute with the thirst for knowledge and the zeal to realise his dreams. During two years of post graduation, the institute instils in the students the feeling of “never settling down”. One of the integral parts of the culture is motivating the students to participate in case study competitions. IIM Kashipur faculties, the Placement Committee and Team Corpus leave no stones unturned to cultivate this culture of corporate and B-school competitions in the current and upcoming batches. They dedicatedly work round the year in this direction to bring the institute to unfathomable heights.

With these constant efforts, the institute has exceptionally performed in Dare2Compete (D2C) Awards 2021 securing 4th rank in D2C Competitive B-Schools 2021 Rankings.

Achieving this milestone, IIM Kashipur has joined the league of other older prestigious institutions like IIFT, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Kozhikode that appeared in the top 5 ranks. Not only this, IIM Kashipur has become the only 2nd generation IIM to have made its place in the top 10 ranks.  

This remarkable success is a reward for the diligence and determination of the students. Each and every honest participation and winning has contributed to the achievement. Throughout the year, students of both the years have meticulously planned for the competition season burning the midnight oil in the quest for their holistic development. Team Corpus created Corpus Community – a student group that dedicatedly works together to discuss and ace in the case study competitions. This community boosts collaboration among the students and with the resources as well as mentorship provided by them, it helps in optimising the hard work of all the participants. This creates a competitive environment and acts as a continuous source of motivation for the students. Also, viewing it from the other lens, Dare2Compete provides an excellent platform to the students to hone their skills in various domains by giving them a chance to participate in real-life case study competitions floated by eminent institutes and reputed companies. Hence, there is an air of unstoppable learning and fuelling the competitive spirit surrounding the student community. 

The enthusiasm of the students can be reflected in the level of participation in a large number of competitions ranging from B-school to corporate. With these sincere initiatives, IIM Kashipur has got 8 National Winners, 5 National Runners up, 4 National 2nd Runners up, 24 National Finalists and 12 Semi-Finalists throughout the competition season who have bagged positions in reputed competitions like L’Oréal Sustainability Challenge, Xiaomi Mi Summit 2.0, Virtusa Business Cipher Challenge, CarEasy Spark, TVS Credit Analytics challenge, and many more. These competitions encompass different domains of management and thereby help the students to develop various skills like problem-solving, teamwork, creative thinking, fact-finding, and mental agility, especially relevant for employability.

Also, it is a moment of pride for the institute to see 9 Champions from the institute who have secured positions in the Top 100 Dare2Compete Competitive Leaders 2021. Shubham Vispute, Rahul Choudhary, Deepansh Goyal, Prajwal Vaichalkar, G Prashanth, Vishesh Jain, Himanshu Singasene, Abhinav Yadav and Udit Arunav have exhibited a commendable performance and their relentless hard work has helped the institute in accomplishing new heights. 

IIM Kashipur is soon going to complete its 10 glorious years of establishment. This achievement has added to the magnificence of the celebration and has entrusted bigger responsibilities upon the fraternity.

This recognition is just the beginning of an extraordinary journey that will go on and on adding colourful feathers to the hat of laurels!

Story of successfully hosting Uttishtha- The Annual Entrepreneurship Summit amidst the pandemic!

What we are going to read about will be sort of a story (Fairy Tale! Nothing short of that!) of ‘The Spring in the North’! – The Spring rejoiced by young entrepreneurs, startup owners, industry experts, faculties, college and school children from across the country. Yes, we are talking about Uttishtha – The Annual Entrepreneurship Summit of IIM Kashipur – The Spring of Entrepreneurship!

Here is the story by Team E-Cell about how they managed to pull off the event amidst difficulties posed by the pandemic!

Uttishtha is the much-awaited Entrepreneurship Summit which has an objective of revolutionizing how people view entrepreneurship and create an indelible impact in the entire startup ecosystem of the country and beyond!

The restrictions imposed on us due to COVID-19 and taking into consideration the safety of all the stakeholders of the event, we were forced to organize an event of such high magnitude on a virtual platform, which in turn meant restructuring of the entire Summit.

We, the entire E-Cell Team, decided to break the entire summit into small tasks and decided to go about the event in a phased manner. Subsequently we divided the entire summit into 3 phases, namely, the planning stage, the preparation stage and the summit!

So, we divided the team according to the preferences and expertise of the members and set off on our Voyage of “Making Entrepreneurship Bloom”!

The Planning Stage:

We all knew that Uttishtha’21 was going to be a completely new experience for all the stakeholders and we precisely knew that to create maximum value for everyone we had to restructure the entire summit upside down and planning or ‘Out of the Box’ sessions, we used to call them, were going to be the most important element of the entire summit!

The Importance of a Business Plan for MSMEs - AREAFENCING

In Uttishtha’21, as we were revamping almost everything, we decided to go beyond the mainstream in everything we were doing! While deciding the theme of the event, our thought process was to keep a theme that portrayed new beginnings, asked people to get rid of their winter blues (COVID blues!) and focus on embarking on the journey of 5R, namely, Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Resurrection, Renewal and Regrowth! So, with a decision to keep the whole Summit light and bright, we decided to keep the Theme – “Spring”, or the “Spring of Entrepreneurship”, more holistically!

We believe, the first major challenge that came towards our way in the planning stage was in the form of event crafting and flow mapping! We knew, that events of last year needed a major revamp, if we were to create the Summit engaging and create value for the people involved! Last year Uttishtha, had events like Startup Exhibitions, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and Expo, which could not be conducted online given the nature of the events. So, we needed to come up with events which could fill the space of these events and so we started brainstorming on the needs and wants of all the stakeholders and subsequently came up with new events such as Not Clubhouse – focused panel discussion sessions, firechat conversation – a dialogue between experts from completely different areas, co-founder dating – a virtual internship fair for students across the country, among others! The molding of events according to the theme of the summit and requirements of the stakeholder involved, was a fun-filled experience!

We believe, ‘Uttishtha’ is an epitome of collaborative effort and it sees contribution and cooperation from each and every member of the IIM Kashipur community. After the planning of events and identifying the work areas, it was very important for us to gather support from the community and form an enthusiastic team comprising people who were motivated enough to work on the event diligently. Given the lack of physical interaction with the people involved, in a virtual setting, it was a bit difficult to find the real potential of the applicants. But after due process, we were lucky enough to have found a team, where members were on their toes to make the best out of the opportunity provided. Given the virtual nature of the event, the division of the functional teams had to be revamped where traditional functional teams such as arrangement teams, People management team and promotions team among others had to be dropped off the chart and made way for new teams such as virtual platform team, Audience engagement team and social media team among others.

The Preparation Stage:

Uttishtha’21 being virtual posed a lot of challenges in the execution of ideas, but along with the challenges involved, it also provided us with a lot of opportunities with respect to the extended reach of the event.

Challenges |

The main challenge that the team had to endure while executing the plans was the possibility of miscommunication at times due to lack of physical interaction leading to redundancy of work. Also, too much follow up on the tasks slowed down the process of execution of plans. Although these were challenges which were natural to come in a virtual setting, the dedicated and mindful work of different functional teams ensured smooth operations throughout.

The teams working on onboarding industry experts, dignitaries, speakers, startup founders, school administrators and students had a large pool of people to target given that there was no need to look after travel and lodging arrangements of the guests and with the click of a button experts could join the sessions. This not only allowed us to reach out to people beyond boundaries, but also opened wide range of opportunities for the teams to reach out to people of high stature. One approach that stand out during the whole process was the use of quirky tweet threads on twitter to reach out to people. The choice of this unconventional way led to us having onboarded a lot of good speakers and industry experts.

One of the tasks, that took substantial amount of our time was choosing an ideal virtual platform for the Summit. It proved to be an exhaustive process, given we had certain criteria such as neat user interface (UI), easy accessibility and usability, and comprehensiveness with respect to functions among others in our mind.  We tried out nearly 12 virtual event platforms before narrowing down on “Airmeet” for conducting the Summit, which we believe served our purpose well.

The digital media team had a humongous task in hand, given they were responsible for creating all the buzz around the event and getting the word across boundaries. They came up with innovative ideas to promote the event to the best of their abilities. With the support from Media and Public Relations Committee (MPRC), the team was able to forge meaningful partnerships with various media partners such as Amar Ujala, Campus Beat among others which helped the team in multi-channel promotions of the event. The digital marketing team came up with numerous creatives and took advantage of all social media opportunities (paid as well as unpaid) to promote the Summit.

The Summit (5th March – 7th March):

Team Uttishtha Meet! Date (4 March, 2021), Time: 10:00 PM! Each and every member from the entire team was there. We all had our cameras switched on! We all were from different functional teams, we all had completely different tasks assigned, but one thing common in all of us was the satisfaction we had with the level of preparedness for the summit that was going to commence next day morning. We all were pumped up and were fully motivated to make the summit a memorable one for everyone and enjoy the three-day summit to the best of our abilities.

Finally, the Spring of Entrepreneurship was here! The first day started off as a warm breeze with esteemed speakers showering their wisdom on the attendees. The first day saw the presence of dignitaries like Mr. Arun Pandey (Chairman and MD, Rhiti Sports), Subhadeep Sanyal (managing partner, Omnivore) among others. We expected that getting the speakers and attendees accustomed to a fairly new platform like ‘Airmeet’ and ensuring the smooth internet connectivity throughout the sessions were something which might play spoilsport during the events, but we are proud of our Techno-savvy team which kept technical issues at bay throughout the Summit.  

