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Saturday, December 30, 2006


Certain lessons in life are learnt not by solving numericals....not by doing assignments....but by listening to some extraordinary speakers who can pass on their thoughts to you in a manner that your complete thought process gets modified. After attending the lectures of Jay (Prof. Joseph Russo in Managerial Decision Making) and Jay (Prof. Jay Anand in Strategy implementation), I have started loving strategy more than ever.
Some students say strategy is "no substance", but I feel the lessons learnt in such courses, if properly imbibed are much more valuable for a successful manager than any other course. And when strategy topics are instructed by orators like the "JAY"s, you just cannot afford to miss it.
As Jay (Prof. Anand) puts it
"Undergraduate students are more concerned with grades. Post graduate MBA students with no work experience are more concerned about getting the job. Experienced people who attend the lectures after work ex are concerned about how to implement changes within organization and create a better environment."
A person who has spent a few years in the corporate world is much more likely to appreciate the subtlety of these strategy subjects than somebody who has not experienced substantial work experience.
My tribute to such great teachers...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I don’t like to read other people’s letters, but some how I could not raise my eyes from the beautiful lines that my neighbor in the strategy class was writing. It was a colorful departure note she was writing for one of her friends who will leaving to Haas for her exchange studies. Such exchange studies last for quite some time and by the time the students return to ISB, the regular batch must have left the campus long back.

I could feel a kind of mixed feeling….happy because I will back to work life again…and will out of the MBA grilling….but then a moment later…I could realize how much life will change after we get out of ISB….just two more terms….and we will be out to face the real life…dispersed in different places…away from all the familiar faces.

Sorry S… for reading what you wrote…

Sunday, December 24, 2006


The solstice was concluded today...It was great to see alums of all batches till date. The alum reunion was not without advices. The seemingly wiser people did advice the class of 2007 with numerous placement related wisdom. Some people advised to take placements lightly...some others advised to go for the kill. And some others advised to value the real assets, one is likely to take out of ISB.
Two lovely parties were hosted by the alums...with typical ISB flavor. It is really nice to see the emotional attachment that our alums share with our institute.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Time for the Christmas Carol

Santa with the ISB kids

The Christmas tree of SV-1

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Entrepreneurship is always high in the radars of ISB and as a measure of the reflection, the business plan awards were recently given to three very unique business plans from the class of 2007.
1.The First Prize went to a product titled ‘Onbyx’, which enables users to receive and respond to email on their mobile phones in a more convenient way than what is currently available.
2.The second prize went to an idea called ‘Swacch Jaldhara’. The plan had conceptualised an efficient water purification method by using liquid chlorine. The team has further developed the technology to produce chlorine in a highly cost effective manner.
3.The third prize winning business model was “Media on Wheels’.This plan aims to tap into the Rs 2000 crore annual rural advertisement and promotion budget of product and service companies by using innovative content and the latest technology tailored to meet rural needs.
Kudos to all the entrepreneurs in making.


Often the MBA classroom lectures deal with the same common theme - the "process of value creation". Today was a day when I could feel a very different system of value creation...

N, R and myself had a trip to a place called Karim Nagar which is around 3 hours drive from Hyderabad.

We met some microfinance institutes and various self help groups, who seem to have benefited from the presence of these micro finance institutes. On the surface, the concepts of micro finance look so simple, yet they are such great discoveries....or shall I say inventions...the complete system of group lending and micro credit.

So many poor, uneducated people have benefited from this system…and yet there exists tremendous scope to create wealth in this process…thus adding value to all the stake holders involved. These so called poor and uneducated people even possess the wisdom to humble the so called more educated people.

One of my friends kept on questioning the methodology followed by the micro finance institutes in India…..and why our success rate is not as noticeable as that in Bangladesh….blah blah… and kept on pestering the fact that India should replicate exactly the same model as that followed in Bangladesh.
I was really amazed when one of the persons from these groups responded back in broken English “Saab…This India….Bangladesh different country…..not possible do same in India…their government different”. This person seems to have better outlook than MBA students from one of the most sought after schools of the country… Again... made me think the correlation that MBA education shares with the very basic common sense. Sometimes in the process of learning complex jargons and devising structural thinking, we just forget this common sense, which often is the most important ingredient towards developing a sensible solution.

I don’t have great passion for micro finance, yet I realize that there is something very powerful within this concept.

Friday, December 15, 2006

CLASS OF 2008 - R1

Exactly a year back, I had the same feeling, when the R1 results were out...seems like yesterday. It is so difficult to believe that one year has passed after that...and this one year has been like a dream...and the closer I come to the fact that we will be leaving ISB soon, the more I appreciate this fact. The R-1 results for the Class of 2008 are out and I wish all the admits a huge congrats. Having said that, I will suggest them to get the best out of life during this period as it will be difficult to expect such a period in life again.
For those who were slighly unlucky on a particular day....not to worry at all....keep the spirit on and soon you can realise that "whatever happens, happens for the good".

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The perceived M-Factor in the campus has left the consulting wannabes drooling. The big M posted its job a day back. The new M (first timer in ISB) is even more interesting with lot of speculations. Lots of case study booklets, interview preparation guides, case consolidations have been floating in the mail box since the last couple of days.
The first round of shortlists of G and a few other companies were announced today and people are again back into company specific studies.
The appeal of consultancies in b-schools is simply awesome. Quite a bit a glamour is associated with consultancy based jobs, apart from the remuneration based reasons. Early trends suggest that consultancy based jobs will be real hot show this year too, with some new recruiters in the scene.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Lately, in one of the classes I have been exposed to this concept called "Framing". In the layman's language, framing is nothing but the mental image given to a practical situation. Different frames provide different perspectives to the same situation. For instance, the frame which a operation person uses to view a problem is vastly different from that used by a marketing professional. This is the reason behind clashes in the two or more viewpoints and smart people know how to deal with such issues.
There is one particular issue, which has confused me. And the issue under debate is "Does luck plays an important role in the success of a person or a venture".
Well, I remember one of the professors of entrepreneurship was very much against the concept of luck. According to him, luck is a concept which is used at hindsight while tracing the career path of a successful person. But somehow, I couldnot agree with him. He looks things from his frame.
There are so many achievements, which are like jackpots. There are so many cases when equally talented people miss out what others so easily get. They follow the same trajectory, but somehow land up in different places. From my frame of understanding, luck does play a fairly important role in our life.
Two different frames...a complicated question...and a confused mind.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


1. Our Honorable Prime Minister advised us "Think global, act local".
2. My worst ever performance in any form of exams (and that includes the complete span of my academic career) , as marks of one of the courses of the last term was revealed... was nothing but expected....that concludes how poor I am when it comes to work with numbers ...completely out of touch with numbers for ages now.
3. Dada scored one of the most important innings of his career and perhaps things will look brighter for Indian cricket. What a fighter...this guy is?
4. Term- 6 is almost half way through and it will get over on the New Years day. No midterms for me this time.
5. Placement PPTs are in the process of getting scheduled one after another.
6. Some exchange students have already left and some others are likely to join. Exchange students are so much a part of ISB these days.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


One event after another….the string of the sophisticated events is just mind boggling. It started with the ILS and the 5-Year Celebrations. ISB has completed 5 years and I doubt if any academic institute has ever achieved this kind of stature within the first five years of the inception. And the Dean says that the first five years were just the beginning….the real growth is likely to happen from now….when ISB enters the second phase. With Global Logistics Summit and Entrepreneurship summit lined up, things are set to be real hot in the campus. The Honorable Prime Minister of India will be in the campus early in the day tomorrow and will inaugurate the Global Logistics Summit. Many leading industrialists and educationists from all over the globe will be there in the campus for the next couple of days to share their expertise in their respective fields.

