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Why is learning more important than grades?

When I got the admission call from IE Business School, it was a dream come true to study with extraordinary colleagues in one of world’s best business school. Soon I realised it is not easy to be a part of the best place; you have to sacrifice all your comfort to get going, to perform and to climb the Gaussian curve. Everything is designed to drill down the abilities of students to perform under pressure and not to break down during extreme stress which I call “Puking Moments.”

Many highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way the car is driven.” – Edward de Bono

The war of grades became so fiercely that the advantage of diversity, lifetime friendships and sense of collaboration got overruled. Sooner, I realised to be a part of the race that ends where it starts and not doing well means resentment and depression. Having mixed grades in the first term motivated me to go for better grades in the second term, and I scored the best possible grade in all four subjects for which the results are declared as of now. To introspect and justify grading, I went through the subjects again and realised that I completely missed the learning in a subject for which I was graded the best, and it was self-depreciating to defend my knowledge versus my grade. All the way, I found that I just tricked better to score a good grade and it does not reflect my intelligence all the way in this matter.

“Grades measure your performance in school, while intelligence measures your performance in life in general.”

Good grades make you feel nice, but at the same time, they give us an illusion of being intelligent and proficient in a subject and bias our point of view and process of learning. Whereas learning generates intelligence and intelligence measures your performance in life. We lose too many talented people by defining intelligence through exams that are wholly inadequate and constricting. Your education may become outmoded in next five years, but your attitude, your connections and your learnings will be lifelong. Remember, nobody gives a damn about your marksheets more than YOU during an interview. As my program-director at IIM Calcutta said during the closing ceremony, “These certificates are just pieces of paper, you yourself hold the key to your success.”

Organisations need leaders, collaborators and team-players who can build it together to last. Afterall, competition is not about building through copying others but to improve your offerings to stand-out and become a source of inspiration. As Zen Shin said,

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

 

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5 Timeless Books to Read in 2018

If reading books are one of your new year resolutions, I assure you that you have made the best decision of your life. In this world where attention is the new scarce, you may find it a lot boring but this is the luxury not everyone can afford.

Books are timeless, but there are books that are relevant after thousands of years of their origin and they are going to be relevant till the universe becomes irrelevant itself.

Here are 5 timeless books I recommend this month:

 

The Bhagavad Gita:

It is not just a religious scripture, it is a way of life. It is far more important to read it in the language you understand rather than enchanting “Shalokas” in Sanskrit.

It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” – The Bhagavad Gita

 

Meditations

Meditations is a collection of 12 books written by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who’ll introduce you to Stoic philosophy, the concept of logic, self-discipline and give you faith that the course the world runs is a good one.

People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills. There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.” -Marcus Aurelius

 

Man’s Search for Meaning:

Man’s Search For Meaning details holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s horrifying experiences in Nazi concentration camps, along with his psychological approach of logotherapy, which is also what helped him survive and shows you how you can – and must – find meaning in your life.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

 

 

The Diary of a Young Girl

It is a story of feelings of a 14 years old girl who died of  Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” – Anne Frank

 

The Old Man and The Sea

It is written by Ernest Hemingway, that is enough….

“But man is not made for defeat,” he said. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

 

Feed(me)back if you enjoyed reading them: sourav.raina@student.ie.edu

 

 

Event: Branding building in the age of cognitive overload

Since Professor Richard Thaler has got Nobel in Economics for his theory about “Exuberance is Rational,” it is sort of introspection for me to sit and re-look the concepts of marketing I know. I always perceived myself as an irrational customer, that’s why I was reluctant to pay the maintenance fee for 1 year at CR7 CRUNCH when I am about to use it for 9 months. Yes, Eli (MRCB Partner in crime) found it weird, and I kept my point explaining the concept of rationality.

Prof Thomas Ramsoy did answer my question in a beautiful way that how important it is for managers and academicians to collaborate and work to achieve the purpose of grabbing “attention” of customers in the times of cognitive overload.

Neuromarketing is indeed a beautiful invention of cutting-edge technology to analyze what a consumer never shares. It indeed tells us how a consumer “behaves” in a particular situation without even consciously intended to. Learning about the brain always makes me inquisitive that how capable it is, thanks to my association to positive psychology.

It was an informative session from an eminent professor, who is also the founder of Neurons Inc, revealing the exciting facts about brain and how it is targeted in the world of marketing. In a race of seizing the pie of a customer’s market-share, how brands end up without even getting noticed.

