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Podium 2019

The Podium is the annual corporate interaction series of IIM Shillong. At The Podium, IIM Shillong invites speakers from the corporate world to share their industrial experiences with the students thus helping them to get corporate insights into the various industries that these leaders belong to. Speakers from diverse backgrounds like Marketing, Finance, Operations and HR Domain come every year to share their expertise. 

This year the Podium sessions were graced by the following industry stalwarts:

Session 1: Mr Tulasinath K , Mindgate Solutions Session 2: Mr. Rajeev Singh, COO & Business Head at Karvy Fintech Session 3: Mr. Dingtang Tikhak, Senior Director, Last mile Delhivery

Session 1

Mr Tulasinath K, 

Mindgate Solutions

Mr Tulasinath K has an experience of 23 years in multiple domains in the corporate world and has worked in companies such as Unicorp, Wipro and HP before joining Mindgate Solutions. His journey resembles that of a fighter’s who is never shy of facing challenges like all great leaders do. From carefully chiselling his career after unexpected turn of events in the early years, to creating a mentoring system to build his own team, Mr. Tulasinath has systematically worked his way to the top. The failures he had to overcome as a young salesman to being successful in converting clients in the Banking Industry during his time at Unicorp and Wipro led him to a lucrative and an illustrious career at HP, helping deliver solutions to the Banking industry.

During the session, Mr. Tulasinath showcased the importance of perseverance through witty anecdotes of personalities in all domains and related them to our lives. He emphasized the importance of ethics in the world, corporate and otherwise, by citing his decisions when he reached crossroads. He ended the Podium with the ten commandments that he drafted through his experience that would help people grow to success.

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Mr. Tulasinath K addressing the students.

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Mr. Tulasinath K being facilitated by Professor Nitin.

Session 2

Mr. Rajeev Singh

COO & Business Head, Karvy Fintech

Mr. Rajeev Singh is a Wharton graduate and a global business leader with strong strategic and analytical; ability and 26 years of extensive experience in building and leading BPM businesses especially in US and European Markets. He is current the COO & Business Head at Karvy Fintech. In his address to the students, he shared valuable insights on leadership and corporate management. With an inclination towards finance, Mr. Rajeev Singh, tingled the minds of those who aspire to grow in the corporate finance world. Students of IIM Shillong had multiple takeaways from the session in the finance domain.

Mr. Rajeev Singh

Mr. Rajeev Singh addressing the students of IIM Shillong

Session 2

Mr. Dingtang Tikhak

Senior Director, Last mile, Delhivery

Mr. Dingtang Tikhak

Mr. Dingtang Tikhak addressing the students of IIM Shillong

A management graduate from IIM Bangalore and an Instrumentation Engineer from IIT Kharagpur and a seasoned professional with more than 10 years of management experience in eCommerce, Manufacturing and Power sector, Mr. Dingtang Tikhak is highly skilled in business development, vendor management, inventory management, process re-engineering, lean business systems and people management. He is current the Senior Director, Last mile at Delhivery. He shelled out key knowledge on operational management and gave insights on how Last Mile service in Delhivery is transforming. His no nonsense approach aligned with the expectation of students. The session involved a lot of domain specific question asked to Mr. Dingtang Tikhak, which he used to turn the event into a highly engaging affair.

Session 4

Rajan Sethuraman

Chief People Officer at LatentView Analytics

Mr. Rajan Sethuraman, an alumnus of BITS Pilani and IIM Calcutta has over 20 years of experience in multiple sectors such as Oil & Gas, Health & Public Service Industry and Forensic services and has played different profiles such as management consultant, client service lead and talent acquisition head. Prior to joining Latent View, Mr. Sethuraman has worked in Department of Social Security at Accenture and Forensic practice at KPMG.

Mr. Sethuraman walked the students through his life journey and how his career has transformed after he graduated. Started as a Senior Systems associate, he was into Information Technology and predominantly spent his time coding in different programming languages. It was his stint at Accenture that opened up opportunities in the management consulting space.

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Mr. Rajan Sethuraman addressing the students of IIM Shillong

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Mr. Hemango Kishore Dutta presenting the memento to Mr.

He spoke in detail about the mistakes that he did in his professional career that altered his life. He also highlighted that, as future managers, the outgoing students might not always get to do work that requires them to wear suits and coats all the time. He said that there would be times where one is expected to roll up the sleeve and get down into pit mines to get the work done.

He said that the highly coveted profiles such as management consultants originated in the recent past whose building blocks were made of accounting expertise. While he spoke of different domains and job opportunities, he stressed the importance of attitude which could be the differentiating factor in a world that always respects people who are committed to their work. Mr. Sethuraman also responded to a few queries that the students had and ended the session by saying:

Quote: “A ship in harbour is majestic; but that’s not where it is meant to be. Do not be afraid to take challenges in life”

Session 5

Jyotirmoy Mukherjee

Payment Card Professional

Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee, a payments card industry professional and a veteran marketing manager, has nearly 15 years of experience working with financial services and FMCG companies. The SPJIMR alumnus has held leadership positions in the fields of portfolio management, merchant alliances and partnerships, merchant acquisition, and sales & distribution among others.

