3 months internship at Bosch GmbH, Germany

3 months internship at Bosch GmbH, Germany

“Die Erfahung war wirklich wunderbar!” This was the spontaneous reaction of the seven IGTC trainees who returned with a new outlook towards the global business environment after completing a three month stint with Bosch GmbH, Germany.

The seven students did their initial two practical training stints with Bosch in India at its various locations – Bangalore, Nashik and Jaipur. Based on their exceptional performances, they were given the opportunity to complete their final training stint with Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany at Stuttgart, Karlsruhe & Schwieberdingen respectively.

Thus, the “Bosch kids” experienced the real German-European work culture in its true sense. The last few months in Germany were one of the best experiences in their lives both from the educational perspective as well as the inter-cultural leanings. This stint offered challenges not only concerning work culture but also with respect to the environmental conditions faced by them during the winter season. “When we left India, the temperature here was 25 degree C. But when we landed there in Munich, it was as cold as 1 degree C. That’s where I realized how far I had come from home and how different it was from the familiar surroundings of our homeland!” says Radhika Atre, one of the trainees, who was completely mesmerized by the country.

Rakesh Tomar a student of IGTC, who originates from Delhi shares his dreams and aspirations with us. This young and dynamic lad, who spent three months away from India, has a tale of his own. “My career objective is to work in an International multicultural environment and my training phase in Germany provided me the insights to prepare me to achieve my goals. It was challenging to work with a highly skilled workforce.

I was assigned to study the regional practices of Europe and asked to implement them in India. Though the business practices and distribution channels are different in Europe, it provided me an understanding of the business environment and the new concepts that are emerging there, which can have a considerable impact on the business operations in India also. In addition to this I was asked to prepare a roadmap for the implementation of a segmentation strategy in India. I coordinated with my NAFTA counterparts and Bosch Australia, who had experience with implementing a similar strategy. After discussing my approach with my Boss, I could understand their concerns for the product from their perspective. Thus my project gave me an opportunity to understand the implications of the business decisions as a whole and the outcome was appreciated by my Indian as well as German counterparts.

The professionalism exhibited by the colleagues while working could also be seen after office hours, when we grouped together to play football every Wednesday. I really found it hard to make my “football frenzy German counterparts” understand why India as a nation is obsessed with cricket.

Amit Kulkarni, also a student of the Indo-German Training Centre, Mumbai has a different take on his experience in Germany. He states “Being an engineer, this was my first stint with the finance department and I was bewildered whether I could live up to the expectations of my colleagues in Germany. I got the opportunity to be a part of the Controlling Department in the Gasoline systems. Having undergone various financial subjects during my course at the training centre, I took it up as a challenge and was ready to overcome the fear of number crunching.

The German efficiency & professionalism was visible through their work. Seeing was one thing, being there and living it was exhilarating. Financial controlling at Bosch GmbH is a very dynamic process, one learns to analyse and deal with numbers. On the other hand for a car enthusiast like me, I got the opportunity to interact with prestigious clients like Daimler Benz, BMW, Audi VW & the list goes on – which was really a fantastic experience for me. My German colleagues took deadlines seriously & made it a point to complete all the work on time. They were flexible but were keen on the quality and output of their work. They did believe time is money and I could sense the commitment every time I entered my Department.

The country side of Stuttgart was cold but the people there were warm. The commute in the local trains (S-Bahn & U Bahn as it is said by the Germans) was the most enjoyable experience. Though the temperature was freezing cold, we did make it a point to have fun all along.

Radhika Atre goes down memory lane and narrates her experiences during her stay in Germany. “It was a roller coaster ride of 3 months …………. that’s all I can say!!! The ride was bumpy at times but it was an experience beyond expectations because it’s not every day you get a chance to freeze yourself in -15 degrees temperature & still enjoy. It was a dream come true to work with a German giant- Robert Bosch. I got the taste of the German way of working on my very first day!!!! The first meeting was arranged with the HR in Stuttgart, Feuerbach plant (the head office for Diesel system) where my four classmates & I were supposed to do our internship. At 10 am sharp we were introduced to the HR coordinator with whom till date we had corresponded through mails for this internship. She handed out few forms to us regarding the code of conduct, rules & regulations & most importantly the map of our department because the plant area was very huge. For many days I used to forget the way to my department building.

After completing few formalities, I was ready to meet my new department in Germany & I was thrilled to see how things worked. My department was DS SCC (Diesel Systems Sales, Cost Commercial Coordination) which is one of the most crucial departments in Diesel Systems because of the work they do and the impact of its activities on Bosch. In the department I was introduced to my mentor who made sure that I was comfortable. My department colleagues seemed bewildered when I introduced myself in German and conversed with them fluently in their language. I was entrusted with the job to support the SCC 1 & SCC 2 teams. My German colleagues became an integral part of my life during my internship.

A noticeable fact was that there wasn’t a single individual from India!!!! I took this fact in my stride because it only meant that I would be getting opportunities to learn new things from people with different cultures & different mindsets. There were people of different countries apart from Germany like China, Finland, Sweden, South America, Brazil etc. This mix of people brought different thoughts and different styles of working which I experienced during my tenure of three months. Besides the project that I was given to me involved tremendous amount of number crunching and data retrieval from various departments. This helped my interaction with people in the organisation at all levels.

It was not just work which made my life interesting in Germany but I got an opportunity to explore this beautiful country. Visiting the Eiffel Tower was a dream come true for me, because I was witnessing one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Louvre Museum and all other places in Paris showed us the typical European style structures. The city of Berlin only added another perspective about Germany with its historic monuments. In the city of automobiles – Stuttgart, I got a glimpse of Formula 1 racing which was an experience worth a million words. I was lucky enough to see the Wine festival & the amazing New Years Eve with all the fireworks & champagne to toast!!!! On my very last day at work I was gifted a Bosch souvenir as a sign of remembrance of my stay with my colleagues there”.

Thus, the three-month long internship at Bosch Germany came to an end for the seven trainees. Germany – a country with innovation & advancement in technologies was the most suitable place for them to learn and explore diverse facets of life. It reinforced the German way of living – their professionalism, their positive attitude, their jest in adhering to deadlines and detailing every job. It was an experience of a life time for these dynamic minds.

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Taking NIVEA from Tradition to Modernity – Mr. Kai Bendix, Managing Director, Nivea India Pvt. Ltd.

Corporate Lecture by Mr. Kai Bendix – Managing Director, NIVEA India

 

 

Mr. Kai Bendix, Managing Director of NIVEA India Pvt. Ltd., is one of the most eminent speakers to have addressed the IGTC students on “The Passage to India – Taking NIVEA from Tradition to Modernity”. As stated by Mr. Bendix “Skin and beauty care is our passion. NIVEA represents a state-of-the-art skin and beauty care, combining systematic consumer orientation, reliable quality, and a tangible brand personality”.

As an international branded consumer goods company, NIVEA is growing throughout the world. Their key focus regions include Western Europe, the USA, China, Russia, Brazil, and India. In 2008, Beiersdorf globally generated sales of €5.97 billion and has approximately 22,000 employees worldwide who strongly feel committed to the company’s goals.

