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Saturday, March 31, 2007


It has been quite sometime after that….still the memories of those lovely days are in their clearest form. So many things had happened for the first time…

For the first time in my life, I boarded an international flight….for the first time I experienced how it feels when the temperature is -15 degree…for the first time, I was inside a car that was moving at 160 km/hr…

For the first time, I saw the most intricate of engineering marvels built before my eyes….for the first time, I felt the importance of being responsible for something…for the first time, I learnt that a small mistake can create irreparable damage…

For the first time, I worked with people from so many different nationalities...for the first time, I realized that professional success has very little to do with academic success.

For the first time, I met people who followed a complete different philosophy of living life...for the first time, I realized how life is to be lived…

Five years down the line……as I prepare myself to move into the next journey….I keep on wondering how life will be….will it be as beautiful as it used to be…or I will be one of the many….lost in a sense of misaligned competitiveness…

Friday, March 30, 2007


Time flies….seems like yesterday when I attended my first lecture in ISB….my first presentation…my first assignment….

A few hours ago…I presented my last presentation in ISB … attended my last lecture …. submitted my last assignment.…

It was an unforgettable moment when we stood up and clapped for the last time…after the Behavioral Finance class…we knew this was the last time we were clapping as students of ISB within one of the Lecture Theatres. Every moment of the last class was so touching.

Within a fortnight….everything will start once again…Managerial Economics... Statistics….Accounting…Marketing…just as it started exactly a year ago. But we will not be there to listen to those phenomenal professors. A complete set of new faces will take over the campus in just another fortnight…

I don’t know if life will provide me another opportunity to be a student again…but yeah….life as a student is always sweet…very sweet….

Life is such a dynamic affair….

Thursday, March 29, 2007


The decision of the Supreme Court over the quota issue proves that everything is not wrong with the system. It brings back the faith that somebody is guarding the integrity and destiny of the nation. The decision for a stay to the 27% OBC reservation goes to root of the constitutional issues which say that reservation is not a long term solution.

I am still not aware how the distinguished people sitting in the parliament can even think of such a draconian act, which will not only destroy the fabric of higher education in India but also divide the Indian society on the basis of caste. Can a politician be such power hungry that he is ready to destroy all the fundamental concepts of upliftment? Can a politician be so selfish that he can destroy a reputed system just for the sake of vote-bank? But unfortunately, it’s true.

God knows where the battle is likely to move…but the faith of an Indian on Judiciary of India is even more deeply entrenched now.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Last week was busy terms of assignments. With an average of three assignments per day, this week reminded of the dreaded Term-2. Not that this term is tough…just that most of the assignments were compressed during this time.

With mercury level rising, weather is getting worse with each passing day. The dis-orientation week will start soon followed by all the exit formalities. With India out of the World cup, we have to find different avenues to make this period memorable.

The PGP forum was concluded recently. This is done to provide feedback to the ISB administration on where things can work better and which practices should be discontinued etc. Every year the practical feedbacks are introduced for the incoming batch. No system is perfect and there is always plenty of scope to climb the positive slope. Feedbacks of last years batch were introduced in our batch and certain things went great. The experience of our batch should definitely help the next batch and this trend will continue.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Finally… I completed “Freakonomics” over the weekend. Interesting book, but I would have appreciated it more had I read it before my MBA application process. Most of the things covered in the book reflect simple and powerful concepts of incentives, cause-effect relationship and the concept of conventional wisdom. What give a distinct touch to the book are the unique comparisons, which are used to explain the concepts.

Steven Levitt so aptly brings out the three forms of incentives – economic, social as well as moral. Sometimes these incentives are used to get a desirable positive result and at other times used to deter crimes and negative effects. At other times the existence of natural incentives can tempt people to follow a particular path (can be positive or negative).

The power of possessing the information is amazingly described. “Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent depending on who wields it and how. Information is so powerful that the assumption of information, even if the information doesn’t actually exist, can have a sobering effect”. What follow after this, is an explicit picture of “information asymmetry” and the role of internet in information dissemination.

