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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.