NIVEA has been awarded the Most Trusted Brand 2009 by Reader’s Digest in Europe for the tenth consecutive year. NIVEA in India is 89 years young and was launched in 1920. For NIVEA innovation is the norm of the day. They believe in thinking about tomorrow and hence their research & development expense amounts to €149 million. There are about 100 newly developed products in 2008 and 87 patent applications.

Mr. Bendix made the students aware of the vast product portfolio of NIVEA which includes Skin Care, Hair Care, Color Cosmetics etc. According to him the brand NIVEA has various attributes like trust, identity, quality and desire which are the key driving forces to retain existing customers and attract new ones. The students were given an insight into the concept of brand equity and its relevance to NIVEA. It encompasses availability, preference, loyalty, awareness, familiarity, image and association which are of paramount importance to the company.

For Mr. Bendix, his constant focus is to implement global concepts on local level in India which will enable him to maintain uniformity with the brand globally. NIVEA uses various brand building tools to promote and market its products, encompassing classical Above-the-line communication, Below-the-line-activations and Public relations. Their ATL activities include print, online and television commercials. Their BTL activities comprise of sampling and sponsoring events like the NIVEA Princesses @ Femina Miss India 2009 and also the IPL- Chennai Super Kings Association.

The brand architecture for NIVEA includes its various sub-brands with distinct brand strategies and innovative product launches & re-launches. Mr. Bendix was instrumental in reinforcing the various branding, advertising, marketing concepts which the students had learned in their classroom sessions at the training centre with his first hand experience of handling a big brand like NIVEA.

At the end of the session each student was handed a goody bag containing various NIVEA products as the Managing Director believes that it is important to experience the brand “skin-deep” to enjoy its numerous offerings. The students were all charged up and in high spirits. It was a truly enlightening and informative session for the IGTC students.

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Inauguration of the 2nd EBMP batch (2011-2012)

The Indo-German Training Centre, Mumbai inaugurated its 2nd Executive Business Management Program on 2nd July 2011. There were 26 participants from diverse Indo-German member companies like BBraun Medical India, BASF India, Batliboi, Bayer Business Services, Bericap India, Bosch, Ericsson India, HDFC Ergo General Insurance Co., Lapp India, Volkswagen India etc. who constituted the Class of 2011 – 2012. These executives had varied experience ranging from 3 years to 20 years. They came from diverse functional areas and departments of their organizations like Accounts & Finance, Administration, Corporate Communications, Design & Development, Information Technology, Internal Audit, Operations, Production, Quality Assurance, Sales & Marketing, Strategy and Technical Services.

Each participant was handed over a welcome kit at the training centre which incorporated some valuable reading material for the candidates on What Management Is by Joan Magretta and HBR’s 10 Must Reads – The Essentials. It entailed 10 seminal articles by management’s most influential experts, on topics of perennial concern to ambitious managers and leaders hungry for inspiration – and ready to run with big ideas to accelerate their own and their companies success.

 

The inauguration commenced with the traditionally lighting of the lamp followed by the director Ms. Radhieka R Mehta’s welcome address. She gave a brief insight on the training centre’s parent body – Indo-German Chamber of Commerce and its numerous services which it offers to its member companies. She emphasized the role of the Chamber as being a significant catalyst for the promotion of trade and industrial relations between India and Germany. She further moved on to the details of the Executive Program, its course content, strong faculty which is the forte at IGTC and most importantly emphasizing the fact that though the group size is small but definitely rich in experience, which can facilitate greater depth in the learning process.

Subsequently, senior faculty from diverse functional areas of Business Management addressed the audience and shared their perspective on the programme. Dr. Mankad, a Ph.D. in International Finance and a Post-graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, USA, gave an insight to the participants on the highly competitive and dynamic/changing economic environment and the need of professionals to be updated with the current trends in India and the world. Dr. Anil Naik, a Gold Medalist from the first batch of PGDM from IIM Calcutta and a Doctorate in Turnaround Strategy, gave the participants a brief overview on strategy and its various implications on today’s companies. He also emphasized the importance of reading numerous business magazines like India Today, Business World, Outlook etc. to keep oneself abreast with the happenings in the corporate world. Ms. Chitra Chandrasekhar, a post graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, explained the significance of Quantitative Techniques and it being an integral subject, which lays the foundation for all management modules like marketing, finance, operations and human resources. Mr. Fakih, a Masters in Financial Management from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, very emphatically stated that Finance was an easy subject if students apply their mind and give it its due weightage.

This was followed by each participant giving a brief introduction about themselves stating clearly their expectations from the Executive Business Management Program and ways in which the training centre could enhance their learning curve. Few of the expectations which the participants shared were a need to improve their thought process from a business perspective, exposure to overall business portfolio, work towards strategic thinking and planning, increase knowledge in commercial and financial functions, ways to enhance productivity, working in a team to increase profitability etc.

EBMP Participants Testimonials:-
“I must confess that I am truly blessed to have come and joined the Indo-German Training Centre. The class room ambience is excellent, it immediately switches us on to the learning mode and faculties are real time inspiring trusted Gurus. My batch mates are nice and supportive. I am confident the journey which I have started and the knowledge which I will gain from here, will be cherished for a long time and help me groom for future challenges.”

Mr. Shailesh Patil, Divisional Manager – Sales, Batliboi Ltd.
“My experience at EBMP has been so far excellent in terms of study environment, process of delivery, content of course and mix of candidates. The ocean of knowledge, experience and methodology of imparting information by the legendary gurus’ is just extraordinary. The first couple of days, have clearly wiped out every speck of doubt to conclude that the decision to join IGTC is, one among the best & right decisions I had taken so far and I am proud to be a part of it.

Though it took several months of online self – research to come to a decision from numerous alternatives of executive management courses, today I feel, it is worth being here and I am confident that the learning’s at this institution would surely carve a better professional career in future for me. The treasure of examples from every walk of our day to day life by each Professor makes learning interesting and ignites the desire to listen to more and more. It’s just not lectures, books, laptops, presentations and certificate but a Lifetime Experience to acquire insights of Management from World Class Experts.”

Mr. K. Ravikumar, Therapy Specialist & Internal Trainer, B Braun Medical India Pvt. Ltd.
“It’s difficult to describe the experience, the atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the lecturers as well as the staff members of IGTC. 2nd July 2011 was the inaugural day of EBMP at IGTC, it was good to see that they still follow the tradition of lighting the lamp before starting with new batch – “Where there is light, darkness cannot be; Where knowledge has come, ignorance must quit.” – Swami Chinmayananda

“We are only two lecture’s old but I feel as if I am a part of a big family, where in participants from various background and culture have become my new friends and they are ready to help each other without any resistance. The faculties are extremely experienced and encourage class participation.”

Mr. Vishal Gajdhane, System Engineer-ITO, Bayer Business Services Pvt. Ltd.
To conclude the Indo-German Training Centre looks forward to a positive exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge in class, a sound peer interaction and network which will remain with the participants for the rest of their lives.

