Reliving Section C

We had the final section C get together and dinner party yesterday and as usual it was great fun. We have come a long way from a bunch of guys and gals who were grouped together by ISB last April to the most awesome section at ISB for the class of 2009. Well..some of you reading this will say well yaa right.... so as a true MBA I justify the claim to fame for Section C of CO 2009.

Sports Achievement: The coolest section around who excelled in team sports from Orientation to the final Tug of War. The team led by a stalwart like VR, Arjuna Award winner and ex-captain of the Indian Hockey team has pumped a dozen goals in football past all other sections during Orientation.

Academic Achievement: Led by KJ, SM, ND, PL and others Section C has the most number of people in the ISB merit list.

Co-Curricular Achievement: The elected presidents of the three largest and most popular clubs( Consulting Club, Finance Club and Business Technology Club) at ISB are from Section C - KV, UN and me.

And finally 3.3: This is the proudest achievement, something that will be talked in ISB for years to come. In one of the core term subjects, the professor had challenged that he would waive the need for the term exam for the section if the students can send him the bids of their individual grades in a sealed envelope and the aggregate grade of the entire section of 75 students comes to be 3.3 (recommended normal by ISB). The catch is that in such a situation, game theory suggests that each student has an incentive to give himself the highest grade A (4.0) since it is a sealed bid. However in an audacious effort Section C managed to hit the elusive 3.3 average due to the phenomenal theory defying behaviour of a large part of the class who gave themselves a lower grade than wheat they themselves might have got with an exam. We even had our batch topper at that time giving up a letter grade for the section cause. And the end result, we were the only section exempted from the exam and we all went out to Firefly to party that night when the rest of ISB was preparing for it. The achievement is bound to be referred to by the professor for years to come and we can fondly remember an instant when a bunch of super competitive individuals could keep their egos aside for the greater common good.

Finally before I end, here is a short video depicting people of Section C which was played at last night's party. Kudos to SN and team for organizing everything throughout the year.


NB: News just came in that we have won the BEST SECTION award at ISB for all round achievement. So my previous statement is vindicated. We are the best.

It is a strange feeling...

I wake up today morning and things are not the same anymore. No assignments to sweat about, no exams to worry about or classes to go to. Life as a student is no more. I don't know....Through the year how we have longed for this day but now that it has come it feels weird. The year has been one hell of a ride and maybe we all got used to the frenetic pace of things. So when I think of what I need to do today and find nothing, it feels so strange.

We start the disorientation week today and it will be parties and get together to relive the entire year. We graduate on the 4th and leave campus on the 5th. The journey that began one inspiring weekend in December 2006 preparing for the GMAT comes to an end in a week. I want to thank you all who have stood by me through everything over the last 2 years, through the GMAT prep, through the ups and downs of the application process and through the gruelling last year and made this study possible. I was/am really lucky to have had you around me when it mattered.

The realities of day to day awaits us outside campus. Again back to a new routine of work and home for 5-6 days a week and recuperate over the weekend. A new city, new people, new positives, new negatives and a whole new experience. Look forward to another life changing experience in the months to come. I do not know how I should feel - I am sad, cheerful, heart broken, excited, nostalgic, depressed and proud all at the same time....Take that for a mood!!!


On popular demand, here goes a blog about some of our professors here in ISB in this term. Well first things first, let me clear a few things. I have my deep respect towards them and whatever I write below is an objective analysis and not meant to disregard their achievements and experience.

Prof 1 TN: One of the veterans in marketing management in Indian business education. He has taught even a couple of our friends fathers when they were in IIM. Aged about 75+ but with the energy and a sense of humour of a 25 year old, he really brings the Monday morning class to life. Now add to that the fact that after 10 classes none of us mere mortals could understand what the subject was all about and we have a perfect combination. The professor has an uncanny ability to come up with the most disjointed slideshow filled with acronyms only he can conjure up and an absolute lack of coherence between 2 consequtive slides. Now this becomes even more hilarious when he himself seems to be surprised as to what the slide means and says "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.................". The class has been so popular that we have had students come and attend the class even though they haven't taken this elective subject. A few of the classes attained spiritual level and students were elevated to the heights of self actualization in Maslow's hierarchy needs. Anyways the last say is that it is an ideal Term 8 course and a must for subsequent batches. 

