Friday, July 28, 2017

Fusion Cooking- My Imaginary World

Right from when I was 15 years, I was very passionate about cooking new things, which I saw on television and around the same time I was also addicted to TV shows like Eat Street, Master Chef Australia, and Food Safari etc. So,  I ended up making a dish every day for myself and for the family, but only with the ingredients that were available at the local store. The dish, which I used to make ended up in a different color, texture, and size, but with minor altercations, which could be easily noted and it was mainly because of the ingredients used.

One lazy Sunday, I was watching a chef cook Italian pizza on an Indian cookery show and that got me thinking to another level, and I decided to make a pizza but in my own style. By then, I had realized that the food could be made, through different available ingredients in the market, which can give a new and better taste, to the dish every time you make it. I had some green peppers, colored bell peppers, sweet corn, some mushrooms, cheese but no pizza base, and at that time we didn’t have oven even. So, I decided to make my pizza bread on Indian pan called “Tawa or a Frying Pan”. I decided to follow recipe of pizza dough from internet but couldn’t get some key ingredients like dry yeast. The thought struck that Indians to have bread, why can’t I use that as my pizza base? On rummaging in the refrigerator, which was an old habit, I found whole-wheat dough that was kneaded for our lunch to make hot phulkas and some mashed potatoes masala, remains from the morning breakfast.

I made a thick and crispy aloo parantha on which I placed everything like we normally do on pizza, added cheese, herbs, chili flakes, covered it with a lid to get the cheese to melt. The end product looked yummy, tasted even better than a pizza and also looked like a pizza, that’s how I came up with my Indian version of pizza called “Pizza Parantha” which became my signature dish.

Fusion became a part of my daily routine, I tried something or the other each and every day, some days I was a success and some days it would be a disaster. One thing that was consistent in this trial and error period was that every day I would cook and didn’t lose hope.  Few things that I think I created magic was with of course my signature dish and also few dishes like paneer infused thecha, the bird’s nest, pasanda foam, coconut garlic sand etc.

Today, FUSION for me is my imaginary world where I can go anytime I want, and can mix up different food. I want people to try this interesting mix that I cook up now too frequently and enjoy the food the same way as I enjoy in cooking.

Mohit Ramrakhyani
Student, INLEAD

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Your Attitude determines Your Altitude

Life is a combination of highs and lows…mountains and valleys. Sometimes times are good and many times they are tough. But with the right kind of attitude you can achieve personal and professional success. 

Attitude is the way you take things . Your thoughts about what happens to you determine how situations and events will affect you. Having an optimistic and a positive attitude helps one in facing challenging and tough situations with élan and grace.

Some pointers for Optimism:

1. Win-Win Mindset: You need to relook at relationships. You need to realize that you need to give and contribute to get and achieve. Both parties should gain and grow. Having  a mutually beneficial mindset helps in cooperation and mutually beneficial success and enhanced performance.

2. Self-Driven:  You need to be self-driven and motivated. Read inspirational literature. Listen to great speeches and speakers. Keep a positivity journal. Think positive thoughts and research the net for positive thoughts by great personalities.

3. Passion & Devotion: Nothing great has ever been achieved without passion and devotion. You have to think, dream, breathe your goal. You need to take initiative and be proactive. You need to be self-driven and resourceful.

4. Learning and Growing-Maturity: Be an eternal Student. Seize opportunities to learn and grow. Educate yourself in multidimensional subjects .Be aware and alert and keep your knowledge base updated. The more aware you become the more you become.

You need to see the glass as half full. Every adversity has an opportunity. Seize that opportunity and do the best you can, give it your best shot. The only thing which you stand to lose is your ignorance.

Mr. Siddharth Anand
Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, July 24, 2017

Destination Weddings Are Back In Trend

Wedding planning is a uniquely special experience for a couple and the family, and it's not at all easy!  A wedding planner can help to take the stress and be a saviour in this case. From finding out the perfect location to designing personalized wedding themes, as well as maintaining cultural and religious sentiments. Wedding planner is responsible to bring logic to emotional laden decisions.

Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular and something different from the standard, cookie-cutter weddings as couples decide to forgo the traditions and rituals of getting married in the bride’s home town and choose to exchange their vows on a tropical sun drenched beach instead.
It’s a big YES!! for the Couples who want skip the processional, the receiving line, the speeches, and the basic process and are just focusing on putting on the dancing and enjoying themselves with their partner and the closed ones.