 

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Experience @ Deutschland by Mr. Ashwin V. Tirthakar (Batch 2008 – 2010)

It was January 03, 2011 around 09:00 am in the morning. It was my first morning of the first day of my first tour abroad ever, that too in a far away land of Deutschland.   I was standing anxious at a platform of Stuttgart Mainheim Station, waiting for a train to Schwaerbisch-Hall Hessental.  Anxiety was obvious and may be chilling breeze at minus temperature was compounding that feeling further. But that anxiety or nervousness could not stop me from not getting mesmerized by the beauty of this amazing nation right from word go. And, it all started at Stuttgart Mainheim station.  It has such a quintessential old world charm, reflected in its design and architecture, but imaginatively combined with new-age modernity and technology. It has small and big beautifully decorated shops and restaurants around. Also, the glimpses of Christmas festivities could be easily seen and felt in the air. A big, beautiful Christmas tree, decorated in the middle of a station, became a centre of attraction.

Train started at around 09:30 for Schwaerbisch-Hall Hessental. Sitting by a window, what all I could see outside was snow, snow and white covers of snow only, everywhere, from mountain hills to trees to cars to rooftop of houses and factories. I never had seen snow before and now I could only see was Snow. I reached to my destination, Schwaerbisch-Hall station at 11:20am and met my first friend there, a shy, lanky Russian, Artem Soldatov. He had also come for Deutsche language course at Goethe Institute. We decided to walk to Institute (of course, with the help of a map) and honestly speaking, I fell in love for this place at first sight.  Schwaerbisch-Hall, a small but amazingly beautiful town, is situated on the banks of river Kucher.

Finally we reached Goethe Institute. It is an old, simple but elegant three storey building located nearby main marketplace of the town. We were hungry enough and could not wait to barge on snacks and juices arranged for us. There are various batches depending on levels of courses, from beginner’s A1 to highly proficient C2. The institute has highly systematic approach to decide upon the level at which one has to be put.  It consists of a personal interview, followed by the written test, to test both verbal as well as written proficiency of a student at present. I was interviewed by a charming old lady, Frau Regina Baumann.  Her warmth and affection made my all anxieties and nervousness go for a toss. She advised me to join A1 course and assured me that I will be proficient enough to communicate in deutsche by the end of a course, sure enough to fire confidence within me. These small-small gestures and interpersonal warmth are what constitute greatness in real sense, I think. Then, we had been allotted an individual accommodation at service apartment, not very far from the Institute. Fortunately I got a room on the second floor from where I get most panoramic view of a town, as service apartment was on a hillside. First day was a rest day and we were sinking into musings of a new land.

Next day, we reached Institute at 7 am in the morning. After breakfast in the mensa (German word for mess/canteen), we gathered at Institute Auditorium for a welcome address by Institute Director, Frau Barbara Malchow – Tayebi. Though I did not get what all she said, still could get gist of it. She told us about Institute, its activities, its history; she welcomed all of us to the Institute and assured good experiences ahead. To my amazement, there were 92 students from 36 nations (from all continents except Antarctica, of course) and across all age-groups. The youngest in the batch was 18 year old boy from Turkey to 50 plus men and women. It was a truly global class. I was the only Indian among 92 students, representing India. These 92 students were divided into 6 classes from A1-A2 to C1-C2, as per various levels of certifications. Each class has been allotted a class teacher. Frau Irene Lukasch has been named as a class-teacher for our class, A1. She is one of the most beautiful, charming, and energetic person I ever had come across. In her fifties, her child-like effervescent energy was infectious. My class was an assemblage of 12 students of different nationalities. There was a middle-aged American soldier-Dan, a Chinese Mathematician-Xiang, a Russian Physicist-Timur, an Egyptian Doctor-Ahmed, a Turkish lady- Bahar, a young African university student-Nelson from Malavi (West Africa), a Japanese engineer- Hiroaki, a Korean student-Yoghung, a senior lawyer-Marco and two under graduates-Amanda and Victor from Brazil. I was feeling more like a Global Citizen in true sense.

One of the uniqueness of Goethe Institute is its teaching methodology. The teaching schedule is systematically divided into class-room session every morning and various interactive activities in post-lunch and evening sessions. The class-room teaching was anything but boring blackboard-chalk kind of teaching. It mostly consists of small-small group activities and assignments, including role-playing which makes you participate, hook-on your interest and thus, highly successful in its effect. The post-lunch and evening interactive programs and activities  were innovatively designed which includes Listening exercises, Phonetic sessions, Guided tour to Museum, Art Galleries, Market-places, local brewery unit & other historical places in the town, get-together session over drinks (Stammtisch), Deutsch movies at Goethe Kino, Parties & games at Goethe Pub, Goethe Choirs, Coffee and cake party, International buffet. There is also one directive that all communication during these activities should be in Deutsche only. All these activities are aimed at application of classroom teaching in real life communication by audio-visual-interpersonal communication and enhance your learning capabilities. And not surprisingly, it has such a great multiplier effect to pick-up language with all its nuances quickly. All these activities were planned and we had been given a detailed day-wise schedule for an entire month on the first day itself. If planning was immaculate, execution was equally perfect. What impressed me most are little intricacies and warm human touch with which all these programmes are designed and executed.

Schwaerbisch Hall has a historical significance. The town had come into existence for salt extraction from Kucher River even before eleventh century ‘Hall’ is related with salt in German and Schwaerbisch is the name of that particular region. It has a magnificent church, located centrally, and built in eleventh century. Most of the old buildings around the church exhibits particular architecture. It also has a very beautiful museum where historical artefacts, souvenirs, handicrafts, paintings and information are preserved and displayed. The town also boasts of stupendous art gallery of world famous American painter Alex Kats. Located beside a river, this art gallery has collection of art and paintings of this great artist, especially big wall size paintings are mesmerising. I shop first painting of my life here. The town is also home to one of the most famous beer brands in the region, Haller Lowenbrau. A special visit to its brewery unit was an experience in itself. It is a completely automated plant which produces 10Million litres annually with only four workmen. Geographically also, unique positioning of this town makes it perfect picturesque.  It is surrounded by hills on one side and farms on other side. I never got tired of clicking the scenic beauty of this town.

The events like Stammtisch, Parties & games at Goethe Pub, Goethe Choirs, Coffee and cake party, International buffet provided unique opportunity not only to communicate in Deutsche but also to interact with people around the world, understanding their views, culture and sensibilities. Friday weekend parties at Goethe Pub, a small party hall inside Institute, used to be great unwinding time for all of us. Tapping our feet to various tunes especially Brazilian ones was a great fun. Coffee and cake party was arranged by group of friends who have a great long association with Institute. The various German speciality cakes were so tasty that I remember we finished-off those 15-16 different cakes within 20 minutes. There I met a very old lady, Christina, who is a great admirer of India. She had been to India thrice and is in complete awe of this nation. It was heartening to see her love for India and Indian culture. One more event which we enjoyed a lot was International Buffet. Cooking our own cuisine delicacies and serving it to people across the world was an experience in itself. But being a vegetarian, I realised my limitations to taste different mouth-watering delicacies of various regions. Alas!

