Weekend read

July 22, 2013

This weekend was good as far as reading was concerned. I read new things about two different fields, academia and consulting.

The first article was by professor Radhika Nagpal about her journey towards becoming a tenure track professor. The article was very illuminating as she gives details about how she managed her life and time and her responsibilities as a mother and a career. Its a fact that we celebrate dedication, sacrifice, hard work and success in any track we run for, be it the best parent, the best spouse, the best career or the best child. Now it becomes very difficult to win all the races. I have myself been through this at times and have been torn apart with conflicting priorities. Now, I have realized that we can try to be the best “whole person” and that would not be too bad at the end. 

Another very important thing that I have noticed in my life is that there are stereotypes of being successful in any field, and what happens if we aim to be that stereotype is that we either burn out or we leave the race. Both of these give us a feeling of being unfulfilled. The main thing that we need to realize here is that we are not unsuccessful if we dont match that definition of stereotype. We should invent our own ways and create our new rules. We should invent steps rather than follow. That will give us peace and satisfaction and also help us enjoy our journey. 

Now a context switch to strategy and consulting. I read a HBR article about strategy and consulting. I realized that coming to the US has given me a whole lot of breadth in life. I read how Ikea has strategically positioned itself for a particular customer base and could identify my experience of shopping in Ikea with the case study. 

Key takeaways : read more case studies and understand more industries and companies in the US. Relate them to your everyday experiences. 

Now, Michael Porter, one of the authors in the article, led me to the Monitor group and why they failed ? This article defines Porter’s definition of strategy as “Strategy is all about figuring out how to secure excess profits without having to make a better product or deliver a better service.” What Porter overlooked was innovation and customer. That is cited as the main reason that Monitor group got wiped out in times of change and globalization. 

Key takeaways : Study about different brands and learn about different industries.