31 March 2012

The News - News

The News - News

Aviation may be down, but training institutes still fly high

Posted: 30 Mar 2012 08:13 PM PDT

Some airline companies may be struggling to keep themselves afloat, but business for the aviation training industry is brisk, barring some exceptions.

An instance is Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Academy. His aviation business is hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, but students from the aviation academy are in demand. "Our academy is doing much better than our aviation business. World over, bulk carriers like Emirates, Qatar, Etihad are all growing and recruiting. Besides, many cabin crew members have resigned from India, as international players offer a better salary. Once we train students, it is not mandatory for them to join Kingfisher. So, there is continuous demand for air hostesses," said a senior official from the Kingfisher Airhostess Academy.

Industry sources say the Kingfisher Academy has shut shop at various centres but the latter denied this.

For some others, things have not been that rosy. The Air Hostess Academy, for instance, shut shop in 2009-10 and has had several complaints filed against it for failing to refund student fees. Flying Cats, another institute, recently shut down; a 'Fashionista School of Fashion Technology' is now available on the earlier contact number of Flying Cats.

In-house Training is another flying school whose present whereabouts are not known. Though their website still exists, the contact numbers on it could not be reached. A few numbers dialled by Business Standard at some centres said the institute had shut down.

"Cabin crew academies are not regulated in India and therein lies the basic problem. Unlike Pilot Training Academies, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) does not regulate air hostess academies, so anyone with available infrastructure can open one. Therefore there could be dozens of fly-by-night operators in large and small cities, without anyone having a finger on the actual number," says Rajan Mehra, co-founder and executive director of Asia Pacific Academy.

The boom in the airline business in 2006-2009 led to a huge requirement of cabin crew for airlines. Sector experts say many saw this as an opportunity to make big money. "Neither were these academies equipped to handle so many students, nor were a majority of these students the cabin crew material. They were all promised lucrative jobs in airlines. But after the course, most students were without jobs," added Mehra.

India has over half a dozen branded aviation training institutes. Most of these offer a one-year diploma after the higher secondary (+2) examination, which prepares the candidates (age between 17 and 24 years) to join cabin crew of airlines. Most academies charge Rs 1.5-1.75 lakh for a year's course and Rs 70-75,000 for a six-month course. Fly-by-night operators sometimes charge much less to build up volumes, say experts.

Air hostess training requires specialised courses in grooming, etiquette, communication skills, aviation, safety and handling emergency situations. Hence an academy requires highly qualified instructors, with experience gained from roles in aviation and hospitality. Most academies, however, cut costs by hiring inexperienced faculty, lacking qualifications or expertise to be able to teach and guide students, according to industry players.

The anchored ones
But some like Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training, Aptech Aviation and Hospitality Academy, and Universal Training Academy are going great guns.

Frankfinn has set up around 200 centres, with more in the offing. Samir Walia, its president, marketing, says the institute got jobs for at least 5,000 students in the past year.

Universal Aviation Academy, based in Chennai, has had a fairly good placement season. Sarita Singh, placement in-charge, said demand for ground staff at airlines had not diminished.The institute offers 70-75 per cent placements every year.

At Kompass Aviation, though there was a standstill in placements three months earlier, the situation is back on track, says Amrutha Lily Jathanna, senior HR professional at the institute looking after these. The institute offers 85 per cent placement and Jathanna expects the situation to bounce back after April. Cabin crew placements are doing better than others at the institute.

Industry insiders say institutes which had only concentrated on air hostess training had to face the brunt of a hiring crisis and eventually shut down.

"The big players have an array of courses that help them overcome aviation crises, as a slowdown is witnessed in cabin crew recuitment and not ground staff hiring and similar areas," said a placement official of an aviation institute.

Head-hunters say the aviation sector may be going through a rough patch, but it's too early to panic. "Every sector has its business cycle of ups and down. The sector is not hiring rapidly. But in the next three to four months, we expect the situation to stabilise," said E Balaji, MD & CEO, Ma Foi Randstad.

Aptech Aviation and Hospitality Academy, earlier known as Avalon Academy, says the aviation industry's situation has not impacted it.

