Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The (Semi/Quarter) Final Hyderabad Meet


Sitting thousands of miles away in lousy Louisiana, reading blog posts and Google group messages about rocking meets in different cities, I turned various shades of green. Fortunately for me, the folks at Hyderabad decided another meet wouldn’t be a bad idea.


Part I- Identification


Being a veteran Hyderabadi, I guess I’m supposed to be able to navigate to every Paan shop blindfolded, but this part of town is as alien to me as the people I was going to meet. I managed to reach Chocolate Room without incident, and sauntered in confidently as if I knew exactly who I was looking for, which, of course, I did not. A cursory glance at the junta and a stern “sit and order or get your nomadic ass out of here” glare from the waiter later, I walked out and drew a quick mental list of the people I might recognize from FB photos. CG – tick (unless he found a lawn mower to clear his abundant facial vegetation); Arindam- tick; Harshika Sarbajna- half-tick; Madhumita- half-tick; rest- no chance. Minutes later a couple walked in and walked out with a clueless expression that I could instantly identify with- “Probably Harshika”, I thought but preferred not to ask lest her husband interpret my intentions as flirtatious and decide to keep two of my teeth as a souvenir. Thankfully, I happened to hear her say ISB to someone on the phone (an act she later uncharitably called eavesdropping) which I decided must complete the other half of the tick. Thus introduced, Harshika, Clayton, and I plonked on the comfortable couches in the Party Room.


Part II- Familiarization


I imagined, this being my first meet, I would be a little less stuck-up than I was during the interview, but only a little. However, as the junta trooped in (around 15 in all), I warmed up considerably; limited, though, by the air conditioner that refused to warm up a nanodegree above 16 C. The conversation was flowing, as was the bile of the waiter who stood by waiting for our order as we paid scant heed to both him and the menu cards he had placed before us. The conversation was fun, with the highlights being interview experiences, the number of calories in my brownie, the likelihood of CG doing a mujra for us, and Harshika’s curiously spelt surname. (We returned to the surname a few hours later and a few pegs down in CG’s house and came up with some interesting theories) At about 8:30 p.m., we moved to CG’s house for the rest of the evening.


Part III- Intoxication


After spending a few civilized minutes in the living room, we moved to the terrace where the alcohol flowed, the manchurians and tandoori chickens disappeared, and conversations rambled on in 2 groups- the serious and the delirious (of course, the latter group had more subscribers). As the night turned into midnight, we moved down for dinner thus vindicating Arnab, who we thought had absconded with wads of our 100 rupee notes.


Part IV- Is Raat ki Subah Nahin


Dinner done, the goodbyes were coming thick and fast; we were down to a group small enough to fit around the dining table- Harshika, Clayton, Vivek, CG, CG’s Blackberry, Arnab, Shreyans, Hari Chava, Arindam, CG’s buddy Rathore (or Rathod), and I. It was at 2 a.m. that CG initiated something that did not feature in the 8 preceding hours- a serious ISB chat. It was an excellent conversation, in spite of (or because of?) the all-pervading influence of alcohol. We opened more boxes than Pandora would have cared for, and even if our discussions amount to nothing, it was great hearing diverse ideas. The departure of Harshika and Clayton, while dulling the proceedings, enabled CG to give voice to the ‘uck’s he had so diligently censored from his speech till then. When Vivek left at around 4:30, the rest of us realized we should probably get our butts moving too, but they moved only as far as the steps outside the house. Finally, at around 5, Arindam and I realized we had parents waiting at home, who might get a minor scare not seeing us back yet. We bade goodbye to everybody and CG (who by then was comprehensively Old Monked, but was as articulate as ever). As Arindam and I drove back on empty Hyderabad roads, we reflected aloud on an evening well spent. When I reached home, my parents asked me how it went. “Had a great time”, I said, “The group was fantastic”. And that was as true as anything I’ve ever said.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

My First Delhi Meet! - A Night to Remember!

After 3 agonizing months of watching the delhi people 'party like' animals, I got my chance!

Some pointers: My last name is not THAKUR, but I share the same home state with him! So this is not going to be the world's most entertaining blog.

