Monday, December 24, 2007

Funny Fotos- II

REWE-ALDI bhai bhai... The fierce competitors in Supermarket category, Munich

1 kg chawal Please ..3-D set up of an Indian Kirana Store, Innsbruck

Italians are crazy about names, but Amerigo Vespucci for an AlItalia Aircraft, bloddy awesome!

Can it get any cheaper? 1.5 ltr Cola for 39 cents ~ 23 Rs, Plus Supermarket,Germany

Let's have a round table conference!, United Nations Office, Geneve, Switzerland
Any Merchant of Venice around?, Taxi stand in Venice

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You are in Germany...

You are in Germany when :
1. You see huge girls! (Not fat, mind you!) . There's little to doubt over the fact that German Women are World Football champs.
2. You meet people who start speaking in German, but when asked ," Sie spreechen Englisch?", will give a smile and start speaking flawless English.
3. You see the umlauts (two dots on a,o,u) and es-sete (the beta character) in spellings.
4. You meet people who will pull legs of French people (Ah! The popular love-hate relationship between French and Germans...A German student told me: In your project group, I did well by taking a Chinese in addition to 2 Frenchmen. Frenchmen never work like their railways. (Strike in French railway was ongoing))
5. You meet people with soft corner for England. (Quote: "Bundesliga is not as popular as EPL. And Miroslav Klose may not be a poster boy like Wayne Rooney. But atleast we reached Euro 2008 finals")
And last..but not the least...
5. You see bald girls in a shop and then you see boys with hair till asses in the next shop.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

All Good Things...

And finally my eurail pass has called it a day! I was a bit sentimental on last 2 days of the pass.
I had special plans for the last 2 days, which were specially arranged by days of procrastination.

Penultimate Day : Austrian Alps, Innsbruck, Austria
Last Day: Mainz-Koblenz-Cologne travel along Rhine.

Why was this so special?
My first travel with Eurail pass : Mainz-Koblenz-Cologne travel along Rhine.
My first overseas travel: Austrian Alps, Salzburg, Austria

It was just the order of fate that I went to one of the most beautiful country and one of the most amazing cities (Which I toured atleast 5 times) in those 2 days.

So I was just superstitious about completing the circle. In the mid-time Europe was raided like a cowboy. The soles of my shoes are testimony to the same

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Friends, countrymen and fellow students on exchange ask me: "Germany mei dekhne layak kya hai?"
I tell them: Five things: Berlin, Cologne (Rhine included), Munich, Black Forest and People.
They ask: People?
I say: Yes, that is true.

Never met people before, who took their country from rags to riches, not once but twice after World Wars! Never met people whose city consisted of only 2 *alive* buildings after World War 2, and they built an amazing city out of such a heap, so that the complete World would gave them a standing ovation! By the way, the only reason why those two buildings were spared was that they were the tallest structures in the city and their tallness helped the Bomber planes of Allied forces to recognize the city in night. (Guess the city :)). Never saw people, who not only built a country, but built a country with such an amazing infrastructure. And if you talk about German Railways, forget their ambience, forget their amazing connectivity at any hour during the day, forget the free travel in ICE trains, but the best thing was the cleanliness of toilets amongst all railways in Europe. NR Narayan Murthy was quite apt when he said: *A company is known by its toilets*. Let's extend it to countries, and that's where Germany stands!
Never expected that I would get an email in 2 hours after the project groups were declared in the class, for project meeting in the night, for the project, whose submission was 3 months afterwards. Never would have imagined that I completed a project 27 days in advance (And that's why German car companies can never beat the Toyotas, they can never learn JIT). Never saw students who would drive 100 km to and fro, for a silly project in a subject.

And I am happy that I met such people in abundance during exchange program.

P.S.: All the German readers: Mark the nearest Starbucks Coffee joint for me!

P.P.S.: will explain the other four *dekhne-layak* things soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Crowd Factor

No Crowd: Stadium Tour, San Siro Stadio, Milan
75000 people: Barcelona FC vs Real Betis, CampNou, Barcelona

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Best Comment From Class

Place: Real Estate Management Class.

Prof: Do you know what will happen to the beautiful houses in downtown Frankfurt in 2050?
Students: Nein. No.
Prof: They will be empty because there is no one alive to stay there. We are suffering from negative population growth rate. The average German woman conceives only 1.2 children. That's so bad. We need to do something; I mean you need to do something. I have had 3 kids, that's my share of work.
(Turns to German girls)
Prof: Please do something. Please do something for your lovely country.
(Sudden rush in class. Some girls stand up)
Prof: No no. Please excuse us. No national duties right now. Do it after the class.

And we, the students, were rolling on the floor, laughing!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sarchasm Anyone?

Today we had a function arranged by DAAD, our scholarship-paying agency in Stuttgart. The arrangements were excellent, and this is one thing where I bow to the Germans. For three days, things took place as per the exact timing given in itinerary. Only once they were late by 2 minutes, and they apologized for the same. Over three days: We had hotel stay, amazing food, free tour of Stuttgart, Visit to Mercedes Benz Museum. So nothing more I could have asked for!

Then we had an interesting lecture by a Dutch Professor, who had been to India, Chennai to be precise. We asked him, what does he miss about India?
His reply: Beautiful Chennai Women!

I resign!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Arbit Experiences

I have been trying my hand at this game for quite some time. The Asian people are quite discernible in European countries thanks to their skin colour, hair colour and may be the colour of the eyes. So I was trying to find a list of features that will help me to identify the country of a person from his looks, especially for the Asian people.

So I came up with a few traits through *net searches and observing people* like:

Chinese looks: Japan, South Korea, China, HK, and Thailand
Indian looks: Rest of Asia

So after coming up with these traits, I started to test it. Every time I saw an Indian looking guy. I used to him * Are you from India?*. And depending on the answers, I modified my traits.

