Monday, December 6, 2010

What's in a name? .... and that too in a MBA?

Well for once this post is not about how ISB as a brand adds value to your resume yada yada yada (it does).

This post is not about how the name of the school or the institute from where you have done your education and / or MBA matters etc. That debate we can save for a later date.

This post my dear friends is about our name (at least mine) and what kind of impact it has. While on campus and even today when I go to the ISB campus I land up meeting the sexily named Chopras, Mittals, Goenkas, Shahs, Sharmas, Kalras, Kumars, Reddys, etc etc and I suddenly squirmed at the "Yadav" tag in my name.

For entire post read: What's in a name?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Career Options and Longevity

Ever since I read the book "Who Moved My Cheese" I have always been wondering if my Job is actually the next cheese which may be moved? (Hope not)

Being in the outsourcing / offshoring industry (IT and now BPO) I have always thought that the biggest risk to my job and profile is the economic, political and military stability of India. If someday there is an eminent and real threat to any of these, then the whole offshoring industry in India can actually collapse leaving my job in jeopardy........

Full post : Does your Job have a future?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How the MBA helped ... an example

My Take on how MBA from ISB has helped me in my current job

CA + MBA - the debate !!!

While I have been posting the quintessential question of how an MBA helps, there have already been a few who have shared their perspective on the same.... So here is the take from my fellow CA + MBA friend. Enjoy

Friday, December 26, 2008

Life After ISB !!!

....the moment one decides to pursue an MBA, one starts to scout for data on who all have done this before .... and how useful it turns out to be. I remember having searched the net, the network (personal and professional) and everywhere else for this data...... As much as I was interested in reading about how to pursue this dream, I was equally (or more) interested in knowing what happened to all those brave souls who had already taken the plunge....

Does it really really pay to pursue an MBA (academically, professionally socially and monetarily). Now that it has been more than 8 Months since I flung my graduation hat in the air, I think it has been a trip worthwhile.

First Things First : Did I advance professionally by 5 Years by investing 1 Year at ISB? - Yes I surely did

Did my Pay Packet go up more than I had earnestly expected? - Yes it certainly did (in fact more than that) - maybe the fact that I was previously working with TCS might have skewed this data a bit :) - but that is besides the point

Was it worth the risk to take a professional break after 9 years of work experience, a settled married life, a kid etc etc? - Absolutely (BTW - My family enjoyed ISB far more than me)

Was ISB a good choice for me? - Again a Yes.

What would I change in this decision if I were allowed to change? - Mostly nothing, but maybe I could have done this a couple of years earlier

Now the difficult questions:
How has an MBA helped me in my career?
Do I do things any differently now than before at work?
Do I actually use any of my MBA gyaan in my current job?

So this post is a call to the dormant bloggers from ISB...... Can you help me answer the above?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A parting gift..

To The Class of 2009,

As I turn from student to alumnus, here is a parting gift; a thought borrowed from our Chairman Rajat Gupta's commencement (graduation) speech. He gave us 3 pieces of advice. I feel I should pass it on..

1. Do more:- A sign of leaders is that they are not satisfied with what is expected of them. They are hungry to do more.

2. Make others successfull:- There is no doubt that we ISB'ians will lead successful lives. But true achievement can only be had when we make others successful. Coz, on our own we can achieve only so much. If we aim to make others successful, they will make sure that we reach higher and higher heights.

3. Give back:- Society has given so much to us. Please give back... often.. however small it might be. At some point in our lives, other forms of success will become less and less relevant. Better start the habit early.

Every batch of ISB outperforms the previous batch in all dimensions. From extra-curriculars to academics.. See.. Even the 2009 blog is ten times better than the 2008one.

No doubt that you guys will reset the standards that our batch has set. Stretch hard. Listen to your own voice. Dont cheat.

Wish you the very best in your stint at ISB.


Attached is a movie clip of the graduation ceremony. Trust me guys, the satisfaction of seeing your near and dear ones clap as you walk through the aisles... is truly awesome. Check this out

Friday, March 28, 2008

Flowers of the Gulmohar

Flowers of the gulmohar,
are shed at long last.
Blood red, still so beautiful,
now etched into the past.

For one year they danced and sang
and brought merriness all around.
Now they lie yonder,
and adorn the holy ground.

The wind shall lift them now,
and hurl them into the sky.
Come hither! Go thither!
pleasing to the eye.

Spring will soon blossom,
and new buds will burst.
They will be beautiful too,
and that you can trust.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Veni,Vidi,Vici - This is the ISB !

