Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Rise of Coffee Culture in India

Changes in lifestyle of the urban population have given rise to the coffee culture in India. Contributing to the growth is also globalization and changing pockets. The coffee culture has now percolated from metros to tier – II and tier – III cities. Coffee earlier was considered to be expensive indulgence and also coffee cafes were places for socializing or for holding business meetings. Major chunks of the urban population live in a nuclear set-up and also fall in the DINKS (Double Income No Kids) segment. This target clientele would not mind to replace a meal with coffee and a snack, which could be a sandwich, wrap or doughnuts. Comparing the growth to the last decade there has been a significant increase in the consumption basket too.

The new age coffee brand primarily target corporate and students. According to TechSci Research’s report  titled ‘India Coffee Shops/ Café’s Market Forecast, Consumer Survey and Opportunities, 2021’, coffee shops market in India is projected to grow at CGR of over 11% during 2016 – 2021, on account of the growing coffee culture among young population, increasing urbanization, rising disposable income levels and changing lifestyles preferences of consumers. There has been a significant change also in the way people work now (virtual offices), most of the coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi and entertainment zones. The demand for coffee brands is huge from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. While they are expanding here at a break neck speed, the coffee chains are also targeting expansion to tier II and tier III cities.

Café Coffee Day introduced India to the coffee culture and also considered to have pioneered the art of coffee serving. The brand plans to open 400 new outlets in the country, with an investment close to about 400 – 450 crores. While 70% would in opening up new outlets in cities they already exist and the remaining in new cities and highways. Tata Starbucks Pvt. Ltd is a 50/50 joint venture between Starbucks Corporation and Tata Global Beverage Ltd. As of now they operate 79 Starbucks store as of Feb’16, after launching in Oct’12. UK based Costa Coffee entered India in 2005 on an exclusive master franchise with Devyani International.  Costa Coffee was the 1st International coffee chain to set up operations in India. Costa currently operates 96 outlets.

Logistics is one of the biggest challenges faced by coffee retailers. Huge cost involved in supply chain restricts expansion of many coffee brands and considering that there’s a huge investment setting a new production unit, seems an expensive affair.  Location plays a very important role in steering the business towards profitability. High rentals are also one among the many challenges faced by them. Brands are focusing more on making coffee culture a profitable business rather than increase the counts.

Indian and International coffee chains should be able to cater to the local flavors. With the existing competition one needs to incorporate specific regional preferences in their menu. While coffee chains operating in the country are taking pro-active steps to change the perception and overcome the challenges, at the same time somewhere, someone is enjoying their cup of cappuccino and thanking all the coffee retailers for making coffee a stress buster / pick me up /wake me up drink.

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, June 20, 2016

Censorship to ‘Sense’-orship: A flight to Freedom of Expression

The recent controversy surrounding the Bollywood film Udta Punjab  caused a lot of stir and uproar among cine-lovers. The entire clamor started when the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), headed by Chairman Pahlaj Nihalani asked the film to cut 89 scenes and even remove the word ‘Punjab’ from the title. This made the producers move the Bombay High Court, where Justice S C Dharmadhikari announced on June 13 that only one scene should be cut and a disclaimer included, stating that the Indian audience is mature enough to decide what to watch and what not.

This was a huge blow to the so called Censorship body whose role is only to certify a film in accordance with The Cinematograph Act, 1952, The Cinematograph (certification) Rules, 1983, and the guidelines issued by the Central government u/s 5 (B) under 4 categories: U - Unrestricted Public Exhibition, U/A - Unrestricted Public Exhibition - but with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years, A - Restricted to adults and S - Restricted to any special class of persons.

For decades, an issue that has been plaguing the Indian film industry is censorship. Way back in 1973, a film ran into trouble with the Censor Board because it dealt with religious issues and India’s partition, another volatile issue. Films like Andhi, Fire, Bandit Queen and Amu also had to battle censorship. Freedom of expression in Indian films is a complicated area. In the words of George Washington, “If freedom of speech and expression are taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
Nevertheless, Udta Punjab was released countrywide on Friday and saw a massive opening, despite being leaked online just two days ahead of its release. This is clearly indicative of the fact that the youth of today holds its own opinion towards various issues that affect them. Be it drug addiction, politics, sports or LGBTQ rights, there is an uprising amongst the youth who no longer wants to be told what to do or to be policed morally.

-Mr. Sumit Chakravarty

 Faculty, INLEAD

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Orlando, Brussels, Syria...The inhumanity of it all..

