Saturday, June 27, 2009 2 comments

Management Part 2

*Continued from Previous Post

They choose engineering as everyone around them is doing so, and then shift to management, apparently for the same reason. But the truth is that, there is not much in common between the two streams. Management is more apt for B.Com, Economics Honours or BBA students, than engineering students. They have many subjects in common as well. Those who have a natural inclination towards business will like MBA as well. But how much does engineering and management have in common? Apart from say, Mathematics, I would say, hardly anything.

One of the arguments (or reasons) stated by a few engineers on why they want to shift to management, is that they are bored of their subjects, fed up of the technical aspect, and find no scope in the present scenario with just an engineering degree. Now come on. Why did you take up Engineering in the first place, if you hate your subjects so much?

India is currently facing an acute shortage of capable, skillful engineers. Mainly cause all the best engineers, say from IIT’s and NIT’s, are shifting into management for more profitable careers. True, they may earn millions, and fill up their own pockets by getting into the corporate world, but very few of them ever utilize their engineering skills. Honestly I really see no other reason for a IITian to get into management other than the lust for money (and more money, cause they can still earn a significant amount with just their engineering degree, but prefer not to). If you think otherwise, ask yourself this question. ‘Would you have preferred to do a MBA , if you could have earned much higher pursuing some other degree?’

One of the professors in an IIM rightly commented during an interview, ‘If all engineers want to become managers, then who will do the engineering jobs?’ Even the guys who do go for engineering jobs, almost always choose IT jobs as the first priority. This is also another reason why India has such a serious shortage of talented chemical, mechanical, instrumentation(and other core branches) engineers, as all of them are either working in an IT job(never mind that they don’t have any base in IT, as the IT companies don’t bother about that), or are currently pursuing a MBA.

And I don’t see the situation improving any time soon. Not until say a third degree comes up, and displaces MBA from the top slot.

Management Part 1

I wanna MBA.

Well, over 30 years ago, few people knew what a MBA degree was, and even fewer actually went for it. But the current day scenario has totally reversed. Now, every Tom, Dick and Harry, or every Ram and Shyam wants to do a MBA course. Ask any under-graduate as to what he wants to do in future, majority of them will say they want to do a MBA. Why is a MBA degree so much in demand?

Earlier, people were content with just one or at max, 2 degrees. Few went for post-graduation, as a single degree was all that was required to obtain a basic job. But now, the present scenario is such that a single degree hardly suffices. Very few guys actually want to work after under-graduation. And almost all of them want to do a MBA. There are a lot of reasons for this. A MBA degree surely helps in obtaining a better job, and a sustainable, established career, no doubt. But in reality, few people have the inner knack or the required inclination towards what a MBA really offers. And no matter what others say, it is certainly not something which anybody or everybody can perform well in.

The main problem lies in the fact that few of us bother to make a self analysis. We rarely study something which really interests us. Instead, we want to do something which others are doing, so that we don’t feel left out. We humans need social approval, as a top priority amongst others things. So if everybody around us is doing engineering or management, we feel that we should also become engineers and managers, just cause if so many people are doing it, they can’t be wrong, right? And we refuse to think otherwise.

The truth is that Engineering and Management are indeed popular and good streams. But what we fail to understand is that it is not suited for everyone. Just taking them, cause others are doing them, is not a valid reason at all. A person, who has no interest in Science or Maths, will be a terrible misfit as an engineer. Similar is the case for a person who hates Business or Economics, but prefers to do a MBA, as he feels it will provide him with a high-paying job, and also a successful career. Such a person will inadvertently perform poorly in his MBA course, and probably end up unemployed.

Greed for money is another factor. Nowadays we are never satisfied with what we are, or what we have. We always want to earn more, spend more, look more handsome, want more and more. Many people consider a MBA degree, as a shortcut towards quick, heavy money. While not entirely untrue, if you consider only money as your aim, you will never find true happiness.

There is also the Media hype factor. Whether it is in newspaper advertisements, magazines, or news channels, MBA is the talk of the day. More and more B-Schools are coming up day by day. But many of them are just profit making institutions and nothing more, aiming to hoodwink the not-so-intelligent candidate who is willing to pay any amount for a MBA degree.

The one thing which I really despise is the current MBA craze amongst engineers. 9 out of 10 engineers want to do a MBA. You may think there is nothing wrong with that. Or it’s everybody’s personal wish as to what he/she wants to do. If every person on earth wants to do a MBA, let him/her. What’s the harm? The harm is that we end up with low quality managers, which ends up decreasing the overall efficiency of any company, slowing down the growth and development of the country, in the long run. Everything has its impact. As I was saying, engineers do not want to do anything related to engineering any more. (I do not mean all engineers. Some of them really have the inclination towards engineering jobs.)

*Continued in Next Post.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 2 comments

Engineering? Oh well.

All right, this post was due for a long time. Now, around 6.5 lakh or more engineers graduate in India, every year.

