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Have you questioned your goals?

Deprivation of something becomes a need. With time, it becomes an aspiration. Life is a pursuit  of endless goals.
Whether someone believes it or not, even an infant has goals although he may not be aware of it. The first goal is to move, therefore he/she starts to crawl. Then the goal is to stand up, which then changes to walking.
With time, the goals keep on changing and aspirations are replaced by new ones. Then the question arises, how to find the time to enjoy, how to derive the happiness once the goals are achieved. According to me, the epoch between achieved goals and new aspirations is the time to enjoy, to attain a temporary bliss. That is the time to form a memory, fill in the memory gardens with flowers of joy.
However, I cannot claim that fulfilling once goals will bring such memories. The journey to success may have too many thorns. However, the goals have become selfish. The goals have narrowed from humanity to self. The pursuit for survival has made us selfish. We have debated, differed and divided for success. This pursuit of success has led us to success without the memories of true affections and prosperity.

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About the  Author:

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Vishnudeep Rebba, PGP 2015-17

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Investment in Mutual Funds

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Investment means using your money to get a return on it in future. The sooner one starts investing the better. By investing early you give your investments more time to grow, whereby the principal and the interest on the money invested grow year after year. Investment in financial assets can be done through various modes, such as fixed deposits, savings bank account, mutual funds units, pension funds etc., or in securities market-related instruments like shares, bonds, and debentures etc.

Investing in mutual fund units is considered to be the simplest form of investment because it offers professional expertise at a very nominal cost.  Also, these mutual funds are governed by harsh regulations, which are designed to protect the interest of investors.

Let us understand what mutual funds are and how one should make his/her investment decisions.

Mutual Fund is a registered body which pools money from individuals/corporate investors, and invests the same in a variety of financial instruments or securities such as equity shares, government securities, bonds, debentures etc. It is thus an investment intermediary.  In lieu of the money received from the investors, mutual funds issue units to the investors and thus they are referred as unit holders. These units are allotted to the investors at NAV (Net Asset Value). NAV of the fund is the cumulative market value of the assets of the fund net of its liabilities. This NAV is linked to the value of the investment portfolio of the mutual fund scheme in which the investor has invested his/her money. The appreciation or depreciation in the amount invested is reflected through appreciation or depreciation in NAV.

Every Mutual Fund offers various schemes and every scheme has multiple plans. The investor should select his/her plan and scheme wisely based on his/her investment objective. Some are pure equity schemes, some are debt focused, and others are a mix of equity and bonds. The investment objectives outlined by a Mutual Fund in its prospectus are binding on the Mutual Fund scheme. The investment objectives specify the class of securities that a Mutual Fund can invest in. Mutual Funds invest in various asset classes like equity, bonds, debentures, commercial papers, and government securities.

The scheme should be selected based on the risk-return perspective of the investor. These categorizations are mentioned in the Scheme Information Document (SID). Let us look at the basic classification of mutual fund investment schemes on the basis of objective:

  • Equity Funds/Growth Funds: These are “High Risk-High Reward” funds (Major Investment in Equity Shares of companies). These are suitable for people who want to have a huge capital appreciation, and are risk-takers.
  • Debt/Income Funds: These are “Low Risk-Low Returns” funds (Major investment in high-rated fixed-income-bearing instruments like bonds, debentures, government securities, commercial paper and other money market instruments). These are suitable for people who want a fixed return on their investment, and are risk-averse.
  • Balanced Funds: Moderate Risk-Moderate Returns (These funds invest both in equity shares and fixed-income-bearing instruments in some proportion) provide a steady return and reduce the volatility of the fund while providing some upside for capital appreciation. They are ideal for medium to long-term investors who are willing to take moderate risks.

After selecting the scheme, the next important task for the investor is to select the plan under that scheme relevant to his/her flexibility needs.

  • Growth Plan: A growth plan is a plan under a scheme wherein the returns from investments are reinvested. Returns are made available to investors in the form of NAV appreciation/depreciation. The investor thus only realizes capital appreciation on the investment.
  • Dividend Plan: A dividend plan is one wherein income is distributed (from time to time) to the investors in the form of dividends. NAV would more or less remain constant over here. This plan is ideal for those investors who require regular income.
  • Dividend Reinvestment Plan: Dividend plans of schemes carry an additional option for reinvestment of income distribution. This is referred to as the dividend reinvestment plan. Under this plan, dividends declared by a fund are reinvested in the scheme on behalf of the investor, thus increasing the number of units held by the investors.

Also, when investing directly (Yes, you can invest in mutual funds directly without going to any broker, by going to the fund’s website), care should be taken to select a direct plan instead of regular plans, as regular plans include extra cost such as brokerage expenses which in turn reduce the net return available to the investor.

