Saturday, July 09, 2011 Posted by Pratheesh

Author: Avinash Shandilya

The above statement defines the entire concept of the Lokpal Bill. The details about the Who and the What and the Where and the How have been all over the news. We have made a mockery of ourselves. Somebody who was a nobody has been raised to the status of being a Mahatma and the crusade titled Satyagrah. Excuse me, even Mahatma Gandhi would not have adhered to such banal commercialisation of something as pure as fasting for a noble cause.

The point which I would like to make through this article is the sheer irrelevance of holding the country’s sanctity to ransom and disrupting the functioning of the parliamentary body, when our parliament is the highest authority which frames laws. Civil society bonded together by their collective frustration against corruption (cases for which are popping up every week like the spread of mosquitoes during the rainy season at NCR) has taken the mantle upon themselves to have a complete overhaul of the system. It is true that a malaise exists in the system and we have all the right to be disappointed. It is our responsibility to take collective remedial actions as well. In the past when we did not do anything to counter corruption, we the general people blamed each other for the lack of pride in cleaning our own houses. Now that we are doing it, we are doing it under a shaky leadership and the connotations have been there for all of us to see.

The issue of the Lokpal Bill have been driven by political undertones. Lets try and reanalyse the issue from the perspective of a common man. Why do people like me and you need the Lokpal? Why do we need the Prime Minister to be under its ambit? In a few days time we will also fight for the Supreme court to be under the ambit of the Lokpal? People like me and you will not get a penny in our hands even if the black money, on the pretext of which the entire campaign has been staged, returns back. Since the issue has been raised, the government is trying its level best to bring all the tax havens onto the negotiation table. Agreements are being signed. India aspires to have a permanat seat in the UN. We aspire to be the new power bloc in the world. India has a cultural heritage of tolerance and that is what has helped us sustain as a collective unit. We are not hardwired to deal with issues in the some of our Middle east cousins or for that matter our arch rivals in the north treat us. We are a democracy and should be proud to be one.

Let good sense prevail. Let us try and give up the campaign to get what we want by putting a knife to the government. We have lots of people dying everyday in road accidents, out of diseases, out of sheer poverty and that is what needs to be brought to the fore. The rest will take care of themselves. We already have the Vigilance Commission We have the RTI. Both of these have been the brainchild of this very government and they are working so well. Let us raise our daily issues of concern which we see around ourselves to these organisations. Let them do what they have been appointed to do. They need our support. Let us not always try and undermine all the institutions which exist and claim to institute yet another committee with even more overbearing powers.

The government cannot and should not adhere to the demands for the Lokpal so soon. The issue needs further debate amongst the masses. Put up the draft for everybody to see. Let the enlightened community feel wanted. Let them be involved. Let the Parliament do its due. We do not need another committee, we need awareness amongst the masses to use the existing institutions well.

Importance of cross cultural sensitization in International Business

Friday, July 08, 2011 Posted by Pratheesh

Author: Nupur Gupta(2011-2013 batch)

Cross cultural sensitivity is the quality of being aware and accepting of other cultures. This is important because what seems acceptable in some countries can be rude or derogatory in others. A person who is culturally sensitive is aware that there could be differences between their culture and another person’s, and that these differences could affect their relationship and the way they communicate with each other. A culturally sensitive person would understand other countries’ traditions and ways of life, or attempt to learn and apply new understandings.

Cross cultural sensitivity is seen as an essential skill in today's world. Cross cultural awareness is important when dealing in international relations or trade. It can mean the difference between a brand succeeding or failing in international market. Some cross cultural barriers are body language, etiquette, establishing trust, religious beliefs and social habits.

The success or failure of a company, venture, merger or acquisition essentially depends upon people. If these people are not cross-culturally aware then misunderstandings, offence and a breakdown in communication can occur. The need for greater cross-cultural awareness is heightened in our global economies. Cross-cultural differences can lead to cross cultural blunders. Having a poor understanding of the influence of cross cultural differences in areas such as management, PR, advertising and negotiations can eventually lead to blunders that can have damaging consequences.

