Sunday, November 29, 2009
Guys, my 2 cents on the Delh meet. In total we had some 25 odd future ISBiians, some had come in early (like Vinayak, Saurav, Komal and moi) and some dropped in late... I myself parked my car and had a smoke (thinking 'What the HELL is this gonna be'). The minute I met up with Vinayak inside and Saurav joining in shortly, I laid my fears to rest. It was a typical 'Formal' affair to start off with, warm handshakes, practiced smiles, timely 'I am so-and-so, I 'do' this (no pun intended), I work here and so on...
And then the fun began. We started off with a nice ice-breaker where everyone talked about their 'Road to ISB'... there were people for whom it had been a cakewalk (for lack of a better word), like Kriti who it seemed was just destined to be here, (I finished my graduation, started working, gave my GMAT, got a super duper score, applied only to ISB and got in) and then there was the majority of us, Nadeesh was simply super describing his life journey (All my friends got into consulting post graduation and here I was without a job, I started working with an Ad Agency for sometime, felt like a rockstar last year and quit after applying to Harvard, Wharton and Kellog... Alas, they did not get back. But dude, u got some infectious confidence... Am drafting my resignation after this post), then there was Saurav, who talked about his transition from a number of lowdowns to this superb high... Vinayak's intro as I mentioned was hilarious and 'desi' (apologies again for my limited vocabulary)! Then there was this team of 2 guys who work in tandem to make firms go bankrupt (one flies business class, stays at 5 stars and the other consults them on how to do this better with more expenditure). I will leave aside the 'Chinese' part of the meet, this can be better discussed over hot pan fried Hakka noodles :-) Man the meet was rocking.
Once the games began and 'Kapi Nirvanas, sandwiches etc' doing the rounds the grins on our faces were visible from miles away. The late comers can vouch for the fact, they just entered and looked for the noisiest seats with the smiling faces. Post the introduction session, we broke into smaller groups and chatted away for over an hour. I recall having good conversations with Komal (works with Oracle), Vibha (for a moment i thought she runs the canteen at Google, but no, she just work there), Vinayak (the main cause of rising commodity prices), Saurav (headhunter cum educationist), Gireesh (dont know what he does, but remembers the names of all women), Juhi (Architect cum pro cyclist), Kriti & Puneet (both work at Accenture), Varun (my buddy from retail), Deepti (she is lighting up villages with solar lamps - works with TERI), Mohit, Vikram and many more...
As for me, I sell what what no one really needs :-) for me ISB was a dream that I started dreaming 18 months back... I had my share of downs, but did not stop dreaming... I think that was the differentiating factor this time round. A couple of lines that I penned down for the Delhi meet:
We were all strangers when we decided to meet up for coffee one saturday...
Some of us waltzed in like pros, we do this for a living...
Some of us were a little unsure, but am glad they made it...
We had a gala time, we laughed away the hours...
And got to know each of us a little more... We walked away from that evening, a little better for ourselves...
Its the opposites that attract... and we are here to learn from other what we dont have...
The choice is ours... we can be unsure of each other or traverse this journey together...
I choose the latter, because in my case, the longer I dreamed about ISB, the more real my dream became...
Like I said, we were all strangers when we walked in for coffee one saturday afternoon... but we walked out as Family!
Lady: Hi! you all are students at ISB.
Me: No Ma'am! We are not current students, we got admission last week
and would be heading there in April
Lady: Aaah ok! Congratulations!
Me: Thanks (Modest smile on the face, elation in the mind)
Lady: By the way can you imagine the risk here?
Me: Sorry, I don't follow! (Speechless puzzled look)
Lady: Imagine the risk on human asset. 30 students from the best
business school of India under one roof, what if this ceiling
(pointing upwards) comes down RIGHT NOW!...(Smiles)
Both of us break into a laugh!!!
Me: That's some thought Ma'am!
Lady: She said when I got into ISB someone told me exact same lines, I
thought let me share it!
Me: You are from which batch
Me: So how was it?
Lady: All I can say is, recession or no recession, you guys would do
fine. All the best!
We guys went ahead to grab a drink at Blues in CP. I have asked Rajat to keep a copy of the bill for times to come!
And that was the Delhi Meet!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Hyderabadis are very straight forward people. For example, if you asked someone on the road for directions, 9 out of 10 times, the reply would be "Hau, seedha jao". Straight and forward. The 10th guy would probably be a tourist. Don't get me wrong, the people are not deceiving. It is just that the city is circular and all roads lead to everywhere - and they bend at spaced intervals to take you 'around'. If you have the time and patience, keep going straight and you will reach your destination, eventually.