The campus looks entirely different. There are more security officers and police officials on the roads than students. Atrium is already closed and no one is allowed to enter except a very privileged few. Classes will be suspended tomorrow morning and the dining hall is temporarily shifted to the recreation center. Our very own ISB will no longer be ours for the next couple of days. Yet, it is such a great feeling to see all these great things happening.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Often, in our group meetings, we face varied opinions. Five different people have five different ways to solve the same problem and yet none of them could be wrong. Each of these people sees the same problem from different frames, and thus unravels different aspects of the problem. After appreciating this whole concept in many of the projects which we did in groups, I feel the importance of framing, and understand the fact that, consulting different people from diversified background is more pronounced when it comes to resume reviews.

Every person who does a sincere review of your resume is likely to contribute to the betterment your resume. For instance, when my resume was reviewed by one of my batch mates from the iron and steel industry, I realized that I need to better my resume in certain aspects. Similarly, when another batch mate, this time from information technology reviewed my resume, I got to know of facts which I myself could never have thought of. Now that I have mentioned about resume, let me pen down my experience on resume making. I admit that I am at a very beginning stage of the learning curve, however no harm in putting down my understanding till date.

(1) The first thing which I learned recently is the fact that your resume is NOT the description of your job profile. It is rather based on what skills you learned during your job, and how you used those hard learned skills to differentiate yourself from others who share the same job profile. In simple MBA lingo, your resume should be able to reflect the value you added to your organization.

(2) Secondly, the fitment of the mentioned skills with the next stage of your aspiration should shine brightly from your resume.

(3) Always indicate measurable indications. Without measurable indications, things look incomplete. If you are an engineer, you should provide simple, understandable numbers so that the reviewer can estimate how good an engineer you are. The idea is that these numbers should describe how effectively you managed your team or how quickly you completed your project etc.

(4) Simplicity is again the key. As far as practicable, avoid complicated jargons. A person from a different industry should be able to understand and appreciate what is mentioned in your resume. In case you need to mention complicated research topics, which you think your resume cannot do without, then make sure to write a line which will help the reviewer to understand the importance.

(5) As far as practicable, stick to the principle of “one page” resume. Most organizations consider this sacrosanct.

(6) Some strong hobbies and personality traits like knowledge of international languages, or great social service etc. should always be mentioned. However, NEVER misrepresent anything.

(7) Know your resume inside out. Any question targeted to the resumes should be answered back in the most convincing manner.

(8) More the number of people who review your resume, the better it is.

That’s all what I can write now. More resume writing tips as I move ahead in the learning curve.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


It was moving exactly in the right direction, but something....something really crucial went wrong. The Indian cricket team which looked invincible just a few months back looks so fragile now. The star studded team looks so ordinary today. Motivation and agression are no longer the constant companions. So what went wrong? why did it go wrong? and what should be done now, especially when the world cup is hardly a few months away?

Losing confidence can be the worst thing that can happen to any person...any team, irrespective of whatever the profession or vocation is. Perhaps, the Indian team is undergoing a stage of lost confidence, from where it can be really tough to plunge back, atleast in near future. It is just unfortunate that all these happened just before the world cup.
And the impatient public is ready to roar as always. They just forget that it is very natural for a team to undergo such stages. West Indies were in a similar situation until the beginning of this year. Pakistan, with all its players in form has picked up all the lost vigour and ruthlessness in its attack. This was not exactly the case a year back. England, which almost overtook Australia is suddenly in doldrums.
It is such a tricky story....the game of cricket...or in that respect, whatever we do in life. We never know when something might go something might go wrong....without any reason. And at every stage, we need to be prepared for these kind of eventualities...from where it takes only courage and determination to fight back. The cyclical reversal of fortune is always there, however the effect of the cycle can be more pronounced at one time than other. And unfortuntely it is neither the sufferer, nor the winner who chooses this time.
Wishing Indian team speedy recovery to form.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


December is all set to enter, yet the winter is nowhere. You still need to put on the a.c. before you get to sleep. Warm clothes are stories of the past. Since the last four years, I had been used to quite severe winters...I have always loved those snowy winters.
Last year, this time, I was sailing in the freezing North Sea. It is always an experience...if you sail North Sea in the winters. North Sea is never kind...and takes immense satisfaction to be in its most ruthless form in the winter months. Rolling can easily touch the 35 degree mark when the vessel is in ballast voyage and when mixed with pitching can make life really uncomfortable. Even the most seasoned of sailors find it tough in the North Sea in winters.
It was such a memorable trip...travelled from S.Korea to Mumbai...from Mumbai to Madrid.....from Madrid to La Corona, moved from La Corona (after the dry docking of vessel R).....travelled to Vlissingen, Netherlands to board vessel L (I had seen vessel L built from scrap before my eyes...and the attachment was deepened by the fact that she carried a very sweet name). From Vlissingen, we sailed to the north and then returned back to Antwerp...travelled to Brussels to finally catch the flight to Mumbai...a one week stay in Mumbai and then again flew to S.Korea for the newbuildings.
The complete span of this trip was more than two months, but what made it so different was the 21 days I spent in North Sea...Weather was mostly chilly, but one day sun was out and the sea was not as rough. I decided to move to the bridge wings....and I wonder if I can ever forget the panaromic view in front of my eyes...the rays of the sun playing with the shimmering waves...some rare species of sea fish jumping high into the air....huge colorful sea birds flying not very far from our ship....and the colorful horizon that provided one of the most enigmatic views, I had ever come across....a rare chance to appreciate the beauty of God's creation.
That trip was tough...but in hindsight it makes such wonderful memories....more so because it was my last long trip before I joined ISB. I wonder if life can be as interesting after MBA.

Monday, November 27, 2006


We may need to solve problems not by removing the cause but by designing the way forward even if the cause remains in place”- Edward de Bono.

De Bono uses the Six Hat Approach and this approach is
symbolized by the act of putting on a colored hat, either actually or imaginatively in gearing towards the process of decision making.
De Bono's six hats are

1. White hat (Blank sheet): Information & reports
Red hat (Fire): Intuition, opinion & emotion
Yellow hat (Sun): Praise, positive aspects
Black hat (Judge's robe): Criticism, negative aspects
Green hat (Plant): Alternatives, new approaches
Blue hat (Sky): overall process, looking at the bigger picture

The main purposes of using "Six Thinking Hats" are to improve the thinking process, encourage creative, parallel and lateral thinking, and expedite the decision making by improving communication.

Lets say, the top executives of a company….why the top executives…in fact any group meet to decide on how to reach a decision. In the beginning, the members stress on Blue Hat to discuss how the meeting will be conducted and to develop the perceived outcomes of the meeting. Red Hat thinking follows to collect opinions and reactions to the problem and to develop constraints for the actual solution. The meeting can then wear the Green Hat in order to generate ideas and explore the possibilities of solutions. Next, what follows is the White hat thinking as part of developing information, Black Hat thinking to develop criticisms of the solution set, and Yellow Hat thinking to appreciate and encourage ideas.


Often we keep on trying hard to understand our aspirations and expectations. And especially when life is confined to the thought process of a b-school, this problem gets more acute. The collective opinion of peers plays so important a role in Indian b-schools that, at times, people are really confused on which path to follow. And these include people who considered themselves fairly concrete regarding their aspirations.

This fact is so evident when companies post their jobs. At times, the same person applies to different types of job designations ranging from finance to marketing roles of a single company. Often such candidates are rejected and the reason is not at all unpredictable. Multiple applications to a single company should be handled with sufficient care and be designed in a manner that it shouldnot force the recruiter to out rightly reject the candidature of an applicant.