The cause-effect issue is well presented. We often mistake the real cause of an effect with something else, something which is quite striking and visible. It may not be always so. The real cause can be much more subtle in nature and much less obvious and decipherable.

The issue of applicability of the conventional wisdom in the dynamic world is neatly challenged through numerous examples.

Quite an interesting reading….exploring the hidden side of everything.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


In a B-school, it is important to be aware of a lot of things. In spite of heavy stress on group activities and team spirit, the role of individualism can never be underestimated. One should either remain away from these things or learn how to deal with such things. Some of these things are as follows.

1. Undue hype: There will always be hype with any three letter abbreviation starting with I. (IIT/IIM/ISB). I still keep on wondering what all this hype is about, in spite of being a part of two such institutes. But one thing for sure – this hype originated from the activities of the coaching centers and press...and for their own selfish interests.

2. Indian Press: No one benefits more than the press in creating the crazy b-school placement stories.

3. Unsolicited advices: There will be so many people ready to give you advices. If you start following all the advices you will be so confused in life that you will find yourself in a mental asylum. You are defined by your individualism...and no one understands yourself better than your own individualism.

4. Illogical rumors: At times, rumors seem so real that they become facts and people keep on believing these rumors until the real stuff come out. Anything that sounds illogical is likely to be a rumor, as per my experience.

5. Impractical aspirations: All the above issues (undue hype, Indian Press, unsolicited advices and illogical rumors) can create an environment which is the breeding ground for impractical aspirations. These impractical aspirations create a group of people, who turn out to be amongst the funniest people, I have ever come across. Such people get frustrated in life easily and bring out their frustration in front of the world in a rather disgusting manner. God help such people and let other people live in peace.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Always look things from a wider viewpoint...use your OWN beliefs and sense of practicality. Remain away from frustrated people, unsolicited advices, illogical rumors, undue hype and impractical aspirations.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Lot of secret love stories unearthed. The number of couples in ISB must be the highest till date. Some of these were huge surprises to the whole campus.

Quite a number of married couples (married before they came to ISB as well as those married during ISB) are planning to enjoy their pre job vacation in some exotic foreign location. There seem to be a rush for the package trips to Europe and East Asia.

Many would-be couples are busy trying to test the compatibility factor.

Quite a number of marriages are scheduled in April and some more in May.

It’s undoubtedly the busiest time for couples.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Co2008 seem to have a great passion for recording their memories before joining ISB. The adjacent blog is the collaborative blog for the Co2008. This also has the links to the individual blogs of the Co2008 as well. One interesting aspect of ISB is that the incoming batch outdo the outgoing batch in almost every aspect of performance - let it be acads or GMAT score or richness of work experience or be it something as trivial as blogging. For those who love to follow the ISB blogs here is the link to this collaborative blog (

Monday, March 12, 2007


It is quite interesting to see how B-Schools orient themselves. Let me present two examples which presents the evolution of the B-School culture. Before the Enron debacle, not many B-Schools had an explicit stress on ethics as a subject. Soon after the Enron debacle and other corporate frauds that followed, ethics became one of the most important features of any good B-school culture. Ethics became a part of day to day life and things like plagiarism, copyright violations etc. are now treated with severity. Special courses (in ISB we have courses like Business Ethics, Government Society and Business, and Business Law) were introduced into the curriculum, which can enlighten students on the repercussions of unethical business.

Let me both inform and warn the class of 2008, about the Honor Code Committee, which holds the ultimate power to arbitrate when it is perceived that something unethical has happened and the honor code has been violated. Things like plagiarism, copying the assignments, or any exam related unsolicited conduct can be disastrous. Honor Code is for the betterment of the institute. Respect it and remain away from any activity which can lead to breaching of the Honor Code.

Also various social issues are high on the agenda of the leading B-Schools. Business Plans related to social ventures are treated with high respect. Devising strategies to bring the benefits of the industrial resurgence to rural settings (especially in a country like India) are quite important areas of interest. Clubs like Net impact club has been closely linked with such issues and a lot of students are aligned towards a career in nonprofit organizations.

