Category Archives: Globalisation

Being SoBo! South Bombai’ite

south bombay

By Ankush Kumar

It was the monsoons of 2007 when two of my friends arrived in Mumbai for the first time. They checked into a hotel and took a taxi to come and meet me. The first question the driver asked them was ‘Sahab Bombay jaana hai’? It caught my friends a little off guard. Yes dear readers! If you do not live between Cuffe parade and Worli you ain’t a Soboiite. Someone who has lived in South Bombay takes immense pride in boasting its residential status.

If you are a SoBoiite you enjoy certain perks and benefits and are always considered a cut above the rest. Here are a few key ingredients that make you an original inhabitant of the island city.

1) If the citizen addresses the city as Bombay and not Mumbai, chances are you are talking to a SoBoiite. For them Mumbai starts at World Trade Center Cuffe Parade and ends at Worli Seaface. The rest for them is foreign invasion.

2) Majority of the shoppers in the city head to Phoenix arcade or their neighborhood malls for shopping, but unless you aint seen at the Taj or Trident shopping arcade or at the Colaba causeway (depending on budget) you aint a Soboiite.

3) You walk into a pub all decked up for the evening and are looked down upon in disdain for your over the top clothes and make up, lady you have just met the original SoBo gals. They believe more in minimalistic decking up and yet look very appealing.

4) You are discussing which Hindi movies is going to release the coming weekend and how hyped the Khan wars is right now, and someone slips in a comment that ‘the last movie he/she saw way Sholay and that also on Dvd’ understand he is true bloodied SoBoiite.

5) If you are ignored when told that you have studied in a CBSE school you know you have encountered a SoBoiite. For them Campion, Cathedral, JB Petit, St. Mary’s are acceptable schools rest are just big mistakes.

6) A suburban citizen is always excited to go to South Bombay, but tell a SoBoiite to go to the suburbs and they would need atleast a week’s notice and a promise not to get tagged in the Check-ins on Facebook.

7) Last but not the least a true South Bombai’ite will never call himself/herself a SoBoiite, the suburbs gave them this name. They don’t look down at people not from South Bombay, its just that they are not from South Bombay: -P

Good vs Mediocre B-schools: An Ocean Of Difference

b schools

Who better to dissect B-schools than our double MBA graduate, CAT trainer and author Ganesh Subramanian. In this article Ganesh Subramanian talks about the oceanic sized difference between the good b-schools and the ones that are just hyped about. 

MBA as a career option after an undergraduate degree has been the talking point for the last eight years or so in India. For years, studies abroad was and still continues to be a much sought after career move. But in recent years, a management degree in India has been getting attention and preferred as a passport to high-paying jobs in the country. This is reflected in the increase in the number of students taking up management entrance exams in the country year after year, most notably the CAT, considered to be one of the toughest entrance exams not only in India but globally.

While the successful end up in dream B-schools of their choice, those who fail to crack the exam have to settle for lesser and often unattractive alternatives. Given that some students are willing to go to any length to do a management degree, it has led to mushrooming of numerous B-schools in the country and sadly, despite the huge number, quality is severely wanting in most of these B-schools.

There are a number of factors that play a role in determining and labelling a B-school as a good one or a bad one. Faculty, quality of placements, infrastructure facilities, quality of students, etc. to name a few. The sad scenario is that one or more of these is lacking even in certain good B-schools.

In the not-so-good B-schools, the scenario is quite bleak in B-schools which have sprung up as an offshoot of engineering colleges. Barring a few good colleges in this genre, the rest of them have been started purely with a profit making intention, riding on the MBA craze. Such B-schools are plagued by shortage of quality faculty, minimal industry interface translating into very average or poor placements and poor quality students.

When one interacts with students of such institutes, the gap in quality is quite appalling. Poor communication skills coupled with utter lack of seriousness in the course makes one wonder how they got admissions there in the first place. Most of these students are still very childish and immaturish in their thoughts and in what they talk, how they treat things. These students are still in their undergraduate mindset and it’s sad to think that they are post-graduate students. There is no willingness to learn new things from their experienced peers. The students without work experience are the most pathetic of the lot. The new found attitude or the lack of it is surprising because students who passed out in the early part of the millennium possessed a maturity far beyond their years unlike their contemporary counterparts.

