Search This Blog

Monday, July 31, 2006

BEGINNING OF TERM-3

It is one week down Term-3 and yet it finds no mention in this blog. Well, let’s begin the journey of this term with a brief description of the quant heavy courses that defines this term. Operation Management…..Corporate Finance…. Managerial Accounting… Can any combination of courses beat these courses in terms of quant content? Apart from these three, we have Entrepreneurship… a very different kind of topic with extremely subjective contents. Once again all the courses depend heavily on case studies. Needless to say that professors are as good as ever.
One thing that differentiates term-3 from the previous terms is that a myriad of other activities are to be taken care of along with the course lectures. Exchange study…ELP team formations….PAEV ideas…..bidding for electives….and last but not the least the beginning of placement related activities. And this is just the beginning. The results of the exchange studies are already declared. So some people have to start another parallel series of activities like applying for the visa, researching about the school, contacting alums who went to these schools....blah blah.

With two terms down and just two terms left for the core term to end, people have started searching for partners for the courses to be done during the core terms. I also realise that my association with F-6 will remain for only two more terms and then each of us should align with our individual goals. It is such a sweet group and I really do feel a pre-nostalgic feeling about it.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

WANT TO BE DIFFERENT....

I came across this picture in one the mails. Liked it so much that I decided to upload it in this post.

"If you want something you never had, do something you have never done."

Don't go the way life takes you.
Take the life the way you go .
And remember you are born to live and not living because you are born.


(Not aware of the source of this picture.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

1ST DAY OF TERM-3

A.M.
9:00 - Finally managed to wake up.... (the termbreak hangover effect was still ruling)
9:45 - Brunch
10:00 - "Hi - Hello" time with all the lost souls who are back into the campus after the term break
10:45 - Info session on bidding electives
P.M.
1:15 - Info sessions on IT, Operations and Technology electives
1:45 - First lecture of Term-3
4:15 - Second lecture of Term-3
6:45 - Info sessions on Strategic Marketing electives
7:30 - Dinner
7:45 - Talk delivered by IBM Vice President
9:00 - Suffering from severe headache, almost dead...
12:00 - Abhi's birthday dunking + amazing samosa and roll treat
12:30 - Back to quad to realise 150 pages of pre read for Corporate Finance and a case for Operation Management.....
12:45 - Realised how hopeless the situation is.... better go to bed.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

TERM-2 REFLECTIONS CONCLUDED

Now….. the closing mail from the moments of Term -2 reflections.

One of the sweetest moments from Term-2 was undoubtedly the birthday dinner hosted by A, yes the “A of F-6”. You meet so many people in life. But some of them are so different from others and become a part of your life…. become friends for life. A is one of these people. Something happened after the party which really made me think so hard. The bill of the party crossed the 5 figure mark and when the bill crosses this mark for just 10 odd people this means something. And A was there smiling all the while. He said that he always had the money but never had the friends to give a birthday treat after he joined his job. A worked for an offshore company with a job profile similar to mine.
For a moment, his words took me back to my job life, when life was moving from one place to another and your travel kit was your best friend. Not that I disliked my professional life, but somehow, certain things were completely out of my life. Celebrating birthdays… celebrating Indian festivals…..celebrating the success of old friends..... were not a part of life. The ties with relatives were gradually weakening and people back home were not missing me as much as they used to.
Somehow, the whole episode reminded me to hold on to my decision to stay in India after MBA. I know traveling is something which I love a lot, but a balance needs to be maintained.

Now let’s take a look at the classroom moments.....let me restrict to two amazing individuals of section F....PT and AS.
PT was always there with his highly innovative CPs. For instance, when the case study of a fast food company was in progress and the rest of the class was busy debating the expansion strategy of the company , PT jumped to the arena with his idea –“ In the fast food industry, it is the food which should move fast, not the industry. So we should not believe in expansion.”

AS has this unique ability to link any topic in the world with the oil and gas industry. He worked in the oil and gas industry before joining ISB. Such was the reaction of fellow students when he used to speak, that he finally promised not to mention his industry while taking part in class participation. During one of the lectures, after AS delivered his CP (without a mention of his industry), the professor wanted to know if he worked in the oil and gas industry. It turned out that the professor also worked in the same industry before joining academics and hence could appreciate the beauty of the CP. Poor AS…today he is nicknamed as Mr. Oil and Gas. But, let me admit that AS does possess indepth knowledge of his industry. No wonder, he is also the president of the Energy, Manufacturing and Operations Club.

