Thursday, April 28, 2005

Got my first choice of vertical and location – Banking in Kolkata! Few people have been so lucky to get exactly what they wanted. JP Morgan Chase is the largest account in Banking, so I am probably going to work on getting more business from them. My intention was to be based out of NY-NJ area, and it seems to be heading that way. They are also open to processing green card, so I can be there as long as I want and come back whenever I want.

I have to fly to Kolkata on the 3rd of May. I had deliberated a lot on whether to take Chennai and be close to the power center and to some of my close friends who are going to work in Chennai, or to go to Kolkata and have fish curry whenever I want. Finally fish and rosogolla won over career and friends! I am going to miss Chennai as I had started liking this city.

Am planning to go for Toyota Corolla automatic transmission version in Kolkata. But first have to see how long I can be there before being packed off to the US. I would ideally like to stay in Kolkata for next few months, let’s see how things work out.

Cognizant’s results for Q1 came out recently and it clocked a good growth rate. Cognizant seems to have one of the best front-end teams in the IT services space. The latest person to join the senior management team has the following background – MIT, Morgan Stanley, INSEAD, BoozAllenHamilton, Mckinsey, Cognizant! What a list of brand names to have on one’s resume!

I have almost lost touch with ISB. Spoke with someone from my batch who is in the orientation team, and found out that the next batch is undergoing the same things as we did – team building games like Ongo Pongo, going to Bottles and Chimney, talent night etc. The culture lives on…


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Joined work on the 18th. Had mixed feelings – good to be back to working life but painful to commute through the city. The office of Cognizant looks trendy. After filling in numerous forms, we were made to sit through presentations by business people as part of induction training. Some of the presentations talked about mergers&acquisitions, high-level strategy and competitive advantages that Cognizant enjoys over its peers. Some of it is going to be on proposal writing, verticals etc. We will be using three tools at work – MS Word, Powerpoint and Excel.
I felt a great sense of satisfaction that I chose to join Cognizant. They truly value MBAs, which is difficult to find in other Indian IT services companies. ISB alums have done very well at Cognizant – within a year of joining, they have got opportunities to work on corporate strategies like China strategy, acquisitions, setting up of new practices, penetration of difficult accounts, handling of P&L responsibilities etc. Almost all MBAs are placed near client locations in the US and Europe soon after joining. This helps in getting more business by being near to where the action is.
I didn’t know that Cognizant hires MBAs from only six b-schools in India – ISB, IIMs-A, B, C, L and XLRI. Our batch of new joinees, which has people from all these six schools, will continue with the induction training until 2nd May.
The biggest issue now is which vertical to join. I can still go to Kolkata where they have Retail vertical, or go to Pune in Banking vertical or stay in Chennai and take up Healthcare or Logistics and Manufacturing. By next Monday I would know where I am going to be.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Reporting from Chennai. My joining is less than a week away. Cannot go to ISB for next batch’s orientation. Will try to go during Solstice, the alumni reunion, in December.

Chennai is not as bad as people make it out to be. True, there is the language issue, but otherwise the city is very livable. Living here is like living in continental Europe – most people cannot understand a word of English or Hindi. Sign language is the way to go. The roads are in very good shape, so one can drive at high speeds, traffic permitting, without any fear of potholes. One unique thing about Chennai is the abundance of two-wheeled vehicles. So much so, that in some places the first lane is reserved for them.

There is not a single FM station in English or Hindi. Thankfully TV has all kinds of channels. There is a market in T Nagar called Pondy bazaar. Very lively market, but a renaming is called for! The malls are modern and huge, and the beach is refreshing. I have been trying out different eating joints, from Subway to Sheraton, and have been pleased so far. The fast depleting bank balance is a cause for worry though!

Have been spending time reading our yearbook. It brings back memories of our ISB days. Life can never be the same again. The placement report is out, and we seem to have done well.

Will go to Pondicherry tomorrow, and then maybe Tirupati.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

I am an MBA now!!! Oh, what a great feeling!
My next post may be after two-three weeks.


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