The Second and third day were going to be crucial days of the event given we had events lined up in those two days which overlapped too, the risk we had to take because of the limited time we had and plethora of events planned out! We had Clear Harvey workshop for school students, Udaan – a national level B-Plan competition, speaker sessions, panel discussions with school administrators planned out, which led to many of them overlapping. But unconsciously, the bond in the entire team and the culture passed on by our seniors helped us sail through roadblocks smoothly and conduct the events in a synchronous manner. It was great to see people taking ownership for their responsibilities and coming forward to take additional responsibilities! Last minute cancellations of few of the experts was something we always had in our mind, and we are happy that we had backups and plans to deal with those situations!

Overall, we can say that Uttishtha’21 was a roller coaster ride for each and every member of the team. Each turn had some challenge for us and we are proud and happy that we had our experienced seniors (our partners, supporters and mentors), who were not only there to show us the path but were there to handhold us through the trouble times. The support from the entire IIM Kashipur community helped us in making the event a national success!

Uttishtha’21 is indeed an epitome of collaborative effort!

Probable impact of US Elections on global supply chain post-Covid

As the entire world went into the first-ever lockdown of the century, all except the medical staff were confined to their homes. This ensured that everyone stays safe, but every sector of business went into a state of despicableness.

Reason? SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION!

Such is the power of supply chain network especially in this era of Globalization! Any wrong decision can lead to a world full of chaos and violence.

Fortunately for us, the world leaders ensured there was enough supply of essentials required for survival. And now that Covid-19 vaccine shots are being administered, the hopes of Supply chain normalcy seem to be cropping up.

However, one major event that took place towards the fag end of 2020 that could potentially change the way International trade and supply chain worked until now was the U.S. Elections.

As I write this article, Joe Biden is the president-elect and what could it mean to the Supply chain?

During the Presidential debate, Joe Biden emphasized negotiating with the Pacific nations to restructure the international trading rules in order to reduce dependence on China. This would help other Asian & Arabian Countries to improve their economy as they would have the liberty to export more with limited competition from China.

Joe Biden is particularly wanting to support the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) so that the United Nations’ powers in terms of framing laws for international Supply Chain & International Trade are strengthened. The manufacturing sector in this region will see a boost as North American Countries are given incentives for Automobile manufacturing, especially that of Trucks & cars. With strong agricultural laws, the farmers will get access to the markets in all three countries.

Manufacturers in the US who offshore production and sell the products or services back in the US, have to pay a heart wrenching cumulative tax of 30.8%, to solve this issue. Biden’s policy focuses on local manufacturing, he promised to direct $400 billion in federal procurement towards manufacturing and emphasized on Made in America label.

The federal department many times in the past has claimed that manufacturing certain products is not feasible in America and that has given a huge market to other countries. Biden, while addressing this point, stressed using IT Technology to publish it on a specific website built for the same purpose. Once such requirements are posted on this website, tenders can try their hands on producing such products thus getting eligible for the 10% advance tax credit policy.

During almost all his campaign rallies, Biden mentioned the need to directly support small manufacturers, especially those headed by women, this would ensure the creation of jobs and keep the national per capita income increasing. Biden said he would direct $300 billion towards R&D of electric vehicle technology, 5G, Artificial Intelligence – this ensures procurement of parts required for the same and to ensure smooth supply chain, he promised to amend Custom laws and make it easier to buy.

He said & I quote “While medical supplies and equipment are our most pressing and urgent needs, US supply chain risks are not limited to these items. The US needs to close supply chain vulnerabilities across a range of critical products on which the US is dangerously dependent on foreign suppliers.” This prepares the U.S to be ready for a probable 2nd wave of Covid-19 & any kind of crisis in the future.

Biden spoke about how supply chains laws and the federal Government’s purchasing power can ensure smooth manufacturing of critical parts used in the United States’ defence systems. In this way, not just the end product but also the supply chain of manufacturers receives a boost. Biden mentioned the need to be environment friendly and has pledged to utilize the $500 Billion federal government spends on Zero Emission & 100% clean energy vehicles. This would again create more manufacturing & thus more jobs & thus a bigger growth in the US economy. He also mentioned he would bring in stricter laws that would govern the readiness of environment-friendly technologies in all infrastructure projects, thus, giving opportunities for renewable energy innovation & thus impacting supply chain networks.

All in all, most of Biden’s policies focus on reducing the dependence on China for products & supply chain services. This would only help America as they are moving towards becoming leaders in Mass production, Supply Chain services.

We’ll have to wait & watch how the American labour class reacts to this, since the labour costs are higher in America and the Chinese workforce is almost 5 times larger than in the U.S, the next 4 years is expected to witness intense geopolitical tensions. All the countries that are in Joe Biden’s good books might receive some goodies. In the Post Covid-19 era, America might overpower China on these lines & India must continue to maintain cordial relations with them by being diplomatic on issues & at the same time strive hard to increase in-house production of goods & services through schemes like Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Sumanth S (MBA Batch 2020–22)