MBA hummmmm....

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Great coupla days..

The orientation week is in full swing. Fresh in my mind is today's 'Career perspectives' session. To sum it up - I just loved it. ISB invited a panel consisting of accomplished professoinals from across industries & asked them to talk about what they would have liked to know just after they graduated from their biz schools. (obviously so that Co 2006 can learn from them ;) ). They spoke about their career progression, the professional & personal choices they made & the consequences of those.

The panel consisted of an accomplished banker, a COO of a big IT firm in India, an HR Guru, a senior leader of a software firm & an ex CEO. Discussion was moderated by a Branding Consultant called Harish Bijoor. The articulation with which all the speakers condensed their life gyaan in 10 min (limit for each of them) is too difficult for me to reproduce here. I need to see the video of the session again to digest some of the points. One recurrent theme was that all of them had taken charge of their careers & not let the organisation or the boss (or boss's wife for that matter) control it. Easy to hear but very difficult to implement.

Earlier yesterday, we had an interesting session on MBTI .. a tool to categorise personality types of humans under the Leadership Development Program. It is being conducted by a Thunderbird Alumni. He is an awesome communicator. Or a seller, I shud say :-). Nonetheless, I am totally looking forward to polishing my soft skills through this long & drawn out program.

btw, I have hardly geared up myself for term studies starting next monday. Looks like it will be a kick in the ass for me. One objective I set myself, using preterms to gear up, gone crashing.
& I need to fly back to Delhi tomm evening for my Bro's marriage on 29th & come back on 30th morning.

Now off to welcome dinner.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Blogs are going mainstream in Business.

This article on BW. Also, I keep reading about increasing potential of blogs in Corporate world. Looks like this application is here to stay.
Btw, SUN Microsystems is one company which has adopted blogging well. --> a site where any SUN employee can start his/her blog.

Incidentally, Jonathan Schwartz -- President & COO of SUN Microsystems is famous for his candid views thru his blog. One interesting story .. once he walked into a room full of Wall St analysts waiting for updates on his company. He popped a ques - how many of you track my blog actively ? More than 50% of the analysts raised their hands. Reading a blog from somebody as high up as him is surely a privelege. Blogosphere rocks.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

First taste of things to come..

Had first real taste of the year to come. First abt today. Started off with Dean's welcome address to Co 2006. The talk by Mr. Ajit Ragnekar, deputy dean, was particularly interesting & myth-busting. Admissions director, Mr. Menon shared data about the profile & achievements of the incoming batch. It sure was impressive. The average age is 27 yrs. Average GMAT arnd 695. 45% from tech work ex.

Then was the presentation from Graduate Student's Board & Council VPs. Seems like our seniors had put in real effort in getting processes in place & refining them. Our batch should continue & make use of their work too. I would be specifically interested in the Marketing & Communications Club. Lets see how it turns out.

Y'day .. we had a visitor from industry. An entreprenuer called upon by the Entreprenuership Cell . Sam Mathan .. of the fame of Amber networks (which sold out to Nokia for quite a lot of money during the boom days of 2000-01). He gave some good anecdotes & ideas. But I was not happy that talk was mostly centered around Tech Entreprenuership per se & ways and means to make it big in the Silicon Valley. I was expecting to hear more generic, broad level funde on entreprenuership. Maybe I was mistaken in my expectations. But a good start nonetheless.

Friday, April 22, 2005

diary 22nd April

Our batch seems to be very proactive in negotiating prices of almost every service provided here. Stuff like catering, house keeping are outsourced to third party service providers here. So, given the premium cost of goods & services here, we are leaving no stone unturned to get the best deal possible. On last count, ppl were discussing cost of meals, laptops, cost of acco (for one particular student's village is not completely constructed & ppl are not happy about facilities there). I think this is good & so far the ISB authorities or the service providers are also receptive to students' demands.
btw, almost all pre term courses are over. There is an introductory dean's address on Sunday. & then orientation week. After that, real fun should start.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

diary ..

