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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Next week....this time....guess what? The end terms will have got over. But one long week stands in between, to torment. Two more days, and the lectures of term one will be over. That means, it is time to say good bye to Prof. Waterman, Prof. Raju, Prof. Finn and Prof. Vohra. Amazing professors...... great teachers......and I am sure the students of ISB are going to miss each one of the seven professors who took the lectures of term one.

One thing that is striking in ISB, is the rise in the number of guest lectures in ISB. Two very eminent personalities visited ISB in a single day today......Dr. Roulac (CEO, Roulac Real Estate) and Mr. Barjatiya (belongs to the same clan of the famous Rajshree productions). Time constraints didnot allow me to attend both... and I restricted myself to Dr. Roulac's insightful talk. People who attended Barjatiya's talk were also impressed a lot. Real estate and media are steadily emerging as hot topics of interest amongst ISBians.

As about the ISB campus, it is as beautiful as ever. To witness and admire the beauty of the campus we have so many new guests.....yesterday I met one of them on my way back....a long, colorful snake, happily relaxing in front of SV1. The peacocks have got to be smart now and the frogs got to be careful.


Saturday, May 27, 2006


If somebody asks me on what my favorite topic is then it has got to be “Psychology”. I understand wholeheartedly that the most interesting concepts in psychology are the concepts pertaining to the women. However, if you reside in this place called ISB, and that too a week before the end terms, it is not a great idea to limit the scope of the interest. Consumers in business are no less important (no harm in talking like a marketer). Here are some “two-word phrases” which are of great significance in Marketing. Earlier, I used to perceive that these marketing jargons are meant to confuse people. Now I admire the elegance with which these phrases are associated with. More I link these concepts to the real world, the more I appreciate their utility and value. Here are a few of these phrases. Only problem is that, I donot have sufficient time available to understand these concepts to my satisfaction.
Brand equity
Price premium
Price sensitivity
Economic value
Contribution margin
Optimal design
Consumer preference
Product attributes
Market share
Assessor model
Market segmentation/targeting/positioning
Customer acquisition/expansion/retention
Product differentiation,
Unilateral incentive

Thursday, May 25, 2006


There is always more than one possible way to define the same stuff. For instance, I can either define this period in ISB schedule as either “one week post mid terms” or “one week prior to end terms”. Well, that’s summarizes the ISB exam patterns….an exam every 15 days and around eight assignments to separate one exam from the other.
Mid term results are more or less out. Some people have done really great while others have scored more than their expectations. I don’t feel like writing about the people who still crib that they could have got more.
As time progresses, the excitement of exams is likely to go down. When the same thing happens again and again everyday, however tough and traumatic it may be, it becomes a part of life. And at the end of the day it is this “trauma” that explores the nascent capabilities and strengths that lies hidden within every individual. I can remember the statement which all the esteemed people of ISB used during the orientation week....."trauma transforms". Now I can feel the strength of this phrase.
It is raining outside at the moment and this, along with the week end, has got the mercury level down. It is such a nice view outside, as I look out of my quad. The exotic main building of ISB sits outside as majestically as ever. Not many activities happening around tonight….. and with no parties, it is not a typical ISB weekend. The campus is too silent tonight….perhaps bracing for an eventful tomorrow. However, the silence around has the effect of the typical enigmatic mysticism, which I have always loved and enjoyed.

Monday, May 22, 2006


One fine day, God decided to create Adam (Man). Few days later, he decided to create Eve (Woman). After that he decided to relax and passed on all the rights to Adam to decide the future of world. Adam was so much impressed yet confused about Eve, that he decided to play the role of God and go ahead to create something as interesting and confusing as Eve. With this in mind, Adam decided to work hard towards his goal. Unfortunately he couldn’t replicate anything like “Eve”, yet came very close towards success in his endeavors. There were two things that Adam had invented by this time. Guess what…. One is a “ship” and the other is a “computer”.
Now the ship is as exquisite as Eve with all the aesthetic curves and charms. Adam kept on admiring his abilities and skills every time he came close to the ship. When Eve was not around, only thing that could fill Adams heart with almost the same fulfillment of admiration is this invention of his.
Now coming to the computer….Adam did a great job in inventing the computer. Just like Eve, it made life so easy for him. Any tough work in life….just pass it on to the computer and it will do it for you… just like Eve does. But sometimes it is so difficult to predict anything about the computer. Almost as confusing as Eve… though not more. Adam has experienced this so many times in life. Sometimes, he comes with the sweetest of the red roses to meet Eve only to receive the nastiest of thrashings. At other times, he is in a real hurry, while Eve is determined to make things worse for Adam. And when, she is in a good mood….whoop….Adam need not really describe what she can be up to.
Whatever be the situation, but one thing can not be debated…..Adam without Eve is like a poet without emotions. Eve is always there to help out the ever confused Adam in whatever he does. Eve is always more sensible in her feelings and emotions which Adam often overlooks, yet she is always there whenever Adam needs her the most. But still....Adam finds very little difference between the psychology of Eve and that of a computer........Why is that so?

Sunday, May 21, 2006


As fifty percent of term one is over, it is changeover time for the professors in ISB….. time to say goodbye to Prof. Robert Stine, Prof.Asim Ansari and Prof.Amit Bubna. While Prof. Richard Waterman will continue from exactly where Prof. Stine left and will delve deep into the concepts of regression, Prof. Jag Mohan Raju will be our new marketing professor. Prof. Rakesh Vohra has already started with his lectures on pricing and oligopoly (I hope I have spelt the term correctly).

The rate at which assignments are to be submitted is ever increasing with a huge positive slope. It has been just a day after the mid term, yet not a single soul has any great plan except continuing with the whole bunch of these assignments. But, I must agree to the fact that doing these assignments is one of the best ways to learn and keep the tempo with the fast pace lecture hours.

In spite of the hyper hectic academic schedule, the intersection football tournament is under progress. Section F is already in the semis, thanks to the really spirited performance of the players. The finals are scheduled in the evening.

The GSB president is already elected. Now it is time to elect the directors of the committee. I sincerely wish all these people a great tenure during their stay in their respective offices and do a great job for ISB class of 2007.

It is time to search for ELP project team members. It is not possible to undertake a project without deciding a team. So I have to find at least three more people who will be interested to undertake the project with me.

One important piece of information from ISB admission committee…. ISB will no more accept GRE scores from next year onwards (Class of 2008). The ISB will join the board of GMAC. So all the aspirants, who are banking on GRE should start their GMAT preparation.

Friday, May 19, 2006


The mid-terms are over. The result turned out to be a complete disaster, especially the economics paper. The only reason why I don’t feel the effect is because I was used to single digit scores during my undergraduate career. But, one thing I have noted....while in IIT days I used to be so sad and dejected after a disastrous exam, I feel no despair in ISB. Thats... I feel is the impact of age and the realisation of long term futility of grades. A long line of assignments are pending for the weekend. No way am I going to touch them today. Tonight belongs to the party hosted by the Spouses Association of ISB. And I have reasonable evidence that the spouses are great cooks. So a great evening is in the cards.
As I look back, I realize that I am more than one month old in ISB. Close to ten percent of the ISB life comes to an end. Life has witnessed such a big change in this month. Meeting so many people...….transitioning back to lecture theatres….learning from the great dons….writing exams…..realizing the value of time.
At the same time…missing those great friends who were such an integral part of my life, just a few months back….missing the exotic views of the lovely ships….missing all the travel which I was so much used to……..missing the free time I used to enjoy during my job.
No regrets however…Nothing in a free lunch and to get something, one has to sacrifice something else. What is important is to make the best use of the stay in ISB. One of my priorities in ISB is to develop the ability to apply the theoretical concepts to the real life scenario. How can the concepts that looked so elegant to listen in the classroom going to help me when I come back to work life again? One good way, I feel, is to ask oneself “Could have I applied this theory which I learnt today to solve the case which I faced a year back while I was in the workplace. How differently would I have dealt with the situation, had I known this theory then?”
I am trying hard with this formula, and I hope that time will help me to learn better. Now that I have mentioned the word “time”, I realize that it is time to appreciate and admire the talent of the spouses who have tried so hard to arrange this party for all of us.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


