Monday, October 5, 2015

Business of Bollywood

“Vijay: Aaj mere paas paisa hai, bangla hai, gaadi hai, naukar hai, bank balance hai, aur tumhare paas kya hai?

Ravi: Mere paas Bollywood hai!”

What do we know the Hindi film industry as? Many would argue against the name, but Oxford has accorded this term a place of its own in its English dictionary. The word “Bollywood” is an epithet for the film industry based out of Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Bollywood is one of the largest film producers in India and one of the largest centers of film productions in the world. In terms of the number of films produced each year, Bollywood is even ahead of Hollywood as well as the Chinese film industry.  While annually about 500 movies are produced in Hollywood and about 800 in China, the numbers touch a staggering 1600 in India. This amounts to a gross box office of $8 billion per annum.

The Hindi film industry has been growing by leaps and bounds year by year and the earnings too have been increasing exponentially. It has now become a mad game about numbers where anything grossing below 100 Crores isn’t even considered worth considering.

The budget allotted to movies varies across different production houses depending upon the star cast and their respective packages. The net amount is pocketed as profit before tax. During the first decade of the 21st century, there was a steady rise in the ticket price, a tripling in the number of theaters and an increase in the number of prints of a film being released, which led to a large increase in the box office collections.

The highest grossing movie in Bollywood till now has been PK from Vinod Chopra Productions with the worldwide gross earnings to the tune of Rs. 735 crores (about $110 million), closely followed by an in-theatres movie,  Bajrangi Bhaijan with earnings of Rs. 636 crores (about $95 million). These numbers are however nowhere close to gross box office of Hollywood movies like Titanic, Avtar and Jurassic World which is more than 1 billion dollars each.

Mega budget movies with special effects and extremely picturesque locations have been facilitated in Bollywood with the provision of 100% FDI.  That is the reason why we see the presence of foreign enterprises like 20th century Fox, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Brothers more often these days at the starting reels of movies. Then again, in the case of Hollywood, it’s not just the large screen, their earnings come by way of DVD or Blue Ray releases, DTH releases (paid followed by unpaid). Every movie is attached with plethora of merchandise sales, ad space sales within the movie as also during screenings (both in large and small screens), as also mobile apps where movies are sold for mobile viewing after all other screens are exhausted.

These days immense marketing activities are conducted before release of a movie by way of music releases, fan engagements with movies stars, social media trailer promos, sometimes unwholesome controversies and also the movie stars joining some social cause to create a favourable public image around them and their movie. All this is done in order to drag the audience to the holy grail of movies, the cinema theatres.

The business of Bollywood is no longer taken lightly, since it has started contributing to the government’s coffers by way of entertainment taxes. Yet, crores spent may just go down the drain if script and story fails to interest the audience. Then there is the long wait for the next release in order to cover the losses of the previous one. But, nothing can dampen the spirits of the Hindi film Industry as they say “Bade Bade Deshon Mein Aisi Choti Choti Baatein Hoti Rehti Hai.”

- Ms. Monica Mor

  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Courtesy: Google Images 

Do Non-Medicos make good Healthcare Administrators?

According to a survey done by Frost and Sullivan, the healthcare industry is expected to grow at a rate of 17-22% by the year 2020. This growth can be attributed to rise in incomes, easier access to high-quality healthcare facilities and greater awareness amongst the consumers. Simple derivations of the above facts lead us to the conclusion that there is a definitive increase in the demand. And, balancing this increase in the demand, the supply of the concerned product will also have to increase at the same pace. So, which means more Hospitals and more managers to manage these facilities. 

With the growth of the healthcare industry has come the simultaneous growth of  Hospital Administrators- “The New Age Influencer”. They are the leaders who often operate as the “face” or “first point of contact” for their organization. The big question here is who is a better administrator, a medico or a non-medico?

Health care administrators must always maintain professionalism in behavior and presence. They must be proficient at adjusting to new developments in technology, legal matters and policies. Apart from being flexible, creative, analytical and organized they should most importantly be able to effectively communicate with people at all professional levels, specialties and roles. An effective hospital manager should be aware of what is going on in their department or facility, and should have details of all employees’ daily responsibilities.

A bachelor’s degree in health administration is typically minimum requirement for entry level positions in healthcare administration. However, it is important to note that those who hold a bachelor’s degree might not be qualified for higher positions, and thus their chances for advancement could be limited. A master’s degree in healthcare administration is a more common educational path for those who wish to reach upper management, and can open doors to positions with much more responsibility.

Nowhere in the academic eligibility or personal trait requirement is it mandated that you require a healthcare degree to become an administrator. For me, it hence becomes a myth that “medicos make better administrator”. If I need to quote names for non-medicos who have succeeded more than their medico counterparts, the list will be endless.

According to Dr. S K Biswas, Academy of Hospital Administration (AHA), “I believe non-medicos can make better administrators because unlike doctors their minds are less occupied. Therefore, they are better performers. On the other hand, the skills of a doctor should not be wasted especially in developing countries where the doctor to patient ratio is already low. Moreover, most of the work health administrators do in administration doesn’t require medical knowledge.”