Managing expectations is never an easy task. Temptation to achieve something big often makes people forget their skill sets and interests. Being ambitious is good, but being practical is far more important. Ambitions need to be in sync with capabilities. And the sooner we learn it, the happier we stay in life.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Incentives are important before we decide to start something and no sane person in the right frame of mind can deny this. I had certain incentives when I started this blog, and it is a great sense of satisfaction to see the number of visitors cross the five digit mark.
The first eight months of ISB travelled with the speed of light and with whatever little free time I had, I have tried to pen down my experience of being a part of the ISB system.
The period spanning the next few months will be decisive for the students. The decision of a day can change the whole direction of life. Excitement will be at its peak. Great success stories will be scripted. Luck can a play a great role in such stages of life.
I will try to capture as much of this excitement as possible as the roller coaster ride enters its peak. However, I do value the feedback of the readers of the blog and hope to get some suggestions on issues, I need to include in the future posts.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


When I need to work really hard, she comes to disturb me so effectively….When I am completely free and want her to flirt with me, she is nowhere……
She is such a capricious lady….and so easily she rules over me these days…. She comes unwelcome in the busiest moments of the day and I succumb to her needs…yet she is nowhere in the most silent hours of the night.

Come on sweet heart….I need you now….I need to sleep.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I was browsing through the ISB yahoo groups. It was a nice feeling to see people doing what we used to do last year, this time. Lots of speculations…lots of views are floating on interview cracking objectives. So let me keep this post for providing my inputs on interviews and what it takes to create an impact during the interview process.

So what does it take to convert an interview call into the final offer? Difficult question and different people have different methods of proving themselves. However certain things are important for almost kind of interviews.

(1) Remaining cool and positive throughout the interview: Staying cool and positive is perhaps the most important aspect of cracking an interview. Interview is normally a personality test. According to me, it rarely targets to test the knowledge (at least at MBA entrance level). The panel doesn’t want to know if you know the answer of something. Instead they may be more interested to find out how you react when you realize that you don’t know about something. It is very natural to get nervous during interviews and one should learn how to handle nervousness. From my experience of interviews, I feel that bringing out the picture of an optimist normally helps during interviews.
Two people saw out of the window- one saw the stars and other saw the mud.

(2) Be yourself and be truthful: Normally people try to imitate others or try to misrepresent facts. This is not a good idea as people who conduct interviews are normally very smart people and can easily make out any misrepresentations. So if you are applying to other schools don’t hide this fact. Also let the panel know of the options you have in case they ask you what path you plan to follow in case you don’t make to the school. Understand your essays and resume well enough to answer back any questions related to your application package. Mind you again, these questions are just targeted to understand the real person within you. Be frank…be soft….and be confident. Being confident is very different from being assertive. All these traits can be imbibed if you are just yourself.

(3) General soft interview skills: These are small things, but create great impact. The way you dress up, the way you enter the panel, the way you sit of the chair, the way you hold your file, the way you wish the panel…are small things but are extremely influential skills. These things provide a kind of first impression. It is a good idea to practice a couple of mock interview sessions to get a good grip on these skills.

(4) Maneuvering the discussion: This is a skill which involves maneuvering the topic of discussion to the topic of your interest. For instance, if you are interested in History, you should be able to carry the discussion towards History. This will make you more confident during the interview and will help the panel know about your special interests and skills.

(5) Don’t carry notions: It is not a good idea to carry impressions about the panel based on the experience of other people. However, it may be good idea if it is possible to know your panel before the interview. Different people have different views about the panels and so it really doesn’t make any sense to enter the panel with a bias, which is based on the judgment of another person.

(6) Get to know the panel during the interview: It is important to know the panel during the interview. Especially during the introduction, you should make sure that you don’t forget the names of the people who just introduced themselves to you, when you introduced yourself to them. Be friendly with them, but know the limits.

(7) Don’t get into minute detail of any single topic: The interview is supposed to provide an all round view of your personality. So don’t get into the minutest details of one topic, unless specifically asked by the panel. Maneuvering is important, yet it is a good idea to talk about as many different topics as possible during the interview time. This will keep the interview panel involved and interested in you. It is good to be humorous, but never go beyond line of demarcation. Never turn into a self created joker.

(8) Never be desperate: Never be desperate before the panel. If you are good enough, the school needs you as much as you need them.

This is all what I can remember on my take on interviews.


"We always have a choice,
At least I we think we do,
We can always use our voice,
I thought this to be true.
We can live in fear.
Extend ourselves to love,
We can fall below, or lift ourselves above"

"Fear can stop you loving,
Love can stop your fear.
Fear can stop you loving,
But it’s not always that clear.
I always tried so hard
To share myselve around
Now I’m closing up again
Drilling through the ground"

"Fear can stop you loving,
Love can stop your fear.
Fear can stop you loving,
But it’s not always that clear.
I love to give myself away
But I find it hard to trust
I got no map to find my way
And what’s these clouds of dust?"

"Fear can stop you loving,
Love can stop your fear.
Fear can stop you loving,
But it’s not always that clear.
But it's not always that clear…
But it's not always that clear…
But it's not always that clear…
But it's not always that clear…"

(From: "Fear and Love", Enigma)

Monday, November 20, 2006


Term-5 is almost over. Just the exams left to bring the formal close. No term break for me considering the fact that the exams are stretched over a period of one week. And my exams are schedules towards the end of the week…..only left with the traditional week end for the respite.

Five graded courses….Macro-economics (MAPI)….PAEV all these made life hectic. But the courses were great and the kind of courses I took, were both different and enlightening. Apart form the traditional finance courses like Advanced Corporate Finance and Econometrics, I had also taken a course in Microfinance and another in Real Estate and Property Finance. ISB is one of the few schools to offer courses in such specialized but potentially strong topics.

Advanced corporate finance was great , and only if I could have managed to give some more time to the cases, the learning curve would have been really great.But, this is one of the drawbacks of a one-year MBA. We are always hard pressed for time.Yet, the course was great…the cases were fabulous... and Prof Shankar De stressed a lot on the intuitive aspects of finance. The course pack is simply awesome and is a great reference.

Micro-finance is slightly different and took me away from the lectures of corporate decision making to topics like group lending, micro credits, rural India and numerous African countries where Micro finance has been implemented successfully….Lots of potential lies stored for this field in India and Prof. Shamika Ravi is successful in infusing a lot of interest.

Real estate was again different in the sense that it got into lot of technicality into the real estate terminologies. Lot of abbreviations and new concepts….CMBS…REITS…which when added to the traditional concepts of finance gives a new picture to the old world. The ppts of Prof Piyush Tiwari are huge and it demands a lot of time to prepare for the end terms.

Financial Econometrics is highly mathematical and Prof. Mudit Kapoor taught the topic in great manner…White noise…ARCH model…GARCH model…random walk model….just to name a few jargons from this course.

The course on Strategical Alliances, by Prof. Gurneeta Vasudeva was quite nice and brought different aspects of alliances. It was mostly case based with plenty of interesting readings.

That’s about my courses of Term-5.
There were also courses like Marketing Research, Pricing, Branding, Futures & Options, IT related course, Logistics and Supply Management, Global manufacturing strategy….the list is really long….and depending on the interests, aspirations and the availability, were chosen by the students.
Meanwhile, the job postings are on a rise. A singapore based health care consultancy and a couple of international software and telecom companies are the latest to post their requirements.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