His interaction with the students of IIM Shillong pertained to the payments and lending industry, during which he spoke about the new India and the growing opportunities in the space of e-payments. The session began with Mr. Mukherjee discussing the evolution we’ve seen from the barter system to cash and now to digital payments, following which he detailed the types of payments in the economy starting right from government payments and remittances to pre-paid shopping cards.

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Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee enlightening the students on various intricacies of the Payment and Lending Sector

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Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee receiving a memento from Professor Ms. Latha

During the interactive session, Mr. Mukherjee highlighted the vast opportunity that digital payments had in India’s economy, given that there are 28-30 million retail outlets across organized and unorganized sectors, with only a tenth being terminalized through Point-of-Sales machines and the likes. Further, emphasizing on the need for greater security with the evolving payments ecosystem, he spoke about the importance of authentication and authorization. He then Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee enlightening the students on various intricacies of the Payment and Lending Sector Mr. Jyotirmoy Mukherjee receiving a memento from Professor Ms. Latha dived deep into the lending scenario in India, sharing with students the stats about increased loan penetration across all mediums. Through the session, the PGDM participants of IIM Shillong gained keen insights on the current payments and lending landscape of India and the opportunities that the sector presents for future growth.

Quote: “Merchant payment system is like the railroad for digital payments in the economy, how else will the trains run?”

Session 6

Mr. Ameya Dangi,

Chief Operating Officer at Hygienic Research Institute (HRIPL)

Mr. Ameya Dangi, an alumnus of Columbia Business School and MDI Gurgaon, is an experienced business leader with a successful track record in the consumer goods industry. He carries around 20 years of experience working with the FMCG sector and has held various sales and marketing roles in firms like Dabur and Johnson & Johnson.

Mr. Dangi shared his marketing experience in the FMCG industry by conducting a session on "Digital vs. Traditional Marketing".

He emphasized the fact that more and more Indians are gaining access to the internet, and how can marketers leverage the use of the digital platform to reach out to and engage with the consumers.

While sharing his views on winning propositions, Mr. Dangi said, "You need to be very clear on what you’re chasing. Key measures are significant for evaluating your marketing decisions. A winning proposition doesn’t stay winning anymore if you get disrupted.”

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Mr. Ameya Dangi enlightening the students on the latest marketing methods and channels

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The students found the session very interactive and informative

Mr. Dangi highlighted the three moments of truth in consumer parlance - the first moment of truth being when the consumer picks up the product and decides to pay for it, the second moment of truth is when the consumer uses the product and finally the third moment of truth is when they talk well about your product.

He also spoke about how Accessibility, Engagement, Customization, Connection, and Collaboration can help us penetrate our target customer segment.

The students got an opportunity to interact with Mr. Dangi, and discuss the current marketing trends and look beyond the traditional marketing frameworks.

Quote: “Just being unique doesn’t get you your consumer; you have to market yourself in a meaningful manner.”

Session7

Mr. Sameer Seth

Director, Marketing - India, Dolby Laboratories

Mr. Sameer Seth is an experienced media professional who has worked with some of the biggest media houses such as CNN-IBN, Star India, and Network18. The IMI alumnus, with over 14 years of experience in the media industry, has led multiple roles like P&L Management, Business Planning, Revenue & Content Strategy, Brand Management, Marketing Communications & Sales.

Mr. Seth conveyed the session on the present trends in the media & communications sector and the science that goes behind marketing a technology brand like Dolby.

Mr. Seth, while sharing some of the vital statistics on the current market scenario in the television industry, touched upon topics like the rising number of Indian television viewership, differentiation factors of TV channels based on urban and rural population, contribution to the total viewership by different channels and content.

He discussed the revenue generation model of the media sector and drew a comparison between the American and Indian market. While American media houses generate most of the revenue through subscription, the Indian market still relies heavily on advertising. He emphasized how marketers can leverage this opportunity and target specific content for advertising to associate it with a particular type of product.

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Mr. Sameer Seth interacting with the students about the Science behind modern Marketing

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Professor Bidyut Gogoi presenting a memento to Mr. Seth

In the following part of the session, Mr. Seth outlined how the Dolby brand has been marketed in India. By sharing the example of 'Bahubali', he showcased how Dolby utilized their sound designers and sound engineers as storytellers to narrate the sound designing process of the film and enhance the overall cinematic experience through Dolby's cutting- edge technology. He even displayed some of their ads to explain the marketing strategies adopted by Dolby to reach out to the common Indian consumer.While interacting with the students, Mr. Seth addressed many of their queries related to media marketing and left them with some provoking thoughts.

Quote: "Even for a marketer, sales has to be the key focus, one needs to find ways of contributing to the top and bottom line of the business".

