I had been looking forward to a Skype interview with Seth Godin at school for many months. It took me a few months before I was sure the technology would work. I promised him a good experience and I definitely felt a bit of the pressure of the promise in the days leading up to it. It all worked well (thank you to KIS – our tech team!) and the interview was a real treat.
Second-year student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here. As part of my annual review process at the end of every year, I ask myself — “Who/what were my biggest sources of inspiration this year?” It is a useful question as I think… Continue reading
Second-year student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here. Let’s imagine a company we’ll call Nile, Inc. Nile is a vegetable retailer who has the following metrics: Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) = $365 Average Inventory = $10 (In general, it has… Continue reading
Second-year student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here. The MBA learnings series has two objectives. The first is to develop the discipline to synthesize and share some powerful concepts I’ve learned while at school. With about four and a half months left… Continue reading
Second-year student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here. Let’s take a situation where a firm decides to buy a smaller technology firm for $1 billion. Every decision that is made is typically the result of a cost-benefit analysis. In some cases, this analysis is… Continue reading
Second-year student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here. Marketing strategy, to me, comes down to one central insight: “Be cheap or be different.” Everything else is a losing strategy in the long run. A brand, on the other hand, is just a… Continue reading
How can a relocation and a significant life move not be stressful, and instead be a growth opportunity?
This was the question I asked myself when I got my offer of admission for graduate school. I hate relocation. It was going to be a pain. But I needed to figure out a way to make it better. Framing it this way appealed to me because there were likely a few more relocations coming up. This was how I broke it down.
A lot of modern day office work or work that requires “connection” requires a certain degree of extraversion (the research world, on the other hand, is predominantly introverted). After all, you are working with people. Over time, however, it has led to a huge bias for extraverts and, I think, the early rise of extraverts into senior positions has also led to systems that work best for extraverts.
We recently looked at why Amazon’s first physical bookstore in Seattle made sense.
The central theme was that different products are suited to different kinds of retail channels. As you might imagine, shipping individual cartons of milk or toilet paper isn’t cost effective as the delivery costs likely outstrip the cost of the good.
Additionally, it is easy for stores to carry excess milk or toilet paper as these goods are cheap. However, when the good becomes niche and expensive (e.g. diamonds), delivery becomes cheaper, and it then makes a ton of sense to centralize warehouses as carrying inventory in store is a very expensive proposition.
So, as retailers get larger, it becomes essential to adopt a “hybrid” or “omni-channel” approach to supplying goods to customers. It is the only way to stay competitive.
When we then consider an emerging market like India, retailers like Amazon are faced with additional problems.
Amazon opened its first bookstore in Seattle earlier this week. This led to a many interesting questions in the media: Has Amazon taken a step backward by jumping back into traditional retail? Didn’t Amazon start an online store to improve on the traditional bookstore model?
To understand this, let’s begin by taking a walk down memory lane and look at Jeff Bezos’ initial rationale for starting an online bookstore.
This past summer, technology analyst Benedict Evans shared an interesting image from a classic 1960 film “The Apartment.” The scene is set in the office of a large insurance company in New York – drones laid out at desks almost as far at the eye can see. Each desk has a telephone, rolodex, typewriter and a large electro-mechanical calculating machine.
It is clear that the capabilities of analysis tools in 1960 were far below our ability to analyze them today. So Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet programs offered huge benefits simply because they helped bridge the gap between the average manager’s ability to analyze data and the tools available to do so. This, in turn, spurred businesses to collect more data in the hope of extracting insights. So, over the late 1990s and the 2000s, every junior consultant and investment banker became an Excel ninja. Being able to use the tool to the best extent possible added real value.
All was well. Until “big data” entered the picture.
I was very curious about the graduate student internship experience. After a few years of work experience as a full-timer, I figured it might be a bit strange to go back with the intern badge. I also wondered what elements of my approach to work would be different after a year in business school.
First up, wearing the intern badge wasn’t strange at all. It helped that we had about 25 other MBA interns as part of our intern class this summer at LinkedIn. In fact, it regularly felt like a place of privilege – we were treated incredibly well, and I regularly felt very fortunate to be given the opportunity to do what I was doing.
My approach to work did feel different. Here are three things that stood out: