Monday, June 29, 2009 

Asking Rate

I recalled today that for over two years now I have been trying to get into an MBA program. I applied to a few places, spent a lot of money and here I am today at Lucknow. With around 50k spent in those 2 years and 1000k in the pipeline for the next 2, I realized that I have already gone behind the eight ball in terms of ROI. There are of course two types of returns you can look at from an MBA program – professional and personal. The former is much more a function of the institute you go to, the latter is pretty much within your control. So my main contention right now is the professional returns.

I have thought of why I am doing an MBA program a million times, trying to come up with colloquial excuses. One of them talks about learning and knowledge and another says structured approach and so on. The one thing that I perhaps need to reinforce having reached an MBA program is to not give it away. This program is not meant to be a break for two years, I am paying a huge amount of money for this and I better make a conscious effort of giving it the due seriousness and importance. It is like the many things in life that when you get for free you don’t care, but when you have to pay for it, suddenly you are more responsible.

For a major part of my affiliation with cricket at IIT, I was not very good with the bat. But after a certain point I just had to come up, I was the captain of the team the most experienced and I had to set standards. There is only one thing that I told myself ball after ball every time the bowler ran in, head down and get forward. I didn’t exactly set the field on fire, but I ended up with a decent show with the bat, one I can be proud of.

The present realization is bringing out the same type of action. It is time to realize that I have a responsibility on my hands and least I can do is to accept it and act on it. I think this time I know why I am in the middle and so I can see and seize the opportunity. The action plan will still not be to score a high CG. But to do simple things such as attend classes, try doing assignments, take an interest in the course. Of course I have never had great expectations from myself. As long as I can satisfy myself with my effort I will have nothing to be disappointed about.

By the way Lucknow is a real mixed bag. All my impressions about this place, the institute and people here can be premature but this place has some of the very bright to not so bright people. I have been amazed to see the kind of apprehension very experienced of people have here. It is not to say that they will not score good marks. Scoring marks is a different psychological paradigm. But the presentation skills, intellectual content and vision of life has been very good to very bad.

Take this for example, in our induction by the seniors (whatever you call it) we were asked some basic HR questions for a resume. One of them was around an ethical dilemma. One of the studs wrote – “there is white woman and black man in my company. White woman sue the black man for sexual harassment while the black man pressed charges of racism to the white woman. And I had to decide which one of them was right.” Stuff classics are made of. The other big problem here is that there are a lot of maddus here. No offence to these guys, they are individually a nice bunch of people. But they are just so many of them. And that tag is almost synonymous with IT. Not just that it kills diversity, it kills interaction as these guys and girls find comfort in forming their own groups. Picture this for example, one of our professors asked us to make groups of six which should be rich in diversity such as different institutes, companies, regions, cultures etc. I was walking out of class when I over heard a converstation between two girls. One asked – “hey did you get a diverse group?”. So the other replied – “Yes we got a pretty diverse group, but only thing is there is nobody from north India. Other wise one is from Bangalore, one Hyderabad….”. and you can imagine that when this is a group’s profile they must all be IT.

Before I signout for today, one last piece of information. Everyone must have heard of cp, acp, dcp and the likes. Well there might be a million better examples of acp than this, but the following is the best I have come across so far.
Prof. – In quantitative analysis we will have 4 quizzes, 2 normal and 2 surprise quizzes.

Student – Ma’m will these quizzes be written or oral? (Saucy!!!)


Friday, June 26, 2009 

New Ball Taken

The first week at Lucknow has been hectic and tiring. The temperature here hovers around the 45 degree mark more often than not, and I have to spend most of the day in the sun and when I get back to my room I realise that my fan doesnt work very well. Its a little tough to sleep at night with all the heat. The constant dose of lectures, workshops and assignments don't help the cause and it is said that that will continue for a long time. Its perhaps the change in lifestyle which makes me a little uncomfortable. So it would be too early to say that I am not enjoying it.

The part that I am enjoying here is the local language. Although the general lingo in delhi is what I am used to, the UP language is something that I feel very comfortable with. The 'aap' 'hum' 'tum' 'lijiye' 'dijiye' is very fascinating against the 'tu' 'tera' karde' 'dede' stuff in Delhi. And Gurgaon is even worse. When I talk to a stranger, young, old or my age, I address them as aap. It is therefore a home like feeling for me when I hear those words in return.

As far as the MBA is concerned, it is again to early to call anything. I do feel though that I am not made for the college kind of enviroment. There are two reasons for that. One, I certainly can not be part of a rat race at this age, when I didnt join it when I was 18. The other thing is that the college, campus environment is a little laid back with less pressure and stakes which can make me drift away further from the main objective. In the professional world it is easier to concentrate on work, because you don't live with your colleagues so general conncect is less.

I guess this is just a cooling off period for me, before I join the professional world again. And as time goes by I will realise the importance of this break and rewards it will give me for life ahead.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 

Pitch Report

With only a few days to go to Lucknow, I am trying to soak in all there is in this lovely place called Delhi, and there is a lot. For the best part of the last 25 years I have lived in this place and it is quite the home for me. It is a little sad to leave this place, but I know as I wander around to other places I will come back to Delhi with more love and affection for this place.

On the other side, in Lucknow, my batch is apparently the 25th batch at IIM L. Apart from being the silver jubilee batch there are some changes to the course which are really worth celebrating. I talked about a relaxed attendance rule before I think. Now we hear that the classes will only be 5 days a week, instead of 6 earlier. I am not all excited and elated, because for now it’s just plain relief of getting a break from a dead-end job.

The kind of farewell I got from colleagues and the nice time I have always had with friends in Gurgaon made my exit from this place very smooth. The three years in this place have been an experience worth living. I wouldn’t really say that if I had to live my life all over again I would still come to Gurgaon. But keeping in mind the fact that you can’t have everything in life, Gurgaon was a good place to be.

Living in the heart of UP will be another experience. The meteoric shift from the land of tu-tadak to the land of pehle-aap, will be quite a culture shock (wah waah!). But not so much because UP is like a second home for me. I was born here, so I know the place and idiosyncrasies inside out. But Lucknow could be a little different from Jhansi and Ghaziabad. I have only heard of the nawabi ways of this place, it will be interesting to actually live through them. Of course that will depend on how much my program allows me to exchange with the outside world. From what I have heard about it chances are slim. But then again its me.

So all in all looks like we’ll have decent game. If I spend a little time in the middle I am sure things will become easy.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009 

Writing on the wall...

No I am not going to talk about Dravid. This is just about how I feel right now generally, not in a bad way but a good way. It is very rare that India plays a crucial match and gets into a very strong winning position, from where the victory becomes just a formality. Although this has happened a few times lately with the new captain, but for the time I have seen cricket it is rare. I feel a similar emotion, where I am just waiting for the fat lady to sing so that I can collect the stump as a memory of the victory.

I remember transitioning from college to professional life. I was very much into blogging at that time and I wrote how I felt there was an impending declaration. My final year was just stretching too long and I just wanted to get out of it quickly. I was hoping for some sort of mutual agreement that captains have for calling of play one hour before scheduled close of play on the final day, if they saw no result coming. The feeling right now is a bit different. Positive.

This time I know pretty much what to expect in this phase and have some ideas of my own on how I plan to go about things. Which is why it’s not just about getting out of ‘jail’, but it’s also about starting a new ‘innings’. When I came to IIT I made a tacit promise to myself that I will have a good time and spend most parts of the day on the field. When I joined my job, I thought of working really hard and giving it everything to any assignment I get my hands on. Three years on, I am thinking of which way to go, and considering the kind of course I am pursuing, it’s safe to say that I will be some where in between the first two ideas. Cheers!


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