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.

The Operations and Supply Management CLUB|IIM Kashipur

The Operations and Supply chain Management (OSM) club at Indian Institute of Management Kashipur incessantly works in operations, production & manufacturing, supply chain management, operations strategy, operations research, and project management. The club acts as a perfect medium completely dedicated towards the students. It helps them enhance their domain knowledge and explore new horizons by assisting them in pursuing their interests related to the field. Being established in the initial years of the Institute, the OSM club is one of the oldest academic clubs in IIM Kashipur. By successfully carrying out several inter-college events and interactive sessions, the club has marked its supreme presence amongst the corporates & fellow institutes and has been a front runner in demonstrating excellence & commitment in educating as well as in spreading the domain advancements.

To bring out the best from the Institute’s students, the club organizes different activities throughout the year. This ranges from quizzes, case study competitions, knowledge sharing sessions to guest lectures and industrial visits. The club believes in the philosophy that sharing knowledge is not just a single-day activity and thus operates open platforms in various social media handles for continuous debates & discussions on different topics, sharing recent trends, and molding the students for case study competitions related to the domain. The club, which had already been connected to a vast network over mediums like LinkedIn and Facebook, has chartered its Instagram presence in the AY 2020-21 and regularly posts different articles and updates through these social media handles.

Certifications

The club perfectly aligns with the Institute’s philosophy of ‘Learning by Doing’ and provides a medium for students to understand the practical applications of the theories they learn. Working on these lines, the club leaves no stones unturned on gauging the batch’s interest and facilitating relevant certification courses that can help in imbibing the culture of continuous learning & improvement. This also allows the students to learn new concepts and apply them in real-life business scenarios and case studies. In the AY 2019-20, the Club organized the Six Sigma Green Belt Certification by KPMG where around 40 students had participated and successfully completed their certification. Through the CII certification opportunity facilitated by the Club, 9 students were able to gain valuable inputs on notions such as supply chain analytics and warehouse management. The Club had also been successful in connecting with ISCEA (International Supply Chain Education Alliance). It was able to gain benefits through access to practical implementations, certification courses, and easily connect to the Industries in Operations. The Club had also thrown up a CDDP certification program for the IIM Kashipur student fraternity in the AY 2019-20.

Industrial Interactions / Guest Lectures

The club also bridges the gap between academia and industry by organizing interactions and lectures with industry stalwarts where the elite industrial professionals share their experiences and guide students to make them acquainted with the relevant skills required to excel in the industry. The club conducted the operations summit of Coalescence on 14th Sept.’19 and erudite speakers from leading organizations like McKinsey, Emami Ltd, Patanjali Ayurved Pvt.Ltd, Globelink India Pvt.Ltd, and IVY Technology India enlightened students on the topic of Process Re-Engineering.

Knowledge Sharing Sessions

The club also emphasizes conducting knowledge-sharing sessions and their effectiveness in helping students, especially those who don’t have any pre-requisite knowledge about different Operations and Supply Chain domain courses. Through this, a platform is being offered to the students to improve their public speaking skills and be on the other side of the table. The club also seeks guidance from the esteemed faculties and helps students embrace the academic culture & rigor of IIM Kashipur.

Industrial Visits 

To bring clarity and exposure to students in a practical working environment, the club organizes industrial visits at different manufacturing facilities. It leverages the most densely industrialized regions in the country with over 180 industrial plants in and around the area. This also serves as a platform for budding managers to understand the manufacturing facilities with a practical lens and learn about best practices opted by different companies. The club has organized industrial visits to companies like Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, and IOCL Bottling plant. 

Events

The club believes that the knowledge without application is like a book that is never read and challenges students to work on their toes and organize different intra-college and inter-college competitions throughout the year. The events include treasure hunts, marshmallow games, quizzes, case study competitions, etc. which allow students to put on their thinking caps and understand the constraints from different cross-functional aspects.

The club has organized intra-college events like Opstruct’19 and Ops-Hunt in the AY 2019-20 and AY 2020-21 respectively to make students aware of the various basic terminologies in the field of Operations and Supply Chain Management. In Opstruct’19, students played Marshmallow Game which revolved around inventory management, analytical decision making, and lean concepts. The game tested how efficiently the participants utilized their resources while keeping inventory and lead time in mind. The Ops-Hunt event amalgamated the fun & excitement of treasure hunt with the domain knowledge of operations. The student teams were required to solve different picture perception clues, objective questions, and crosswords to reach the destination.  