Summarizing the entire discussion, I would say, that it isn’t “what you were” but it is “what you are” and “what you will be” that matters!

-Ginny Kaushal
  Faculty, INLEAD 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Whose Ego Is It Anyway?

Ever wondered why our parents would say- “Don’t talk to strangers” or “Always eat food with your mouth closed”? Ever wondered why at times you would skip the traffic signal when it’s red, knowing it’s not a good practice? Ever wondered why you would refuse to a deal, when it’s not feasible?

The human brain functions differently in different situations. The reaction to these different situations is governed by our State of Mind, our Ego. In early 1950s, renowned psychologist Eric Berne defined ego as “a consistent pattern of feeling and experience directly related to a corresponding consistent pattern of behavior”. In simple words, it’s simply our state of self or, how we react in different situations. 

Berne classified Ego into three states - the Parent Ego, the Adult Ego and the Child Ego.

The Parent Ego State

This state is driven by the feelings, thinking and behavior we have absorbed from our previous generations or parents and significant others. As we grow up, we instill these aspects from our parents and caretakers. We may notice that sometimes we are saying and doing things just as our parents/grand parents may have done; even though consciously we may not necessarily want to. For example, many superstitions we follow have been passed on to us by our parents or elders; they may not have any supporting logic.

The Adult ego state

This state is driven out of logical thinking – where we can differentiate the good from the bad, the right from the wrong. The Adult Ego state is free from any preconceived notions and lets us see people as they are rather than what they are projected as. We can ask for information rather than make assumptions. For example, if you don’t know how to swim, you would not get into a swimming pool, no matter how much your friends would insist.

The Child ego state

Imagine that your boss calls you into his or her office; you immediately get a churning in your stomach and wonder what might have gone wrong. And then there are situations when we would speed our cars exceeding the permissible speed limits, or do something which we know is not allowed or permitted. The Child ego state is governed by such ‘I don’t care’ attitude.
Taking the best from the past and using it appropriately in the present is an assimilation of the positive aspects of both our Parent and Child ego states. This is usually called the Integrating Adult. This means we are constantly updating ourselves through our everyday experiences and using this to keep ourselves aware.

Whatever type of ego you might have, don’t let it get the better of you as Rusty Eric rightly said “When you allow your ego to control your thoughts, everything you believe becomes an illusion.”

- Sumit Chakravarty, 
  Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

Monday, September 28, 2015

INLEAD’s Got Talent 2015

INLEAD has been organizing its annual activity – INLEAD’s Got Talent every year, with a different flavor. This time too, continuing with the trend, IGT 2015 was organized in the form of a day excursion for the students at BEST WESTERN Resort Country Club, Manesar, Gurgaon.

The event commenced with a witty introduction from the show anchors – Mr. Joe Marshal (April ‘14 batch) and Mr. Sandeep Mohan(Jan ‘15 batch). IGT 2015 showcased the talent of the students in various forms of dances, singing, drama and fashion show. The screening of the participants was initially done by holding several rounds of auditions at the INLEAD Campus, which was followed by two weeks of rigorous rehearsals for the Grand Finale. The students also contested for various titles like - Mr. & Miss INLEAD, Mr. & Miss Confident, Mr. & Miss Best Smile titles.

Though it was a competition, the students showed great camaraderie and helped each other with their preparation.  The activity gave the students an opportunity to appreciate differences, giving them an insight into team building, creativity, leadership skills etc. The participants, along with the organizers and mentors had worked hard to present a variety of performances.

The winners were awarded by Ms. Khushboo Singh, Senior Vice President - INLEAD, Mr. Deepak Sharma, Dean - INLEAD and Ms. Nikita Sabherwal, Program Director (Healthcare) - INLEAD. The event was drawn to culmination with the crowning of Mr. and Miss INLEAD and the dance floor thrown open to the students for a DJ jam session. The students also rejoiced a lot of other activities like camel rides, swimming and rain dance.

Following is the list of winners:

1. Miss INLEAD: Saakshi Jain (EMPR July ‘15)
2. Mr. INLEAD: Sandeep Mohan (INBM Jan ‘15)
3. Miss Confident: Shubhangi Singh (EMPR July ’15)
4. Mr. Confident: Jaskaran Singh Lamba (EMPR April ’15)
5. Miss Best Smile: Shalini Rai (EMPR July ’14)

6. Mr. Best Smile: Ritheish R. (INBM July ’14)

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty
  Faculty, INLEAD 

Discover how the Michelin guide made a tyre company the world’s finest dining authority

Michelin is a world famous tyre company, whose mascot is a huge white fluffy man called Bib. But, one might wonder why I being a Hotel Management teacher, am I so interested in a tyre company? Well, the story goes something like this. This particular world renowned tyre company’s Michelin Star is one of the most well-regarded ranking systems for restaurants in the world.

What is the Michelin guide?

When a restaurant is awarded a Michelin star, it’s a sure short sign that the chef has succeeded at the highest level. It’s an assurance of fine dining quality and restaurants. Michelin awards 0-3 stars on the basis of anonymous reviews. The assessors concentrate on the quality, mastery of technique, personality and consistency of the food, and not on interior décor, table setting, or service quality. The stars are just about the food and nothing else.

