There is a big question mark hanging over the fate of Indian budget carrier SpiceJet. Despite a new promoter tying up with JP Morgan to infuse money, the airline’s financial troubles are not completely over. In the last few months, it has been forced to cancel over 2,000 flights, shut operations on many regional sectors with low volumes, and return half of its fleet of Boeing aircraft after defaulting on lease payments.
In this time of uncertainty, it would be expected that the airline would be swamped with complaints from passengers. As it turns out, SpiceJet does have its fair share of unhappy flyers, but it is other airlines that have notched up more complaints from their customers.
According to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, GoAir had the most passenger complaints from October to December 2014, the same period when SpiceJet underwent its most turbulent phase. In two of those months, Air India too was ahead of SpiceJet in the complaints tally.
As the above chart shows, GoAir logged 6.2 complaints per 10,000 flyers it carried in December. SpiceJet, in contrast, received 3.1 complaints per 10,000 passengers.
Last week, the aviation regulator lifted a ban on advance seat bookings by SpiceJet, and, a few days later, the carrier offered cut-rate prices on 5 lakh seats across sectors during the coming lean season to shore up its revenues.
Even during the months its operations were hit the hardest, SpiceJet was still not the airline with the worst on-time performance. That dubious distinction went to Air India.
The data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation shows that SpiceJet flights reached their destination on schedule 83.3% of the time in October 2014, while Air India flights could do that just about 63.3% of the time. The next month, the figure for SpiceJet was 78.3% and for Air India 72.3%.
In December, as happens every year because of winter fog, the on-performance of all airlines dipped. For instance, IndiGo, which had an on-time performance of over 92% in October and November, could manage only 77% at the year end.
Harvard Business School’s HBX brings the future of business education to India with online programs
HBX is not only offering courses online, but also connecting students to the power of its network.
The classic design of the physical Harvard Business School (HBS) classroom was once a big innovation – precisely designed teaching amphitheaters laid out for every student to participate from his or her seat with a “pit” in the center of the room from which professors orchestrate discussions analyzing business cases like a symphony lead. When it came to designing the online experience of HBX—the school’s digital learning initiative—HBS faculty worked tirelessly to blend these tenets of the HBS classroom pedagogy with the power of new technology. With real-world problem solving, active learning, and social learning as its foundation, HBX offers immersive and challenging self-paced learning experiences through its interactive online learning platform.
Reimagining digital education, breaking the virtual learning mold
Typically, online courses follow a one-way broadcast mode – lectures are video recorded and reading material is shared – and students learn alone and are individually tested. Moving away from the passive learning model, HBX has developed an online platform that leverages the HBS ‘case-based pedagogy’ and audio-visual and interaction tools to make learning engaging.
HBX courses are rarely taught through theory. Instead, students learn through real-world problem-solving. Students start by grappling with a business problem – with real world data and the complexity in which a business leader would have to make a decision – and learn the theory inductively. Thus even as mathematical theories are applied to business situations, students come away with a greater sense of clarity and perspective, whether it is reading a financial report, understanding why a brand’s approach to a random sample population study may or may not work, or how pricing works.
“Learning about concepts through real-life cases was my favorite part of the program. The cases really helped transform abstract concepts into observable situations one could learn from. Furthermore, it really helped me understand how to identify situations in which I could use the tools that HBX equipped me with,” says Anindita Ravikumar, a past HBX participant. India’s premier B-school IIM-Ahmedabad has borrowed the very same pedagogy from Harvard. Learning in this manner is far more engaging, relatable, and memorable.
Most lessons start with a short 2-3 minute video of a manager talking about the business problem at hand. Students are then asked to respond on how they would handle the issue. Questions can be in the form of either a poll or reflections. Everyone’s answers are then visible to the ‘classroom’. In the words of Professor Bharat Anand, Faculty Chair, HBX, “This turns out to be a really important distinction. The answers are being updated in real-time. You can see the distribution of answers, but you can also see what any other individual has answered, which means that you’re not anonymous.” Students have real profiles and get to know their ‘classmates’ and learn from each other.
Professor Anand also says, “We have what we call the three-minute rule. Roughly every three minutes, you are doing something different on the platform. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Anyone could be called on to participate at any time. It’s a very lean forward mode of learning”. Students get ‘cold-called’ – a concept borrowed from the classroom – where every now and then individuals will be unexpectedly prompted to answer a question on the platform and their response will be shared with other members of the cohort. It keeps students engaged and encourages preparedness. While HBX courses are self-paced, participants are encouraged to get through a certain amount of content each week, which helps keep the cohort together and enables the social elements of the learning experience.
More than digital learning
The HBS campus experience is valued by alumni not just for the academic experience but also for the diverse network of peers they meet. HBX programs similarly encourage student interactions and opportunities for in-person networking. All HBXers who successfully complete their programs and are awarded a credential or certificate from HBX and Harvard Business School are invited to the annual on-campus HBX ConneXt event to meet peers from around the world, hear from faculty and business executives, and also experience the HBS campus near Cambridge.
Programs offered today
HBX offers a range of programs that appeal to different audiences.
To help college students and recent graduates prepare for the business world, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) integrates business essentials such as analytics, economics, and financial accounting. HBX CORe is also great for those interested in an MBA looking to strengthen their application and brush up their skills to be prepared for day one. For working professionals, HBX CORe and additional courses like Disruptive Strategy, Leading with Finance, and Negotiation Mastery, can help deepen understanding of essential business concepts in order to add value to their organizations and advance their careers.
Course durations range from 6 to 17 weeks depending on the program. All interested candidates must submit a free, 10-15 minute application that is reviewed by the HBX admissions team by the deadlines noted on the HBX website.