You guessed it right- I'm finally opening my account for this year and its about the ISB ! Excited-yes.Thrilled-definitely.Humbled-surely.Determined-to succeed!

The two pics above say it all. Photo 1 shows the tridev - academia (Prof Jagmohan Raju!),Industry (current Treasury Secretary Mr. Hank Paulson, then heading Goldman Sachs)and a visionary(Mr Rajat Gupta)as they contemplated the future over a model of a fledging ISB. Cut to Photo 2 our very own Associate Dean Mr. Rangnekar breaking the good news to the ISB community at the Atrium!

I heard the news at 6 30AM,when M braked his car an inch from my kneecap while I was sweating it out on a jog(ok,I was sauntering...). Logging on campus mail brought a whole new meaning to the word thrilled ! Its a great feeling to know that the FT, one of the finest financial dailies has declared us at Rank 20 amongst the global B-Schools!

Kudos must go definitely to the group of visionaries who dared to dream and then delivered flawlessly to create the institution that is the ISB! It is the culmination of the dreams of academia,industry and the AP government which displayed tremendous foresight in bagging the institute.

The FT rankings have been drawn out of a set of considered factors,including the originality of research ideas. It is heartening to see the contributions by committed faculty being recognized on a global platform. But more importantly, its the alums who have kept the flag flying high and done much to spread the good word around. Whether its for "strategic advice" on placements, the fears of bidding to general campus gossip our folks have been around always. Thanks guys !

Lest I let this post to sound like a rambling advertisement, let me just paraphrase what Associate Dean Mr. Ajit Rangnekar had to say -" Accept it with dignity,humility,sensitivity".Guess that sums up the general feeling.

Oh and we've be promised a big party !!! N i'm sure is working out the details.Knowing her well, I'm sure this one is going to be talked about for a long time !

Here's the link !!!

Cheerio !


Monday, January 28, 2008

ISB - Global Top 20 in Financial Times B-School Ranking

The 1st Indian B-School to break into the Global league. Today is a day of pride for all Indians. Never before has any insitution ranked amongst the global Top 20 within 7 years of it's existense. This validates what we knew all along.



Sunday, January 13, 2008

The treasure inside..

Takes a million misses to get to that one bulls-eye,
but that's when you know
you found the treasure inside.

Ain't it bizarre?
it hides beneath the skin
yet takes a lifetime to see
the treasure inside.

Some bloke's treasure lies in the greatest peak in the world,
someone finds it right in his backyard,
takes time, but he recognizes the little smile
on the hungry face, peeking through his car window,
thats when he finds, his treasure inside

While the flock gets ready for the next sunrise,
to live yet another day,
a life some stranger prescribed,
oblivious to the million treasures inside,
just another brick in the big wide wall,
You ask yourself, Shall I take the leap?

Just follow your heart, maybe it will lead you to the treasure inside...


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

MyNGO - Just Help!

Here is an open request.

If our blog has been of any value to you, now is the time to return the favour. Please check out . Tell us if it makes sense. Tell us how we can improve it. I know I can count on you for some brutally honest feedback.


Chandan Panda

MyNGO Team

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Race...

The other day, when I found that I was not eligible for a particular B-Plan competition as I have grown too old.. it suddenly struck to me that somebody somewhere had turned the time machine on fast forward. I am 30!

I tried to console myself by pretending that at least I must be wiser than those at the other side of 30. So I thought to myself. What is the wisest thing that I have ever heard in my whole life..? Like any self respecting MBA, i tried to confuse myself with a framework - just to feel intelligent.

Here is the most intelligent question that I have ever heard in my life. What makes us great?

As the hunter turned into a farmer, the farmer into a worker and more recently a knowledge worker.. the context is changing. What makes us great today? The answer is probably one of those uncommonly common sense.

It is a never ending race amongst all equals.. constantly trying to be the unequals amongst equals. And not one race. But four races in parallel. And the winner takes it all. Loser gets peanuts. And one has to win all the four races.

The race to be Fit. You gotta be fitter than the rest. Trust me. The best are trying to outperform the rest, simply by working harder and harder. So with every passing year, it is taking longer and longer hours of hard work, day after day to end up in the top. Physical fitness is taken for granted. But I think it is the most basic. And think twice if you think you are fit. When I say fit, I mean really fit. Working non-stop with as little as 4 hours sleep. not for days but for months. I think 98% of folks flunk this race one.

