Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A day at BSE

Date 19 july
Place class (going on)
Time 1.30 pm

“A workshop at BSE by college on Friday, 23 July. The list of students for first bach is attached herewith. Reporting time 4 am”…hussshh… gimme a break…4 am in d morning? r u sure or have they put ‘am’ instead of ‘pm’ previous day…was d first reaction after reading d mail. Routine discussions after reading the mail began among all of us showing our displeasure towards timing….but there was a relief as well that going one day away from lectures and especially the GFM assignment that we get every Thursday……

Date 22 July
Place room no 507
Time 10.30 pm
Heated discussion was going on ….subject was which games should be included as a part of pre events of Leadership Series this year….and then sudden realization…freak…10.30 pm…tomorrow morning waking time…3 am…meeting wrapped with usual conclusion that a lot to be done and we will decide what to be done next time…..goodbyes were exchanged…..responsibilities of waking up each other were shared…

Date 23 July 24
Place College main gate
Time 4.00 am
“Shit yaar….bus hasn’t come…could have slept for some more time yaar……chod yaar…aa gayi bus………”
Constant rain, empty roads, morning songs on radio and longing sleep didn’t let us know when we reached Vashi and then BSE subsequently.

BSE. Sirf naam hi kafi hai…this is THE most discussed place in the country, the place about which we had been taught a lot and the place which every MBA finance student MUST visit in his lifetime….The stoic faces of traders, strict (apparently) policemen  and nostalgic Fort area of Bombay…..stage was set….. The training was scheduled on 18th floor. The city of Bombay was ready for the day and we could see the hustle bustle on the streets -which was on its peak- from there.

Training began……. as lectures begin. After one good hour of history, geography, (economics, political science,biology…. and what not) of BSE we finally got a break. A tea break. We went upstairs …opened the doors of dining hall…and oh my holy god….freak…this is Bombay….the scene was so exquisite that we forgot the breakfast. On left hand side Hotel Taj and Gateway; on right side you have BMC and CST and right in front of you….just near Arabian sea….u have a long Rajabai tower , competing with clouds ….awesome…we were mystified …that made us forget everything…..simply great….then as usual a lot of information exchange happened and thousands of flashes of digicam …..

Post breakfast session was more interesting one…we were taught the BOLT system and how trading actually happens. This was followed by the mock trading session. This obviously created some time for us to attend to our networks u know…Facebook and Gmail. The trading was interesting. We 30 were to trade among ourselves and generate the profit at the end of the day. The game lasted for 2 good hours when luch time was declared. Again…same scenes of Bombay made our lunch more enjoyable than the actual lunch.

Post lunch session was on trading again but with lot of details….A detailed explanation of the BOLT processes was given by faculty.  The session ended with a sudden announcement of the test which will be held after tea break. Though we know very well that how to pass in a test…but still a test is a test….Again same dining hall…same Bombay was waiting for us to be clicked for third time in the same day.

The test occurred…yea….just occurred ….. after appearing for tests by Agashe Sir and Takale sir, this was like a formality. The certificates were distributed. Then we went for a tour of BSE building. The trainer was much passionate @ BSE and its legacy. The portraits of the stalwarts who established it, nurtured it and made it what it is today were really inspiring. We left the building with the same feelng in our minds.

But the visit to Bombay was not over yet, and how would it without a visit to Marine Drive? The bus was turned…and we were happy…. ….the setting sun and the waves of sea generated a sense of fulfillment. We left from there at 7 pm and got introduced to traffic of the maximum city. Unbelievable. We failed to get a single green signal in first attempt. Sometimes 3-4 attempts were needed. The sense of boredom was creeping in and suddenly the idea of DUM SIRAJ was put forward….freak….2.5 hrs…with Radio Mirchi as background music…..we finally reached to college back at 11.45 pm…

Busy day…truly a busy day….3 am to 11.45 pm….but a memorable one….
Mukul( Finance - 09-11)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wherein started the freshers party ? The Eastern Economy edition.For sale in India only.

Party animals and early morning classes the next day have as much love lost between them as hare and fox over the last millenia. SIIB's Freshers party for the batch of 2012 yesterday night at St.Laurns and after having attended classes at 9 am the next day prompted a question in one : Freshers party after they have served the symbolic ice-breaking , foot-looseness and mass camaraderie of being at one spot on earth for two years:has it served the same role over the many years Freshers party would have been in place in India under various names at various points in time.

Say, we are in the age of warriors and farmers, the kings and the sorcerers about 900 years back.

The freshers party of soldiers 900 years back would have (if they were recruited during peace time, and not in war time : the ones recruited during emergency possibly would have little luxuries attached to their initial days)  included a warm meal and steady source of income.The soldiers would have been given a  place to stay and possibly a weapon to practice.At a practice ground , the drill sergeant would have bellowed:

"The glorious kingdom of BlogHypotheticalPlace asks you to do what is necessary to carry our Most Venerable Emperor(or Queen)'s vision.Your life from henceforth belongs to the Army of the BlogHypotheticalPlace, and we expect discipline ,patriotism and the supreme sacrifice,if needed. Eat and drink for tomorrow we fight"( notice the subtle throwaways to Hollywood dialogues).

A gulp or two would have passed down in the young soldier's mind when he heard of phrases like "supreme sacrifice".But hey ,"we are in the Army now" as the song goes.

You're in the army now / Oh, oh you're in the army - now  / You've got your orders to shoot on sight / your finger's on the trigger / but it don't seem right

The Royal Chefs would have possibly planned for the young ones who had decided to devote their lives to smells and crunches divine.

"Hey, you there young lad.Yes, I mean you. Chop these forty kilos of onions for today's lunch . After that , it's those bags of onions which need to be peeled.And do not forget to make sure there is enough firewood for the next ten days in the storeroom.  By the way , welcome to the Royal Kitchen.At all times never forget that food is our route to the king's heart, and not of the oily-route some foods give.Our food may decide the mood of the king and often may lead to increased taxes for the peasants if we fail to deliver."

The legend of Akbar's khichdee would be then lovingly told to the young recruit.And then it is off to the lowly ranks of peeling and cutting,before some years down the line the young cook would move up a notch to more "value-added processes" in cooking(notice the subtle throwaways to management jargon).

The best(if that is the right word) freshers party would have to be that of the farmer. The family enterprise that a farming family is,it is likely that all the members of the family from an early age would have had a chance to participate in the farming process ( we will exclude the large landowner from this discussion :the life of manor born usually rests on that money can make work-from-an-early-age a needless concept). The freshers party would have been at a very early hour , much before the sun came out. An early breakfast, and the farmer would instruct the young hands of what needs to be done for the day.The mandatory speech:

"Nature expects diligence ,and she mother earth rewards well.If the gods are kind and we have done our duty of working hard before the rains and the right amount of sunshine will give us a bounty. Lads and lasses, this is going to be hard work ,but we will be rewarded at harvest.So gear up and let that shovel move"(Digression: In Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers,a theory is presented of how folks from South China are found to be good in maths, and the reason is attributed to the traditional farming practices of the region)

Universities, many centuries down the line of course do not have to give such facts-of-life at freshers parties. Arranged and stage-managed, and the fun is the only operating motto.It is our way of saying:" welcome all ye, new students. We open our doors to the best and the finest, and in celebration we shall make merry."

Welcome SIIB Batch of 2012.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Month at SIIB

I have been writing for my blog for quite some time now but this particular article is a little special to me. It was written on the eve of successfully completing my first 30 days at SIIB. I accidentally ran into it while rummaging through my awfully cluttered hard-drive, and on re-reading it I thought it might interest my fellow juniors here. So, this one is for all those of you who have joined this year. Hope your stay is pleasant and you have lots of fun.

Classes are over for today and this, is the one hour , in-between the drowsy last few minutes of the Sales & Distribution lecture and the Circus a little later where a handful of future managers will be seen going-off-the –wall at large near the Cafeteria over the AMR presentation due tomorrow….. The cafeteria will soon be filled up with bright sparks gelling and bouncing off each other in about as much time as it takes this elevator to descend the 6 floors….The library comes before anything else but the coffee gets my preference, always. The Wi-Fi here is amazing but (anyway) the rubbish I’ve keep downloading these days is rarely worth a second double-click. Even as I miss my sweet-corn with hot coffee I can feel my grey cells (or whatever is left of them) readjusting to the AMR assignment modifications suggested last Wednesday… and something keeps me from thinking - MJ’s demise was premature. Sometimes, I’m afraid that I’ve started noticing changes in just about everything that I would have called “Normal”, even a month ago…. even the figures that used to hover around inside my tiny head have grown into the numeric sort. I must have Hi-Five’ed and Hello’ed 30 guys since morning without remembering their names, and yes I’ve heard that Life is Beautiful… it has rained today but I found the essence of the beautiful “Dhurba” somewhat missing … it’s as if Kolkata is on the other side of the map …..
Wait!! There’s more to this day …. It’s exactly been a month since our orientation programme, which formally inducted us into SIIB, ended in applause…. Every morning I manage to wake up, somehow, the bleary eyes remind me that “Oye!!! Life has never been so alive…..” Break-fasts skipped and classes missed are a different story that I’ll tell you the day when I explain why “Symbi Rocks!!!”


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hitch-hiking @ Hinjewadi

It goes like this most of the times..

Step 1: Keep your hands in Aadhi Mudhra, or in lesser mortal terms, pose as if you are the next Akshay Kumar in the road, practising for the next big Thums-Up Commercial

Step 2:If the bike approaching on the road is driven by Adam,


Step 2A: If the bike approaching on the road is driven by Eve

Step 2B: Get over the Akshay Kumar image or else you might be frowned upon as a “dude” trying to get naughty

Disclaimer: This conservative approach is recommended, considering the uncertainty of the forthcoming situation. A classic example of Indian risk-averse approach

Step 3: Strike eye contact with the driver, and do the Akshay Kumar Hand Jig, (Ofcourse, only the hand), with the sincerity and likeability of a student

Step4: If the bike stops within the next 300 metres


Step 5: Run towards the bike to respect his time and also demonstrate how excited you are to join him for a ride, and above all

Step 6: Look for visual cues to distinguish the IT junta from the rest. These cues decide the language of conversation. It could also be used for conversation starters. For Eg: An infosys bag in the back of the driver should, under ideal circumstances, lead to discussion on something on Finance or Technology.

It is preferable to start with Hindi

Step 7: “Toda Aage jaana hai…”

Let the driver get back to the charm of driving. Wait for the driver to start the conversation.The driver realizes that a stranger is sitting in his pillion seat. Wih a sense of uneasyness, he asks

Hitch-hikeee or Liftee: “Where do you want to go?”

Step 8: “I want to go to Aundh…However, I ll travel as far as you go”


“Muje Aundh tak jaana hai. Aap jitna aage jaayenge main vahaan tak chalta hoon” (depending on the visual and mental judgement of the driver who has been kind enough to offer me lift)

These are the opening steps of my hitch-hikes with hordes of people travelling every day across the Hinjewadi Highway. What started as a necessity, thanks to my adamant ignorance to learn to drive a geared bike stating age-old reasons of true ownership,( in my ego’s words, “I wont drive a bike unless it belongs to me”), has now become a fascinating spiritual phenomenon in itself. Yes, you heard it right. It’s a spiritual phenomenon, as I witness something fascinating in the way every journey unfolds itself into a unique experience while taking me comfortably to my journey. There is a strong sense of uncertainty in this whole experience. I have no clue how and with whom I would make my journey to reach my destination. I have no clue how far the driver is going to be a part of my journey. Often I get dropped in the midst of nowhere. Although I get anxious over this uncertainty, thanks to my obsession with punctuality, often, this uncertainty leads me to a pristine experience where I realize, much to my ego’s dismay, however, to my soul’s gaiety, I have no control over the unfurling of my journey. However, I am cocksure I would be able to reach my place comfortably. This uncertain feeling ,blended with a sense of faith has often left me overwhelmed in happiness! It leads me to a beautiful feeling where I realize, after all, people in this road are travelling only for me!

It makes me wonder, how beautiful my life would be, if it were like this hitch-hike journey! All I have to do is simply sing to my heart’s content to the rhythm of my destiny. How wonderful it would be, if all my relationships with people in this world, turn out the way it happens with these hitch-hikees. You never know who is going to come how far. You simply enjoy the journey as long as he is willing to take you. And yes, you part him good-bye with a big smile from the cockles of a heart swollen with gratitude

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tell me something about yourself

So ,tell me something about yourself :the answer for years to come, and what should have been.Armchair style.A million paper-tigers clap.

The stallions who run in my head don't have a stable to their name.Our stables are Universities under the stars and the school of hard knocks . They are wild, and have run across many plains and drunk from many pools.They have seen sights, and they and in turn me, believe that if the eyes are the window to my soul, we should see selectively.The stallions have been made to run through race courses with a fixed time-lap before the race ends, and the hooves checked by the experts. The horse-shoe with least wear and tear are what I have kept in front of you as testimonies that I have run the normal paths too.I have chewed from fields of grass where the word on the street was that they would serve one well, and the stallions have also wandered into fields where rude signs said to keep away.They too did not disappoint occassionally.

Yes, you did not expect such an answer.Yet I was expecting this question. The pattern which I am to be tested upon are available in endless rows of books with the title "How to ace an interview", online forums are patterned with endless pages of minuiate. Don't look hither in puzzlement as to what you have done to deserve this. I am telling who I am not in terms of the paper currency to my name, or my ten favorite authors or what my scholastic achievements are : if these are what define me or you would like me to pigeon-hole into, we could have walked many miles and spoke many words but not have really heard what I said.You look puzzled , but my thoughts are clear. You seek clarity of expression, a sense of purpose to all of this. You are already fumbling for the question : "What can you tell me about Argentina", and seek if the stallions can recollect if they have run across the savanna.No , I do not recollect the type of the grass in savanna, and neither would it be possible for me to tell if I know the name of Eva Peron's husband. Ask me however if I saw Argentina crushed by Germany in the football match of a recent calendar, and I will sing you an epic.

