Friday, December 30, 2011 17 comments

Myths and Realities of an MBA and Bschool Life

Okay, here are some common myths and realities related to an MBA degree and Bschool life. I realize that many MBA aspirants have several misconceptions and preconceived notions about MBA, and hence this effort in getting rid of some of the false inklings which people have in general.

1) Myth: Getting into a Top 15 Bschool is incredibly difficult for an average student[with average background]

Reality:
Nothing can be further away from the truth. Granted, quite a large chunk of students studying in IIMs, etc are from top engineering colleges with decent acads, but that does not mean an average student can’t make it. If you are willing to work hard and maintain your focus, you can surely make it. To give my own example, I am from one of the third class, unknown private engineering college in India and yet I made it to FMS in my very first attempt.

2) Myth: An MBA is a shortcut ticket to success, fame and money. You shake hands with CEO’s, ride in luxury cars, attend corporate parties, and get to date attractive women.

Reality: Of course it isn’t[this one should be obvious, but unfortunately it isn’t]. Most of the 2000 or so Bschools out there simply exist for the purpose of lightening your purses. If you still haven’t understood what I mean, then I pity you. An MBA, even from an IIM won’t automatically grant you success. You need to keep working hard throughout your life and be prepared for failures.

3) Myth: All MBA graduates from a good Business school end up as millionaires after they pass out/get 7 digit salaries/international placements in USA, Switzerland and Australia

Reality: Just a handful of students actually get a really high pay package, but unfortunately they hog all the spotlight, thanks to our media. What does not actually get highlighted, is that there are quite a few[read:many] students who actually do an internship without a stipend and end up with a pay package[finals] of what many of you may be earning before doing an MBA. This is even true of IIMs and other top bschools.

4) Myth: i) I want to become an Entrepreneur. And with so many Bschools stressing on Entrepreneurship and having courses on the same, I should opt for MBA.
ii) [On similar lines]: I plan to run an NGO. I am very much into Social service. But for this an MBA is a pre-requisite since all Bschools are stressing on rural marketing and CSR.

Reality: Listen people. Grow up. Come on, enough with lame excuses of doing an MBA. If you don’t have any reason to opt for it, be honest and bold enough to say the same. Such lame excuses of being an Entrepreneur or the next Social Activist and then later on safely opting for a high paying corporate job is simply ridiculous. Move on. You can be a decent Entrepreneur and an NGO activist without even thinking of an MBA.

5) Myth: An MBA degree is only meant for Engineers.

Reality: This is one myth which I almost agree with. Especially in the Indian context. But with respect to a global scenario, I would definitely say that your educational background does not matter as long as you are clear with your career goals. Do some research into the course contents of an MBA before you apply. If you have no interest in subjects such as Cost Accouting, Marketing Research, Operations Research or Organizational Behavior, I think you are better off not doing an MBA.

6) Myth: You don’t get any sleep during an MBA course. You keep working 24 x 7, 365 days of the year. All you do is assignments, projects and tests with little time for entertainment.

Reality: This was one thing even I was apprehensive of before joining a Bschool, especially considering the fact that I was used to sleeping 10 hours a day during Engineering. But this of course depends on your time management skills. An MBA course will be hectic and will require a certain amount of commitment, sacrifices and dedication. But that does not mean you will get no free time at all, in fact you can definitely take out time to see movies, hang out with friends and stuff. But yes, considering it’s a Masters course and a highly demanding professional one at it, be prepared for a different kind of lifestyle[especially if you are a fresher, work ex people usually do not have problems in adjusting to this work-life balance].

7) Myth: All Top bschool Faculty members are Gods and everyone gets a chance to intern abroad/apply for a student exchange programme/do an international project

Reality: True, you will certainly come across some brilliant teachers. But the fact remains that majority of the faculty will be average, and in some cases even poor or abysmal. This has more to do with the Indian education scenario than the Bschool itself. Hardly anyone gets into teaching for the love of it. Some do it, in order to network and carry out their research/publications, others do it due to lack of alternate opportunities. So do not expect God level teachers to train you. As for the second point, just a few selected students get to intern abroad or do an international project. Even in the top Bschools. And in many cases the student has to bear his/her own expenses. So just because you got into a Top bschool doesn’t mean you are catching the next month flight to New York in order to do a Customer Behavior survey.