Indian with fair looks: Pakistan
Indian with dark looks: Sri Lanka
Else: India
Fair looks with sharp noses: Turkey, Israel and their Arab friends

But again, this wasn't comprehensive. I met many South Indians who were darker than Srilankans and met many Pakistanis who were darker than North Indians, and many Chinese looked people who were from East India.
So I gave up on finding country from traits. Just not possible!

And finally found the only way to find whether a person is Indian/Pakistani without even talking to him.
If you see an Asian looking guy, talk to Indian friend in Hindi *Train kitne baje ki hai?*. If he doesn't know the language, it will be chaos for him and he won't turn to see us. But if he knows Hindi, he will turn back.

So armed with this weapon, I was travelling alone from Paris to Frankfurt the other day by Eurail. And next to me was an Asian looking guy. Now the problem was, I could not ask my Indian friend *Train kitne baje ki hai?* because I was already in the train. And over to that, since I was travelling alone, there was no one to ask for this question. So I decided to talk directly to the person.

I: Are you from Asia?
N: Yes
I: Are you from *Pakistan*? (*India* had become too cliche)
Neighbor (N): Nope, India
I: Where in India?
N: Bombay
I: Where in Mumbai?
N: Vileparle
I: Where in Vileparle?N: EastI: Where in East?N: Sant Janabai Road
I: Oh, I live on the same road
N (Shocked): Do you have Sant Janabai Road in Pakistan?
I: Nah, I am from India. The first question was Just Like That!

And this way, I found the person who lives on the same road, from the question *Are you from Asia?*

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And the award goes to....

Vatican City: The smallest country in the world!

Monaco : 2nd smallest country in the world!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Funny Fotos!

Koln : Open toilets, will you relinquish your fluids here?

Dusseldorf Petrol Pump: That 0.999 fever, prices upto 3 decimals

A Hotel in Frankfurt: Where the hell is Da Vinci?
A German Keyboard: That's why we make so many spelling mistakes.
If Stockholm tourist guide doesn't lie: World's smallest coffee house (5 seats only)

On Stockholm-Helsinki Cruise: Some cigarette kills, the other can kill
French sense of humour at its best
Couple on the either side of broken Berlin Wall

The fish market in Bergen,Norway: They can speak every possible language!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Scandanavia Tour

Hi all

We are done with scandanavia. Many people are asking about tour plan So here is a quick guide :

3rd Oct: Frankfurt to Flemsburg ( Supposed to reach Kobenhaven in the night, but there was an accident on track). And instead of sleeping at Sid Jain's place, we slept at Flemsburg station, on Germany-Denmark border.

4th: Reached Kobenhaven. Sightseeing. Night at Sid Jain's Place

5th afternoon: Kobenhaven(1323) --> Goteburg --> Oslo(2145) --> Bergen (Overnight train)

6th : Bergen Sightseeing : Bergen(1558)-->Oslo.
Reahed Oslo in night,decided to stay in station.Oslo station closes at 115 am, so they kicked us out in 2-3 degree temperature and it was a blessing! It was Saturday night, and the streeets were flooded with people. So we went around the streets.

7th: Deprived of sleep...Dummy travel to Gyrovic(4 hrs to and fro and sleep in train). Saw Gyrovic town too.. Back in Oslo and sightseeing in Oslo
Night: Train to stockholm

8th: Stockholm sightseeing. and ferry to Turku(1915)
9th: Turku sightseeing --> Train to Helsinki--> Helsinki sightsseing--> Ferry to Stockholm (1700)
10th: Stockholm --> Kobenhaven-->Hamburg
11th morning: Frankfurt

1.Plz carry your own food and drinks. Scandanavia (espl Norway is damn expensive). Bergen had cheapest youth hostel at 55 euros, and toilet costed you 1.5 euro. In case you want to save toilet money in Bergen, there is Galleratiat shopping mall next to fish market. On 5th floor, there is a toilet for handicapped people. It is free if you know the code , the code is 6859.
2. Carry euro card if you have. All scandi countries have their own kroners. And forex counters charge a flat fee of 20-25 kroners for conversion, hence minimize the conversions.
3. Bergen --> Oslo has been voted as the most beautiful railway track in world in some damn survey. hence dont travel overnight both times.
4. Ferry ride is also a must, don't go to Turku, it was a bad decision on our part. Take Sholm --> Hsinki ride and back. Category C cabins are free on eurail pass. Tax free shops on board of cruise, where you can get cheap chocolates and liquor.
5. Go to Fjord tour if possible, costs 50 euro.We missed it. I guess
6. Take Kobenhaven--> Hamburg direct train. Here the whole train goes inside the ferry as there is sea in between.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Leg Before Wicket

Germany: A land of fitness freaks. In every nook and corner, we can see people taking good care of their health, to compensate for beer binges. So we see games like Football, Tennis, Cycling and running. You will see an office-goer going to office in a cycle, a Professor coming to university on a cycle. For us in India, fitness becomes an issue when we sit in office cubicles for 13 hours, and then fitness becomes more of an ornament, were going to gym is flaunted as an achievement. Here fitness is a way of life.

Needless to say, Football, Lawn Tennis, Cycling and Running makes their legs stronger and sexier. And these people aren't shy about flaunting the same, like:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Picture is Worth Thousand Words!

Extremely Scenic Rhine Valley

Photo of Eurail taken from boat

Beer on boat ride through Mosel River

Frankfurt Auto Show

Ferrari and Me

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Live From Classroom

I am here, sitting in ebs classroom in real estate investment lecture and enjoying wi-fi.

The major difference as compared to Indian classroom is that students are allowed to enter class at any time, leave at any time, cell phones ring in class, people drink Coke, eat food, use wi-fi and chit-chat in class. The Professor is not bugged by all this stuff, in fact he is at his humorous best. Also, there is no attendance policy.

And in IIML: Class doors close at exact start time, mobiles need to be on silent, forget eating food or using lappie in the classroom. Attendance below 80% and lose your grades.

My guess is that, this is a result of difference in pay structures. In Germany, professors are extremely well paid, and in India, well we know the scintillating payments that Profs get!
As Indian Profs are not well paid, they need to show their anger on someone, and the simplest target is the students, and hence we see a lot of ludicrous rules.
As German professors get paid well, they are not frustrated and hence don't pain the students.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Settling Down

I am done with 3 days of stay in Germany. I am staying at Hattenheim, which is a small village, 42 km from Frankfurt. So here are my quick takes on stuff around us:

1. People: German people are extremely helpful. They are very trustworthy, now one of the guys gave me a lift in his Mercedes for 20 km distance. The biggest problem is that they speak English in German accent and it causes a bit of problem when we hear *zalt* for *salt* and so on. But on the whole people are extremely friendly, don't mind saying Guten Morgen and Halo to strangers on the road. Oh, yeah, not to forget, they are damn good looking!!

2. Tehjeeb: I guess ancestors of Germans used to stay in Lucknow because the magnanimous Lucknowi culture has been ingrained in Germans. Whenever a person crosses the road and, the car comes, then the car will stop and not the person. The hierarchy has been person >> cycle >> car, and if a person and cycle cross by, then the cyclist will stop and allow the person to cross the road with *Pehle Aap* tehjeeb.

3. Technology: Germans are well known in their techiness and Frankfurt airport is a fine example of it. Germany has very less population growth rate and hence they need to automate a lot of things. So Frankfurt airport was full of such techiness and they have made sure that the airport doesn't get converted into railway station. Also people are not allowed to walk on highways, hence we see BMWs speeding at 130 kmph without much hassles. Just check this image, photo taken at 129 kmph (Check Eurail track on right).

4. Scenery: The college region is quite scenic, with Eurail, Wine yards and rhine river nearby. Rhein and eurail are the major transport facilities for goods. Rhein flows through Germany and is considered to be Goddess River. Check the above image of Rhein, taken from the car at Rudesheim

And yeah, Germans are superstitious about *13*, just check this image:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Guten Morgen!

The Flight Experience
So finally, after bagful of shopping, writing down the list of items to be taken in hundred different places in hundred different forms (Notepad, sticky note, reminder notes), flew from Mumbai at 145 by AlItalia Airlines. The check-in was very much smooth except for the fact that my colleague faced a major glitch as his passport’s last page had damaged lamination. He told the authorities that he is going for study program, and showed European Business School (ebs)‘s documents, they authorities didn’t bug. Then he thought that he will pull up with a trump card, so he took out IIM Lucknow’s ID Card with huge pride, but believe it or not, the authority didn’t know what is an IIM!!! Now he scavenged for all types of ID cards in his wallet, and to his surprise, he found out IITK’s life membership card. And the authorities were more than happy to allow him to go on seeing the name IIT!
Al Italia:
The airline is synonymous to Italian government what Air India is to Indian government. So we had a couple of old members in the crew and a few younger ones. Both air hostesses and stewards were quite tall, more than 5’10”. The best part was that they distributed the newspaper Financial Times in the aircraft, and that newspaper carried an article about sad state of AlItalia as an airline. It talked about future job cuts and also mentioned that the CEO is striving hard for operational efficiencies. Food was good, avoid continental food if you don’t have any pepper or spices around, otherwise it is quite bland. The crew members were quite enthusiastic, considering the fact that nobody was sure that whether they will be working for AlItalia 1 month down the line or not. The flight took off exactly at 145 am and reached 20 minutes before time, that’s some operational efficiency; they lived up to their words.
Right now in Milan Airport, Malpensa, the airport is outside the city. Milan vs. Rome is as good as Mumbai vs. Delhi. Wi-fi is charged at the airport, Mumbai airport scores better there. We have a huge Brazilian contingent, carrying flags and all. If any Indian STEX person is coming here, kindly get the flag!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Who the HELL is Orkut?

Orkut has bagged MTV Youth Icon 2007 prize. It's not a human, but its deeds are humanly.

So why the hell is Orkut so famous amongst Indians?

1. It helped to find long lost buddies of school/dance classes/coaching classes and what not!

2. There are so many people whom you would not like to add on Yahoo messenger/gtalk but would like to know their whereabouts every month or so. Orkut gave that flexibility.

3. Orkut helped you to gossip. Who is committed, and who is not, who is where and who is hot!

4. Many social networking sites emerged after seeing the success of Orkut like These websites had a few distinctive features like every item is a hyperlink, so that you can search for all the people who like to listen to Lucky Ali. Orkut conglomerated all such unique features of different sites into Orkut, so that you don't need to go to any other site for networking.

Where Orkut has gone wrong?

1. Orkut hasn't looked after professional networking. linkedin filled that gap, and has become a big force in the professional world.

2. Orkut has failed to monitor porn profiles/communities, which may become nuisance in coming years in case they proliferate.

3. Many fake profiles are made on orkut and Orkut doesn't have any unique identification for every profile to avoid the repetitions.

The future:

Web 2.0 has rocked big time, but Orkut will face stiff competition from cash-rich Reliance backed, a social networking site. Given the cash richness of bigadda and techieness of Google, the battle will be interesting one, though Google will easily scrape through.

In the end: Orkut rocks!

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Great IIML Cycle

So here I am, chilling at home, after enduring yet another 6 week cycle in IIM Lucknow.