The date : 12th Feb 2010.


Notable Absentees : Vinayak Thakur and other illustrious PPL!

Notable Luminaries : ATRI, CHI (Kapde bechne walla) etc etc!

So, after much deliberation on gmail chain mail, TGIF at DLF promenade (Vasant Kunj) was chosen as the meeting point for this amazing meet. We had the amazing deal which we didnt get because enough ppl didnt show up initially. Anyways, we were supposed to meet at 8 PM. I called Chi (CHIRAG kapde walla) at 7:30 and he told me ki boss, yeh MBA public hain time se 5 minute phele aate hain! Damn, I had not even started from Gurgaon, I was late to parties in the US, how could I be early for one in INDIA! What's wrong with these ppl :D. ABEY IST - Indian Stretchable Time!


Anyways, I huffed and puffed my way through MG road (I live in ggn and yes NCR rocks especially ggn) to reach TGIF at 8:15 PM. The moment I enter and ask the server where the ISB meet is, he corrects me that kapde walla is having a meet outside in the patio area! FAIR ENOUGH!


I enter and I see 4 guys on a table which has close to 36 glasses of hard alcohol! Man ohh man, I signed up for the right place. Damn, those 2 lacs seemed real sweet then! P.S. Three of four guys are married (Gogia Sir, Puneet Sir and Sanjeev Sir) and the 4th was our very own Kapde walla! DAMN! I thought I could drink, but these guys were going to put me to shame. Then I was told that the order was made to 'optimise' and 'maximise' the HAPPY HOUR deal. I started sipping my grey goose in interest! This was going to be one a hell of a night!

Anyways, I started by introducing myself and proceeded to do the holy work by giving the inside (rather background) story on the currently super sudhraaa hua THAKUR. By then ATRI sahib shows up in the most crisp suit that one can find with a blazing 'ORANGE' tie. Orange, OMG! I heard a lot about ATRI but ORANGE, that's was the last straw. I took a deep gulp of my grey goose. Sometimes a man just needs to have his drink! ATRI starts this super long story about how he didnt make any money that day and orders a virgin mojito. Wow! Now I have seen everything. ATRI you could have ordered a nimbu paani with mint on the side! But, I agree you don't need alcohol! You are high anyways! :D

Then enter RBS (Rohit Bahadur Srivastava - he was once) and Mayank some ol' school mates. The drinks kept rolling in and we talked about the 'GOOGLE GROUPS' and some of the super actives members of the group, THAKUR (the super stalker!). Kapdewalla started an interesting conversation on fashion models, which seemed to garner a lot of interest! Sometimes, the discussions went into more serious avenues and I was quick to point out the real meaning of the meet! Irrelevant BAKKAR!

We were later joined in by some DCEites - Dolphie (Ashish) and Samridh Sharma, our senior :D. He is in the current ISB batch (Class of 2010). Like all good seniors we got nice and meaningful (after a good number of drinks everything seems meaningful) advice from him. :D. No Offence! But I really liked his line! I spent all my time at the REC center! Consulting job chahiye toh dean's list is a must.

Then came the interesting part, most people left after a while and then came the bill, we were shocked to bits! INR 23k, Kapdewalla lost it! He was calling out to Arun (head server) to look into the bill. It was finally reduced to 18k. Kapdewalla went into a melodramatic tape recording session - yaar itni kaisi pee lee humne. Its not possible, yaar bill deeekhaana jaara! Dude, how would I know? I was in total shock myself! Saari uttar gayi bhai! Anyways, we paid up and suddenly our pockets felt amazing light! Poor Sanjeev sir, didn't even drink and had to foot a huge bill.

That ended a very very interesting night for me. I felt happy to have the diversity around me, that I believe makes ISB a great place! Drinkers, non drinkers, kapdewalle, non- kapdewalle, orange tie, no tie. This was more than I expected and I liked it.

Finally we all stumbled into the parking lots and into our cars and then drove off into the darkness!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Loan Payment Affordability - Update

This post is an update to my blog entry dated December 9, 2009.  Now that the placement season at ISB is truly underway, I thought this was an apt time to reevaluate the monthly loan payments as a percentage of the total salary.