Session 8

Mr. Sunil Chainani

Former Director, Fabindia

Mr. Sunil Chainani, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, has been working as an individual management consultant for the past 25 years and has been involved with many startups and mid-size businesses as mentor & advisor in varied industries including retail, foods, wellness, digital publishing & IT in and outside India. He has previously worked in senior positions with the top food companies such as Britannia and Nabisco. He has been instrumental in the growth of Fabindia from a 30 cr company to a 1500 cr company by raising funds and in the investment/acquisition of East, Bandhej and Organic India. He has been a guest lecturer at several top business schools in India & Overseas including Harvard and London Business School, and has also been part of many top international forums like World Retail Congress.

Speaking on the topic ‘Inclusive Capitalism’, Mr Chainani opened the session by asking the participants whether they were capitalists. Sharing that he himself is hardcore capitalist, Mr Chainani said, “The only product that I’ve seen people buy regularly because it’s for a good cause is the Christmas cards people buy whose proceeds go to charity”. He also expounded upon the importance of NGOs being transparent in their dealings and for them to set their targets in measurable terms.

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Mr. Chainani addressing the students on Inclusive Capitalism

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Dr. Rajen Mehrotra presenting Mr. Chainani with a memento

He spoke about his tenure at FabIndia and how the company’s People Oriented Capitalism Model helped build a strong brand that also helped artisans in terms of microfinancing and fair labour wages.  Advocating the need for companies to imbibe the social impact activities as part of their very DNA, Mr Chainani said he didn’t believe in the concept of reserving a percent of the profits for CSR. “2% CSR is charity, not sustainable. What if instead of 2% of profits, 2% of management time could be spent on this? Imagine the impact it would make,” he said, igniting within the students a drive to do more starting now.

Quote: We cannot create a brand without having people down the line believe in it.

Session 9

Piyush Chowhan

Chief Information Officer, Arvind Brands

An experienced professional having worked in the US, UK and India in areas such as Retail Strategy, Business Analytics, and Supply Chain Management, Mr. Piyush Kumar Chowhan is currently the Chief Information Officer of Arvind Brands and is responsible for IT Strategy and Execution of Technology for the overall business. He has previously worked for global retailers such as Walmart, Target, Circuit City, and Tesco, and has strong domain knowledge in Retail, E-commerce & Supply Chain Management. An engineer from NIT Surat and an MBA from Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneshwar, Mr. Chowhan has also worked with Wipro and San Disk in the Supply Chain and Business Analytics domain.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Mindful leadership in the Digital Age’, Mr. Chowhan began the session by asking attendees how they believed technology was changing our lives. Sharing striking statistics from studies about the human mind, he spoke about how the ability of our external environment to influence us is increasing in the digital age, for example, that an average user picks up their phone more than 1,500 times every week. Our smartphones cause us to be distracted and our attempt at multitasking is akin to our brain having too many tabs open. This results in higher fatigue, decreased productivity, and ultimately, stress.

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Mr. Chowhan enlightening the students on the importance of realizing oneself

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The students engrossed in the interactive session raising various questions

Mr. Chowhan explained how low attention spans and wandering minds have been strongly linked with unhappiness in our lives. “Stress is not something that happens when you are 40 or 50 years old, it is happening to young children today,” he said. Stating the futility of India becoming a $10 trillion economy if the population is diseased by ailments such as depression, the speaker encouraged the participants to exercise every day and prioritize their sleep over their smartphones. He also explained how social connections are vital to a long life and that being able to utilize the power of the brain is an art and skill that cannot be taught.

Quote: “An Olympian only thinks about the race he or she is currently running in, peak performance requires full attention”

Session 10

Unmesh Pawar

Partner, Head - People, Performance and Culture, KPMG

Mr. Pawar is a proven HR Leader with expertise in Human Capital Strategy, Organizational Transformation, and Coaching. He has been successful in building, and leading high-performing internationally dispersed HR Leadership teams, to help meet business outcomes. Before this, Mr. Pawar was Global HR Head for Accenture’s Products Operating Group and Global Managing Director – Talent Acquisition. Therein, he led talent transformation while ensuring all time high employee engagement and retention, and has consistently been voted an employer of choice in the industry.

He has helped build various businesses, and differentiated capabilities in the market place, though designing and deploying complex talent and acquisition strategy, and talent management practices on a global scale. Mr. Pawar talked about Geopolitics and its impact on businesses globally, and highlighted that according to KPMG’s India CEO Outlook 2018, 62% CEOs see emerging markets as the biggest priority for geographical expansion. Additionally, he disucssed about how technology holds the potential to disrupt how businesses are run.

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Mr. Pawar introducing the current macroeconomic trends to the students

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Mr. Pawar interacting with the students about newer HR strategies

“It is an era of Personalisation; today we have the likes of Uber and Amazon, such is becoming the baseline expectation from the HR Department of an organization in terms of people experience”, said Mr. Pawar. The engaging and dynamic HR professional also shared that with the need to conform to the norms of grappling with mental health issues, organizations need to focus on creating places that give people a chance to be who they are.

Quote: “It is time that companies start promoting the 4R’s of the Personalization Agenda - Recognize, Remember, Recommend and check for Relevance”