Wedding planning may be easier with a destination wedding if you opt for an all-inclusive package. You won’t have to choose between endless suppliers, and negotiate on everything from the catering to the music as all this will be done for you by the wedding coordinator at your destination.
If the idea of a destination wedding is appealing, but you aren’t entirely sure you want to give up that big white wedding, here are some of the pros of a destination wedding to help you make up your mind:

1. Interesting themes: Destination wedding allows you to have unique scenery as a stunning wedding backdrop; you can incorporate local traditions, decorations, and cuisine into your ceremony and reception. There are plenty of destination wedding ideas to make your wedding unique.

2. Relaxed: A destination wedding tends to be more relaxed and less formal than a traditional wedding at home. Having a destination wedding eliminates a great deal of stress since the wedding is far away and only a limited number of people can attend.

3. Uncomplicated: Destination weddings can be so much simpler to plan and execute than close to home weddings.. The reason it is simpler is that many destinations have pre-designed wedding packages that are created by professional wedding planners. The packages include all of the components a beautiful wedding requires, and the bride and groom need only make a few decisions and the rest is taken care of for them. 

4. Intimate and personal celebration: The celebration includes the couple and handful of a very close friends and relatives. There is no pressure of inviting work colleagues, distant cousins, or people you barely know.

5. Much Cheaper: Generally a destination wedding works out cheaper than a home based wedding due to the smaller guest list and the reduction in expensive wedding customs and items. The couple can customize everything as per the requirements.

Sakshi Vig
Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, July 17, 2017

Scorpio is Now 15 Years Old

India was the fourth largest motor vehicle /car manufacturer in the world in 2016. There are many exciting stories about different brands that have created a breakthrough in India, like the iconic Maruti 800, the table turner Hyundai Santro, the swift & agile Renault Duster and of course the current huge demand for luxury brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes. Car manufacturers have always shown a significant interest in the vibrant car market of India.

The history of Scorpio

At a time in early 2000s when India was going gaga over Toyota Qualis, Mahindra & Mahindra launched a unique Made in India SUV and named it Scorpio. In 2002 Scorpio outsold all SUVs and MUVs that were on display in showrooms across the nation. For the uninitiated MUV is Multi Utility Vehicle & SUV is Sports Utility Vehicle. The few MUVs that we Indians were used to, were the Gypsy from Maruti Suzuki and Commander from M&M itself. But soon enough Gypsy ended being a Police vehicle while Commander got relegated to the rural areas especially in hill stations for off-roading jobs. Qualis was a very exciting product from Toyota which around the year 1997 had made a grand entry into the Indian vehicular market space in a tie-up with the Kirloskar group. Qualis soon enough with the boom in ITES industry became a part of office cab fleets, and people could not buy a car that was a ‘taxi’, and inevitably Toyota had to disband Qualis’ manufacturing in the long run. Scorpio was a macho SUV that burst into the Indian car space in 2002 with its rugged good looks, 2.6 litre turbo diesel engine and a pocket-friendly price tag of Rs. 5.5 lakhs (about 50,000 Rs. cheaper than Qualis). Scorpio since then has held its ground till it suffered a huge competition from the Innova (Toyota), Duster(Renault), & of late by Creta (Hyundai) and Brezza (Suzuki).

Scorpio by now has sold a humungous 5,80,000 units across 15 years which include about 55,000 units sold abroad. Project Scorpio was conceived with investment of Rs. 500 crores, a huge amount in 2002. Accroding to Anand Mahindra, Chairman M&M, the company at the time was undergoing a business process reengineering with massive restructurings underway. The SUV Scorpio project had seemed like a huge gamble, especially with a 26 year old Design graduate from IIT, who was responsible for the now famous design of the 7-seater SUV.  As a throwback the company attributes three reasons for the success of Scorpio; its design, its powertrain (100 HP engine) & its sub Rs.6 lakh pricing.

Company to this day believes that the Scorpio embodies Mahindra’s tough & rugged DNA, its styling, its off-roading capability & its reliability. While the product has undergone many changes in its design & its engineering, M&M’s another SUV named XUV, which has been performing really well in the SUV segment. The M&M has over the years shown some slowdown in its sales, but the fact is that between Scorpio, XUV & Bolero, the company has created a respectable space in the Indian SUV market.

