Industry Interaction for a B School

Location decisions for a B school must take into acount the need for frequent industry collaboration of various hues that can enrich the B school. From guest lectures to projects and case-writing, a lot can happen over coffee- I mean, these interactions.

A business school can also consider having a Golf course attached if it is not in a prime metro location, so that it can attract corporates to visit. This might overcome some of the locational disadvantages, besides teaching students the game, to improve their networking skills (and bragging rights).

To prove that I am not talking through my hat, here's a pic from a recent guest session in our Mumbai campus from Divya Singh, a founder of Cyclitics, an analytics company. It's easy to do this kind of a thing in a metro, and is the key to the success of Jamnalal Bajaj Inst. of Management Science, Mumbai and a few others of its type. The ones in remote locations struggle to give the necessary practical side of management inputs to its students.

Reflections with a Broken Arm

Ok, technically, it's the wrist, but that's not really the point. It puts you in a situation you did not expect. The benefits of being in this situation?

You learn empathy. Instantly. For anybody with restricted movements, abilities.

You get attention. Unexpected kindness. A lady came up in an airport lounge and served me some food, seeing me having some difficulty opening the heavy lids. I was grateful. Airport security also gives you more attention, by the way :)

You learn to manage with less. Shopping for unnecessay things becomes an even lower priority than usual.

If you cannot drive, you finally get more exercise than your car.

You get a new wardrobe- to fit the accoutrements you are forced to wear, like the cast.

You are a temporary POP star, if not a rock star- the Plaster-of-Paris cast ensures that!

You meet some good doctors-I did.

You learn what insurance pays for and doesn't. Useful info in life.

Life does not change permanently, but it does change perspective.

Games People Play- My Digital Marketing Course

This was the title of a best-seller of days bygone. It described some psychological 'games' that people indulge in. But who says the pyschos should have all the fun? Digital Marketers can have fun too.

So it was that we played this game involving bidding for a good position on a digital search platform. The bidding happens against a keyword which you think people will use to search (online) for your product, and if you want your advertisement to show up on the search results.

One can, of course, be found without paying, if your website content is the most relevant to the search query/keyword, but paying for it assures you a position in the top few advertised spots.

Anyway, the game was quite useful as a learning device and the class was able to articulate a few takeaways from only two rounds of playing it, with a real company-Golftripz- being the subject used, on whose behalf the bids were made.

We are also trying out an ad film for online use on Youtube or elsewhere (blog, webpage), for marketing your brand online. Let's see how that goes..


In the good old days, a caravan was an assorted bunch of wagons, horses and men/women going from one place to another. Then Nasir Husain made a film starring Jeetendra and Asha Parekh around it. It became famous due to a Helen-Asha Bhosle song though- Piya tu, ab to aa ja, with RD Burman doing his famous breathing-into-the-microphone sounds.

Now, Saregama has innovated a retro song player with some modern features and given it the name Carvaan or Caravan. This contains around 5000 Hindi film songs, and is apparently catching on, partly due to digital/online marketing.

Good to see something innovative by the Indians, for the Indians. Else we would only be going hyper about Hyperloop. Instead, we can enjoy retro music on a loop, what?

Controversies Through the Ages

I have been witness to a lot of controversies, and the current lot seem pale in comparison to the great ones before them. Sample these, usually reported in nationally relevant mags like Star and Style, Cine Blitz or similar mags before TV came in (Shobhaa De was a columnist in one of these)-

Whether Amitabh and Rekha had an affair

Whether Dharmendra had married Hema Malini

Whether Dharmendra had beaten up a journo

Whether Rakesh Roshan was always bald

Whether Rajesh Khanna and Tina used the same toothbrush when they were allegedly together

Should there be kissing in films? A firm no was the answer for some decades, in case you are curious. Just think-Emraan Hashmi would have been unemployed!

Every year, there would be a list of Income Tax owed by celebs, mainly film stars, and where they found unaccounted cash in raids- mattresses, bathrooms were standard hiding places. Kishore Kumar even inserted the line 'peechhe pad gaya income taxum' in a song of his - Jay Govindam Jai Gopalam was the song.

Live Shows- Music

I remember the following concerts vividly-

Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle and RD Burman. Three of my favourites live at Brabourne stadium, Mumbai, around 1985. It was great fun, with Kishore and RD fooling around in between some marvelous songs.

Hariprasad Chaurasia did a SPIC-MACAY show at IIM Bangalore when I was a student. I remember being amazed by the size of his flute!

Ghulam Ali and Mehi Hasan live in Atlanta..this was a rare treat, to have two maestros of ghazal on the same stage. Their styles were contrasting, with Ghulam Ali more conscious of the public, and talking to us often, and Mehdi Hasan was a lot more serious.

Shiv Kumar Sharma and Zakir Husain together in Atlanta. Their jugalbandi was divine, with the Santoor and Tabla sounding out-of-the-world.

Pankaj Udhas singing his melodious ghazala, again at Atlanta, USA.

Shankar Mahadevan recently did a show at Pune just after he had acted in and composed for the Marathi film Katyaar Kaljaat Ghusli. A great show, with lots of tracks composed by him with Ehsaan and Loy. Dil Chahta Hai was the standout film album for me, along with the Marathi film.

Sudesh Bhosle doing a Kishore Kumar special in Mumbai a couple of years ago. Outstanding mimic, he sounded exactly like the original.

S.D. Burman special, done recently by a group from Pune, which recounted most of his hit songs. He is a favourite music director, and I first became aware of him through the music of Aradhana around 1970- both Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar owe him one for that album.

Small Joys

I do most of my planning-Ok, make that ALL my planning-using a desk calendar. It's very easy to write what you want on the dates you want, and chances of errors are almost nil. You can overwrite too, if there's a change in plans. And you can photocopy a month's plans if you want to make them portable.

The reason I am going gaga over this is the fruitless (long) search for one last year in Indore. Finally, I found one in Chennai while visiting for a conference. I was really over the moon! This time, I took precautions, and I found one in Pune. For 2018. So you don't have to gift me one.

The other thing I have never understood is why institutions (including mine) distribute calendars after Jan 1st. Aren't we supposed to plan ahead? And also, why don't they give you a desk calendar in addition to a wall calendar? Ok, you will tell me to go digital in my planning..I'm not listening, so have your way.

Diary From a Hospital

I am sitting in a hospital with an arm in a sling that needs surgery to get it back to normal, the result of a mishap on the road. It is a new place to be writing from, and not one I want to be in often. But while here, it is an irresistible urge to write-and since one arm is still available, I am using it. I bet you have heard of a one-eyed monster, now you have a one-armed one!

My first fear of hospitals is the non-medical processes, which can kill- not literally, but you may die of boredom waiting, for anything- from admissions onwards. The clinical processes are usually good at a decent hospital, though expensive. I have no major complaints so far though, as the processes here involved only a minor delay. The place is also reasonably quiet, and conducive for reflection. On life in general, and many other things specifically. So I shall continue to reflect, about arms in a sling and more..

Being Resolute

Making resolutions is easy. Being resolute is not. So I shall only focus on being resolute. And not make resolutions- though we may be nearing New Year.

But what should I be resolute about? That's where I find myself wavering, just a bit. Should I be strict with my students? I was told by someone recently that I was too lenient. And I thought I was strict..this really needs resolving.

Should I spend more time on research? travel? writing? reading? social media? watching movies? reviewing them? watching TV? conversation? setting goals? achieving them? Some of these will resolve themselves naturally given my taste for some and distaste for others. But I must be resolute, whichever way things pan out. THAT I am very clear about.

Ittefaq- Film Review

It's a nice word, ittefaq (coincidence). It's also used in a favourite song of mine, Zindagi ittefaq hai  but this is about the film, a songless suspense film. It is a remake, with some changes, of a film by the same name starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda. It is abot two murders, that seem linked to one suspect initially, and then a second. The theories and the suspects' stories are built around some coincidences.

An author is found with a dead man in circumstances that suggest he is the killer. His wife has also been found killed at home, on the evening of a book launch of his new book. The dead man's wife also becomes a suspect after she is found to have lied about some of her extra-curricular activities. S who is the real killer is what the inspector has to find out.

No spoilers, but the inspector Akshaye Khanna has acted well. So has Sonakshi, and others are adequate. Siddhath Malhotra I have always found wooden, and so he continues to be. Nothing great, but watchable for the twists in the tale. We have had live cases going this way and that recently, so it is contextually relevant as a plot, maybe.

Slapgate- a Joke

I was reminded of a joke after reading about the customer manhandling case at the airline. It goes as follows (roughly, from memory)-

A man was hauled up in court for slapping a woman in a bus. The judge asked him to explain his behavior. The man said "She was extremely annoying, your Honour."

"Can you explain how?"the judge asked him.

He replied, "I went up an sat on the upper deck of this double-decker. She came and sat in front. She opened her bag, took out a handkerchief, wiped her face, put the handkerchief back, closed her bag..the conductor came to me, and I bought a ticket.

The conductor went to her and asked her to buy a ticket. So she took out her bag, pulled out her purse, took out some change, closed the purse, put in in her bag, and asked for a ticket. The conductor gave her a ticket. As he was leaving, she again took out her bag, removed her purse, put the ticket in the purse....

"Stop, I can't stand it either" the judge cried.. "she deserved to be slapped."

Trending- Bad Behaviour

Why is it that bad behaviour is so rampant? The video of a passenger being manhandled (still not sure why, as reports are incomplete as usual)  by airline staff in Delhi are disturbing. Usually such treatment is reserved for potential hijackers inside an aircraft (or drunk brawlers in a pub). Or is it an attempt to catch up with global benchmarks? -United staff physically dragged a passenger out of an overbooked flight recently.

Is excessive competition to be blamed? Or policies of the employer as implemented by some line managers that create stress? Or just individuals acting out of line on their own? Luckily, we still don't have gunmen shooting and killing at random, but if we had lax gun laws like the U.S., I am sure we would cross their benchmarks in this arena too.

Do humans need to be taught to respect fellow human beings? Is this what they call Kaliyug? No idea at all, but something is seriously wrong somewhere. On a bigger scale, War being threatened by a superpower over trivial things is the new normal, it looks like.

Intelligent Comedy by Women

Happened to watch a nice comedy show on TLC the name of which I forget. The name is immaterial. I was impressed by the female artists (this was a show for them)- comediennes. Why do we have male-dominated comedy shows, mostly? Stand-up is where equal opportunity should come in fairly easily. Why doesn't it?

On another note, I attended an Economic Times event-again the name of which I forget (proving that I deserve to be a prof.). It was a leadership contest for B-school students. There was only one female judge among a dozen- they were mostly CEOs or Business Leaders of some kind.

These shows/public events do send a message, even if symbolic. The first is a good attempt to showcase talent for comedy.The second is a reminder that corporates remain unequal for genders at the highest level. IIMs, incidentally, also have had few women directors. Just one currently and one long ago at IIM Lucknow that I know of. I am sure that's not due to lack of talent.

Here's hoping that more women show up when opportunities are made available at least- like driving in Saudi.

Review of The Sky is Pink

True stories are sometimes difficult to handle. The Sky is Pink is an uplifting story of a child (actually, two) with a rare condition at b...

These Were Liked a Lot