One fine day, a great brain of the section decides that it will be great idea if the whole section turns into a beautiful collection of Indian ethnic wear. And the result was so evident in the very next day. Section F is blessed with lovely ladies and do I have the abilities to describe in words how they looked in the traditional Indian dress? The guys too did not lag behind. In fact, the range of colors and the variety of designs of the kurtas could have given any designer a run for his money.
Well, now coming back to the real happenings in ISB, it is the approach of the mid terms that is ruling the mindset of all the people. And why should it not? The first mid terms of the first term... While most of the people are drenched in this examination fear, there exists another bunch of students, who are interested to hold the “big posts” of ISB. Yes, the election time is closing in… so it is the time to choose all the presidents and the secretaries who will represent the class of 2007.
That’s it for now…..Will write in more details as the mid terms ends.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


The day went perfectly as per schedule.... The progress of assignments has been satisfactory considering the fact that we still have more than 24 hours to submit. This tempted me to plan a highly ambitious agenda for my night session (basically the period from 10 pm to the time I sleep).....The highlight of the session was to attend the Bday party of J, as Sunday begins......and before that I had planned to complete atleast 2 of the ever increasing stats chapter.

But at 2 am in night, I feel like kicking myself? Neither did I complete a single page of stats, nor could I attend the bday dunking of J. And nor did I do anything substantial that could give a reasonable justification of why I couldnot stick to my earlier plans. I came back to my quad after dinner and decided to take a short and sweet nap before I resume all my activities. But sweet naps can seldom be short. And in the process of enjoying the ever-green sweetness of the nap, I missed all the great things happening at J's place. And , now that I am awake, I can see mails carrying the celebration snaps floating in my mailbox. Atleast, let me enjoy the snaps.....

Friday, May 12, 2006


Before we complete just 15 days in ISB, we realise that the mid term examinations are just around the corner. Students are well aware that Economics and Statistics grades are heavily dependent on these mid terms.... and not to forget those regular assignments, which consume the charms of the weekends.
It is really interesting to see mid-career professionals spending time so diligently with these business concepts. The "doc" who was used to anatomy, endoscopy and similar terms is busy understanding the concepts of marginal analysis and supply-demand curve.... while the "Major" is busy analysing the latest concepts that will successfully launch a new product into the market. The "Master of the ship" is no more worried about the safety of the ship, as he has to worry about how he should master the confusing names of numerous accounts that Prof. Finn has been teaching. The IT guys seems to understand Statistics better.... while sitting diagonally opposite the CAs seem to be enjoying the accountancy which they have done so many times, before coming to ISB.
Come next Friday, and we get to know how these varied individuals will fare against each other. But one thing for sure.... competition is getting tougher with each passing day.


F section photo sessions were scheduled today. It was a real treat to watch Section F in complete formals. I never used to like formal dresses when I was doing my graduation. But, like many other things in life, this perception of mine has also seen a change. I do value the significance of being formal (and a formal attire is very much a part of it) in real life business world.
Coming back to the ISB photo sessions, these photos will be featured in a book which is named "Recruiters guide". This book will provide the basic details of the class of 2007 to the potential recruiters.
After the official photo session, we decided to capture some informal moments of this formal occassion. And the models that consitute section F were busy posing in front of the camera. The output was a vast collection of snaps that captured one of the most memorable occasions of this year.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


How does an ISBian feel in the statistics class while he is attending the lecture of Professor Stine?
ISBian (declares with expressive eloquence): Statistics is an absolute beauty (In fact, nowadays I find it more beautiful that the beauty of my dreams). I never thought that I can appreciate so many things now. Give me a chance, and I can be an excellent portfolio manager. If you want to test my quality management skills, you can consult me to prepare the control chart for the latest microchip in the market. In case you want me to do some marketing for you, I can take the complete responsibility to provide you with all the details from sampling to breakeven. Just give me data, and I can create magic out of it. I can even predict how the stocks are going to behave tomorrow.