In fact, the city is built in such a way, that despite the expansions, anywhere to anywhere (including back to the origin!) should not cost you more than 200 bucks in an auto. If it costs more, then you are going around the city twice or the meter is going around at twice its speed.
The primary means of public transport is the bus. It is also considered the safest transport option, largely because bus drivers are among the most reckless drivers on road; you'd rather be inside the bus than outside. But since buses are usually crowded, an auto is the most convenient means of transport.
Unless you have your own vehicle, autowallahs will be a major part of your transport plans and sneak peek into their psyche can be very valuable. Their all-time favorite album is Tere Naam, and they usually prefer long drives. At crowded places like railway stations, one can encounter a swarm of autowallahs as one exits the place. The best way to dispose of them is to tell them you'd like to go some place nearby - ideally within 2 kms. The manner in which they disappear is the stuff mosquito repellent ads are made of. The best way to actually talk them into going some place nearby, is to tell them you have to go far, but have a stopover at this place nearby. Sample conversations follow:
Situation 1 (Secunderabad Railway station):
A : Auto madam/sir?
You: Hau, Padmarao Nagar aate? (Yes, Padmarao Nagar?)
Situation 2(Same location):
A: Auto madam/sir?
You: Hau, Charminar jana. Padmarao Nagar mein ek baar rukinge. (Yes, Charminar. We'll make a quick stop at Padmarao Nagar)
A: Acchi baat hai madam. (OK)
Pretend that you got a phone call while travelling and it turns out, you dont need to go to Charminar anymore!
Until recently, night life was a word combination used mostly by biologists researching nocturnal animals. But the phrase is catching on these days, with strangely dressed people flooding dimly lit places, "getting jiggy with it" and coming out with a look of confused happiness, unable to control their excessive love for their friends. Their happiness is occasionally robbed by the ever alert policemen who are always parked outside pubs at night. If you ever encounter one of them, DON'T BREATHE. The breath analysers they carry are faulty by design and will beep at any whiff of air, not just intoxicated air. Of course all this adventure is possible only if you travel in your own vehicle. An auto ride after a binge session is an ideal way to detoxify.
That covers food, water and transport - 3 of the 4 basic needs of any young and dynamic city dweller. As for the 4th one, all you guys are my competition, collaboration be damned! :)
While some facts above may have been 'slightly' exaggerated, Hyderabadis are generally warm and laidback people who live life, love biryani and can laugh at themselves. I'll leave you with some choice phrases useful for acting local in Hyderabad.
Khali peeli dimaak kharab nakko karo chicha - Don't generally bug me, dude!
Kya hai ki kya ki - I don't know
Haula dikhroon kya main - Do I look like an Idiot?
Kya to bhi hai re bhai - Unbelievable!
Kadak potti pataya baap uno - He has a "good friend"
Shana pilla hai ji uno - He's a sly one
Mazak mazak mein Razak margaya - Get serious now
Meri izzat baigan mein milaye re tum logaan - You have stuffed my pride in an unholy place
Yeich sikhaye kya tumhare amma bava? - Where are your manners?
Hyderabad mein aisich hota - C'est la vie
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here is my attempt at solving the admission riddle that has baffled many (including me) and will continue to baffle scores of applicants for a long time to come. At the outset I feel that we have made the entire process of trying to understand the success factors for an admit very complex through over analysis and exaggerated notions across forums, discussions which have left me both amused and bemused. At the end of the day, B-school is just trying to select a group from a super set of extremely talented people that it feels will make for good decision makers
Any decision making is done in 3 layers: Strategy, Planning & Execution
Strategic decision making is long term. Decisions taken here give long term direction to the company and set its competitive strategy. These cannot be reversed easily if taken once and generally require huge capital outflow. Hence they are risky and require serious insight into industry, envrironment, operating procedures and internal & external constraints with experience, strong analytical framework and the ability to think laterally to support it. All of us post our MBA will enter this layer sooner or later irrespective of our job functions or industries. A management institute's objective is, therefore, to make its students ready to take this responsibility by imbibing the necessary rigour (analytical or otherwise) required and will therefore try & zero down on those specific qualities among its prospective admits that will make the dissemination of this rigour both supportive & sustainable. So what are these qualities?
1. Analytical skills: This is the first and foremost requirement that any B-school will have from its students. Needless to say, business studies have become very analytical in nature with the increasing use of mathematical & statistical models to aid decision making. How can you prove your analytical skills to the school? Contrary to the popular opinion, it is not just your academic background or GMAT scores that can prove your analytical skills. It can also be proved through the work experience or any initiatives that you might have taken which required you to work with numbers.