The trending hashtags on Twitter are #PulseShooting #Orlandoshooting #PrayforOrlando

Let’s pray for Orlando, for Kabul for Istanbul, for India for Syria, for Iraq and for all those nations that are fighting a bitter battle against a bunch of freaks who seem to be running a grim soap opera of bloodbath and bombing.

This blog is straight from my heart which is bursting with angst at the insanity of it all! Ain’t it ironic, it’s become just that convenient to pick up a firearm from a place where you can buy potatoes. It’s become just that convenient to take aim and kill innocents. It’s like, we kill to please! It’s like, the assassins are leading a life of “Call of Duty” outside their Xboxes & PlayStations!

We debated a while back about Aamir Khan’s statement of how intolerant we have become as a country. Well I beg to differ and would like to say that we have become intolerant as a human race.  Reality is rather dark, when we read about youngsters getting radicalized or those who just out of some phobia go on a shooting rampage.

We, the citizens of this planet Earth tolerate a lot and we tolerate the craziness of such societies which seemingly has abandoned its children, abandoned the homes that make children feel safe and secure. The absence of a stable home, a strong support system drives people towards the cowards who immortalize the concept of moksha, of a life after death that would be more glorious, of happiness that can be derived only from killing.

We all suffer from frustrations & worries, from the fear of the unknown and the known. We all suffer the crazy chaos that has become a hallmark of our claustrophobic lives. Locked in a pigeon hole called home, humans have become matchsticks ready to incinerate at the strike of a match. None of this, in any way justifies the killing of dozens and hundreds in the name of God, homophobia or honour.

It’s time our society shook itself and looked after the Kasabs, and the Omars; Prevented them from going astray, getting them the help that’s timely and not too late. As humans, and we agree we are that, don’t we; we are, social animals. Somehow we have chosen the animal and put away the social. We have locked ourselves within four walls and secluded our thoughts away from the beauty of life. Death whether our own or someone else’s seems to be the ultimate solution.

Trust me when I say, it’s the worst solution. It’s not a solution at all. It’s but a constant, a full stop. Sure we can’t escape it, but hastening towards it using methods of madness, hurting the unwarranted and the blameless, is inhuman and beyond any shred of reasoning.

So wake up people and look after each other, before we lose another.

Ms. Monica Mor
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Marketing Hackathon by ClickMyDay

The current startup culture in India needs a lot of support from Angel investors, Digital agencies and the media to be able to create a mark. Funding is very limited but opportunities are galore. In light of this, a startup ClickMyDay organized a Marketing Hackathon to share information and tactics with wannabe startups.

The event began with a session taken by Adobe’s Marketing Cloud Division Head, who spoke at length about the importance of Digital Analytics. He explained the various technical terms like impressions, bounce rate, clicks, etc and the importance of each of those to understand success of Apps &/or websites.

This was followed by an Angel Investor who focused on the importance of capital adequacy and financials of any business model. This was the first step towards getting funding.

Soon after OLA’s Marketing Manager spoke about the tactics that helped OLA to be the largest cab service provider in India and the huge number of downloads of their apps across different smartphone devices.
The session winded up with an ideation session where the various entrepreneurs came together to ideate and plan around their business models.

What made this event an even more special outing for INLEAD and INLEADers was that, Ms. Janvee Garg, one of the co-founders of ClickMyDay, is a former INLEADer, and seeing her achieve such massive success in the entrepreneurial world was a real inspiration for all the current INLEADers.

Jaya Anand, INBM Apr’15 MBA: “The event gave us an opportunity to interact with many startup entrepreneurs who were participating in the event.”

Jeevan Thakur, INBM Apr’16 PGDM: “I learnt lot about digital analytics from the speaker from Adobe and the various marketing strategies followed by OLA .”

Block the Clock Season 2

In order to provide a glittering welcome to the new April ’16 batch and a breather from the daily routine to all the other currently functional batches, INLEAD recently organized LEAD Activity – Block the Clock. The activity promised a day full of unlimited fun and fevour.

The LEAD activity – Block the Clock was conducted as an Orientation activity for the New April ’16 batch, however, saw participation from students of all the programs of EMPR, HEAD, INHM,INBM  Jan. ’15, Apr. ’15, Jul. ’15, Oct. ’15 and Apr. ’16 Batches.

Inspired from the TV game show – “Minute to Win it”, the activity comprised 15 fun-filled and energetic games. The students enjoyed participating in the games like ‘Key to success’, ‘Nose Dive’, ‘Noodling Around’, ‘Blow ‘em away’ and ‘Popcorn Garland’ to name a few. The frolic and excitement with which the students participated in these games was worth a sight.