For the uninitiated, the cycle in IIML works as:

Week 1: Start of new term. Starts with registration process where you need to get a handful of signatures, pay term fees and collect bagful of books (Yes!). The books and xerox material is given by IIM Lucknow. But it is too huge; I mean initially in the 1st year, I felt that the books are given for an entire year. But I received a shock when the person told me that it is for 1 term only (3 terms/year). Overall first week is a very chilled week; most of the time is spent in catching up upon what we did in holidays. No assignments, no quizzes.

Weeks 2 and 3: The atmosphere gets heated up, a few quizzes are held and students (pretend to) study for the same.

Week 4: Pre-submission phases, when every project group in every course, meets up, decides the topic, divides the work.

Week 5: Submission-phase. We have 7 subjects, 7 presentations, 7 possible quizzes, a few vivas, a few more assignments and only 6 days. You can imagine! In addition to that we are supposed to study for impending exam

Week 6: Exams. Sometimes twice a day, at times thrice a day, they come in all forms. Campus is highly volatile! Gtalk status messages depict the same.

Week 7 = Week 1...And the cycle continues....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Master of *Busy*ness Administration

The typical keywords in any of the life@B-school posts:
1. We are busy
2. We are damn busy
3. Assignements are killing us
4. We sleep for x hours/day ( x varies between 2 to 6)
5. I have not slept for last y hours ( y varies between 30 to infiniti)
6. I gotta run for project
7. life is hectic

Kepp'em coming!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Group Dynamics

Having successfully completed one year of MBA and being a part of different groups for different projects in various subjects, here are my 2 cents on group dynamics and related issues:

1. NEVER in caps, never choose different people for different groups. You will end up doing a lot of running. My sincere advice will be to try out all the people in your class in term1. After working with different people, you will get an idea about the working styles of every group member you had. You will get to know who is a free rider, who is a hard worker, who is a smart worker, who is a JIT believer and so on...But most importantly it will help you to understand whose working style matches with yours the most. From second term, choose the people with whom you can get along very well, or your working styles match, and continue with this core group for all the subjects. This will help you to delegate the work in far better manner for all the subjects.

2. If a group consists of 5 people, don't choose all 5 stud people. If all stars are a part of same group, it is most likely that there will be ego problems about nature and scope of the work. A few might revert to social loafing. (Remember Real Madrid!)
Always choose a combo like 2/3 studs + 3/2 excellent supporters. This way there are no ego problems in the team and the team works excellently (Remember Pakistan's bowling attack in World Cup 1999: Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akthar were ably supported by Abdur Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood)

3. And last but not the least; prefer team players who are not your friends over your friends who are not so good team players.
The reason for the same is that of context. You view your friends through the mirror of friendship/common hobby. So your perceptions about the friend might change when you work in a team in which he is not so good contributor. This may result in heat in the friendship. It is better to choose a person who is a team player, as we don’t happen to view him/her through any specific mirror. And he/she may become your friend if both of your attitudes click.

2/3 cents per bullet point. Over and out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Winds of Change

Millions of lines will be written and trillions of emails will be forwarded about facts, figures about 60th birthday of India. *The only permanent thing in the world is the change*, so said the saints. Amidst changes in GDP,FOREX reserves, IIP and so on...The most important thing that has changed in my opinion is the attitude of youth junta. If 7-8 years ago,some elderly person told me that I am the future of India, I would have find it sarcastic. It's not the same case any more!
Many years ago, an engineer/MBA (especially an IIT/IIMian) who didn't go to USA was a reason for laughing stock. These days, the young grads are more than happy to take up jobs in India.
And last but not the least, happy independence day!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Friend in Need...

A Friend in need is a friend indeed: The well-known saying wears an altogether different meaning when people tell their classmates to proxy for them for attendance. SMSes, phonecalls, gtalk messages, word of mouth: Every type of communication is tried out when in trouble.
Some people are even more benevolent than that, they proxy for friends without even been told to do so:

The other day, one of the benevolent friends (say P) gave proxy for his friend A when roll call was taken. The best part is now friend A entered the class after 5 minutes, and the professor asked him his roll number. Now this friend A innocently told his roll no. And the professor told that you are already present in the class.
And the whole class burst into laughter.

IIM Lucknow is an IIM, agreed. But still people are human only!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Say NO to Racism!

Mike Atherton wants S. Sreesanth to be banned for bowling a beamer to Kevin Pietersen. His point is that it was a deliberate move and not a mistake.
Didn't the same Atherton tried to defend himself when he had kept soil in his pocket and was caught in tampering the ball. Was that an innocent mistake?
Whoever said that racism in Cricket DOES NOT exit should take a hike now!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Nostalgia from Term 2 (Contd.)

Continuing with term 2 let me get back to course by course description.

We had a legendary marketing management course in term 2. Most of the lectures used to be at 830 am. And but natural, 80% students used to miss breakfast. So approx 60% students were almost empty stomached in that class.

This professor had an uncanny knack of sending back empty-stomached people to have their breakfast. So he used to call in the class * How many of you didn’t have breakfast?* A few hands used to get raised. With the philosophical bent like *an empty stomach is an empty brain*, he used to say, you have exactly 6 minutes to eat your breakfast, and return to the class. Any more seconds to reach the class, and you will lose your attendance. Your time starts now.
As soon as he said these words, a group of 30-35 students used to run towards mess from PGP block classroom(Approx 50-60 m distance), used to grab whatever came to their hands and we used to run back to classes eating and gulping on the way.
It was fun running as other people watched us; it was also fun to go out even though you had breakfast ;)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nostalgia from Term 2

