Geospatial Data & Its Application

Dr. Pillai spoke to the students of MDAE on the 13th of September 2019. Dr. Priam Pillai graduated with a PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT in 2011. He is currently an Associate Professor at PCE (Pillai college) in Mumbai, India and is the founding partner of UXO (Urban Expansion Observatory). Pillai gave a brief overview of GIS, the variety of useful applications especially in urban planning and the way machine learning is changing the field. Dr. Pillai explained the historical expansions of cities through handy graphics and how geographical boundaries of cities exploded recently. The first ‘explosion’ in size happened when cars became commonplace, the second when a metro or urban rail transport system is developed. Dr. Pillai then went on to speak about the major challenges Mumbai faces and will continue to face in the coming years. Namely i.e. water shortages, lack of good public transport, haphazard development, lack of open areas and bad building codes. He then spoke shortly about the work UXO undertakes along with NYU helping various different governments across the globe plan for and develop cities and urban spaces. UXO is also involved with the 100 resilient cities project that helps cities develop as efficient and sustainable urban centers. The session concluded with Dr. Pillai touching upon Machine Learning and how it’s being employed to produce maps, analyse datasets, employ Photogrammetry to overhaul the GIS & Urban Planning field. The talk was extremely informative and introduced students to a host of new concepts namely Geographic Information Systems and technology usage in Urban...

Drop in financial markets: September 17th 2019

Tuesday, September 17th saw the Indian financial markets take a beating with the Sensex falling 642 points and the Nifty turning negative for 2019, down 186 points. This followed a traumatic Monday which witnessed 31 stocks on the NSE touching a 52-week low. The selloff came as a result of three main reasons: • Rising crude prices: On Saturday an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco disrupted about 5% of the global crude oil production, resulting in a spike in oil prices. This was expected to increase India’s trade deficit which imports 80% of its oil requirements, creating panic amongst domestic investors. It should be noted that following a Reuters report that oil production would return to normal within two to three weeks US oil futures and Brent crude dropped 5.5% and 6.3% respectively. This is expected to ease fears in the domestic market. Credit: Pixabay: Gerlat • Sell off by FIIs: The selling of shares by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) added to the already weak investor sentiment. Data compiled by the National Securities Depository indicated that foreign investors have so far this month net sold shares worth Rs. 2,428 crores. • Fed rate cut unlikely: Despite fears of a looming recession US private payrolls grew by 195,000 vs the wall street estimate of 140,000. This has led to fears of the anticipated Fed rate cut not coming through. These fears have had an impact on global flows, particularly affecting emerging markets. • Chinese manufacturing: In the light of the ongoing US-China trade war, the Chinese manufacturing sector has been hurt severely. Based on data released in August manufacturing hit...

Parsing the Monetary Policy

Introduction: On 7th August 2019 the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its third bi-monthly monetary policy statement announcing a reduction in the repo rate by 35bps to 5.40%. Accordingly, the reverse repo rate, marginal standing facility rate and the bank rate also stood revised at 5.15% and 5.65% respectively. The RBI’s decision does not come as a big surprise as this reduction will assist in achieving the medium-term target of Consumer price index (CPI) of 4%, which currently stands at 3.18%. While maintaining the accommodative stance, the RBI is ensuring that the policy rate revision support the economic growth of the country. Why 35 bps cut?? The MPC is of the view that supporting domestic economy growth is of the utmost priority. Our economy is majorly reliant on domestic market cues and therefore a rate cut to further the goal stabilizing domestic demand and supporting investment activity is, if not obvious, practical. The decision to go with a 35 basis point cut instead of a 25 basis point is based on three major factors, firstly a reinforcement of past rate reductions and thus ensuring a quicker transmissions of real interest rates and secondly, to inject or flood the system with surplus liquidity and thirdly, to make substantial effort at closing the rising output gap. There was consensus that a 25 bps reduction might not be a big enough push in the right direction and an unconventional 35bps might have a bigger and much needed impact on the economy. The repo rate cut in the latest series of reductions was mainly justified based on the following four factors: Rationale:...

Indian Economy, Challenges and Opportunities

Mr.Sengupta spoke to the students of MDAE on the 7 th of September 2019. Currently the Co Head and Economist, India research at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mr Sengupta has also worked at the RBI for ten years as a staff economist and has severed as co convenor of the RBI’s Advisory Group on Insurance. Through the talk the students were provided with an insight into the role economists play in large banks while touching upon recent economic events both domestic and international. In the first half of the talk Mr.Sengupta provided the class with a description of the various financial markets banks trade in, ranging from equity, fixed income, currency to commodities. He went on to elaborate on the two components of fixed income i.e the buy and sell side. For students aspiring to become economists the speaker went on to talk about the various types of research banks are involved in namely macro, equity and credit research. While elaborating on the aspects of macro research, which beyond report writing, Mr. Sengupta touched on the importance of ideation while emphasizing that a major part of research involves sales, i.e. pitching research reports and subscriptions to clients. Through this the students were provided with a clear picture of what to expect if they were to take up a role as an economic analyst in a bank, the speaker also touched upon the changing revenue models for sell side research, while adding that there has been no change in sales as a result of this. The second half of the talk was a candid discussion about the current...

Speaker Series – Fundamentals of Investment Banking Vijay Karnani, Co-CEO, Goldman Sachs, India

The speaker series for the academic year was inaugurated by Mr. Vijay Karnani, Co-CEO of Goldman Sachs, India. His agenda was to introduce us to the “Fundamentals of Investment Banking”. To start with he broke down the institutional structure that generally investment banks have, which includes Investment Research, Securities, Asset management, Operations and Tech and Alternative Assets. Apart from this, bankers role in the industry is divided into Advisory and Investing role as per demand. He highlighted the skills and competencies that each role requires. One very interesting insight that he propounded on, was that, understanding the structure and workings of the world of Banking was not an arduous or a herculean challenge. The challenge, however lay in staying in constant awareness and evolving as bankers in the dynamic and ever changing world of Finance and Economics . He also emphasized the importance of personality traits that the industry demands, from risk taking and decision making at one end to having a sharp intellect and analytical abilities at the other end. When asked about his personal journey of growing in this industry, he highlighted the highly demanding nature of the job, but at the same time emphasizing on the fact that bankers, even as freshers are given high degree of autonomy and freedom in handling positions of high responsibility. He narrated an anecdote where he had almost come close to clocking 168 hours at work, that is the total number of hours there is in a week. We were left fascinated by his motivation and dedication towards his profession. In the end, when asked about his views regarding the...
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