Unfortunately, the same bad aspects mentioned above have also percolated to students in some top B-schools. It seems as if these students have taken the age old saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” a little too seriously. One can only pray to the Almighty to give some of these half-cooked, dim-witted students the necessary strength and brains when they confront a heartless, merciless, indifferent human being called “THE BOSS” when they enter their work life.

Although the scenario can’t be completely reversed, two things can be done here. One is that managements in mediocre B-schools can take the right steps in bringing their institutes on par with the quality of the top colleges and the other is that students need to be more careful and selective in their B-school selections. Things can then change for the better.

Are Women More Brand Loyal Than Men?

brand-loyalty-1

By Parul Gupta

It is always said that, “women are more loyal than men”. This is not universally accepted in the personal lives but trusted by the companies. As stated by Nadia Chauhan, CMO, Parle Agro, “Women customers are more loyal than men customers. For woman, a brand is a commitment and she hates to break the commitment while man flirts with the brand”.

The reason that explains the difference in the behavior of men and women towards any brand lies in their different attitude, feelings and emotional patterns. Woman makes relationship with a brand in the same way as she does with the other human beings. She values the relationship and hates to break off with her brand as there is an uncertainty associated with a new relationship with a new brand. Whereas, man loves to try a new brand and likes to fickle around.

Gaining customer loyalty is a Herculean task for any company. Hence, the aim of all promotional activities of companies is summed up to one little word called Brand Loyalty. Brands quite often associate Brand Loyalty with female buyers and run exclusive campaigns and programs to maintain it. The recent success of the P&G’s campaign ‘Thank you, Mom’ solely focused on females, is the best example of the loyalty concept.

Maintaining a Brand Loyalty in today’s economy is extremely challenging for any business. Loyalty now is more like a two-way relationship- businesses can also demonstrate their loyalty to customers by listening to their needs and concerns, actively engaging and responding to client issues, and using that information to anticipate market trends. In this way, the new version of customer loyalty is more of a mutually beneficial relationship, rather than a one-way flow of products and information.

Women have been found to be more loyal to brands than men in a recent survey carried out in the UK by The Logic Group and Ipsos MORI. In the survey of more than 2,000 consumers, 67pc of women said they are members of at least one loyalty scheme, compared with 57pc of men. “When it comes to brand loyalty men and women clearly have very different drivers and motivations,” said Anamaria Chiuzan, customer insight and loyalty specialist for The Logic Group. “The challenge for brands is to capture these differences in their loyalty messages and programmes, ensuring that they offer the right deals and messages at an individuallevel.

Loyalty is about the customer experience underpinning engagement with a brand. A series of factors determine how that experience should be defined: age, sex, lifestyle etc. Loyalty succeeds when the brand messages are tailored to build an experience that resonates with different customer types. Hence, the businesses should be more focused on conveying the right message to their customers in order to build Brand Loyalty.

The author is a Management Professional. She has also been working as a freelance writer. Her articles get published in newspapers, magazines and websites. She writes on various technical & non-technical topics such as education, career and self motivation.

women customers

Twitterati and the Rs. 1 Salary Hoopla

murthy

Here is a Twitter fun take on Narayan Murthy’s comeback to Infy at Rs. 1. 

Karthik Srinivasan (@beasttrall): Tell me Airtel doesn’t have a hand in Narayana Murthy and Rohan Murthy getting Rs.1 token salary.

Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt): It’s now up to ACP Pradyuman to find out who cracked the ‘Narayana Murthy / Salary Rs 1 / Airtel Video’ joke first..

Vivek Mishra (@vivekhr): Rs 1 pkg for Narayanmurty? Under GOI definition he is BPL

Ishita Vaidya (@Mindswish): Rs 1 is in trends. Then what about @kamaalrkhan who always tweets bad about #2rsppl. He should feel jealous about it.

Amit Malviya (@malviyaamit): This token salary of Rs 1 is a great idea, especially when someone else opts for it ! 🙂 #Infosys

Varun Taneja (@varuntaneja09): And I thought Rs 1 trend was another petrol price shoot UP !

And how could BCCI be kept out of anything. 

Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt): N Srinivasan: Whats the big deal with Narayana Murthy.. Even i am ready to stay on as BCCI boss for a token compensation of Rs 1 per year.

Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj): While it will certainly boost morale at Infy, don’t you feel that there’s another board that needed Narayan Murthy even more..