These are some of the few points I came up with. May add more in future.
I would like to thank some of my batchmates who have made Life in FMS ‘indeed’ beautiful. In no particular order:

Mayank, Sheetal, Akhil, Shimona, Abhirup, Divya, Suhail, Preethi, Ankit, Richie, and many more. Thanks a lot guys. :)
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 2 comments

How does one Vote matter?


I was sitting in my room cribbing about reservations[one of my favorite pass time], when suddenly one of my batchmates explained a concept to me, and I was like-‘Why the hell didn’t I think of it before?’

Normally, I was a bit angry about the fact that there were people in my Bschool who had scored half the marks I had, and not only did they manage to get into the college, but they also managed to get a DU hostel seat simply because of the fact that they had a caste category certificate, labeling them as a SC or ST. Whereas I narrowly missed out on getting a hostel, and the guy[nobody in particular] who didn’t even deserve to be here in the first place is now enjoying in the hostel. Then the talks shifted to diluting the brand quality of the college, as such people are used to taking shortcuts in their life, and in majority of the cases they don’t need it. That is they are not from a poor background, and quite a few of them are actually from higher class, upper middle class backgrounds.

Then my friend explained to me the reason for the same. Of course it’s just easy to say-‘Vote bank politics’ and then grumble about it, but why the vote bank politics? He gave me his own life example. He told me that his grandfather had set up a village in Uttar Pradesh and had invited people from backward castes to come and work. Over time they settled there, and their family expanded. Now their descendants blindly go and vote for politicians of the same caste, without even thinking twice. It does not matter if the politician is good or bad, honest or corrupt. Only the caste matters. And these people endure the weather; stand in queues for hours on end to give their votes. Whereas people in middle class such as us don’t bother and make trivial excuses such as ‘Its too hot. Its raining. I wont go and stand in a queue. Whats the point of voting anyways? All of them are corrupt. It doesn’t matter who comes into power. They wont do anything for us.’ Such pre-conceived notions are harmful for our society and nation as a whole.

If ALL of us vote[am mostly referring to the General class here] then the politicians will be bound to take note of it. They will know that even the General class has the power to throw them off their seats. Which will minimize irrelevant reservation in seats. But as long as you or me are lackadaisical about voting, things are not going to improve anytime soon.
P.S.- I don’t even have a voter’s ID card. Its high time I got one. And if you do not vote, please make sure you start doing so. Don’t think that it’s the matter of just one vote. Every person’s contribution is significant.
Friday, November 18, 2011 1 comments

Yeh Hai Delhi Meri Jaan!


Fine. Right now, am sitting on the upper berth of the Sealdah to New Delhi Rajdhani express and typing whatever comes to my mind on my Vaio. Its 9:43 pm according to my laptop’s clock, and the train is supposed to reach Delhi at 10:20 am. So I have roughly, 12 and a half hours to kill. Since I rarely ever get any sleep on overnight train journeys. I could go back to playing Angry Birds[or maybe not, am already sick of that game], or maybe listen to some songs or maybe watch a movie. Well, I saw Million Dollar Baby, and that left a bitter taste in the mouth. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is fantastic, but somehow I prefer happy endings more. I guess that’s what life is about. The ups and downs.

I was at home for a week[returned home after a 4 month stint at FMS]. And I got horribly bored. Reason being not a single friend of mine was available. Am actually glad to be returning to FMS, where I am sure there will be tons of activities to do[Our Annual Fest, Fiesta is just around the corner]. I have mentally prepared a list of To-Do’s for this semester[next 4 months]. How successful I will be is yet to be seen. For the first time in my life I shall be witnessing the dreaded Delhi winter. Need to be prepared.

I think I need to renovate and market my blog. Or maybe create a new one. I feel like writing a lot, but when it actually comes to down to sitting and typing, I somehow lose interest. Not sure why. Just two days ago, I was writing a post on love and my past/present crushes, but somehow I could not muster courage to write much about it. Hence, discarded that document. Perhaps I do not want to share my personal details with others. Nevertheless, that is a thing of the past. Now on to the future[and no, I am not sure if I will get a girlfriend here or not].