"At our institute, we are also seeing smaller private airports sending their employees for skill training. Further, we are focusing on airport managment and ground handling, apart from courses for air hostess training. This makes us well diversified," said Shrutidhar Paliwal, vice-president (corporate communications and media relations).

He said Air India Singapore Airport Terminal Services had recruited from them this year. The institute has a placement record of 85-90 per cent and has both national and international airlines coming for placements.

Extract Gold from you Discarded Mobiles

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 11:19 PM PDT

Beijing: Believe it or not, 1,500 kg of gold, one million kg of copper and 30,000 kg of silver can be extracted from the 100 million discarded mobile phones in China.
People’s Daily reported on Thursday that about 400 million mobile phones were discarded each year, China accounting for nearly 100 million.
According to the daily, a mobile phone has various precious materials including 0.01 percent of gold, 20-25 percent of copper and 40-50 percent of recycling plastic.
A study shows that 150 grams of gold, 100 kg of copper and 3 kg of silver can be extracted from one tonne of discarded mobile phones.
Under current situation, 100 million discarded cell phones in China weigh 10,000 tonnes.
And this would fetch a bonanza of 1,500 kg of gold, the daily said.
Source: IANS

Buffet’s 10 Tips to Get Rich

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 10:52 PM PDT

Warren Buffet is the richest man in the world, with an estimated wealth of $62 billion. He is eminently regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world and is called a 'Legendary Investor'.

When he began buying stocks in Berkshire Hathaway in 1962, one share cost him around $7.50 dollar. But today the entire scenario is changed and at 81, Buffet is Berkshire's Chairman and CEO and one share of the company's class 'A' stock worth is close to $119,000. He credits his amazing success to several key strategies. Here are some of Buffett’s money-making secrets and tips for you to get rich -


1. Reinvest Your Profits

When you first make profit in the stock market, you may be tempted to spend more in order to gain more. But he says, "Don’t." Instead, he suggests reinvesting the profits. Buffett learnt this lesson much early. In his high school, he and a mate bought a pinball machine to pun in a barbershop. With the money they earned, they bought more machines. When the friends sold the scheme, Buffett used the proceeds to buy stocks so that he could start another small business with the profit. By 26, he’d accumulated $174,000. Even a small sum can turn into great wealth, if it is wisely invested.


2. Be Willing To Be Different

Don’t let your decisions be based entirely upon what everyone says or does. When Buffett began handling money in 1956 with $100,000, he started with a handful of investors. Back then he was dubbed an oddball. He worked in Omaha, not Wall Street, and he refused to inform his parents where he was investing their money. People foresaw it as a failure but after 14 years, when he closed his partnership; it was worth more than $100 million. Instead of following the crowd, he went out of the box and looked for underrated investments and ended up vastly beating the market average every single year. To Buffett, what everybody is doing is doing is the average. He says 'to be above average, you need to measure yourself' which he calls as 'Inner Scorecard', that is 'judging yourself by your own standards and not the world’s.'


3. Never Suck Your Thumb

When you need to make money investing or money making decision, gather all information regarding it in advance and solicit a friend or relative to make sure that you stick to your self decided deadline. Buffett prides himself on swiftly making up his mind, taking a decision and executing it. He calls any unnecessary sitting and thinking as "thumb sucking." Whenever people offered him a business or an investment, he on spot answer was always, "I won’t talk unless they bring me a price."


4. Spell Out the Deal Before You Start

Your bargaining power is always at its greatest before you begin a job. This is a time when you have something good to offer to the other party. Buffett learnt this lesson the hard way as a kid, when his grandfather Ernest hired him to dig out the family grocery store after a blizzard. The boys spent five hours scooping until he could barely straighten his frozen hands. Afterward, his grandfather gave him less than 90 cents. Warren Buffett was shocked to see that he performed such backbreaking work only to earn pennies per hour. Always nail down the particulars of a deal in advance even the deal is with your friends and relatives.


5. Watch Small Expenses

Warren Buffett invests in businesses which are run by managers who are obsessed even over the tiniest of cost. He once acquired a company whose owner counted the sheets in rolls of 500-sheet toilet paper to see if he was being cheated and Buffet really appreciated this. He also admired a friend who painted only the road facing side of his office building. Exercising alertness over every expense can make your profits and your paycheck.


