Sunday, February 27, 2011

10 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2011

Happiness in negotiations

One of the courses I am looking forward to next quarter is Negotiations. Although I have to say, it does suck to negotiate - why? No matter how good an outcome you get, it is likely that you will not be happy. There is an inherent tendency to focus on what you left on the table, rather than what you did get. And since typically there is no way to determine exactly what you left on the table, you will always be unhappy.

A book that I am reading now (How we decide) sheds light on this phenomena in investing. Let's say you invest in a stock and it goes up. You sell. Then the stock goes up even further. What happens? You are upset that you lost that money. This disappointment is even stronger when losing money. Let's say you invest in a stick. It goes down, and you figure that you should sell, but you don't - because of a related phenomena called loss aversion; which is that when it comes to losses, we prefer uncertainty, but when it comes to gains, we prefer uncertainty. What happens because of this? You end up selling all stocks that went up, and end up holding that goes down - in short, you are left with a sucky portfolio.

So what's the solution? If you find one, please do let me know - when I do pay off these MBA loans and have some money, I will invest in your solution.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dear Kellogg prospective students

Dear Kellogg prospective student visitors,

We love having you visit the school. We love talking to you, giving you advice, learning about some of the interesting things you have done and plan to do in the future. And we love you visit classes. There is one thing that we do not love - if you attend classes, we are disturbed if you are completely distracted and on your smartphone all the time. We are distracted when you start typing up emails on your blackberry. And we don't like it as it shows complete lack of respect for the professor. We are guilty of this ourselves at times, but we try to refrain as much as possible. So please do us a favor; when you visit a class, keep your phone completely switched off and stowed away for the duration of the class.

Kellogg Students.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And now, three things to improve @ Kellogg

Wait, what? I am complaining about this wonderful place? Really? I believe that everything can be improved. So can Kellogg. There are some small but important things that the school can do better. Read on...

1. Less teamwork: Yes. Less teamwork. Teamwork is Kellogg's biggest strength. Yet forcing teamwork into almost very assignment and every course does not work. I feel that some courses like accounting, some types of accounting courses etc. do not have to have a team component. Let everyone master these hard skills on their own. Often teamwork is a distraction to these courses.

2. More debate and dissent: Kellogg people are nice. Super nice. I would say, sometimes too nice. In the real world people are ready to passionately debate your point of view, not just say 'Thats a great point, but....' We should encourage students to voice opinions openly, to call out a classmate when his/her comment adds zero value. We should encourage them to let the professor know when a group member is not contributing. So should the professors. Some of my favorite professors have told me point blank in class "You are wrong."

3. More study rooms and better food: everyone's favorite complaints

That's it. Three things at Kellogg that can be done better for sure.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The most memorable quote for me from Kellogg PEVC Conference

"If you can quit your startup, do it."

In other words, if working on your startup is the only job that you can consider doing, only then is it for you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NYU Stern and Mercedes Benz Case co-opetition

I wanted to participate in a case competition before I graduated from Kellogg, so last Thursday to Sunday, I participated in the NYU Stern Mercedes Benz case co-opetition. What's a co-opetition, you say? Oh its competition + cooperation, in the sense that rather than competition as a team from your school, you compete in mixed teams with students from different schools. I had a team of five people; one from Kellogg (me), NYU Stern, Chicago Booth, Cornell Johnson and a Mercedes Benz employee.

The competition was an awesome experience for me, for several reasons:

1. Forming mixed teams instead of teams from schools was an awesome idea; I got to meet and work with some great people. Working with this team was great; we were able to take several ideas and mold them into a cohesive story. I was proud of our output.

2. The problem we were tasked with was not a theoretical case that we needed to analyze; its a real, near-term issue that Mercedes Benz is faced with. I am confident that several suggestions that teams suggested would be incorporated in some way or another in the near term.

3. The organizers took care of all food and accommodations; and we were very well fed throughout the competition :)

4. We got to test drive a Mercedes Benz car!

5. Another big part of the competition was our faculty advisor, Professor Luke Williams from NYU Stern. Luke is a Professor of Design and Innovation at NYU and a fellow at FROG Design. He gave us sound advise on how to think about the problem, how to structure our presentation so as to easily communicate our ideas to the judges, and how to be innovative. We also got signed copies of his book Disrupt, which I have started reading (and seems to be pretty interesting so far). As an example of an innovation, Luke talked about how you can combine disparate ideas to come up with something new. The video below shows this: it is a combination of a voiceover by Eddie Izzard and a video made using LEGO blocks.

The Daily