MBA VS PGDM

Most of the graduates would like to pursue an MBA or a PGDM course, so as to polish their credentials and job prospects. While many think that there is a difference between the two, few also perceive both as the same degree, with just a difference in the name. MBA, a degree course and offered by Universities. PGDM offered by the institutes that are recognised by the AICTE and which are autonomous and not affiliated to any university.

Now I am coming to the term autonomy. When an Institute secures autonomy they design their own curriculum to be taught instead of following outdated University syllabus. I have mentioned outdated syllabus because the syllabus change at University level happens once in either 3 or 5 years. Where as in PGDM, since the colleges have autonomy the curriculum can be updated regularly depending on the need in the Industry. Hence one can say that PGDM courses are more Industry relevant, up to date as compared to MBA courses. A student pursuing a PGDM course will be gaining knowledge regarding building soft skills. The teachers who are teaching in PGDM can combine management theories and computer software’s to enhance analytical skills of his/her students. Hence many PGDM institutes are offering courses like Financial Analytic, Marketing Analytic, Operation Analytic and Human Resource Analytic.

In compared to PGDM, generally MBAs are more affordable as the fees is almost similar to university standard. Some private universities are charging huge fees. Second and the most crucial point is that MBA department of many universities do not offer placement services at the end of the course hence it is not the end but a mean. The goods Institutes which are offering PGDM courses are offering placement services and at the end of your course you can get a good employer for your later carrier.

Author:

Dr. Samiran Jana

Asia-Pacific Institute of Management

 

Procrastination and Occupational Stress

To procrastinate is to voluntarily delay an anticipated course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay. This behavior, despite its costs, is common in workplaces, and other life domains. Procrastination often injures people in their work and in their lives. There can be little doubt that procrastination causes difficulties and hurts the opportunities of organizations. The reality is that nothing good comes out of procrastination because it wastes time and often wastes opportunities. There are times when delayed action is the best course of action but when delay becomes the norm, procrastination has set in. Procrastination may result in severe loss of personal productivity, as well as social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments. Employees need to recognize their personal patterns of procrastination and work at eliminating them. Employees will lose precious time, personal credibility and miss important opportunities because of their lack of planning.

By understanding why it occurs and how to prevent it, managers can optimize performance and productivity. Many researchers have identified effect of occupational stress on work procrastination.  It’s confirmed that Occupational Stress impacts the procrastinating behavior of the employees. Work-related stress is one of the most important workplace health risks for employees in developed and developing countries. Stress can cause job-related dissatisfaction, which is itself, the single most obvious psychological effect of stress such as tension, anxiety, depression, aggression, irritability, confusion, boredom and procrastination

The results of studies have demonstrated moderate relationship between procrastination and occupational stress. Managers with different level of occupational stress procrastinate in a different way. The procrastinatory behavior in managers with low level of stress is maximum. Most likely they do not feel the urgency of completing the task and hence procrastinate more in comparison to their counterparts. Managers with high level of stress were found to be least procrastinating. Procrastination might be the one of the rationale for stress as that job-related Procrastination as a main source to work-related stress can take away from workplace.

Author:

Dr Sonia Munjal
Associate Professor OB/HR
Asia-Pacific Institute of Management

 

CRM-It affects everyone

Each of us travel every day – whether by public transport or by personal vehicles. Hence each one of us are bonafide fuel consumers – Petrol, Diesel or CNG. Is there a pattern of fuel consumption? Does it help if the filling stations know when to expect higher demand during a week. Which days of the week is generally stronger demand? Is a longer weekend leaner demand period or stronger? Can answering these questions and more like these, help the Filling station in anticipating rush, retain service excellence. Most importantly can it lead to cost savings by maintaining inventory such as its sufficient and not short or excessive.

Shift your thought to an identical setting but for a departmental store, an airline, Quick Service Restaurant…and it immediately starts to make sense that such analysis is infact obvious and forms the backbone of operations. And such data is infact available within every organization in terms of sales data. Analysis can be done for sales per day or per quarter of a day, per week, special occasion etc. Hopefully the organizations are doing it, calling it trend analysis or such. If not they can mostly do this within their limited expertise.