Operatius is an annual case study challenge organized as a part of Agnitraya, which is IIM Kashipur’s annual management festival. The event was well received and had witnessed participation from students across the top B-Schools in the country. Operacle is a PAN India case study competition. The club collaborated with different companies like Hesol Consulting to formulate the case study by striking the right balance between relevance & complexity and encouraging students to provide the most efficient & feasible ideas. Osmosis is a PAN India quiz competition organized every year by the club. It comprehends three rounds where participants are tested on different domains like Operations, Quality Management, Supply Chain Management, and their business applications. These inter-college events serve as a base for students to interact with each other and build long term connections.    Hence, in a nutshell, the club functions as constant support to the IIM Kashipur student fraternity in pursuing their interests in Operations and Supply Chain Management and works in association with different internal & external stakeholders to maintain and uplift the academic rigor that the

Scope of MBA in Business Analytics – IIM Kashipur

Analytics is a booming field right now and there is a heavy demand for analytics professionals. An MBA in Business Analytics will give you an overall understanding of how the analytics industry works as well as what role you would be required to perform. You may want to tap into this challenging and demanding field if you have an analytical mindset or an interest in statistics. The multidisciplinary MBA in Business Analytics covers technical, corporate, management, leadership, and communication training as well as business-analytical qualifications.

The MBA (Analytics) program at IIM Kashipur is a two-year full-time residential program which aims to prepare managers and future leaders who will shape the increasingly technology-oriented and data-driven world. It focuses on grooming its students to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes for leadership profiles so that they can seamlessly navigate the ever-changing business landscape. The primary objective of the institute is to nurture the students through a balanced mix of academics, industry exposure and co-curricular activities. Here is an overview of why and what all parameters one must consider before giving a thought of pursuing MBA in Analytics.

What to Learn?

An MBA trains business leader, including managers, and your primary area of education in business and management. Your MBA program, including “hard” and “soft” business skills, gives you a strong understanding of business fundamentals. This is taught in a fixed sequence of necessary courses or “core courses.” Some of the classes you may encounter as part of your MBA core include:

· Accounting

· Finance

· Marketing

· Ethics

· Operations

· Macroeconomics

· International Business

· Microeconomics

· Human Resources

· Leadership

Your concentration on business analytics will delve into specific business analytics and data expertise and also teach you to understand business issues via a data-driven lens. The most advanced business analysis tools, case studies, and projects, including real-world data, allow you to practice practically. Some of the classes you may see offered as part of a business analytics MBA concentration include:

· Spreadsheet Modelling

· Accounting Analytics

· Marketing Analytics

· Financial Analytics

· Business Statistics

· Applied Regression

· Principles of Management Science

· Data Mining

· Forecasting and Modelling

· Business Computing

Data science vs Business Analytics are separate disciplines, which are quite often  used interchangeably. A layman may not be so concerned with this interchangeability, but professionals have to use the words appropriately, since they have a broad and immediate effect on the company.

Is Business Analytics and Data Science the same?

A Business Analyst’s job includes researching and extracting useful information to clarify business performance (present and future) from data sources. The correct plan to develop the organization is often decided by a Business Analyst. Whereas, Data scientists gather, analyze, and interpret broad data sets and use their analytical, mathematical, and programming skills to decipher valuable insights for solving difficult business problems. The three major factors that differentiate business analysts from data scientists are overall responsibilities, skill sets, and user interaction.

  • Overall responsibilities: The functional requirements that inform IT system design is provided by business analysts. On the other hand data scientists derive significance from the data generated and processed by such systems. Data scientists may also simplify the activities of the company analyst and be able to provide some of the market insights. Taking monetary benefits into consideration business analysts are slightly paid more than data analysts.
  • Skill Sets: Business analysts need data science expertise as well as skills related to communication, critical thinking, negotiation, and management. Whereas, data analysts need similar skills with a more in-depth emphasis on technological data manipulation.
  • User interaction: Business analysts also have more direct contact with system users, clients, system developers, and others as project facilitators and managers than data analysts do. That’s because market analysts will also interview individuals and learn more about how to enhance technology to help business processes. During the course of a single project, they work collaboratively with others. While data analysts can initially collaborate to define important data sets with internal subject matter experts, the majority of their work is performed independently.

Considering business analytics and data science domain, the former attracts the target base more owing to its business coherence and state of the art application-related job role. Apart from these there are few more benefits of pursuing business analytics which are as follows:

  • More informed decision making: Business analytics can be a valuable resource when approaching a substantial strategic decision. For example, when the company needs to analyze its product line update, business analytics can be applied to determine whether the updated product has resulted in faster service, more precise recommendations for resolution, and higher scores of customer satisfaction are achieved.
  • Improved operational efficiency: Analytics, beyond financial benefits, can be used to fine-tune company processes. Business analytics can be used to forecast business operations and assist the company by more effectively timing maintenance, enabling it not only to save operating costs, but also to ensure that it maintains assets at optimum levels of performance.

