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The Arab World and Israel – Is the thawing of ties real?

“Now that the ice has broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead,” said President Donald Trump on August 13th, 2020. Having earned his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for allegedly brokering the historic establishment of UAE-Israel diplomatic ties and possibly even the Bahrain-Israel deal as well, he took great pride in getting these done. These are rightfully a big deal, for the world, and the upcoming US elections.

UAE and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab States to recognize Israel (after Egypt and Jordan). Now it’s a kernel of truth that Israel has informal ties with the Arab World, but to have official recognition and seal of approval is a big step forward given the conflicts in the past along with the ongoing Israel-Palestine issue.

The Arab world and others welcomed this move as a positive step towards stability in the Middle East. This step taken by UAE and Bahrain has come as a surprise given the timing of the deal. Just days before the deal was announced, Israel was leveling Palestine with airstrikes and bombs, so it is not surprising that the treaty was met with widespread condemnation and cries of hypocrisy from Palestine’s leaders, who saw this development as a betrayal.

Now the warming up of Arab-Israeli ties has been in the pipeline for some time, from the energy and weapons trade to diplomatic statements in support of Israel’s right to existence. Even  Crown Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia spoke about this https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-mohammed-bin-salman-israel.html. 

 

It is well known that any positive step towards Israel would have to be blessed by Saudi Arabia, especially when it comes to countries like Bahrain and the UAE. Given recent developments, it is only a matter of time when other gulf countries follow suit. Qatar, Oman, and possibly Sudan might soon recognize Israel and will support the 2 State Solution, given their diplomatic stature in the Islamic World as well as their well established economic and security-related ties with Israel.

 

One might be forgiven for being too optimistic and therefore labeling these agreements as deals of peace, goodwill, and development, but these deals might be opportunistic and strategic too. Israel and Saudi Arabia often disagree on many things, but given the recent developments in the Middle East, they have not hesitated to point fingers at Iran as the supposed benefactor of the region’s multitude of issues. With these developments, Saudi Arabia and others not only look to whitewash their conservative image and secure their economic and security-related futures with Israel but to also eliminate their Shia rival, Iran along with Hezbollah, who even Israel don’t take kindly at all, in the long run.

 

Given the global PR campaign that is being run by Saudi, they will jump at any chance to appear progressive and open-minded. And what better way to do so than to side with the Jewish State itself. Despite hosting school textbooks that often refer to Jewish people as “swines”, there has been a massive outreach program to the Jews, overseen by De Facto leader of the KSA, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to reform its conservative image into that of a modern one… a proverbial UAE 2.0. 

 

It is be noted that the Islamic and checkbook forms of diplomacy that were often employed by the Arab nations are no longer actively used in the building of their international relations and foreign image now. From snubbing Pakistan at the OIC to warming up to Israel, the Arab World has distanced itself from the rigid ideologies that characterized their image. It was either the Islamic connect or resource-rich trade deals that often brought about these relations. But given the tumultuous oil and gas markets along with the prevailing Pandemic conditions, those 2 policies have been defenestrated and a new and unfortunately desperate roadmap of “Follow the money trail” has been drawn up by the big shots of the Middle East. From strictly dealing with the West to now investing in India, actively dealing with Russia and South America, and politically and economic-wise, warming up to Israel and China respectively, massive steps have been taken by Saudi Arabia and other such countries to survive in the more liberal political climate today. With Saudi’s UAE-esque goal of diversification of revenue by 2030, the Arab Big Brother will look to go to any lengths to survive in this current scenario.

Having lived in the Middle East for 13.5 years, it certainly is a remarkably interesting prospect to see Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab World adapt to Israel and the liberal climate today. I always wanted the Middle East (that is dear to my heart) to stabilize and harmonize among themselves and mingle with each other and the rest of the world. The Middle East has much to offer other than stereotypes and oil, it is time for them to step up their game, and if they believe Israel can help secure their future, then more power to them. 

Palestine in this case may well be the losers as per these lines of treaties. As of now, the Arab World only has the word of Israel that it would not infringe on the areas of Gaza and West Bank, but only time will tell if they hold to their word, and this is important given how much importance Palestine carries for the Arab and Muslim World, especially Saudi Arabia.

 

Now although the Arab Big Brother – Saudi Arabia, may not officially recognize Israel any time soon, these changing perspectives that came about with their blessing, will help bring about some form of stability in the region, and hopefully, bring down the curtain on the Israel-Palestine issue (may the 2 state solution come about and end the violence). Despite the overarching questions and conspiracy theories, fruitful results come about with these new ties. 