Things keep on evolving and the business school culture is no different. Maximizing profit….maximizing profit in ethical manner….social obligations….things are evolving.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Before I move ahead into other posts, I thought I should return back to the issue of career change/switches once again. I will like to follow the question-answer way to illustrate on what a career change really is.

What necessarily is a career switch/change?
These kind of switches are normally a switch over to a completely different kind of work profile such that your previous work experience can be of very negligible utility in your new job profile. For instance, moving from hard core manufacturing to the finance part of investment banking. The general skills which a person gained in manufacturing might not be of any utility in the new profile. Under such a situation, it might be difficult to get a lateral profile.

Is switching industries necessarily a career change?
Not necessarily, as many roles in different industries carry the same fundamentals. For instance a shipping person, good in supply chain and operations can easily join the supply chain and operations of an IT or other hi-tech companies. Under such a situation, the skills of the past job are easily transferable to the new role and there exists a lot of respect for the past work experience. A merchant navy captain who joined the operations of the leading hi-tech company in a senior role is an example of such changes. Or a person from iron and steel industry who did the supply chain analysis, joining an IT firm as domain consultant forms yet another example. Such changes should not come under the category of career changes. Other examples are

1. Automobile sector to other manufacturing
2. Supply chain to retail
3. Architect to real estate consultancy
4. Shipping to domain consultant (IT)
5. Mathematics/economics to investment banking
6. CA to investment banking/other aspects of corporate finance
7. Corporate finance to banking and vice versa
8. IT supply chain to manufacturing/retail
9. Hotel to real estate consultancy
10. Media to marketing
11. Shipping to oil/energy/power

This list can be really long.

What are the transferable traits, apart from the typical job related ones?
A lot of companies look for traits other than the normal functional traits and based on these traits allocate fairly senior roles. For instance, an army major who joined a leading consultancy based on his leadership skills, or an energy sector person who joined another consultancy because of his contacts in the industry. Such traits like “leadership” and “seniority ” to get contacts are always in demand. Such traits are always associated with lateral roles even though the skills in the past job may not be directly transferable to the new roles. Normally these are the skills highly respected in the senior management.

Friday, March 09, 2007


I think I am in a situation where I can sit down and look back at what I liked the most in ISB and what I disliked.


The most striking feature of ISB is the quality of faculty. It all started in April last year when we entered our first term. In the very first term we were exposed to the likes of Prof. Finn, Bob, Richard and Rakesh Vohra. Teaching is not about reiterating the theories, it is about inspiration, passion and enthusiasm…and this is what I appreciate the most about such Professors. Soon terms proceeded and each Professor was unique in his/her own respect. I can still hear the trade mark lines which distinguish one master from the another. It is definitely a rare opportunity to learn from the long list of such distinguished academicians… Profs. Krishna Kumar, Asim Ansari, A.K. Shivakumar, Suren Mansinghka, Venkatraman, Ramavelamuri, Jagmohan Raju, Kenwyn Smith, Tom Noel, Jay Russo, Jay Anand, Cathy, Damien, Sridharan, Rajiv Banker….the list is really long. As I am about to leave ISB, those prized classroom moments where I spent attending these lectures will always occupy a very important space in the memory lane. Apart from these, the guest lectures ensured that we had the opportunity to listen to some of the most respected figures of world business.

The next thing which comes to mind in ISB is definitely the peer group. The inspirational major from the Indian Army, the ever smiling and caring civil service officer, the doctors from the Indian Navy and the Airforce, the friendly IT people, sincere chartered accountants, master mariners and sailors, real estate experts, economists, engineers, architects, media people, marketers…the diversity of the batch was simply awesome. It was a great experience to know so many people within the short span of one year. I also realized that IITians and the CAs are NOT the only smart people in the campus.