I can be sculpted and molded many times both by the stallions running and the extensions by way of hands and feet moving, although not in infinite measure.The mind is supposed to be more open to the sights, sounds and the experiences in years past than in years in future. I am a lesser order sponge , I can whistle ten times before I take a breath.

Lest you think I cannot do the tango to the reasonable tunes of our time : I am team-worker(sic), I am a perfectionist, I can work under pressure, I have been awarded the best worker medal, I have exhibited leadership qualities at school and workplace,and I like to read,especially books with the title:"
How to ace an interview".

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thoughts on MBA + Long Letter from "Senior"

Having completed one year of MBA successfully, I think I have attained sufficient age to begin philosophizing about the whole system of Management Education in India. While this one-year in a B-School has been an eye-opener, drastically changing my perspective towards the World, thanks to several interesting people I met throughout the year, I have also begun to wonder on the uncomfortable existential question asked by Educationists and other bunch of intelligentsia: Is MBA education really necessary for anyone? While government is mulling over creating IIMs in every city, not to forget the slew of foreign universities waiting to descend the shores, it might look like a joke to ask the question of whether a B-School is really necessary. While I was an MBA aspirant, I vividly remember reading articles from various philosophers who advised me not to take MBA program as they felt It doesnt really add value to one 's career. Now, having spent a year, I understand why they mentioned so. After spending considerable period of time in a B-School, one begins to realize that it is actually not necessary. Allow me to indulge a bit of philosophizing. MBA is often like those vicious cycle of Samskaras: You need them as long you realize you dont need them. You need B-School education to experientially realize the obvious thing you were meant to do in your life. Prior to B-School Education, one tends to think along the traditional lines, blurring the individual identity amongst the hordes. B-School is important only if it lets you find what you really wanted to do in life. Although I have been wanting to make my career in Business, I never had my personal choice on the sector where my heart yearned to work. This can be verified easily in India: Ask anyone who aspires to do MBA: Where do you want to work? Almost 80% is expected to answer FMCG Sector. Remaining percentage is reserved for Consulting.

These are bunch of incoherent thoughts, I shall put it coherently some time later. Meanwhile, having become a senior in my college, I decided to write an endearing letter to my B-School juniors. I felt like sharing it in in the Web. It can do with little bit of editing. However, I leave it untouched.

Hello Folks,
Few might have met me in the class. Let me make my introductions, nevertheless, I am Venky, SIIB 09-11 Marketing student. I hate this word "Senior", as it makes the stupid assumption that I know more things than you. I happened to join SIIB a year earlier and had a ball of a time during my first year. I did few mistakes here and there and learnt few things on the way. Also, there were few things I wished somebody told me earlier while I finished my first year. ! While this might come unasked, I felt I needed to share few things with you, so that you could also have more fun during the most precious time of your career.

This time is very precious because 1) you are in the last leg of your student life, something which is never gonna come back 2) you are free from the pesterings of your parents/boy-friends/girl-friends. I dont want to talk bad of them. I love them. However most of the times, they often make decisions for our lives. Now, it is the best time to shape your career as per your dreams and desires, without their influences whatsoever. You might might want to take their opinions. However, you are free to chisel how you want your career is gonna be from here on.

I am sure, most of you might be lost in the break-neck speed of things happening around you, with incomprehensible Harvard Case studies and assignments and non stop lectures and what not. While the college folks have one mission to make you busy with a whole lotta things, often they really dont look beyond: What is that you are busy about?

Time runs faster than Usain Bolt, especially during first year. So, there are chances, that you might get lost in the thick of things and wonder at the end: What the hell did I do in my first year: Let me come to the point without much philosophizing:

Life in MBA is not about these lectures and endless supply of assignments. Its all about finding your voice and finding your pathway. Its more like the Lakshya movie, if I can draw some parallels. So How do you find out your "lakshya"? Simple: Explore the world: Get out of the campus: Go for competitions, meet other B-School Students, see whats happening around. Its a cruel joke played in the campus that our campus is set in scenic hills, distant from the grimy business reality. Business happens there. So go out and explore around..

Few Checklists you could check out
1) Get yourself a LinkedIn Profile and start building your profile and your networks. The whole world is in..Arent you in??
2) Start Blogging. FInd your voice. Express your opinions and thoughts. All books you are asked to read by faculty members are simply their thoughts on business: what are yours?
3) Build brand equity for college. It helps you in million ways
4) Start building rapport with faculty, seniors, alumni. Everyone is networked. You never know who could be of help at any point of time

Thanks for reading my patient mail. You can mail me your thoughts/comments/queries whatever you have on life here to my id, instead of floating it around the group