The race to be Nice. And if you happen to pass that test. There is another one. You gotta be Nice. You gotta be the type who knows every damn thing about everybody. Who can make a crying child laugh. Whom everybody turn to when they are in trouble. Out of the 2% who pass the fitness test, another 98% flunk this one.

The race to be Smart Uh. Oh. You gotta be smart as well. Crunch numbers.. Memorize a thousand frameworks.. Solve every damn case. the 100 CAT percentile IIT types... Again 2% success rate.. Most pretend themselves into the comforting belief that IQ is actually cant practise yourself into being smart. And they flunk the test even before trying :-)

Phew.. Tired? There is one more race my friend.. The race to be Driven You have to passionate about something. Whether it is about getting mankind rid of poverty or about playing the guitar or being the best athelete. You must be the person who goes beyond logic when it comes to this passion of yours. Everything else is secondary to you. This is what you live for.

And then you can call yourself great. It took me three decades to figure out that I want to join the race. I guess it will take me another three to ace them.. Or maybe never..

Winner or Loser... we dont get to choose which side we end up in life. But the one thing that we get to decide is whether to race or not.

Happy Racing.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Supermen are so unlucky.

Have you ever imagined... what it would mean to be born perfect.. A SuperMan. It would be boring. Wouldn't it? If you were born with everything. A great singer, with an IQ of ten Einstiens and great looks.. complete with razor sharp social skills.

Don't think so? Think again. As Mr SuperMan your life would have been a drudgery of successes.. Success after success. From start to end. Everything you touch would turn to gold. Imagine going through that all your life. So drab.. Like being fed dessert over and over again and again.

It is not human to succeed all the time. We need the bitter taste of failure. to keep the fire in the belly burning. We need to feel like a loser from time to time.. It makes it easier to choose to spend that extra hour for inching one step closer to the goal.. much easier..

My dream is to constantly stretch my goals... till I fail to achieve them. That's when I dont have to fake the glint in the eye.. That my adrenalin shot.

I pray to God, that every now and then, I face failure. Like a slap in the face.. That is the only way that i will continue on the journey. And not stop.

Till the last breath.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

September Floods @ ISB

All Hyderabadis would remember September 2000, the month in which there were floods in Hyderabad. Till that time people forgot that the Musi is a river and that a natural disaster called floods can happen in Hyderabad. Floods in Hyderabad was heard only in the story of the Qutub Shah and her lover Bhagmathi. I experienced those floods first hand.

Similarly none of 430 odd students might have believed that there can be a flood of events at ISB. ISB is a place where everything is planned well in advance. Except the club activities everything else including placement week, graduation day is planned even before the batch joins.

The warm for the flood started in August itself but no one really realized that it will morph into the current situation. Yesterday I was interacting with our ELP client and he was asking about our routine and I couldn't come up with a quick answer. Reason for this is that there is routine at ISB. Everyday schedules change, new intiatives are taken, your club wants your contribution, assignments need your time but in between you have to squeeze for your personal interests too. So there is no routine. Only one thing is mandatory and that is attending the classes. Except that everything else depends on what time you can get up and how quickly you can finish your assignments. If you get up early you can go to the dining hall and have some nice breakfast otherwise you have to adjust with a toast or some noodles.

If I look at my last three days calendar, it was completely cluttered with all sorts of activities but despite all the important activities I have decided to do what I really want to do. For the first time after coming to ISB I think I have spent in a client interaction type of scenario trying to gather inputs for the project. We have spent exactly six hours - 3 hours off campus and three hours on campus, in a focused way without bothering what was happening outside.

Let me list down all the events in my calendar to give you an idea about what all is happening (we are still in the week) at ISB in this week but believe me this constitutes only 60% as I might have rejected some of the invitations:

1. Preplacement talk by an international bank equities group
2. Workshop on Investment Banking conducted by the CEO of a I Banking firm
3. Panel Discussion on Indian Retail
4. Search Marketing - Talk by a Google Sr. Manager
5. Panel Discussion on Indian Services sector, rural financing, and offshoring
6. Workshop on RFID (part of Global Supply Chain Summit)
7. Panel Discussion on Logistics
8. Discussions with Head of Private Equity Advisory firm
9. Mckinsey Structured Problem Solving Workshop
10.Session on personal interviews conducted by Alums

This is why I say,"Every second you spend at ISB is much more valuable than each rupee you spend at ISB" - value for money or value for time, something like that. Cheerio

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ye hai meri kahani…khamosh zindagani... :(