However, can the current analysis also throw light on what type of customer gets a tank-full, which category of cars, which customers swipe cards, pay cash or uses the online wallets. That is tricky. Because unless we are able to identify individual customers (not only by sight but also by their purchase), record it and then group the behavior of customers under some common trait, it will not be possible. Here is the sticky part – how to. In other words you have to think of how to know the purchase is being made by which person, how to ‘TAG’ them. This is done by data building methods – getting a form filled in, taking consent of the individual as that is mandatory by law and providing a loyalty card or else by a customer id, using mobile phone number for identification etc. Loyalty card has a lot of long term relevance to the marketer but has to be attractive enough for the customer too. Points on spends, exclusive club membership, rewards, privileges or at the least a sense of status and esteem.

This is now the start of CRM – Customer Relationship Management. An understanding down to the level of an individual customer, a possibility that only data driven analysis can give. No longer the segmenting of the markets based on homogeneity. Now its down to a single customer and then making, if possible, groups of similar customers.

So look into your wallets and handbags, your credit cards, loyalty program memberships of grocery and department stores, online shopping and even browsing behavior are all leaving behind data trails which are fodder for analysts to understand what makes you buy and how can you buy more from them. More than that, to predict your future purchase behaviors and what you can be made interested in buying.

For the ubiquitous filling station – when to expect you next, and to keep you coming back to the same filling station for the waiting time is within control, air is free and quick, the windscreen gets wiped and soon the attendant may address you by name!

 

Author:

Ritu Gupta Dutta

Associate Professor Marketing

Understanding and Analysis of Financial Statements

Map or Maze: 
A map helps its user reach a desired destination while a maze, on the other hand, attempts to confuse its user by purposefully introducing conflicting elements and complexities. Financial statements can be used as a map or maze. As a map the financial statements can help the user to understand the performance and efficiency of a company and as a maze they can confuse the user my misleading presentations like using window dressing etc.
Before discussing the topic, I would like to ask some questions from my readers:

Q1 Whether shareholders have the rights to inspect the book of accounts?
Q2 Who prepares the Financial Statements?
Q3 Who appoints the auditor?
Q4 Who proposes the dividend?
Q5 Whether audited financial statements show the true and fair view of the company?

As we all know that Shareholders are the owners of the company but they don’t have the right to inspect the books of accounts as well as not to interfere in the daily operations of the company. They have the right to get only one copy of audited financial statements of the company at the end of the year. So this is the point from where the understanding and analysing of financial statements becomes necessary.

Company is an artificial person, shareholders are the owners of the company who invest in the company and Board of directors (BOD) run the company. All the day to day operations are taken by the BODs. The finance department of company prepares the financial statements.So to analyse whether BODs are doing in favour of company or not, Shareholders in the annual general meeting (AGM) appoint the Auditor of the company.Auditor inspects the books of accounts and give their opinion regarding the financial statements. But many lawsuits have been filed and won against accounting firms for issuing “clean” auditors’ reports on companies that subsequently failed.
Before a cash dividend is declared and subsequently paid to shareholders, a company’s board of directors must decide to pay the dividend and in what amount. When the board of directors makes such a decision and declares a dividend for payment to stockholders, the retained earnings account on the company’s balance sheet is reduced by the amount of the declared dividend. The retained earnings is an account of equity that shows the net balance of a company’s earnings. Since the retained earnings account is an equity account, dividend payments must be deducted from the account, reflecting the reduction in total shareholder equity.
Author:
Dr.AbhishekMaheswari
Assistant Professor (Accounting & Finance)
Asia-Pacific Institute of Management

Mobile learning: Exploring ways to Impact Education ecosystem

As per the census of 2011 India is recognized as one of the youngest nations whose majority of young population will enter into the workplace by 2015.This has instigated the demand for a different education system which should be capable to fulfill the necessities of quality and quantity aspect of the education system i.e. Defeating the barricade in quality education and increasing the penetration of education sector.

The availability of mobile network in the remotest area of the country facilitates to leverage the extensive use of technology through introducing modifications to the ecosystem of education sector through M-Learning. Technology has only reached class room of urban schools, wherein it is again limited to computer labs and audio-visual rooms. Appreciating M-Learning just as a facilitator to distance learning using mobile technology, ignores its deeper role of improving ecosystem of education. Curbing constraints of time, location and collaboration of traditional education system m-learning simplifies access to content and experts. Customization of teaching process and personalization of education solution for learners through interactive media is another advantage of M-Learning. It helps the learner to access local and global content and even approach the experts anywhere and anytime.
In India access to education is a critical problem due to insufficient number of schools with reference to population. Low household income also contributes to the problem and provides access to only the locally popular study material. M-learning platform offers access to relevant globally acknowledged study material at low cost. M-learning solutions provide access to innovative teaching pedagogy to the educators which help to solve the training issue of undertrained educators.
Engaging learners and enhancing the understanding of the learner demands customizing teaching styles according to the needs and preferences of each learner. This is impractical in traditional classroom environment. More interactive formats and content tailored to individual learning styles developed under the m-learning platform has the potential to increase engagement levels of students to understand better. In comparison to traditional time consuming evaluation system m-learning provides regular assessment system during the learning process which helps the teachers to understand and determine the specific learner requirement for conceptual clarity.

The released report from the GSM Association and McKinsey & Company based on a number of early trials in mobile education across various geographies and education segments shows that there is a huge potential for m-learning due to one on one interaction and customization nature of mobile learning. The days are not very far when we will find educational institution is purchasing the m-learning solution for their learners to improve their learning capacity.

The remarkable rural mobile adoption growth rate and demand for varied educational content has opened new vistas in creating a market for mobile education. But the low level of literacy, limited understanding of English language in rural and semi urban areas and text driven interface is a roadblock in reaping the benefits of m-learning. We are in experimentation phase of m-learning field and both public and private sectors are identifying innovative application, it may be impulsive to celebrate its success and still miles to go for celebration.

Author:

Dr. Nidhi Maheswari

Asia-Pacific Institute of Management 

 

Indian E-Commerce Space: Challenges and Opportunities

The digital commerce market in India is expected to clock a higher growth this year on the back of better internet penetration, increase in trust level and pricing advantage. The recent analysis and reports published by various industry experts are suggesting that the boom in Indian E-Commerce industry will remain for the next few years before reaching the saturation point.

Indian E-Commerce Landscape

As per industry reports, the e-commerce industry in the India was worth $15bn in the year 2013, which is estimated to reach $50bn-$70bn by year 2020. CRISIL Research report Feb 2014, India’s online retail industry has grown at a swift pace in the last 5 years from around Rs 15 billion revenues in 2007-08 to Rs 139 billion in 2012-13, translating into a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 56 per cent. The 9-fold growth came on the back of increasing internet penetration and changing lifestyles, and was primarily driven by books, electronics and apparel. CRISIL Research expects the buoyant trend to sustain in the medium term, and estimates the market will grow at a healthy 50-55 per cent CAGR to Rs 504 billion by 2015-16. The entry of new players in niche segments such as grocery, jewellery and furniture, along with large investments by existing players in the apparel and electronics verticals, will be the drivers.

Buyer’ Behaviour

Presently, there are over 2.5 crore(2% of the overall population of the country) online buyers and more than 24 crore internet users in the country but the large portion of Indian population is still to be covered. The number of internet users is estimated to reach 50 Crore mark by the year 2018. The rise is number of internet users may be attributed to the usage of mobile phone, especially the smart phones in the country. Interestingly, the percentage of internet users is around 16-18% of the population of India, but the big gap between the number of online buyers and internet users shows that the general internet user is still scared of the online payments. The reasons might be many, starting from product quality concern, delivery time, expectations not met with the final product, shipping time, logistics challenges, online payment risks, frauds and so on.

