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!
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