One interesting trend in the international placements posted so far, is stress on general management and strategy roles. L (a European Airlines Company) was the latest in the list to post its job postings and interestingly general management was amongst the roles offered. However unlike the posts of earlier companies, the positions posted by L is more tuned to people with less/no work experience.
Term -5 has already entered its last week. It was the quickest and the most happening term till date. It ignited the excitement in all aspects - course selection, specializations, b-school competitions, placements...
Bidding for Term-6 is over. Three strategy courses and one finance courses is what I plan to complete next term...will provide more details about the courses as I get to know the contents.
One interesting aspect of Term-6 bidding is the fact that the bid for one of the courses "Corporate Mergers and Acquisition" closed at almost 1000 points. Just to remind, the total bidding points allowed is 4000 for more than 16 courses. I had bid only 600 points...and I missed the course. Considering the utility of the topic, I guess I have to do some serious self study to learn the concepts of this topic.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Each passing day is adding extra tinges of excitement. The nascent placement fever has now given way to devotional commitment on the part of the class of 2007. The interviews of DB, GS, H are in progress while those of IC (Italian Cement Giant) and N (Swiss pharma leader) are scheduled towards the end of the term. Certain companies prefer years of experience while others prefer the younger ones... with perfect logic to substantiate their stances.
Normally the manufacturing/heavy industry based giants offering a wide range of roles prefer experienced people for the diversified roles. Experience in such cases ranging from four years to more than 12 years. IB organisations have been prefering students with few but relevant experience. Also the locations offered looks very much diversified...not limited to the UK, US or Europe. One of the companies, in fact requires professionals for locations like Egypt and Kazakhastan.
This is just the beginning of all the excitement, nervousness and a new wave of enthusiasm. If this is the situation now, I can well imagine, how the heat will be in February, the month which is devoted for the real placements.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Congrats and best of luck for the final round. You have been hearing this through out the day, but this time the person who said so is very different from the others. He is one of the nine people with whom, you will competing on a fateful day for a much sought after job …..for a company which is ranked number one in its industry.. ….for a role, that can pave the doors of opportunity for you…..and in a country which has defined the definition of beauty and romanticism.
No one knows which amongst these nine people will be lucky enough on that particular day. Only for those, who make it on the final day, it matters coming all the way long, after grueling interviews. Losing in the last round is as good as not being selected for the first round itself. Either you make it or you break it. But, this is life….the irony of life. The reward is only stored for the person who makes it to the last winning spot.”

Such thoughts filled my mind as I was walking back to my quad after dropping the assignments in the drop box.
As I looked up, I saw the clear sky…. the occasional clouds were missing too. The moon looked even more beautiful than ever. And the stars were twinkling even brighter. Everything looked so beautiful….so solacing.....providing the determination and inspiration to remain optimistic...till the end

Friday, November 03, 2006


I came across this interesting metaphorical approach to Strategy. Just liked the idea of linking strategy with oceans. The very basic idea is as follows.
"Either you try to steal customers from exisiting competitors. Or, you can create uncontested market place that makes competition irrelevant".
The former concept is the theme behind the "Red Ocean Strategy" while the "Blue Ocean Strategy" defines the second concept. In other words, Blue Ocean Strategy lays stress on creation of demand.
The people behind this idea are W.C.Kim and R. Mauborgne.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The dining period is nowadays occupied with heavy placement oriented talks. Tonight, the dinner table added two other names H (a European Cement giant) and N (a Swiss Pharmaceutical giant) to the existing BT, DB and GS fever. The Citibank scholarships were declared and four very able people are amongst the happiest people in the campus. After listening to all the interesting and ambitious stories, I finally came to my quad, completed the pending assignments and as I was just about to sleep, I decided to give a look at the orkut scraps.

And perhaps the most unique scrap till date “the lucky charm hangs in my room happy and making happy”

And this scrap is from one of my friends of good old IIT days……and I am getting in touch with him after four long years……after four very defining years…….of his life. Let me write something about the "silent monk".

After I completed a year of my job, I had been to IIT Madras and that was the last time I had met him…..and perhaps that was the time he was gripping with the most difficult days of his life. I talked with him for sometime and then handed him over an oriental lucky charm, made of wood. I came back from IIT and moved on to my next assignment.

And today, after a long time….the scrap reminded me of a lot of things….it reminded the precision of the guitar of the silent monk…I am yet to meet any person from IIT Madras who can play the strings better….After years of hard work, dedication and courage to put aside all the personal sorrows he faced, today silent monk is very close to success….I mean the real passionate success which very few people are lucky to enjoy. He is just about to get his first big break into the world of music.
It was such a wonderful feeling to read his journey of last four years…..passion, dedication, ambition…..and relentless efforts. How can success evade all these qualities?

Thank you so much silent monk for remembering the “the lucky charm”. And I hope it makes you happier and more successful with each passing day.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


One interesting aspect of an MBA curriculum is giving complicated names and jargons to the common stuff and making these concepts look important. And as these seemingly simple concepts get new names they tend to develop very precise connotation that makes the phrase or the jargon very powerful. Recently, I have been regulary coming across a few such jargons, which I feel should find a mention in this post.
(1) Agency problem
(2) Adverse selection
(3) Moral hazard
(4) Assortative matching
(5) Information asymmetric
(6) Limited liability
(7) Social capital
These are some of the jargons, which I have started to admire and appreciate as they possess great power in explaining a varied range of complex issues. These phrases can be traced in numerous MBA courses, microfinance in particular.

Friday, October 27, 2006


One more birthday more year of life passed away....without a notice.....
Some great moments.....some great experiences.....and certainly great learnings.....

Good bye Year Number 26....You will always be missed for the simple reason that you were lucky to spend more than half of your tenure in this great place called ISB.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The latest buzz words in the campus are DB and GS...YES...two of the hottest brands that the ISB finance whiz kids are targeting at. CV preparation....interview preparation....attending the PPTs....reading stuff much beyond the definition of the formal syllabus....networking....some people have really worked hard and I hope they make it into these coveted names

The formal placement is still more than three months to go...Just some international placements are scheduled this term....Yet the change in the atmosphere is so perceivable.... Focus groups are busy with their respective ambitions. Aspirations have given way to ambitions...and...close ties have taken the shape of competition....This game is so much a part of life.Even the best of friends have to be competitors some day...and the MBA education lays the formal path for this.
I do have a feeling that the next 4 terms in ISB is going to be very different as compared to the first four terms. Competition will not be limited to the CGPA. In spite of all this, people are ready to help each other with CV preparations, mock interviews and all such things...Perhaps this is the best part of the system...."cooperation in competition".

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Life, at times, proceeds through confusions, irrespective of how concrete you are as regards to your future careers and options. As the bidding time draws towards an end, I can feel all the confusions that evolved out of nothing, are slowly beginning to evaporate.

In the beginning of the last term, I was planning to specialize in Finance and Operations. (ISB allows the option of dual specializations). Confusions started with the introduction of a new and appealing area called “Leadership and Strategy”. “Strategy” is a powerful and glamorous sounding word and such was the temptation to specialize in this area that I decided to drop Operations. So mostly the courses I chose shall have a strong affinity to Finance and Strategy…and hopefully this decision will help me move in the direction I have always wanted to.

As for Term-5, I have decided to make my life slightly more hectic, so that I can enjoy better times towards the close of the ISB tenure. Four finance courses, one strategy course and one special lecture on Indian Macro finance….that’s the subjects I will be dealing with, this term.

The four finance courses are Advanced Corporate Finance, Financial Econometrics, Real Estate Property Finance and Microfinance. The strategy course is based on “alliances” and deals with the wonderful or rather powerful concepts driving the creation of successful alliances. The special course on Indian macro finance is lectured by none other than the master himself…..Dr. C. Rangarajan.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Inside the shallow waters of the Kea channel, she is sleeping a peaceful sleep today. She was supposed to be more glamorous than her elder sibling; however destiny had something else stored for her. She had lost her elder sister when she was not even ready to face the severity of the oceans. And her well wishers had decided to make her stronger and safer. She was all set to be the most glamorous thing to have touched the human eye. But the world war followed and the young lady decided to wear the look of a nurse; instead of following the the young, bubbling senorita-look of her sister. Same shape, same figure, same raw beauty...she looked so much like her elder sister…yet she was so different. No Picasso paintings…no rich architectural splendors within…no rich tourists….no magnificent dining halls… ball rooms… only nurses and patients and the very basic amenities for her safe survival. But fate decided to play the same unfortunate game with her. She did not survive long enough. Her enemies accused her of transporting military supplies and torpedoed her on her sixth voyage, while she was on route to Mudros, on the Greek island of Lemnos to pick up the allied casualties. The majority of those who died were killed when their lifeboats were sucked under by the still-turning propeller as the stern started to rise out of the sea.
That’s the story of the unsung younger sister of the ill-fated transatlantic super liner TITANIC of the White Star Line…..and her name was BRITANNIC. Not many people know that both TITANIC and BRITANNIC had an elder sister named OLYMPIC who lived a full life of almost 25 long years with eventful roles during the first world war.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


(1) The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

(2) So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?