6. Limit What You Borrow

Living mostly on credit cards and loans will not make you rich. Buffett has never borrowed a noteworthy amount, not even to invest or mortgage. He has gotten a number of heart rendering letters from people who thought their borrowing was manageable but became overwhelmed by debt. His advice: "Negotiate with creditors to pay what you can. Then, when you’re debt-free, work on saving some money that you can use to invest," as quoted on his official website.


7. Be Persistent

With obstinacy and resourcefulness, you can even win against a well established competitor. In 1983, Warren Buffett acquired the Nebraska Furniture Mart as he liked the way its founder, Rose Blumkin, did business. She was a Russian immigrant, who built the mart from a pawnshop into the largest furniture store in North America. Her strategy was to undersell the rich ones and she was a merciless delegate who was very good in negotiation. To Warren Buffett, Rose personified the unwavering courage that makes a winner out of an underdog.


8. Know When to Quit

Once, when Warren Buffett was in his teens, went to the racetrack. He gambled on a race and lost. To get back with his funds, he bet on another race. He lost again which actually left him with nothing. He felt sick and wasted nearly a week’s earnings. But Buffett learnt from this and never repeated any such mistakes. He says, "Know when to walk away from a loss, and don’t let anxiety fool you into trying again."


9. Assess the Risk

In 1995, an employer of Warren Buffett’s son, Howie, was accused by the FBI for price-fixing. Warren Buffett advised Howie to imagine the worst and best case scenarios if he stayed with his company. His son quickly realized the risks of staying in the company anymore and he quit the very next day. Hew says asking yourself "and then what?" can help you much more and will let you see all the possible consequences when you’re struggling hard to make a decision.


10. Know What Success Really Means

Despite his wealth, Warren Buffett does not measure success as per the number of dollars. In 2006, he vowed to give almost of his fortune to charities, primarily to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He's adamant about not funding monuments to himself. He doesn't want any Warren Buffett buildings or halls. He says, "I know people who have a lot of money and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life," as quoted in his official website.

5 Things You Did Not Know about Google

Posted: 29 Mar 2012 10:21 PM PDT

Information today has become as available as the internet, literally; but where would the world be without the revolutionary invention that made this happen? Nobody (except maybe Google) knows.

And since Google makes it its business to know all about everybody, have you ever wondered how much you know about the world's most popular search engine? (If you haven't, now is probably a good time to start).

Marissa Mayer, the vice president of local, maps, and localization at Google, has been on Google's team from the second year after the search engine launched. Being on the team for so long has let her see Google's growth first-hand, and in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, she listed out five things you probably didn't know about the search engine.

Here are the five so-far-unknown insider anecdotes about Google:


1. Why so much of Googe's homepage is white:

Google’s dependence on white space on its homepage was one that arose purely out of necessity, and not because it wanted to be minimalist in design. According to Mayer, Sergey Brin, Google co-founder explained "We don't have a webmaster and I don't do HTML."


2. How Google’s AdSense happened:

Mayer, in the interview, said she almost killed the idea of targeting ads based on users' e-mails, because she (at first) thought the idea was "creepy". However, a colleague working an all-nighter overlooked her dismissal of the idea, and thus started ads-in-e-mail.

Today, Google's AdSense is a multi-billion dollar business.


3. How much would it take to occupy some white space?

According to Google's calculation, an ad on its home page would cost at least $10 million, if not more, apparently.

If only the space were for sale! (But then again, the only white space humankind knows on the internet would be cluttered with stuff we see everywhere else).


4. Why did the Google homepage have a copyright symbol on it?

Talking about the white space on Google—the page had the copyright symbol installed after initial test users did nothing but stare at the home page, "waiting for the rest of it to load," Mayer said. It's not necessary, but the symbol served as a sign that the minimal page had finished loading and was ready for a search entry.


5. And about acquiring things…

Mayer once had an extreme fascination for Motorola's circa-1996 StarTAC mobile phone; she even bought used models of the phone on e-Bay to try and build up a collection.
But any resemblance to the incident, whether from fiction or real-life (read "Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility”) is like when you happen to hoard a product and then come to a point years later where you buy the company that makes said product— it'spurely coincidental.