Sigh, its 9:55 pm now. I feel that the Indian Railways is one of the most poorly managed industries in India. With over 14 lakh employees, and losses amounting to thousands of crores, it could do lot to improve its image. I feel that the private sector should be allowed to step in and modernize the platforms and the carriages. There is no reason why bullet trains cannot be operated in India, and why the platforms cannot be kept clean and hygienic. Anyways, enough of complains.

Am I satisfied with the beginning of an MBA? Is my life going the way I had expected it to be? I am not sure. I have surely met lots of intelligent and capable people after coming here, and have surely got opportunities I would not have otherwise got. But, somewhere, something is missing. I do not feel that corporate life is my true calling. I will try following my passion nevertheless. Right now, am excited about my role in Tata Motors[internship starts next year-April or May].

So How is Delhi like for an outsider? Being from a small town, I find it big and overcrowded. There is too much pollution and dirt, as is common in most Indian metro cities. The crime rate is high, and corruption is rampant. Nevertheless, Delhi has lot to offer. From the historical monuments to the best educational institutes in the country. I found Delhi University to be a fascinating and worthy area to be in. It has a vibrant, student friendly atmosphere. The metro is of course, one of Delhi’s USP. Fast and convenient, it’s the preferred mode of transport for many. The food may be heavy and rich, but relished by most. Almost everyone knows at least some amount of Punjabi[many are fluent]. Delhi has a sizeable population of Sikhs, and you can find one at every corner[unlike back home]. People of all religion mix together freely, and have fun.
Yet, poverty is rampant, and I have been to a few slums. The living conditions of the people is absolutely below standard, and I was simply appalled to see their condition. 8-9 people living in one small room, which has just one light bulb, and a rusted bed[made of ropes]. No television, no bathroom, no fan, not even a ventilator. The children seemed lively and kept playing their games, unaware of the misery their parents were facing. One of the people told us that some hoodlums came every month to take money from them, under the pretext of cleaning up the place[which they never did]. I wonder what the Government is doing about it. But everyone needs to play their part.




I guess I will sign off here and try to go to sleep. Lots of things to be done, books to be read, games to be played. And yeah, am really looking forward to 2 games in particular- Elders Scroll 5: Skyrim, and Batman: Arkham City. For next year, it’s going to be Mass Effect 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Rising.

See ya folks. And keep smiling.
Thursday, November 10, 2011 1 comments

End of the First Semester/Innings

Finally, the first semester of FMS draws to a close. Like everyone else, I too had my own share of ups and downs, but mostly ups, as FMS was a welcome change in my otherwise dull/boring life.

I made quite a few good friends, got to interact with the best brains in India, and top Industry personnel including Management Executives of premier organizations. Also interacted with many experienced people in the various FMS events, seminars, Annual Conclave, guest lectures and company presentations.

As for the studies part, well I did not do much in it. Just attended classes, delivered presentations, assignments, projects, and the usual stuff. To be frank, I hardly studied much, just revised somehow before the exams and hoping to pass in the 8 subjects. I did understand, however, that I suck in Finance and Economics[I messed up both those exams]. Am not really that good in Maths either.

I have finalized upon my specialization, and as many of you may be knowing, it is HR. I was interested in HR even before I joined FMS, and will stick to my earlier decision. I was lucky to get an internship in HR and IR from Tata Motors, and am really looking forward to my project[which the HR manager said would be very challenging].

The past 4 months have been eventful, and I have learned a lot. Be it from seniors, the faculty, industry people, or my own batchmates, there is always something new to be learned. Life in FMS is hectic, contrary to what many people believe. I barely slept for 2-3 hours daily[during the initial stages]. Slowly getting used to this new lifestyle.

Have loads of things planned out in the next semester. I have made it to the HR & OB society of FMS, and hopefully will be involved in some exciting events, with an atmosphere full of fun and learning.

Really happy for Doc[Shashank]and Neha who got placed in TAS. Mayank will be interning in Dabur. For a detailed report, you can go through this link:
Summer Placements 2011

Next up, the FMS Fest: Fiesta.