Every Saturday was a tour day for us. Institute had organised excursion to places like Stuttgart, Wuerzberg and Rothenberg. In a trip to Stuttgart, we also visited Mercedes Benz Museum. Undoubtedly it was one of the most memorable days of my life. The way entire history and evolution of this great iconic brand has been chronicled over seven floors of this hi-tech museum leaves you spellbound. This evolution is wowed with contemporary history of nation and presented pictorially as well. Evolvement of engines, iconic models from 1910s to futuristic concept cars, gigantic trucks, engines for aeroplanes takes us to entirely different world and we realised what makes it a such great and powerful brand. On the other hand, Wuerzberg and Rothenberg are historical towns famous for its Palaces and Churches. We couldn’t take our eyes-off magnificence and majesty of these royal places. I just wonder how much resources and efforts might have been put to make life truly king-size for royal family. I have a great admiration for high degree of professionalism and initiative with which Germans respect and preserve their culture and history and historical places, in turn. It is certainly a lesson for India.

The January 27 was our last day at Goethe Institute. These twenty-five days went-off like few moments, we enjoyed each and every moment of. It was such a great feeling for being a part of this great institution even for a while. Great institutions are not built overnight, but are nurtured continuously and shaped-up by people, their vision, character and values, I realised. Equally I am in awe of this amazing nation. It is not only economic or technological prowess, but it is power of its people and their values. A character of a nation is built through its institutions, governance and leadership and Germany has done it so beautifully. They respect and their art and culture as much as they believe in Science and Technology; they love their traditions as much as they embrace liberalism; They are punctual, disciplined and amazingly systematic in approach still filled with so much warmth and humanitarian attitude. No surprises then, Germany is more than a superpower, a truly a great nation. It was also equally enriching experience to study, interact and share with individuals of various nationalities. We studied, laughed, shared, danced, sang, cooked, ate, toured, clicked and did everything possible to make most out of the opportunity provided to us. I made friends of lifetime. This one month, its moments have become part of my memory, I will cherish forever in my lifetime.

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IGTC ALUMNI MEET 2011 – A WALK TO REMEMBER 21st Jan 2011

‘We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they are called memories. Some take us forward, they are called dreams.’

The IGTC Alumni Meet was a beautiful mesh of dreams and memories. On a pleasant Friday evening, the current batch, along with Radhieka ma’m, welcomed the old-timers into a brand new IGTC. However, while a lot has changed, for them, the warmth of the time spent here was still the same. This was one of the things that went on to the board under ‘A lot has changed…but some things remain the same!’ along with the coffee dispenser and Stella ma’m’s indomitable spirit (the things that remain the same)!

The atmosphere was tempered with nostalgia. It was a pleasure to see people from the oldest batches trickling in and sharing in the laughter and easy conversation. For the graduating batch, it was an opportunity to gel with their predecessors, who had been there, done that, and had now moved on to newer horizons in their lives. It was no less a learning experience than attending a classroom session at IGTC, albeit informal. For the alumni, it was an evening of catching up with peers and reminiscing about old times.

The banter was followed by an hour or two of introductions and entertaining mimicry. It was heartening to see ex-‘IGTC’ians talk about classroom pranks. Stella ma’m was the centre of attention, this being her last Alumni Meet. This day will probably be amongst the loveliest moments in her diary. It definitely will come under my ‘most cherished moment at IGTC’.

The evening progressed smoothly, with the delicious hors d’oeuvres streaming in and the excellent German beer flowing freely. The day ended with everybody present boogying away and simply, having fun. The event was a resounding success, with Batch 2009-11 already ecstatic at the thought of attending a similar gathering in the near future, as alumni. While it is true that nothing in life is perfect, this evening came close to it and will remain memorable in the years to come.

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IGTC wins Best College Award at management fests

It takes two to Tango…

Three weeks into the program and we were submerged with assignments and presentations. We were all making the extra effort to only get used to the hectic schedule, when The Guru Nanak Institute of Management Studies and Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Management Studies invited us for their Lashkara and Chakravyuh Fests 2008 respectively.

The Class of 2008-10 was a mixed bag of confusion and eagerness at this point in time. Some of us were very excited about the event as our seniors had spoken much about the 2007 fest and their series of victories. This inspired some of us to bring yet another trophy, considering we had bagged it last year, to mark 2008 a commendable year for our batch.

On the other hand, a large number of us focusing on “pure” academics were rather convinced about not wanting to be a part of the inter-collegiate fests. We began ‘compulsively’ working towards participation in both the fests. Most students worked independent of one another, and come 6 o’clock, the Indo-German Centre lay deserted.

Being pampered beyond limits, can fortunately, do wonders sometimes. Our pillars of perseverance, the Director and the faculty clearly understood the need to encourage the new 2008-10 batch of students to go over the edge and experiment with events never experienced before.

All conveniences made, a handful of us drowned in organizing work at the institute, however a large number of us continued with excuses to pardon lack of participation. A learning experience

The excitement started building gradually and emotions amidst the class began changing. We no longer returned to our familiar “cliques” and instead began mingling better with seniors as well as our batch mates. There grew greater bonding, as we interacted much more during this forum as opposed to any other occasion in the one month stay at the Indo German Training Centre.

Business Events
Business events included Marketing, HR and Finance related quizzes, Mock Stock planning and business plans. These events were most crucial as they gave us the opportunity to experiment and implement all that we had studied and understood in our theoretical classes.

 

We won first position in the finance and HR quiz and second in the business plan.

This was a very worthwhile exercise as it saw unified efforts on the part of the seniors and juniors and on the whole encouraged students to think out of the box. This was clearly witnessed in the business plan event when we were required to sell health drinks to our college mates, to make profits in the given inter-collegiate business project, and also create an absolutely eco-friendly product with the utilization of minimum profits earned.

 Sports Event

Lashkara and Chakravyuh fests organized sports like Cricket and indoor games like Table-tennis, Carrom, Chess and treasure hunt. Everyone played in the true spirit of the game and also experienced competing with other B schools. IGTC won the first prize in table-tennis and second in Carrom.

With initial disorganization at the fest, several students grew easily disheartened and disillusioned, thus, making the role of ‘togetherness’ even stronger and important. Most of us in fact attained our confidence from the fact that an approximate of 70 chairs in the audience were occupied by the Indo-German alone. Every little effort was made to make the participation a success with absolute clarity in the need to return a winner.

Cultural Events

The Indo-German family injected additional insulin, every time we needed to overcome our inhibitions at trying out activities we were never involved in before. Some in-born dancers came upfront, drama artists grew better with practice, make-up artists and DJ’s were born too.

The cultural events included none other than dance events, fashion show and solo and duet singing. Boys complained about their foundation make-up not being intact prior to the fashion show! The play, which was directed by our students, won the first prize and the dances choreographed by the specially invited trainer also won prime position in the event.