How does the same ISBian feel when he decides to use his latest skills to solve last year’s mid term paper?
ISBian (completely confused): I was wondering which “mean” to consider for this case. Should I consider the “sample mean” or the “process mean”? Why I am thinking about mean, may be “standard error” is the right catch. But I can see “standard deviation” given. What is “standard error” then? Is it a “typo”. No way. Professor Stine and “typo”. Are you crazy?...What is "sample variation", and how is it different from "simple variation". What is meant by "spreading of risk"....completely blank. May be I have to start all the topics from the beginning to get to know what “statistics” is.

This is the situation with most of us in ISB. I am really amazed by the way Prof Stine handles this topic. When you are in the class, you feel as if you have understood the minutest details. That’s the magic of this class. Just like you watch Sachin Tendulkar batting and feel that batting is too easy. And when you handle a bat (as you play against the local team that plays in your backyard), you realize what the real thing is.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


It’s high time I should introduce F-6. Not that I have not introduced them earlier, but I feel the real intro of F-6 demands much more than what I have written earlier about the 5 Gods (including me) and one Goddess. Such is the aura of the Goddess, that her mere presence derogates the Gods to the level of mere mortals.
Today these esteemed people decided to meet (to do something constructive). And what can be more constructive than completing the marketing assignment, the submission of which is due in a day. So A, S, H, V, and myself decided to meet in the cool quad of K. It’s a really cool quad, thanks to the visibility it provides to all the interesting things happening in the nearby quads.
The discussion started with some calculations, some perceptions and some imaginations to re-discover the marketing caliber of the collective team. But imaginations ruled over perceptions, and perceptions ruled over calculations, and soon F-6 realized collectively…..What the hell are we doing here?....Should such a beautiful evening be sacrificed brooding over marketing stuff for some company whose existence is under intense debate.
“A” decided to saturate himself with a couple of bottles of Kingfisher and started narrating the exciting moments which he used to enjoy in oil rigs including his experience of being on an oil rig near AP coast when the tsunami struck hard. K and myself felt really obliged to the Almighty for the kindness he bestowed on us by making sure A was absolutely unscathed by the tsunami and thus making his presence felt in F-6.
While A, K, and myself were busy discussing our past experience and moments, V and S were busy in persuading H to host a small party for us. Now, about H, she is an amazing cook…. makes really good “aloo-parathas” and other stuff in her quad. But for some unknown reason, she shares the output of her culinary skills with the whole world minus F-6.
In the meantime my phone rang, and by the time I joined back the team, they were on their way to the dinner table of Sarovar Plaza and guess what….the last traces of marketing discussion has completely given way to antakshari. I realized that all the F-6 people are damn good at antakshari and this time they were determined to bring this fact to the notice of the whole ISB. The antakshari continued…. and classic self compositions from K added to the already jubilant mood of F-6. It continued in the mess, it continued on our way back, it continued for yet another hour on the lawns near the ISB main building….. and in a volume that made sure that nobody within a radius of a hundred meters would miss it. And for the rest of ISB… they had no choice, but to listen and admire our skills.
Finally we returned back to our quads…… who says we did not do anything constructive…. I am sure 80% of the ISB knows us now… Voila.....Nous sommes F-6.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


