Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Today we had to submit a price that we were willing to pay for a share of Google. This required valuing them by analyzing their financials. Surprisingly, the price came out to be much lower than the current market price. So we should really expect Google price to go down in the future.

As part of our Government, Society and Business course, we had to read portions of Human Development reports, and had to make presentations on topics like human rights, child mortality etc. This type of work is called faff, and we have plenty of it this term.

One of the effects of being in an MBA program is that I have developed a liking for business news. So much so, that whenever I open samachar.com, I straightaway go to the business section. But today I surfed some general news sites, and found out about the Kerry-Bush debate that will be held this week. I would love to watch it if I can find the time. Next few days will be busy because my group has to prepare a 15 minute presentation and a 15 page report on outsourcing.


Monday, September 27, 2004

Today we got the first job posting. Deutsche Bank wishes to hire for their international locations, and will be interviewing at ISB in November. Pre-placement talk is in Oct. Although I know I won’t get short-listed in Fin companies, it doesn’t hurt to send my resume to their London office. At least the paper will get recycled there unlike the previous two occasions where Citibank and HSBC might have dumped them into you know where. Actually previously it was only a soft copy, so this will be the first time my resume finds its way to a bin.

If you want to know what is taught in MBA programs, see the site http://www.quickmba.com/ . It seems to cover quite a bit.

ISB application for Class of 2006 is out now. See it at http://www.isb.edu/isbapp/ .


Saturday, September 25, 2004

This week had two mid-term exams which sucked the life out of me. I slept all day today to recoup some of the life. Everyone is chilling out now as if it is term break. Every club has talks organized, so you can walk in into any classroom or auditorium or even the open spaces in the atrium and find some CEO or high-flyer giving a talk or interacting with students. But I decided to shut myself out from every worldly event and found bliss in sleeping. I am up now, and about to tailgate into a party at the other hostel. This is another theme party, the theme being I-banker. So attendees are supposed to wear tie etc. I will of course go in t-shirt. No dress code for me. The greatest thing about this party is free booze and free kebabs.

I got myself 2.1 speaker system for my laptop. Movies will never be the same again. Yesterday there was a screening of Seabiscuit in the auditorium, but I decided to enjoy it in my ‘home theater’ system instead.

Friday I gave a campus tour to a delegation of a Californian mayor. He asked me why I had come to ISB, and I recited to him everything I had written in my application essay. He seemed impressed! He looked quite a bit like the mayor in Spin City. And Caitlin was there too! Just that her name was Kristin.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

Noted actor-filmmaker Nagesh “Hyderabad Blues” Kukunoor is in the campus today to talk about his experiences. Sadly I may not have time to listen to him, as we have a mid-term exam tomorrow. In fact I just realized I don’t have time to blog either, so bye for now…


Monday, September 20, 2004

Check out http://www.cs.virginia.edu/oracle/star_links.html . This site was used in our class last week to drive home the point that networking can get us everywhere. We even connected Mithun Chakraborty, the Indian actor with many Hollywood actors in three steps or less.

I would be among a select group of 40 students who would get to go to a High Tea with some Indian CIOs, NASSCOMM President, and a California Mayor delegation. Big time networking opportunity!

A prof from Queen’s University, Canada would be taking some of our classes this week onwards. I had an admission offer from Queen’s and had instead chosen to come to the ISB, so her coming here reminded me of those indecision days.

Gotta go, mid-term tomorrow, and lots of other things to do as well.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

In the past four days I have written as many reports of stuff going on in the campus. For instance, reports on the women’s soccer match and the quiz. These will probably be put up on the upcoming edition of Newz@ISB for everyone to read. Next week I will have to start thinking of stuff to write for the Business Technology Club newsletter, for which I was appointed the editor today. These tasks do take time, and the result is that I am spending greater hours at my desk, and lesser hours in the gym.

This week will be a busy one. Apart from the regular readings, there will be two mid-term exams, one on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

After my previous post I realized that many students were unhappy for not getting projects for ELP. And here I am, unhappy at getting a project of my choice. I wish I could switch positions.

The quiz questions have been posted at http://isblife.blogspot.com/2004/09/isb-trivia-contest.html for those interested.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Well, I did not get the amazon.com project, and instead ended up with a project for the ISB Admissions Department, which was my second choice. I am now thinking that I should not have bid for any project, as that would have saved me a lot of time in the next two months. Now all my weekends will get spent on this.

I represented my section in inter-section quiz today, and lost. Our section has a great track record of losing every event. However, we won the men’s and women’s soccer, which was a great surprise.

Today Wipro COO Rohit Kumar visited the ISB to give a talk on Energy and Utilities in the IT sector. He is a Wharton MBA, and had worked in BCG and Accenture prior to joining Wipro. This was a great networking opportunity for me, so I had lunch with him and discussed the career opportunities for MBAs in Wipro. The bottom-line is that every MBA wants to go to the Sales and Marketing functions, nobody likes Delivery. But delivery is where all the overseas opportunities are.

I also attended an Admissions Information session, where about 60 prospective students had turned up. Immediately after that there was a panel discussion in the auditorium on Outsourcing, so many of them got to see that too. Of course they will go home happy with the experience, while we will have to slog and prepare for the quiz on Monday which will be based on what the speakers said in the discussion.


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

It’s busy like hell. It’s already 1:30 am and I have not even started reading for tomorrow’s classes. Today is the last day for deciding about the Experiential Learning Projects. I have been in two minds on whether to take it up. It requires 10-15 hours of work every week for about 8 weeks. As of now I have written an expression of interest in taking up Amazon.com’s India entry strategy project, but I will be happy if I don’t get selected for it, so that I can have relaxed weekends.