The list of CPs will never end. Someday I will try to collate them and make a complete post out of it.

But before I end….. a special mention of Professor Zaheer. He is an excellent orator and the fillers he used in his lectures are now a part of Sec. F vocabulary. And I am sure that these fillers will always remain with us and remind of those amazing (whenever I use this word "amazing", a reflexive smile reminds me of H and her CPs....will write about it later) strategy lectures for years to come.
Let me close this post here. All good things in life come to an end and so does the term break. Term-3 will start in a day and ISB will be back into action.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

HOPE, FAITH, LOVE AND TRUST

I have been trying hard to chose one word….the word which holds the maximum power, the word which defines the very existence of all the moments…..the word which defines ones thoughts when one goes through those rare moments which define more than the daily schedule of life.

Is it “hope”? When the time is tough….when the road is not smooth….when the sea is rough…… there is one truth in our eyes…. HOPE…..
Or is it “faith”? FAITH in somebody…..faith in some hidden power…..faith in some supernatural truth….faith in God…..
Can it be “love”? LOVE is perhaps the most beautiful world in the lexicon of human mind, but is it the most powerful one too….They say love inspires….love can help one feel the beauty of God’s creation…..very true.
Another word which can be a strong contender is TRUST. It’s never easy to trust someone so much that you forget your complete self and trust the abilities of another person blindly.
How about words like SUCCESS….I guess it is too mundane and relative to possess the power of the earlier words.

Let’s say, you board a flight and a couple of hours after the flight takes off, the captain, expecting turbulence, announces to tie your seat belts. You are used to such situations and lazily tie your seat belt. Suddenly, the flight faces unusual turbulence…..people get nervous…the nervousness…the fear…so evident in their faces….the turbulence increases and the whole flight sways. Even the seasoned flight attendants look confused. The bulkheads vibrate with frightening noises. Oxygen masks drop from the top….anything can happen…..the captain announces that there is nothing to worry….but you know the truth…..you know the captain is just trying to console you. You bring your hands close…..you close your eyes….what do you see….how do you feel….what are the pictures that come to your mind….Is it faith in God……is it a hope that you will survive…..or is it the consoling faces of all your near and dear ones….or is it your trust in the pilot’s abilities that helps you to close your eyes, forget what is happening and try to recollect one of those Elvis Presley’s immortal love songs. You can experience all the feelings together….hope, faith, love and trust. These four words are so different, yet they come so close at times of crisis. Which one of the four words will you give the maximum points to help you define your emotion under such a situation.

Friday, July 21, 2006

TERM-2 ACADEMIC REFLECTIONS

Academic reflections for Term-2 can be summed up as follows-
(1) “Competitive strategy” is a collection of ten very famous case studies backed with pages of literature for each of the cases. Each case was different from the other and stressed on a particular strategy.
Cola Wars: Pepsi Cola Rivalry – What are the strategies players follow when there is a duopoly, with the market leader and the follower way ahead of the rest of the players?
Nucor – What strategies are to be followed to survive and come out with flying colors in a dull industry?
Intel – What to do to be the leader in a highly competitive industry and how to successfully redeploy core competency?
Jollibee – How and when to enter foreign markets and what could be its impact on home business?
Eli Lilly – Why and how to maintain a successful Joint Venture successfully?
Cisco –What made Cisco so successful in making acquisitions and alliances a part of organization and converting this culture to a core competency?
Dell – What it requires to make completely new and innovative strategies work wonders?
Walmart – What made the retail giant achieve the “numero uno” position in Fortune-500 list?
Mckinsey – How effective “knowledge management” can turn out to be?
Johnson and Johnson – How successful diversification can work wonders when backed with a deeply engraved company culture?

The greatest advantage of having been through these cases is that I can appreciate most of the common jargons that comes up repeatedly in the business world and can even frame sentences like this-
To maintain a sustained competitive advantage over competitors, Toyota followed a strategy which we call causal ambiguity.”

(2)"Global economics" was the most enlightening of all the subjects. It was macro economics at its best. Now, I can understand the history of economic failures and successes. Answers to the following and many more similar questions no longer remain a mystery.
What were the reasons for the economic collapse in Southeast Asian countries during the last decade on the last millennium?
Why hyperinflation ruled in Latin American countries?
What makes China to undervalue the Yuan with respect to US dollar?
How are inflation, interest rates, GDP, currency rates and all such economic variables keep affecting each other?
Why cannot India print money and distribute amongst the poor and remove poverty?