(3) It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings.

(4) Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.

(5) Evil requires the sanction of the victim.

(6) I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

(7) God... a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive.

(8) Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

(9) A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.

(10) The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.


It is so nice to be back at home after 6 months….Nice to wake up half-asleep and browse the net in the same drowsy manner which I used to do before I joined ISB….Nice, to begin with the orkut instead of the campus mail…..Nice to begin the day with some funny orkut scraps instead of some mail which reminded that the deadlines of the three assignments are on the same day.

“The city of Temples” looks slightly different. With huge foreign investments all set to enter the state of Orissa, Bhubaneswar is beginning to develop that new look. It was so difficult to imagine a pub when I used to do my schooling and +2 here (of course, it was not a great idea to imagine about pubs at that age), but with so many software companies and star hotels around, the glamour factor in the city has received a boost. Most likely in another couple of years, scores of multinationals will have their offices here.

Time is flying and in a couple of days I got to travel back to ISB. Oops….the Term-4 reflections has not progressed in the way, I expected, but I promise to cover them all once I get back to ISB.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


The campus which was unusually busy until yesterday is very silent now….The long term break (9 days instead of the traditional 5) has tempted many students (including me) to take a long vacation. The more studious ones and the people who are tempted to participate in business school competitions are busy with their business plans and case study preparations.

As for the Term- 4 reflections, let me share a personal mission which I set during this term. ISB is one of those Indian B-Schools that stresses heavily on developing softer aspects of management. Leadership development programs and numerous workshops are quite regular within the campus. Consultants from organizations like Mckinsey are kind enough to spare some of their time to counsel the batch.

I don’t know the best way to learn soft skills…most probably it is likely to vary from person to person. One way, which I feel can be useful is “learning by observing”. One can learn from the professors who teach at ISB, the professionals who counsel during the leadership development sessions and even most of the students. A resolution which I made during this term is to pick up a single impressing trait from each of these people and try to develop and master with time. If someone stays within the ISB campus for one long year and still don’t manage to better his soft skills, I must say that he/she has missed one of the most important aspects of learning that this place offers.

Friday, October 06, 2006


One more term over…..The usual reflection time once again.

Not a bad idea to start with the academics….. Term 4 turned out to be very different from the traditional terms. The stress was on concepts like ethics and the softer aspects of management.

Government, Society and Business was covered by Prof. Mudit Kapoor and Prof A.K.Shivakumar. There couldnot have been better people to teach this topic. Consider any top international social organization, and you can trace Dr. Shiva Kumar’s name…UNICEF…UN…..Policy making bodies of various countries including India…..Harvard….Kennedy School of Government….there is no end to his credentials. Not many people have the ability to mesmerize the listeners with topics like poverty, unemployment and human development. It was a great experience to understand the views of someone, who has first hand experience of the social and economic impacts, happening throughout the world. Prof Mudit was responsible for infusing the initial interest into an otherwise drab topic. An awesome orator….I must admit.

Now coming to IT Strategy, Prof Rajiv Banker was phenomenal while covering the strategies followed in the leading IT companies. Professor Sandra Slaughter who continued the second half of IT has a lovely way of delivering her lectures. The softness with which she deals with people often hides the fact that her name can be traced in Guiness Book of records for long distance cycling…and this is just the beginning of her extracurriculars which includes professional SCUBA diving and climbing mountain peaks.

Management of Organisations was extremely theoretical…course documents were shared by Prof Mary Watson and Prof. Dishan Kamdar…The course was quite unique, stressing on the nature of organizations, negotiations, decision errors and similar stuff. In the hindsight, I feel I should have given some more efforts to understand this topic better.

Now coming to the only numerical course....Investment analysis….Prof Tom Noel and Prof Ramana sonti shared the syllabus. Prof Noel reminded me of the phenomenal Prof Finn, who took Financial Accounting in Term-1. Prof Ramana Sonti is one of those professors who combines elegance into simplicity…very simple way of teaching and yet so powerful.

Thus, in terms of academics, Term 4 turned out to be quite different, yet quite enriching.

Time to close this post now…will be back soon.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Quite a few days since I last dropped a post....Well, its end term time.... and the good thing is that I will be taking my first break off ISB, after the exams. It has been four terms already...half of ISB is almost done with...yet I have not taken a holiday from the ISB schedule. One reason is that I was so much used to the "6 month work and 21 day" vacation schedule of my earlier job life that I didnot miss home. But now that the cycle effect has already set in, I am just restless for the next week to get over.

Placement fever is slowly picking up in ISB....An early indication of the list of international companies likely to visit looks more impressive than last years batch...The interesting trend is that these companies are hugely diversified....ranging from oil majors to chemical majors...from investment banking firms to IT....from steel majors to shipping majors....and even the locations are quite diversified....from Italy to Malaysia....from the traditional UK and US to Hongkong. The story is getting more and more interesting with each passing day.....will be back with more stories soon.
The traditional sections are all set to dissolve in another two sections will be formed as soon as we enter the 5th term...the term that introduces us to the electives.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Dil dhoondta hai”…yes…this was the title that K gave to the video he compiled out of some of the most memorable snaps that we had collected over the period of last six months…..I don’t remember how many times I have watched the video in the last couple of days….but each time I watched the video, it gave me the feeling that I am going to miss some of the finest moments of my life which I had been used to since the last six months…

We did not even know each other, 6 months and a day ago…..But now as it is time to part…I wonder what made all the people to be in that mood that evening……I never thought that the meeting will enter deep into the night in such a manner…I could literally see tears in the eyes of H and A….. K was so different from his usual self…although in his typical silent and dignified self…..I don’t know why S kept on moving out again and again…just smoking cannot be the reason…and V….V has always been the kid of the group…he is even more innocent than a kid…..I cannot forget the way he kept his hand on H trying to console her….

We are so different from each other. But somehow the frequency matched real well. It is real complicated stuff….. You never know why you like somebody…why you tend to miss certain people more than others…I have always believed in the “Law of negatives” and most likely this was the reason….Each of us was different…..extra-ordinarily different…both emotionally and professionally …but one thing that was common to all of us was the sense of mutual respect. No friendship….no relationship…can thrive without mutual respect. So was our case.

When I entered ISB, they said that business education is not likely to give you great friends…..Today, I really doubt the authenticity of the statement….Here are my greatest assets that I will carry out of ISB…five people, on whom I can trust more that myself…..throughout my life.


Mckinseys.....BCGs.....AT Kearneys.....the info sessions are in full sway. This is what one of the alums of the class of 2006, who is presently working at AT Kearney had to share. From the words of AW

"Around this time…last year…when I was in your position…I read this somewhere…and wish to share the same with you…

What do you believe in
Every single day of your life
Every morning that you wake up
Before you rub your eyes
Before you sip that coffee
Before you live the day
Before you retire after it
What do you believe in…

The more I get to know your batch the more I am impressed…with the experience…the talent...and the enthusiasm. And for me, the distance between your present and the future that YOU shall carve for yourselves will be determined by “what do you believe in…”. Go figure…and get started right now

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The much awited TIE-ISB Connect is now well on its way after its inauguration by Chief Minister Y.S.R. Reddy. All the budding entrepreneurs....dont forget to follow the happenings of India's largest entrepreneurial networking event. More details can be traced in the following link.

As usual, the ISB campus boasts of the top delegates including the top CXOs of the some of the leading organisations and many leading venture capitalists of the country. Entrepreneurship has always been high on the agenda of ISB and the mega event is just a glimpse of the spirit.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Information Technology, with all the associated strategies, has been my favorite course for this term. Some of the most intricate strategies, that are normally not so visible, look quite appreciable. “Moore’s Law…. applications of “Two sided Network Externalities”… “the strategies which took Intel to the top”…… “the mistakes which IBM made to give away its leadership position”….."the strategies followed by Google" are among the numerous interesting aspects of the course.