Term two has by far been the toughest term in IIML. Just after the end of first term, many of us thought that nothing can be faster and more hectic than this. But well, we were terribly wrong footed. Term one was a net practice session for the actual match in term two.
Why is term two hectic?
1. Summers: Summers happen just one week before the midterm. Needless to say that most of the time before summers is spent in finalizing CV, filling various forms, preparing answers to various questions like * Why marketing? *, taking fundaes from seniors about various job profiles and last but not the least, attending PPTs. In IIML, PPTs are compulsory to attend as per a pre-described schedule. You miss one, and you shell out 1000 Rs. only.
2. Courses: The courses get tougher as there are lots of quantitive courses like FM, MANAC,OM and Stats.
3. Weather: Lastly, as November dawns, the weather tends to get chiller. And students tend to miss the early morning 830 classes just because they kept on snoozing their alarms and never came out of the environs of their *rajai*. The attendance rule is sweet and simple: Less than 80% of attendance, a grade drop of 3 grades
And yeah, I survived term II, equivalent to surviving the MBA :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Updates and Stuff

* I would have gone on to live the story, but rather I resigned and decided to write the story*, so said Michael Lewis in Liar's Poker about Solomon Brothers.

On a similar note, I assure you the same. No,no, I am not going to get kicked out of IIM Lucknow but rather I will update more frequently about life and beyond in IIML. I will be regular with my titbits and snippets from IIM Lucknow.

So stay glued to the blog! :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

How to choose a specialization in B-school?

Cometh, the first term of the first year and the talks that go around amongst enthusiastic first year MBA students in any B-school campus are regarding which specializations to choose. Some B-schools don't necessarily require a specialization, but most of the others do require. And not to forget, specialization is an important jewel to adore your CV.

Given this background, every first year MBA student invariably asks his seniors about which specialization to choose from. And the senior invariably tells him to hang on for a while to get hang of management courses.

All said and done, there are only a few people in any B-school who took specializations which were exactly the same what they thought of before coming to a B-school. And for majority of the others, the streams vary throughout the first year.
But still I felt that I should provide a generalized framework on which specialization gets chosen:

1. Market Forces:
The most important factor behind choosing any specialization is market forces i.e. Demand for graduates from a certain stream.
With this background, finance has long been a favorite of the students for monetary reasons…err.. Finance jobs indeed pay you well! 75% of the first year MBAs want to take up finance and work for an investment bank (Though it’s a different story that some these students portray that it’s not about money but for the love of finance). But hardly anybody knows what an investment bank does?
Also sometimes it happens that students who hardly know a *F* of Finance take up finance just for these dollar dreams. What they tend to forget is that on any given day, hardly 50% of them will be able to draw confidently a cash flow statement from Balance sheet and Profit and Loss statement. Now given the fact that these students will thoroughly struggle (grade-wise and concept-wise) in the two years of academics in a B-school, will they be able to sustain this stupidity and keep on fooling the finance companies (And in turn fooling themselves) for the rest of their lives?

2. Your likings:
* Do those things which your heart tells you to do*, so said the saints, and this statement is aptly true in choosing a specialization. Choose the one which you like the most, the subjects you can enjoy and you are ready to spend not only your 2 years of study but your entire life in that particular field.
In general, people who are creative and/or who fear numbers tend to take up non-quantitive subjects like marketing, HR and people who are conversant with numbers tend to take up courses in Finance, Economics and Operations.
The reason is quite simple, the above-mentioned quantititive courses need precise answers i.e. If the answer to a certain problem in Finance is 110 Rs, then your calculated answer must match with the same whereas marketing and HR is more about finding any answer between 105 Rs and 115 Rs and then relentlessly justifying the same.

So there is always a dilemma between your likings and market forces e.g. I like marketing but finance companies are rocking, what to do? Well, this question is perfectly valid; the simplest test to resolve the dilemma will be to ask yourself a simple question: Imagine, over next 2 years, finance industry goes bust. And forget private yachts, I-Banks start paying shit salaries from which you can buy posters of yachts at max. And if all of a sudden, other fields like HR or systems start paying huge salaries. Will you still take up finance for the love of it?
This test will indeed help you to draw the line between market forces and your likings. And choose the stream accordingly.

3. Profile Building:
In a way, profile building is a part of your likings as specializations are chosen to build a certain profile. In the simplest words, the concept of profile building can be explained as you are going to target a certain profile in the placements and you are trying to build up your path to that profile by taking all relevant courses that matter the most to that profile.
e.g. consulting profile is built up by taking a few good courses in each specialization e.g. SCM (Operations) , Distribution and sales(Marketing) , Business Process Reengineering (IT)

Given this background about profile building, arbitrary specializations like combinations of HR and economics are not chosen together as both of them hardly point to a certain profile. Hence even though your liking can be both HR and economics, profile building/market forces will tend to override the same.

4. Professors:
This is a very minor factor while choosing a specialization. But in case you have dilemma between two specializations, it becomes the critical one.
People choose specialization with more nice professors (Good grades, no attendance issues, good teachers) in case of dilemma!
Even then, professors play a more critical role in choosing a course rather than choosing a specialization.
All said and done, specializations are more or less chosen by optimization of the top three factors: market forces, your likings and profile building.
Hope t’was exhaustive!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Innocent Questions

Overheard the follwing at railway platform:

1. If I buy a quarterly pass from Borivali to Dadar. Do I need to buy another pass when I travel from Dadar to Borivali?

2. I have a first class ticket from Dadar to Bandra. Can I travel by second class?

Innocence personified!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

All I Wanted To Speak About CAT!

Too much hype for MBA these days thanks to the agressive marketing efforts by the coaching institutes!

The result is : CAT aspirants tend to forget the thin line of difference between passion and hyped obsession.

Months after months are spent, personal lives are put in danger, relationships are kept on gas, job productivity is made to suffer: Just to study for one hyped exam in which all that matters is how you performed in those 120 mins. ( Now 150 minutes). The journey towards CAT becomes a drudgery ,rather than being an enjoyable picnic of like-minded aspirants.
So much of mental and physical energy is spent , and if you don't score then the end result is frustration,depression and so on...