Though it was a competitive activity, the students showed great sense of sportsmanship.  The activity organizers worked tirelessly to make the event a success. There were 13 winners in total and they, along with the Organizers were awarded with prizes by Mr. Deepak Sharma - Dean, INLEAD, Ms. Bindu Menon – Sr. Faculty, INLEAD, Ms. Monica Mor – Sr. Faculty, INLEAD.

The event was drawn to culmination with the crowning of Mr. & Ms. Fresher April ’16 which went to Mr. Jeevan Lal Thakur (International Business Management) and Dr. Gowthami (Healthcare Administration) respectively.

Mr. Sumit Chakravarty, Faculty, INLEAD, described the event as a “high energy and action packed activity that focused on giving a pleasant break for the students from their regular routine and encourage them to participate in a competitive environment.”

Thursday, June 9, 2016

SMART CITY- Smarter solution for a better tomorrow

The first question that arises in our mind is, what exactly is a smart city?

Well, there is no particular definition for smart city. The definition of smart city varies from person to person, cities to cities and country to country depending on the development and willingness to change and aspirations of the residents. Smart city has different goals in India as compared to other countries, say USA or Singapore. Smart city is represented through four pillars:  institutional, social, physical and economic infrastructure.

The 2nd smart city conference was recently held in Delhi at Pragati Maidan, and we as INLEADers got a chance to be a part of the insightful conference. During the conference, we came to know about the entire Smart city project and how it aims to make 100 cities smart. The main focus area of this conference was water and waste management, environment, IT & communications, security and safety, disaster management, smart education, smart health, smart multi- model transport, clean energy, smart building.

Many speakers were in the conference. I am sharing below excerpts from their speeches:

Mr. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu (Railway Minister of India). According to him, “there are two important things that should be maintained - natural resources and energy.” He said that under the smart city project stations will be redeveloped and that the people would get smart railways.

The other speaker was Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy. He mainly focused on three issues energy, waste and water. According to him “people’s participation is another main ingredient to make the smart city project sustainable.” He also talked about segregation of the waste material, smart meters that will update the status of water usage in a house, power costs which can be reduced to 83% by the use of LED bulbs. This way India can save Rs.6.5 billion per year. Definition of smart city stated by him “anything you do to improve the lifestyle of people.”

Commenting on the expo, Ravinder Pal Singh, Director, Solutions Strategy & Business Development, (IoT, Smart Cities & Digitization) Dell India, said “smart work has to be done in order to improve the technology. And has to have open architecture and scalability.” For smart city, people also have to become smart and consider that it is their duty to keep their city clean as their houses. He also said that government should keep record of everything. One example he cited was of GIS meter which is used to control water flowing.

Meenakshi Lekhi (Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, India) pointed some very important facts in order make a city smart and sustain it. As, in terms of financial structure, utility based model, waste management model, water management, education system, infrastructure. She said that without making any strategy regarding these terms, the goal of making cities as smart city cannot be achieved.

To demonstrate huge international interest towards India’s mission of Smart Cities, the expo hosted 4 individual countries Holland, Poland, Sweden, and Taiwan and participants from 40 other countries.

H.E. Mr. Chung-Kwang Tien (Ambassador to India, Embassy of Taiwan) gave example of some of the technology and facts about Taiwan which might be introduced in India as well such as “smart water meter” which gives the information about water quality and its usage. Also the information is connected to cloud for easily access. Other example was of usage of LED in traffic lights. Thus Taiwan will help India in terms of technology.

H.E. Mr. Harald Sandberg (Ambassador to India, Embassy of Sweden) focused on renewable energy and sustainable urban development. He also gave the information that 15 Swedish companies are participating in smart city project to work in areas of solar energy, water, traffic, parking, biogas, etc.

The three-day expo comprised an exhibition with 325 national and international companies showcasing trends and technologies for integrated smart city management. The exhibiting companies include leading multinationals to innovative start-ups - Dell International, Xerox, Ericsson, 3M India, Berger Paints, Godrej Security, Grundfos Pumps, Millenium Semiconductor, Tata Projects, Volvo, Yamaha, etc. offering solutions for smart cities India.

I heard out all speakers and found myself agreeing with all of them at some level. Going further, we the future of our country, should be closely associated with the concept of Smart Cities. The future lies in technological innovation, and what better way than participating in your own country’s technological evolution.

