MBA hummmmm....

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hummmm... How much is your Blog worth?


My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

A rather insipid (or useless) statistic. Mine is around $ 4K. Bharani dude, will catch you soon. Anyhow, my turn to poke fun at faffy models used for valuations in finance. Who said (only) Marketing was all faff.

Btw, for the numerically inclined, here is the actual valuation exercise of weblogs inc. (a collection of blogs bought by AOL). Look at the page & you can immediately realise that row/column drag functionality in excel has been used in abundance here. Here is the small html piece in case you also want to brag your virtual wealth. Courtesy smartmobs.com

btw, life is quite quite hectic again. Poseidon is near & am handling an event in that. Got 3 classes tomm & havent read a word for any of them. Not even touched an assignment due tomm eve. Been trying to turn in a couple of case analysis in some events myself. Problem is that partners I chose - SC, KG, AK & maybe SM too are complete free riders. Havent been able to learn to handle skilled free riders as yet in my MBA.

In other news, was left kicking myself when I did'nt get much vaunted Marketing Metrics course. This is one course which I should have taken but due to pathetic lack of common sense on my part, lost out in bidding. The prof - David Reibstein is a treat. He teaches at Wharton school & is an ex-professor at Harvard & Stanford. Hez Been the director of Marketing Science Institute at Cambridge for 2 year. Quite a character too. Viagra case in his first class was real fun.

One of real big shots to come to teach us. & I couldnt get into his class. Life sucks bigtime sometimes.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The 'Takeaways' vs 'Work reqd' equation...

Making choices is a prerogative most ISBites (& most MBA students I believe) face many times on a daily basis. Was thinking about the way people make choices about the electives here. Methinks that, within bounds of things like long term career planning, focus on a particular area, etc., most rational, reasonable, well-intentioned MBA students select electives based on the 'Takeaways vs Work reqd' optimisation. Any sane person would like to get the course which maximises 'takeaways' while minimising the 'work reqd'(given the opportunity cost of time at a 1 yr prog like ISB is high). Is this really the right approach? Talking about Choice, a program like Chicago GSB MBA offers choice of areas at another level. One can select all but 1 (yes 'One') course to graduate. Now that is real choice. But this necessiates a different level of maturity & focus from students.

As I browse through the readings for the first class of Term VI starting tomm, I cant help but recall the past V terms. Did I acquire the 'cross functional skills' which I wanted to (atleast according to my application essays)? Can I atleast talk as intelligibly with an Operations Manager of BPO as with a Equity Research Analyst as with a Brand Manager in a Biscuits company? Have I become the jack of all trades that I set out to? Do I remember the adverse selection concept in Economics or the FCFE calculation in Investments or the theory of persuation in HR? Agreed, neither Economics nor Finance nor OB is my focus of concentration but then why spend time & effort studying them? Does it make me a well rounded MBA? Isnt there a fine line between 'well rounded' & 'half baked'. Sure knowing about all the core aspects of business help one in a General Mgmt position or a Consulting kind of job. How many amongst us will be fortunate enough to work in multiple domains within the same or a diff organization? I guess these learning will somewhere come handy directly or indirectly. I certainly hope so. For I have invested a lot in acquiring them.
Words of Manish Sabharwal, a Wharton grad, echo in my head - MBA is one great intellectual winetasting session. Enjoy till it lasts. 6th round of tasting session starts tommorrow at 8:30 AM. :-)

The better part about ISB till now has been people whom I have worked with in various teams. Statistics may not reveal the real picture of diversity (with 70% plus engineers & 40-50% having a background in IT & very few Int'l students). The work ex factor brings about the difference. Having worked with teams in the industry, the contributions people bring to the teams are more often construcive than otherwise. I have found atleast a couple of unique & significant things to learn from everybody whom I have worked with till now at ISB. That I think is the real payoff in the long term. Not economics or marketing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Consumer Behavior, Google's Desktop Search & other things.

No no. Am not thinking of how Google's search technology has changed consumer's behavior. This is about today (technically y'day's) Consumer Behavior end term paper experience.

This is how the paper starts...

Instructions.. blah blah blah

Page 1 .. message by Prof:

All good things must come to an end & so is Consumer Behavior course. It will end in a few hours (few minutes for well prepared) except for people who slept in the class or browsed incessantly. I mean you, you & that gal over there. This is an open book, open notes, open laptop, open mind exam. You can even use a calculator! Maybe page 159 of the book would help or slide # 39 in the Persuation set theory presentation. See, I tried to help. Best of luck.

Was entertained as well as confused at this point. Anyways, neither did I pay attention to any of the classes of COBE in the entire term (as if I would have been able to understand anything given the express rambling of our prof), nor did I have the motivation to study COBE over Marketing Research on the weekend.

Page 2 .. the real stuff
Seeing the paper, I felt that I might be in a soup. It contained some seemingly complex 25-30 questions. Started off with MCQs. If I remember correctly, my sequence of solving went something like this (actual figures & choices have been disguised purposefully)...

Q: Sun 'Ita (yes there was humor in questions too :-) ) went to a shop intending to buy a camera. 2 models were available - First at 25$ for 18X zoom, Second at 35$ for 24X zoom. She leaves the store & goes on to another store where she evaluates another model at 45$ for 39X zoom. She comes back to first store & buys the one for 35$. Which one of the following theories is at play here:
a) Classical Conditioning Theory
b) Adaptation Theory
c) Compromise Effect
d) Disjunctive
e) Information Integration Model of decision making.

