Monday, 23 September 2013

Truth Vs Hype, Mu Sigma Review: Response to comments

**This post is in response to the comments on my original blog post. You can read it here

Let’s use some numbers to answer the comments .

Below are the month-wise Employee Provident Fund (EPF) details that Mu Sigma files with the EPF department, government of India. This  file gives the total number of employees for whom EPF was filed in a given month.

Monthwise employee strength of Mu Sigma



It's interesting to note that a company of the size of Mu Sigma can add and loose people at such rate. Remember, these numbers are net of people joining and leaving the company within a month. Actual numbers will be steeper. 

This kind of fluid workforce is usually possible in companies where there is little premium on human capital. Given the industry that Mu Sigma operates in, it’s only possible through constant exploitation. 

I think it was the aim of the founder to setup the largest “Math Factory”. Mu Sigma is definitely achieving the “Factory” part of that aim: produce low level analytics using unskilled/ semi-skilled labor. As any analytics work requires some level of skill, the knowledge gap is filled by overwork and exploitation. 

What’s even more interesting is the churn in top management. In less than a year, close to 5 senior leaders have left the company. All these were Mu Sigma veterans in their own right. See the web-archive of management page below (See starting from Sep 2012)

The point I am making is, if this company is as great as some comments claim it to be, why are so many people, both at the top and bottom, running away from it? This is the situation given that they have fixed career path and fixed salary hike for freshers for initial 2-3 years of their career.

The truth is that Mu Sigma tries to justify everything in the name of growth and project an image of what it is not. In Indian parlance, such companies are called “LALA” companies. These companies are neither founded on sound business model, nor do they have business policies that benefit all its stakeholders. Such companies survive by over exploiting resources, both human and material and social, to benefit an individual or a small group of individuals.

For the people who have quoted The Big and The Famous: 
The way these professionally run companies operate and the context in which the CEOs of these companies say certain things, Mu Sigma’s management cannot even dream of paralleling that. By quoting examples of companies much bigger and greater than Mu Sigma, you do not become those companies. Although you can fool yourself by trying to compare Mu Sigma with these companies, it does not change the ground reality.