There is no tunnel with a single way, while the time is limited and the customer is impatient. It is the matter of a couple of seconds, in which customer makes its purchasing decisions. Challenge is to focus on direct emotions, not just liking.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to learn for marketers from Neuroscience, and it is the time to “re-search” the subconscious!

Tough Love

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If continued working with Asian Paints, today I would have completed 6 years of professional journey. It is wonderful to be at IE and starting a new adventure with hugely talented & phenomenally diverse bunch of people on earth. Sometimes, I can’t even believe that it is happening and yes, it is profoundly happening now.

Starting the first day at Segovia, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO,  is famous for its cathedral, alcázar castle and its aqueduct. It is also renowned for its Romanesque art and many other outstanding buildings, including monasteries and convents. One of these convents, the Convent of Santa Cruz la Real, is currently the headquarters of IE University campus just outside the city walls in the Eresma River valley. A 12th-century building which was personally commissioned by Queen Isabella, whose figure sculpted in wood appears praying together with her husband.

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The Dean, Mr. Lee Newman commenced his powerful speech about IE’s believe in dynamic learning in a continuously changing world, and infusion of “Change is attitude” DNA among its students. To “TOUGH LOVE,” and strive to bring out the best possible; (H)umanly, (S)ocially and (T)echnologically. It was already quite clear that it is going to be a tough year ahead. To challenge the limits and GO BEYOND.

IE is not traditional, and it is never going to be, it is the Business School of today!

It is the place where technology and humanity meet to create remarkable scientifically proven facts. It is amongst few places on earth where women outnumber men, where the student to faculty ratio is unbelievable, where the whole world studies in a country.

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Precisely, IE School of Human Sciences and Technology is the home of 357 meticulously chosen students from 67 nationalities, who can speak 32 languages, who represent the world’s best organizations and possess the capability to become the future ambassadors.

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IE demands better than the best! You work after you are done with your work. Every day begins with a challenge to give the best shot. I heard that people start in nice suits and end up in Jeans and T-Shirts. That’s TOUGH LOVE!

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…..till the next BLINK, proud MRCBian! 🙂

 

 

 

How “Market-ing” is Evolving in Digital Era

As the market-ing entered into the digital era and thus continuously evolving its concepts. Marketers have to re-look and re-arrange the strategical inputs to co-create the whole thing. Unsurprisingly, marketing has adopted the process of digitalization at its best to understand and connect the customers, thereby creating the superior value propositions.

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In the digital world, communities are the new segments & brand-advocacy is the new customer-loyalty. Customers are socially connected and they find themselves in a better position to believe the recommendation of a stranger rather than organizations. Such communities serve as a medium of the noiseless decision-making process and refrain from falling into the trap of luring advertisements. Today, consistently communicating and maximising touch points do not necessarily translated into the desired results. On the other hand, a calculated attempt of winning a customer can result in a better return. With increasing mobility and connectivity, this is the challenge that marketers have to come up with.

In the era of traditional marketing, customer loyalty was somehow considered as customers retention and “word of mouth” was restricted within a group or area. The term is now evolved as “Brand Advocacy,” to let the customer endorse a product or service in a better-connected world and this is crucial to the success and failure of the product or service. Its importance increases with increasing trends of communities and especially when it is unlikely to influence the decision-making process of today’s customer.

It brings a change to the earliest and widely used framework to describe the customer buying process is AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action). Derek Rucker has proposed a modification of AIDA that he calls the four A’s: aware, attitude, act and act again. Four A’s further modified by Philip Kotler: aware, appeal, ask, act and advocate, to make them more relevant in connectivity era. The terms, “act again” & “advocate,” clearly signify the target area of marketers.

 

From a Motorcycle Gang to Novartis CEO: Daniel Vasella’s Inspirational Story

I could imagine the pain he has suffered in his lifetime to blossom as a leader of great prominence. There are so many examples I came across as a source of inspiration to lead my life in a right direction. From Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama–greatest they become, wrenching their stories are. The thing matters that how these icons have turned those adversities into an opportunity of their lifetime.

Who has no pain? only a dead cannot feel it. As per Psychologist Abraham Maslow, tragedy and trauma are the most important human learning experiences leading to self-actualization.