During the past few months I have been constantly interacting with my future classmates, current ISB students and recent alums. Several facts have come to my notice, because of which, I am modifying the assumptions I used as part of my previous analysis.  

Based on my discussions with current students, a salary of Rs 14,00,000 is considered a "good" package on campus. Also, thanks to several people of google groups, I learned that many offers were made in the Rs. 10-12,00,000 range. These figures are substantially lower than the Rs. 19,00,000 I had assumed in my previous analysis.  Therefore, as part of this analysis, I looked at three (3) different scenarios which are presented below. 

Common Assumptions (left unchanged)

Loan Amount = Rs. 18,00,000 (assuming the deposit was paid out of pocket)
Interest Rate - 10.5% (Source: UBI - ISB website)
Term - 7 Years
Therefore, Installment = Rs 30,500/month or Rs 3,66,000/year
Interest Paid during 1st yr = 15,000/month or Rs 1,80,000/year
Tax Bracket = 30%
Deduction = Rs 4,500/month or Rs. 54,000/year
Net installment = Rs 30,350 - Rs 4,500 = Rs 26,000/month or Rs 3,12,000/year
Take home salary = 62% of CTC

Salary Assumptions:

Scenario 1 - Great (in most cases)

Average Salary - Rs 19,00,000 (CTC)
Take-Home = Rs 95,000/month or Rs 11,40,000/year
In-Hand (after loan payment) = Rs 95,000 - Rs 26,000 = Rs 69,000/month or Rs 8,28,000/year

Scenario 2 - Reasonable (in most cases)

Average Salary - Rs 14,00,000 (CTC)
Take-Home = Rs 72,000/month or Rs 8,68,000/year
In-Hand (after loan payment) = Rs 72,000 - Rs 26,000 = Rs 46,000/month or Rs 5,52,000/year


Scenario 3 - (no comments)

Average Salary - Rs 11,00,000 (CTC)
Take-Home = Rs 57,000/month or Rs 6,82,000/year
In-Hand (after loan payment) = Rs 57,000 - Rs 25,850 = Rs 31,000/month or Rs 3,72,000/year

Of course, these numbers change drastically if the loan amount was low. For example, a person making Rs 14,00,000 with a Rs 10,00,000 loan would have approximately Rs 58,000 left after paying the monthly installment. These numbers are personally disappointing to me. However, I console myself by reading Sanjeev's post and reminding myself that I am doing this for the long term.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ten Reasons Why I Hate Grade Disclosure Policy

The policy of disclosing grades to prospective employers is fairly divisive. One group of schools, such as Stanford, do not allow interviewers to ask students about their grades. The other group consisting of schools such as Harvard and ISB do not stop interviewers and students from discussing their grades. Both sides have valid points. However, in this post, I will be taking a partisan approach and will be making a case for non disclosure of grades at ISB.

My top ten reasons for reversal of the grade disclosure policy at ISB are as follows:

10) Most employers outside of Consulting and Banking firms dont really care about grades.

9) Disclosure of grades leads to greater competition among the students and it hinders the promotion of teamwork. In fact, as part of my research on ISB, I called a former classmate of mine (a current ISB student) and she told me that the atmosphere at ISB is very competitive which actually made me feel sad. MBA to me should be more collaborative than competitive.

8) Students might start taking courses that they know they are comfortable with to maintain high grades. They might stop experimenting and start taking easy classes which hinders their overall growth.

7) Grades do not prove how smart or dumb you are. There is more to an MBA program than getting great grades. Getting admitted to a top MBA program proves that you were not dumb in the first place.

6) As a former ISB graduate commented during his recruitment season, "It is clearly emerging that grades and being studious do not have a great correlation with getting good jobs (except consulting jobs). Many of the interviews are personal interviews and have had minimal technical content. Given this, being good at interpersonal skills and peaking when it is required is quite critical. Sitting in the rooms to study all the time will obviously not make one develop interpersonal skills."

5) Dean's list should provide adequate motivation to the students.