Rashi Agarwal
Student, INLEAD

Monday, June 6, 2016

Does Raghuram Rajan deserve to get a second term?

“He is rightly deemed as one of the very best central bank governors in the world”, say El – Erian, Allianz SE’s Chief economic advisor. Many bigwigs are backing a second term for our RBI governor. And why is this discussion in the offing? Raghuram Rajan’s tenure as RBI governor is up for renewal (or not), in September 2016. An RBI governor’s tenure is for about 3 years. Discussions are abuzz all around in India and abroad about the possibility of his extension. Hardly anyone is interested in whether the governor will cut rates or not, they are keen to know if he plans to stay put or move on.

Why is a central bank governor so important to any economy?

Well, it’s because he is just that, the governor. He is responsible for the country’s monetary policy. He is responsible for managing the liquidity in the country, which is so vital to the GDP growth of the economy.

According to an article in The Economic Times, dated 6th June, this is probably the first time since liberalization of the economy began in 1991 that the prospects of the financial markets and industry have become so inextricably linked with the office of the RBI governor, or rather, who’s in it.

History of RBI guvs in India

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the chief executive of India's central bank and the ex-officio chairperson of its Central Board of Directors. Indian Rupee currency notes, issued by the RBI, bear the governor's signature. Since its establishment in 1935 by the British colonial government, the RBI has been headed by 23 governors.

The first governor was a Britisher, Sir Osborne Smith, who was the governor for 2 years and 90 days. The first Indian to hold this post was CD Deshmukh who held the post from 11th June 1943 till 30th June 1949. Dr. Manmohan Singh was the 15th RBI governor and he held his position for 2 years & 120 days.

Often the ruling political party wants to bring in their favoured RBI governor, but there has been a different trend since YV Reddy. He was appointed the governor while NDA was in power & continued to be so in the subsequent UPA government in 2004.

Impact of Rajan’s exit

There’s speculation that Raghuram Rajan may want to return to academics post September 2016. So what would be adversely affected with him not getting a second term? So far as monetary policy is concerned, it is unlikely to be affected by the ongoing controversy, especially the one created by the loud-mouthed BJP politician, Subramaniam Swamy, who has been demanding his exit. India’s economy is growing at an impressive rate of 7.9% and that is a story in itself.

Raghuram Rajan unfortunately had been elevated to a superstar status by media. He’s had his successes and his failures, all which have been covered elaborately by all sections of media. His biggest success has been on the inflation front, contributed extensively by the falling oil prices. His crackdown on large corporate defaulters have won him kudos and made him the Indian public’s hero. However, he has often spoken out more than his predecessors which hasn’t really gone down well with the ruling party.
Dr. Manmohan Singh has often described governorship as the “loneliest job in India”. Let’s see if it’s vox populi (voice of the public) or a body of work that determines the future of our current governor.

Ms. Monica Mor

Sr. Faculty, INLEAD  

Dream SHANGRI–La and the impossibility of it

The dream of Shangri la or an Independent Tibet remains a distant but obvious one. The heart of every Tibetan, who has a very strong inclination toward their roots, is filled with angst against the Chinese subjugation. They dream of an independent Tibet where they can practice their religion, their culture and this feeling of nationalism hasn't been deterred by any occupational external threat, especially from those who 'just want the land not the people'. For the unaware, Tibetan culture is very unique and different. They have their own set of customs which make them different from the Chinese. Despite having a huge number of diaspora in thirty plus countries, their culture hasn't been hindered or diluted.

What is it about Tibet?

Since ancient times, the Tibetan plateau was enjoying its sovereignty and good relationships with different countries. The famous silk route was one of the prominent trade points of every nation. In the year 1959, the Chinese government led by Mao began an assault on the Tibetan kingdom which led to a series of fierce fighting between both parties and resulted in genocide of tens of thousands of innocent Tibetans. Around twice the number left the chaotic region and moved to the neighboring countries. Eventually, Tibetans were unable to withstand the Chinese assault, and they surrendered, realizing the imperialistic desire of Mao. The Chinese intentions were such that they wanted to abduct the spiritual guru, His holiness Dalai lama but were unsuccessful as the Tibetan guru in disguise fled the country taking asylum in India in Dharamshala where he is still there and running the government in exile with the help of Indian authorities and his staunch followers.