The future…

M&M is working on bettering its product, a product that has a huge nostalgia element with Indians. They might even have to do a complete model change if sales do not pick up. The biggest competitor interestingly is not from other SUVs but from car aggregator segments like Uber & Ola which is partially responsible for a drop in sales of cars in India over some time now.

Well, let’s hope India’s truly Indian SUV with ruggedness in its DNA does not lose its space and die out!

Ms. Monica Mor
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Time to say “WOW”!

WOW Awards Asia is an initiative of EVENTFAQS Media - A multi-channel platform focused on the events, entertainment and experiential industry.

The WOW Awards and Conventions 2017 concluded with two dazzling ceremonies on 6th & 8th of July. The Wow Convention was organized in Hotel Pullman, Aerocity and WOW Awards Asia – Gala Dinner at the JW Marriott Aerocity, New Delhi. The best campaigns in Asia in the experiential domain were recognized. The award ceremonies were hosted by Gitikka Ganju Dhar on Day 1 & Day 2 respectively and saw a total of 70 Categories across 5 groups -Business/MICE Events, Experiential Marketing, Event Intellectual Properties, Experiential Celebrations and Experiential Management.

The 70 categories of WOW Awards Asia 2017 encompass every aspect of the experiential business. WOW Awards Asia is not only one of the biggest recognition platforms in the world in terms of sheer size of participation and level of competition, it is also truly the most holistic

Any event / experiential campaign executed anywhere across the globe, by any company / brand / institution / association / organization based in Asia was eligible for entry across categories

Group 1: MICE/Business Events - This Group majorly recognized events, tours, incentive of brands, associations, offsite etc. Under Mice, there were 8 categories.

Group 2: Experiential Marketing - This group totally focuses on campaigns, events, initiatives of brands, associations etc. for a defined consumer with the purpose of promotion and marketing.

Group 3: Event Intellectual Properties- Third group totally focusses on Intellectual properties work. With 9 categories, it includes activities done in relation with IPs; entries in this group can be made by the IP owner or any organizer. Some of the examples of IPs are: Tradeshows, sport festivals, Exhibitions etc.

Group 4: Experiential Celebrations – This group recognizes different aspects of weddings, social events including design, décor, F& B, invitations, Guest relations and so on.

Group 5: Experiential Management –The last group includes 12 categories that recognize the management and execution aspects of events across formats, celebrating the contribution of supply partners and vendors. Production management, trussing, lighting, sound, hospitality and logistics are some of the elements of an event that are separately recognised through Awards in categories under this group.

Each year, with over 100 Marketers visits WOW Awards and Convention Asia, the one unanimous idea is to Explore New, Creative, and Dynamic Agencies setting the benchmarks in the event industry. WOW is one of the systematic and exclusive platform, making it possible.

Sakshi Vig
Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, July 10, 2017


Sluggish economy, so called recession, demonetization or poor sentiments…looks like none of this has shown any impact on the outbound travel from India. India has emerged as the world’s fastest–growing outbound market and is second to China. Tourism boards in foreign countries are gearing up to meet this surge in demand head on by establishing their offices in the country, or using representations or their embassies/ cultural desks to test the waters, before taking the plummet. Leisure and Business travel, MICE tourism are the most substantial providers for emergent outbound travel. The easy availability of attractive packages, increased promotion by travel agents/ tour operators and destination countries will further drive outbound departures.

According to a visit analysis survey done by Express Hotelier and Caterer, by 2018 nearly 30 million will be the number of outbound tourists from India. The list most likely will be dominated by business travel; holiday and VFR (visit to friends and relatives) trips. Niche markets such as sports tourism, luxury travels, MICE, honeymoon packages and cruises also have a lot of potential. Thailand tops the list as the most popular tourist destination for Indian travelers, followed by Singapore. United States and China which stands at the third and fourth spot and Malaysia is at fifth position.

Indian travelers are exploring new and emerging countries among them are Sri Lanka, South Africa, European, Far East Asian countries are becoming the destination of choice for Indian tourists. According to a survey done by Forbes, Indian tourist are considered to be among the world’s highest spenders, it is estimated to be four times than that of the Chinese and Japanese.  The average Indian traveler spends $1,200 per visit as compared with Americans who spend about $700, and Brits who spend $500. The trend earlier showed that majority of the outbound tourism happened through Tier 1 cities, but smaller cities like Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Amritsar are also catching up.