[Part 1]
“How is life buddy? You must be chilling out with the hot babes there at ISB. Kitni patai? I wish I were at your place. You are so lucky, itni jaldi MBA bhi ho jaegi teri. Give me some tips about the application,” scribbled one of my friends in my orkut scrapbook. I was wondering how beautiful ISB appears to the outside world. I was one amongst these friends of mine 8 months ago jealous of people who were already at ISB. My pre-ISB life flashed in front of my eyes for the next 5 minutes making me nostalgic. There were several ‘Unanswered’ questions knocking at the door of my mind for at least an hour now. Was I better without an MBA? I started comparing the value of happiness in my life before landing up at ISB to the expected value of happiness in my life post ISB. Am I really gaining anything here or am I here just to add another brand name to my resume? It was 0300 hours and I was sitting in my room staring blankly at the case (case-study) I was to prepare for class the next day. The case was 40 pages long and I was through with just 3 pages. I had a class next day at 0800 hours. “I am sick of it yaar. Ever since I have joined ISB, I have not had a good night sleep. People think I am having a blast with the babes here but little do they realize, meri he blast ho rahi hai. I had thought I would make girlfriendS here and enjoy the last few years ‘of my life’ (read as ‘of my life before marriage’). I had dreamt of reading out my girlfriendS’ future from their palms. Saare sapne toot gaye L . Instead of making girlfriends, I am making reports and instead of reading their future out of their palms, I am reading endless number of cases.”
Totally frustrated, I looked into the sky out of the window and asked God, “Despite being in a ‘Swarg’ full of fairies, why can’t I enjoy life here with them? What wrong did I do in life?” I got no answer. Perhaps, God has better questions to answer or he too has got into a B-School like ISB and has the same ‘Unanswered’ questions…
[Make sure you read Part 2 of this blog later this week :)]

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

As July ends..

Shots @ F Bar for the ISB party

As July ends , term 3 is well on its way to becoming another very tough term. The assignments have not stopped, and with club activities and all the finalization of electives and ELPs and PAEVs , life is just one word as of now...and not a very profound word to be blogging about !

Just finished with around 6 hours of classes and reading a 50 page case on enterpreneurship , its close to 1.00 am in the night and I still have things on my head which have been long pending. I think the only bright point of the day was India coming to the brink of its 5th test victory in history over England in England !

The weekend was great with lots happening. It started off with the party at F Bar , and then there we had our leadership session . Rajeshwar Upadhyaya , the instructor for our LDP , is just too good and every word he says in class is bliss. I will blog about some of the things he mentions in class , but I dunno how much will it be for public consumption.

Then there was another party this Saturday at the mirror pool of SV 3. The theme was " Pirates " and with the limited stuff I had to wear , I ended up looking like anything but a pirate !

Sunday was the Aikya launch. Basically , 90 very ( and when I say very I mean very very....very ) elite families of Hyderabad come and adapt one study group each. This family will remain our guardian for the rest of the time that we spend in ISB. Our family turned out to be owners of diversified businesses ranging from Real Estate to Welding products. I asked my aikya parent

" So Sir, what's your latest project"

" Oh, I and a partner of mine bought about 77 acres of land recently, so we are planning to build a mall"

I guess rich people just build malls when they are bored...mere mortals like me quit everything they have, take a loan of 15 Lacs and come and do the toughest course in the world !