The Final Glory

We have returned to IGTC with two trophies this year. There was immense pressure experienced when we all struggled with our performances on stage keeping in mind the need to carry ‘triumph’ back home. There were moments during the fest, when most of us felt we would never make it. Perhaps, one needs to just go with the flow, with a focused mindset.

As we have attained the Best College trophy, the trend seems to have been set, and the current situation is that every student vouches to stand united with the group and perform to the best of one’s ability.

The Institute has managed to stand strong with a series of trophies in its second consecutive year, and it is only hoped that this trend is continued for years to come.

Amidst all existing challenges, perhaps it had become all the more crucial for both the junior and senior batches to prove it to themselves once again, that they really were capable of way beyond. It is only now that we are gradually beginning to understand the true connotations of effort and pride, in addition to assimilating the frequently used ‘Sky is the limit’.

 

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1st Practical Training Stint, Batch 2008 – 2010

Article – Phase I Training Batch 2008- 2010

Whoa! ich bin wirklich eine Familienmitglied der Siemens-Familie!” That’s the first thought that entered my mind when our Director, Mrs. Radhieka Mehta announced that Siemens had accepted me as an intern/trainee……Suddenly from being a student, now I was part of a company that had a major presence across 180 countries, recalls Ms. Sonal Kotian, a student of the Indo-German Training Centre, Mumbai, Batch 2008 – 2010.

Such similar thoughts encompassed/hovered the minds of 42 young and dynamic kids who were ready to face the corporate world with their first phase of practical training beginning 1st January 2009 for a period of 2 months. This year, twenty companies across diverse sectors such as manufacturing and engineering, retail, banking, consulting, consumer products accepted IGTC students as trainees.

Sonal recollects her stint with Siemens “I was associated with the medical division of Siemens and was involved in the marketing communication arena. I worked extensively on the SAP module relating to commercial handling for corporate communication. It involved major detailing – beginning right from requesting quotations from vendors to evaluating the most profitable and trouble-free vendor to allocate the contract keeping with the terms and conditions of the organization. This helped me understand the commercial and payment policies of the medical division and how critical they are in today’s times when “Cost-Cutting” is in full force/swing.

Since Siemens operates on a B2B basis, the target audience is very different. Hence marketing communications acquires a different paradigm altogether. Another major learning that I partake from Siemens is on the personal front. I learnt the most important attribute for today’s times-“Humility”. I learnt that any work whether big or small is still imperative. I realized that hard-work with core dedication and commitment will definitely help to move ahead, both professionally & personally.”

Tinaz Bana, another student of IGTC narrates her experience of being trained in one of the leading car companies in the world – Audi AG. Audi AG is headquartered in Ingolstadt, Bavaria (Germany). Volkswagen AG has a 99.14% stake holding in Audi AG since 1964 and therefore in India, Audi AG carries out all its activities under the Volkswagen umbrella.

Tinaz brings her experience to us “In the 2 months of my training at Audi not only did my knowledge about the company and its functioning increase but my execution abilities also improved tremendously. I was assigned to the Product and Price division which is the important and crucial department of Audi. All product related decisions such as decisions pertaining to every equipment, specification which goes into every model as per market requirements, new product launch management decisions, volume planning decisions, homologation decisions and rating, maintaining market intelligence and market research data, competitor pricing for each model and price negotiations are done while being constantly in contact with the Audi Headquarters at Ingolstadt, Germany. My work spanned across all the above areas from preparing market intelligence and market development data for Business Meetings to customer competitor analysis, equipments and specification checks and index reviews.

On an ongoing basis I kept myself abreast about the functioning of the other departments of Audi and its competitors for better understanding of the automobile segment. I was also made part of the “Audi Team Days” which took place at The Radissons- Alibaug. It was a two day affair wherein we participated in personality workshops followed by product training. Punctuality and professionalism are the two most important pillars on which Audi functions and they were exhibited in every diminutive job which is carried out. These qualities were expected out of me also. My work was constantly scrutinized not only in terms of meeting deadlines but also in the professionalism which had to be maintained.

I have been very fortunate to have got training under supportive and encouraging yet very knowledgeable mentors who have been great influencers in my life and have helped me tremendously in setting standards which differentiate me from the rest. Making the difference is what Audi is all about.”

Mahesh Rege, a level headed and self motivated student of the training centre has a tale of his own “My first training phase at Bizerba India Pvt. Ltd. was full of challenges, targets, opportunities and leanings straight from the corporate world. I was placed in the marketing division of Bizerba where I was instrumental in designing the branding strategy for industrial products and was busy working on order life cycle for the key accounts which were assigned to me. The principles/concepts of marketing learnt at IGTC during its classroom sessions helped me tremendously and was a confidence booster while working with clients like Basf, Pidilite and Nestle. I was given an assignment to map the distributors’ network for industrial products across the country where I used the questionnaire design and data collection techniques. Advertising and designing assignments were full of fun and creativity. Interactions with giants like TOI, ET and Dun & Bradstreet have given me valuable learning experience. The Business communication lessons for drafting letters and memos prepared me to correspond at my work place in an efficient and effective manner.”

Rohit Saxena, a chemical engineering student and a trainee with BASF Group in India shares his valuable experience at his company “I was instrumental in conducting a market research for finding the feasibility of launching a new product for BASF. BASF has polyurethane products for the market but they were looking out for areas of application for the same. Thus, my job involved meeting the present manufacturers and the end users of these coatings. I was required to keep myself abreast with the different varieties of products available in the market. The job involved knowing product chemistry and application techniques. These had to be then compared with the existing BASF products. The analysis was done on the basis of material cost per kg. for different thicknesses of coatings.

Since the products have varied applications, it was difficult to find ‘that’ one niche where we could find maximum potential. However, with my prior work experience and the constant support and guidance of my mentors I managed to be on the right track. The study did reveal the most lucrative prospect for our products. What was more important was that we were able to identify and eliminate the areas that were not favorable in terms of business volume. The two months went by at the flick of an eye. But I carried with me a lasting knowledge of conducting a market research and in depth details of the coatings market. Overall, it was a transitional experience from earlier working in a small scale organization to a German MNC”.

Mira Parekh, a B.Com graduate from Kolkatta was overwhelmed with her training in a manufacturing company. She recollects “Anxiety, excitement and zeal to learn something novel are few words which would describe my feelings on the first day of my practical training phase at Bosch Limited, Bangalore. I was entrusted to the CFA department at Bosch and my project involved a comprehensive study on the adherence to guidelines of local GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) with respect to inventories at Bosch Limited. Thereafter I was required to verify substantively to the fact of observance in the actual process of stocktaking done at Bosch Limited. Inventory Management can make or mar the company as its impact is quite prominent and therefore no company can sideline its importance. Hence complying with the recommended guidelines becomes vitally necessary.