The Battle for Independence…

Since then, there have been a series of cases of human rights violation in Tibet and its ironical that while there are strong evidences of it, nothing has been done so far, even by the United Nations. Self-immolations of Tibetan monks, farmers and student altogether has become a common phenomenon. The capital, Lhasa, has become a highly fortified town and one of the highly militarized zones in the whole world. Without Beijing’s permission nobody is allowed to visit there, foreign media is banned, and the Tibetan people who are holding high positions in the Chinese government and are loyal to the state are also subjected to discrimination. Even to visit Tibet for family reunification, the Tibetan people living outside find it very cumbersome. The Chinese government is highly skeptical about every outsider visiting Tibet and hence most of them generally give up.

The situation now…

Because of the Chinese military and the faltering economy most countries are reluctant to step in and the native Tibetans are dying a slow death from the oppressions of Chinese. World powers have been silent on these issues as they might face the ire of the Chinese government which will effect economic as well as the Geo politics of the countries.

As we, the people of a humanely united world, we should do something which can stop this mayhem and make the world a more peaceful to live. One of the most famous and beloved Presidents of U.S.A Mr. Abraham Lincoln once said “Force is all conquering but it's victories are short lived”. The expansionist policy of any country will not be successful in a long run someday and it will for sure backfire. Motto of “live and let others live” should be followed by every human civilization.

-Mr. Prateek
 Student, INLEAD
 Batch: April 2016 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Legal Aspects of Multi-National Corporations- Industry Expert Session

Mr. Pranav Mahajan - India Legal Manager, BBC Global News India Pvt. Ltd, recently graced the INLEAD Campus to give INLEADers useful insights on the various Legal Aspects of Multi-National Corporations.

The session started with Mr. Mahajan speaking about the many legal stipulations in our country and the loop holes that make some of those ineffective. He shared some anecdotes from his personal experience as well as the issues that he faced while working across different organisations.

Mr. Mahajan then progressed towards giving a complete lowdown of the various acts governing an organization such as Companies Act, 2013; Labour law (EPF, gratuity,  minimum wages act, contract labour) Act. He also elaborated on the Intellectual Property laws and laws governing trademark, copyrights and patents. He gave students a flavour of the Indian constitution and revealed a startling fact that currently India has approximately 5000 central laws. Till date, around 3 crore cases are pending in Lower courts and 45 lakhs in High courts. He also gave real-life examples of the cases involving fraudulent practices like those in Satyam, Sahara etc. Another interesting fact he mentioned was the fact that out of every 400 working women, 70 women face some kind of sexual harassment from their peers or superiors in workplace and for that he Indian constitution has made it mandatory to have a harassment committee in all organizations. About this, he cited examples from the Tarun Tejpal case. 

All in all he spoke in great length across a diverse range of legal topics that kept the audience quite engrossed and made his session an insightful treat for everyone present.

Sahil Sangwan, October 2015, INBM: “The session was a unique one where we got to know a little more about the legalities that govern our business.

Ashish Kumar, October 2015, INBM: “I especially liked the bit on Intellectual property right. We didn’t know a lot of things that he shared with us.”

Monday, May 30, 2016

Trending in Food Service

Food service industry trends are changing, primary reasons being Globalization...Exposure...Millennials. While the focus always will be towards quality food, restaurants are also looking at selling an experience to their guest. Restaurants operating in metros and mini-metros are uplifting the predictable but expected restaurant business. While great food & beverage, ambience, pricing and courteous staff are essential factors, people always look for something new and diverse that a restaurant can offer.

Thematic restaurants are quite popular with guest and they do attract a lot of customers. People, of course will discuss and speak of food, but what they also would campaign for would the theme or the décor. Listed are few restaurants that are based on themes, while many may look incredible to dine at, there would be some you wish you didn’t know.

Ice Bar in Delhi is made of ice that includes the chairs and tables too. Guests are provided with coats and gloves. The restaurant maintains a temperature of -10. Kaidi kitchen in Kolkatta and Chennai is based on a jail theme and the staffs are dressed as prisoners and jailers. The Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai prices their drinks according to the popularity; Café Dalal Street in New Delhi too has the same service rules for beverages.

Some more to the list of interestingly themed restaurants

        1) 70 mm, Hyderabad; for Bollywood enthusiasts
        2) Bhaijaanz, Mumbai; definitely for Salman Khan fans
        3)  Taste of Darkness, Hyderabad; exactly as the name suggests
        4) Gufha, Bengaluru; themed like a natural cave
        5) Ciclo Café, Chennai; is India's first Cycling Café
        6) Natures Toilet Café, Ahmedabad; probably India's first-ever toilet themed cafe 
        7) Tihar Food Court, New Delhi; South Asia’s largest prison complex. Nothing unusual, except   that the employee, like most of his colleagues, would be a convict

Another trend that is catching up is “Food on the Move”. The concept is based on mobile cafes and restaurants. The set up could be on luxury buses, coaches or vans. While the concept has gained a lot of popularity in the West, making it commercially viable in India would lot depend on development of the infrastructure and streamlining of traffic?  Hijackk in Ahmedabad is a mobile bus restaurant. They have a fixed menu which they change frequently and the customers are taken around for a hour and half ride in Ahmedabad.