Michelin brothers, Andre and Edouard, who started the Michelin guide came up with the idea of food guide.  Under the Michelin guide, the restaurants are rated in a three-star system. 

One star: Indicates a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.

Two star: A restaurant worth a detour, indicating excellent cuisine and skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality.

Three star: A three stars means a restaurant worth a special journey, indicating exceptional cuisine, precisely executed and using superlative ingredients.

‘Bib Gourmand’ features restaurants offering good food at moderate prices. Apart from Star/ Bib Gourmand, the restaurants also receive ‘fork & spoon’, which stands for overall comfort and quality. One ‘fork & spoon’ represents comfortable restaurant and five signifies luxurious.

Red Michelin Guides are so powerful that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay cried when the Michelin Guide stripped the stars from his New York restaurant, calling the food "erratic." Pioneers of nouvelle cuisine believe that Michelin is the only guide that counts.

Michelin guide and India

India unfortunately still does not have its own red guide. It does have a green one though. A green Michelin guide ranks tourist destinations rather than restaurants. They are still waiting to see how the Green Michelin Guide that was launched in Chennai in March 2013 will do before deciding if launching the red one is of any productive value. Though restaurants in India have still not been ranked, Indian restaurants and chef outside are Michelin star graded. Chef Atul Kochar, is the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star for his debut London restaurant Tamarind in 2001. Popular Indian Michelin star chefs are Vineet Bhatia, of Zaika and Rasoi; and Chef Vikas Khanna, of the popular Indian restaurant Junoon.

The restaurant scene in India is getting classier and more posh every year. Also the term ‘Michelin Star’ has gained popularity along with the profession of a chef thanks to various TV shows. Hopefully India will have its own Red Guide soon!

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Hospitality Industry and Social Media

It’s a common belief in the business of hospitality that if they use technology beyond a certain limit they would end up losing contact with their customers and eliminate an opportunity to provide hospitality. The problem here is that, at the time when hospitality standards were being developed no one had thought about the impact that internet, cell phones, and social networking would have on the world and our lives. All interactions between the hospitality staff and customers were all personal interactions. A challenge that the industry faces today is to determine when it is advisable to use technology and when it is advisable to have direct customer interaction.  

The industry currently is on a rise with major innovative change. Hotels are making their presence felt everywhere on social networking sites, mobile apps etc. The power of communication today lies in the PALM of a traveler. The likelihood of a guest tweeting for any issue is more than the same guest picking the phone or waking to the lobby for an inquiry. This also takes care of lot of ‘in the moment’ reactions. If done right, social customer service can not only retain current customers, but also can attract new ones. But customers nowadays expect seamless issue resolution and hence the room for error is minimal. Hotels can adopt various ways to improvise social customer service to engage guests. Some of them are listed below. 

• Decrease Response Time: Hotels raise guest expectations when it comes to service. They want quick and efficient response. The turnaround time for any issues raised has to be less than an hour. One would not keep a guest on hold for 45 minutes or make him stand for that long in a hotel lobby. 

• Increase Responsiveness: In Travel and Tourism Industry, reviews by the guest can be very influential to other guests when they are deciding on where to stay and which hotel brand to trust. Many guests look up to sites like TripAdvisor, for reviews etc.  One needs to make sure that they are active on these sites and reply to all the reviews as soon as possible. 

• Keep issues public: Try to keep issues as public as possible. Doing so shows that there is nothing to hide and that you’re willing to pro-actively engage with your customers.

With the existing competition one has to keep up with the pace of things happening around. Social customer service has the ability to turn guest into happy returning customers. But in a rush to do so the hotels should balance right between technology and human touch. The key would be to take wise decisions and understand that different customer sets define hospitality in different ways. 

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

NGOs and India- The current situation

How often have we wondered, cribbed and commented adversely at the reach - or rather the lack of it - of public and private sector institutions’ in far flung areas which are tough to locate even on Google maps. The problem with many of us is that we choose to ignore the situation in hand after some cribbing and serious mulling over sessions, while some others choose to take matters in their hand and do something about it.  The NGO (non-governmental organizations) community is one such community. They can often surprise us by not only their presence in these places but also facilitation of development. Location is but one aspect. More often than not, it’s the different sectors where they operate in, that can literally leave us flummoxed. Want to know how are they doing their bit for the society? Read the article and find out. 

What are NGOs and what do they basically do?

NGOs are a very important component of the Civil Society.  A Civil society usually encompasses all organisations and associations that exist outside the state.  They have vision and goals which differ significantly from that of a for-profit organization, and hence more oriented towards societal welfare. Their priority would be to work with marginalized and backward communities. A whole lot of them work independently from governmental interference and are technically non-profit. If they do make profit, it would be circulated back into the system for developmental work and not distributed amongst employees or amongst the board of governors.  

