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!

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