2. Understanding business & the operating environment: This tests the extent to which you have moved up from the daily execution of your responsibilities. How well have you understood the business, its critical drivers and tests your foray into planning. Planning could be in terms of internal resources - men, material, or money or external - competitors, service providers, vendors, customers, banks, financial institutions and other intangibles such as patents, branding etc. Another factor here is the innovation - both commercial or technical. Business problems and situations can be very unique in nature and working on the basis of templates or standard solutions can seriously impede the thought process.
3. Energy level: A good decision maker is also a leader and vice versa. And a leader should have energy level that is not only infectious but also sets pace and motivates his followers. This is tested through the initiatives that you might have taken at work place or in your social life (which we popularly call Extra-curriculars). This also shows your commitment towards acheiveing your targets and objectives.
4. Communication: Effective communication is extremely important. It is simply how well can you understand others and can make others understand your point of view. In my personal opinion, ability to listen and understand others is a greater challenge and difficult to cultivate. This is effectively tested through your essays and the interview.
Now something on essays
An adcom member has to read around 100 applications every day. Do you think he is not fatigued? Ofcourse he is reading day in and day out the examples of passion, hardwork, leadership skills and other generic traits that we all tend to mention inadventently in our essays . If yours is the 95th application that he is reading in a day, how do you make sure that he suddenly sits up and takes notice? Get rid of all generic language in your essays and move into the specifics. If you are a financial analyst, tell him how a particular pharmaceutical company that you had researched had behaved. Use numbers and arouse his interest.
There is a fifth factor also and the most critical one. Its called LUCK :). If this is not on your side, none of others factors will work.
Disclaimer: This post is entirely my personal opinion and how I view the admission process as.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Not sure if many of us have experienced it before with some great offers pouring in earlier than the ISB offer.. but I still feel there is nothing which can dampen this experience. So all of my fellows, here's a toast to everyone's hard work and their never-ending spirit. Let us all keep this blog alive before we hit the class room.
Hoping to see a vibrant class with many friends whom I plan to discover over the coming weeks through lazy chats and blog posts..
PS: I am happy to find a class not so full of strangers!!
Mom Then - Kitna Sota Rahta Hai...Kab Uthega...Nira Nikhattu Nakara Bekaam Insan
Mom Now - Mera Beta Ek Din Duniya Me Mera Naam Rausan Karega [Mohalle Ki Saari Kitti Partiyon Me Bhi :P...Ab Mai Batati Hoon Colony Ki Sabse HOT MUMMY Kaun Hai Aur Kiska Beta Sabse Sundae Bahu Leke Aata Hai] Jee Mrs Goyal...Mrs Khanna...Mrs Mishra...Piyush ISB Me Select Ho Gaya...Jee Bas Sab App Logo Ki Dua Hai...
Pops Then - Kya Socha Hai Kya Karoge Life Me...Kuch Karoge Ki Nahi
Pops Now - Aisa To Sapne Me Bhi Nahi Socha Tha...ISB...Bhagwan Ka Lakh Lakh Shukra Hai...Bas Ab Mere Se Finance Karne ko Na Kaha De [:p]
Bro & Sis Then - Bhaiya Luv U
Bro & Sis Now - Bhaiya Luv u More...Tumhari Salary Ka Kitna % Mere Account Me Aayega....
Piyush - Beta 20%
Bro & Sis Now - Nahi 40% Se Ek Percent Kam Hua To Tumse Baat Nahi Karungi...
Piyush - Oki...Beta
Frends Then - Kya Socha Tha...Kaha Kaha Se Muh Uthaye Chale Aate Log...Saale ISB, Tujhe Apne Gate Pe Darbaan Na Rakhe...
Frends Now - Are Mujhe to Bachpan Se Pata tha...Bahut Hi Honhaar Virvaan Kism Ka Ladka Hai...Saale Party Kaha De Raha...Jaldi Bata
some more changes have taken place...But I guess things are changing for better...what say guys?
P.S - I love my folks a lot...just for laughs n TP
'What am I doing in Office on Monday Morning after ISB admit'...
To start off, I was talking to Piyush last night on FB chat. The most striking thing he mentioned to me (and I agreed).. "How the F*** do we show up tomorrow at work man?! What do we do?!"
Here are my thoughts, I came into work today and saw a huge mail from my boss with comments on what I had sent to him on friday evening before I left work. The big man had given his comments (stupid ones) on it and asked me to work on it. After reading the comments I instantly told myself " What if I don't do it? Would he fire me? That means he gives me a severance allowance and asks me to leave"... And with these 'Noble thoughts' I started writing this blog!