Is Business analytics a good career option?   

As digitization has become a buzz in recent times with technology and data being utilized from local grocery shops to well-sophisticated malls, the demand for business analysts also has increased significantly. Moreover, as per the statistics, for every hour, terabytes of data are generated by 6 billion connected devices. With this increasing demand, there is an insufficient supply of professionals.

From the above-mentioned courses offered by MBA institutes, one can get the knowledge of the following skills: Python, SQL databases, and R, Survey/query software, Business intelligence, and reporting software, Data visualization, Database design, Problem-solving skills, Effective Communication, Creative Thinking and Industry Knowledge. These help them to be the best fit for diversified job roles, which include data analyst, supply chain analyst, big data analyst, business analyst, marketing analyst, finance analyst, HR analyst, etc. The increasing demand for MBAs with analytical skills has made Business Analytics a relatively new and popular specialization in the management domain.

What is a Business Analytics MBA Job Market?

There is a shortfall of 1.5 million analysts, according to a report by the McKinsey World Institute. With an MBA in Business Analytics, you are eligible for a large range of careers, including popular C-suite jobs. This is because MBA graduates are qualified to hold leadership positions in a number of business environments. In all types of businesses, health industry marketing, supply chain management, data-driven decision-making is increasingly in demand. Based on their domain knowledge, skills and work experience, companies typically offer these job roles to candidates. The high demand for professionals with an MBA in Business Analytics is generated by MNCs, retail and manufacturing companies, IT companies, e-commerce companies, consultancies, telecommunications companies and business analytics and intelligence companies. MBAs are hired not only by MNCs but even by startups. As an MBA is primarily a business degree in Business Analytics, you will not be looking at data science work. You’ll be eligible for data-driven positioning instead. You will also have the advantage of competing with a background in analytics for more general positions in business management.

To conclude, the MBA in Business Analytics is an upcoming field of expertise in all sectors of the industry that is gaining increasing traction. The specialization demonstrates a positive and promising outlook, and you can go ahead and begin your MBA journey in Business Analytics for those of you who have long been skeptical about choosing this career path!

Deshmaa RT and Sakshi Poddar

MBA (Analytics) 2020-22

Indian Institute of Management Kashipur

Cause-Effect Relationships – The ToC Way

Theory of Constraints is a breakthrough and powerful management philosophy that has evolved in the past couple of decades along with other new-age concepts like TQM, JIT, re-engineering and the learning organization.

This article has been adapted from the bestselling book Critical Chain by Dr. Eli M. Goldratt, an internationally recognized industry guru and the originator of the Theory of Constraints (or ToC). This book is one of many business novels written by Dr. Goldratt through which he has transformed and revolutionalized the thinking and actions of management throughout the world.

Theory of Constraints is a breakthrough and powerful management philosophy that has evolved in the past couple of decades along with other new-age concepts like TQM, JIT, re-engineering and the learning organization. By complimenting these other philosophies with its clarity and systematic analytical methods, ToC boasts of the following merits:

1 osm

Now, in layman’s terms, let’s understand the approach of ToC in resolving cause-effect relationships. For instance, what are some of the biggest problem faced by managers today? These include:

2 osm

ToC regards that problems such as the ones stated above are just symptoms. It claims that they all stem from one single core problem. Let’s delve into detail on this conclusion.

One assumption or observation in the ToC universe is that most managers want to manage well. In order to manage well, managers must ensure that the right products reach the right clients at the right time and in the right quantity. There are two absolutely necessary conditions to achieve effective and efficient management.

3 osm

Each of these conditions, controlling cost and protecting throughput, implies a different mode of management. Let us understand this through an analogy. Let’s view a company as a physical chain with many links. You are the President in charge of the entire chain.

In our chain, the closest thing related to cost will be weight. And one way to determine the total cost of the organization is to sum up the weights of all the links. Now, if I am a manager in charge of a specific department, a specific link in the company, then to improve my link the obvious thing to do is to make it a few grams lighter. However, as President you are not interested merely in my link; you are interested in the whole chain. But when I reduce the weight of a link, the entire chain becomes lighter by that amount.