An investor can start investing in a mutual fund with an initial investment as low as Rs 500. Considering the various benefits and diversity it offers, it is highly recommended to invest in mutual funds. The information flow and expertise that is available with mutual funds is of enormous value, which in turn fetches higher returns for the investors. Being consistent and patient can do wonders with this investment model. Start investing NOW!

Reference: NCFM Financial Markets Module

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About the  Author:

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Rishabh is a commerce graduate from HR College, Mumbai. During his articleship at Price Waterhouse, he was involved in the audit of various mutual funds, asset reconstruction companies, and broking houses.

The Useless Thought – Abhishek Chandra

My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism. – Richard Dawkins

I often stay awake looking at the sky trying to find those stars I used to watch while lying beside my father on the rooftop during those memorable summer nights. My father used to point towards specific stars and tell me their names. I would never forgive myself for forgetting the names of those legends which will remain in the same place in the sky even after me. In the kaleidoscope of memories, I have those black and white blurred pictures, waiting to be refreshed. Somewhere, I have a constant feeling of burden, Is it an assignment? Is it something I forgot to do? Do I have to wake up early? And if that be the case why am I not doing that assignment? Why am I not executing my plans? Why am I not trying to sleep early? Am I so occupied with life that I have forgotten to live?

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Human beings had a very humble beginning. Sometimes, I try to think of the times when our species had originated and what our ancestors used to do. Correct me if I am wrong, Homo-Sapiens appeared on earth 200 thousand years ago. In the course of evolution, our ancestors learned to follow those legends in the sky, who guided us towards a better life. It was during those hard times they traveled and explored worlds unknown, they learned to control fire, they made the tools – ‘those imperfect wheels’, they left their stories on the walls of their caves, they tamed plants and animals, they invented complex ways to communicate. Furthermore, they claimed the world. I wonder, what were they trying to do in their ancient, not so happening, world?

The more substantial question is what are we essentially doing in the so called modern and a very happening world? Aren’t we still travelling and exploring worlds unknown, still controlling the same fire in those high tech rocket engines? Aren’t we building amazing tools even now? Aren’t we writing stories to be read by generations to come? Are we not taming the genome of plants and animals? Is it not that we continue to find new ways of communicating through satellites and glass screen wireless gadgets and haven’t we claimed many species of the world forever? After these many years of evolution how many things can you count that we do and those great spirits didn’t. The great learned community of the world claims that we are innovative. Am I blinded by lack of sleep that I can’t see even one basic difference in what those holy spirits used to do and what we are doing? We are so unwise that we can’t even break free the chains of those superstitious stories they framed us in, to teach us about wisdom. Somehow, we got jealous of those heroes who paved our way to a world which we contoured with barbed wires. So jealous that we destroyed the forests, the wild spirits, the rivers they sung and enchanted songs about.

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The only thing they were trying to do was survive. They will. We will. If out of curiosity, you want to search for answer to the question “what is the difference between them and us?” Ask me and I would say go ahead and search how big you want your world to be?

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About the  Author:

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Abhishek is a student of the pioneer batch at IIM Nagpur. He is a visionary with good leadership skills. He is focused to build a career in Operations or consulting.

A Day at IIMN! – Rishabh Jain

A normal day in the life of an IIMN student is full of discussions, readings, and brainstorming. In that context, today was a usual day for me. I woke up at around 7:30 in the morning with a heavy headache as I had slept at around 4 in the morning (This is what I meant by discussions). Somehow, I reached the class on time at 8:30. The professor was discussing something vague and I was all sleepy. Suddenly Professor Soman said something that rang bells in my ears. I raised my hand and explained him about my point of view regarding the subject.  The professor was all ears and even the class had not thought about that point. This attention and appreciation was special as it was “occasional” 😛 (The professor even called me after the lecture and discussed some possible alternatives to the problem in hand with regards to my solution.)

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After the class, we went back to have our lunch. The mess guy was serving Paneer Butter masala (The day was indeed special), this rare show of generosity made him the superstar of the day. We moved to our rooms after the lunch and started preparing for next class’s topic. The pedagogy that the institute follows is special. Along with the study material, we are also provided with a collection of select topics from Harvard Business Reviews, where we have to apply our understanding to a real life case dependent upon the topic. The various cases, business models, and other real-life scenarios make the job very interesting. Our group had decided to meet at around 9 in the night for discussion. In the meantime, I did an individual reading of the case and jotted down my viewpoints and some key decision areas that are required to be taken.

In the evening I went outside for snacks with some of my friends. The lip smacking MayoCheese garlic bread reminded us that life is much more than just studying and case discussions, in fact, “Life is all about food”. After an hour or two, we came back and assembled for a quick session of TT and headed for dinner. (Remember life is all about food)

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Finally, we assembled in the discussion room at the stipulated time ,that was 9 pm. My group had 3 engineers and 2 commerce graduates. This part of the day in which we do case discussion is the most important part of the day. Every member of the group has to put forward his points and explain to the others the relevance of the same. The same happened today also and after a “brief discussion” of 3 hours we finally concluded on some points and prepared our final decision sheet. Later, I went back to my room, did some time pass with my cell phone, listened to music for a while, watched 2 episodes of friends and now at around 2am, I’m here, writing this blog .

So this is how a day looks like in the life of a student at IIMN 🙂

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About the  Author:

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Rishabh is a fun loving person who believes in enjoying life to the fullest. He loves to travel and explore during his free time. He is a Chartered Accountant and commerce graduate from HR College, Mumbai.

Rewarding Innovation & Making Medicines Affordable – Chirag Khanijo

Chinese-pharma-industry

The Chinese Pharma industry is worth $105 billion and is second biggest market after the US. This industry has been growing at an average rate of 16.72% annually over the last few decades. The pharma industry in China is forecasted to reach $158 billion in 2016 and grow at a rate of 7.7% till 2019. The remarkable growth has been made possible by a slew of measures undertaken by the government to foster the health of the industry.

With the aim of providing safe, effective, convenient and affordable health-care system China issued a health-care reform plan in 2009. The plan aimed at investing 850 billion yuan (124 billion US dollars) for the reforms over a period of three years. Rise in spending on public sector such as health care by government will help China to expand its domestic markets. Middle class in China is spending more on healthcare which may help China to compete in western markets. In order to remain competitive in pharmaceutical sector, the State Food and Drug Administration asked domestic companies to increase their investment in R&D. as per the reform plan government plans to invest USD 1.5 billion for the development of new drugs between 2011 and 2016. In terms of incentives the government is offering tax reliefs for the domestic pharmaceutical and biotechnology firm as well as it is giving direct investment to pharma companies to support their growth. The Chinese Income tax law and various other regulations have provided various such tax incentives and scheme to encourage the growth of R&D sector in China. The research center which provided its research services to foreign companies enjoy subsidized income tax rates and tax exemptions. Furthermore, if the manufacturers can qualify as an ‘Advanced and New Technology Enterprise’, they are eligible for a reduced income tax. If the enterprise qualifies as a ‘High New Technology Enterprise Incentive’, it is entitled to a reduced corporate tax rate of 15% as compared to 25%. Furthermore, newly established HNTEs in five economic zones of China can enjoy a full tax exemption of two years, and then three years of 50
% reduction in corporate tax. Moreover, the government is also giving a CIT Super deduction under which companies are allowed to deduct 50% of expenses for R&D costs, including salary to R&D personnel, expenses occurred in the development of new product & technology and depreciation of equipment used in research. Furthermore, companies in China are also given an income tax exemption for transfer of technology. The country is also focusing increasingly on quality and promoting local companies by introducing a slew of measures. This has led to a new norm in the country wherein local companies increasingly make generic drugs.

Strong patent protection in China for pharmaceutical is a top priority. Government of china has taken steps to enhancing competitiveness and innovation in pharma industry. It constantly updates and amends IP laws to stimulate innovation. 3rd amendment in patent laws has changed the approach of assessing the novelty of innovation. Earlier Chinese patent examiners did not consider public use out of China. This occasionally allowed “patent hijacking” and to mitigate it has adopted new standard by considering the public use outside of China. For the foreign companies who have invented in China, the applicant must take permission from the State Intellectual Property office prior to filing a patent application in a foreign country. Strong patent protection in China for pharmaceutical is a top priority. If the acquisition or use of the genetic resources or traditional knowledge violated the Chinese law or regulation, no patent will be granted. Government has also taken initiatives such as lifting the price controls for 280 basic medicines manufactured by western pharmaceutical companies.

China’s essential medicine policy

From 2009, China introduced different policies like Essential Medicines list, organizing production, pricing, quality assurance, tendering and procurement, distribution, rational use, monitoring and evaluation, etc. to ensure the affordability and accessibility of medicines. Government run healthcare institutions and village health posts are on zero mark-up policy in which people can save on average 15% mark up on the price. Though there is no legislation for the losses incurred by the health institutions caused due to zero mark-up policy, the incentive for innovation is still there as the pharmaceutical companies are not affected because the prices are reduced from the distribution side. The government is working on policies aimed at incentivizing these health institutions for the losses they are occurring. Working towards a free AIDS treatment, domestic NGOs are working hand in hand with government of China to develop a policy for global companies regarding the intellectual property rights related to AIDS drugs. These are aimed at bringing down the prices of essential drugs and to make them more affordable and accessible to public. They do so by parallel importation or compulsory licensing which is a part of DOHA Declaration. China also has a free national AIDS treatment programme in which manufacturers are encouraged to develop medicines based on older patents and government also negotiates with pharmaceutical companies on the prices of their current patents. These are done through direct price negotiation with international pharmaceutical companies or by bulk buying negotiation.

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About the  Author:

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Chirag Khanijo is a student of the pioneer batch at IIM Nagpur. He has a strong technical knowledge of science & technology. He loves marketing & strategy and wants to pursue a career in consulting. He likes to spend his free times on reading about strategies adopted by various companies, and he is also an excellent  player of table tennis.

What Made Gandhi, Mahatma – Anshul

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Google Mahatma Gandhi and one finds 19,800,000 results about the father of the nation, few pages praising his spirituality, few doubting his credibility, few admiring his ideals and a few absurdly accusing him of partitioning the country, not taking violent means to speed up the independence of India etc. A look at him shows the vulnerability of his frail body, his rather small appearance but keep searching and you find the determination reflecting on his face and perseverance in his stance, leading India with a walking stick. Looking through these results will make you wonder what made him amongst the greatest person to have walked down this planet.

The ideals of Satyagraha and non-violence were the core-values of Mahatma Gandhi, and was something unheard of before him and using these ideals to clash with the mightiest empire required determination, perseverance and self-belief. One could say that being from a Gujarati, Hindu background, his core-values came from there. However, there were many others like him who were born in a similar background. But they chose to enjoy the lavishes of their life whereas the Mahatma chose to stay away from all the luxuries. One must understand that he could have easily led the most comfortable of lives, if he wanted to. After all, he was among the most powerful of men in his era. But he chose to live like a poor person, wrapping his frail body with a single piece of cloth, sleeping barely, and practicing celibacy. He gave away the comforts of family life for the greater good. All these acts required a tremendous amount of patience which was one of the many character traits of Mahatma.

It is not that he had set his eyes on the ideals he would follow to fight against the government, he kept changing his stance, sometimes supporting the government and at times using everything in his power to oppose the government. He was experimenting with ideas, making way for new ones as he moved along. His wonderful trait was learning from every situation and applying it in new situations. When he was thrown out of train in South Africa, he sat on the platform shivering throughout the night in the cold. His whole belief system had been shaken up by this racist act. Before this incident, he had lived in London and such racial acts were uncommon there. However, this incident truly brought him to the forefront of racial abuse prevalent in South Africa for the Indians. That night made him realize why it is important to fight for his people. It made him closer to the many Indians that were facing similar treatment day after day. This feeling of what it meant to be an Indian remained with him throughout. The trait of identifying with his people grew with time-he wore Khadi clothes, led a simple life, and had only so much belonging which could come in a box in Sabarmati Ashram.

One trait of Mahatma Gandhi which perhaps is less admired is his rationality. He understood the importance of unity and making a public statement to the government. The burning of passes in South Africa was done with a touch of drama to show the government the unity. Even in India, he marched from Sabarmati to Dandi, and did not take any other means of transport to make a statement. He understood the power of public opinion. He was a very rational person. He knew that fighting such formidable opponents such as the British were not possible by force. The only way he could have achieved his demands were through a peaceful struggle. Mahatma Gandhi drew his ideals of love, compassion, lack of selfishness and non-violence from many religions. He was, in fact, mesmerized by Raja Harish Chandra in his teenage years and by Jesus in his adult life. There was a mixture of religion and rationality in his decisions and sometimes it was difficult to understand where his spirituality ended, and rationality started. The combination of spirituality and determination, his ideals and principles, and lack of ill feelings even for his opponents made him a formidable opponent.

One of the remarkable qualities of Mahatma Gandhi was his down-to-earth attitude. When he came to India from South Africa, he had achieved so much. He was called the Mahatma at the age of 40. Even then he remained himself without going head-over-heels at the reception he got in India. He emphasized on the need of Cleanliness for Indians. He at times even cleaned the streets, cleaned toilets, cleaned the wounds of people and many other things which were a remarkable feat when you consider his stature in the world. In the 1901 Congress Session at Calcutta, he cleaned the toilet when he found the sanitation arrangement inappropriate. He had a huge respect for human life, and had great empathy for others. This empathy gave him the power to understand his opponents. This empathy made him a true leader. He never asked his followers to follow the path he had chosen, he even understood their problems if they chose not to, but his followers never failed him.