For the project I had to study the central directives of the company thoroughly. These are certain guidelines provided to Bosch to direct them in the procedures and process of stock take. Simultaneously I was also required to understand the actual process of stock take undertaken at the company. This was made possible by a few plant visits where I got an opportunity to observe the processes very closely and gain a clear understanding of them. These two months were a great value addition in terms of improving my communication skills and gaining a holistic view of the corporate culture. It has helped me in the implementation of my knowledge of subjects like Economics and Research Methodology in my practical project thus reinforcing the philosophy of IGTC – Theory that is practice oriented”.

Rakesh Ravindran is one of the few trainees for whom a position has been planned by his practical training company – Endress + Hauser after the completion of his 18 month PGPBA program at IGTC. E+H is a global leader in the provision of measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process automation and engineering.

Let’s hear it from the horses mouth “The company has planned a position for me as Industry Manager-Chemical Industry. I am overwhelmed to have received this indication/inclination from them as it is a complex and interesting role within marketing, including product, application and industry know-how. My training was very fruitful and included understanding of the present scenario, industry coverage, market size, growth drivers, government policies, global meltdown effect and future growth for the Indian Chemical Industry 2009.

I was involved in designing E+H Product Package for Chemical & Petrochemicals Industry 2009 and identifying target segments and upcoming projects for the current year. All my analytical abilities were put to use by the EIC Analysis, SWOT Analysis and strategies to increase market share and spread the word ‘Chemical Competencies’. I was given this opportunity to be one of the three delegates for Endress + Hauser at the International Conference on Industrial Automation and Control [IAC] 2009, at the International Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. The latest automation technology, technical papers and case studies were presented. I’ve really enjoyed my brief stint with my training company”.

Nikhil Ghosalkar, another IGTC student narrates his experience to us “Training at Behr India Ltd. has widened my outlook with ample exposure to different areas of a business. My training was in logistics department, I was given a project to simulate the storage space requirements for finished goods area for two different products. The project entirely was a challenge for me considering the desired objective to be fulfilled. At the same time, my involvement in other inventory management activities like warehouse reporting, audit and general know how of SAP management system educated me in a multifaceted way in a relatively short span of time”.

Dhruv Shah, a trainee with Inverto Sourcing Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. shares his know-how about the projects entrusted to him at his practical training company “I was assigned three projects by my mentor – (1) To study the cost structure of the pharmaceutical industry in India (2) To study the banking industry, both public & private sector in India and (3) Supplier profiling for a particular industry in China.

The pharmaceutical & banking industry each required an in-depth study of white papers of various top companies of each industry and to analyze and segregate their cost structure according to our preferences for consulting. My next project – The supplier profiling for China was mainly research based and it improved my analytical skills. The entire experience of this practical training was fruitful and I am looking forward to my next training phase in June – July with INVERTO”.

Vandana Padmanabhan describes her stint with Merck. “In my first phase of training I got a chance to feel the pulse of an office/organization like Merck and was assigned a project to find out the perception of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) specialists in four major cities in the country about Gonal-F pen and Recagon (Puregon) Pen used for treatment of infertility. A questionnaire and an introductory letter were prepared with the guidance of my peers at Merck to capture the information required to make Gonal-F Pen the first choice of prescription by doctors working in IVF Clinics in the country.

When I was told that, besides Mumbai, I have to visit Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore all alone, a feeling of nervousness crept in my mind. I knew fully well that meeting top-notch Specialists in the IVF field and gathering critical information from them was easier said than done. Literally I was having my breakfast in Delhi, lunch in Chennai and Dinner at Bangalore. The meetings with the Specialists went well and I collected many valuable inputs required for completing the project. More than that, I saw the despondency of childless couples and the priceless happiness of some when they were told by the doctors that they are on their way to parenthood. I felt a sense of hope of hope – to be a part of the team who strives to bring smile back on the faces of couples craving for being blessed with a child. I consider myself fortunate that I opted to do my post graduation at IGTC and Merck has accepted to impart practical training to me, thanks to the dual system of education at IGTC”.

Ramesh Nair training with Bayer Crop Science, Powai states “My training stint started with an induction period of 2 days post which I was assigned to the Process Development Lab where I was initially asked to observe and study the working of the department and understand the SOP the company had to go through when a new molecule was to be launched in India. My 2nd project was titled ‘Industrial Manufacturing and Product Development Operation’ which required me to work in each department and understand their functioning in thorough detail for a period of 3 days each. It was a fruitful experience for me to work cross functional.

Above is just a gist of the first practical training phase of the IGTC batch 2008-2010. Thus ended a two month long training stint for all these students which encompassed immense learning and a futuristic agenda towards enriching newer opportunities with the blend of theoretical knowledge which would be added in the second theoretical phase at the Indo-German Training Centre.

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Address by Mr. Ashwin Tirthakar, IGTC, Mumbai Topper, 2008 – 2010

Address by Mr. Ashwin Tirthakar, IGTC, Mumbai Topper @ IGTC Convocation 2010

In a journey of life, there are moments when we stop for a while and try to reflect back on path travelled so far. This may not change the path but it gives us opportunity to learn and unlearn and of course, moments to cherish.

Honourable dignitaries on the dais, esteemed guests, distinguished Faculty, administrators, Friends, Family and, of course, the graduating Class of 2010…

Last decade has been a decade of transition not only for Indian economy but for Indian students as well… especially for those from non-metro cities and small towns, like me. It’s a period when our role models are changing from scientist, social workers to Ambanis and Mittals of the world, CAT is became most sought-after examination and MBA is becoming the New-normal. Like many others, I was also aspired to be a part of this Great Indian Growth Story and I started exploring various options. What attracted me towards IGTC was its unique dual education system offering six-month industrial exposure, that too with German MNC. I was selected as a trainee by a company ‘ invented for life: BOSCH ‘. In words of Godfather, it was an offer I could not refuse.

So, in August 2008 I joined IGTC with a dream in my eyes, along with other 41 aspirants, my wonderful batch mates. But it was not easy to for me to get into the grooves of management education instantly after a gap of 4 years and even more difficult to adapt to beats of this maximum city… But IGTC understood it better. A well-designed Induction Week, consisting of ‘a two-day bond building workshop’; a series of guest lecture by key industry experts, made us comfortable and helped all of us to gel into a cohesive unit. And who can forget that amazing motivational speech delivered by Mr. Moradian! He broke all shackles of fear, doubts and apprehensions in our mind and told us what it takes to be really successful. Thank you sir, for inspiring us…!

Exceptional faculty has always been USP of IGTC. They are not academicians… but they are experts, best in the business with rich industry experience. They have shared their knowledge and experiences with us and imparted us with diverse vision. If Mr. Mahajan Sawant asked us look beyond books, Kotler, Porter to understand Marketing, then Mrs. Sarojini Seth introduced us great work of Adam Smith or Keynes to understand Economics. If Mr. Nimkar taught us thescience of market research, Mr. Anil Naik taught us theart of designing strategies. If Mr. Korivi taught us to identify irrationalities behind financial numbers and market behaviour, Mr Fakih taught us rationality of financial fundamentals and the market behaviour. And if Mr. Kasture stressed on the importance of values and ethics in corporate culture, Mr. Hariharan stressed on the importance of innovation and value discovery in these competitive environment. And we are equally obliged to rest of faculty also who enlighten us with their perspective. Friends, we may scale new heights in our professional lives in the future but it is these exceptional personalities who have built foundation of our knowledge. We’ll always owe our success to them.