Latest innovation that’s really interesting is Edible Cutlery; imagine if the cutlery used could be edible. Hyderabad based Bakeys Food Pvt. Ltd has recently launched edible cutlery. They are made from edible flours; flavors can be added according to customers’ preference. They are governed by regulations laid by Food Safety & Standards Act. Whether restaurants will introduce them into their daily operations and would guest love it only time would tell.

To achieve success in any business format, one has to be different with pragmatic business sense. While it’s good to be fervent on innovation, restaurateurs should be cautious to not compromise on the basics like food quality, hygiene and friendly staff.

-Ms. Bindu Menon
 Sr. Faculty, INLEAD 

The BREXIT saga

For people wondering what does BREXIT mean, It is actually an abbreviation of “British Exit” and refers to the possibility that Britain will withdraw from the European Union. The country will hold a referendum on its EU membership on June 23, 2016.

“I’d be devastated if Brexit happened. I hope sense prevails in EU vote”, says Richard Branson, founder Virgin group, to Bloomberg. Many celebrities like Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, popular British exports to USA’s Hollywood have come out openly to oppose Brexit. There are many who are coming out in support of Brexit like British Indian MP from the Conservative Party, Priti Patel, who believes that Britain as a part of EU had been restrictive in their hiring strategy from outside EU.

So what is the history behind European Union and the subsequent talks of Britain exiting it altogether? Let's go down the memory lane…

European Union, popularly known as EU, is an economic-political union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe, and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. EU’s basic ethos was to make “war unthinkable  and materially impossible”. In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty or the Treaty on European Union, signed in Netherlands, helped create the European Union.

Since its signing of the EU Treaty and even before that when Britain had joined the European Economic Commission in 1973, there have always been debates within the country about the utility of being a part of the EU. Both the Labour and the Conservatives (the 2 main political parties in Britain) have often debated within and amongst themselves on the continued membership of EU.

The ongoing brouhaha

The current Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, from the Conservative party had promised before the 2015 elections that, if brought back to power would facilitate a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. However Cameron after his negotiations in favour of Britain, with Donald Tusk, the European Council President, did speak for remaining in EU or “Britain remains” (Bremain). Some of these concessions include enhanced recognition of the Great Britain pound, and "red card" system that would allow a bloc of EU parliaments to block legislation from Brussels.

The British public are fairly evenly split and about half of Conservative party MPs are in favour of the Brexit.

What happens if there’s Brexit

Bank of England’s Governor, Mark Carney, says that Brexit would be the biggest domestic risk to financial stability. Then again there are the opposers who believe that Brussel’s bureaucracy is a drag on British economy. The flavor of the world is such that economies want to step away from solidarity and community, according to theguardian.com. The bolts of the union are loosening and crisis of governance is emerging. A Brexit would mean the European Union may also look at disintegration.

- Ms. Monica Mor,

  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, May 23, 2016

Career Seminar for Nursing Administration

Nursing administration is a profile that is in huge demand in the Healthcare segment and there are many opportunities to train prospects who wish to specialize in nursing administration. INLEAD organized the career seminar for providing information to such prospects and candidates of nursing administration who are keen in pursuing this career.

The seminar was graced with the presence of Ms. Sonymol K., Nurse Supervisor and Head T&D, Dr. Madhvendra Singh, Director, Infiniti Connect and Ms. Khushboo Singh, Sr. VP, INLEAD.

A Nurse Administrator has immense responsibilities within a hospice. A nurse administrator creates work schedules, gives performance reviews, and develops work policies. Other job duties include keeping up established ethical and legal standards for job performance, attending administrative personnel meetings, and developing new employee training. Most of the work of a nurse administrator is done in an office and not on the care floor, so an administrator has little or no direct contact with patients. A nurse administrator may work in a hospital, nursing home, private doctor's office, home health care organization, or urgent care facility.

This was the kind of understanding provided by the panelists during the career seminar, which will definitely enthuse the participants to mull about and work on their advanced education.