A company having understanding of cultures in other countries can manipulate marketing strategies accordingly and use them effectively. For example- the main slogan of coke is open happiness. But happiness is defined differently in different cultures. So it targets that and has different types of advertisements for different countries/cultures

Examples showing the importance of Cross Cultural Sensitivity and awareness are:

An American Company that manufactures golf balls packaged the balls in packs of four. They were successful and began selling internationally. However they were not so successful in Japan, where the number four holds the meaning of death.

When a soft drink was introduced into Arab countries, the Arabs didn’t buy it because the label had six-pointed stars on it and they interpreted it as pro-Israeli. When they printed another label in ten languages, the Arabs wouldn’t buy again because one of them was Hebrew.

Recognising the importance of cross cultural sensitization will help the company to understand the needs, preferences of customer for a product. A company won’t sell a product that would not be accepted by the people on cultural grounds. For e.g.-. if a package food company tries to sell beef in India, it might not be as successful as expected because cow is considered the sacred animal to Indians.

Communicating and working across cultures often presents huge risks for international businesses. Understanding culture of other country can help prevent wasted time, lost revenue and damaging misunderstandings which occur as a result of a lack of knowledge and understanding of the target culture. Understanding how people think and why they behave the way they do will help employees work more effectively, which in turn, will give the organisation a competitive edge over other organisations who lack this intercultural competence.

Cross culture sensitivity helps the company to understand the implications of cultural difference on business, understand how they are perceived by their international counterparts, communicate effectively across cultures and build successful cross cultural relationships.

We can impart the idea of cross cultural sensitivity to the employees by cross culture awareness training. This training offers participants with two types of training- One looks at a specific country or culture and how to do business with them. Cultural awareness training can make an important impact on any business or organisation wanting to maximize their potential internationally. With staff that can deal sensitively and effectively with clients, customers and colleagues from other cultures a business becomes more competitive and more profitable.

Thus, the idea of cross cultural sensitivity is inevitable in international business. For a company to be successful in international business, it should help the employees to be culturally sensitive. If different cultures are accepted by people of different parts of the world, then it leads to successful and profitable venture.

The Business of Business is Business

Friday, July 08, 2011 Posted by Pratheesh

Author: Ratin Duggal (2011-2013 batch)

When I hear social activists and NGO workers shout slogans and hog media attention to get corporate honchos to participate in CSR activities it makes me feel amused.

I understand that we all should give back to society once we reach a level where we can make a difference, but is it our duty? Is it the duty of corporate bigwigs to organise CSR activities, just to get these social activists off their back and the government from imposing taxes?

Charity as defined by the Oxford dictionary is “generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless”.

The key word here is generous. I would also like to mention here that an act can be generous only if it has the right intentions and starts off as a selfless act.

Many Businessmen feel pushed into making charities and indulging in CSR initiatives. The reason business exists is because the proprietors want to make money. It can be for many other reasons too, but certainly not to give away your money. Acts of generosity should only be invoked by something inside and not something external.

The Business of Business is Business. Business exists only so that it can generate more business. The hunger can never quite be satiated, but is it a sin not to be satisfied?

I agree that there are many scrupulous practices out there which show businesses as selfish operations with no concern for gullible customers. The customers too are very shrewd and if they are never questioned on their morality, then why are businesses?

It is an unsaid truth that most businesses run for profits alone and the brand building around it is to protect the customer from getting hurt by the true intentions of a business.

Yes, the corporates owe society but no more than society owes them. They create job opportunities, promote development and invoke aspirations in the public.

Society and businesses exist together because they need each other and not because they want to. So yes, there is no harm in pushing businesses to help in the betterment of society by giving aid, but it also isn’t wrong when businesses retaliate and refuse to give up their hard earned incomes.

The business of business is business and not charity, but to get businesses to contribute is society’s business.