The driving factor for the increase in India’s outbound tourism can be contributed to the growing middle class, increased disposable income, exposure and affordable travel packages. A galore of information is available on the internet, all one needs to do choose a destination. Technology has also changed the way people now travel; they make all the bookings in advance and have all the necessary information beforehand. Low cost carriers (LCC) have also changed the way people now travel. Domestic travel too are not that cheap, so a travelers gets into thinking “that if the cost of a domestic travel is going to work almost equivalent to an international travel, why not opt for the latter”. Plus, taking into consideration the peer pressure, it sounds more fancier to say to you went for a holiday abroad, you get to post all those wonderful pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

Bollywood has also significantly influenced the outbound tourism. The beautiful locales, scenery, culture clubbed with songs, dance and drama has hugely influenced the travelers to explore the destinations. The movies may/may not have garnered business, but these destinations sure did. Few examples of destinations that became popular thanks to Bollywood was: Spain after Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Ek Tha Tiger was extensively shot in Turkey, Corsica in Tamasha, Yash Raj and Karan Johar made London, Europe and USA popular, who can forget DDLJ, Chandini, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Kal Ho Na Ho. The list is endless, every time these movies were watched or songs played each one of us would have put these destinations in our bucket list.

Well, all of this sound very easy and the figures look very impressive, but this industry too has challenges’. The biggest being dealing with customers who are extremely price sensitive and are inherent shoppers, bargaining is a cultural trait. As customers, we are not very trusting and are not comfortable with the agency fees. Secondly, the exchange rates and the rupee depreciation also has become a very big hurdle for Indian outbound tourism. He changing economy patterns; read demonetization and GST will also have an impact. While that is yet to be seen, most of the travelers are back to their nest after an incredible trip to Prague or Vienna or New Zealand or Oman, and already calling their travel agents or are hooked onto the internet; planning their next one!

Ms. Bindu Menon

Sr. Faculty, INLEAD 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

INLEADers @Dulux Club Partners Meet 2017

Students of INLEAD recently got a chance to work as volunteers in an event: Dulux Club Partners Meet 2017 at J. W. Marriot, Aerocity Delhi. The event was managed by an event company called WORKOHOLICS. There were two batches of volunteers (six in each) with different time slots (1st batch- 6.30 A.M to 12.00 A.M. and 2nd batch from 5 P.M. to 12.00 A.M.). Reaching venue at 6.30 a.m. the 1st batch was made familiar with the Venue and the event setup. Then a short brief about the event was shared with the team to make them understand, what the event was all about. It primarily was a grand event hosted for all partners including vendors and distributors of the brand Dulux paints from the company Akzo Nobel.

The work required grouping of plaques alphabetically and the  making welcome kits for the respective guests. It took almost about 4 hours to make the kits and arrange them near the welcome desk area. 

In the evening time, the volunteers were segregated into different groups of 3 or 4 in each. One group of student brought trophies at backstage and unpacked them. Two girls were given the responsibility of arranging trophies according to the felicitation flow. Others managed the welcome desk and helped the clients and management with miscellaneous activities. Another group was given responsibility of distributing welcome kits and gift to the guest in their rooms, while a third group was unpacking the left over kits. Another group was given a task for putting photographs in frames clicked in one zone and then sending them to their respective zones. 

Overall, the students had a great experience there and learned a lot. They understood the importance of how to work in coordination and in teams. It was 2 rigorous days, but students had a great experience.

Monday, July 3, 2017

What Does a PR Professional Do?

Communications is an exciting field and Careers in communications include advertising, public relations, journalism, and film & television. In today’s business world, it is vital to build and maintain relationships with customers, employees, and communities.

A commonly asked question in this industry is: “What does a PR professional do?”

PRSA states, “Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

With the public relations industry experiencing significant growth, the fundamentals of the profession, including the ability to develop strategic communication plans, build relationships with key constituents, maintain and enhance organizational reputations, improve customer response, and communicate effectively, will remain the foundations of the industry. Today’s PR professional will need to possess a combination of capabilities that enable them to be effective in the areas of marketing, management, social media, and production.

A PR professional tells the story

PR professionals are the voice of a brand. They have the responsibility of managing, growing, and guiding an audience’s image of said brand. PR professionals bring attention to their clients to earn free media coverage in newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, and websites.

They shape the debate / manage crisis situations

Things aren’t always so peachy in the world of PR. Every organization is vulnerable to crisis. From natural disasters and human error to technical glitches and executive wrongdoing, a PR professional should always be prepared with a plan of action.