Information Technology finds its effect in the shipping industry as never before. Gone are those days when the mariner used to trust the pole star and his binoculars to guide the ship on her way. Today, sophisticated RADAR systems, auto-pilot systems, DGPS systems, electronic charts, scores of application software involved in the daily operations of the ship, powerful LAN networks, global anti-piracy systems, VSAT networks that can power internet to the high seas and numerous other innovations define the level of dependence that the ship has developed on IT. Even anti-pollution measures are closely knitted to the innovations of IT. Every minor incident happening on the ship can be monitored thousands of mile away.

Under such a situation, the modern day mariner or a naval architect has no choice but to keep himself enlightened about the environment created by IT. Undoubtedly, IT has converted the rough and tough world of shipping into a suave and technology-savvy industry.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Like to the Pontic sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
To the Propontic and the Hellespont,
Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
Shall ne'er look back.
(Othello, 3. 3)
Sometimes the vision gets so blurred for a moment....control over self is lost....a momentary fit of rage destroys everything....

Am I trying to be philosophical....nope.....just trying to learn the importance of not letting oneself fall into the trap of that momentary rage which is the source of potential destruction. It may not be possible to remain away from anger...its just not possible to be a human being and not succumb to rage.....But it is this moment which dictates the most defining aspect of ones personality....

Hopefully, some day I can learn the trick..... so difficult to learn.....yet so important to learn.

Friday, September 15, 2006


So…the time to close one more chapter is around…just 15 more days for Term-4 to end, and along with it,the core terms. People don’t want to miss any of the activities of this countdown period. Term-4 is kind enough to provide time for late night weekend parties....and no one likes to miss these parties.

Even the lecture theatre moments are filled with a kind of excitement which keeps on reminding that the days in the respective sections are numbered. There is this concept of “X – Day” where X can cover any word that suits your imaginations. Last week Section F had this day called “Funky Day”. Let the snap in this post describe what Funky Day means. Even the exchange students are a part of all the fun. The memory of these days are sure to bring forth a smile in our face, years after we leave this place.

Birthday celebrations are no longer confined to the pool time story but extends deep into the night, with lots and lots of celebrations. The birthday dunking concept is such a sweet thing. This is one time which brings so many people together in the most informal manner.

The kind of bonding that has developed here over the period of last six months is beyond my imagination. Section F will be not exist after 15 days, but the memories will always stay for ever. Group F-6 will remain no longer on the paper, but the spirit of F-6 is going to stay forever. Never did I laugh as much in my life as I did during the group much life…so much fun….that added the much needed charm to those continuous night outs.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Since the last couple of days, I have been coming across revelations after revelations. For the first time, I decided to give some serious time to ORKUT networking and the outcome is beyond my expectations. Some very old contacts renewed and some great changes discovered….. Discovered that the person who was the source of inspiration for all of us during my school days is presently in Wharton doing his MBA…..Realized that one of my friends, who could never manage to get his love in India, finally managed to find his sweetheart in an alien land under extra ordinary circumstances….found that some of the little kids who used to run around in school playground are grown up enough to enroll into Phds.....and many such cases.

Life has changed for all these people….for some the change has been completely dramatic....for others it has been as expected....Getting reconnected to so many people is a great feeling.....looks like I am getting addicted to ORKUT.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Celebrating festivals is a part and parcel of ISB life. Most of the credit goes to the spouses, who take care of all the meticulous preparation that ensures the celebration of all festivals. Like every other festival, Onam was also celebrated in ISB with all its tradition.

It was indeed a treat to watch the Onam trademark blossom from scratch. The process involved so many things...from meticulous mathematical calculations to special artistic skills. Though I had seen the final version of the art on numerous occasions earlier, this is the first time, I got a chance to appreciate the complete process.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Today morning on the breakfast table, Major, Jammer, Gomez and myself had a discussion which made me rethink the topic again and again during the whole course of the day. So what is that helps in instilling an ideology….an culture into any concept?

Major was sound and clear. It is not possible to create a great learning environment just by making attendances compulsory…just by making the Honor Code all powerful…just by concentrating on grades. Unless a person himself realizes that he has to respect the Honor Code, not by compulsion but by choice, the culture cannot be created. Unless the student himself feels that he is missing something not by attending the lectures, it is no point synchronizing grades with attendance. I could see lot of point and depth in Major’s contention.

But then, when Jammer is around, things get real interesting. How is it possible to instill such culture into Indian students? Will it be a good idea if the Honor Code system is discontinued? Under such a situation will students have an incentive to invest the best of their abilities into the assignments? The Honor Code was never there when ISB started. But the situation forced the creation of such a committee. And if attendance is not made compulsory, then will classrooms wear the same look as it does now…..may be it will…..may be not.

While Major and Jammer kept the discussion on, Gomez kept on meandering, sometimes supporting Jammer and sometimes the Major. And I kept on wondering why is it so difficult to create a culture without forcing a person to do something. What does it really take to create that culture…the kind of culture that exists in the big names like Harvard and Wharton?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


After the dreamy hibernation of the term break, it is time to attend the lectures again. Term-4 looks so different from other terms. Apart from “Investment Analysis”, the courses look very much theoretical. The names of these courses also sound different from the typical ISB courses-

1.Government, Society & Business
2.Strategic Analysis of Information Technology
3.Management of Organizations
4.Investment Analysis (the only numeric course)

Looks like not much number crunching this term. The courses are more aligned towards understanding the sensitivity of various organizations and people. Some of the cases are linked with the concepts of Sociology and Psychology. After the exhausting sessions of Corporate Finance and Operation Management, it is time to understand the softer aspects of management.

Term-4 brings the real placement fever into action. People aspiring to work as investment bankers and in similar roles have plenty of reasons to smile…..and why not…with some of the biggest names lined up as early October to grab those finance whiz kids for their international recruitment.

Monday, September 04, 2006


As I closed my eyes, I could hear the magic of her violin. I could see that expression in her face as she used to lose herself in getting the best out of the strings. I remember how easily she used to snatch the violin from my hands to play the tune so that I could understand that there is something called rhythm which separates music from noise. She could not speak my language and I could not speak her language….yet I could understand what she wanted me to understand….perhaps that’s the power of music.

Music is such a wonderful concept….so divine….so pure….so platonic. It has the charm to create a desire within you…it has the ability to quench your confusions….it has the ability to carry you in the pursuit of the eternal happiness….. Away from the confused materialistic world….to the corridors of serenity where you can sit down for a while….forget the daily mundane stuff and submit yourself completely to your subtle self.

Someday, I hope I can play the violin as I have always wanted to. Someday, I wish she will be there by my side…not to snatch my violin to let me know the real rhythm…but to listen to what I play…with a smile on her face and with her eyes closed.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


You hear a song…..and you feel like hearing it again….and again…The desires of the heart....
You think about something…..and it is just not possible to come out of it…..The imaginations of the mind...
You try hard to understand…..and it is not possible to fathom the depth…..The reality of the world...
Immeasurable…..inefficable…. unfathomable…’s the story of illusion...The power of truth

Friday, September 01, 2006


"Keys to imaginations" didnot get enough contribution from me in Term-3. The reason being I dedicated the time I preserved for blogging to appreciate the creativity of other blogs. I doubt if there is any blog related to ISB and I have not read it.

In this term, I discovered three blogs during this period which possess a creativity, beyond the figments of daily imaginations. Two of these belong to my batch mates while the third one belongs to an amazing friend of mine who is presently undergoing his MBA in INSEAD. The links to these blogs are - Ironic , Dhi only one and Sandith.

While the first two blogs are not very much into the technical details of ISB, but they do possess the freshness of the morning dew mixed with the complicacies of the sweetness of human emotions. Really nice blogs.

Now, coming to Sandith's blog, let me write a line or two about Sandy (as we call him). He was three years my senior in IIT......was my senior colleague during my job...... and more than all these, a great friend. Anyone interested to know about life at INSEAD can follow this blog.