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Day in My Life

0530 hrs: My new Red Merc is cruising beautifully along the Spanish coastline....!! Sylvia, my Spanish secretary…is smiling…saying something…cant hear her properly…someone honks…honks again…
0630 hrs: No.. its not a honk its my alarm bell.. Grrr.. I immediately shut it down.. the Spanish islands reappear… although intermittently.. like a flickering TV..
0700 hrs: Bell rings louder now....I wake up again.. look at the time and go back hoping the islands will come..shucks…no more Spain coming…Background sound.. “Papa… Utho papa Utho...Chai tayyar hai.....”
0715 hrs: Wife gives last call for making it to 0815 class…!! Good God.. cant a man sleep for a few hours peacefully…!!!
0725 hrs: Sleep walk… to living room… say hello to wify and kiddo..!! Sip tea… check out news..
0735 hrs: Have had a 10 minute boxing fight with my two and half year old who is busy watching CN....! Of course he does not like my intruding his very important ‘Pockeymon’ show and changing channels to news ones..
0810 hrs: Ready for the day…Corp Finance Class at 0815.. dash across the campus for making it in time.. “these watches are all going wrong.. only my watch is correct and there is still 37 seconds left..!!!”
0814 hrs: Excited and all ready for a new class.. Prof looks eager to take the class.. smiling…. more smiling… am thinking …“why is he smiling.. is there a surprise coming up.. am I adequately prepared.. ?” TA as usual is at his politest best.. deciding whether to distribute the slides or not…. junta is turning in bleary red eyed…. with coffee and water in hand.. “Shucks…why cant we have afternoon classes…huh..!!!!!”
0845 hrs: Class is touching crescendo.. and my attention level is starting to bank on the leeward side of the normal distribution curve now.. going down fast….have caught a few other people dozing off too.. Prof is still at his enthusiastic best.. orchestrating the case discussion like an artist..
0910 hrs: Finally.. the much awaited coffee break..!! While the learned few decide to pounce on a visibly exhausted prof for a ‘insightful’ chat just to ‘show off’ their tremendous international consulting experience… and ask ridiculously absurd questions… the lesser mortals like me… gather outside in the balcony.. cursing the world…!!
1015 hrs: Class is over.. am in some kind of a mental trance.. still in my seat.. wondering… what exactly did he teach and who in the world is going to help me understand all of that… someone shakes me.. “Cmon Man. Time to go to the next session..!”
1045 hrs: One more quick coffee down, plus financial times, economic times skimmed through in LRC…run for next class.. “Operations Management”.. “God..!! when will I ever learn which side is AC2..??”
1115 hrs: Am day dreaming about my venture… amidst class discussions..!! Done a few ‘seemingly important’ Class Protocols (CP’s) am now relaxing… very satisfied with myself and my class participation.. !!! Something wrong with my ears… cant hear properly what he is saying…!!
1245 hrs: Done with lectures for the day.. deciding whether sleep is better or shall I start pre reads for tomorrow or shall I continue research on my business plan..?? Decide to research.. so googling away to glory….
1345 hrs: Met with a few friends at the atrium.. discussed the deeper meaning of life.. about our existence @ ISB .. why CP is good and why it is not good..!! PaEV / ELP… the new Prof and his teaching style.. blah blah blah..!! Had my fill of small talk for the day.. so headed back for SV..a happy man!!
1600 hrs: Lunch done.... made ‘boats’ and ‘planes’ with paper and scissors with my son.. he is super-excited.. running all over the house with his new plane that Daddy dear has made…!! Its raining outside..!! Still deciding on whether I should start with pre reads…!! Naahhh.. there’s so much time left…before tomorrow’s sessions..!!!! Decide to have chai pani with biwi bachhe in the balcony..!!
1700 hrs: Finally hit the books..!! Gotcha finish something before the 7 pm speaker series club session.
1900 hrs: Guest Speaker session in AC4 LT: Talk on “Mergers and Acquisitions – The Indian Perspective” by a US visiting Professor. Went on till 2030 hrs..!! Realized my utter lack of in-depth knowledge on the subject.. mental notes to read up more on this…!!
2200 hrs: Somehow finished reading 2 articles.., 2 chapters.., spammed the batch…, made case notes.. highlighted each paragraph of the book yellow… and now its time for dinner..
2245 hrs: Dinner done.. caught up with wife on day’s events.. and was adequately ‘informed’ on how little I am a help with chores in the home.. Time for some friendly gapshap.. so hop over to neighbours place.. to discuss gyan… and plan out the movie that we are shooting on campus for which auditions are underway..!
2400 hrs: Went through the script of the movie.. its coming out great!! But.. oh God!! Already Midnite..!!! 2 assignments yet to be done..!!! Where is my study group..??? Why haven’t they called yet?? Frantic phone calls.. helter skelter…pandemonium..
0245 hrs: Somehow completed the assignment….thinking now… ‘if only I could have devoted lil more time…the assignment would have been so gr8!!!”
0300 hrs: Orkutted.. Gmailed…Yahood…Xtra Googlied… and finally crashed..!! (ohh forgot.. alarm set up for early morn… tomorrow 30 mins extra of sleep as class starts at 0845 J ..) Bye bye isb world welcome virtual world…so.. eh… which island in Spain where you talking about?? What..$12m..?? Make it 8 and u have a deal.. ok……………….?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Simple Problem - Simpler solution.

Many of us, in ISB, want to have a cup of coffee in the midst of a class break. Many a times, however, we are unable to have the coffee for the want of a five rupee coin.