A PR professional tells the truth

Journalists are bombarded with press releases, receiving hundreds per day. Reporters are most likely to pay attention to those from a trusted source. Although a little white lie may be tempting in times of crisis, a good PR professional knows that this will ultimately undermine credibility not only with your publics, but also the media, who, in this position, should be one of your best friends.

A PR professional builds relationships

The heart of public relations is a PR professional’s ability to form mutually beneficial relationships not only with clients, but also the media. People want to interact with organizations that seem approachable and knowledgeable. If they know and trust you, they are going to be more inclined to work with you.

A PR professional writes

PR professionals are not only strong verbal communicators, they also excel at writing. We are in a digital age where it is important to know how to properly write an email, press release, or blog post. 

A PR professional is informed and updated

PR professionals know their clients, the company, the media, and the industry like the back of their hand. They need to be on top of news and trends so they can harness what they know and respond with story ideas that best position their client.

Essentially, public relations is about creating understanding through knowledge, and this often involves effecting change. Public  relations is therefore a form of communication. It applies to every sort of organisation, commercial or non commercial, in the public or private sector.

Sakshi Vig
Faculty, INLEAD

Sunday, July 2, 2017

MICE and HOSPITALITY – The Scope & Challenges

The MICE market globally is estimated at a size of US$280 $300 billion which includes around 400,000 conferences and exhibitions. Economies of many countries thrive on this sector. In the recent times the Asian MICE market has been one of the biggest growth stories with a rate of 38 per cent rise since 2006 which accounts for US$60 billion.

Even with these impressive figures, India is one nation which is yet to hit the potential of this huge MICE business. Hotel brands/convention or meeting spaces that are coming up new are now focusing on the MICE segment and are designing spaces to cater to the requirement. As compared to the international market India lacks world class exhibition and conferencing venues; this alone is not the concern. We also lack amenities which include basic infrastructure, connectivity, safety, cleanliness and hygiene. Though the government is taking lot of steps in this segment in terms of taxation, public education, relaxation in FDI policy; but all these just doesn’t seem enough.  Another major challenge is the higher taxation policies by the governments, which results in the business being given to the neighboring competitors.

According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, MICE contribution to the total travel market is 54 per cent. Taken from a report in 2015, North America has the largest market share, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific which is further bound to grow. India, shares only one per cent of the global market share. The target set by Government of India is to attain a share of 2% by 2025. In 2012, India was ranked 25th as a MICE destination in 2012, which now has been downgraded to the 35th position. India holds the position of the 10th largest business travel markets in the world. India has a lot to offer as one of the most lucrative destinations with its world heritage sites, culture and ethos, this is what needs to be highlighted and developed.

One of the other challenges that MICE business faces are the trend of various corporate tightening their travel and conference budgets. As a result MICE is getting fewer responses as these corporates then use their in house meeting rooms and conferencing facilities. The changing dynamics in the global economic scenario, emerging economies in Asia and Middle East are now important business destinations. Indian economy too witnessed lot of investment in sectors like hospitality, healthcare, IT, manufacturing etc. India’s domestic MICE, market is quite strong and inbound MICE market is also picking up with a lot of active support and involvement from the Ministry of Tourism. Hoteliers are very positive that the MICE business in India will grow. MICE requirements are growing for different sectors, be it FMCG, telecommunications, BFSI, IT, healthcare and energy. The list is endless.

Ministry of Tourism had adopted an aggressive approach to promote this segment. In fact, the new Tourism Policy which is to be released anytime soon has identified MICE as a major growth driver for the Indian tourism industry. The Ministry is also looking to extend the e -Tourist Visa initiative to the MICE sector.

There are new developments to create global standard convention centers. In a recent development to the Ministry of Commerce, announced that Pragati Maidan is all set to go under re-developed and will be transformed into a world class convention center. 

Hilton Worldwide recently introduced the Conrad brand in India, with its first hotel opening in Pune. This hotel has been projected as a luxury MICE destination. Pune and Chennai have seen an increase in demand from this segment, and specifically from the IT industries

MICE are a very niche product and needs to be marketed in a focused manner. While there are no hard and fast rule on attracting MICE clients, it is important that its needs a lot of support and assistance airlines, hotels, transport companies, cultural organizations, boutiques, and travel agents to target markets potential MICE clients.

Ms. Bindu Menon
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD 

Text Widget 2