Speaking about the seminar, Ms. Sonymol K. said, "I was very impressed with the turnout and am very happy that there is so much interest in the profile of Nursing administration."

Friday, May 20, 2016

The tough choice to make

There are a plethora of accommodation options that are available nowadays to guests. They can choose from luxury hotels to business hotels or budget hotels or serviced residences.  Since the options are many, guests are often left with the big decision of making a choice. While the decision might depend on various factors, like budget, location, occasion etc., there’s one particular option that is slowly but sturdily climbing the popularity charts- the serviced residences.

Serviced residences or apartments caters to people looking for both short as well as long term accommodation. As their equivalent hotels these too are equipped with all the hotel-like amenities. They stereotypically provide guest with fully furnished space along with cooking utensils. In comparison to hotels they are less expensive; benefits include more space and privacy, ease when travelling with a family, and can save money with cooking one's own meals.  They are mostly spruced with all the modern comforts one can find in a hotel.

Let’s take a look at how this segment started to gain popularity. The conception probably first started in the US. It all started with the progression of business travel and is now gaining repute in India’s hospitality industry. According to the Global Serviced Apartment Report, there’s an 80%increse in the number of serviced apartment taking it to a figure of 75000. In the 1990’s there was a lot of international travel that was happening due to economic liberalization, new set ups and joint ventures. Initially they stayed at hotels, because the concept of apartment hotels did not exist. Later when these travel started to become more frequent involving longer duration of stay, they chose to stay at any of the swelling serviced apartments.

The initial growth of serviced apartments though was driven by international business travelers or expats, the domestic business travelers have also backed in strengthening the same. Serviced apartments are gaining popularity in the urban market like Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. These segments are also gaining popularity with the leisure segments of travelers, as they too feel that stay at five-star hotels for longer period can get very expensive. With serviced apartments one gets the advantage of reasonably priced accommodation, more space, privacy and comfort of home cooking your own food. Some of these apartments come with high end housekeeping services and laundry.

While the Indian market has lot of stand-alone serviced apartments, many hotels are also launching new properties that would be launched as serviced apartments. They may be studio rooms or may have anywhere between one to a three bedroom. Serviced apartments that are managed and operated by hotel, the guest can enjoy all the facilities that a hotel would offer them; which include bed & breakfast, household assistance, gym, conference room and banqueting space. In simpler terms, they offer a home away from home with tremendous value for money.

Serviced apartments are here to stay and gain popularity. As of now they have major presence in metros and mini metros. In future their popularity can be extended to tier II and tier III cities such as Kanpur, Panipat, Kohlapur, Nasik etc. in many cities many such facilities are being built to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers.

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, May 16, 2016

Career Seminar with the Hilton Worldwide

INLEAD recently hosted the Hilton Hotels Worldwide on its campus for a Career Seminar. The PACE workshop was aimed at making the students aware about the various career opportunities they can explore with the esteemed organization.  Hilton Hotels Worldwide, a renowned brand in the hospitality sector, is expanding its wings in a big way and is coming up with many career opportunities.

Established in the year 1919 in, Texas, U.S.A., Hilton has thirteen different   brands in its kitty. Mr Amit, Head HR, Hilton Hotels Worldwide, spoke at length about the different job opportunities which the Hilton Worldwide is providing to young candidates who are willing to join the hotel industry. He reiterated that, those who have the zeal and interest should become a part of Hilton family. He went to state that they have two different programs to cater for the young recruits. First is Management Trainee program of two years and the other is General Manager training program in which the recruits less than one year can apply. If the recruit passes he/she can become General Manager in next five years in Hilton and will get international exposure.

Mr Amit and his team answered every related question of students like recruitment process of the hotel, their marketing strategies, growth etc. and all questions were answered diligently. The session was overall productive and students kept coming up with questions. Students also got to know many new things about one of the top notch brands of hotel industry.

Prateek Bhatt, April 2016, INBM: “The talk was very relevant for all of us who have just taken admission at INLEAD and are therefore exploring all possible avenues of growth.”

Akshay Bhatnagar, October 2015, INHM: “It was a session which proved to very beneficial to me, since I am from the hospitality sector. I really look forward to joining this company.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Who put the Action in Movies?

Action movies are becoming increasingly popular among the younger generation and that too all across the globe. People are seemingly in love with action adventure, action comedy, action horror etc. Film industries all around have been entertaining people a lot through their movies, and the genre of Action has been doing good business for the longest time.   

What is an Action movie?

Action movies are those in which characters are involved in a series of challenges such as physical feats, extended fight scene, violence and frantic chases. Action movies represent a character’s struggle against incredible odds as well as risky stunts.