4) Professors have different standards for grading people. This will probably cause some variation in grades especially during the last 4 terms.

3) Students from non-traditional backgrounds might not perform as well as their peers from traditional (read engineering) backgrounds in quantitative subjects and this might put them at a disadvantage during recruitment.

2) Grades do not predict future work performance.

1) I suck at studying and will never be getting top grades. My excuse, "I study smart, not hard", worked fine during my undergrad and masters, but will not prevail at ISB.



Friday, January 8, 2010

ISB, New Admits Website and Shaadi etc!


So! The New Admits website is up, my already bloated gmail inbox will start to explode very soon! Also, I have been on a shopping binge trying to buy cheap stuff from buy.com (btw, awesome website) for 10 USD and under. Get headphones, laptop batteries, camera cases and power adapters. All kinds crap!

This blog spot is written in the interest of public welfare for all ppl who are faced with the question that I get most bombarded with most often these days! Given that my last post created some good controversy let me give it a try with this one as well! This is more sedate topic though.

Now that most ppl know that I am going to India, the perennial question is 'when I am getting married'? Some sample comments are as follows:

1. Typical Indian Dost in the US (Guy)

"Oye yaar tu toh set ho gaya yaar, MBA shmbiiyee, india shiindiyaa, abh SHAADI kabh kar raha hain?"

2. Cousins (especially sisters)

"Abhishek, abh tumhari shaadi karwa deni chahiye, its a new phase of life, you will really enjoy it, main chachi (my mom) se baat karti hoon"

3. American Co-workers and Boss

"So, Abhishek you going back to India, you must be excited, I am sure your parents must have marriage proposals for you. When guys go back to India, they get married right?"

4. The 'EX'

Naah, let’s not even go there!

5. Typical Indian Dost in India (Guy)

"Yaar, abby, mast hain yaar, party karega jaab tu aayega. Mein teri shaadi mein jaroor nachoonga"

6. Typical American / Indian Dost (Gals, yes gals in all countries are the same, no difference and they only like speaking in English and most importantly swearing in English, interesting, somehow it sounds more sophisticated and yes their vocabulary for swear words is so very very limited, please do not swear in the blog comments (it’s a public site), you have one year at ISB to do that to me)

"Abhishek, so where does life lead you next, what are the future plans" and they will giggle for the next 15 minutes and won’t listen to any answer you have, that's so irritating.

Every day I open facebook, there is someone getting married in my age group! :).

Most of the times, I just laugh off the question / comment, but I am sure when I get to India, all uncles, aunties and relatives will have this question lined! I rather solve an integral then answer the question. Even now! Yes an integral is a lot easier. Please see picture atached. See it’s easy!

It’s like getting a Dale Steyn outswinger with the Mohammed Asif just on and outside off stump line and disconcerting Monte Morkel bounce. I am sure only 75% of the blog population will appreciate this! Basically I have no answer, how do I know when I am getting married?

Damn, ISB should have put an answer to this in the New Admits website; This is the stuff we really need help with!

CHEERS!

Abhishek

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Xtreme Experience.... Courtesy Megha!!!

With piyush singing poems to his broken knee and bum(thanks to his sweet friends ;)) and me being the lazy ass I am, I am posting Megha's creative writeup on the meet...

Happy reading...

dont forget the pics at the end :)

Welcome!! It was a Saturday evening (jiska Intezaar tha). We were at Xtreme Sportsbar on an unlimited package for unlimited fun. Most of us were part of the Dhoom Dadakka last meet. But, we had 3 newbies..

Uttam comes along with his “friend” and says “Hum saath saath hain”. On interrogation, he reveals about his real-life “Saawariya” pose in front of a French babe, gets to know how Priyanka wants to change his Avatar and shares their plans for “Vivaah pre-ISB.

Vikram ne bhi Sapney dekhe.. Cash and more cash.. Shayad soch raha hai – ‘Money hai to Honey hai.

We can only say, “All the best, dude!!”

Al Ameen - an awesome entertainer and a great rapper. About the dance?? It was like “Taare Zameen Par. I mean.. a rock star performing on the floor.

