Saturday, January 29, 2005

Just noticed that the number of visits to this blog has crossed 20,000 ! Thanks everyone for reading about the life at ISB and for posting your valuable comments.

I purchased a Seagate 200GB hard drive that I will use as an external drive to back up my emails, our batch’s pictures and videos, and other stuff. It will reach me on Friday, can’t wait to lay my hands on it!

There is a course next term on Macroeconomics and Policy Instruments being taken by Dr C. Rangarajan, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. Although I am not taking it up, I might go and sit in the class. This is part of the Professor of Management Practice program at ISB. Couple of months ago Rajat Gupta of McKinsey had taken a course under the same program.

I am throwing a pizza party at my apartment tomorrow night for 10-15 of my batchmates. Should be fun.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Today some of us went out into the city with no particular agenda. Stopped by a mall called Hyderabad Central. Met many other ISBians there, who were also having their day out. Didn’t know what to do next so headed to a Chinese restaurant called Mainland China for dinner. Again met ISBians there! Then went to a coffee shop, Barista and killed some time there. Did not feel like coming back to campus, but there was nothing else to do with most establishments already closed for the day. So had to come back at around midnight. Now have to figure out how to spend the weekend. Have had an overdose of sports, so need to find some other activity. I have picked up a recommended book of a previous term and started reading through it now as I had not got the time then!

Yesterday I attended a talk by the US ambassador to India. It was interesting. Details are available at http://www.isb.edu/campussbuzz1/newz_usembassy.htm


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Until recently NFL to me meant NY Giants, Dallas Cowboys, SF 49ers and the Super Bowl. But then I saw a news item that NFL matches would be played in India. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The surprise was short lived. NFL in Indian parlance was not American football, but rather soccer matches between the Mohun Bagans and East Bengals! Reminds me of a school displaying their name prominently as ‘US School’. Closer inspection revealed that the initials US did not mean the United States. The school’s full name was Uma Shankar School!

Placements are almost complete, with only a few remaining to be placed. We are going to resume student village parties once everyone is through.

My daily schedule hasn’t seen much change. Evenings are entirely devoted to sports. I have added ping-pong to my portfolio of tennis, badminton and squash. From tomorrow I will also start swimming!

My choice of car to buy has come down to one among the three - Hyundai Santro, Chevy Optra and Toyota Corolla. If I were in the US, Chevy and Hyundai would not even have entered my mind unless it was a Corvette we were talking about. And I would have preferred a Honda over Toyota. But Indian situation is different. Optra looks neat, and Toyota will be reliable. Will continue to do research before deciding which one to go for.


Friday, January 21, 2005

In all the interviews, my favorite question to ask the interviewer was ‘What’s a typical day like in your company for a ?’ . This used to take up quite a while to answer, which was a welcome break from me doing all the talking. If someone asks me the same question now about a typical day for me right after placements, my answer would be – wake up at noon, have lunch at 1, go back to sleep at 2, wake up at 4 and go to the café for coffee and samosa, bring a DVD from the library on the way back, at 5 go to play badminton, at 7 go to play tennis, come back at 8:30, get a hot shower and go for dinner, come back and watch the DVD till midnight and then go to the pool to dunk anyone who has birthday today, play squash from midnight till 2 am, come back and watch another movie and finally hit the bed at 4 am. Busy lifestyle indeed!


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I finally accepted the Cognizant offer. Had lengthy discussions with their HR on various issues, spoke with alums not only in CTS but also in other comparable companies, and was convinced that there cannot be a better choice for me. There is a strong probability of getting placed overseas within the first three to six months. The role was the deciding factor: assistant manager – business development. I can get into account management, client relationship etc very early. And the CTS people I have met, from business heads to HR, are extremely professional and courteous. I have a feeling that I took the right decision.

I missed the Verizon interview. I was not too keen on appearing for the interview, but still dressed up and went to the interview room at 11 in the night yesterday. I was told that the interviews were delayed, so mine would probably take place around 2 am. I came back to my room to finish up an assignment. I didn’t check back after that, and the interviews were over before I knew it!

It was a great relief to accept an offer. Now there are no more interviews to go to.
Tomorrow is this week’s last classes, so I’ll chill out over the next four days.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Interviewed with Satyam. I didn’t expect them to agree to a BD role, so I asked for the position of Relationship Manager in Australia. Did not get it. Should have asked for BD as they did offer that position to a few. Anyway, it was unlikely that I would have joined Satyam over Cognizant, so it does not matter.

My Cognizant acceptance deadline is 6 pm on Wednesday, and Infosys is coming at 7 pm. That means I can’t interview with Infy. Verizon interview has been scheduled for tomorrow, so that will probably be my last interview. I don’t know nothing about Telecom, so it is going to be an interesting interview.

I am also going to Cognizant’s Hyderabad office tomorrow to discuss and negotiate the terms. It is unlikely that they will change the compensation, but at least I can give my location and vertical preference. I will probably give Calcutta and Chennai as the top choices, and Financial Services as the vertical of choice.