And the cycle continues in the next year just to satisfy your egos, just to tame CAT because a stupid classmate of yours tamed it and to achieve Moksha

What people tend to forget is MBA entrance starts with CAT and NOT ends with CAT!

I am curious about the post-CAT lives of the people who spent too much efforts for clearing CAT .How did they fare in MBA academics, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and post-MBA jobs? Just want to check whether they could put in so much of energy in post-CAT activities also or was CAT only one-off type act?

CAT season should be enjoyed. CAT is yet another exam.

That's all I wanted to speak about CAT!

Monday, May 14, 2007

One Tight Slap!

These free credit card and home loan calls have become damn irritating!

Credit Card lady (With sweetest voice) : Kya mai Mr. Anand Vaidya se baat kar sakti hoon?
AV: Wrong number, main Amitabh Bachchan bol raha hoon!

A pretty effective way for sure!

And to hell with direct marketing!!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


1. We spend countless number of hours to decide which college to join or which test series to enroll for. And in the great Indian arranged marriage algorithm, we choose our LIFE partner in 20 minutes flat.
2. We watch matinee porn show in the morning. And in the afternnon, we burn effigees of Richard Gere.

Isn't the mentality of a conservative Indian paradoxical in itself?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not An Original One!

The woods were lovely dark and deep. Walking slowly beside her, in the damp mud road, was her husband whom she barely knew. He was very relaxed, happily watching a group of kids playing at a distance. Her "mehandi" was still dark and smelling fresh, reminding of the excitements and tension 2 days back. "It cant work this way mom...please stop this", she kept telling her mother till the last moment,who wouldnt listen but carry on with beautifying her.She had been crying all night and her make-up had to be patched up twice or thrice to hide her awkwardly swollen face.
It was too late now.She had to get married "NOW" to the guy...The guy whom she had seen once and talked thrice.The guy about whom she knew nothing at all but for his name and work.Everything happened in a hurry and everthing was over before she could breathe again... here was she with this guy, all alone in this hill station... how can anybody send their daughter such a long distance with a stranger??? "Hey look at that....!!!" he shouted in excitement... she shrugged and looked where his finger pointed... Bright colored balloons dotted the sky. Children were jumping in joy and he seemed to be completely absorbed into it...colors are always exciting...but not now.She was not with her friends, not with her team mates, not even with her parents. This was not a 3 day tour or team building trip.This was her life and she has been forced to start off with this person. Loneliness and discomfort with this stranger was sickening...
She looked at him in wonder... does he even realize that he has married me?Does he understand that he has to love me,protect me,care for me,a new girl,a stranger,all his life?
The marriage morning started like a daylight nightmare for her.The first time in life she felt she should have fallen in love and then married somebody. some man who she would have felt more comfortable with, someone whom she could call by name and introduce to friends, someone whom she could trust. But marriage morning was obviously not the time to think all these. Her parents would never have said "no" if she had declared that she was in love.But she was not emotionally attached to anybody she met,especially guys.She was very friendly,playing,teasing, but never had second thought for any man around her.That brought the entire responsibility of looking for a groom on her parents' shoulders.
Her parents had had a very bad time with this entire process.They started their groom search with unending "&" operation. The concatenation of "Horoscope matching" & "Decent family" & "Good looking" & "Good pay" & "same cast" & so on... that always gave 0 output.Now after all that 8 months hunt,they were not ready to hear her "ifs" and "buts" for this 'good guy'. She had explained to her father.She does not feel anything for this person.He is nothing more to me than any other software professional.Like list of names she sees in the chat rooms. Distant and usual...Her father asked her to talk to him and even meet him and discuss their likes and dislikes.That meeting started like the induction programme self introduction and ended like a 3 hour seminar.She was waiting to get away from that place."So did you talk with him?"."yes"."was he polite and decent"."yes"."Oh he got that special flavoured tri-color icecream...!!!".OK.All her family and relatives discussed...She was given the chance to "understand her life partner" and that they have understood each other "well" and she is ready for the marriage now.
All arrangements geared up and it was 24 days after her first meeting that she was getting married to her man... perfect match as everybody else described.Marriage hall was full with excited people, kids got the chance to play,ladies got the chance to wear the silk saree.The smell of rose and jasmine filled the hall.Different poses for the photographer and atrificial smiles for the videos.The moment he had tied the sacred thread was unexplainable vaccum in the head.It was over.She was his wife.Accepted by the society and law.Her proud parents were relaxed.This was their duty they had been planning to fulfill since she was born.All this crowd will fade away,leaving her to explore her new world...
He pulled her hand gently to sit on the stone bench.The bench was wet and the chillness was indeed enjoyable."So what are you thinking about?"... that was an unexpected ball.should she reply?should she be silent?She remembered the two hour presentation she had taken last month.Bold and confident, she kept answering all the queries with a broad smile.Now she remained silent."Do you know honey... I was not for this marriage too..." Oh my God... what did i hear??? did HE tell that or did i think aloud? what does he mean?didnt he like me?was he forced into this? He must have noticed the quizzical look on my face...with a gentle smile he continued..."I wanted to look for a girl myself,buy her everything,care for her,argue with her,laugh and cry with her,then get married to her... Anything otherwise would be a drama. Traditional drama and i was not for it anytime. But my love for my work and also my stress would not give me time and mind to search that girl...When your parents talked to me 2 weeks before our marriage, about your fear of getting married,to a stranger, i could completely understand your mind. I could see myself in you and that was the moment i decided i will marry you.There was no time to prove myself to you,make you trust me,everything happened in a hurry.But there was the entire life before me, to please you,to love you, to make you trust me.This is no less than what i had dreamt,the girl i was waiting for,is you.Now tell me... will you love me???"
Tears came down her cheek.Her parents had done more than their duty.They had found her the perfect guy. Thank you Mom!!! Thank you Dad!!! His question remained unanswered yet both knew the answer....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

How does one choose the special person?