Each institute or organisation has its own unique value system. IGTC has its own…We have a value system of taking initiative and being self-starters, competitive instinct but with a collaborative, sportsman spirit. As in any socio-economic order, the value system flows from top of order, even so at IGTC, it flowed naturally and continuously from our Director Radhieka Mehta. She always wants her students to be complete in every respect and does not settle for anything less than best for her students. May it be with the selection of faculty, arranging guest lectures, coordination with the training companies and finally working toward getting us placed in our dream jobs, her personal involvement and drive is what made IGTC tick like clockwork and everything fell in place.

Sometimes we achieved, so did we falter sometimes. Sometimes we were sensible, so were we crazy sometimes. But she was there as our central support system whoguided us, encouraged us and of course used stick as well at times. Discussion of IGTC would be in complete without mentioning Stella Ma’s, a senior member of our IGTC family; deep baritone, strict disciplinarian but equally soft at heart and caring. She has been like a second mother to us. Sajitha Ma’m and Meghna Ma’m belongs to middle generation in our IGTC family who are always there to take care of our day today issues. And of course, there’s Deepak… our caretaker but equally great friend. We were a world in itself and this family atmosphere provided us a sense of security which in turn helped us to get best out of us.

Another important aspect of IGTC has been its training companies of likes BOSCH, BASF, VOLKSWAGEN, SIEMENS, AUDI, HELLA, ENDRESS & HAUSERS, MERK and many more. Honestly speaking, more than training, these companies are helping young aspirants like us to realise our dream… My six-months training with BOSCH hasnot only instilled confidence in me but also gave me unique opportunity to experience work culture of world class companies. It has taken me to anotherlevel of motivation.

Friends, let’s now acknowledge most critical aspect to whatever we achieve in academic or professional life… our family and its support. This support is more than physical or financial. It’s psychological or even spiritual in nature. It’s our family which decides our core value system, our culture and our perspective towards life. In my case, I left almost a govt. Job and left my father in bit of financial mess but he never complained. Rather, my family showed their faith in all my decisions… and this faith, trust, confidence keeps me going always.

Friends, let’s not consider this as end to our education… rather it’s a beginning of it… One more graduation is waiting for us, a graduation from university of life. There nothing will matter more than our determination, value system and hard work. It’s extremely difficult to get through this university but not impossible at all. IGTC has laid the foundation… let’s work on it. And make this wonderful institution proud.

Last but not the least, as I said Ambanis and Mittals may be new role models but there are many of us, who admire the likes of Mr. Deepak Parekh, Dr. Y.V. Reddy, Mr. Kelkar, Mr. K.V. Kamath. They are our role models. They epitomise exceptional leadership with strong value system and social commitment. Thank you Sir, for inspiring thousands of us!

Let me conclude this speech by a quote of Swami Vivekananda:

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success… that is way great spiritual giants are produced.”

Thank You.

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Address by Mr. Krishna, Vice President (HR), Bosch Ltd. 3rd Aug 2010

Address by Mr. Krishna, V.P (HR), Bosch Ltd. @ IGTC Convocation 2010.

H.E. Mr. Matussek, Ambassador of the Federal Republic Of Germany, Mr. Deepak Parekh, Chairman of HDFC Limited, Mr. Steinruecke Director General IGCC, Mrs. Radhieka, Director, IGTC, students and proud parents. I am both honored and delighted to be here today to participate in the Convocation of Batch 2008-2010.

I really don’t know what I did to deserve the compliments that Mrs. Radhieka showered on me, I am yet confused. For us in Bosch we have had a very long and fruitful relation with IGTC starting from 1991 and when Radhieka asked me to share our experience with IGTC, it was very natural I agreed to be a part of this event. Therefore I use this opportunity to share with you some history what students have done with us and what has been our experience.

First of all we have been very happy that some students have stayed with us during attrition and the few that are left are now approaching senior levels in areas of Controlling and Human Resources in Bosch in India. Two students, Pravin Kumar from the 1st Batch of 1991 and Arun Roy, have made their career internationally in Bosch and have nothing to do with India. They are now local managers in Bosch, Australia and U.S.A. respectively.

Coming to a personal note, during my 17 years at Bosch I have been associated with students of IGTC in different areas and functions. My first contact was as the Head of Controlling in Finance in the Nasik plant. I was involved with a few students during their project phases in the plant. Thereafter I recollect one of my happiest memories as a Plant Manager in Jaipur where I met one of the IGTC students who actually wanted to get into Materials function. I thrust him into HR against his will, later he flowered and was the star of the company but he left for personal reasons and today is doing very well and risen very fast in Airtel in North India.

As stated earlier our association with IGTC has been very long standing one, 20 years to be precise. Coming to the recent past we are happy to have continuously recruited students over the last 3 years. Last year despite the recession we took 6 students, this year 7, earlier 2, in all 15 students from IGTC. They are now placed in various different functions. We have people working in HR, Accounts, Sales, Controlling, Finance, Purchase, Marketing and that says it all. We have also secured international internships for students for 3 months at our parent company in Germany. This is what we cherish and would want to do. We started this in 2008 and so far 9 students have got projects in Germany and have come back enriched both personally and professionally with this experience. We will persist with this endeavor in coming years as well.

Our experience with IGTC students has been extremely positive. They have as employees lived up to their potential which they showed at their training phases and worked on projects in varied areas. In addition what we found was that the close association in ways of internships helps them to gradually adjust to and imbibe the culture of Bosch and Bosch has a very distinctive and strong culture. They also develop a close and strong bond with the organization during this period.

The hallmark of this system is the German Dual System of Education. It gives a student a very clear practical edge at work and they come out clearly with their head on their shoulder and not in the clouds. Theoretical studies quickly get correlated to actual projects when they come and therefore as employers the learning curve is speeded up. Exposure to various departments’ multi-skills them and they get an opportunity to work in a number of areas. We are very happy to have rotated number of commerce students in different functions in their careers. During their stint in Bosch they network with middle-senior management and therefore it is very easy for them to take up a new job at the end of their education.

In conclusion I would like to compliment Indo-German Training Centre in providing us at Bosch with this steady stream of talent in its own typical understated way and I congratulate Ms. Radhieka Mehta and her excellent team for their efforts. I think you need a big round of applause. Finally I wish the students a bright future ahead. The power of India is in the energy of its youth. May your generation use that power and that energy to transform a country’s future and to shape your career.

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Address by Mr. Deepak Parekh, Chairman HDFC Ltd.