Now that we know where we’ll end up after ISB, it’s time to think of mundane things like buying a car to get to work. As I am not comfortable with stick shifts, am looking at automatics. The current choices are Honda City and Hyundai Santro.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

CAPTAIN'S LOG:STARDATE 2005.01.15: Placements are going at a good pace. In just a week, probably half the campus has jobs. The IT companies are the major recruiters, some hiring 15-20 students. The names I can recollect are Microsoft, IBM, Fidelity, Yahoo, Amazon, Mindtree, Trilogy, CTS, Wipro, Deloitte etc. There are many more lined up for the following weeks. Salaries have been good enough. Many have doubled their pre-ISB salary. Some people have declined high salary offers (high means >15 lakh). Few have got job titles like Geography Head. Many have two job offers and are in a dilemma. Those who are yet to land a job of their choice are anxious as to what they’ll get.
Placement season gives a good excuse to go to class without reading the case study for the day. The next few weeks of classes are going to be interesting in view of this.
Satyam got a few names, including mine, from the recruiter’s handbook, and said they would like to meet us tomorrow when they come for recruitment. The positions will be based in Asia Pacific. This is probably going to be my last interview before I accept CTS, so I will surely meet them tomorrow and see what’s on offer. I got short listed for an interview with Verizon as well, but they won’t come to campus before my CTS acceptance deadline, so won’t be able to interview with them.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Goldman Sachs sent their regret email to me. My last interview with them had been my life’s worst interview, so I kind of expected it. They had quizzed me on pure technical computer programming stuff which I was not prepared for. They said although the work will not require it, it’s a good idea to be in the know. I think I am pretty good at giving general interviews, and pretty bad at technical interviews, so it was bound to happen. The same issue cropped up at the Microsoft interview as well, and I did not make it to the subsequent rounds. They too commented that a program manager at MS needs to be extremely tech savvy in order to win the respect of the technical team. The good news is that the GS job went to my closest friend and I am so happy for him.

I came to ISB with the intention of moving into a business development role in a major IT services company, and am happy to have achieved my goal. Deloitte meanwhile improved their offer, but I still did not take it as it is not a BD role.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Deloitte made me an offer. I requested them to take it back. Although the Deloitte name is huge and I would have loved to be a part of it, they just don't have the role I am interested in. I would be much happier with Cognizant. Cognizant has extended acceptance till Wednesday, so I would be able to interview with a few more companies until then.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Just interviewed with Deloitte. It's a delivery kind of role, so am not interested. I just hope they don't end up making an offer, as that will put me out of the placement process.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Since I have not heard from Goldman Sachs so far, I have given up on that one. Waiting for Microsoft’s decision, and looking forward to interviewing with some more IT companies this weekend. My aim has been to get into business development (BD) roles in IT services companies. Cognizant (CTS) is not known to be a top player in IT services, nor is it the number one choice for most engineers. However, when it comes to BD careers for MBAs, many believe CTS is the way to go. I had been discussing the various IT services companies with my batchmates at ISB, and CTS’ name always came up first. So in a way, CTS became my dream company among IT companies. And I have been offered BD role – just what I wanted. That said, I have time till Monday to accept the offer. I would see what other offers I get, if any, and then decide where I want to go.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Finally got a job offer! From Cognizant. Very happy right now!


Saturday, January 08, 2005

McKinsey took six from our campus today! It’s raining jobs. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to convert my short lists into jobs. Microsoft interview was the type where one cannot judge one’s performance. If selected, I will have to go through three more rounds next week.
Oracle was something I wasn’t too keen on. They seemed willing to give a seven figure salary, but the work was not exactly to my liking. So I quoted an expected salary high enough to put them off.
IBM’s first round was a group discussion, something that I am dead against. So I was not enthusiastic enough to rise up to the occasion. Consequently I was not short listed to the interview round.
The only good news today has been that I have been short listed for Cognizant Technology Solution’s interview for tomorrow. This is a hot favorite among MBAs, so looking forward to it. Fortunately it’s a direct interview, no group discussion!


Friday, January 07, 2005

Short listed by Microsoft and Oracle for an interview tomorrow! I did not expect that I will make the Microsoft short list. I’ll have to move Mount Fuji in order to get through their interview. Oracle’s position is not exactly what I had in mind, so I am not too worried about that. I never expected that I would be interviewing with Day Zero companies, in fact I thought my first interviews will start only next week. Looking forward to an all-nighter now.

Update: Have got interview with IBM as well. So I will be interviewing with all the three Day Zero tech companies! There is hardly any time now to prepare for these. It is going to be difficult to convert these short lists to offers!


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I am finally in the placement preparation mood. Just finished two take-home exams, one was to evaluate Google’s business model, and the other was to value a Mexican mineral water company that was to be acquired by Cadbury Schweppes. Now there is nothing else to do this week but to prepare for interviews.
Yesterday I was surprised to receive a call from Oracle asking me what salary I would expect for doing pre-sales work with them. Oracle is a Day 1 company here, so it was good to know they might be interested in me.
I had been missing New York’s FM stations since leaving the US. It never occurred to me to see if they stream live on the net. Found out today that at least one station, 100.3, does, so enjoying it right now. However, my favorite station, 106.7 lite FM, does not seem to have any such streaming yet.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

I am having the time of my life. Placements start in a week’s time, tomorrow is end-term exam, most people seem busy, but I am having a whale of a time. Sleeping for 8 or more hours, playing badminton, working out in the gym, calling up long lost friends, and watching MTV and back-to-back movies. It’s bliss, but ISB has kept us so busy all year round that when I get so much time to kill, I go crazy. Although I don’t have exams except for an easy one, I should be preparing for placements at least. But I keep pushing that till the last minute. I have not done a single mock interview or company research or course review. Disaster is waiting to happen.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year. That means three more months to go at ISB. When we started last year, the extreme work pressure made us wish it all got over soon. But now we wish it would continue longer. Where else would we get 275 like-minded, fun-loving friends? It’s hard to think of the day when we will depart the comfortable environment of ISB - no more student village parties, no more class participation, no more being up all night. ISB experience has been one hell of a ride, and we would gladly do it all over again.


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