Do we really need that many engineers? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, if the engineers are efficient, and technically sound, ie employable. But we find, that , via a national survey, that only about 25-30% of those 6.5 lakh engineers are employable. Rest are simply too nugatory as far as skills are concerned.

I was shocked to read in the newspapers that Andhra Pradesh has almost 2 lakh engineering seats followed by Tamil Nadu. Now come on, 2 lakh? How many of them even deserve to do engineering, let alone excel in it? No matter what most people think, the truth is that Engineering is not everybody's cup of tea(or coffee). Few people have the actual knack for it. But almost all young guys, wanna be engineers. What for, you might ask? No real reason. Just cause everybody else wants to be one. And nobody wants to feel left out or different. Peer pressure is evident as well. Parents pressurize their wards to take up medicine or engineering even if the child has absolutely no inclination towards it.

This situation is indeed pathetic. It gives no room for a child's creative development, and forces him to study something against his/her will. Scientifically it has been prooved that doing something against your wish, will reduce your overall efficiency. No wonder so many engineers end up doing poorly. Cause most of them did not actually want to be engineers in the first place. Or even if they wanted to, it was just cause they felt it would be good for them(in spite of the fact they had no aptitute towards it).

Let us take the different category of students who end up becoming engineers.

i) The Genius type:These people are very rare, and usually have no problem getting into the IIT's. Most of them obtain success in their life, even if engineering is not their actual passion. Cause they are ready to work hard and give their best in anything and everything.

ii) The not-so-genius but good-neverthless type: This category consists of majority of the engineers who may or may not get into IIT's, but do get into NIT's, or other good colleges. Many of them too, do well.

iii) The Wanted-to-do-Medical but-ended-up-with-engineering type: Since the number of medical seats is very limited in India, most wanna be doctors end up becoming engineers. And unless they are  good students, they usually end up performing poorly.

iv) Forced into Engineering type: These are the students who are more interested in Arts , Commerce, or even Basic Sciences(Honours), Law, etc, but are forced by circumstances(peer pressure, etc) to do engineering. They will probably dislike it from the start, and inadvertantly end up with a poor performance.

v) Good-for-nothing-but-still-got-an-engineering-seat type: Many of the remaining engineering seats(esp in private colleges) are filled up with such students, who have hardly studied their entire life, end up performing poorly in every exam, yet manage to find themselves an engineering seat(since there is no dearth of it), and manage to get an engineering degree.( though thats usually the only thing they manage).

India definitely needs more engineers. But better ones. And the last category should be eliminated first of all. Non-deservers should not resort to engineering as a last option.

This was just to give you all a brief idea. Next post will be on management.

Sunday, June 21, 2009 3 comments


 More English?

All right, it’s time for my second post. This time, the topic will be our obsession with English, which has become a national phenomenon.

Yes, English, one of the most popular languages in the world, if not the most popular. Spoken directly or indirectly by over 1.53 Billion people, English has left its mark across the globe. Especially in India, which attributes itself to the 200 year British rule. In fact, so much so, that the situation has become so perverted, that you are not considered a successful person unless you can speak well in the language. Eat, drink and sleep it. 

True, English cannot be ignored. It is important to know it, and learn it, especially for us to connect with the outside world. But that should not come at a cost of ignoring our own mother tongue, and/or our national language, Hindi. I personally feel that Indians(though not all), are amongst the few who are not proud of their own national language, but more proud of a foreign one. This feeling is more common amongst the urban people, especially the present generation youth.

Nowadays, everybody wants to learn to speak English. No harm in that, you may say. But at the cost of regional languages? How many people are interested in learning Indian languages apart from English? Very few indeed. But the situation has become so extreme, that virtually everything has become English dependent. So you can forget about getting that job you always dreamed about, unless you are fluent in English.( Can anybody imagine a Dhoti-kurta clad guy who speaks impeccable Hindi to succeed in any interview?) You can expect to score good marks, if you are weak in English. You won’t get that respect in society unless you can express yourself freely in English. Heck, you won’t even be considered a civilized person unless you are English literate. 
I have no personal vendetta against English or English speaking people. I admire the language, and the brilliant writers who have expressed their thoughts using English as a medium. But the current situation is appalling no doubt. Just switch on the TV, for an example. You see all Indian celebrities trying their best to impress viewers by their proficiency in English, and they absolutely refuse to speak in any other language, even though they can. And am not talking only about film stars or cricketers. It’s happening everywhere.  

The uncanny ‘Learn English’ advertisements only add to the chain. They claim humongous things, that if you buy their product, you can learn English in no time at all, and be successful in your life. In one such ads, I saw a peon who was regularly scolded, bought one such English speaking packet, and was instantly promoted to a high position in office(probably a Manager), just because he started speaking in English. Honestly, you can do a better job in hog washing people. I personally think one can learn a language effectively only in a classroom, taught by good teachers.  