Soumik Sen (@bangdu): BCCI couldn’t get Narayan Murthy on its board because when he asked for Rs1 they thought he wanted to go out and toss the coin.

Mocking Now (@mockingnow): Narayana Murthy as Executive Chairman at Infy will get Rs 1 per year. Sanjay Dutt as a prisoner in jail would earn more than Rs 9000 a year.

Picture used belongs to its maker on the internet. We are grateful for being able to use it. 

Salary Negotiations – Recruiters Pride – Part 1

salary cover

One of the key stages of the hiring process is the starting salary negotiation. It is a hurdle that needs to be overcome if you are to close the deal on your dream candidate. While there is no magic formula for handling a salary negotiation—as it can be impacted by many external factors beyond your control—there are several tactics to follow that can help you to engage in a mutually beneficial and ultimately successful salary negotiation.

Rahul Krishna, Manager – Talent Acquisition Group Espire Infolabs advices on the subject in the first part of this two-part series.

1. Put the salary range in the job description

There is a general reluctance for employers to include salary details in the job description, but by failing to do this, you are making salary negotiations harder as you are not setting the candidate expectations correctly and you may attract candidates who are off the scale. Where possible, include a range, even if it is broad, and make it clear that the candidate’s actual pay will be dependent on their experience and likely contribution to the business. This way you will filter out those candidates who are out of the ball park and where salary negotiations are likely to be fruitless — and a potential waste of both party’s time.

2. Check whether you are in the same ball park

There can be a tendency for the candidate and hiring manager to negotiate according to poker rules and not show their hand early, which means salary expectations, may not be revealed until late in the process. This can lead to salary negotiation issues if the candidate and employer salary expectations prove to be wide apart or not in the same ball park. At the very least, ask the candidate to confirm their current salary and package, so you can check you are on the same page and save wasting each other’s time.

3. Give additional reasons to join you, other than just money

Don’t allow the candidate to become too fixated on salary; give them other reasons to join you by constantly promoting all the other positive perks and aspects of working at the business, be that: culture, training, challenging work, location, benefits, flexible working, etc. The candidate will factor in all these perks and may be prepared to accept a lower salary in the knowledge that he/she will be receiving all these great perks.

4. Make the offer face-to-face

Where possible, try handing over the offer letter face-to-face and then talk them through it, rather than by post or email. It’s much easier to reject or query an offer that has come via email, or letter as it is quite impersonal. So, personalize and make the offer face-to-face and this should give you the upper hand. Of course, the candidate should still be given a few days to make up his/her mind, if need be.

Wait for the next set of guidelines in my next post.

salary-negotiation-tips

Globalisation and the Role of the Urban -2

saskia sassen

In the second part of Globalisation and the Role of the Urban, Malathy Madathilezham will dwell on Saskia Sassen’s concept of the change in the role of the nation state and the growing importance of cities in the era of globalisation.

Saskia Sassen is a Dutch-American sociologist noted for her analyses of globalization and international human migration. She currently is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Centennial visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. Sassen coined the term global city(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saskia_Sassen) .

Till very recently, in the system of cross border economic flows, the nation state was the key arbitrator in all exchanges.With the advent of neoliberal practices and globalisation, there has been a ‘rescaling’ of the territories that represent this system. Sassen sees globalisation as a differentiated phenomenon which is not quite ‘placeless’ as is claimed to be.

She talks about three different scales at which these flows can be seen to exist;

Subnational Regions: These are regions that have come up as intended outcome of policies. This can be seen in the manner cities are gaining ascendancy and considered to be pioneers in globalisation. The focus on decentralisation has greatly contributed to this.

Cross Border Regions: These are regions of enhanced flows under the shadow of policy and many exchanges here take place an unintended consequence and in stealth.

Supra National Regions: Here the importance of the nation state is subsumed and free exchange of capital is facilitated. For example free trade zones, SEZs etc. Here we can reflect also on what is the incentive that the nation state has to invest in the supra national region. In the kind of flow of capital taking place across the world, nations are in a competition to attract capital in the form of investments and supranational regions create conditions to attract the same. For developing countries like India there would also be added benefits of creation of these regions like bilateral trade, improved infrastructure and increased employment opportunities.

In this system of flows, the nation state is not the sole actor in the system which has now firms and markets involved in these processes which are enabled by new policies and international standards of the nation states themselves.