We, in our class one day, were discussing possible ways of addressing the problem and the guys came up with several ‘innovative’ solutions. One of the guys suggested starting a new business venture in the ‘Supply Chain Management’ of five rupee coins, and another suggested a corporate alliance with the ‘D’ company to ‘clean-up’ the Coffee Vending machines of all their ‘belongings.’ The best and the most innovative solution, however, was quite obviously the one that I suggested ;-) and the one that finally got implemented. This solution is that of a simple ‘Coin-Box.’

The ‘Coin-Box’ solution has now been under implementation, in our class, for the past three weeks. The solution is, as the name itself suggests, a simple box filled with around fifty to hundred coins of five rupees each. The box is kept in the class daily and the students are free to draw any number of coins out of the box after putting an equivalent amount of money back into the box. The beauty of the solution is that there is no one who monitors the process or guards the box.

The 'Coin- Box' lying just like that - with no one guarding it.

How long then can the ‘Coin-Box’ continue without suffering losses or without being ‘looted’ if there is no one to watch the ‘cash-flow’ in and out of the box? Well, as pointed out earlier, the ‘Coin-Box’ has successfully been under implementation for the past three weeks (we actually have Rs. 25 extra in the box at the end of three weeks!) and I don’t see any reason for this to change. The ‘Coin-Box’ will continue to serve the students of our section (and possibly others) as long as they continue to serve the box by living up to the trust and confidence posed in them. And the chances, if any, of someone betraying the trust of the whole group look really slim to me.

Therefore, the ‘Coin-Box’ shall continue to quench the thirst of 5 (Ru)P’s in the class break to facilitate the students’ understanding of the other (4)P’s and (3)C’s in the class.

There is also, perhaps, much greater significance of this solution/experiment than the mere provisioning of five rupee coins for the purchase of coffee. There is, in my view, a very important lesson that can be drawn from the success of this experiment - that sometimes, less reliance on an elaborate set of rules and regulations that betray a sense of mistrust in the members of the group and more reliance on the general ‘goodness’ and honesty of the members can be a better of way of running a system effectively.

If the previous sentence didn’t make much sense, dismiss it as some mumbo-jumbo and continue to have your coffee. Any time you find yourself constrained for five rupee coins - just find the LT where the class of our section is held. And to answer which is our section, the class of which you have to look for, you just have to answer another simple question – “Which is the section that really rocks?” Answer this question and thou shall have thine answer.

P.S. Please do not take the ‘section’ comments seriously. They were added just to add a dash of humor. Happy Coffeeing!

The 'Coin-Box' in action

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Term 1@ISB

Statutory Warning to all future ISB aspirants:

You shall enter the ISB Danger zone at your own risk. Management will take no responsibility for loss of sanity due to sleep deprivation. You will be the official prey of predators, mostly imported from other continents, otherwise known as Professors, who will try to roast you both inside and outside the classroom. The inmates of this zone are prone to bouts of mass hysteria, especially around birthdays, resulting in involuntary dunking into the pool.

All future applicants to ISB are adviced to check out this great piece of work by Dr Dhawal Jhamb. Dont say later that we did not warn you!

On behalf of ISB - Class of 2008

Friday, June 29, 2007

Heroes amongst us.

This post is a salute to those who strive to become great. (e.g. A great lady from Section B, who ran an NGO in Hyderabad or my NetImpact club president who made his career helping people see, again). And a wakeup call for others. (like me)

In our own limited ways, we all strive for greatness. Whether by becoming the Sports Club president..Or by giving the most insightful CPs in class.. Or by being the most active party bopper in campus...

Underlying all types of personalities is a desire for being the best. Being different. Being somebody, who others almost feel jealous of.

Everybody starts from the same page. Over the course of a "lifetime", the spirit craving for this greatness grows old and feeble. For some, this ageing process of the spirit is faster.. Their spirit dies even when they are body.. Others grow old in body.. But somehow never cease to amaze others by their spirit.

Lesser mortals like us, recognize the former types as "mediocre"s. The ones who are just like any other Tom, Dick or Harry. It turns out that these mediocre types are actually the happiest. They give up on themselves. Concede defeat. And cease to strive for that one something that will make them different from the one billion souls sharing the planet. Their lives revolve around the petty issues in life. They quarrel, love, lust, envy, become slaves to selfish pleasures.. But they remain happy. Till the time the Grim Reaper arrives. Then they realize that their time was actually a limited resource. And they delivered such a low ROI. By the way, I havent come across any mediocre type in ISB so far.. (not sure about myself though). But then, when I use people like Narayan Murty, Vikram Akula as reference points, then I have second thoughts..