Prof 2 SC: This person is a 30 something and his credentials go something like this. Bachelors from Wharton, Masters in Engg from Stanford and MBA from Harvard and now a professor at Wharton. Talk about resume...Though his name sounded very Bengali, it was not until yesterday that I discovered that he is indeed a bong. And I was excited to know that his parents hailed from Asansol and he had relatives in Asansol and Durgapur, the place I am from. However the only time he spent in those places was during his childhood when he used to come to India for vacations. Actually his parents were settled in Dusseldorf, Germany and he was born and brought up there before going to the US for higher education. But what is really phenomenal is the fluent Bengali he speaks and the passion that he exudes about India and Durgapur Asansol, places where he probably spent a very small portion of his life. In the brief 10 minutes we talked he even told me how he was eagerly waiting for the new airport to come up and how it could really work given the socio economic makeup of the region. Not all NRIs are disconnected with their roots and despise India, I thought. Anyways coming to his style of teaching. It is extremely modern with engaging discussions, references to cutting edge research by him and his colleagues and insightful takeaways from every class. The examples discussed are contemporary, the assignments thought provoking. The way how he tried to demystify the issue of post merger integration and proving that most of it is indeed science and not art as it is projected to be was just mind boggling.

Well that is contrast for you. Something that you only get at ISB. We are really privileged to have been taught by some of the best professors around. They leave an indelible mark on you and I guess these experiences are really priceless. There are surely some things money can buy.

Will these times come back again?

Now that we are 2 weeks from graduation, we are all in a nostalgic mood that the year is coming to an end. And not only do we try to relieve the year we enjoyed, we also try to enjoy and cherish every moment of our being together. Below are some snapshots of life here now.

Class: Three of the four subjects this term is phenomenally boring. So in class I engage in constructive activities like playing computer games, writing blogs as I am doing now or doing assignments of the other subjects.

Eating out: Almost each day we eat out for lunch or dinner. While some of these dinners/lunches are to celebrate some friend getting a job, some are just to explore some restaurant that has still eluded us. I can confidently claim that if there is a decent restaurant in Hyderabad where they serve non-vegetarian, I have been there eaten that.

Sleeping: Still happen to sleep more than 5 hours a day and don't get sleep before 3 AM at night. I think its become a part of us now. I don't know what I am going to do once I head back home or start working.

Movies/TV Shows/etc: You just need to send a mail to the batch asking for a movie, a computer game or any TV show like Friends or How I met your mother to Byomkesh Bakshi and Jaspal Bhatti's Flop Show. And viola comes a mail back with the link to the requested program/ movie/ game. So watch away to glory.

Games: Mails like "Counter Strike Anyone? Connect now at" is extremely common and these LAN games continue in classes, over lunch and in the graveyard shift.

COBRA Cricket: This is the latest craze not in the whole campus but in my COBRA gang. An indoor form of game with crazy rules played inside our quad is played with such intensity that we look forward to it each day. And with an Arjuna award winner and Indian national hockey captain in our group, no one can deny that this cricket is international class.

To get a glimpse of the seriousness take a peek in the snap below which is a team photo before the start of a COBRA test.

Definately, Maybe

There are times in life when you really wish that everything that was happening around you was just a dream. And that you would wake up soon and find that reality is something really really different...Well right now I feel the same way too.  Maybe its the withdrawal symptoms from a crazy year at ISB. Withdrawal symptoms...So what would be the things that I wish for in life right now?

Wish 1: I want to go somewhere by myself. No friends, no relates, no family. I just want to spend some time alone, do the things I always wanted to...Options???
Stand in front of the Great Pyramids at Giza, spend the evening around the Eiffel tower, laze in the beach in Srilanka, watch a champions league match of Bayern at the Allianz Arena, Munich, climb the Sydney harbour bridge, watch the majestic Victoria Falls, ........the list is endless.

Feasibility: Well it all boils down to finances. Anyone of the options above would cost upward of Rs.50,000. I have the holiday of a month after school and all I need is some kind soul to sponsor me or at least subsidize me.  Lets see...

Wish 2: I wish to learn playing some musical instrument. I know I am not a genius but I really feel like a dodo when I see talented people around me.

Feasibility: This one should not be too hard. If I don't go travelling, hopefully I can start soon. Easiest of the three.

Wish 3: Classified

Feasibility: I honestly do not have an answer to this. I thought I had the answer till recently but now I am totally lost. I will leave this to destiny to find an answer.

I was rummaging through some old pics of the trip I made in US in 2004.  Lots of memories and lots of fun. I want those days back too...The pictures are fun too as you all can see me in a far slimmer avatar with the now (in)famous moustaches.

Lessons in Leadership from World Literature

Last weekend I happened to attend an extremely interesting 2 day workshop titled "Lessons in Leaderhip from World Literature".  It was really insightful as I was exposed to the history of world literature and how the world evolved over the last 20,000 years. Pretty cool huh? So here are a few takeaways from the session that stuck to me.

1) The world history can be divided into 3 waves - Agrarian wave( 20,000 years) followed by the Industrial wave (200 years) and then the Technological wave (60 years). But the catch is this transition is for the western developed economies. Hence although they have moved on to the technological wave, India as a nation is still in the agrarian wave (with 70% of our population involved in agriculture and living in rural areas).

