Monday, June 29, 2009

Experience India! Day 3

On this day, our schedule was packed with site visits to Astra Zeneca Research Centre and Cognizant. Although each site visit lasted only for about 2 hours, the amount of content which I absorbed is definitely a lot.

Astra Zeneca is a world leading pharmaceutical company and it’s operating in over 100 countries. It’s one of the first major pharmaceutical companies to devote an entire research unit to developing world diseases. Astra Zeneca Research Centre in Bangalore is equipped with state of the art instrumentation to tackle diseases and mainly focuses on tuberculosis (TB) drug discovery. The presentation of this company was very much irrelevant to Computing students (due to medical jargon I guess) but it really benefited my fellow friends from other faculties and Lionel and I still learnt a lot of new things. Anyway, I will still share some important facts from Astra Zeneca presentation in point form.

- India and China have 50% of global disease burden

- TB is a leading killer among young adults and adults

- BCG is not effective for adults

- TB causes enormous social and economic disruption

- In Asian countries like India, burden of TB is enormous and is hidden by stigma and poor diagnostic quality

- Current therapy available comprises of 1st 2 months (Induction phase) followed by 4 months of treatment (Continuation phase) – proven to be effective

- Some argue that present- day therapy is too long and the drugs given are incompatible with anti-HIV drugs

Astra Zeneca didn’t permit us to enter their labs due to security reasons but they compensated us with their company videos which showed their labs and the activities which take place there and the site visit more or less ended up like a lecture. I think the whole presentation was a little out of point as this whole trip is about developing the entrepreneurial talent within us and perhaps, they must have given us a brief history and specialization/focus of the company and then discussed more about the challenges and process of setting up their companies in Bangalore, India. However, we still enjoyed the site visit.

On our way to Astra Zeneca Research Centre

The next interesting site visit was at Cognizant, an IT services company, which has one goal, that is to make their customers’ businesses stronger by empowering them to be more responsive to their customers and to the competitive environment. Even though, the company is geographically located in India, there is no Indian company in its client list. Initially, it was shocking for me and the rest. This particular visit made more sense to us as the speaker discussed about outsourcing, insourcing, and cosourcing. There are two terms which you might not be familiar with, so I’ll give a simple definition. Everyone knows what’s Outsourcing and if you don’t, please refer to my previous post (Experience India! Day 2).

a) Insourcing - transfer of outsourced function to an internal department of a company, managed by employees.

b) Cosourcing – business function is performed by both internal and external centres in different parts of the world.

In addition, the speaker pointed out that customer expectations are increasing.The overall customer behavior of today’s world has changed. Firstly, the customers expect companies to listen to them. Secondly, instead of building professional trust, the customers prefer the companies to build a professional and personal trust. Thirdly, companies are expected to collaborate instead of controlling. Fourthly, the supply of expertise is insufficient and supply of insight is more valued. Lastly, they expect the companies to manage complexity and ambiguity.

There is another essential point which he mentioned during his presentation and he stressed a lot on the importance of conveying our ideas to our customer or client or boss effectively and efficiently. He gave some tips on how to be successful in selling our points to others during a presentation. They are:

a) Presentation must not be more than 7 minutes

b) A maximum of only 6 slides is allowed

c) There must be continuity (same frame, same colour and most importantly same


After the presentation, questions were welcomed and they were delighted to answer them. At some point of the Q & A session, some had a hot debate and somehow both parties reached an understanding.Concluded my day happily as it was a fruitful site visit to Cognizant.

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