4 osm

This analogy implies a management philosophy. It implies that any local improvement automatically translates into an improvement of the overall organization. Hence, any global improvement can be achieved by inducing many local improvements. Let us call this management philosophy the ‘Cost World’. Most organizations today function on the principles of the cost world.

Now, let us examine throughput (or flow) through the same analogy. What is the equivalent of throughput in our physical chain? It is the strength of the chain. If one link, just one link in our chain breaks, what happens to the strength of the chain? It drops to zero. This indicates that when we deal with throughput, it is not just the links that are important; the linkages are equally important.

Intuitively, it follows that the strength of the chain (or throughput of the Company) is determined by the weakest link in the chain. And obviously, there can be only one “weakest” link in a chain at a time

5 osm

Now, let’s see what this implies. If you are still the President in charge of the entire chain and I’m still in charge of just one department (let’s take the more general case where I’m in charge of a department that is not the weakest link). If I make my link stronger, do I improve the strength of your chain? The answer is … absolutely not!

This leads us to another management philosophy which we shall call the ‘Throughput World’. The throughput world says that most local improvements do not contribute to global improvements. The way to improve the total organization is definitely not achieved by inducing many local improvements.

Considering these two contradicting philosophies, the next obvious question is – Can we manage according to both worlds at the same time? The answer is NO. There is no compromise between the cost world and the throughput world. Not even theoretically. In academia we don’t call it compromise, we call it optimize. To understand why we cannot optimize between the two worlds, we need to first understand an important concept called Focusing.

Any improvement in a company requires basically 3 resources:

6 osm

It is important for a manager to know where to focus his resources. A manager who does not know how to focus will not succeed in controlling cost and will not protect throughput. In Statistics, we have come to know Focusing through a tool called the Pareto Principle. Focus on solving 20% of the important problems and you’ll reap 80% of the benefits. But those who teach statistics know that the 80-20 rule applies only to systems composed of independent variables; it applies only to the Cost World where each link is managed individually.

7 osm

Where linkages are important and the variables are dependent, the Pareto principle is not applicable. So how can we find out on what to focus in the Throughput World? Well, it’s simpler than expected. Just think about the chain and the fact that its strength is determined by its weakest link. If you want to strengthen the chain, the first thing is to find the weakest link.

This leads us to the 5 stages of Focusing as per Theory of Constraints:

Step 1: Identify the system’s constraint(s)

Step 2: Decide how to Exploit the system’s constraint(s)

Step 3: Subordinate everything else to the above decision

Step 4: Elevate the systems’ constraint(s)

Step 5: Avoid Inertia and go back to step one

The above steps are also called the Process Of On-Going Improvement or POOGI. Simply put, it means that once we find a bottleneck, we need to strengthen or improve it. Now, as per the intuition of the throughput world, we should not produce at the non-bottleneck resource any more than we can squeeze out of the bottleneck resource. If we want to increase throughput, we must then lift some of the load from the bottleneck by buying more machines or hiring more people, whichever may be suitable. The logic here is impeccable as well as intuitive. Once the bottleneck is strengthened enough it no longer remains the constraint resource and we must move on to the next bottleneck. And this is the process to focus in the Throughput World.

This learning will now help us understand easily why there is no acceptable compromise between the cost world and the throughput world. Imagine that I am still in charge of the department that is not the weakest link. As per ToC, I must now subordinate my process to that of the constraint resource, forcing me to operate at sub-optimal efficiencies. And in industry, which is governed on the principle of maximizing efficiency, this would be a sure shot way to get oneself fired out of a job.

Do you understand what this means? It means that your intuition lies in the throughput world and in this world the answer is ‘don’t dare to produce more than the constraint resource’. But your performance measuring systems are in the cost world that wants you to reach maximum local efficiency. And therefore, there is no compromise. If one tries to optimize this conflict between the 2 worlds, both worlds will kill him.

The Theory of Constraints firmly believes that there are no inherent CONFLICTS. As mentioned before, ToC is derived from the accurate sciences. And in the accurate sciences, what do scientists do when they face a conflict? Their reaction is very different to that of managers. While we try to find an acceptable compromise, this thought never crosses their minds. Their starting point will never allow it; they don’t accept that conflicts exist in reality.

So, no matter how well the two methods (cost world & throughput world) are accepted, the scientists’ instinctive conclusion will be that there is a faulty assumption underlying one of the methods used. All their energy will be focused on finding that faulty assumption and correcting it.

Can we do the same in our Cost World vs. Throughput World scenario? Can we eliminate the conflict and emerge at a win-win? Think about it. We will elaborate more on this in our next post.

Rishi Varma

OSM

980015_509539572476990_215004717_o

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.