Sunday, June 28, 2009

Experience India! Day 2

Forgot to mention yesterday that Ms Roopa introduced an Entrepreneur’s guide which covers everything from Indian law to doing business in India. The guide can be found in the following link:

The 2nd day started off quite slowly but later it picked up and become interesting. 1st half of the day, we had guest speakers to give lectures and for the other half , the one we were anticipating for very long time, we had a site visit at the Mercedes Benz Research and development centre.

Now, let’s see what we learned during lectures before moving on to the interesting site visit. Our first guest speaker of the day was Dr Kavi Mahesh, professor from PESIT, he gave a lecture on Culture and Business practices in India. I learnt that the Indian GDP has increased significantly which led to a sharp rise in the direct employment, later he moved on to give a brief history of Indian Economy from the past to present- day. It was brief but it gave us an insight of Indian economy within a few minutes.

He also mentioned that Bangalore city has a generation of highly educated population, and I think that this must be one of the key factors in attracting many MNCs there. In Bangalore and elsewhere in India, inexpensive and high quality education is available. Furthermore, the best universities in India are autonomous and as a result, it gave birth to reputable institutions and Science and technology manpower also. He discussed about challenges in IT industry which are:

a) Recruitment

b) Operations Planning

c) Rupee Exchange rates and etc.

At least, this part of the lecture was more relevant to SOC students like me and Lionel.

Next, Prof. A.K.N. Prasad from Institute of Management gave us a lecture on the Growth of Outsourcing in India. I learnt that Business process outsourcing (BPO) is a form of outsourcing that involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of a specific business processes to a third-party service provider. GE is one of the pioneer companies to do it in India. In addition, he said that British Airways operates call centers in Mumbai and this is the place where reservations and many other activities take place. Availability of cost effective Telecom infrastructure to handle transatlantic communication is the main factor for the companies to setup call centers in India. The other factors are:

a) Service Maturity

b) People

c) Infrastructure

d) Catalyst (incentives, government support)

Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) is a form of outsourcing, in which knowledge-related and information-related work is carried out by workers in a different company or by a subsidiary of the same organization, which may be in the same country or in an offshore location to save cost. KPO is merely a continuation of BPO actually and KPO involves, for example, medical diagnostics and many other activities. Eventually India became a natural choice for exploring outsourcing opportunities.

In the picture: Prof. A.K.N. Prasad

Then a very motivational speaker, Ms Nandini Vaidyanathan, came into the room to give us a very motivational lecture. To me she looked like a modern Indian lady in her late 40’s but I got a shock when I discovered that she’s 67. A little bit of background, Professor Nandini Vaidyanathan, an alumnus of Delhi School of Economics and London School of Economics, spent 20 years in the corporate sector with MNC’S all over the world. She has been teaching Entrepreneurship and International Business at premier Business schools in India, US, and UK such as IIM-B, Princeton, and London School of Economics, for the last three years. She is Mentor-Promoter of a company called Startups which mentors young entrepreneurs with management inputs .I would simply say that whoever attends her lecture will be inspired to become an entrepreneur one day. And guys, I need to tell you that she is the right person to seek advice if you really have the passion to become an entrepreneur and I mean it. She’s offering free advice, assistance and inputs for young entrepreneurs without expecting anything from them. To me, she’s a Goddess.

In the picture: Ms Nandini Vaidyanathan

Thereafter, we went for lunch and prepared to go for a site visit at Mercedes Benz Research and Development centre. On the way to Mercedes Benz, I saw so many high-rise buildings and big companies like IBM which I don’t really see in Singapore. One thing I noticed about most of the company visits, they do not allow us to bring cameras, mobile phones with cameras and thumb drives also. I think they are prohibiting all these items due to security reasons. The presentation at Mercedes Benz was a little extraneous for Computing students and I think it’s more for Engineering and Chemistry students. However, I still understood what they were talking about as I’ve learnt them in my JC before. They spoke about fuel cells and the processes which happen within the cells. Later part of the site visit, they brought us to a lab where we saw a live experiment going on.

Then, we went for shopping at Cosmos mall at Brooke fields which is quite near to the place where we stayed, White field and then a few of us visited the May batch students who are interning in Bangalore for about 2.5 months. I was quite fortunate to meet Sofia Tania who is in Bangalore on summer internship and she shared her personal experiences, challenges which she faced and the pros and cons of this summer internship. Well, after hearing that, I think it's still a good exposure for us to go for a summer internship in Bangalore and I need to thank her for the invaluable advice. All of us got a chance to celebrate one of the guys' birthday and that's it for day 2.

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