Yesterday we had Promod Haque, the world’s number 1 venture capitalist visit us. He gave an interesting talk. Sitting there listening to him, I started thinking how an MBA has changed me. I was able to understand everything that he said, and decipher every term he used. Only later I realized that he is also an MBA (Kellogg). If MBAs don’t understand each other’s language, who else would?

One fabulous news is that my batchmate Shyam has been selected as an MBA journal writer by BusinessWeek.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Today we had a lecture on Negotiations. We broke out in groups of two, and one became a recruiter and the other a candidate. The candidate had to negotiate for good salary, bonus, place of posting, insurance plan, joining date etc, and the recruiter had to try to deny as much as he could. It was great fun. The takeaway was to see what mattered the most to each of them. If salary was the most important thing for the candidate, the recruiter could agree to it, but then the recruiter would cut back on say bonus, which may be the most important cost to his company.

Somehow the dining hall has started serving very delicious food these days, which means I have started eating to my heart’s content. The visits to the gym have reduced at the same time. This Thursday I am going to make up for it all by working out and playing three sets of tennis.

This term is the last core term, which means we get to form new study groups from next term. So our current study group decided to go out for dinner on Friday to rekindle the memories of working together.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

The first week of the term is always a relaxed one. Therefore this is also the best week to hold all events and talks. We had the head of India’s number 1 retailer, Pantaloons, give a talk. Then there was someone from Oracle, organized by the Tech Club. One of my classmates, who is a Major from the Army, gave a talk about leadership lessons. And finally the Sports Club organized inter-section matches for soccer and tug-of-war. Tug-of-war was interesting because the audience was allowed to throw buckets of water on the competing teams!

This term we have to give presentations to our class on the IT industry. Different study groups will get different topics. The first group’s topic was on value creation in the PC industry. Over lunch I was talking to one of the group members on this topic, and it felt so good to talk about tech after so many months of Finance and Marketing. We discussed tablet PCs, 64 bit architecture, Centrino, Apple’s new iMac etc. My group’s topic is outsourcing/offshoring, which should really be a cakewalk. A paper of 15 pages and a powerpoint presentation of 15 minutes is what is required.

A new Admissions Director has joined ISB to fill the vacuum left by the departure of the previous Director. There are some changes planned for Admissions this year, which I believe to be prudent ones. Will give details later.

Meanwhile I joined the Editorial team of the newsletter for the Technology Club. It’s difficult to juggle so many responsibilities – Admissions taskforce, student newsletter, club newsletter, website, communications etc.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

It’s Thursday, which means we have completed classes for this week. My plan is to watch some movie on my notebook, and sleep early. From tomorrow we have to get back to completing readings and assignments for next week’s classes.

This term we have one course on IT, so all the engineers were happy that finally they will have a chance to kick some ass and do better than the CAs. However, it turns out that the course is pretty general, more on strategy, which can be aced by poets too.

I think the course I like most this term is Investment Analysis. I can now confidently utter words like NYSE, NASDAQ, S&P500, T-Bills, IPO, Securities, Options etc and scare my non-MBA engineer friends.

Today many CIOs from Netherlands visited the ISB. They asked us how India might sustain its advantage in IT outsourcing, given that the salaries are rising very fast. They also wanted to know why India was only doing routine work and not coming out with industry leading processes. Why is it that processes like CMM come from the US and not India, if India were indeed an IT superpower? Great questions, I must say. Many of us responded to these questions, but the fact remains that we are not there yet.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

It took a while to get back into the groove here. Monday morning blues spawned thoughts like I have had enough of MBA studies, now please let me go. But after two days of classes, I have started liking it here again.

This term the courses are somewhat non-quantitative for a change. These are Government, Society & Business, Investment Analysis, Management of Organisations and Strategic Analysis of Information Technology. Most of the profs are Americans and highly qualified.

Yesterday we had the Israeli ambassador visiting our campus. He gave a talk to us, and answered our questions. Security people were all over campus.

It’s time for me to decide whether to take ELP (Experiential Learning Project). This is like an internship/project which is worth one credit. It takes up 10-15 hours a week for more than 4 weeks. Instead I could take some one-credit course and spend less hours. Some of the projects are very interesting, so am in a quandary.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

Deccan Air was a mixed experience. Flight delays and bumpy landing were more than compensated for by the smile of the extremely hot airhostess. So much so, that I ended up giving her my cell phone number. She said she’ll call me. As luck would have it, my phone stopped functioning immediately after. Numerous calls to the customer service of my phone company were fruitless. Life is not fair! Anyway, before you start thinking that I am a weirdo to have hit on her, this was the first time I did anything like this.

Chennai was just like any other Indian city. Just hotter. I met some prospective students at a café there. I also visited a Bose audio store. The demo at Bose was pretty similar to the US ones. But the prices were more than double. In fact, for the price of a high-end system, one can actually buy a round-trip ticket to the US and buy it there. It will work out to be cheaper.

My place of stay was next to the famed Marina beach, the world’s second longest beach. I had access to a private military beach, so could enjoy the sun and sand away from the crowds. I also visited a place called Mahabalipuram. There were some very old temples there. The entry ticket for seeing the temples was Rupees 5 for Indians, and USD 5 for foreigners (or Rupees 250) ! There were additional charges for taking camera and camcorder inside.

All good things come to an end, and so has the term break. The final core term starts a few hours from now.


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