Think again. What makes you great. Is there something in you that will outlive you? Trust me, nobody remembers the investment banker who left a million dollars in his bank account to his third wife.. How miserable can that be. Is'nt it?

Does that mean, everybody should turn to nonprofits and become monks? Does not make sense, Right.. But I think (under heavy influence of readings of Stephen Covey), that everyone should imagine the one achievement that he wants to be remembered by.. when he is gone.. Surely there must be something that he desires to do. That makes him not like every other Tom, Dick and Harry. Chances are high, that most people will identify something that is noble. Very few will like to be remembered for their material exploits (like the promotions, academics, financial success etc).

Once there is a goal, it all becomes simple. Without a goal, everything is pointless. So before you drown in the constant excesses of fast corporate life, take a few moments. Figure out what the hell you want, in the longer run.

I would hate to end up as the mediocre guy next door. Wouldn't you?


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Life under normal curve

Before coming to ISB I always wondered what is the difference between the ordinary colleges and the premier B-schools. I tried to justify by considering aspects like Infrastructure, courses taught, Alumni network, Professors and few other aspects. But after about 2 months I have realized what's the key differentiator.

And it is "The Competitiveness." Once you realize this you will lead life only under the normal curve, not a normal life. Every aspect you are challenged and there is struggle to move to the right side of the curve not to the right side of life. Sometimes moving to the right doesn't necessarily mean right side.

Finally it started raining in Hyderabad but I really didn't enjoy the first as I had been doing every year. Every year I used to wait for monsoon so that the heat goes down and the water woes come down and I used to watch news specifically note the levels in the reservoirs. This year I didn't have time for anything of that sort. But I'm looking forward to the small pond at ISB getting filled up.

But academic pressure has taken over everything else for now. On one side we have all the professional club elections going on and on the other hand Term 2 is moving ahead at a brisk pace. The weekend has just begun for our section but so the pressure to finish the assignments.

I have started liking life below normal curve and it appears to be best simulation for me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If you decide you don’t have to get A’s....

“If you decide you don’t have to get A’s, you can learn an enormous amount in college”. Though I wouldn’t want to be inspired by this quote (From the book “My life as a Quant” by Emanuel derman and attributed to the legendary physicist I.I.Rabbi), I cannot but help wish that this was the philosophy followed by all the students in all the premier institutes of our country.

When I came to ISB, I had the notion of not wanting to repeat what we did in our undergraduate course at REC, which was to learn by rot and not understand the underlying principles. We have been, as a generation, lucky to have a booming economy waiting for us engineers to pass out of the college and embrace us in the folds of the IT and ITES sectors. But for these sectors, students passing out of the college without a firm understanding of their respective trades would have found it difficult to get a job.
In ISB, with all the world class professors, it would have been ideal for the students to try to understand the finer aspects of a subject and its application in the real world, rather than to cram for exams at the end of the short term.

Let me clarify. To a great extent, this does happen out here, the learning aspect does figure in the priorities of each and every student at ISB and the institute provides a conducive enviroment for the same, with all the world class faculties, state of the art facilities and an amazing library. The only thing that derails a student from the pursuit of knowledge is the over relevance of grades.
Yes, grades do matter and I don’t deny it.
But if grades matter with respect to how it is going to help a student perform in the campus recruitment process, then the reason for securing the grades deviates from the ideal reason for which it should have been done.I can sense that there are a lot of students in the batch who want to learn the subject rather than cram for the exams, but towards the end of the term, the pressure is so high that you tend to somehow master how to do the numericals rather than to understand why you are doing what you are doing.
Trust me. I did the same for the term 1 eco paper.
Yes, this will help in scoring good marks, but I cannot help feeling that somehow I lost the essence of what the numericals were testing me on, even though I managed to get the answer correct.

The above observations might look weird or abstract to a lot of people, so let me change track and recommend the book by Emanuel Derman for everyone who is intellectually oriented and also to those who are aspiring to work in an investment bank! :) I came across this book when it was recommended by one of my senior colleague when I was working with GS technology. The author of the above mentioed book is famous for the Black-Derman-Troy interest rate model in quantitative finance which he co-developed when he was at GS. In the book, he narrates his experiences as a physicist and then his stint at GS heading the quantitative strategy group.
Happy reading, if you get your hands on the book!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

State of Shock!

No wonder, there has'nt been any post on this blog since a while. What do you expect? 90% of the ISB population came here believing in their guts, that they are gonna end up in the top 10% of the batch, a.k.a in the Dean's list.