We also had a guest appearance by Dhaval. While we were sharing our Das kahaniyan, Rishi says “Aaja Nachley”. Hum nahi jaante hain Mumbai Saalsa... Taal pe Naach humein maloom nahi…Par hum jaroor machayenge Dhoom!! Ahista Ahista, all of us were on the floor - dancing for the hip-hop, jazz and crazy numbers. It was always “Dil Maange More”. Masti me to hum sab hai Ek se badkar ek. Ash, Toufeeq, Sireesha, Rishi, Vikas, Navin, Vikram, Ameen, Uttam (and his friends) and I danced as if to sayRok sako to rok lo”!!! Apurva aur Piyush to Guru ban gaye the and were leading our crazy dance steps.

And then suddenly, Piyush is missing.. Kahin Paathshaala jaanewaala Jail to nahi gaya?

We see him speaking to some gals next door.. He was hoping ki Luck by chance kahin Ajab prem ki ghazab kahani ban jaaye. Par, Race me shayad aur log the. The reply he gets Sorry Bhai”. He comes back to our Team screaming “Rock On”. But, what we see is Dostana between Saroha and Piyush ;). Ab samjho yaar.. Life mein kabhi kabhi aisa bhi hota hai Kismat Konnection. Ok, lets continue, Let’s dance !!

Ab Paisa Vasool to karna he. Its unlimited… to khao..peeyo..mauj karo..

At the end it was “Kyon.. Ho gaya na?” for some.

And the action.. Birthday bumps for Piyush.. All go “De dana dan”. Ab Jaane bhi do yaaro!!

Well, going by this post, you may think I am a huge Bollywood fan... Not really..

But, our meet had all the flavours!! Music, dance, drama, action, comedy, masti, emotions….

Aa ab laut chalein, carrying memories of Jab we Met..

Jab tak Phir Milenge, I leave you with Yaadein.. memories to cherish!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

With apologies to Mr. Arindam Chaudhuri

I was reading Mr. Arindam Chaudhuri's editorial, dated December 1, 2009, presenting a comparison of IIM, IIPM and the ISB. He does a stupendous job of converting an article titled 'Arindam Chaudhuri on why ISB is better than the IIMs' into a pro IIPM banter. As much as I might not agree with his point of view, I would be remiss not to applaud his marketing style. We should give props where props are due.

In this blog post, I would like to concentrate on one aspect of his article - importance of international placements to determine the caliber of an institute. Comparing placements at IIMs and ISB, he states that ISB is better than IIMs because a higher percentage of the class accepts international offers. Applying the same logic, he concludes that IIPM Delhi is the best B-school in the country (at least as far as placements are concerned) because it had the highest number of international offers during the last two years.

This argument sounds absurd to me. It has more to do with the fascination Indians (in general) have about relocating to a foreign country and less to do with the quality of placements. I am as guilty as anyone else out there in having that mindset. During my engineering in India, my career goal was to relocate to USA. Just thinking about my naivety makes me sad. Dont get me wrong, I love the USA and have had a great time for the past 6 years, but that should not have been my career goal.

Although international exposure is great, I believe that the reputation of the school is better reflected by the quality of domestic companies that recruit on campus and the roles offered. A professor of mine at the University of Texas at Austin used to say that the quality of a University can be determined by looking at the number of domestic students it attracts as opposed to its international student enrollment. Anyone who has completed their masters in the US will know what he meant, but for the benefit of others, let me explain. At most medium tier to low tier US universities, the engineering colleges are comprised of students primarily from India, China and southeast Asian countries. As an example, at the University of Texas at Arlington, the electrical engineering graduate classes consist of 95% international students. A friend who studied there told me that his classmates called their American classmates as "foreigners". Unless studying part-time, domestic students always select reputable universities for their masters.

In my opinion, the number of international offers by itself in no way represents the reputation of an institute. Placements can be better assessed by comparing how successful the institute was in placing students in their desired fields and roles. As an example, many of you want to change careers and switch to consulting. Assuming that your preference does not change during your time at ISB, the percentage of students who successfully transition into consulting would be a better metric than the number of international offers.