Address by Mr. Deepak Parekh, Chairman HDFC Ltd. on ‘Mantra for Life and Success’ @ IGTC Convocation 2010

 

Members on the dais, students, ladies and gentlemen: It is indeed a pleasure for me to be here today at the Convocation ceremony of the Indo German Training Centre (IGTC). I would like to convey my heartiest congratulations to all the students of the IGTC Batch 2008-2010. Today marks a special milestone in the lives of 42 young graduating students. Convocation ceremonies are always special for ironically, they mark both, an end and a new beginning. It is an end academically, but a beginning of unlearning, learning and relearning in the real world. The German Dual System, which I understand IGTC follows is unique as this system integrates theoretical learning with hands on practical experience.

I am confident that many of the students here today will make significant contributions in further strengthening the Indo-German relationship, which for India is one of the strongest bilateral relationships. Trade, investment, finance and technology transfers and collaborations form an important basis for this partnership. Due credit has to be given to the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce for its role as a catalyst in forging economic and trade relations between the two countries. Indo-German trade touched 13 billion Euro in financial year 2009. Germany has also consistently ranked amongst India’s top investing countries in terms of foreign direct investment. One is confident that Indo-German ties will continue to flourish. Needless to add, the IGTC is a solid platform for strengthening this relationship through training and honing skills of young individuals. And as they say, there is nothing better than catching them young!

Students, you all are graduating at a time when the world is slowly limping back to normalcy. The crisis has been devastating with far reaching implications. Evidently, we are still not quite out of the woods. The crisis has triggered a rethinking on various issues beyond the realm of finance. What is the role of people and leadership? Who drives ethics and values in an organisation? How did the greed factor become so overpowering? What happened to the moral fibre of individuals and institutions? These are answers you need to find as you step into the workforce. Having said that, what is most welcoming, especially in these times is that fresh graduates are like the much-needed adrenalin being pumped into the workforce.

This evening I have been requested to talk about the ‘mantra for life and success.’ I just wished I had one, but honestly I don’t. Mantra in Sanskrit means a sacred formula repeated in meditation or prayer and capable of creating a spiritual transformation. A similar philosophy has been reiterated by the author Malcolm Gladwell, who in his book ‘Outliers’ has said that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. Of course, there are various other formulas for life. Success as we all know differs across individuals and is based on their experiences. It is true however, that the age old maxim of integrity, honesty and transparency will stand the test of time. On a lighter vein they say, “Success is relative, more success, more relatives!”

As you move ahead in your professional life, you will realise that to drive towards one’s goal, one treads upon different paths. But during this journey, one has to constantly check oneself, and often pull oneself back on track. Mistakes are inevitable for a certain type of people. Let me explain:

People who do no work make no mistakes…..
People who do less work make less mistakes….
People who do lots of work make lots of mistakes….

I need not emphasise which category one must strive to be in. Making mistakes, but learning from those mistakes will enrich you. And no experience is more enriching than learning by doing. The sheer value of learning everyday is what will keep you going. Life is based on seeing, listening and experimenting. But experimenting is the most important.

In fact, Warren Buffet has said that his almost incredible long-term success can be traced down to a handful of decisions. Take away his 15 best decisions from amongst hundreds that he’s made so far, and his long-term performance would be no better than mediocre. You should concentrate on finding truly great opportunities. Since those come along rarely, you don’t find them through frenetic activity. You find them through careful study and then through exercising patience.

That is why it is important to learn to follow your heart. The brain can do many things but only the heart can give you meaningful answers in life. It is my firm belief that if you commit yourself to following your heart then you will always take the right decisions in life. But to be able to do so you must first learn to overcome fear. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that prevent us from achieving success. We are constantly in fear – fear of failing, fear of not living up to expectations of others, fear of not being accepted or fear of being different. Unless you overcome this, success will always dodge you. So be fearless and have the courage to listen to your heart. To quote the great German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Always be yourself. This sounds easy but in fact, it can be difficult. Others often push us to think and see the world as they do, wanting us to fulfil their notion of what is important and what counts. But if you are yourself and if you do not try to imitate or be something that others want you to be, life is both simpler and frankly a lot more satisfying. There is little meaning if one goes through life pretending to be someone else’s image.

You will also meet many people from various walks of life at work. How you treat people is extremely important and therefore, you should strive to build and maintain relationships. Devote some time during the day to interact with people. While dealing with people one needs to be courteous and humane. Let the trait of humility stick to you like glue. Stay approachable and accessible to people.

We have to bear in mind that the business environment around us is constantly changing. That is why we have to raise the bar for leadership. Some qualities will always be essential – like discipline and integrity. A number of deficiencies that were tolerable in the past, such as the inflexibility to change rapidly no longer holds.

To my mind, two leadership traits have become indispensable today. The first is business acumen, more commonly called ‘being business savvy’. The second is adaptability. You need keep pace with the ever changing needs and preferences of customers. To do this, you have to be well-grounded, you have to be a good listener, constantly seek feedback, both positive and negative and improve upon your product or service based on their inputs. If you don’t listen to your customers, you run the risk of becoming defunct. Many organisations have burnt their fingers by their lack of foresight or their inability to adapt to change. For instance, the chairman and founder of the now defunct Digital Equipment Corporation had famously said in 1977, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” No wonder very few have ever heard of the company.

A bit of advice to those of you entering the workforce is be a good team player. It is not always possible to run the whole mile alone. Remember that being able to get along and work with other people is a great asset in the corporate world. People are important and nothing can happen without them. It is people and your colleagues who help make things happen for you – who give you the chance to prove your worth. Any organisation is only as good as its people.

You also have got to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work, imbued with as much passion and perfection you can muster, is to love what you do. If you have not found it, keep looking. Do not settle for the next best. As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it. In the trajectory of this search, you have to trust in something – your instinct, your destiny, life, karma, promise whatever. This approach has never let me down; it has been the single-lane bridge from mediocrity to excellence.

You will be tested to keep your ethical and moral fortitude and it is very easy to get carried away. It is up to you to stay alert and not get sucked into disreputable conduct, business practices or anything else which has even the slightest whiff of impropriety. It is true that your sound education will definitely give you the upper hand at the beginning. But in the long run it is your reputation which will determine how much success you ultimately achieve. The more successful you get, the higher the chances of being pulled into unethical and immoral business practices. And the most common excuse for such unethical behaviour is, “everyone is doing it”. Always bear in mind that your reputation once lost, is almost impossible to earn back. There is no such thing as a temporary breach of integrity – you cannot make amendments later. So do not stay in any place where doing the right thing is not an option. Work honestly, make people trust you and let them depend on your integrity.

At a recent strategy meeting at HDFC, I shared with my employees what I believe are the principles for ethical business conduct. To remember them, I called it the “HORICA Principles” which are:

  • Honesty – There is no substitute for the truth;
  • Openness – Be frank and straight forward;
  • Respect – Value each individual and treat them with dignity and respect;
  • Integrity – Say what you will do and do what you say;
  • Care and Concern – Show it for all stakeholders and;
  • Accountability – Be personally responsible for all your conduct and actions.

Let me conclude by saying that the great adventure of life lies ahead of you – so seize every opportunity you get and achieve all that can be yours. May you be blessed with instinct and intelligence to make the right choice, in the right way at the appropriate time. May you be the mantra the world will follow. Thank you.

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