First indications abt the profile of batch of 06 came today in some email. As expected, the batch is dominated by engineers (abt 70%) with a good 40-50% of total junta from tech background. & then there are a sizeable number of ppl from other industries such as ITES, Consulting, Finance, Marketing/Advertising, Operations & some from rare backgrounds such as Navy, Airforce, shipping, fashion, entreprenuership. Feels good to be in such a batch. Even the majority -- techies have rich experience. So, normal discussions also turn out to be quite insightful & enriching, from tech industry's perspective.

btw, I finished coupla books last week - the alchemist & snapshots from hell. Snapshots was a good read abt MBA life.
Alchemist is like a short story. Story of a boy who wants to take his destiny into his hands. & he takes a lot of risk to do that.

some key sentences are worth mentioning here & worth remembering too ...

~ The principle of favouribility or the beginner's luck. ie . when you want something very badly, the whole world conspires to help u achieve it.

~ When ppl are young, they are sure of their destiny. They are clear about what they need to do. but then a certain negative force begins to convince them that it would be impossible for them to achieve their destiny. & that is when they give up.

quite profound.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Pre Terms... FinAcc... learnt that not only RoI (return ON investment) but RoI (return OF investment) is a critical quantity. Hummmm
Well, before Mark Finn arrives from Kellogg, need to learn what the hell is a Balance Sheet, a P&L statement & a Cash Flow Statement.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Checked in @ ISB

First post from the campus. Came y'day evening. Done with registration. Excellent facilites & the processes look smooth. All's well till now.

The pre term courses start day after tomm.
On an unrelated note, I have a 'meet-the-parents' kinda scene tomm on Sunday. :) hope that goes off well.

Friday, April 08, 2005

How to ace Microsoft Job interview.

This post. Again courtesy Gavin Shearer (2nd yr MBA student at UW). Great post. Enjoy.


Spent a coupla hrs at this new Coffee joint y'day eve. It has a nice-ish feel to it. Lounge style seating. Good place to hang out. The coffee is great (I had 2 Jamaican Blue Coffees, supposedly the best coffee on planet!) & lots of chocolate indulgances. Bad on waistline. But what the heck!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Debate on the value of MBA degree.

There has been a debate of sorts going on between the protagonists of MBA degree & the camp who says that investment is not worth it in terms of time/money. Many renowned ppl first claimed (during the boom of 99-2000) that MBA is not mandatory to earn truckloads of money. & then again, when boom went burst, MBAs were blamed for excesses.

Well, I am not taking any sides here. Maybe, I will be able to appreciate the value proposition of an MBA degree after I complete my studies at ISB.

For the mean time, chew on these:

Interesting reactions there from blogosphere. Some saying that academic knowledge is a very small part of takeaway of your B School education & others saying that you could do without an MBA just by reading som 30-40 best sellers on Mgmt stuff ! (the list is there too). Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

MTA says Economy to miss Plan target growth rates.

Stumbled upon this news ..

The Mid Term Appraisal (MTA) of Indian Economy states that the 5 yr Plan target of 8.1 % growth in GDP is unlikely to be achieved. The culprit, it says, is agriculture, which has grown in the range of 1-2% in first 3 yrs of the 1oth 5 Yr Plan. This is quite disturbing, especially when one is made to believe that Indian Economy was performing better than ever.

On a similar note, GS recently said that Oil prices could spiral to over 100$ per barrel, resulting which the world economy would go into recession. Everyone is hoping that they arent true.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Talk abt practical utility of B School knowledge..

Was surfing through sites of some of the ivy league B Schools of US. Stumbled upon this link ..

This speaks about a recently acquired Tozzi Financial center by Ross School of Business, Michigan.

& quoting from a 2nd yr student's blog :

"Stacked with the same hardware (Bloomberg terminals, flat screens, etc.) and software (Bloomberg, Factsheet, eVal, trading simulators, etc.) that you'll find on the Street, it's a great tool for both education and job hunting. On any weekday, you'll find several S&T-focused MBA1s in there following the markets, doing company research, and taking classes (FIN 640, the "Financial Trading" class, is run there). The Tozzi Center has logins to the client research sites for Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, UBS, and Merrill Lynch, meaning students can download the morning call research report for a bank, minutes before heading into an interview with them. Personally, I haven't yet taken a class in Tozzi, but spend several hours a week in there following the markets and doing research. In addition, starting this term Bloomberg has begun providing Product Certification courses on Fridays, giving me a head start on learning an important skill for any summer finance job. Truly, the Tozzi Center has been indispensible in my preparation for Wall Street interviews. "

Impressive. Talk abt real life training at B Schools. Think, this is as close as it can get.