 

Inshallah! Peace and prosperity shall prevail!

 

To know more and to apply for the Bachelor’s Degree program in Global History and International Relations at IILM University Gurugram, please visit www.iilm.edu.in

 

Kavin Ramesh Pillai

BA (Hons) – History and International Relations

IILM University, Gurugram 

Learning Rebooted in Higher Management Education

By Winnie Ranjan who is a Second Year PGDM Student at IILM Lodhi Road

Higher management education has witnessed a radical transformation in a matter of months due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Technology in the education sector has become an integral part of the new normal. This paradigm shift in the education sector has boosted the overall learning process. As a management student, online learning has made me wonder about the different trends and opportunities evolving in the field of education in the coming years.

As a response to the COVID 19 challenge, colleges and universities have revised the courses and subjects offered to students in order to facilitate learning that aligns with the skills required in the upcoming job market. The digital market space has taken another sharp upward turn and has evolved faster than ever before with new powerful sectors leading the pack. Different fields like data analytics, remote management, digital business, technology advancements among others have created even more demand for jobs. IILM has started offering subjects which foster alignment with the required skill sets in the job market.

In the current business world where everything is heavily dependent on data, analytics has become one of the powerful tools for the success of any organization. Considering this scenario, IILM has started offering different analytics-based courses to its students like Marketing Analytics, HR Analytics, Business Analytics, etc. which are in high demand in today’s job market. We also have a course on Python as technology is rapidly changing and learning programming has become crucial for future managers, so that they can provide innovative solutions for problems in the business world.

The lockdown has highlighted the importance of  E-commerce due to the changing behaviour of the consumers. It is very important for management students to learn about E-Commerce for both job opportunities as well as self-employment. Industry experts are delivering guest lectures so that students can gain insights into the practical application and challenges of e-commerce in various sectors.

IILM revamped its courses based on the current scenario and future forecast. It is also offering a course in Logistics Management. Apart from the digitalization in this industry, there has been a lot of changes in the global logistics management and supply chains due to the disruptions brought by the pandemic. Understanding these interactions is very important for managers to manage inventories and plan ahead.

There has always been a concern with remote learning with respect to imbibing social skills. Management students as “future managers” need to work in teams and manage people effectively. To help students incorporate these skill sets, IILM has offered a course on “Managing Virtual Teams” where international faculty have collaborated with IILM faculty members. This has enabled the mutual benefits of global learning for both students and faculty.

It is very important in these high times to interact and engage with students so that they don’t feel isolated and miss out on the personal touch. Business schools are planning sessions where they engage the students through different fun activities, games and other medium. At IILM, we have an interesting career course on “Management Through Movies” where students participate enthusiastically and discuss different movies keeping in mind the management approach.

The past few months have led to the digitization of education which has given rise to many online education platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Byju, etc., which in turn has widened the scope of learning for both students and professionals. In fact, many business schools have made it compulsory for students to take some courses on these platforms so that they can upscale their existing skills. IILM also took a similar kind of initiative and has tied-up with Coursera for providing free certificate courses to its students. Each student has her own strengths, weaknesses, interest area and pace of learning so based on choosing their own courses from a wide variety offered on this platform has been very helpful in providing personalized learning to students.

Looking into the future:

Looking ahead to a time when colleges and universities would re-open, there are higher chances of integration of analytics and technology into the course curriculum. As management students, it is important that we think through and analyze what is happening around us and how we can create opportunities for ourselves and harness these changes to the best for our learnings for a better future.

To learn more about how the new courses at IILM, please visit us at www.iilm.edu

IILM’s Virtual Model UN Youth Conference 2020

The Department of International studies along with the Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences, Law, and Management organized the IILM Model United Nations Youth Conference from 25th – 30th Aug 2020. Students were required to conduct research and analysis representing the government of a country on matters of Foreign Policy, Sustainability, and Climate Change. Attending a simulation of this magnitude, made our students gain valuable insight into the proceedings of the United Nations and understand global perspectives to solve exigent global issues, thus nurture future change-makers and leaders.

 The MUN was divided into two projects(UNEP & UNDP) respectively.

In the times when the concept of sustainable development has gained so much weight-age with the depletion of resources the MUN was an en-devour by the young voices to understand the importance of a future that they so strongly behold.

