Friday, February 18, 2011

Investing in Formal Education In India?

Investing in Formal Education In India? My thoughts on risk!

As an investor in the education space, I sometimes ask other investors who are investing in Formal education space in the country, whether they have built in risk of regulation clamping down on the popular "innovative structures"  (aka services and real estate companies attached to institutes) and almost without exception they look at me with disdain. They clearly see no risk (or some who do, many would not know how to model it in their valuation and simply believe in the greater fool theory) . Or they get opinion from a advisor/lawyer who makes a living out of advising companies to take this route, sidestepping regulation.

It turns out it was silly of me to expect them to see this risk. Many of these foreign investors, who operate out of the country take recourse to these innovative structures (well silly me again! these are in fact quite standard) to operate out of the country through their advisory arms, which are set up as independent companies, apparently to give investment advise (to themselves!)

Sorry guys (and girls) the joke is on me!

Should Microfinance be regulated? And the role of Media!

As part of my daily routine I checkout VCCircle, and generally, the quality of its articles is good (certainly way better than majority of print media). But I think this particular post reeks of hypocrisy.

Lets replace, the Micro Finance sector with the media sector. You would agree that role of Media is to inform objectively. I am sure that many in the media industry sensationalize news at the least, not to mention a few, that fabricate their own. Many would say that the media sector has a huge social obligation, including online.

I would like to ask Shahad and others in the media industry who are not happy with high salaries in microfinance,  how would they view regulation on salaries in the media industry. I suppose owners would be happy. Let me put it differently, would they agree to a cap on profits on this sector. Maybe even, be mandated to become 'not for profit' like education sector is in the country. We all know how being 'not for profit' has helped in educating the masses in India.

What Say?

ODI World Cup 2011 - Opening Ceremony

Saw portions of the the opening ceremony for the ODI World Cup 2011. Coming on the back of spectacular opening ceremonies in India, for the commonwealth games and in China, for the Asian games, the entertainment value of the ceremony itself was a low.

Perhaps, the real story lies elsewhere. For a  nation, where cricket is religion, getting a taste of the biggest event in the sport and the overflowing enthusiasm were the real highlights of the event. Unlike India and China where the events were showcased up as proxies for nation's coming of age, there was no hoopla about the organization. The enthusiasm is rightly focussed on sport and it shows (from all reports in the media). Bangladesh take on co-hosts India (where the biggest news/buzz is the lack of buzz about the ODI World cup) in the opening tie, it is a chance to showcase that they belong at this stage

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Medici Effect: On Innovation

On Innovation

Innovations are most commonly found at intersections. If innovation is chance driven, combining two unrelated subjects, exponentially increases the chance of new innovative associations (which makes for radical innovation rather than incremental innovation)

How to increase chance of innovation by leveraging intersections?

1. Consciously combine unrelated concepts
2. Work with people with diverse experiences

Effective Brainstorming

Contrary to popular thinking, 'N' people brainstorming together come up with lesser number of ideas than 'N' people thinking individually. This happens due to 'blocking' (In groups, peoples' short term associations get blocked by others)

Source: The Medici Effect

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

FT MBA Ranking- IIM-A Ranked 11th and ISB ranked 13th

Indian B Schools are making it big at the world stage. IIM-A has been ranked 11th and ISB has been ranked 13th in the global survey of leading B Schools. What is fantastic is that ISB is only 10 years old institute (when it figured in the top 20 it was only 6 years old) and IIM-A's PGPX program (for which the ranking applied) is only 4 years old.

While there are numerous areas where these schools can improve, one cannot doubt that these schools do attract quality students and in turn they provide superb learning environment including world class faculty.

Maybe an Indian school in top 10 next year. Cheers to that!

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