Do learn English, because in the modern day scenario you cannot do without it. You won’t be able to sit at any interview without knowing it. People get easily impressed when they watch any Indian speaking English, believing him to be a gentleman (even if he is a murderer), and the one who can’t to be a dork. But don’t do it to impress others. You are learning it for your own sake. And learning it, does not make you special in any way. You do it, just to get on with your life. 

The current youth trend followed is that speaking English is cool, other languages are out. Which is why we find everybody from a 5 year old to a 20-something hunk trying to struggle with the language, in order to become the cynosure of all eyes. I still do not understand why majority of the schools and colleges have English as their first/primary languages, whilst our regional languages are promptly ignored by many. Do we really have to follow every trend the British did? I suppose most of us think so.

Many parents force their children to speak only in English. Schools fine students for speaking in the vernacular tongue. Do we really want India to become an Englistan? Or maybe it has already become one. We should take a page out from the book(s) of two of our Asian counterparts, China and Japan. Both the countries have done extremely well in all respects, and they have not relied upon English for their success. True, they may not have been ruled by the British, but they are still proud of their original identity. While we continue to emulate the west, in order to become more trendy, stylish, cool, or whatever words you can think off.

Signing off for now. As usual all comments welcome. Take care.
Thursday, June 18, 2009 1 comments

Racism Part 1


Well I had to start off with something. And I thought on writing on a current hot topic for Indians, i.e. Racism. Within the past one month, several Indians have been targeted and beaten up in Australia. By the so called racist people, thugs and drug addicts. Some of them have even been seriously injured, and many students, studying in Australia have returned to their motherland. All of this is known of course, to you. 

What I want to focus on is the racist attitude which is prevalent globally. We are quick to pronounce Australia as a racist country, and that it is full of racists targeting innocent Indians. We get angry, hot-minded, and ask for quick action to be taken. Protests are made, flags burnt, people (mainly Australian) accused. But we forget that Australia is NOT the only racist country, and that all attacks are not Targeted at Indians alone, but to any individual who does not possess a white colored skin. Secondly, not all people in Australia (or any other country for that matter) are racists. And thirdly, before we accuse any other country, we should pay more heed to what is happening in our own.

For a start, I believe that many Indians are racist as well. Most of the so-called fair skinned people here (though they too will be classified as ‘brown’), look down upon people who are dark complexioned. Don’t believe me? Look around in your society. If you are male, ask to yourself honestly this question: Will you want to have a partner who is dark complexioned? More than 90% will say no. Pick up any daily newspaper and check the matrimonial column. Especially the ‘brides wanted’ section. ‘Wanted, fair, slim, beautiful, educated….blah blah bride.’ So you want your son to marry only a fair skinned woman (who should be beautiful and educated), whilst you yourself freely declare other white people as racists.  

Every country in the world is home to racists, few or large in number. Racism has been in existence for hundreds of years. Black slaves being exploited in USA is one of the most popular examples. Even today, blacks and other non-white ethnic communities are not given their full rights and benefits. In many a situation, they are looked down upon, hated and despised. A number of anti-racist organizations have opened up in recent times and are doing quite well. I wish some people in India were not that narrow minded. Racism should be opposed, and the culprits punished.

But the unfortunate truth, here is that most of us are ‘white’ fanatics. We are all obsessed with either trying to become fair ourselves, courtesy to the fatuous face creams in the market, or trying to find partners who are fair. And even more unfortunate is the fact, that fair, attractive people almost always gain the upper hand, be it in the job scenario or attracting soul mates. People don’t want to look at your ability or knowledge as much as they want good looks. Obviously non-fair people can never have good looks, according to their thinking. Honestly, if someone is born black, it is NOT his/her fault. Why blame him for something he can’t change.  

Even more ridiculous are the fairness cream advertisements. Now fairness creams for men is available too. With celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham, endorsing such products, no wonder so many people get lured by them. Come on, man, use your common sense (if you have some). If you are dark complexioned, do you honestly believe applying some silly cream on your face, can make you white? Try your kitchen flour instead. Even if you end up looking like a ghastly ghost, at least your face will become temporarily white, if you are that desperate, i.e. 

Maybe one of the reasons for our fairness-obsession could be due to the 200 year British rule. Many people believed them to be Supreme Lords and rulers of the lands, who could do anything upon their wish. Thus the thought originated, that if you are a White person, you are obviously better and far superior than any non-white guy. The British have gone, but left a permanent mark upon us all. Now, all we want to do is emulate the west. Wear their kind of clothes, talk in their language, eat their kind of food, praise their culture, pretend to be urbane, modern, civilized, and look down upon our own native people(the ones who choose to be more Indian), who live their normal life. Our obsession with English has crossed all limits and boundaries. Though that is an issue, I will deal with later in another post.

I guess I will end here, as my first discussion has become rather long. All comments are welcome, for or against. Hope you liked this article. See ya.