The entire event was covered by the International Press which comprised of students from the course of Bachelors in Media and Journalism:  Mahek Amlani and Anoushka Chopra,Amrita kaur,Kamakhshi Narain
Kaushal Nassa,Siddhant Sharma,Sidhak Kalra. (The Link to the Newsletter Compilation IILMUN’20)

The Research Mindset

 

Research in its real essence calls for unbiased analysis of problems, scenarios, and situations using scientific tools, to get answers and solutions to questions and generate perspectives. Research aids and gives direction to progress and growth. People and economies thrive when in a habit of research. The freedom to explore and analyze any topic under the sun that intrigues the human mind is essential for the growth of human intellect and human capital development. Good research is a good investment. Therefore, it is essential and wise for nations to invest in developing an atmosphere of research and analytical contributions to keep alive the discourse of development and freedom.

“Research is to see what everybody else has seen.

And to think what nobody else has thought.”- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Good research is research done in the context of a problem at hand. The research process involves observations, background study, hypothesizing alternative situations, experimentation or data collection, and analysis which brings out the results of the research to make new decisions or recommendations. Quality of any research must be maintained at every step to get useful results that can further aid policy-making and strategizing of plans.

The bounties of modern and civilized life, be it good concrete buildings to live, good food to eat and experience, clothing, transportation, education, healthcare, social work, governance, etc. have been a result of somebody’s research work at some point of time. There are many small countries like Israel, which give a lot of importance to research and development and have risen as the great economic power of influence in the world today with their products and expertise in healthcare, warfare, digital technology, and banking.

The research acumen and interest should be developed quite early, in fact from childhood itself. Children and youth should be encouraged to read, think, and question, analyze problems and think of solutions. The Indian education system is also making efforts to be research and researcher friendly and develop an ethos wherein an analytical mind thrives, but it is yet to make substantial progress in this direction. The education system should be inherently inclined towards a research mindset wherein good funding is provided to research projects and programs in schools, colleges, and universities. More and more national excellent research journals on the levels of the Management of Information System Quarterly (MIS Quarterly) should be established to aid quality research in the country. Also, educational institutions must stress on rewarding and recognizing quality doctoral degrees and research papers. This will prepare the students for the challenging job market ahead and land them their dream jobs.

IILM University is one such premier educational institution of the country that emphasizes research recognition and practice in its graduate and postgraduate programs. Research methodology subject is taught across all programs to inculcate analytical and scientific thinking in students and make them competent with research work and statistical tools that are very much in demand in jobs these days. Students read and discuss research papers, present their project thesis, give presentations of their research, etc. Students are busy with projects the year-round that involve deep analysis of case studies, products, and ideas in detail. This is one of the major reasons for IILM students always bagging top placements.  Besides the regular graduate and undergraduate programs, IILM University takes pride in its robust doctoral program that attracts candidates from across corporate and academic fields. The 6-month mandatory course work in the Ph.D. program prepares the candidates in the research process and research tools and develops their perspective in the right direction. The guidance provided to the researchers is immense and constant. The faculty, regular students, and doctoral candidates have published their research articles in top journals. IILM University International Conference held once every year is another very commendable effort by the University in its endeavour to promote a research mindset that contributes to the progress of the nation.

For all the aspiring candidates of degree programs in Management, Psychology, Law, etc., and PhD., IILM University offers a great environment to learn and grow, research, and develop. The learnings will remain with you and help you grow in your space long after one leaves the University.

The admission team or the author of this blog can be contacted freely for any queries related to admissions and programs. Let us be busy with research to always be at the front of the game.

 

P.S.: The author is a Ph.D. scholar at IILM University and can be contacted on email: Shahana.qutab.phd2019@iilm.edu

Blog on medium: https://medium.com/@shahanafatima/research-in-its-real-essence-calls-for-unbiased-analysis-of-problems-scenarios-and-situations-a108dc06fef?sk=e5295cffd3bb2800e7f62ce1f7b612e3

blog on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/research-mindset-shahana-qutab/?published=t

“Kya Result Aaya?” #Boards 2020

Introduction:

Board results are the quintessential discussion for parents and students which also becomes the most discussed topic amongst family. Unfortunately, it’s marking a child’s future with the percentage for the rest of their lives and not to mention labelling them.

The amount of pressure that board classes bring with them has been accounted in various studies, clearly signifying, inverse correlation of stress and marks in board exams, even though we continue to pressurize students to attain, at times, the impossible.

Expectations (from parents, teachers, peer and self) may crumble the self-esteem, as well as performance in boards and can have devastating effects on students and their career options.

100% Board results-2020

In 2019, as many as 17,693 students scored more than 95% in CBSE XII and the numbers increased to 38,686 students in 2020. Board results 2020 have raised the bar for students, who will be giving exams from here on. To compete with 100% marks can have challenges in plenty. Not to downsize the student who made that effort and actually got those brilliant marks; the discussion is about students who got a distinction (above 75%) and still feel “not good enough”.

This unfortunate inadequacy of “could get better marks” is a dilemma any student scoring marks from 70-90% category feels, especially when the choice of subjects in a prestigious university looks bleak. Not that the ones who make it over 90% waltz through the top universities. They also struggle and at some point “have to compromise” on the course or a college.

Can you accept your marks and not label it as destiny?

My observation while looking at board results- Yes, it is the highlight of your life and will be compared in galore with cousins, friends and any known person who got better marks than you. However, could we stop putting the blame on either teachers, Corona or pressure from known and accept what we scored gracefully?

Can we find jubilance in clearing class XII and being ready for applying in colleges rather than whining of what could happen if we scored better? Acceptance of board results brings inner peace and reduces comparisons which clearly isn’t helpful. I believe board results don’t shape your destiny and that only if you are ready to believe in yourself, can life offer opportunities for you to carve out the best in self.

If we can make a reality check and be honest with oneself, as to what are the strengths and to work on them, we may find our success, even if it feels inadequate to others. The key to convince parents and friends is when you, yourself can accept what you want to do, or reach out for counselling, if unable to make career choices.

Try reducing those mountains of expectation or mirages of “what I should be” to “what I can be” for a better career path and at the same time enjoy the journey of becoming your own person.

Experience the “Joy in Learning at IILM”

With newer opportunities coming up every day like School of Humanities at IILM University, Gurugram, we encourage students from varied fields to open their minds to choose a trending subject and experience the joy in learning. With latest pedagogy in teaching, faculties at IILM strive to help students create a niche for themselves and prepare themselves for better career opportunities.

Conclusion:

Board results could have brought tears of joy or disappointment given what you were expecting and what was received as results. See this as an opportunity to explore and search what and where you want to take your college education. Comparisons and expectations can be hurtful, so try avoiding them by focusing on “what you think you want” than “what you should be”.

 

“Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try”

The Future of Financial Analytics

The industry has become so competitive; newfound ventures are posing a challenge to the old giants. Time duration has shortened to achieve targets of becoming a billion-dollar company. It took years for Tata, Birla and Mahindra to join the billion-dollar club whereas Flipkart became a $15.5 Billion company in just 13 years. Innovations in computer and IT fields have changed the way we see a business in the last few decades. The Internet is generating data in Gigabytes every day. Financial analysts explore the financial data and use financial ratios to generate meaningful reports for the company and the competitors. In a VUCA, world businesses want to make the strategy for tomorrow with more accuracy. Analytics answers these business queries. A combination of statistical models and computer software with financial analysis can add cherries in the financial reports. Note that, I am not denying or minimizing the relevance of financial ratios or financial analysis.

Top business schools now not just focus on teaching financial analysis and financial analytics because the later one facilitates predictive modelling. In short, it tells us, what is going to be the next?

Financial analytics is a forward approach. It focuses on identifying the business problem first and provides solutions. Financial analytics is a great tool in the field of risk management and investment. Being In the domain of financial analytics, your concerns are not just finance but all the business operations.

Let us see the few aspects of financial analytics-

#1 News Analytics- Stock prices and investor’s sentiments are highly correlated. News is a powerful tool that affects an investor’s sentiments. For instance, analysts commented on the press conferences of President Trump making an upward move in the US stock market. An analyst needs to create a model that can infer the effect of the news. A business school or MBA program students looking for a career in financial analytics must have an insight into the effect of the news on the stock price.

#2  Credit Risk Analytics- Default of receivables affects the liquidity of the organisation. This branch is very useful for banks and NBFCs. It analyses and predicts the future chances of default and the possible clients that may become defaulter in the future. Lending institutions can take preventive actions for such clients.

#3  Revenue and Pricing Analytics– Pricing covers everything whatever an organization does. A small change in the pricing of the product can create drastic changes in the revenue. While changing the price you need to check how you can increase value to the consumer. And the price must be acceptable to the consumer. MBA in Delhi NCR and PGDM colleges are offering dual specialization. Students with dual degrees in finance and marketing can get good opportunities if they are also interested in playing with numbers in statistics.

#4 Cash Management Analytics- This is a proactive approach to forecasting the liquidity and working capital requirement. It is also helpful in inspecting the blockage of smooth flows of payment. It further optimizes and rationalizes the cash management process efficiently. Some management graduates don’t like to go in the field of the stock market and prefer to be in the area of accounting so they can join this field.

#5 Trade and Supply Chain Finance Analytics- MBA, PGDM or BBA students looking to work not in a specific domain but for a business as a whole can be a part of this field. Trade analytics is all about finding new territories and customers for the products. In marketing language, it is about finding a niche market. However, supply chain finance is related to logistics and financing of the supply chain. Businesses want to minimize the cost that results in a minimum price. An analyst in supply chain looks for the possibilities to minimize the cost of transportation.

We have just scratched the crust of financial analytics. There are several possibilities available for students for job opportunities and businesses to minimize the cost and maximize the profitability. Students facing phobia of mathematics and its related branches must understand that mathematics and its interdisciplinary branches will rule the world in industry 4.0.

In the coming times some people will be either making mathematical or statistical models while others might be implementing these models and take major decisions based on them. Keeping this in view, students looking for Business schools or MBA in Delhi NCR must prepare themselves for Financial Analytics as a career option. All they need to do is work hard and exercise effort while pursuing an MBA / PGDM program to gain expertise in financial analytics.

There is a lot to explore in this area, for more information on Financial Analytics & related readings follow my blogs on IILM Blog site https://blog.iilm.edu or write to me at ashutosh.singh@iilmgsm.ac.in. We look forward to students creating a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

Winning through the Art of Communication

 

‘Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.’  – Rudyard Kipling

 Communication is central to the very existence of humans. Man has been communicating since time immemorial. Communication is the lifeblood of our whole being. In every age of man’s existence on earth, communication has acted as an agent of facilitation, social life, and development. Cavemen developed their own lingua franca to make meanings out of things and send meaningful messages. They also communicated through art. As the importance of communication is second only to oxygen for humans, the importance never lost its sheen throughout homo sapiens journey in the historical chapters of planet earth. In the modern ages or in other words, the competitive world, which is, even more, a world of survival of the fittest, every day demands constant steadfastness in the face of challenges and opportunities, both in personal and professional arenas. Nobody wants to lose the opportunity to fair well or make better of it. 

Present times are fraught with people battling stress. Resultant of the busy competitive world we live in, stress eats away on our happiness and well-being like a termite which is evident in high divorce rates, dysfunctional parenting, on-job burnout, boss-conflicts at the workplace, joblessness, violence, depression, increasing suicide rates, etc.  There is a continuous nag that ‘nothing is ever going to be enough’ constantly nudges at you. Communication helps to combat stress as we learn to express ourselves, thereby clearing doubts and confusion, and building valuable connections. But communication must be effective so as to be of any use in delivering the right message, to the right audience at the right time and make a fruitful impact. ‘Effective communication’, remains the no.1 skill to lead and manage a successful life.

The Communication Gap

Today the world is impatient, does not wait for anybody. Everyone wants to grab that chance to a better life, job, or income. This demands us to constantly up-skilling ourselves, and being in the right circles, aka, effective networking. But, even here, to be successful, we need an empathetic human to human connection. Communication gaps can hinder relationships between boss-employee, teacher-student, parent-child, siblings, and friends. Married couples ought to work on their marriage by constantly enhancing communication and listening.

Effective communication can act as a glue and heals discord, builds bridges, which is good both for business and personal life. While everyone starts their professional life equipped with in-demand degrees or skill certifications it is the skill of effective communication that decides who will sustain in the race and be the best or among the best, to succeed, to grow, and to enjoy the journey that life presents.

Tools for Effective Communication

Good communication is a crowd puller. Imagine a leader without the art of communication. As simple as it may seem, communication to be effective is still a challenge for many. The ways of what is good in oral communication differ from what makes an impression in written form. Also, styles and techniques of communication differ from person to person, situation to situation, and medium of communication.

Oral Communication: When it comes to improvement in oral communication to become good public speakers, orators or impress in meetings and interviews, skills can be honed by listening to good speakers, study their body language and use of vocabulary as much as possible. It is very important to understand aspects of the speech like tone, fluency, eye contact, pauses, use of space, gestures, etc. Using anecdotes, emotional stories, poetry, couplets, and humor enhances oral communication by helping build connections with the audience. The only thing to be kept in mind is to not over-do these tools and use them appropriately. Regular practice and proper planning help sharpening the oration skills immensely.

Written Communication: Written communication is very important from documentation and legality perspective. Academic teaching and learning, business transactions, print media, legal issues, emailing, etc. depend on written communication. It is very important for a writer to write and convey their thoughts clearly. The inability to write what one wants to express will be an impediment to one’s success. Tools like using the right approach, style, and words help in creating powerful, meaningful messages for the readers. practicing the use of correct grammar and spelling (Grammarly app is one such tool) and setting the right tone in the writing is very important. If not drafted well, written communication can fail or backfire due to misunderstanding, as it does not have the advantage of being face-to-face.

Visual Communication: Pictures, graphs, charts, and all kinds of imagery are part of visual communication. Pictures/images speak a thousand words, have the power to set the tone of communication, leave an impact, and project the intended message without hours of speech or pages and pages of writings. The presenter must have the skill to navigate the mind and eyes of the audience to create an impactful visual presentation with the right captions, slogans, etc. Learning visual arts professionally or with practice and guidance can tremendously help a communicator.

Overall, for effective communication, it is very important to know the mind of the audience and shape the message accordingly by appropriate use of communication tools.

Communication Skills in Education 

A good communication course or certification is an added advantage but not enough to become a real good communicator. Life experiences and good education teach us that indispensable skill. Not many organizations especially educational institutions, present an education rigor that makes one an effective communicator. But there are some which do.  World-class educational institutions like IILM in the Delhi NCR region, have a brilliant history of producing positive minded and competent professionals with excellent communication skills. Such institutions are known to lay stress on creating a learning ethos with communication skill development at its core. Students hone their oral and written communication through impactful and professionally designed study programs including active and participatory classwork, club activities, dissertation, outreach projects, competitions, events, etc. Every student comes out of their shell, gains the confidence to stand up in face of an audience, learns skills to lead, collaborate and connect through good verbal and non-verbal skills and shun negativity from their life.

For students, as college years are formative years of their personality and crucial years for building their career base, IILM is a great investment for those years and emerges confident and competent.

The Many Hues of IILM

“East is East and West is West, And the Twain shall never meet.” This was what Rudyard Kipling had once said to highlight the difference between cultures and how they could never actually mix. The melting pot, that is IILM, runs contrary to what Kipling had said. In the world of IILM, one can see the seamless mixture of students from all over India. There are students from as far as Tamil Nadu in the South, Assam from the North East, the far reaches of Rajasthan, and the depths of Himachal.
Life at IILM is all about celebrating the customs of other cultures. Students participate with undiminished enthusiasm no matter what the festival – Onam or Baisakhi. The campus is abuzz with activity whenever a festival takes place. The capacity utilization of the auditorium is always high. There is a constant clamour to celebrate and share. The mess conjures up recipes of a distant land and the students revel in party and fun.
A typical class in IILM can be daunting at times because of the multitude of accents that descend on the unsuspecting mind. The southern drawl is interspersed with the distinct Bengali lisp. The ubiquitous Bhojpuri and the North Indian pun. However, in the midst of all this, it emerges a language so clear that a student never lacks clarity or flair. Even the teachers at IILM are a mixed lot. They are drawn from the vast reservoir of India. The Statistics class is the domain of “Majumdar sir” – where complex numbers get converted into simple solutions. The Economics class is the sole preserve of “Nair sir” – where the propensity to teach is anything but marginal. The Accountancy class is dominated by “Prof. Malarizvi” madam whose penchant for perfection leaves students in a daze. Walking down the corridor of the IILM classrooms can thus, be quite an education – different subjects and distinct personalities in charge of them.

The infrastructure of IILM GSM also breeds the unison for culture. The large green lush landscaped campus which runs over 27 plus provides students after class hours to play, mind storm, and debate on various contextual topics. Its a home away from home, kind of living in a prime suburban neighbourhood that one can dream of –amidst open spaces that encompass lawns, gardens and a driveway. The cafeteria at IILM is a big potpourri. The smattering of English or the whisper of Telugu – and many such wafts of conversation float lightly in the air. The food is quite eclectic too. It can be standard North Indian fare but equally South Indian as well. The different accents, expectations, and experiences converge into a larger whole. It is like the painting of a masterpiece. Different colours, hues and fragrances get mixed but come out as one. Truly – the world of IILM, is nothing but a masterpiece. A painting that has been made with love and care ….that seeks the world with glee.

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Authors Ishu Balia & Prof Anirudh Chakrabarty

Personality Traits in Mahabharata and the Ocean Model

Introduction:

While going about our usual day we interact with people, judge their personality as to how they are different from us and at times compromise  with the changing facets of their personalities without even thinking. We unknowingly almost like an automatic response form opinion about people depending on their overt behavioural responses.

Why we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment aWhy we do this? Because we humans are wired for curiosity to know more about our environment and the people we live with. Like when we notice someone at a party surrounded by a large group of people, obviously the centre of attention, chatting and laughing; we may conclude that person is an extrovert.

So, how do we understand personality?

While studying personality we assume that personality characteristics are relatively stable over time and that traits show stability across situations. For example, someone who is described as an extrovert may be very outgoing and chatty at a party but less so in a conference. In both situations, they are likely to be more sociable than an introvert person. We also assume that personality traits influence behaviour. The person is outgoing and chatty because they are an extrovert.

At IILM, we offer courses in personality to undergraduate courses to help them discover themselves as well as understand our basic individual differences.

Personality and its spectrum

Cattell (1965) defined personality as being the characteristics of the individual that allows prediction of how they will behave in a given situation. Psychologists increasingly agree that five super traits may adequately describe the structure of personality.

Costa and McCrae (1992), who measured personality with their OCEAN model represents a continuum along which individuals can be explained in terms of their traits.  For a better understanding of these traits, the following is my explanation of how characters and their personalities were depicted from Mahabharat.

Characters from Mahabharat to explain OCEAN Model:

At IILM the curriculum is an interesting blend of science and mythology. I will explain how we teach traits to our Psychology students with the help of characters from Mahabharat.

OPENNESS – This factor refers to the individual having an openness to new experiences and an active imagination.

Karna was seen to be high on this scale as throughout the epic he justified his never-say-die attitude and courageously confronted all the odds of his destiny. His character in Mahabharata has everlasting fame because he teaches how can one present himself better than the destiny and accomplish everything with shatterproof determination. Bhima was seen low on this scale as he was conventionally oriented towards a particular goal that is of being the mightiest warrior.

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS– This factor describes our degree of self-discipline and control. Yudhishthira was high on this scale; was hard-working, organized, goal-driven whereas Shakuni was seen to be low on this scale as he is the person who poisoned the mind of his explosive nephew Duryodhana and fuelled-up the destructive war of Mahabharata, thus becoming the cause of the destruction of the Kauravas.

EXTRAVERSION – This factor is a measure of the individual’s sociability, energetic, optimistic, friendly and assertive.

Krishna was high on this scale as he attempted to navigate negotiations between the Pandavas and Kurus before the Kurukshetra war even happened. He convinced Balarama to not partake in the war itself. He even tried to get Karna to fight for the Pandavas as well. Sahadeva was shown to be low on extroversion, even though as the wisest of all the Pandava brothers he mostly kept to himself reading Vedas, spoke less and followed mostly what his elder brothers decided upon him.

AGREEABLENESS – This factor relates to the characteristics of social interaction. Individuals with high scores are trusting, helpful, soft-hearted and sympathetic.

Bhishma was high on this scale as his peerless statesmanship to be the mediator between the Kauravas and Pandavas and other impeccable characteristics still inspire his ardent followers across the world. Dronacharya was low on this scale as he discriminated against Karna and Eklavya on the basis of their caste. He did not voice out any objection in the court during Draupadi’s assault.

NEUROTICISM – This factor measures an individual’s emotional stability and personal adjustment. Duryodhana is seen to be high on this scale as he is motivated by greed, jealously, and a desire for retribution. Yudhishthira was low on this scale as he is calm, even-tempered, secure and happy.

Is there a situational difference when we portray our personality?

Psychologists explain this by segregating personality into a private and public persona. Private being the ‘real’ inner person, while public is the way that the individual presents themselves to the outside world. We may be confident and outgoing in some situations and less sure of ourselves and more retiring in other situations. A case where a shy reserved person joins an organisation but eventually becomes an arrogant and stubborn boss. This fits the explanation of how our personalities differ situationally.

Conclusion:

As much as individuals behave differently in different situations, our behavioural reactions can be clubbed into traits as similar reactions across age and cultures. To conclude, we can say that each one us is uniquely different yet distinctively similar as well.

 

“Personality is a mask we believe in”

Dr White

 

Nurturing Brand Communities

Humans, since time immemorial, have believed in the idea of community. Evolutionarily, early men lived together in caves in groups; from the hunting of wild to staying in groups helped them protect themselves from the attacks in the night. Even today, on one side the families are becoming smaller and nuclear, people still sought out for approvals from families and friends in any important decision making, be it a marriage proposal to style to buying anything expensive, everything in us is borrowed and is further, lent.

This article is about how brands can shape, nurture, and mature indispensable communities, the kind of communities that offer worth impossible to capture anywhere else.

Any indispensable brand community are built on four pillars

  1. Members motivations for valuable contribution
  2. Define what engagement you want to create for your prospects
  3. The balance between what as a brand we want to achieve versus what members in the community want
  4. Make it easy for people to communicate with you. Communication = community

Member’s motivations for valuable contribution

What’s interesting about humans is that they cannot do without society and cannot do with society. We need our own space and despise the interference of others but we also need people to comfort us, care for us, talk and work with us and socialize with us. Even while making any decision or coming to a conclusion, we take into consideration the viewpoint of others. No matter how small or big the decision is, we have a reference group that we get in touch with and who influence our choices.

The reference group can be brand advocates, consumers who are motivated enough by the initial purchases that they ascended in the consumer journey to buy more or brands spokesperson themselves. The best place to start a brand community is by using company customer database and ranking them on their purchases. A consumer who had been buying for long and has been spending more can be taken as the master communicator in the community. A brand needs to be trying to turn members into allies by supporting them through their consumer journey of awareness, first purchase, engage, excite, repeat purchases, advocate, and promote. The best communities get their members to advocate, lead, learn, provide insights, educate others, support, and stand up for the brand when it is hit by negative commentaries.

Many renowned business schools are creating such communities in the form of clubs. For example, the IILM Graduate School of Management has over 30 offline traditional and online communities. From traditional clubs like sports and cultural clubs to more modern new age clubs like movies, digital marketing, economics, HR, and simulation clubs that connect with the students beyond classroom hours to make them learn class concepts through real-time practice and engage them more meaningfully.

Do visit IILM Graduate School of Management Facebook page (https://bit.ly/2Ywev2N) and site(http://www.iilmgsm.ac.in/) to know more about the communities inside the campus.

Define what engagement you want to create for your prospects

Every community has its own innate needs for engagement. Be it a small non-formal what’s app community of school friends or formal brand or consumer-driven social network sites like Facebook or LinkedIn communities. The innate needs of each community are so distinctive that brand engagement in each of these communities needs to be planned accordingly. Many of these consumer communities are an easy escape from the mundane impact of culture and society to follow one’s individual preferences and brands need to find these distinctive needs and position themselves strongly there. For example, in the climactic scene of the popular 2010 film, Sex and the City, the protagonist Carrie Bradshaw and her group of friends find themselves surrounded by many middle-eastern women who have kept themselves covered but they reveal they love New York and the fashion. They show their latest wardrobe which is the latest Spring Collection but keep this just among themselves as this won’t be accepted in their community. But again, these women have this close-knit community of theirs where their preferences and choices survive amongst themselves. Imagine brands like Victoria Secret, Rent the Runway, Rebag and MM.LaFleur could have got these middle-eastern women in their communities.

The balance between what as a brand we want to achieve versus what members in the community want

In 2009, the HBR published the famous story of the Harley Davidson Owners group. In the early 1980s, the besieged motorcycle company built a powerful network of Harley Davidson owners across America. This turned the company from the rim of insolvency into a company worth $7.8 bn.

Many times community members divulge into jokes and irrelevant issues over valuable content. Such communities fall from the ladder of valuable contributions and they find it very hard to climb back. Brands need to understand that the communities need to be driven towards a common purpose: The purpose of brand building, introducing new products or addressing issues.

So companies must try to find the following regularly.

  • How many community members are advocating and attracting new consumers
  • Are members buying more as a result of the community
  • Are members generating useful product ideas
  • Is the community solving other members product-driven issues
  • Is the sales increasing because of the advocates in the community
  • What is the ROI on driving such communities

Make it easy for people to communicate with you. Communication= community

Studies show consumers value human-like communication from brands.  Research shows that 57% of consumers have increased brand loyalty for the brand that shows humanistic behaviour (Andrew,2018).

Communication is the basis of all that a brand does, which means you need to make it easy for your followers to talk to you. At the same time, how a brand communicates on each networking channel needs to be different. The way you communicate on Facebook will evoke a different response if you tried the same method on Twitter. So it is important for brands that they are present in the desired network community sites where their segment audience is. Right from question stickers to stories all add up to drive a thriving community.

Though day by day we are turning inwards and maybe, introspecting ourselves, still we are by nature social and we like to have a sense of belongingness. Honestly, we wouldn’t even have realized it till now and now, there’s no better time than this when isolation from the community has started to look like a challenge and have started instilling  fear in us: fear of oblivion

References

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/11/20/study-shows-consumers-value-human-communication-brands

Authors:

Dr Sumanjit Dass

( Asst. Professor Marketing)

IILM Graduate School of Management, Greater Noida

Ms Medha Ghosh

(Management student of IILM GSM, PGDM Batch 2019-21)