And what an amazing campus is this. Anyone who visits the campus falls in love with the beauty of the campus. Every morning when I wake up, my eyes cannot help gazing out of the windows. Very few places can be as beautiful as this place. And to add to the beauty of the campus, the professionalism and the efficiency of the ISB staff ensures that we need not worry about anything related to the "non-MBA part" of our lives. No wonder the ISB student who leaves for exchange studies keeps on reminding us what we will miss when we leave this place. The efficiency of the housekeeping people, operations team, IT department, LRC, recreation center, Sarovar…always deserve a very special thanks from us.

And to end, the placements of ISB were as rocking as ever.


It can be really hard to find something which you will genuinely dislike at the ISB. There were tough days when too much stress on grades, placements etc. made life horrible. But that’s a part of life in an Indian B-School. Another thing which we should work on is to develop traits like punctuality. There are times when some people walk into the class well over time. Things are getting better but a lot depends on the subsequent batches on how they develop these traits. Discipline, punctuality etc, are the basic prerequisites we need to imbibe within ourself before we start ourselves benchmarking against the global big names. Even if a few people walk into the class late, it will affect the image of the entire batch. Most of the professors and visitors are global and a lot of reputation depends on the image which these people carry.

Although international applicants have been increasing, it will take some time before ISB really picks up on the international front. Although the campus is always full of global participants, exchange students etc., yet the number of full time international students is not good enough. But I am sure, it is just a matter of time, before ISB picks up on this regard too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


A few years back, the very idea of one year MBA was non existent in the Indian B-school education. Within a span of five years, things are so different. The concept of one year MBA was pioneered by INSEAD decades ago. The success of INSEAD alumni across the globe is a clear indicator of the fact that the one year MBA is not inferior to the traditional two year MBA. But when this concept was applied in the Indian scenario, critics (by their very nature) were pessimistic. But that is their job.

The one year model has simply revolutionized the complete concept in India. It could successfully tap the huge market that so easily was dominated by the schools of US and UK. Today ISB can safely be coined a “huge success” and I am sure the PGPX programs of the IIMs will also do great.

The one year MBA has its own advantages and disadvantages… the advantages being remaining away from work for only a year, which is a huge positive for people with years of work experience. Disadvantage is that the program is fast track and not all the age old theories can be covered in this period. Also certain things are taken to be granted considering the prior work experience of the students. Thus a young MBA who completed his MBA just after his graduation is likely to have mastered the theories to greater details as compared to someone who pursued a one year MBA. Also the former has more time to look into the details of his preferred topics. But for a person with years of experience, the advantages of returning back to work a year earlier far outweigh the advantages of learning some extra theory, which he might never use in his career.

Again, by its very nature, a one year MBA is more tuned towards career progression, while its traditional cousin is more favorable for career beginners or career switchers. A person with 5 years work experience in the energy sector, who wants to move into investment banking to re orient his career can be better served by a two year MBA. If he wants to move up the ladder in the energy or associated manufacturing sectors... nothing like a one year MBA. As far as consultancy is considered, I guess, one year MBA is good enough.

As far as work pressure is considered, the one year stuff is naturally much more demanding. It is even more in India, as the placements are also included within this period. But, the satisfaction is that the grill will end in one year.

To conclude, I will say that if you want to go for career progression, nothing suits you better than the one year MBA. You complete your MBA in year, save a year, earn the extra money as well as one extra year of your career. If you are frustrated with your present career, a two year MBA will be easier to get a career change. At the same time, there are number of cases where students in a one year MBA, with substantial efforts manage a career change while those in two years, without sufficient efforts are not successful in getting the switch. So it finally boils down to the concept of how much effort you are willing to put to get the shift.

But here is one question I would like to ask to career switchers: Think deeply and get an answer to why you want to go for a substantial switch? What is the reason you were frustrated with your past job? In case you are planning to switch to a new career, are you sufficiently aware of the aspects of the new career. Are you planning a switch just because it sounds glamorous in a b-school or is it because u genuinely like it?

If you are frustrated with your present career, just switching to a new field is not the end of the problem. You have to discover why you did not like your past career and what is there in a new career that you will like. Imagine the worst case scenario – you go for a switch ….u did not leverage your past experience…u restart your new career from scrap…u report to a person three years junior to you…only to realize that you hate it even more than your earlier job. In contrast, a career progression might erode the root cause of some of the problems and might look attractive. So what I want to conclude is that…think sufficiently before you plan career switch. Money is there in every industry, so it should not be the issue.

At the end of the day…all these things look so trivial. There are so many people in various organizations who are doing great without MBA. It all boils down to your interests, aspirations and a genuine search into yourself.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


As less than a month remains, before I pack my bags, I was wondering what to post these days. Enough of posts on parties and final celebrations. Now that I am about to complete a year in ISB, I think it will be a good idea to give my views on certain topics. I have collected a list of such topics and will try to cover them in the subsequent mails.

1. My views on one-year MBA
2. Relative strengths and weaknesses of ISB
3. What to expect and what not to expect in ISB
4. How to deal with the placements
5. Everlasting assets from ISB

Will be back with the 1st topic soon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


The festival of colors being celebrated at the sv-3 mirror pool

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Before I upload the Holi snaps, let me copy the post which Major sent to students07 before leaving to Duke for his exchange. Major is amongst the senior and the most respected people of our batch. People from the defense services are so different from others…so matured and inspirational. They have seen the thin line of demarcation between life and death so closely. Perhaps this is the reason which makes them treat life in a different manner. Here is the post.

Hi Folks,

Happy Holi to all of you!!

Its now my turn to bid adieu…I am going to Duke on exchange. I left the campus last week, since the placements were still in full swing I could not get an opportunity to meet all of you and choose to write after the storm had settled.

Last eleven months have been truly exceptional for me, in some sense I rediscovered the world. What stands out specially has been the interaction with all of you. I must confess the love and respect which I got is something one would miss most. Through the run-up to placement interviews, it was endearing and immensely touching to see so many of you wishing me luck and probably that’s the key reason for me getting my dream job.

I believe most of us have got jobs that we had set out for, while some are still exploring. I can’t resist the temptation but to take the liberty of giving some gyan here….I am sure we all realize that campus recruitment is just one route and as per precedence first six months should see most of us getting there. These are times when one can live his dreams—must not settle for anything less!

Additionally, I gauged there was some anxiety around the positions and money being offered-- here my gray strains would stand by me--life is not a 100m sprint but a 40km run you may have not got the perfect start but there will be opportunities at galore to make up and take a lead; sincerity, hard work and perseverance are still the most valued virtues. So hold steadfast and enjoy the ride, we will read about the true winners in tabloids in 8-10 yrs from now!!

Finally as you step out, let the world know the best of the very best is here. There is no other institute which can boast of such pedigree. We live in exciting time when business are being redefined in India let us spear head this phenomenon.

I will be based out of Amsterdam; will miss the opportunity to meet you all that often. Let’s keep in touch my email ID please send me your private email ID.

Wishing you a lifetime of Joy and Success--God Bless!!


Saturday, March 03, 2007


Life cannot be better than this. Evenings are busy celebrating our closing days in ISB…exploring the unexplored. I donot think I can meet my resolution of going to bed early and getting up early within ISB. Last evening we (F-6) spent a lovely evening in this place called Serengeti in Ories. Damn good place…great ambience…great food…great drinks…all at a reasonable rate. For the first time V remained in his senses even after consuming a pitcher of beer. Normally one small can of beer is good enough to make him reach the craziest levels.

A new member joined F-6 and very soon this serious looking person adjusted himself into the carefree F-6 culture. I am sure the strength of this group will increase within months of leaving ISB and make it even livelier.

Holi is just a few hours away and I wish all the readers of this blog a very colorful HOLI. The placements done with…Holi within ISB promises to be a great event.