The Mahatma had a great belief in his ideals as well as himself. He listened to everyone but followed his own path. In South Africa, when he thought he was right in supporting the government, he did it even when he was beaten by his own people. This quality persisted in him even after he came to India. When the leaders were ready to gain independence at the expense of partition, he was among the few who resisted it. He adhered to his principles throughout his life even when it meant being sidelined by his party members. He stood up to what he believed was right, and always resisted injustice. The quality which differentiates him from others, was his ability to stick to his principles even when his followers, his friends, his family were against him.

He was a true leader, he could have worn the mantle when India became independent, could have celebrated like a million others but there he was in a corner protesting against the partition of the nation, fasting to quell the riots which had claimed the county. Einstein rightly said, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”

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About the  Author:

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Anshul Agrawal is one of the students of the pioneer batch at IIM Nagpur. He has a great interest in Strategy & Pricing. Besides, he loves to organise events and lead teams.  He would like to pursue a career in marketing or operations after finishing PGP from IIM Nagpur.

‘Convincing Others With The Use Of These Frameworks Was An Interesting Experience’ – Dhruv Suchak

Joining IIM Nagpur just after completion of my degree in Mechanical Engineering I was very delightful to meet new peers and enter another exciting phase of my life- A career in Management and of course, at an IIM. Getting selected to work for Excellon Software for the Summer Internship programme was a great opportunity for me. Being a fresher, and that too in Mechanical Engineering, it was a mix of two kind of emotions for me: Excitement of working first time in a professional organisation and uncertainty of working in a very new field to me. However, marketing being one of my areas of interest, the role as a marketing intern was going to be an exciting task.

After finishing the orientation at the Nagpur office, we were shifted to the Pune branch of the company. Excellon Software is a software product company providing solutions to its clients since 2000. The main product of the company is Dealer Management System (DMS) which is used by dealers of automobile companies to maintain their all day-to-day activities through software. The software companies approach Automobile Companies (referred as OEMs) to provide DMS and maintain their dealer network across the country. As of now, almost every OEM has implemented one or the other DMS from different companies. Some of them has developed in-house DMS. DMS market in India having entered into maturity stage, and the switching cost of the customers being very high in terms of time and money, the company needed to prepare the expansion strategy.

In our Internship project, my colleague and I, were assigned the task of preparing an expansion strategy for the company. We were required to identify the industry verticals for the market expansion. Along with that, we needed to prepare an entry strategy into the market along with market potential. We were also required to prepare a marketing plan as well as the Digital Marketing strategy for Excellon Software.

Our project was almost based on the secondary data research except a primary research with some of the dealers in various industries. During the project, we studied company’s current market, competitor’s study, various other industries, attractiveness in those industries, potential market, etc. Based on some criteria, we suggested few industry verticals to Excellon Software. After that, we proposed an entry strategy and digital marketing strategies of different competitors were analysed. At last, the marketing action plan and the DM strategy for the company was proposed.

During the entire project period, we had a very good support from our mentor cum manager. He was easily accessible to us and he was always ready to guide us with his rich industry experience. Other company employees were also helpful and provided necessary information and advice.

The main challenge during the project was to shape the entire project in a lucid direction and to gather the information about the DMS market as there was no published/secondary data available on this niche market. We gathered most of the data on DMS market from within the company. Proposing the new industry verticals in accordance with the company’s current product offering was also a challenge. Studying the marketing strategies of the competitors and preparing the marketing plan for the company without having a hands-on experience in the marketing field was another challenge. We took the guidance from our mentor as well as one of the marketing professors of our college for the same.

In this internship project we could apply some of the theoretical concepts and frameworks we had learnt during our first year at the college. Convincing others with the use of these frameworks was an interesting experience. We could also use the primary research as a part of our project. In the primary research, we met several dealers/distributors of some of the industries. From this research, we tried to look at the penetration and requirements of software solutions in the dealership business. This research provided support to our recommendation based on the secondary research.

Lastly, I can say that the summer internship at Excellon software Pvt. Ltd. was a great learning opportunity for me and I will strive to use the gained skills and knowledge in the best possible way.

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About the Author:

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Right after completing his mechanical engineering from LDCE, Ahmedabad, he joined the pioneer batch of IIM Nagpur. The reason of opting for IIM-N was the mentor-ship from IIM-A, one of the most reputed management schools of Asia. Here, at IIM-N, He would like to go in marketing or operations consulting job after finishing PGP from IIM Nagpur.