So here was a short sweet description of how my office work is going to 'suffer' until I join!!
Ok .. That was supposed to be my last line in this blog but instantly I thought...'let's write more, what better can you do?' So I am going to go on with my saga...
To be honest all weekend I did pretty much nothing, infact no celebration at all (this weekend was more dull than the usual ones). I realized after reaching work today what has happened... We can burn down the whole town (starting with our office) and nothing would happen... Feels heavenly!!
Share thoughts guys! How is Monday morning in office going?!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
so here how the rest of the day unfolded. I went to office, actually managed to get some work done, hell even wrote an article for a leading financial daily, and then met my uncle for lunch.
He then went off w/ my dad and around 5:30 in the evening i was picked up from my office as were to go drop off my uncle at, hold your breath, ISB. why? Coz he's here for a four day executive programme.
So off we went. Trudging through the hyderabad traffic (it was particularly bad this friday evening). Honking, swearing, fist pumping, cursing, and all in all, having a ball of a time.
On the way we stopped at Hitech City and finally reached the hallowed portals of ISB. Drove straight through to the executive housing reception. As i as crossing the mail building (the academic block that is the heart of ISB), i was tempted to stop, run to the admissions and financial aid office and ask them to put me out of my suspense and misery. But better sense prevailed and I continued to drive down. Sigh!
Reached the Executive housing reception, parked the car, was invited to join my uncle for a drink and despite the storm in my heart agreed. I had mango juice! :P
As we walk towards the bar counter to pick up our drinks who do I see, but Dean Rangnekar himself! My heart nearly stopped beating and my brain went into overdrive saying that this could not be mere "coincidence". Once again, i regined in my feet and my heart, maintained a stright face and picked up the drinks, walked outside and sat down at the table. What we spoke about, I have no clue. All i wanted to do was to get out and get home and somehow make time pass faster.
Anyways, R1 of the drinks were almost done, i was sending sms' to my friends to keep my mind occupied and was getting replies in double time... the phone beeped once more, i picked it up with the same disinterest and opened the message. That is when the world stopped!
That was the message that i'd been waiting for. the coveted message informing me that i'd been offered admission to the ISB Class of 2011 and to check my mail for further details. I read it three times to make sure that i was not in a dream and that i wasn't misreading it. The first words were "OH MY GOD!, I've made it!". I wanted to let out the loudest whoop of my life, but considering where i was, I controlled myself. It was, i think, the greatest act of self control for me, so far! grin!
I excitedly showed the sms to my dad and shared the news w/ my uncle - both of whom were excited beyond expression! I jumped off my chair (as soon as my legs had stopped wobbling w/ the excitement) and ran to call my wife and share the news w/ her. I've no recollection of what i said or did, but she says that i was screaming my head off and was all hyper and was making no sense! (like I cared! :P)
So then other calls followed - mom, sister, etc etc etc.... and after a few mins my heart started beating normally and the adrenalin levels had approached some semblance of normalcy. And the gentlemen were ready for R2 of their drinks. Back we went to the bar counter and this time i just could not control myself.
Despite the fact that Dean Rangnekar was now surrounded by an even larger crowd, i walked right over to him, excused myself and said, "Good Evening, I just wanted to say hi". He was sitting, i was standing to his right and behind him and he was looking at like I'd just landed from mars. Being high on adrenalin I continuted unabashed, "I've just been offered admission to the Class of 2011..." At this point he stood up, and shook my hand and congratulated me profusely. "I was on the campus and seeing you here I decided to come over and say 'hi'". "Congratulations!! What is your name?". "Jaideep Chowdhary". "What are you doing on campus?" "i'd come to drop off my uncle who's here for an executive programme." "What programme?" "the Ericcson one." "Ah! (and then suddenly realising the date), But, are the results out? they must've just been out. I know that till yesterday they were working on it" "I've just received the SMS sir, and I happened to be on campus. And i decided to walk over to meet you" "Well congratulations once again and hope to see more of you soon"
I was elated.
I think that i must be the only person (apart from spouses of studetns) who got an offer of admission while they were already on Campus! And i'm pretty certain that no other admit has shook hands with the dean within such a short gap of having received the admission offer"
So there. that is the long, boring ( ;) ) story of what i was doing when i got the sms!
Well one of traditions I picked up from last year's blog. Hence the name.
Lets network and rock ISB in the year 2011 like never before. Lets follow all old traditions and create new ones as our legacy for the future batches.
(Now let d Tabangs, d Dhols roll on)