This is the story of Novartis Chairman & CEO, Daniel Vasella

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Vasella was born in 1953 to a modest family in Fribourg, Switzerland. His early years were filled with medical problems that stoked his passion to become a physician. His first recollections were of a hospital where he was admitted at age four when he suffered from food poisoning. Falling ill with asthma at age five, he was sent alone to the mountains of eastern Switzerland for two summers.He found the four-month separations from his parents especially difficult because his caretaker had an alcohol problem and was unresponsive to his needs.

 At age eight, Vasella had tuberculosis, followed by meningitis, and was sent to a sanatorium for a year. Lonely and homesick, he suffered a great deal that year, as his parents rarely visited him. He still remembers the pain and fear when the nurses held him down during the lumbar punctures so that he would not move. One day, a new physician arrived and took time to explain each step of the procedure. Vasella asked the doctor if he could hold a nurse’s hand rather than being held down. “The amazing thing is that this time the procedure didn’t hurt,” Vasella recalls“Afterward, the doctor asked me, ‘How was that?’ I reached up and gave him a big hug.These human gestures of forgiveness, caring, and compassion made a deep impression on me and on the kind of person I wanted to become.”

 Throughout his early years, Vasella’s life continued to be unsettled.When he was ten, his 18-year-old sister passed away after suffering from cancer for two years. Three years later, his father died in surgery. To support the family, his mother went to work in a distant town and came home only once every three weeks. Left to himself, he and his friends held beer parties and got into frequent fights. This lasted for three years until he met his first girlfriend, whose affection changed his life.
At 20, Vasella entered medical school, later graduating with honors. During medical school, he sought out psychotherapy so he could come to terms with his early experiences and not feel like a victim. Through analysis, he reframed his life story and realized that he wanted to help a wider range of people than he could as an individual practitioner. Upon completion of his residency, he applied to become chief physician at the University of Zurich; however, the search committee considered him too young for the position. Disappointed but not surprised, Vasella decided to use his abilities to increase his impact on medicine. At that time,he had a growing fascination with finance and business.He talked with the head of the pharmaceutical division of Sandoz, who offered him the opportunity to join the company’s U.S. affiliate. In his five years in the United States, Vasella flourished in the stimulating environment, first as a sales representative and later as a product manager,and advanced rapidly through the Sandoz marketing organization.
When Sandoz merged with Ciba-Geigy in 1996, Vasella was named CEO of the combined companies,now called Novartis, despite his young age and limited experience. Once in the CEO’s role, Vasella blossomed as a leader. He envisioned the opportunity to build a great global health care company that could help people through lifesaving new drugs, such as Gleevec, which has proved to be highly effective for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. Drawing on the physician role models of his youth, he built an entirely new Novartis culture centered on compassion, competence, and competition. These moves established Novartis as a giant in the industry and Vasella as a compassionate leader.

 Vasella’s experience is just one of dozens provided by authentic leaders who traced their inspiration directly from their life stories. Asked what empowered them to lead, these leaders consistently replied that they found their strength through transformative experiences. Those experiences enabled them to understand the deeper purpose of their leadership.
[Article includes original excerpts from Bill George's DISCOVER YOUR TRUE NORTH]

Depressed? Go, Exercise!

 

People talk about physical benefits of exercise but it is as good for mental health & emotional stability. Whenever I feel over-burdened and depress, I prefer to rush to gym, it is an antidote to fatigue & miraculously helps to stay happy & cheered-up. While we are so busy in our lives with lot of work & life related stress, it is highly recommended to spare at-least 40 minutes for exercise. Whatever we may do; whosoever we are, it’s great to exercise.

Exercise is good for mental health 

Exercise changes the structure and function of the brain, improves blood flow to the brain, feeding the growth of new blood vessels and even new brain cells, thanks to the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF triggers the growth of new neurons and helps repair and protect brain cells from degeneration. It may also help people focus, according to recent research. It’s linked to less depression, better memory and quicker learning.

Exercise makes us happy 

Countless studies show that many types of exercise make people feel better and can even relieve symptoms of depression. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain—serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine—that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress.

Recovery from a major illness

People with different chronic conditions, from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure, should excercise. That’s new thinking, because for decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise. Now scientists know that far more people can and should exercise. A recent analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.

 

Exercise should be like bathing, if you can hardly skip it any day.