The current stats

There are close to 3 million NGOs in India, majority of them operating in the rural sectors. Their contribution towards employment and the GDP have been increasing gradually with every subsequent year. About a third of the NGOs are registered under at least one of the mandatory acts like the Societies Registration Act, Companies Act, and Public trust of the respective states of location. For an NGO to be considered eligible for donations by any other organization or governmental bodies there have to be accreditations from the erstwhile Planning Commission (now known as NITI Ayog), from Credibility Alliance, and should be registered with the online site called Many NGOs receive funding from foreign contributors under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act), but unfortunately due to ambiguity in the source and utilization of funds, the government has recently put approximately 30,000 NGOS under scanner.

How does an NGO aid in the development of our society?

NGOs with the prime motive of working for societal development operate at the grassroots level to uplift the downtrodden and to provide opportunities to those seeking them. In fact, the NGO community is responsible for an approximate contribution of Rs. 50,000 crore per annum to the country by way of salaries, rental payments, operating expenses, etc.. This sector has been employing about 30 lakhs workers and, an equal number work pro bono.

An NGO needs to choose its sphere of sectorial development, be it the social sector, healthcare sector, environment preservation, education, etc. The different micro areas of operation include: Education of poor children, Remedial education of government school students, Adult education, Women welfare, Housing & shelters, Culture & recreation, Religious propagations, Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation, Autism care etc.. There are also some NGOs that are advocacy NGOs which fight for human rights like the Human Rights Law Network, fight against corruption like the Anti-Corruption Council of India, or even run campaigns like anti-tobacco, no-honking, gender sensitivity, reoccupying streets, etc. The myriad sectors where they function in are a manifestation of their capability in delivering at the beneficiary level, despite pecuniary issues.

Why do we need them?

The presence of so many NGOs world over is very critical to help take development (be it social or skill level)and opportunities to those places where the Governmental machineries are unable to penetrate. Many of the International NGOS (INGOs) are doing good work in India too like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Charity Aids Foundation, Hope Foundation, USAID to name a few.

While there has always been some amount of skepticism attached with the Non - Governmental sector, there can be no taking away the credit of those who have been doing excellent work over the years like the Salaam Balak Trust, Child Relief & You, and the Smile Foundation. One needs to observe the functioning of the civil society with a different lens –from the one we use to assess private organizations- to understand their deeper contributions in any society.

So, if you’re really interested in making a true contribution to the society, I would request you to become a member of an NGO right away or even better open one of your own.

 -Ms. Monica Mor
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD

An experience which touched my heart…

What do you do when you see an Ambulance struggling for its way in the middle of a traffic fiasco? While you ponder over this tough question, I would like to share with you a recent experience of mine which really touched my heart and made be believe that there’s still good left in the society.

Here I go!

It’s a routine for many of us to push our way ahead, honking, saving our vehicle from all sides screaming at others, getting screamed at, calling out names (with windows closed) while on our way in heavy traffic during peak office hours.

I’m no different. In the middle of this mess one day, I noticed a man in a green shirt (I have a so called short term memory so this has to be really inspirational if I remember the color of his shirt) waving frantically at me in my side view mirror and constantly honking to force me to make way. In routine circumstances, I would have increased the volume of my car stereo and would have chosen to completely ignore him but, since I was running late and suffering from lose stomach accompanied by high temperature (in short Viral fever) I was at the peak of my worst mood ever and I wanted to just get out of the car and give the man a piece of my mind. All of this happened within just a fraction of a second and it took me a while to realize that the sound of an ambulance siren which I was hearing from the past few minutes had suddenly got louder and seemed closer to me now. I didn’t take much time to put things together and figure out that he was actually clearing way for the ambulance and I swiftly dodged my car to one side giving way to both the vehicles. My anger for the man suddenly turned into respect and I started following this biker and ambulance for the sheer curiosity of knowing if the “the Sagacious Fellow” is able to get the ambulance out of the traffic mania and If I could be of any help to them. I could only do this for a while to the best of my capacity as my other road mates started giving me a hard time.

 My heart says he didn’t look like he was related to the patient as he was dressed for office with his backpack and lunchbox hanging from one side and seemed as any other biker on his way to office who just suddenly decides to rescue someone seeking urgent medical help.

Witnessing this short melodrama on the road that day made me recall all the times I have seen an Ambulance stuck in traffic and did nothing. I could relate to the desperation the relatives of the patients would have been going through to get out of the chaos.  A question struck me immediately and I would like to ask you the same, Can our system and more importantly our people not adapt to a system where they proactively start making way for an ambulance or we could have a pilot rider making way and clearing the traffic ahead (Remember the scene in the famous Aamir Khan movie 3 Idiots?) It would not only save time and help preserve the golden hour of emergency treatment but also increase the accountability of our citizens in contributing to build a better emergency healthcare plan for public at large.

-Ms. Ginny Kaushal
  Faculty, INLEAD 

Is it ethical to market Healthcare?

The debate about whether it is ethical to market healthcare or not has been on like forever. Traditionally, healthcare marketing was limited to only “word of mouth” and now it has reached a point where it includes everything and anything ranging from customized food to the patient’s travel package in the most exotic locations as an adjunct to his healthcare.