Challenges to the sellers

The ecommerce retailers need to focus on the threat areas for the Indian buyers. Still the large population is not literate enough to complete the online transaction. The language barrier and the cultural issues are also keeping the Indians away from benefitting from the Cyber World. The large middle class in India still trusts the neighbourhood shops, where they can have variety and go for bargaining. Various studies show that successful bargains are giving more satisfaction to the consumer than the discount offered by the sellers.  The personal touch of selling offered in the brick & mortar system is missing in the online buying.

Opportunities

Central Government and the various state governments are coming up with new projects to enhance the education level and quality of school/college going students. The new generation is bound to be more tech-savvy and risk taking. The Indian youth in schools/colleges is already very active on the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The threats perceived by the current Indian internet users may not have big impact on the coming generation. The e-tailers have the opportunity to tap this big market early on, by launching their youth oriented products. With the new evolving models for e-commerce, the market will have many more options to attract the customers. Deals and discount coupons have been a big “hit” in the Indian ecommerce space. Companies like Snapdeal, Shopclues, Coupondunia, 100 best buy etc. have attracted more and more customers to their offerings. The further integration of Shipping, Logistics, Customer Support along with the core e-commerce will open new opportunities to the sellers in the next phase.

Author:

Prof. Saurabh Mittal

Asia-Pacific Institute of Management 

 

 

PEOPLE SKILL – THE DIFFERENTIATOR

Having a high level of technical skills, extensive experience may not necessarily contribute to high level of performance or rise in the career.  So what are we missing?  Obviously “People Skill”.  People skill can be defined as a set of skills which help an individual to interact and relate to people effectively for achieving organisational goals. People skill is the ability to develop and nurture relationships for getting the best from people.  While relationships are important, relationships should be balanced with results.  Results not at the cost of relationship and relationship, not at the cost of results. It is the ability to tolerate differences in people, understand and appreciate the qualities of others and not expect others to always toe the line. Some of the people skills and attributes are detailed below:

 

  1. Ability to Relate to Others: It is the ability to make others feel respected and important without degrading oneself.
  2. Ability to Trust Others: Trust is the foundation of any relationship.  You can develop “trustworthiness” in others by first trusting them.
  3. Effective Communication Skill: An important way of getting better results from others is to communicate with them your expectations from them.
  4. Listening Skill: While communication is an important part of people skill, listening is even more important in the communication process.  Listening is very important as listening means that you respect the other person and he/she is important for you, as listening is “YOU” centred and communicating is “I” centred.
  5. Genuine Interest in Others: You can get support, guidance and help from others when you are able to show genuine interest in them through active listening, thoughtful questions and understanding of their concerns and perspectives.
  6. Good Judgment of People: The ability to judge people for their worth is a pre-requisite to the decision to have the right people and investing in them.
  7. Coaching, Counseling and Mentoring: People working with you do not fit into one category and hence you cannot have a standardized approach to dealing with them.  There are people who have a relatively high level of competence but they can be developed further by coaching.  Then there is a second category of people who do not perform well because of certain reasons.  You are then required to understand their problems through patient listening and understanding and counsel them.  A third category includes those who high performers but have the inherent capability to taken up even more challenges and responsibilities. These people need mentoring for their own development and contributing even more to organizational goals.
  8. Ability to motivate and support your people: Motivation is the key to higher performance and motivation keeping in view the capabilities of your people and followed by the necessary support can get you willing cooperation of your people.
  9. Flexibility: Openness and receptivity to others ideas and views is the hallmark of a person high on people skill.  Rigidity on the other hand spoils relationships and distances you from others.
  10. Honesty & Integrity: People skill is all about drawing people to yourself and what better way of doing it than by your own behaviours and actions.  Honesty and integrity is the foundation of anything to do with people as they say “walk the talk”.

By:

Prof. (Dr.) S.P. Chauhan

Professor (OB & HR) and Officiating Director

Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi