Pratidhwani - The Alumni Conclave The Kaizen Committee of Institute of Management, Nirma University organized Prathidhwani - The Alumni Conclave celebrating the contributions of its alumni in various fields across industries. The theme of the conclave is "Change is the only Constant". The Alumni Conclave is an endeavour by IMNU to bring together its alumni on a common platform to share their experiences with current students. The Institute hopes to encourage industry interaction and prepare its students for the gruelling corporate world. The conclave started at 09:00 am on 6th February, 2016. Pratidhwani this year initiated a new format of a panel discussion and was divided into four panel sessions consisting of a marketing panel, finance panel, human resource panel and entrepreneurship panel. The conclave was inaugurated by the marketing panel consisting of some of the most respected alumni of Institute of Management, Nirma University, namely, Ms. Meenu Bagla, VP Marketing, Quinnox Inc. from the 1998-2000 batch, Mr. Shobhit Bahel, Marketing Manager, Petronas Lubricants from the 2001-2003 batch and Mr. Mainak Banerjee, Branch Manager, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited from the 2004-2006 batch. Ms. Bagla started the discussion by saying that change is all around us today. If we do not keep up with this constant state of flux, we will be lost far behind. Adding on to her statement, Mr. Banerjee gave examples to portray how much our lives have drastically changed due to the advent of technology. He talked about how there used to be a time when the only way to buy railway tickets was to buy it from the railway station. However, now it is available at the click of a mouse. Similarly, cash withdrawals which once upon a time mandated physical trips to the bank can now be done from any nearest ATM. He went on to say how tomorrow something new will happen. He cited examples of his own batch mates. He talked about how 5-7 years back if someone wanted to join retail they used to aim for retail chains like Shoppers Stop. However, now people aim for E-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Snapdeal or Myntra. Ms. Meenu Bagla then spoke about the 4 principles of marketing, namely, market, message, media and measurement. She highlighted the importance of understanding the target market's nuances and addressing them not just in terms of demand but in terms of buying behaviour. Bringing the customer from epiphany to intimacy is what is important for a brand according to her. Secondly, she stressed upon the importance of content. Content is still the king. Sending the right message through the right channel is of utmost importance. However, having said all this, she emphasised upon the crucial role Media plays. Media is the fourth pillar without which the other ones will be rendered ineffective. Ms. Bagla then spoke about how leveraging digital media for the success of your business is the smart thing to do right now. Digital media can drastically change the level of customer engagement and demand of a brand. For any company, it is next to impossible to reach out to millions of consumers in multiple countries within a short span of time. It is the innovations in digital media which makes this possible. Ms. Meenu Bagla then spoke further about change by citing the example of Kodak. She talked about how the once prolific company was so focussed on innovating and re-innovating its current product set that they completely missed out on digitalisation and changing customer expectations and market environment. They failed to understand the pulse of the market and this led to their ultimate demise. Mr. Bahel then took the discussion forward by talking about how market leaders such as Nokia failed to keep up with the times and were reduced to struggling players in the market. He also spoke about how the most effective way to keep up with the atmosphere of change is to always keep taking feedback. This enriching session ended on a light note with the alumni reminiscing about their days in Institute of Management, Nirma University and fondly talking about their favourite subjects and professors. The second session was a plenary session was conducted by a panel consisting of alumni from the domain of finance. The panellists were Mr. Hasit Bhatt, VP Finance, Madhav Corp, Mr. Parthiv Shah, DVP, HDFC Bank and Mr. Ankit Sharma, Associate Director, Grant Thornton India, LLP. Mr. Ankit Sharma incepted the session by informing the audience about how the financial sector is predominated by the banking sector. He went on to talk about how banking is the backbone of the financial industry. He said that the financial sector is divided into three main segments: capital markets, insurance and non-banking, with a disproportionate distribution. He mentioned that there are currently over 9000 companies listed on BSE and NSE. So, positivity about returns is prevalent. He then stated some facts about the financial sector to share some insight about the sector. Mr. Ankit Sharma also said that financial companies need to innovate and chance the way things are working and that India will get hit by challenges in the financial sector as insurance faces the biggest challenges. Mr. Parthiv Shah then addressed the audience with providing a few points on how he believes that change is ever prevalent. He cited the example of WhatsApp which grew from a 45 people company to a very large one. Mr. Shah spoke about how technology has made the biggest changes in business in the recent years. A car loan which took about a week to get sanctioned has now evolved to only take a few seconds. With the advent of technology, he believes that even the ATMs will become obsolete, because something more advanced will phase it out. Change surely is the only constant. He also spoke about how India has never really seen the computer age thrive because it moved so quickly to the smartphone age. He is also of the belief that financial services will move to customer services. Mr Sharma then said the biggest cost for the financial sector is salaries. So, changing to computerization is cost friendly to businesses. Mr Bhatt addressed the audience by saying that the banking industry has seen its fair of ups and downs. He questioned who the biggest agents of change will be in the financial industry, and where the funds come from. He also talked about how we as agents of change need to question the change in light of recent developments. He went on to say that investment bankers can bring the funds from their markets and the government can also play an important role in it. Mr Bhatt said we as Indians will have to compel change. The best part of the advent of technology is that it will never prove to be a hindrance. Mr. Sharma then ended the session by quoting Bill Gates: "We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten." In the second plenary session of Pratidhwani, the Alumni conclave the speakers addressed the audience on how the face of the Human Resource has evolved over time. The speakers were Ms. Priyanka Roy, associated with KPIT Technological Ltd. as an HR manager, Mr. Ashish Juneja, General Manager - Application Sales, Oracle India Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Suhas Sequeria, Sr. HR Consultant, North Trust Corporation. In this extremely dynamic corporate environment Human Resource has an integral role to play. The field of Human Resource management epitomizes the philosophy of change. Phenomena like HR Analytics, increased gender sensitivity and the rise of the increasingly diverse workforce have revolutionized the way Human resource management is practiced all over the world. Ms. Priyanka Roy pointed out how being in the HR domain they play a vital role in recruitment, employee wellbeing, employee retentions and talent management. Today, it is important for them to be proactive and reach out to the people. In an organization, the HR department needs to focus on finding the X factor in their employees and over time invest their money and time to develop them into assets for the organization. Mr. Ashish spoke about how Human Resource has evolved from being more of administrative to being more strategic. Mr. Suhas said that today there are 8 to 9 roles of an HR manager. The workforce is increasingly becoming specialized and there is a need for dedicated people for each of the roles. Technology has enabled the organization to overcome the geographical barriers. The CEOs and managers can upload the videos on the internet. Leveraging the technology they can conduct live chat sessions and increase the social collaboration. Mr. Ashish also discussed Oracle's social network initiative for the social collaboration. The speakers also talked about how organizations have become more flexible. The HR management needs to know how to go about the implementation of the plans and make the stakeholders understand the changes by communicating with them. It is important to take initiative for improving collaboration to improve the belongingness to the team, to inform them about the common mission and inculcate the sense of belongingness and deliver better results for the organization. The speakers also talked about how getting the best out of the team and aligning all the team members with the organization's mission and vision have become critical to the firm's success. The fourth session was an entrepreneurship session and it consisted of panellists from the domain of entrepreneurship. The panel included Mr Debasis Sahoo, Founder and Director, Playbook Consultancy, Mr Amit Mishra, Co-founder, Schoolsaamaan.com, and Mr Ankit Machhar, Associate Program Coordinator, iCreate. Mr Debasis Sahoo commenced the session by addressing the audience about making the students question their intent for opting for entrepreneurship. He said that there is more than just one side to entrepreneurship. There are people who opt for it to bring about a change in the world, and there are others who have an ulterior motive of primarily making money. All aspects of entrepreneurship contain marketing to quite a large extent as we are all marketing either ourselves or our ideas. The downside is not being able to get pay checks at the end of the month. But there are subtler highs you get in the success related to making your own mark than those you get by just the reception of salaries. Mr Ankit Macchhar then took over and commenced his speech by speaking on how the clichéd line of "change is constant" still holds true. He asked the budding entrepreneurs to react to those changes. He said the best thing for entrepreneurs to do is just identify problems and provide better solutions to it. That's what entrepreneurship is about, being creative and coming up with multi-dimensional answers. Mr Amit Mishra addressed the audience by saying that "change" and "entrepreneurship" are one and the same thing. He spoke about how we change our ideas, and ourselves every minute of every day and how we have no set back protocol; innovation is most appreciated. He concluded by saying that India is on the uprise, and that it will provide a very good platform for all those who wish to opt for setting up their own business. The panel now opened itself to questions from the audience and addressed many queries related to the field of entrepreneurship. A question which intrigued both the panel and the audience was one pertaining to the identification of out-of-the-box thinking, which is said to be imperative for making it big as a businessman. Mr Sahoo went on to say that a degree in management is not much more than just a platform. The most learning you shall get is in the process of working. Another one that questioned the importance of chemistry between cofounders to which the panel answered that it is of utmost importance. But to grow as a team is a bigger challenge and the accomplishment of the same is correspondingly satisfying. Mr Sahoo brought the session to an end by imparting knowledge on the word "pivot", which plays an important role in businesses as what we as entrepreneurs do is pivot things to best suit our interests and align them accordingly.