This sets me thinking about the importance of research output in a B School's perspective. I hope ISB's strong academic lineage does provide an ideal platform for it to become a major producer of Mgmt research. I read (somewhere) dean M Rammohan Rao stressing on the need of increasing the research output from ISB.

As a sidenote, downloaded some interesting excel based financial tools from this site. Fun to play with. I can hardly make any sense out of the numbers there. PitchSheet.xlt gives a good view abt company's financial position.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Grad day (not mine :) )

The ISB class of 2005 graduated last friday. Chief guest was worldwide MD,CEO & Chairman of Novartis - Daniel Vasella. (He is supposed to be one of the initial supporters of ISB). As usual, there was a gyaan laden speech by him to the passing batch.
A couple of excerpts I liked -

As Nehru said, “Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism, the way you play it is free will…There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

Quite profound.

Ambiguity is something we have to learn to live with, without its creating discomfort for us.

Couldnt agree more. Infact, personally, this is one thing, I think I have developed in myself over these past 5 yrs of working. Ability to digest the uncertainity. It is quite natural to feel the urge to see the goal to be able to motivate one to move forward. But in most real life situations, ultimate goal or outcome is soooooo much dependent on hazaaar other factors, people that one cant really say that my final goal motivates me.
Or maybe that I have lost all clarity of thought during these working years. :(

either way, the above statement makes sense to me.

btw, my batchmates were able to negotiate laptop prices with the ISB appointed vendor to a certain extent. According to latest prices, I will be getting my R51 at about 3k less. Thanks to all the efforts of my classmates.

Loans - I was told that getting an edu loan (upto the tune of 14.5 lacs INR max) is not an issue for ISB admits. I finally experienced it firsthand. I have already applied to Andhra Bank for the loan but I received a call from a SBI official asking why did I not apply for loan with SBI. He even tried to coax me into cancelling my application with Andhra Bank & applying with SBI & assured that he would get it approved within 2 days ! Now, a nationalised bank is the last place where I expected competetive customer practices. Must say - was impressive. So, moral of the story - Loans is a non-issue if you have an admit from ISB.

Friday, April 01, 2005

idle musings..

so finally my manager tells me nothing more to do for the day. I resigned exactly a month ago. & I still get woken up in the midnight by these ppl expecting me to come & resolve the issue. bah! wtf. Dont they realise I hv become a bigshot now. I mean almost ! :)
First april is a good time to reflect on the yr gone by. lol, am not being sarcastic here.
Let me analyse my year in diff dimensions -

# personal - great. got to spend more time with my folks. spent lots n lots of greattttt time with my girl. ( Damn , I will miss her at ISB) . got time to catch up with some old pals.
# professional - best so far coz I made it to ISB. :) .. j/k. changed companies/cities this yr. Moved to a small firm after having spent 4 yrs at big fat firms. Experience was bitter sweet. Was absolutely horrified to see that some things we took for granted at big setups are totally non existent in smaller setups. But gave a more well rounded view to me of how this damn industry works.
# financial - disastrous. less said the better
# social - strictly speaking, I dont have this dimension. lol. Time at Udayan was satisfying sometimes & frustrating sometimes. All said & done, I now realise how difficult it is to really make a change to somebody's life. Outside of it, Devender tried & tried hard to get me hooked to a network of direct marketing. Must say that I would like to explore this more some other time in my life. Rest, is the only place where I have a social presence.

ok enuf of retrospective thoughts. Still havent really brushed those stats basics & basic accounting rules & how-to's in Excel. Reading 10-Day MBA & Snapshots from hell btw. Good reads both of them. Sneak preview of B school lives.

Nothing much is happening on the ISB admits groups too. Guess ppl have had enough of Laptops, loans, travel, placements, creches, food & whatnot discussions. Spoke to quite a number of ppl recently. In different stages of their careers. Some having done their post grad studies, some in the middle of it, some planning & seeking my advice. Next yr., when I will have graduated by now, dunno how will it feel to look at this post.