Sometimes, I do admire the power of blogging. Initially I started this blog just to capture my journey in ISB, but it has turned out to be a wonderful networking tool. I have come to know so many people through this blog and hope that the number will only rise with time.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Now, let me give an idea of the courses that we had in Term-3.
We had Corporate Finance, Operation Management, Entrepreneurship and Managerial Accounting. We had Prof. Suren Mansinghka for Corporate Finance while Operation Management was handled my Prof. Ram Bala. Prof. Mansinghka is amongst the oldest professors at the moment while Prof. Bala should be the youngest in the line. Entrepreneurship was taught by Prof. Venkat and Prof. Rama Velamuri. Prof. Sridharan and Prof. Nainnar took the Managerial Accounting lectures. Needless to mention that it was a great learning experience, thanks to the perceived practicality of the topics and the skills of the professors.
"Corporate Finance" was amongst the most difficult topics till date and the way Prof. Suren handled it, was great. It is never easy to teach a highly conceptual topic like Finance. The one liners that Prof Suren used during the lectures still possess the freshness to bring back a smile on my face as I quote some of them.
If your one leg is on fire and the other is on ice, by the law of averages you should be pretty comfortable.
You see there is nothing called partial pregnancy. (to explain that Finance is very precise and unambiguous)
Tell your debtors that you are planning to marry a professional girl and see how happy they turn out to be. (while explaining the impact of merger on lenders)
Patience, my friend, patience…patience is the biggest virtue……I am coming to that. (whenever some sharp brain gets ahead of the lectures)
Friends…I will try my best to keep you awake…and you should do your best to keep me awake.( at the beginning of every class)
Each of his lines has a deep practical concept hidden within, as applied to Finance.

"Operation Management" was an equally useful topic and considering my profession I could directly link it with what I was doing during my job. From Quality Management to the Toyota System, from inventory handling to flow theory, this course introduced us to quite a number of concepts. “The Goal”, the novel by Goldratt, was also part of the syllabus.

"Managerial Accounting" was mostly numbers to begin with and the magic it possessed was not appreciated by me until recently.....very practical topic in real life management, especially while preparing annual reports and understanding the complexity behind them.

"Entrepreneurship" was highly inspirational. It was based on a variety of case studies that introduced us to the basic building blocks that goes into the making of an entrepreneur. It introduced us to different kind of entrepreneurs and their approach towards their dreams.This course also acquainted us with the basic jargons and terminologies associated with Entrepreneurship.

Alums had informed that Term-2 and Term-3 were the toughest as far as the academic rigors are considered and I am so glad that these terms belong to the past.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


When we stepped into ISB for the first time it was summer and yet the campus looked amazing and well maintained. But now, with the rains, the campus has worn a new look. Everything in the campus looks beautiful. The adjacent snap pictures the roads in ISB.

The paths which we take to reach our respective lecture theatres from our student villages. The variety of botanical samples surrounding these paths can invite a researcher interested in studying rare species of plants.

This snap pictures the SV-1 (the student village, where I stay) from a distance. The boulders, lush green lawns, the vintage chairs on the lawn and the wooden bridges...all of these remind me of the European countryside.

The adjacent snap presents the ISB academic center from a distance, as viewed from the road, that surrounds the architectural splendour. The garden surrounding the academic center is a real treat to the eyes.

Term-3 was accompanied by the nature's grace which has provided such a look to the campus. For years to come, the beauty of this campus is likely to stay in our memories and remind us of the great moments that we are enjoying now as ISBians.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Term 3 ended today. So it is reflection time and my next few posts will try to picture some of the important aspects of the term. The term passed rather fast or that is how I felt, especially because I wanted it to proceed with a slower pace. In the absence of topics like Marketing and Markstrat, life was much better. Topics like finance, operations and managerial accounting were extremely practical while the inspirational case studies from Entrepreneurship were always a treat to read. I will try to give a much better image of the courses in my next post.
Three terms have already passed…sometimes it is really difficult to keep track on time. Only when something gets over, you realize that it is over. You complain about the process…you complain about the rigors…you complain about the ruthless academic schedule….but at the end when it is over, when you have a free unoccupied evening, you realize how valuable the effects of the whole process was. Suddenly everything which used to be so dull and colorless appears to have left a colorful and indelible mark in the attitude.
ISB sounds so silent at the moment. Some people have left for their homes and others are out to enjoy the vibrant night life of Hyderabad. You can easily trace an ISBian in any of the popular hangouts of Hyderabad….be it the popular waterfront or Prasad cinemax or TDS. Life cannot be sweeter than this.

Friday, August 25, 2006


ISB is a kind of mini-world where the total population includes all those associated with the institution. This mini-world has its own spirits, ethos, aspirations and desperations. One thing that helps in defining all the emotions of this mini-world is “grades”. “How important are grades?” This always will remain a complicated question to answer and different people will have different diplomatic ways of answering.

But the concept of grades is nothing new. Starting from primary school to MBA curriculum….in any Indian educational system, we can find the concept of grades occupying the prime slot. But at the end of the day, do your grades really matter?

Recently, I came across a very old school-time friend. This person used to be in the bottom 10% of the class. Presently, he is an officer in the Indian navy. This is just one of the many examples where people who don’t have the official grades, but they are in no way less successful than those who have great grades.
The same story holds well in IIT also. My branch constituted 23 students and thus 23 ranks and 23 different grades ranging from the best to the worst. If we go by the universal definition of success, I don’t think I can single out one person who is more successful than other till date. The toppers are doing great in research….the middle graders are doing great in stable and handsomely paid jobs…..and the lowest graders are doing great in exploring new avenues and have been fairly successful in whatever they have tried. The basic point which I want to drive home is the fact that grades are not that important as the Indian education system has made it look like. When you are in a school or any educational institution, you can feel the ubiquitous concern for grades. But once you are out, you seldom find the time to look at your grades again.

The story in ISB is no different. But one thing that has been frustrating me lately is that the undue importance given to grades sometimes kills the real purpose of an MBA education. There are people who just cannot speak any topic other than grades and I just cannot describe in words how irritating it can turn out to be in the company of such people. Especially after being in a profession, where practicality is more valued than the text book stuff….where the people are much more emotionally matured than a fellow who is almost in tears because he missed A grade for 0.5 points, I find dealing with certain people beyond my capabilities.

Where else in the world can we find this mad rush for grades? As they say…”It happens only in India”.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I have not given a count on the number of cases which we have prepared so far, during the first three terms of the ISB schedule. Some of the cases are inspiring…some others are average and a few of them are even boring to some extent with their high quantitative content. But, the last case of “Entrepreneurship”…Harvard Business School case on “The Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, India: In service for Sight”, has made me think really hard.

Normally, the entrepreneurship cases are filled with a high emphasis on Venture Capitalists, angel investors, politics and government, high technology stuff and last but not the least the passion to make profits. But here is this case where the entrepreneur mixes passion with spirituality, success with the desire to serve humanity and an appeal with a mission.
Dr. V as he is addressed in the case, is none other than Dr. Venkataswamy, who started the Aravind eye hospital after retiring from the Government services. He revolutionized the way cataract is treated in the country, and got back light into the lives of many.