(3) "Marketing Decision Making" proved to be highly conceptual and strategic. I hope I get one more chance to play the Markstrat game. It turned out to be such a big disaster for our team. And as we went through the course we realized how unforgiveable our mistakes were. Anyway, I do hope the learning from our mistakes is strong enough. I understand that next time we get a chance to play such games will be in real world and if we are not able to reflect from these mistakes, then the best thing we should do is to carry our baggage and look for another job.

(4) "Decision Models and Optimization" is a practical course for people like me – who come from the shipping industry or belong to airlines industry where the stress is on getting the maximum out of the available resources in a technical manner. Linear programming, integer programming, non-linear programming and a host of such concepts were introduced along with the software like crystal ball and solver.

In general, learning wise Term-2 was great, but somehow I realize I couldn’t do sufficient justice to all the topics due to severe time constraints. But someday, once I get out of ISB, I do wish to take out these lecture notes and try to understand them better.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

TERM-2 DECISIONS

Let me limit this post to stress on the options I faced in Term-2 and the decisions I took. The most important confusion was which of the two option should I chose…the options being ELP and PAEV…….. and time constraints imply that choosing only one of them is a good idea. ELP is Experential Learning Program while PAEV stands for Planning an Entrepreneurial Venture. While ELP requires you to take up a real life industry project and contribute to the firm you have chosen, PAEV is an entrepreneurial course undertaken within ISB. Both the programs extend more than three terms and a serious work can consume quite some time. PAEV is also helpful for people who want to go for start-ups, or even plan to create new division in the existing company. Considering the fact that I have always wanted to create knowledge based start-up in the maritime sector (although I need to work in the industry for years to come to develop that knowledge), I decided to go for the PAEV. An excellent job done in ELP has the potential to get a pre placement offer and an excellent job done in PAEV can get you a chance to go for a real start-up. Whatever be the case, the experience will remain to help when the real thing starts in life later.
The second confusion is on what topic I should go ahead with the PAEV. It has to be based on a consensus with my PAEV group mates, but this should not be a big problem.
The third confusion was whether to apply for exchange studies abroad. But somehow I feel that it will make life too tight and confusing at the end and I decided to remain away from the exchange study idea. But I must admit that it is an excellent opportunity which exposes you to the top business schools all around the world. The list of the schools is huge and the option is tempting. But for some reason, I want to stay this full year in India and enjoy the full flavor of the ISB life.
Apart from this Term-2 did not provide us with any options….it just ruled in whatever way it liked.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TERM-2 SETS BEHIND THE SCENE

Never did I feel so relaxed in life…..Never in my life did I wait so desperately for something to end. Finally, we are done with Term-2. And that makes us 25% MBAs.
Term-2 was packed with incidents which will be difficult to erase from memory. Assignments, projects, reports…and more than all these, the density of the study material was amongst the highest that I have handled ever in my life. Markstrat and compstrat…..sonites and vodites……real and nominal……decisions and optimization and many more such phrases virtually ruled our lives. In spite of this, the fun part was always there…..F-6 was as great as ever…..SV-1 more glamorous than ever.To arrange the snapshots of the Term-2, I will divide the posts reserved for next few days to deal with my decisions, perceptions and reflections of Term-2.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

CLOSING CHAPTERS OF TERM-2

Finally.....the end is close.....it came and it went at a pace which left every soul in the campus completely transformed. I am sure, no one in the campus will ever say - "its too late in the night". With just a couple of days for the end term, I dont feel like writing the same monotonous story that I have been used to write before every term exam begins. However,I must admit that the stress factor has vastly reduced, atleast for me. Perhaps, thats one of the earliest practical and perceptible lessons from ISB. Handling an overdose of stress is a part of life.....feeling the trauma is an everyday story....and living to both, the stress and the trauma is no longer a sorry state of affair.
Finally, I decided to go for PAEV, and not ELP, taking into account my career ambitions. I will come back with the details of ELP and PAEV as the term exams end on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

BEING TAGGED.

“Tagging” has been the buzz word in the bloggers world. I was tagged by KayKay. My thoughts…..

I said – so that you can hear.
I want – nothing extra.
I wish – I could sleep 12 hrs a day during this year in ISB.
I miss – my past.
I hear – what you tried to say.
I wonder – what makes me think the way I think.
I regret – nothing till date.
I am – just another guy.
I sing – when I watch others dance.
I dance – tried hard….but no success.
I am not – what I don’t aspire to be.
I write – to relive the experience again.
I hate – when people hate each other.
I confuse – what seems so trivial for others.
I should – learn to be modest and authoritative at the same time.