Can we actually compare two extravagantly expensive and lavish corporate hospitals with each other and say one is less than the other. Is it morally correct to say that one hospital is doing better than its competitors or their doctors are more qualified than the ones working with others? Maybe not, maybe there is hardly any difference in the scope of services these two are providing and the efforts and budget they are sparing for attaining the wow levels of satisfaction amongst their savvy customers (read patients). How many of these are real differences and how many are just perceived differences?

What has led to this trend?

So, what has led to this “Star Wars” in a profession as noble as healthcare? It’s the sudden growth of the corporate hospitals, globalization of healthcare trends, medical tourism, increasing customer centric approach and increased number of private players in the industry which has contributed to this hoard of new-fangled selling strategies. Along with this come the unethical practices, false promises, gimmick marketing and fraud claims. So how does a patient differentiate between a genuine customer communication made to introduce a new innovative technology and a claimant indulging in act of puffery?

The Solution

I think, all we need to focus here is on drawing the line. Healthcare Marketing shouldn’t be focusing on portraying yourself as superior than the other where in reality you are not. Healthcare Marketing should rather be concentrating on highlighting your efforts towards building your brand values and working towards the ultimate focus of patient centric approach.

If done appropriately, ethical healthcare marketing can get you more profits, patients and cases you want and build your brand image as you have missioned.

So, I think, in the end, it is all about doing it with the right attention and hopefully the healthcare representatives will soon choose to follow this path rather than going for over-the-top marketing tactics.

-Ms. Ginny Kaushal
 Faculty, INLEAD 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sous Vide - a new cooking technique in Hotels

The smooth functioning of a five star hotel is typically dependent on seven major departments namely, Housekeeping, Food and Beverage, Engineering, Accounting, Front office, Security and Human Resources etc. Among these, the Food and Beverage department is considered as one of the most important aspects of the Uniqueness of a hotel.

In order to maintain their uniqueness, every hotel tries to offer their customers with the best of options. They keep on innovating and trying out new techniques in order to keep alive the customers interest. One such new technique which has taken the hotel Industry by storm in the recent times is the Sous Vide cooking method.

It was couple of months back that I came across Sous Vide - a new approach to cooking methodology. Intrigued by the concept cooking technique, I decided to learn about this new entrant in the kitchens and here’s what I found out.

The term Sous Vide (pronounced as Soo – Veed) is actually a French term which means under vacuum. It’s a culinary technique in which vacuum – sealed food is immersed in a water bath and cooked at precise and consistent temperature. Here, the food is cooked for a longer period of time at a lower temperature. The precision in temperature is what gives the food its perfection and also eliminates the concerns of overcooking or the food being underdone. This cooking methodology also ensures that the juices and aroma is sealed which otherwise can get lost in normal cooking process.

How it began?

The technique was first developed by Chef George Pralus at the internationally renowned Michelin three star restaurant in Troisgros in Roanne, France in the mid 1970’s. It was originally practiced to minimize the shrinkage and optimally cooking delicate foie gras.

Sous Vide cooking method has been successful in creating a culinary wave of innovation and creativity in the last two decades. It has become a top secret of chefs at major restaurants around the world. Sous Vide Supreme is the appliance that is making this cooking technique now easily affordable and accessible to home cooks.

Why use it?
  1.  Its new and the unique cooking methodology yields different and better results.
  2. The texture and flavor cannot be replicated by any other cooking methodology.
  3. It’s easy and fool proof.
  4. Delivers gourmet taste.
  5. Imparts added nutritional flavor to food
What are the steps involved?
  1. Season and  seal
  2.   Simmer: drop pouches in controlled water bath
  3. Serve: most can be served directly, but some can be seared on grill or with a kitchen torch for beautiful color and caramelized flavor

The Science involved. 

This technique relies on ability of water to transfer heat to food. The water transfers heat through vacuum sealed food 10 times more efficiently than air does.

So, the next time you visit a five star hotel; don’t forget to get a taste of the Sous Vide cooking technique and do share your experience on the same.

 - Ms. Bindu Menon
   Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy: Google Images

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bitcoins – are we ready for digital money?

The digital wave has hit the humankind like never before. Everything from shopping to booking our tickets to ordering food has all gone the digital way. We have actually become so dependent on technology that what was made as a way to help us, has now become a way of life for most of us. So, it comes as no surprise that man in the name of development has also given birth to a special kind of digital currency called Bitcoin. Don’t know what it is? Here, read the article and find all the answers you have been looking for.

What is Bitcoin?  

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. It’s unit for representation could be BTC, XBT or .Small amounts of bitcoins used as alternative units are called millibitcoin (mBTC), microbitcoin (µBTC) and Satoshi. The Bitcoin protocol was formulated as a payment system by Satoshi Nakamoto, supposedly a Japanese, in 2008 and the open source code for the same was shared online in 2009. There is a mystery behind the creator’s identity, to the extent that it may not have been a Japanese and that it’s a group of creators, and not just one.

How do they work?