One of the main indicators of these are the growing number of cross border mergers, acquisitions and financial centres. Therefore, it can be seen that while there is huge potential for global dispersal and mobility, this system also brings about territorial concentration of resources that are required to manage the dispersal. As a result, Sassen like Brenner says that the growing number of cities are playing an important role in connecting the national economies with the global ‘circuits’. Thus with the growth of global transactions these links become stronger and pronounced in which particular cities are bound in linkages.

Thus in contrast to the earlier era when the cities were considered more as part of a nation state or region, the cities now while still part of the nation become also nodes of the flow of globalisation and address the ambitions of the nation where the nation would also be an investor. Within cities would be embedded different kinds of flows which in turn undergoes pressures due to rescaling at city level.

As cities become nodes for globalisation, there is also a creation of a hierarchy where the cities of the ‘North Atlantic System’ occupy the higher and bulk of the flows. These are regions where the headquarters of multinational organisations are situated. Thus even with the increased use of new telecommunication technologies, there is a tendency of territorial concentration of top level management functions which seem to still benefit from agglomeration economics. Sassen explains this by saying that business networks as opposed to technical networks thrive on economies of agglomeration.

Thus one of the key elements in the current global system is the simultaneous geographic dispersal and concentration of a firm’s operations. In addition, a major component of the global economy is the rise of global financial markets which have gained importance because they enable instantaneous transaction of money and information around the globe through electronic systems. It is interesting to note here that here too there is a disproportionate concentration of location of these markets in the cities of the global North.

Sassen explores the reason behind this form of territorial concentration. According to her the forms of globalization have created a specific organisational requirements like expansion of command function and increase in demand for specialized services (also referred to as corporate services complex) for the firms. The specialised functions are often outsourced to specialized firms rather than produced inhouse. It is seen that these agglomeration of specialized firms are more available in highly developed countries and particularly in ‘global’ cities. So these the availability of these strategic corporate and command function are more in the network of major global and financial markets.

Furthermore, infrastructure requirements of leading firms in information industries are also high with good facilities and capacity for global communication. These factors actually aid in territorial concentration and formation of hierarchy of cities and global cities.It is also pertinent to note about the relationship between nation, state and city in this context. According to Sassen,there is recalibration of these scales and they become embedded within the the city. For example, in the case of Mumbai, the State government of Maharashtra considers it as a source of revenue while the national government looks at Mumbai as an international financial hub and a major node of globalisation.

Sassen discusses how globalisation has got tendencies for concentration and centralising rather than dispersal and decentralisation as can be seen through empirical evidence. Her focus is on how there is the allocation of resources, development and capital are uneven globally and even within cities. She explores the reasons which are conducive or which promote such aspects in the process of globalisation. Both Sassen and Brenner are of the view that cities have become central and important in the context of globalisation.

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Globalization And The Role Of The Urban- 1

dharavi_2 globalisation

Malathy Madathilezham in two parts would be discussing two authors while trying to elaborate on how the urban or the city is playing a role in the process of globalisation and aided by the neoliberal process. In the first part she discussed Brenner’s approach to this urban question.

Neil Brenner’s writing and teaching focus on the theoretical, conceptual and methodological dimensions of urban questions. His work builds upon, and seeks to extend, the fields of critical urban and regional studies, comparative geopolitical economy and radical sociospatial theory. Major research foci include processes of urban and regional restructuring and uneven spatial development; the generalization of capitalist urbanization; and processes of state spatial restructuring, with particular reference to the remaking of urban, metropolitan and regional governance configurations under contemporary neoliberalizing capitalism (http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/people/neil-brenner.html).

Brenner looks at globalisation with a critical perspective on neoliberalism as it is practiced in the context of globalisation and the inherent contradiction that are reflected in cities by exploring the ongoing ‘urban restructuring’ processes. His focus lies mostly on old industrialized world, the practice of neoliberalism in the urban space and the process of creative destruction. He explores the localization of this practice in urban space and how it has resulted in an urbanization of neoliberalism itself.

According to Brenner, the global imposition of the neoliberal ideology has been uneven and the forms and socio-political consequences have also varied across spatial scales and in different ‘supraregional’ zones of the world. Neoliberal ideology became the dominant political and ideological form of capital globalization by mid 80s through international organisations and institutions like World Trade Organisation, World Bank etc who had become agents of transnational neoliberalism. These organisations institutionalised and extended market forces and commodification into the so called Third world nations through a process of structural adjustment programs.