At 2’O clock in the afternoon, I forced myself to get out of my dreams and walked my way to the lecture theatre, where this “Leadership Development Program” (LDP Program) was supposed to take place, for my study group. Earlier groups had mixed reactions about this program and by all probabilities, I had prepared myself for one of the most boring sessions of ISB.
At 7’O clock, as I am writing this post, I realize that it is one of the sessions which I can never forget, thanks to Mr.Aroon Joshi (our counselor) and my group mates. After every 360 degree survey (of a group member), Aroon insisted that the group mates should also comment on the strengths and weaknesses of a person. I was under the impression that 3 weeks is not well enough to know a person to successfully judge him or her. But here there are six people who seem to know each other for years.
Some are extroverts… others introverts. Some have great networking skills…..others prefer the silence of their own self…..Some are emotional ….. emotional enough to express their emotions… others can so deceptively convince to the exterior world so well that they don’t possess those “emotional stuff” within them…..Some are assertive…others ever ready to listen…Some so well-organized in life…..while others enjoy “shoes lying on the bed” concept.
And all these traits are distributed amongst only six different people. And here we are, discussing what it takes to make a great leader. Some people need to slightly change their approach to life, some others need to build on their strengths and add extra feathers to their caps. After all, all of us are leaders in making.
But somewhere within the individual, there is a restless desire to remain happy and satisfied in life. Now “the path to be a leader” or “to remain happy in life”…. are these two things mutually exclusive or is it like, when we force our self to change (to develop leadership traits), do we sacrifice some of our natural individuality….
I know “there is always the scope for betterment” theory which everyone so avidly applies. But “betterment” (I always believe that betterment is only the means and not the end) is again a relative term and often we find that ideas of great leaders normally clashes. Hitler was a leader and so was Churchill. And no one can dispute our very own “Father of our nation” as a great leader, yet none can forget the aura of Subash Bose. And still these leaders were so different from one other. That clearly suggests that leadership is a very independent characteristic that is innate to the individual. And there cannot be a B-school definition for a "leader". So what is it, that takes to inculcate the real spirit of leadership within? Is it more effective to work on the strengths which one individual possess and can develop easily, or is it more prudent to pick up those skills which can be picked up without any serious change in innate nature (assuming that human nature is changeable). Or should we walk on the third path…. working on our “drawbacks” and trying to develop them with time and experience, which might put a lot of mental and social stress, in this process.

Normally I don’t think about concepts like “leadership”. I am much more happy living my life in the way I have wanted, without any restraints. What is more important for me? “Being a leader” or “remaining happy”. Well, if both these concepts come together, then nothing like that. But if asked to choose only one, I feel I will go for the second option. After all, life offers only one chance.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Not long ago, the best and the brightest of the India's business thinkers had written off Indian railways as the Government's biggest "liabilities" (Now that I know, what "liability" means in Accountancy, I must use this word with further caution).There were suggestions that railways be privatised and corporatised. But then came a man to lead the railways and the rest is History. Yup, I am talking about Laloo Prasad Yadav. A few days back this name was synonymous with Bihar and its plight.Today, it is synonymous with Indian Railways.

The transformation journey of Indian Railways has turned out to be amongst the most striking business revolutions in the country. How did Laloo manage to handle this revolution? What did he do that transformed the Railways?.... and that too without any hikes in fares (in fact, there has been a reduction of fares). These are amongst the few questions which the b-school dons are trying to understand. And not surprisingly, IIMA is likely to introduce the "transformation" of Indian Railways as a "case study".
And the "CEO of Indian railways" is there to help out the B-school dons. In his simple language, "capacity utilisation" has done the magic. I am sure, the policies of Laloo will be the central idea behind numerous business research and journals.

Not only Indian universities, but also top universities abroad are amazed by the aura of this man, whose rustic charisma is beyond the grasp of many. The Harvard university school of social science and London School of Economics are amongst the universities, for whom this man is a topic of intense research.