IIFT shines at the Nissan Student Brand Manager Program

Thursday, July 07, 2011 Posted by Bhushan Bapat

Two students from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) have been selected for the National Finals of Nissan Student Brand Manager (NSBM) program to be held at Mumbai next month. The final round of selection for North Zone was held at the IIFT campus with the jury consisting of eminent personalities from the Advertising and the Automobile fields such as Mr. Prahlad Kakkar, Ad Guru, Genesis Films, Mr. Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, Mr. Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor of Autocar India Magazine.
Expressed Mr KT Chacko, Director, IIFT, “IIFT congratulates the winners and wishes them all the success in their endeavors. IIFT is glad to provide this platform for the selection and enable its own and other students to come up with effective and novel marketing ideas."

The other finalists include students from the Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB) and IBS, Dehradun.
Said Rathin Rawal, one of the finalists from IIFT, batch 2010 – 12 "I am thrilled. Having worked in the automobile sector, this event naturally generated interest in me. Presenting my ideas before stalwarts like Prahlad Kakkar and the possible opportunity of executing them in real life kept me motivated. The fact that it was held on my home turf - IIFT has been an added advantage."
This is the second year of the initiative by Nissan and this program invited applications from 150 colleges spanning across 15 cities in India. The company aims to target 1,200 entries for appointing 20 NSBM?s and the tenure of the program will be for a period of a six months starting from July to Dec’2011.
NSBM program is aimed at presenting a unique challenge to the students to create a niche for them and raise the standards of excellence for their future. The participants will get an opportunity to channelize their creative minds.
The 20-selected Student Brand Managers from across India are planned to play a key role in bringing brand Nissan closer to both - the student community and the public in general through innovative marketing initiatives. After undergoing training, the students will work closely with company officials on a variety of initiatives. Also each NSBM can get a “Nissan Micra” based on their requirements which will further help them to understand marketing activities of an automobile brand.

1st day at IIFT

Monday, July 04, 2011 Posted by Pratheesh

Author: Akshay Gupta (2011-2013 batch)

Here came 1st July 2011, my 1st day at IIFT, Delhi. With great expectations and hopes in my mind and with enormous energy I entered the campus of IIFT, Delhi the “IIFT Bhawan” located in the greens of the Aravallis.

The moment I entered the place I fell in love with this place all over again.. No this by no means is my second stint at IIFT..:), but because it reminded me of my school life.. I am not getting emotional by any chance, but I say so as it reminded of the greens of the Aravallis as it’s just a stones throw away distance from IIFT.

The day as it should start in any Indian B-School with the lightning of the knowledge lamp and an address by the honorable director of the institute, followed by load of people from the program director to the faculty, the students body president and so on.. Every minute that was passing by was making us realize the kind of effort and focus this course required from each one of us and it started to give me the feel of being an IIFTian and yes I felt it.. I am an IIFT 2011-13 batch student..!!!

It was on the first day that I got a chance to interact with each and every one of my batch mates, I found a lot many people who from the first look seemed to be fun loving and as cheerful and on the other hand there were few who from there first look had started to scare the hell out of me.. and these people were those extremely serious kind of people.. with loads of knowledge on their head and who made me realize on the very instance about where I am and what I have for competition…:(.

The highlight of the day started at 6.00Pm when the 2010-12 batch seniors started to pour into the auditorium. These were those guys who had been with us all throughout the GDPI and the selection process, hats off to these guys… I knew at the back of my mind that now the real “Fun” is going to start.. yes this was the IIFT flagship PDP sessions, the sessions which would give me a hang of the “B-School culture”, the culture of sleepless nights, of working in groups, the feeling of “loving” your blazers and tie at 45 *Celsius temp.. and it was indeed as I had expected..:( .

The first day gave me a hang of what I will be experiencing in these 2 years of my life. The rocked totally, it drained all the energy out of me that I had been saving for so long.. But, still I was liking.. As that’s the way it happens at IIFT.. Go IIFT go….!!!