Bitcoin uses peer to peer technology to operate with no central bank or authority. Managing transactions and issuing Bitcoins are collectively done by the network. To use a Bitcoin, one needs to install a Bitcoin wallet in his computer / mobile phone. Bitcoin wallets keep a secret piece of data called “private key” or “seed”, which is used to sign transactions and serves as a proof of the authenticity of transactions.

“Block chain” is a shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies, and all confirmed transactions are included in the Block chain. The transactions are confirmed using Bitcoins via a process called “mining”. Mining enforces a chronological order in Block chain, protects neutrality of the network and prevents users from rolling back their spends and misusing or reusing the Bitcoins.

The rise of Bitcoins 

Over time, Bitcoin as a form of payment for products and services has grown, and merchants are incentivized to accept it as the fees are lower than the 2-3% levied by credit card processors.

The problem

The European Banking Authority  and  other sources have warned that bitcoin users are not protected by refunds or chargebacks (returning of funds to consumer by the charging bank for settlement of debts). In retail transactions, however, this cryptocurrency does not hold much momentum. The use of Bitcoins by criminals has attracted the attention of many regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement and  media. In 2012, a study stated that 4.5% to 9% of all transactions in Bitcoin were within Deep Web (a world wide web that exists on ‘dark net’, which overlays the public internet) also called Silk Road, where one can access sites on child pornography, murder-for-hire and  weapons purchase. Then, there have been many instances of Bitcoin Ponzi (fraud) schemes as malwares also started stealingusers’ Bitcoins.

Coming closer to India, The Reserve Bank of India has often issued warnings against usage of Bitcoins as it may leave users exposed to financial, legal & security related risks. Despite these warnings, Bitcoin has been gaining currency in India and quite a few trading platforms have sprung up catering to Indians wanting to purchase Bitcoins for Rupees.

The Big Question

But the question still hangs in the air: Are we ready for a digital currency? Maybe, not right now. However, going forward we may be more open to using digital currencies or cryptocurrencies, if there are enough protective firewalls in place and, when we become increasingly environment conscious and work towards printing less currency notes.

What’s your take?

-Monica Mor
 Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Capacity Building in Hospitals: From Knowing to Doing!

Albert Einstein once rightly said, “Education is not the learning of the facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Learning is an ongoing process. One learns with all the experiences and people that they encounter on a daily basis.  The world today is advancing at such a supersonic speed that what was in trend yesterday becomes a stale news tomorrow.  Hence, there’s a continuous needs to innovate and reinvent yourself every day in order to survive.  Capacity Building is one such process which helps us to achieve this. 

Capacity Building in health is basically “the development of sustainable skills, organizational structures, resources and commitment to health improvement in health and other sectors, in order to prolong and multiply health gains many times over”. One of the main components of capacity building is Skills development, which entails creating and providing knowledge and training to professionals within the respective organizations.

Your staff might have a current level of competency and skill set which is at par with the current industry benchmarks but as the time progresses or as the industry sets its new yardsticks, the skills which were once sufficient and up to date become trivial by the then standards. So, the mantra is to continuously keep building your capacity. 

A study done in Two Intensive Care Units of a 500 Bedded multi-specialty hospital of Delhi NCR echoed the same thing. The report showed the significant positive impacts a particular training program can have  on improving the Knowledge and Practices of Critical care nurses.

During the study, a structured questionnaire was developed in consultation with   WHO Standard Precaution of infection control. The findings of the study showed that the majority of the nurses were females in the age group of 20-30 and had good (KAP 81-90%) Knowledge, Attitude and Practice related to Standard Precautions for Infection Control. The results further stated that there is a significant impact of Knowledge and Attitudes of critical care nurses on their self-reported practices. The study also analyzed the impact of a training intervention on the KAP Scores of Nurses and showed that training has a positive impact and significantly increases knowledge levels related to standard precautions of Infection Control.

The study thus concludes that as Knowledge and Attitude of the Critical care nurses significantly affects their practices for infection control, it becomes imperative for the hospitals to ensure that the nurses have a good level of knowledge and positive attitude for infection control. By implementing regular training programs we can ensure that the staff has sound knowledge and positive attitudes and hence we can inculcate an environment of patient safety. Skill development will not only help in building capacity of efficiently trained staff in healthcare organizations but will also safeguard the basic right of patients of having a safe and healthy environment during their stay at the hospital.

“Everyday is a learning process. Life is a marathon that needs a lot of perseverance.”

-Ginny Kaushal, 
 Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to Ace the Behavioral Interview

“Congratulations! Your resume has been shortlisted for the interview."

These are the words   which give you butterflies in your stomach and put you right into motion.  After the initial mini celebration is over , the big thing dawns on you, that the real deal starts now and hence, you pack up your emotions and begin your preparation for the D-Day—the interview.

But wait! What sort of questions should you prepare for? Would you only be preparing the traditional questions or some behavioral questions as well?

Let’s find an answer to this question by first understanding the basic difference between these two types of interviews.