I have been thinking about this question for a while and did ask a few people about the same, * I want something different*, *It can't be put into words, but he should be of my type* were some of the common replies. So it was clear that in majority of the cases, the choice is more of subjective nature rather than pinpointed objectivity! Fair enough!!!

So what are these underlying factors which people die to look for in the special person for months, years! Based on my dedicated research, there are four underlying trends upon which the special person is chosen:

1. Halo Effect: There is a single attribute on which a person is chosen and all other attributes are not considered either.
e.g. I want to marry a person who is extremely good looking irrespective of any other positive/negative attributes.

2. Weighted Average Method: The person assigns a certain weight to each attribute of the personality, and then he/she assigns the ranks on each attribute to the other person, takes the weighted average and if the weighted average hits a certain minimum, then the person is like, “Voila!”
The rank assigning process has been gorily painted in terms of numeric in this example, Mind you; it does not happen in that much of a quantitative bend of mind! But it’s more of a qualitative nature, where a person factors in various attributes in his/her mind as follows: The other person is not very tall, but never mind, he is very humorous.

3. Cutoff Method: There are various attributes like education, income etc (varies from person to person), that he/she decides to consider for the special person. And just like CAT exam, where you need to score a minimum cutoff on three sections, the person sees whether the special person scores a minimum on the defined attributes or not! If he/she scores the minimum requirement, then through!

4. Gut Feeling: Utmost nature of subjectivity, purely a decision by gut feeling! Something of the nature, “The reason for choosing a special man can not be described in words or numbers”
Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Summers in IIMs : A Hard Hitter

Here is a primer on the summers process at IIMs and other B-schools


1. Are girls really preferred in summers?
1. Ahem!! Water is the most precious thing in desert. Investment Banks(IBs) and consults are terribly short of XX chromosomes. IBs need people to work for long hours, they want people in office working for 16-17 hours/day. If there are no girls, people won't have the motivation to stay in office. QED!!

The shortlist is based on 2 factors : 1. Resume and 2. Your photo in the placement brochure that has been distributed to the company.
My research shows that for a fresher girl with average looks and IT-work girl with good looks have almost equal probability of geting IB/consult shortlist! The company has some predetermined notions about each candidate. And they are trying to fit those notions in the interview. So if you've minimum quant skills and minimum communication skills, both fresher and IT-work ex girl has equal chance of making to IBs/consults.
Though from the bottom of my heart, I can vouch for the fact that an average girl has much better communication skills as compared to an average boy! The reasons are numerous, the simplest being a large portion of MBA students are engineers (70-80%). Owing to bad M:F ratios in engineering, a boy is not very comfortable or confident when he talks to a girl, but vice versa is almost always never true.
And yeah, am not painting an anti-feminist picture here!

2. I have high IT work-ex, what the heck?
2. Summers is a 2-months process. The IBs need fresh minds. work-ex people (espl. high work-ex) people need some time to unlearn the stuff they learnt in their earlier organization. And this is not quite possible in 2 months of summer training. Hence the problem So unless you ve high financial /relevant work-ex, LehmanBrothershereIcome is very very tough ( Even getting a shortlist is a luxury)
Exception being : Refer Question no 1

3. I am non-IIT/BITS, why am not getting the shortlists?
3. Again alumni factor comes into picture. IIT/BITS have proven excepetional track record for most of its alumni which may not be the case for non-branded colleges.So when a company wants to choose a shortlist of say 20 people, the safest bet is to choose a fair no of branded people. The reason being the company is more or less sure that even if they make a mistake in selection process, 80-90% of branded people will be really good! Now this may not be the case of people from unbranded colleges! QED

4. I took a job which I don't want just because of slot pressure.
4. the feeling of being among the last few to get placed is also terrible.The main agony is not at all that you are not getting the job. The major issue is all others in your peer group are getting summers.If you can handle the pressure, awesome As has already been discussed, slot is not the criteria to judge. Thus ideally there should not be *the terrible feeling*.Though one point I would like to make is that most of the people from non-IIT/BITS colleges have not experienced the kind of competiton that exists in the IIMs. Hence they might crumble beacuse of *the terrible feeling* as I have observed it in IIML.Waise some people in IIML waited till slot 3 because their dream company was coming then!This not only shows the patience but also shows the fact these people knew what exactly they want to do in life!

Last but not the least Summer process is not-the most optimum process. In fact it as good as an arranged marriage .This is a statistically proven fact :In summers, you are interviewed for approx 30 minutes and they hire you for 2 months!In arranged marriage, the bride-groom date each other for 3-4 days and get married. I ve assumed that average married life =25 years.So a CAT Quant student can easily tell that the ratios are almost equal!

Overall summers is a mayhem of emotions. Agony, ecstasy, dreams, crashes are all packed in a thriller of 3 days.

And the final nail in the coffin:
For heaven's sake , a MBA from IIM or otherwise, is not a passport to success. Only 5-10% of the alumni of any institute have done extremely well in life.50% of alumni have done reasonably well in life. And the rest have terribly struggled in life. Too much was expected out of them because of IIM MBA tag, which they just could not deliver! It's not the IIMA brand or IB summers that makes the difference. 10-15 years the down the line, all factors will get averaged out. It's you who makes the difference!

Monday, April 09, 2007

"Damn, I don't have a boyfriend!"

"Damn, I don't have a boyfriend!" , we tend to hear the line many-a-times. So let’s delve into the nitty-gritty.