Term 1 Exams are over. Scores are out. Unfortunately, maths does not have any emotion. As a lot of folks figured out, only 10% can come in the top 10%. So what about the remaining 80% "junta"? As I said, they are in a state of shock.

I think I would be a "representative sample" (Thanks to Prof Stine, I know exactly what I mean by that) of this 80% crowd. So you will get the drift if you check out my story.

The day I joined ISB, I carried a lot of baggage. This baggage I had earned from my past life. Some of it by sheer good luck, a few I had actually slogged to achieve. More often than not, I had found myself amongst the more lucky ones. Then I realized, that hey, I am not lucky. I am actually a great performer. I am able to achieve my goals, where many do not..Thanks to many successes, I was tempered to believe that results are always within reach. I just have to stretch enough. In short, like the rest of the 420 individuals who joined ISB, I thought I am SuperMan.

Now, the writing is on the wall (or blackboard, you could say:-)) The truth is, I may be SuperMan. But there are 419 more of them. And you know maths does not have emotions. So you end up with 380 Supermen, who cant be supermen, as they used to be, because they are some 40 Super Supermen.

It is not something easy to digest. It is not pleasant to find out a new weakness in yourself, every damn day. Thats true. Every damn thing that you did well, there are a dozen others who do it even better. Things about yourself that you never knew, now stare glaringly at your face. But come to think of it, am I not better off now? I am.

So that is why many of us are probably in a state of shock. Some of us will come out of it instantly. And accept it. Some will accept it and fight it. I hope I end up in the latter group.

Anyways, the moral of the story is that ISB is very competitive. As an alumnus has said, ISB will give you the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.

So folks, if you are reading this from outside ISB, thinking about whether to join next year or not, trust me. You can only gain from ISB. Forget about the salary gains. I am taking about something more profound. To be honest, you have to actually live through it to understand it.

And by the way, I have requested many foks from my batch to write on this blog. So you should see more interesting stuff. If you are an ISB applicant and would like us to write about any specific thing, please leave a comment. We will try and share our views on that.


Saturday, June 2, 2007


As the sun sets on the hills beyond ISB..
As the birds fly back to their nests..
As the peacocks come out from their hiding..
As the office wallah decides to call it a day..
As the Ibanker looks at his watch – “5 hours more..”
As the city traffic swells to go back home,

(credit to: photography club)
The lights at the LRC switch itself ON
And so do the lights on the snaking paths around it..
I am looking outside from my window

Oh GOD!! What is it telling me? What is it telling me that I don’t know?
Somewhere deep within the pits of my mind, I hear a sound..
A faint one initially but then increasing in intensity…
Yes you guessed it right..
It is the sound of the small tick of the watch..
Silently ticking away to glory..
Laughing Laughing Laughing away..

Just look at them.. look at the bunch of ISbians..
Struggling against all odds to learn what others do in a lifetime
They try to do in less than three weeks..
And yet they think they can solve 8 of the allens in 2 hours flat..
They think they can tick the right ones on waterman’s gate..
That some divine grace will guide them through the finns of mark..
And AHhhh they think Piyush will give an easy one…NO WAY!!!

The watch knows…
The watch knows that soon it will all be over!!!!!
And life will be back to the three D’s
Daru, Daru and Daru…

The watch tells me another thing…what you may ask..
That the watch no longer shows time…
It shows time left… and that is 39 hours left….
What the *(!*@##!@*# am I doing writing this….
Have I gone mad….. ?
Man these admission wallahs enjoy diversity….
If only they could hear the shrieks and pains.. when exams come calling..

Man.. you still reading this??
You must be out of your minds!! GO BACK TO STUDIES>………………………..

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dunk n Sleep

I penned down this dunking anthem @ my is a shot at it going by a suggestion to post it on the C blog. Hope you njoi reading it..

Cold summer evening brimmed with wet earth,
Swell the spirits to enthuse a sense of mirth.
Talking and laughing the crowd pulls along
Chanting for the fellow a happy birthday song.

Sleepy in the classes , Merry in the crowd…
Beating the rain I called names aloud
The inquisitive and carefree,the dull and the bubbly….
All in one walked down the alley.

The waters are set awaiting a tide,
Sway the fellow ,throw him
Then run back and hide.
All attempts go in vain the hunters pull you down
They swing and shoot you,Like an air borne clown.

Swollen spirits sing the jingle,
Once in the day its time to mingle
Talking and laughing the crowd pulls back
Encore is incumbent, another day and jack.

Long live the tradition...