The main tenets of the neoliberal ideology are ‘minimal state intervention’, market regulation, free trade, economic redistribution, individual liberty, etc. This neoliberal doctrine is used to justify deregulation of state in major industries, reduction in taxes, privatization of public services, liberalization etc. In actual practice however, on one hand it has given rise to intensively coercive state intervention to impose the ‘rule’ of market on all aspects of social life. This can be reflected in the way property taxes laws are being revised in India where they are now dependant on property prices rather than the date of construction. Thus the state occupies a very important role in the neoliberal practice as the enabler of capital by providing subsidies and acting as an arbitrator between capital and labour. In addition, the application of corporate practice to the functioning of the state has also lead to the state becoming entrepreneurial in nature.

For example the move from housing as a welfare function to an activity which would generate revenue for the state as can be seen from a perusal of the national and state housing policies. On the other hand, instead of optimal allocation of investments and resources through self regulating markets, the political practice of neoliberalism has generated market failures, newer forms of social polarization and a greater range of uneven development across different spatial scales The removal of barriers of exit and entry of capital leads to creation of a hierarchy of places in the world where certain places are preferred for investment and exchange. These places then form a network which are generated and maintained consciously. Thus the practice of neoliberalism is rampant with contradictions to the ideology that it claims to support.

Brenner also talks about creative destruction in the practices of neoliberalism which is basically the partial or complete destruction of existing institutional arrangements and political compromises and creation of new infrastructure for market oriented economic growth, commodification and rule of capital. Cities have become strategically crucial and central to the unfolding of creative destruction in recent years. The contradictions of the practices of neoliberalism are embedded with the frame of the urban.

The interplay of capital and state activities heighten and enhance the importance of the city. The creation of new cities, inter urban areas gaining importance have been observed as part of this change. The accumulation of capital, markets and fragmentation of production brings more and more changes both in within (intra) and between (inter) cities. As a result while the scale of production goes down, the scale of consumption increases at a rapid rate which makes cities the sites of consumption. It can also be seen that accumulation of capital at both intercity and intracity levels happens in an uneven manner; with centre of accumulation or concentration of capital created due to the attractiveness to invest in certain spaces than others.

Thus according to Brenner, cities on the one hand are in a highly uncertain economic geography which is characterised by financial disorder, movement of capital in highly speculative manner, high interlocal competitiveness. On the other hand, neoliberal programs have been embedded in urban policy regimes through deregulation, privatization, etc. Here he essays how during different eras of neoliberal practice have impressed upon major cities and city regions. In the post-war growth regime and initial phase of ‘proto neoliberalism’, cities were sites of economic dislocations, social and political struggles. Thus while economic initiatives were taken in old industrial cities so as to bring economic growth, the established social, political and redistributive arrangements were maintained. Cities in the era of roll-back neoliberalism of the 80s’ were subjected to cost cutting policies of the municipal governments like privatization of infrastructure, reduction in public services to lower cost of state administration along with promotion of administrative efficiency, direct and indirect state subsidies to corporates and privatization of social reproduction functions as ‘best practices’. This not only led to increased polarisation in segments of populations but declining effectiveness with respect to economic rejuvenation.

This was followed by roll-out neoliberalism which according to Brenner can be viewed as an evolutionary reconstitution of the neoliberal practices due to its own contradictions and crisis tendencies. Thus, on one hand the dominant political project for municipalities globally was about the city space as an arena for capital growth, commodification and market discipline. On the other hand, the conditions for promotion and maintenance of economic competitiveness were reconceptualized to include diverse administrative, political and economic criteria. Brenner does not see these practices resulting in a linear transition from a model of the ‘welfare city’ towards a new model of ‘neoliberal city’.

He looks at them as contested, trial and error processes of change including neoliberal strategies that are mobilized as a response to problems afflicting advanced capitalist cities. But even these strategies sometimes aggravate problems such as economic stagnation, unemployment, etc.

Brenner argues that cities have become central to the reproduction, mutation, and continual reconstitution of neoliberalism itself during the last two decades and the urbanization of neoliberalism has been occurring during this period. The cities have become strategic targets for broad range of neoliberal experiments, institutional innovations and political and ideological projects through which the global dominance of neoliberalism is maintained.

Global and Urban