My research shows that if a girl is above 23.5 years of age and single, then the reason of singleness will be explained by one of the following four reasons:-

1. The girl has been very career-focused: No time to look for a suitable match
2. A wrong person in wrong place at a wrong time: Always in the wrong company
3. Nonsmartness (In terms of looks, attitude etc.)
4. Mentally or physically handicapped: Mentally handicapped is not in a negative sense necessarily. Infact commitment shyness comes under mental handicap which is not a negative thing.

Now the other question is what is so sacrosanct about the age 23.5 years?

Well let’s divide the girls in engineering and nonengineering streams.
The M:F ratio in non-engineering colleges is a healthy one ranging from 0.5:1 to 2:1. Hence there is always a healthy interaction between boys and girls in these colleges. And some couples might get hitched up!

In engineering colleges, the M:F ratio is very unhealthy. Hence there is low scope for healthy and free-flowing interaction between the opposite sexes. The bad ratio is detrimental to both the sexes, mind you! A boy is not able to meet enough number of girls in the first place! Meeting a suitable choice is a far-flung thing.
And there are many boys who are trying to leach a girl; hence a girl does not get enough quality time to spend with a certain boy. Hence even girls don't find suitable matches in most of the cases.
Hence even though most of the non-engineering girls have found the match, the engineering girls are still looking for one! The engineering girls pass out at the average age of 21.5-22 years. Being an engineer, most of them land up with a job in software sector or otherwise.

The maximum probability of finding a suitable boy is during training program or in the working team. The reason being in training program, you spend long hours in a small group working (or trying to pretend working) on a project, hence you get to know a few good people really well! And who knows, if the luck prevails, then you might meet your prince charming there!

But luck is not always very good; sometimes one may not meet the man of dreams in their first job. On an average, people tend to change job when they have at least one year of experience. Hence on an average, the average age of the girl who has just joined the second job will be 22.5-23 years. Again the search starts afresh and if the girl is lucky then she will find the man in 6 months maximum.

Hence in the worst case: 23 years + 6 months = 23.5 years of age

Brickbats and bouquets are welcome!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Straight From Heart!

She was waiting for him in front of the restaurant on a wintry evening. The breeze flew through her hair, gently unwinding them. Mumbling, she checked her hair in the pocket mirror. She was a petite woman in her late twenties. Certainly a head-turner in her college days, but the undulating work in the consulting job had taken toll of her. But still, the charm was there! Her favorite pink dress was endowed with matching earrings ‘These men never come on time!’ she muttered.
Her mind went back a year, when both of them joined the consulting firm as fresh MBA grads from IIM Lucknow. He was a charming person. Very friendly, helpful and focused on work! Both of them were in the same training program and then ended up in the same team in AT Kearney Mumbai office. It all started when their team had gone for an outing to Khandala when both of them had lazed behind. He liked her company, she was pretty, mature and understanding! Both of them enjoyed good food, good music and movies and became quite close friends over the time.
She still remembered when she was promoted to senior associate level while he wasn’t. And in fact he was happier than her for her promotion! And that was the day since she started liking him, ‘A sporty guy with a big heart’, she had thought! Weekends, night walks, cell phone, google talk, the more they spent time together, the more she liked him. They had spent together almost 6 months, then she decided,’enough is enough; I am going to ask him!’ For her, he was the dream man, the handsome prince. He was the man of character, of conviction, of belief! And she wanted to go ahead in the relationship. She spent hours surfing the internet, trying to search the best lines. ‘We are going to meet this weekend’, she had thought while memorizing those line.
And then the news came, all of a sudden. He was going to Uncle Sam’s land for a 6-month assignment. He was supposed to leave in 2 days time. Her dreams were shattered, it was too little a time to discuss about relationships, and she just couldn’t stop crying. But she had no choice but to remain composed, she managed though it was quite tough. At the airport, he told her,” Keep in touch!” and his waving hand left. ‘That’s pretty interesting ‘, she thought.
“Keep in touch”. ‘Huh? These are all fake emotions. People never keep in touch. The world is disguised by sugary faces and honey on the tongues. Did he really mean it? '.Too many thoughts, my mind is getting bamboozled', she thought,’ Time for a hot chocolate!’ She went to the Airport canteen.
And Skype helped them to remain in touch. The number of hours that they chatted per day averaged more than 4 hours. She just forgot about the geographical distance. And suddenly, he told her that he is coming to Mumbai next week. She was so elated! She treated herself with an ice-cream.

She loved him, and she was going to see him again after almost 6 months .She had wanted to do this for a very long time now.... and tonight she was going to tell him....

And suddenly her cheeks turned red, she saw her man walking towards the restaurant. He looked so handsome in his Armani suit. Her heartbeats increased,’ It has to be this time!’ She was nervous but was trying her best to meet her composure. In the mean time, the best guy in the world was next to her; they hugged, exchanged pleasantries and walked inside the restaurant.
The dinner was ordered, and they started talking. He took her in arms. She felt the romance in the air. Looking at him, she gave a smile. Her eyes were full of dreams, she was going to propose him and they were going to get married, and live happily ever after. She would see him everyday morning at breakfast, give a goodbye kiss when they leave for office - life would be perfect. ‘Yes, I want a perfect life. Don’t fret, go on! Be positive!’ She took a deep breath, and drank a glass of water. The blood ran into her brain, after all in a short while, she was going to say those lines , he will be positive to her and the rest will be history! But she just couldn’t believe her ears.’ This is just not possible’, she gasped. She felt like losing consciousness. The nervousness started gripping her. She pinched herself. Her clothes were drenched; her face was full of tears. The man of character was sitting next to her with arms around her and the same person was merrily talking about drug binges and one-night stands that he had in USA. Her mind went numb. Her smile went awry; the glass in her hand was shattered to pieces.
It was not at all a perfect dinner! It was not at all a perfect date!
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