So finally....Four days of the week come to an end. And the informal weekend starts for the ISBians. I call it "informal weekend" as it doesnot exactly reflect the fun-filled weekends which most of us were used to, before joing ISB. There are enough assignments to make the next three days busy.... not to forget sessions like "Leadership Development Program" which are scheduled for Sunday. However all this doesnot stop the students from taking a break from the kind of life it has been since the last four days. Movies.....Parties.... Paradise biriyani are all lined up to bring that much needed respite. It depends on the individual how much fun he can derive from the host of activities that are all lined up for the next three days.
ISB is known for the professional diversity of students......However the psychological diversity too demands a mention. Some people have turned out to be more serious than what I estimated them to be. Some others prefer to bring out a more lively image of their personalities. There are others who normally prefer to maintain a low profile and I am sure we will get to know more about this category of people during the placement season. There are also an extremely determined bunch of people, who are determined to find their life partners from ISB and have started their focussed approach from day one. Again there is this "cribbo" bunch who cannot stop cribbing about the minutest happenings of life. Then, there are this selected few, who are the "professors in making".
Enjoying this psychological diversity is another aspect of my stay in ISB.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


In my last post, I was talking about "decision making" with respect to a manager. But, then is decision making the prerogative of a manager.... well, may be.... when we talk about statistics or economics or accounting or marketing.
But as we take a silent plunge into our very own personal lives, we can realise how many decisions we take..... and how important a role they play in our personal lives. Sometimes life is kind enough to provide sufficient time and data, so that we can weigh all the pros and cons of the situation and come up with a prudent solution. At other times, things happen so quickly, that we barely realise that life has already taken a decision for us. Whatever the case may be, life moves on and we follow the rythm.
Now, that I have mentioned the word "rythm", let me come out of my philosophy to venture outside back into the lecture theatres of ISB. As the number of lectures keeps adding on, the students are getting tuned to the statistical eloquence of Professor Stine, the structured marketing approach of Professor Ansari, the accounting skills of Professor Finn, and the economics jargons of Professor Bubna. These professors may be very different from one another in their teaching skills, yet they are able to instill a sense of "beauty" to the respective subjects. And at the same time they make sure that we appreciate this "beauty" well enough......and how do they do that? Through assignments after assignments after assignments.....just endless. And now let me get back to one of those assignments.....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Its not "Marketing"..... It is "Marketing Management".
Its not "Statistics".....It is "Statistical Method for Management Decisions".
Its not "Economics".... It is "Managerial Economics".
Its not "Financial Accounting"... It is "Financial Accounting in Decision Making"

Yes, these are the names of the courses which we are supposed to clear in Term1. I was wondering what the logic could be in complicating the names of these courses.....It could have been short and sweet.
But as I attended the lectures, I realize how important a role "decision making" plays in the career of a manager. Now, to get a management degree, it is not enough to learn the formula and theories.....It is just not supposed to work if we restrict ourself only to learning without developing the skills to use the learning for taking real life decisions (not my statement, it was unanimously agreed by all the esteemed professors of this term)

I realize that I have never read statistics as it is taught here. The real value lies in applying the concept and not solving a mathematical problem. And this is what makes life so tough in ISB..... and perhaps easier when we step out to face the real world..... And who is responsible for all this...... are yaar... Its "Decision Making".

Monday, May 01, 2006


Not many days in one single life can be as informative as the day turned out to be..... the day which turned out to be the formal beginning for term1. Suddenly I realised so many things.... realised that being an ISB student demands much more efforts and energy than what I had been prepared for..... realised that I have to cut down my gym timings by atleast an hr (oops what is left, then)...... realised that spending more time with the powerpoint presentation of the class lectures can be more beneficial than spending time with know what I mean. spite of all this, I believe that just spending time with books and assignments might not be the best idea..... All the activities of life should move on, only that the budget on time needs a better allocation.

Well, thats about studies. But one thing that I should have mentioned earlier is the party that was thrown to cebrate N's wedding. It was simply fabulous and even the most serious of people were in a different frame of mind on SV2 mirror pool. I really hope all the unmarried people in ISB complete the good work within their stay in ISB, such that we get to live such great parties more frequently.