Traditional v/s Behavioral interview

In a traditional interview, the HR asks some basic set of questions in order to seek as much as information as they can in a given period of time. This includes open and closed ended questions like ‘tell me about yourself?’, ‘why should I hire you?’, and ‘what are your strengths?’, ‘are you open to relocate?’ Such questions help the HR in figuring out the fitment for the given profile. On the other hand, Behavioral interviews are comparatively more comprehensive and difficult to crack. In behavioral interviews, specific questions are asked in order to target and understand a specific behavior of the candidate.

It is a popular belief that  a person’s past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. On the basis of the person’s past performance and work record, an interviewer predicts the future on-the-job behavior of the candidate.

Nowadays, employers lay a lot of focus on the behavioral interviews as they use it as a perimeter   to check, whether you have the competencies needed for the job in question.

For the people who aren’t well aware about the concept of Competency, “Competencies are the set of skills required to perform a particular job.” In simple words, Competency = Job Behavior.

While designing the behavioral questions, the employer considers your resume; the desired competencies required for the job profile in question and then structure the interview questions around it. At the time of the interview, you will be further probed for more details to cross check and to measure your consistency with the answers.

Irrespective of whether you are an experienced professional or a fresh graduate, you should be prepared for the behavioral interviews as they play a very prominent role in helping you get the job.

Preparing for behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews are quite structured and therefore, your answers should also be likewise, that is, not too long or too short. It’s a kind of ‘story telling’ because you are required to share past instances and experiences to justify your answer.

Therefore, while preparing for such an interview, you should make rigorous efforts to create stories with parlance to the relevant competencies.
  • Creating stories from the past that show favorable behaviors or actions and creating a short description of the same, which covers the relevant information in brief.
  •  All the answers should have proper opening, middle explanation and a conclusion.
  • Be honest  as you can as there would be further probing based on  the answers you give.
  •   Bring variety to the answers in terms of time or the area that you choose to give the example about, like school life, college life, last organization etc.
  • Listen to the question very carefully, evaluate the most relevant example and narrate it carefully.

Remember that it’s just not all about having the right skills, but also about how well you are able to market your skills to the interviewer. And, with the right preparation and marketing behind you, who knows you might land up your dream job because as someone rightly said “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet”.   

- Ms. Priya Bali
  Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Housekeeping: Unsung Heroes of Customer Satisfaction

Has it ever happened to you that you arrive at a hotel all excited looking forward to an amazing stay, but are a little too early and were requested to wait as the room wasn’t ready?

Well, the reason for this wait is that it takes the housekeeping team twice as much as time to clean a departure room than for a guest who is staying over. A room attendant may have over hundred check points for a new arrival including wrinkle free bed linen, stationery, stain free amenity cards, spotlessly clean rooms and many more. Guest satisfaction and cleanliness in rooms during guest stay is a critical factor in ensuring repeat business.

Housekeeping department of a hotel probably employs the largest number of manpower. The number of staff hours depends on the hotel and the guest type it deals with. Staffs therefore are scheduled according to the number of guest staying. Since most of the guest nowadays book in advance especially during peak period, the work load is known well in advance. Although said simply, it can be very daunting for housekeepers as they deal with high variability of task like occupied and departure rooms, evening service, special request, staff absenteeism and host of other things which can push any housekeeper over the edge. Good housekeepers’ find ways of effectively/sharing the workload on a day to day basis.

Housekeeping is a physically demanding job. It also gives you an eye for detail and makes you a perfectionist. At an average, housekeeping staff services anywhere between 10-14 rooms a day in a 9 hour shift yet, they are often invisible to the typical guest. It is a profession that is prone to injuries therefore hoteliers must cultivate work practices that prevent them. Proper training ensures a key role in accident prevention. Following guidelines along with other safe practices ensures that the staffs are safe whilst avoiding injuries to employees that can affect their performance, productivity and morale.

To overlook the importance of housekeeping is a huge mistake since the rooms division generates the most profit for a hotel and the cleanliness and condition of the rooms are most important factors in customer satisfaction ratings. 

Hence, the next time you visit a five star hotel and are welcomed by a spick and span room, don’t forget to say a warm thank you to the housekeeping staff for their efforts. 

-Ms. Bindu Menon
 Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Teacher's ode on Teachers’ Day

Teacher is not the one who “Teaches” but the one who helps you “Learn”

I strongly believe in learning from what I Teach! If I haven’t had one learning from each lecture I have delivered I have wasted the efforts I’ve put in to formulating those ideas together. It’s really important for any teacher to first understand himself what he is about to teach others or in other words, what he is helping others to understand. If you can’t understand what are the Poisson Process, Lambda and Mue and their significance in the queuing theory created by Agner Krarup Erlang, how you will ever explain a student that behind all these scary jargons is a simple concept of reducing the wait time for your customers standing in the Queue. It is essential for a teacher to imagine how difficult or easy it is to grasp a concept for a person who is coming across it for the first time. The “Mul Mantra” is to assume that your entire audience is hearing about the topic of your elaboration for the very first time and is a complete alien to each terminology mentioned. Then try explaining it with the simplest of details and following an exhaustive approach. This way you might sound repetitive to a certain scholarly set of your listeners but you surely would take care of minimizing all “OTHT-Over the head transmissions” and keeping your sleeping beauties awake and alert!