Now, that its my turn, let me tag – Krishnan, Disha

Saturday, July 08, 2006

CHANGE

Change” defines the very principle of the universe. Everything that has a presence in this universe keeps changing. Nonliving things change and so do living beings. All the people around you and me keep changing. Even our very own interests and passions keeps changing with time. Sometimes the change is real fast….may be a kind of revolution and under such a situation, the change is easily noticeable over the period of time in which it takes place. But most of the times, the change is slow….a kind of evolution that keeps the rate of change so small that it is hardly perceivable over a short period of time.
When life becomes monotonous, the rate of change becomes slow. We see the same people around us, live the same kind of life everyday and think the same set of things in the same periodical manner. Every day is a replica of the previous day.
In contrast, things can really change fast, sometimes because we want it to be that way and sometimes because it has got to be that way. We soon learn to adapt to the fast pace. Each day carries with it a different set of experience and a unique learning experience. Each day introduces us to new people. In other words life becomes really dynamic.

Now, which of the above concepts do you prefer? Think hard before you answer. Often we tend to prefer the second path. I personally will prefer the second path. In fact, life has always been like that for me. But at the end of the day, I keep on wondering….. I know so many people around me, yet how many of them know me as the real person I am. Every day is a learning experience, yet it is this learning experience which slowly and steadily strengthens the fa├žade that I wear over my real self. Am I the same person, I used to be a couple of years back and will I remain the same person after a couple of years from now. Have I lost my original identity in the process of evolution of this constantly changing identity. Is this change for the good? How would life have been, if it had been the other way?

Friday, July 07, 2006

POST NO. 100

I came across this snap while browsing through my collection....a snow covered leafless shrub. Reminds me of one of those chilly winter mornings which I had been used to, not so long ago.
It is one of these mornings, which informed me that I had been selected for the ISB class of 2007 and I decided to start this blog with the objective of capturing my moments in ISB.
As I was about to upload todays post, I realised that this is post no. 100 for "keys to imaginations".Time really flies.... With more interesting times to come, I will try my best to capture this roller coaster ride in its full speed. The ride is extremely rough and fast, yet I feel great to be a part of this. Will be back with further details soon.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

AIKYA FAMILY

ISB is known to introduce quite a number of concepts to the Indian business education. One such concept is the idea of “Aikya” Family in ISB. Through this concept every ISBian finds a second home to ISB during his/her stay in Hyderabad. Today morning was scheduled for the Aikya meet for the class of 2007. Normally every study group is assigned one family. F-6 (that’s my study group) was allocated one such family.
The time of the meet was fixed at 9:45 and today being a Sunday morning, the members of my study group were slightly lazy in making it to the atrium on time. By the time we reached, someone informed us that the person who is allocated for F-6 is already in the atrium. That means he arrived before us, or rather he arrived at 9:45 and we arrived few minutes after that time. As we walked close towards him, we noticed a very modest looking person with a pleasant and comforting demeanor.
I was the first person to shake hands with him. After that, he took his name card and handed it over to me. As my eyes discovered that designation on his card, suddenly I decided to stop talking and allowed K (one of my batch mates) to do the talking. I slightly took a couple of steps backwards and allowed K to have the pleasure of accepting the name card of the gentleman. I looked into the card again to discover the rest of the contents. This person is none other that Spl. Chief Secretary to the Government, in other words, one of the senior most IAS officers and topmost bureaucrats of the country.
All my teammates except H (who was out of the town to celebrate her brothers wedding and hence couldn’t make to the meeting) were there by then, and the discussions had turned out to be quite informal. It was quite a nice experience to talk about reservations, emerging markets, business and government with the top official. I also learned that his daughter is an ISB alumnus and is doing great in London.
The most interesting aspect of the discussion was the extra-ordinary modesty with which the big man carried himself. How true it is……Higher a person goes, more modest he becomes.
I have added a snap of F-6 with the Chief Secretary.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

CBOX MAKES "KEYS TO IMAGINATIONS" MORE INTERACTIVE

While browsing one of the blogs, I discovered this really cool stuff called Cbox, which can make the blog much more interactive. You can find this interactive box sitting right below the clock on the right hand side of the page. One of the main objective of a blog is to get to know more and more people .This blog has been extremely useful in helping me make new friends and I hope Cbox will add more to the long list.
A very interesting event is scheduled for the Sunday morning. I will get back with all the details soon.