Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A 'Budget Rendezvous' with a five-star ambience!


Well how many times have you gone to Cafe Coffee Day, Barista or even Mocha and have found it crowded, too noisy and wondered how nice it would be if there is a place in Bangalore where you can get a more calm & peaceful ambience.
Well here's some great news for all you folks.. 'Le Meridien' one of Bangalore's popular five-star hotel's is the place for you people. You might wonder about the budget not being feasible, but that's not to be!
For over a year now Le Meridien has this thingy going on, where you get to have pastries for as low as 50bucks (trust me, it would serve 2people)!!! Whats more? A coffee jug would cost you like 150 bucks! Thats not where is ends, coz if you have a Citibank card you get 20% off your bill amount...
So on the whole for like 200 bucks you and your bum-chump can have a coffee with the added peaceful ambience..
But interestingly Windsor Manor which is another five-star hotel located very close to Le Meridien has not even tried changing their pricing in this regard, in fact a jug of coffee at Windsor Manor costs you a good 450 bucks. So looks like they don't feel threatened by its competitor's move in altering the pricing.
In fact Windsor manor has decided not to reduce prices with the rationale that it doesn't want to start catering to a different customer segment. Moreover it looks like they feel that by reducing prices, Windsor manor might lose out on its premiumness. Le Meridien on the other hand has had this offer on for quiet sometime and I wonder if it has actually affected the customers perception of the five-star image of Le meridien. Guess we can only wait and see what the future has in store for them!
But with everything said and done, Le Meridien's offer is what I call true value-addition!
Cash-in it people! Happy Coffeein'! :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

BAN-galore

"Bangalore now has a galore of bans and hence i would like to rechristen it BAN Galore. ;)"


I visited Chennai lately for some official work, after which I happened to stay over at a friend's place for a couple of days. Even though i've been to Chennai a lotta times earlier this was really the first time I got a glimpse of the night life at Chennai. We went to a few proclaimed happenin' night clubs (from 10 Downing Street to Bikes & Barrels(See the Image) to Dublin) and had a great time. The main difference from Bangalore was "NO 23:00 restriction". On the other side 'the crowd aint' that great'!
Now taking the broader picture it is so clear that Bangalore still has its charm in spite of these so called safety restrictions of 23:00 and the Ban on house parties (the recent issue of the raid in a house party in Bangalore which had no Indians ;) ). The two main reasons for this would be:
  • Bangalore is a Cosmopolitan
  • Bangalore has pleasant weather throughtout the year (people start complainin' when it touches 35 degrees :P )
The first reason cannot be considered a sustainable competitive advantage for Bangalore. Moreover a lotta new companies are setting up manufacturing plants near Chennai (Nokia, BMW, Hyundai etc) which could make Chennai a cosmopolitan in the near future.
On the other hand, the second factor namely weather is a sustainable competitive advantage. But Bangalore has to stop going backwards in time and start taking a global outlook to leverage the advantages that it possesses due to weather.
Moreover Bangalore has been lucky to gain global appeal and recognition with the boom in IT in the past decade but it has to undergo a few fundamental changes in terms of the people mindset and political policies really soon else Bangalore would reach a 'Strategic Inflection Point' i.e. it may suddenly realise that the rest of the major cities (Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad) are in a different ball game all together, moreover that the nature of competition has changed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Holi people...!!


Well the full moon day in the Indian calender month of Falguna (around february or march) is when the festival of colours "HOLI" is celebrated... This year it falls on the 11th March...
The day before holi is called 'Holika Dahan' a day when the mythological Prahalad escaped unburnt from the clutches of the Demoness Holika (sister of the king Hiranyakashipu) when she carried him into the fire. On this day bonfires are lit in many places around the city.
On the day of H0li people celebrate by throwing colour powder & colour water on everybody, in recent times people have innovated and hence ended up throwing Egg's too on holi.. :) Holi is celebrated for many reasons:
  • Burning of Holika
  • Lord Krishna's mother supposedly complained about the colour contrast between Krishna and his consort Radha hence she started off applying colour on Radha's face
So all you people out there have a HAPPY AND A COLOURFUL holi this year! :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Buzz about Cricket!

I'm back after a long time. This time its about the buzz in cricket. India is a nation known for its cricket fan following and the students at Alliance Business School are no exception to that.

Well I am talking about the 'Alliance Cup - 2009' being held at the Alliance College Campus from the 5th March - 8th March. This is a cup that is held every year at Alliance, but this year I thought it would do good with a little difference. The Alliance cup this year had 9 teams for the guys and 4 teams for the girls, with each team having a 13 player squad. Teams are refered too by team names which they themselves choose (to name them FM 13.2, Mettle, Amazons, White Feathers, Mavericks, Titans, Spartans, Phoenix, Daredevils, Doubtful 11, Superchargers & Brawlers). The teams were given different coloured Jerseys, and as the matches were held on campus it resulted in good crowd turnouts. Infact even music was played according to the players choice thereby adding more flavour to the matches. Official Umpires were hired and the tournament was on its way. The inaugral match was held between a faculty and a non-teaching staff.

By being one of the key organizers-cum-commentator-cum-player I thought it would be good to write my views on the tournament.

The tournament brought out some of the best talent of the budding managers ;). There is complete cricket-mania in the campus with even the faculties and staff getting involved. A lot of banners, music, singing, drums, slogans, cheers etc. are in abundance from the crowds for the matches. The teams are seen practicing in the campus from 5 each morning before attending lectures. This tournament has infact brought the students of each class closer as they now have an increased sense of belongingness.

The teams throughtout the tournament have played with excellent sportmanship and have rendered to the spirit of the game (except for 1 instance which was taken care of effectively by the tournament officials).

With the Finals which would be held tomorrow between the tournament favourites FM 13.2 (of which I am a part off :)) and the Mavericks (1st year students) there is complete excitment in the campus. No one wants to leave the campus and goto the city for this weekend. Guess we would surely have a full turnout tomorrow with a crowd of over 700.

This tournament has done a world of good to the students who've got a well deserved break from the hectic and rigorous curriculum. It has also given me another opportunity at Alliance to display my management skills (especially the fact that the 7 member team of organizers got just 1 day to plan this whole event).

This event has given me an essence of being a manager in a practical setting, and it has also shown me the application of a few key concepts that I've learnt through my MBA. To name a few:
  • Importance of Statistical tools in making our own version of the Duckworth-Lewis formula to calculate the winner of interrupted matches as well as tabulating the points with a bonus points component even for the losing team.
  • Importance of Fund Management and Forecasting unforeseen expenses while making the initial budget.
  • Sales Management while pitching for sponsors for the tournament (Pride Forever campus store).
  • Negotiation skills and the importance of Purchasing when we had to buy the Rolling shield, medals, arrange for tents & music.
  • Importance of Advertising with an increased emphasis on word-of-mouth marketing in creating awareness and drawing crowds. The advertising done also resulted in creating the circket-mania on campus.
  • The increased need for good Services Marketing. This was seen in the fact that apart from drawing crowds of only the playing teams we had to draw even neutral audience, and for this we used music and enthralling commentary as a means to increase the experience of the audience during the match. Hence resulting in them coming to watch most of the matches.
  • General Management skills for the conduct of the tournament which would include time management and information transperancy.
So on the whole we can see how organizing a fun event like a cricket tournament can be made more exciting, more intense and be done professionally with application of conceptual skills.