Me Thinks: Hummm. Dont know a thing about these theories. What to do? Realized that I have actually brought my laptop containing all those presentations. Open it up & fire Google's Desktop Search. Type in 'Classical Conditioning Theory' & voila!
First result thrown is pointing to one of the course ppt's. Open it. Search for the string. Read the slides. Understand the concept. Decide whether its applicable in the context of situation given in the question. Redo these steps for choices (b) till (e). Arrive at an answer by elimination. Phew.
Go to next MCQ. Repeat.

By the end of 3 hours, I realise that I have learnt a bit on keyword based searches of ppt's, pdf's, text files, chat files, emails on my desktop. The results Desktop search throws up for a particular keyword search (say 'persuasion') are different in different points in time. Probably pointing towards continuous updation of indexes. Quite a paper!

btw, before I forget, must mention that although I had a tough time, I did enjoy the paper a lot. Was refreshing to see the pattern & types of questions. Prof had definitely put in a lot of effort in setting the paper. Wish he could spend some of that in slowing down the pace at which he speaks in the classes. j/k.

Earlier in the day, had marketing research paper. Was pretty straightforward. Almost boring. Would have preferred a more challenging set. Anyways.

Have Marketing Implementation paper today. This course was a treat. So many concrete takeaways from each & every class. Feel like didnt know marketing even a bit before taking this course.

In other things, read up an article in Forbes on Google. Its effort on trying to think small. Said that although the organization is 5000+ now, it has lots & lots of small teams going after different ideas. In the words of a senior Googler, its like food throwing spree. Throw a lot & see what sticks. Like the philosophy of 'fail fast & fail cheap'. Sounds familiar.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Diary Nov 14th...

Nights are getting a little chilly.
Workload has been excruciating in last few days.
Attended 2 sessions of Business Law workshop over the weekend. Was a decent introduction for a novice to some basics of law.
Confusion reigns as usual - Its bidding time for 6th term courses.
blah blah...

Worst news of recent times. A friend of mine from college, roomie for first 2 years, passed away in a car accident. Had spent lot of time with him. Long conversations, long walks, were ragged together... Cant believe that he isnt there anymore. May God give peace to his soul.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Poseidon 2005 website inagurated.

http://www.isb.edu/poseidon

Website inagurated tonight. Lots of stuff to be added. Cant believe that we have come so far in the program that Poseidon is round the corner. Wish ISB MBA were for more than a year.

btw, think that somebody should blog for Poseidon. Though Bharani's blog will mirror that pretty closely but an exclusive blog would do better.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

hummmmm....

Cant help but reading atleast 3-4 articles per day on Google. Its business model, its plans to conquer the world, moves from MS to win back the web, blah blah. Its hype has got me clued on.
This article in NY times is a good summary of what Google can potentially do to many other industries :

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/technology/06google.html

back at campus, a senior guy & his team from Trilogy was here y'day. Interesting talk that. Most ppl know of Trilogy as a high end coding shop but these guys are trying to reposition themselves as a company having the ability to solve tough business problems. Their concept of 'Business Value Garunteed' is like - client pays them only if their solution makes money for the client.
btw, the guy said they are not competing in the commoditized business of outsourcing.He had a quotable quote too - Outsourcing is ' your mess for less' :-)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

22 hr workdays, Ito's (di) lemma & other things...

With Options & Futures midterm round the corner, life was expected to be bad in last couple of days. Exam, however was easier than expected. But prepping (or whatever that was) did shave off a lot of hours of sleep. Anyhow.

Lots of other things to do. ELP is moving into last phases. Client is pretty satisfied till now but we've been finding it tough to get their time & attention offlate. I took this project up mainly on the chance of making a lot of impact on the organisation we would be working with because we directly interacting with the top mgmt at their India office. The Experential Learning Project is good in some aspects even though people here have lots of work ex & they dont necessarily need all the experience it provides. So, it is a bit inefficient in that aspect but otherwise a lot of things to learn for anybody. This is a kind of substitute for normal internship in a 2 year MBA program. Am sure this kind of project offers a lot of value for both companies & students. But as with all the new concepts, industry will take some time to understand the model completely.

Had a 3 hour long discussion today over the business plan that we are making as a part of PaEV course. A '04 alum & 2 other guys had come down to discuss the same. It was a good discussion. We have made some progress on the plan & hopefully that team will take it forward from where we leave. Again, the course PaEV had lots n lots of avoidable overheads, but it forced us to look at a market in the way we normally dont do in stand alone courses.

On other fronts, am enjoying the full course meal in Marketing in having taken 3 electives this term. Lots of solid learning esp in the Marketing Implementation class. The prof - Nirmal Gupta is a stud. From the detailed implementation level issues of FMCG sales to the conceptual details of Marketing to legendary marketing stories of Indian Pharma industry to fundas in physics; you get it all in his class. People say that he is one of the best Marketing teachers in the country. A definite yes for anybody remotely interested in Marketing. So, practically, for every MBA student. :-)

The B School festival circuit is also fully active now. Having been spurred by the recent successes of batchmates, yours truly is also trying hard to get a foothold in one of the major ones. Call it peer pressure :-)

Btw, if you are still wondering what is Ito's lemma, this is what it is :

dC = [(δC/δt) + (δC/δS)µS + ½(δ2C /δS2)q2S2]dt + (δC/δS)qSdz

On coming across such equations, only (di)lemma I face is - Why on earth did I take this elective? I dont have way too much time like my friend Ford Prefect.