Over a period of time, I’ve developed this unsurpassed passion towards helping people learn and understand concepts that are new to them. I will be embarrassingly honest to admit that till a few years back, the significance of the birthdate of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was limited to either having no classes when I was a student or to having no classes when I was a novice teacher. It was just like a regular fun day for me. It’s surely  the same now also but what has changed is the respect that I have now for all the teachers, for those trainers and for all those mentors who guide people, who direct people all across the world, the ones I know, my teachers, my guides, my colleagues, most importantly my students and the ones who aren’t a part of my awareness set. This is to extend my wishes and gratitude to all and wishing everyone a Very happy teachers' 

-Ms. Ginny Kaushal
 Faculty, INLEAD 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

INLEADers @Parle-G Industry Visit

There was an air of excitement in the INLEAD Campus on 27th August, 2015 as the International Business Management students of the new July 2015 Batch were all geared to go for their first Industry Visit. The venue for the visit was the Neemrana Parle G plant in Rajasthan.

The Parle brand has been one of the largest manufacturers of biscuits and confectionary for almost 80 years now. It is the brand behind Parle-G, which is currently the largest selling and most loved biscuit in the world. The company has about 145 factories in India and many more located internationally, especially in southern Africa. The main aim behind the visit was to get INLEADers acquainted with the daily working of a big brand like Parle.

The visit started with Ms. Shweta, HR Officer, Parle, Neemrana, giving a presentation to the students about the history of the Parle G brand and how it has evolved from just one brand to the current 89 brands. She also explained the students about the logistics behind the Neemrana factory and the reason behind the success of the spread of their brands into the national as well as international market.  

This was followed by a tour of the plant, where the students were shown the way the biscuits were being baked, cooled and finally packed in the plant. They were then acquainted with the machines and technology being used in the process. Parle uses machines from Germany, but the packaging technology being used is Japanese. The students were then taken to another factory about a kilometer away where candies were being manufactured. INLEADers were also gifted bags of candies after the tour.

The Industry visit proved to be a great learning experience for the students where they got  a practical view of all that  they had studied inside the classrooms. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

World Trade Organisation – The story from the other side

There have been umpteen articles written and  research done on benefits of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and on how the organization has the potential to  make the world a more cohesive place, a place where the developed and the developing nations will walk hand-in-hand into the sunset. Ironically, like every coin has two sides, there is a flip side to this as well.

So, to begin with, let’s first understand what basically is WTO? World Trade Organisation is a multilateral body comprising 166 member countries that have come together to facilitate smoother & productive international trade in commodities, services and intellectual property.

This particular organization has its fair share of detractors and  there are plenty who step on the streets every now and then with anti-WTO placards, raising their voices in protest. This article looks into the flip side of the WTO, the side which may not be a pretty picture and  which may be leaving few stones unturned, where the moss maybe growing and the rot spreading deep.

According to Global Exchange, an International Human Rights Organisation, and a few more such organisations, there are at least a dozen reasons why WTO is a farce. Let’s look into some of the valid ones put forth by these entities:

  1. WTO is fundamentally undemocratic - The policies of WTO impact all parts of  the  society but they do not take into account all the sections of the society. The US trade representative apparently gets ample representations and  inputs from the industry but none from the citizen groups like consumers, environmental, human rights  and  labour organisations.

  2.  WTO will not make the world safer – WTO would like the world to believe that it’s making the world a safer place by promoting global understanding and peace. In reality, however, the domination of the world trade by the richer countries has been one of the primary  reason for fueling protests in the disgruntled nations.

  3. WTO tramples Labour & Human rights – WTO puts the rights of corporations to profit over and above the human and labour rights. WTO pits workers against each other by promoting internationally recognized labour standards. It further has a greater power to punish a country violating rules, probably even more than the UN.

  4.  WTO would be privatizing essential services – WTO is seeking to force countries to privatize essential services like education, health care, energy  and water, so that these sectors are open to multinational corporations.

  5.  WTO is destroying the environment – WTO is being used by corporations to dismantle hard won local and  international environmental barriers, by labeling them as “barriers to trade”. Once it deregulates industries like fisheries, logging, water utilities, and  energy distribution, there will be a surge in environment degradation.

  6. WTO is increasing inequality – Free trade is not working for majority of the nations, and apparently inequality has worsened since 1990s. Companies are making use of free trade laws  and  shifting businesses to countries where labour is cheap  and  environmental norms lax. In fact, the 20% of the richest nations now consume more than 80% of the produce. The poor seem to have become poorer.

These are but a few arguments against WTO and  the so called proclaimed benefits from its policies. Going further, we will surely see a number of debates related to climate change that could influence plenty of free trade decisions. Developing nations now play an increasingly important role in world trade and WTO with all its norms that may be skewed for the developed nations will now be forced to make accommodations in its these policies. However, this is just my opinion on the issue and like in every democratic country; everyone is entitled to have their opinion. 

Ms. Monica Mor,
Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

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