2) We got an insight into the Indian world view and the Western World view and their differences. While Indian world view is still a reflection of the agrarian wave, the Western world view has evolved to encompass the technological wave. Hence following are the differences in our world views

Indian Wold View                                      Western World View
Fatalistic                                                   Initiative Orientation
Scarcity of reources                                Abundance of Resources
Collectivism to deal with scarcity         Individualism
Conflict Avoidance                                  Confrontative
Relationship Oriented                            Task Oriented
Indirect Communication                        Direct Communication
Hierarchical                                              Flat
Cyclical concept of time                          Linear time
Low Uncertainty Avoidance                  Medium Uncertainty Avoidance
Feminine (quality of life, relations)       Masculine ( success, dominance)

3) Understood the concept of Kama Bandhan - Lust, Greed and Rage and Rina Bandhan (last life balance sheet) and how they interplay to determine the composition of our present life.
4) Got a real fresh perspective into literary epics - Ramayana, Odyssey, Oedipus Rex, AbhigyanaShakuntalam, Julius Caesar, Francis Bacon essays and Don Quixote. We delved deeper into these epics and realized that the protagonists in these epics behaved totally as per their World view and all their actions can be explained rationally. 

The professor also drew excellent parallels of Western epics with Hindu Mythology and our ancient texts. I know its pretty hard to explain. I really have to write a long essay to describe everything.

It was not easy, to wake up early morning on Saturday and Sunday but it was worth every second. Some of the ideas were provocative and I really thought thats interesting. I have heard about Ramayan but this is the first time I am thinking in this fashion.

Ok sorry for writitng  pretty boring blog. I know I did not do justice to the concept and some of the things are really so abstract that it cannot be explained. The professor also gave us a reading list of 200 odd books to read before we die and I intend to start on that pretty soon.  Ohh and I promise to write a far more intersting blog next time. Ciao

Luck By Chance

It was just another evening - thought SB as he locked his door of his Hyderabad house to take his wife and kids for a Sunday evening outing. His wife had been pestering him for a long time for a decent movie and he had been putting it off for long. When SB was posted at a sub-division before this,  his wife and kids pretty much nothing to do apart from staying withing the confines of his bungalow. Security reasons prevented them from moving around after dark.  Things in Hyderabad are much better he reckoned. But one thing he never compromised on was security. He made it a point that his official driver had no prior clue of his travel plans and the whole driving directions were given by him as they moved.

The white ambassador rolled out with the red light on it with SB instructing the driver on the 30 minute drive to Prasadz - one of the leading multiplexes at Hyderabad. Once at Prasadz,they quickly went in to check up on the favourite movie but the show was full. Damn the Hyderabad theatres SB thought. Why cannot Hyderabad build a few more multiplexes? The next show was at 9:30 PM and it would be really late and the kids had school the next day. He looked at his wife and could literally feel the disappointment in her eyes. Let's atleast take the kids somewhere - she said. SB called his driver and in 10 minutes they were in front of the gates of Lumbini Park. There is a nice light and sound show from 7:00 PM. As they filed in through the gate, SB looked at his watch. 7:05 PM. The show had already started. Anyways he escorted his wife and kids to the open amphitheatre where the show happens. Most of the seats were taken. SB looked around. The only available seats were on a row fairly on the top tier.  What the heck...Slowly they made their way to the empty row. Four of them seated side by side from the aisle and two seats on the right of SB were empty. The man seating on the third seat from him seemed extremely engrossed in the show and did not even look at SB and his family as they settled in.

SB finally turned his attention to the show which he had seen a number of times before this. His family still loved coming to the park and it was really worth to see his kids enjoy. And then all of a sudden - bang - The whole world went dark for a second. It must have been 5 seconds. SB regained his senses and the first thing he looked around was to find his wife and family relatively unhurt. He just told his wife to run. She got hold of the kids and rushed down the stairs along with the streaming chaotic masses. At first SB thought, it was a murder attempt but as he looked to his right he realized what had happened. There was a huge explosion which had formed a crater and bodies of innocent visitors laid strewn all over. The bomb apparently had gone off 2 seats on the row SB was seated. He was not supposed to have survived and neither was his family. Later he learnt that since the blast was unidirectional, by providence, fate, destiny, it killed everyone on its path on the other side. He shuddered to think what could have been of the direction of blast was a little bit different.

SB has such unbelievable gripping incidents from his eventful life to tell us here at ISB. But listening to these really makes me wonder as to how foolishly we feel we are insulated from all that is happening in the world around us. When it does not affect anyone we know we feel safe and secure. But the truth is we are as vulnerable as ever. The world watched a dastardly act being committed against the SriLankan national cricket team. To peace and prosperity in the world we live in..... Amen