A good negotiator is a great asset for any organization. As the world becomes smaller, where things are no longer restricted to one particular country, the role of negotiators is even more pronounced. A good negotiator not only gets great deals for his own party but also ensures that the other party gets out of the deal satisfied.

So how do such people think and behave? How do they develop their skills? Can good negotiation skills be learnt? I personally believe that such skills can be learnt with time and experience. Negotiation is in itself a huge area of research in the academic world. One way to learn the basic skills is to keep reading books dealing with such issues. Reflecting on past experience, trying to realize the mistakes, and assimilating the learnings from the mistakes are important. Developing cultural sensitivity and tolerance towards others are basic prerequisites of any good negotiator. A great negotiator, like a psychologist can successfully decipher out what the priorities of the other party are.

As we move ahead in life a big chunk of our success will depend on how good negotiators we are. Every day presents us practical lessons on negotiations. Learning from these small day to day experiences can be of great impact as we apply our learnings to more important issues.

(A suggestion to those who will be joining ISB – Negotiation Analysis is offered in ISB twice…in 7th term and in 8th term. Make sure you take one of these courses…will definitely be effective in learning some very useful tips in negotiations)

Friday, March 02, 2007


Before I move ahead on placements, let me write something on the 8th term. This term is already a week old, yet it shows no impact on anyone. So it is going to be parties, celebration and preparations to close the final chapter of students07. The placement fever has completely evaporated. The Holi celebrations are just around the corner.

This term I have taken 4 courses – Behavioral finance, Business Law, Negotiation Analysis and Marketing Strategy… it is really difficult to open the course packs now. My immediate priority is to get my biological clock right. I have been used to sleep at 3 am and wake at 9 am since the span of last six months…trying hard to sleep by 12 and wake up at 6 am now. Need to leave ISB with normal living habits.

Graduation day details are already planned out to the minutest details. 7th April is the convocation. I will stay in ISB till 8th morning 6 am. We are supposed to hand over the keys to the ISB housekeeping by 8th afternoon. So that gives a week for the housekeeping to do the cosmetics works before the new batch arrives on 14th. Our school is just getting ready to say us good bye and welcome the class of 2008.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Here are some questions which will be there in the minds of the people who are about to join ISB. So let me try my part to provide my answers.

1. How important are grades in getting a job?
Well, this depends on what your aspirations are. If you are targeting the top 3 consultancies then you better come up with good grades. Other than that grades donot seem to matter much. Lateral roles in industry and finance are heavily dependent on your past work experience. However this doesnot mean that you should not study at all. What I can suggest is... live a good, normal, well balanced life. Concentrate on the learnings and do not kill yourself for grades. Invest the time for using the facilities of ISB.

2. What is the correlation between good grades and a high pay pack?
My answer should be zero. Baring a few selected consultancies no one looks for grade and the highest paymasters are not the consultancies. A good pay is rather a function of your work experience, your focus, extra efforts, negotiation skills etc.

3. Are low paying jobs inferior?
No way. Some of the hottest and biggest industry brands are not amongst the greatest pay masters, to begin with. However, once you stay a couple of years in such places, you tend to multiple your salary at a very fast rate. So donot just focus on the initial package, but also look into details like what the pay can be after a couple of years down the line.

4. How important are independent studies to crack great jobs?
If you are longing to crack a job in a particular field, I will strongly recommend to do some independent study in that area. It will become an excellent selling point during the interviews.

5. Is the process of “short listing” of CVs during placements a stochastic process?
Well, from the prospective of the students…yes. But from the prospective of recruiters…no. Let me give a particular example of a leading oil and energy company which visited the campus. The job was a dream role for people with oil and energy experience. However the people who were short-listed were people with IT and entrepreneurial experience. Thus from the viewpoint of students this turned out to be stochastic. But from the viewpoint of recruiter….why should they hire someone from oil background from an Indian campus…they can better hire from their own country. They should better hire people with IT background from India…that’s where India is strong at. So the complete hiring process is dependent on the “requirements” of a company and not what it is specialized in.