The Great Train Robbery- the first action movie 
At present, CGI (computer generated imagery) have made production of action movies cheaper and direction much easier. Even visual effects (or VFX) can be worked upon with availability of software. In the early decades of the 20th century, all of the above required real professionals, whom we know as stuntmen. CGI have even changed the actions into something that maybe unrealistic and highly unbelievable, yet shown in cinemas.

A brief history of action movies.

“The Great Train Robbery” was the first action movie said some historian people. During 1920’s and 1930’s action movies became the norm. The 1940’s and 1950’s saw “Action” in a new form through war and cowboy movies.

The long-running success of the James Bond series (1960’s) introduced a staple of modern day action films.

Categories within Action movies.

Action movies have been further expended into different categories such as adventure, comedy, horror and spy etc.

1.      Action Adventure- examples are as Indiana Jones or Mad Max etc.
2.      Action Comedy- Dumb and Dumber, Big Momma’s House, Bad Boys and Rush Hour etc.
3.      Action Horror- Gore, Demons, Vampire, Zombies.
4.      Disaster films- Independence Day, San Andreas, Volcano, The Day After Tomorrow.

Martial arts, Spy, Action thriller, Science-fiction are some other categories of the action movies. Now the Action movies are loaded with fiction and superhero films with many Marvel comics character’s being used in big budget films.

Sylvester Stallone (Rambo), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), Bruce Willis(Die Another Day), Will Smith(Independence Day), Vin Diesel(Fast & Furious), Angelina Jolie(Lara Croft), Scarlett Johansson(Black Widow), and Jennifer Lawrence(Hunger Games & X Men) are well known actors worldwide. They all have given big action movies to Hollywood.

All time highest grossing movie was the Avatar (2009) with a domestic gross of $760.5 million as per 2015. This was soon after in 2015 overtaken by The Fast and the Furious 7.

As you read this blog, there are many big action thriller movies coming in Hollywood as well as in the Bollywood industry to make money & for your entertainment. An important disclaimer in Action movies for audience is that “The actions or drama you see are totally done under the eyes of professionals and experts and to not try any of those actions at home, school or any other place as they can harm you as well your dear ones. Just enjoy and entertain yourself with the Action movies and be safe.” Amen to the genre of Action movies!

- Jeevan Thakur
  Student, INLEAD                                                                                                                                                                      

Monday, May 9, 2016

Personalizing Guest Experience

To be perceived as a brand or hotel that personalizes guest experience, are hotels giving into the rising guest demand? Is this the only way to be omnipresent and to be popular choice among guests? With new technology, mobile apps and hotels in all brands and sizes evolving every day, the industry will have to be innovative and go all-out to give guests incredible experience to be competitive.
An online Personal Experiences study shows that 74% of users loose interest when they don’t find anything that can interest them or have their preference’s identified. Most of guest looks for things that can catch their fancy, read their minds and also be able to deliver the same. They expect a hotel to match up to their individual needs and not offer something that is readily available or can be bought off the shelf. So how can hotels personalize guest experience?

Property Management Systems can bring about enterprise level automation to any segment of the industry with the unlimited data storage. Information from reservation or during registration can be stored to be retrieved at a later time should they book again. Cloud data enables the information to be shared at other hotels within the chain leading to enhanced guest experience. Hotels today spend a lot of time and effort in creating guest history and updating guests personal information, studying guest behavior, mannerism along with their likes and dislikes.

In a survey done by Yahoo, 78% of guests desired for some kind of a personalization. The ways how a hotel can achieve this would be by:

1) Personalized emails
2) Courtesy calls in room
3) Post departure thank you emails
4) Online guest feed back
5) Guest designed services
6) Favorite newspaper/magazine addressed with name
7) Suggesting spa reservation
8) In-room check-in
9) Special services and amenities for women

However what could be a treat to one person could be inconvenience to the others. For e.g. an invitation for a dinner at the hotels premium restaurant to a family travelling with young children might not be interesting, but for a couple on their honeymoon this could be alluring.
Hotels are focusing on delivering a more intimate experience….taking it to the next level, while the physical structure of the room would remain the same, what changes is the services and amenities during the stay.

The “Mass” tactic to providing the same product to the entire guest cannot be a successful long term plan. Guest today is demanding and looks for products that define individual happiness. Streamlining the delivery mechanism around personalization will eventually lead to sustainability.

-Ms. Bindu Menon, Sr.Faculty, INLEAD

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