Here is something, directly from the words of Dr. V (as presented in the case)

What I learnt from Mahatma and Swami Aurobindo was that all of us through dedication in our professional lives can serve humanity and God. Achieving a sense of spirituality or higher consciousness is a slow and gradual process. It is wrong to think that unless you are a mendicant or a martyr you cannot be a spiritual person. When I go to the meditation room at the hospital every morning, I ask God that I be a better tool, a receptacle for the divine force. We can all serve humanity in our normal professional lives by being more generous and less selfish in what we do. You don’t have to be a “religious” person to serve God. You serve God by serving humanity

What makes me really admire Dr. V, is his ability to transform his motto of life into success with such immaculate perfection. Such cases does question the real objective of life..the real objective beyond the passion to make profits...beyond the desire to grasp power....beyond the board rooms...and beyond the tangible measures of success.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Accounting is not amongst my favorite MBA topics, however lately I have developed a kind of fascination for the topic. Not because the degree of my liking for the topic has changed but because I come across numerous occasions where I can see the “magic” of accounting. Be it Financial Accounting or Managerial Accounting, the fun always exists. You want to change the cost of your product…change the theory of accounting…. and voila….your product suddenly looks so cheaper without any change in production technology. You were running into losses with your product… apply Activity Based Costing in your accounting book and see the change which will bring back your good old days. You can play with depreciation and save taxes only to realize that the net income has fallen while taking care of the depreciation. These are just a few examples of this enigmatic subject.
Modern day Accounting is much more than just maintaining the accounts. It is much more of a decision making tool which can change the complete look of the financial situation of an organization. And the interesting fact is that sometimes the games of accounting cross the borderlines of ethical business… and this is when the biggest frauds of corporate world are scripted.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Sometimes, perception is so different from reality. You think something, perceive it as you want and it gets imprinted in your mind as your self-designed conceptual entity. This is very much applicable to the concepts of corporate finance. Before joining ISB, I always had my set of notions about concepts like “borrowing” and “lending”. I had my understanding of stuff like “bankruptcy” and “cost of capital”. But, now I realize how different my perceptions of these concepts were, from the reality.
“Corporate finance” has been deeply insightful. It brings forth the real intricacies of the corporate decision making process. Concepts which were always a half-understood phenomenon to me are now slowly evolving into their true selves. Bonds, shares, dividends, equities, debts and their roles in dictating the policies and the strategies of the corporate world is becoming more and more evident. The varieties of betas, expected returns, cost of capitals, discount rates is not very clear at the moment but things are moving in the right direction. NPV, WACC, APV calculations can be so effective in decision making.
Further interesting is the fact that, I can see a link getting developed between these concepts and the way these concepts can be applied to a ship sailing in the high seas (of course in my own imagination). A sailing ship is very much similar to a company by itself. By all possibilities, all these theories should be applicable in developing the strategies for the ship. Shipping companies buy ships, they sell ships, and when the ships sail, they depreciate. Ships are chartered…sometimes "time chartered" and at other times "spot chartered". I have a notion that NPV calculations and risk analysis must be the tools that specialists in this domain must be playing with regularly. Stocks, dividends, bonds, shareholders are so commonly used terminologies is ship finance. Finance really helps to see things from a completely different angle. Hopefully, some day I will be using these tools to decide the future of a ship.
Again, this is my perception of the industry. Reality might be different.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


It was such a lovely evening yesterday. As I lied down on my bed and looked out of the quad, I could see lot of people around. Little kids with bright colorful attires were playing in the SV-1 garden, realizing very well that their parents will not forget their long-due promises that they made a week ago. I could also see happy spouses (normally wives), most probably discussing how to spend their evening with their husbands. It was also the busiest time for the usual cupid-hit couples walking on the path, which is slightly away from the best public vision. Autos and cabs are busy within the campus and it was time to take a break from the typical schedule. Term-3 mid term is over.

The garden looked beautiful….The colorful setting sky with broken clouds added to the charm. And the frequent flights which take off from the Hyderabad airport always lend a marvelous touch to the charm when they cruised through the clouds. With the monsoon, the lush green campus looked like a velvet carpet with the exquisite botanical samples lending an ornamental touch.

But not all people were so lucky to lie down and appreciate the beauty of nature. One of the biggest seminars on “Corporate Governance” was hosted by Center of Analytical Finance. The professors and the students of the finance club had a really busy day. Both the mid term and the seminar were scheduled on the same day. Many top finance leaders and CEOs of blue chip firms were in the ISB campus and it was golden opportunity for the students of the finance club to learn from the big guys. More details about this can be discovered in

So that was it….half of term-3 officially over….

Monday, August 07, 2006


I tried really hard to concentrate on all those finance terms which have given me absolute nightmares…..but somehow was unsuccessful….Nothing abnormal…This was bound to happen if you see a movie like RDB on a Sunday evening. This was the first time I saw this movie. Can I say that I was little depressed after watching the movie?

At times, when the mind is ready to appreciate things worth higher than the traditional concepts of an MBA syllabus, let me borrow some lines (from the “Wings of Fire”) which Dr. Kalam has so magnificently used in his book. Really helps to get back into spirits and move into the real world.

"This earth is His, to Him belong those vast and boundless skies;
Both seas within Him rest, and yet in that small pool He lies" (Atharva Veda)

"All beings are born to delusion...overcome by the dualities which arise from wish and hate...But those men of virtuous deeds in whom sin has come to an end, freed from the delusion of the dualities, worship Me steadfast in their vows" (Bhagawad Gita)

"Beyond the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the shadow" (T.S. Eliot's Hollow Men)

"Beautiful hands are those that do
Work that is earnest and brave and true
Moment by moment
The long day through" (From Kalam's diary)

"If you want to leave your footprints
On the sands od time
Do not drag your feet." (From Kalam's diary)

"We create and destroy "
And again recreate
In forms of which no one knows" (AL-WAQUIAH)

Saturday, August 05, 2006


It is both an exciting and inspiring experience when we read a book on the strategies of world war or watch a movie giving a glimpse of corporate board room strategies or hear an entrepreneur elucidating the strategies he followed to get his company to the present status. If we consider the ambience of each of the situations, we can safely conclude that they are vastly different from one another. A corporate board room shares very few similarities with a dreaded battlefield. An entrepreneur is no general in a literal sense. However, there exists an uncanny similarity in the underlying game of strategy, which can be so uniformly applied to any of the above situations. Here are some such quotes.

(1) Strategy is the art of making use of time and space. I am less concerned about the latter than the former. Space we can recover lost time never. - Napoleon Bonaparte
(No one will agree to this more than a present day successful entrepreneur)

(2) I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action. - Fidel Castro

(3) In Critical and baffling situations, it is always best to return to first principle and simple action. - Sir Winston S. Churchill

(4) God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.- Voltaire
(5) Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. -John F. Kennedy

(6) Intuition is often crucial in combat, and survivors learn not to ignore it.- Anon

(7) When a general complains of the morale of his troops, the time has come to look at his own. -Marshall

Friday, August 04, 2006


Can India replicate the magic which China performed in the manufacturing industry?
Gone are those days when “Manufacturing” was limited to a factory or shop floor where machines were manufactured. Modern day manufacturing is now more linked with international trade and national ecosystem. Retailing, shipping, food processing and packaging industry and several service sectors are now looking towards the theories of manufacturing and operations for efficient performance and value addition.
Thus, if India has to catch up with China in the manufacturing, it has to undergo a complete transformation in the bureaucratic structure of organizations. Getting used to the complexity of the global competitiveness and maintaining sustained competitive advantage are important. Getting habituated to concepts like “IT-enabled modernization of customs and port operations”, and “optimal supply chain solutions for infrastructure development”, calls for a complete transformation of work culture in the Indian context especially in the public sector. Better concepts of resource management have to be applied in the industrial context. Innovation can no longer be neglected. Concepts like lean manufacturing which are limited to international auto subsidiaries should be extended to other sectors also. The magic of effective supply chain management should be appreciated and applied in the real context. Though all these don’t look so easy at the moment, yet experts are quite upbeat on the prospects of India picking up in manufacturing.
A high level international summit on manufacturing (Summit on Indian Manufacturing Competitiveness) is currently underway in ISB, with global manufacturing heavyweights and industry leaders delivering their experience. The presentations of the host of CXOs and the top professors provided a unique opportunity to get an idea of the strategies adopted by the top manufacturing organizations. It is a great experience to learn the strategies which companies like Crompton Greaves, Deloitte, Jindal Steels, Saint Gobain Glasses and Sundaram Clayton followed which provided them with the competitive advantage. The following link provides further details of the seminar.