 

 

Note: The blog-post is based on an article published in TIMES Magazine

 

Why Meeting IROM SHARMILA is One of the Best Moments of My Life

The most appalling thing can happen to someone is when he wants to eat but cannot. His jaw is dismantled and stomach is craving for food. He has to say something and cannot even speak. It was the time when no quotidian motivation felt enough and needed something beyond human propensity of unendurable. I wrote to her!

Unexpectedly, I have received a letter bearing the sender name as IROM SHARMILA CHANU. *Time has stopped for a while and life has changed into its due course*. What that was unbearable, went-off unharmed. Such was the power of her words. Eventually, an abandoned brother has found his abandoned soul-sister. An alone woman who is fighting the devilish for a selfless cause, what can be more powerful than her, not even the whole eternity.

Finally, the day had come, I went to see her; excited and thoughtful. Bewildered, I had no idea how to present myself in presence of Iron Lady. She saw me the first time and called me, “Sourav.” Her simplicity and miraculous smile were a sister’s love towards her brother. Her thoughts were so pure and fresh; she had chosen to talk about beggars in the city instead of the expensive beauty. A woman whose time is so precious that someone like Arvind Kejriwal wished to meet her. She has given me more than 2 hours to chitchat and share her experiences.

Her greatness is beyond words, just beyond words.

 

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Happiness! Utter Happiness!!

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Welcome Letter to Iche.

Kashmir: Freedom to Conspire

Kashmir has entered in its 50th day of predicament and bloodshed, by the time 70 lives are lost and thousands are severely injured of pallet guns. Any day in Kashmir starts with horrid quietude and all of sudden it becomes grim and strident. Those hands deserve pen and paper, hold stone to pelt upon people who are there to guard them. Barely they know the reason. Why?

You pelt a stone, we fire a pellet gun; one has to injure, blind, disable. That’s not the future of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Which freedom you seek? The darkness of illiteracy, so that you keep on act as a ‘thing’ propagandize. Our economic corridors are fallen, no tourism anymore, hotels are unoccupied. What to gain out of that freedom? Hunger, lack of opportunity to grow together as an affluent hub.

Being a state-subject, I have the right to proclaim that the state of Jammu & Kashmir is one and only, whether it was governed earlier by the crown-head or the Republic of India. There is no question of freedom separately for Kashmir. Under no circumstance it is even possible whether to discuss strategically or practically. The idea of militancy has failed drastically and the “strategic partners” feel so miserable to act. Even a novice can understand why Pakistan support traitors and whose blood is lost. What they did (and keep on doing) in Balochistan is a heart-breaking lesson to learn.

We, the common people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace, prosperity, infrastructure, good education etc. This violence needs to end for the good of Kashmir and its people. Because stones cannot be eaten instead of food. No glory in dying for those who himself are wicked.

Failure is NOT Fatal, Quitting is!

In our lifetime, we fail and we fail many times. Ironically, failure has been seen as a dead end instead of a step towards success. The more you fail, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more successful you will be. It’s not that we should fail then; it’s about we should never give up. Failure makes us tough, patient and to do the best we can with what we have.  As Mary Pickford said,”There is always another chance…. This thing that we call ‘Failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down”.

To produce a masterpiece, to create what will be acclaimed as greatest, to succeed; you have to fail, many times, to be original. That’s how Edison filed 1093 patents notwithstanding, the numbers of truly superlative achievements can be counted on fingers of one hand. 248 papers of Einstein have no or minimal importance before he wrote E = mc2

Timon Of Athens and All’s Well That Ends Well are known as worst plays ever produced; guess what, William Shakespeare produced them. The Chronicles of Narina, The Diary of Anne Frank, Gone with the Wind, Harry Potter, Lord of The Flies; were many times rejected before they get published.

Michael Jordan missed 9000 shots in his career, 24 game decisive shots, more than 300 games. “I failed over and over and over again, in my life, that’s why I succeed” he said.

This is how Abraham Lincoln  in his life before he became the greatest president in the history of United States of America:

  • 1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
  • 1818 His mother died.
  • 1831 Failed in business.
  • 1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.
  • l832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
  • 1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
  • 1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
  • 1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
  • 1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
  • 1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
  • 1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.
  • 1843 Ran for Congress – lost.
  • 1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
  • 1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
  • 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
  • 1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
  • 1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – get less than 100 votes.
  • 1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
  • 1860 Elected president of the United States.

 

“Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.”