And some masti in DU and other parts of Delhi ;) [have to visit loads of places, and counting on the delhites for that :P ].

Take care folks. :)
Monday, October 10, 2011 2 comments

Why Japan?

Over the months, and perhaps years, countless people have asked me the same question- ‘Why do you like japan so much?’ I have given the same answer thousands of times. Now I think its time I put it down properly in written. So that everyone can read about my thoughts and feelings when it comes to the Land of the rising sun, Nihon or Nippon.

I guess I started watching anime when I was in class 1 or so. The show was called Ninja Robots, and it aired on cartoon network. I still remember the characters- Joe Maya, Cybertron, and so on. I got fascinated by seeing the robots battle it out for the survival of the earth and intergalactic space wars. But the thing which impressed me the most was not the technical genius of the Japanese animation, but the concept of good versus evil which is very common in most Japanese anime. In many of such serials, the hero has to train and learn to fight, before rising up the ranks to face a legendary evil foe. In many instances, the villain was once the disciple of a famous guru, or sensei[teacher in Japanese]. But he ended up betraying his people and chose to follow the dark side. The Hero has to learn to fight, to protect his friends, family and work as a team.

As I grew up, I was introduced to several other anime, and the once which enthralled me were DragonballZ, Pokemon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon, Inuyasha, Samurai X, Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist and Fairy Tail(the only anime I am watching at present) to name a few. Needless to say, I became an anime and manga(Japanese comics) fan. I started reading a lot about Japan and the Japanese way of living/culture. I read the popular book on the Japanese style of management- ‘Made in Japan’, the autobiography of the Sony founder, Akio Morita. What impressed me the most, was to see the spirit of unity amongst the Japanese people. They have a ruthless Never Say Die attitude, and they will continue to fight back in spite of facing several hardships. Their country was nuked in 1945, yet within 20 years they were ready to host the Olympics. They have faced countless earthquakes and tsunamis over the years, yet after each disaster, they continue to rebuild and work together in harmony. They are ready to die for their country, and even within organizations, people consider each other to be part of the same family.

The Japanese are incredibly well disciplined and polite. Many are soft spoken and do not raise their voice even if they are angry. They will systematically do their work, stand patiently in queues when required, and will help each other out in times of crisis. No wonder that Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. People can rely upon each other any time. They are also good natured, simple, down to earth people, though they have mastered technology to create unique, innovative devices. The Japanese transport system is known to be amongst the best in the world.

Samurai and Ninja movies have always fascinated me. Most Japanese people will have some association with sword fighting or martial arts or sumo[their national sport]. Though the movies are generally for entertainment purpose only, it is quite interesting to read about the history of the samurais, the Meiji Revolution in the 19th century, and the formation of Japan as it is today.

I know some basic amount of Japanese, and intend to learn it completely within the next two years. I do hope that I can work in Japan in the future.
I can keep on writing on and on about Japan and the Japanese people, but will prefer to end here. As is widely known, they have a strict code of honour, ,and they do their best to preserve it. Am patiently waiting for the day when I get to visit this amazing country.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1 comments

New Blog

This is the link of my new blog,:

Being FaMouS!

I shall not be discontinuing this blog, but will not be as active as before. However all of my Non-FMS related posts shall be posted here. But for details about my MBA life at FMS, do visit and read the posts in my new blog. :)


Thank you again for your support. I have had the pleasure of interacting with hundreds of bloggers and all of their blogs have made some impression on me. Take care and happy blogging.

Regards,

Satwinder Singh,
FMS Delhi,
Class of 2013.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 3 comments

Some Solutions!


All right, am back with another important post. In the past I have criticized a lot about the flaws in the Indian education system, etc etc. Now I believe it’s time we take a look at the plausible solutions for improving our education system, rather than just remain passive lookers and blamers.

I am listing down a few things which can be done, and these are definitely not ALL the things which need to be done, but just a few important things which can be done. And they are not arranged in order of importance.

1) Funds: Obviously, the number one thing which comes to our mind is allocation of funds. Reservation for education has been usually 3 percent of the total budget or less. Which is clearly not enough. The Government has ignored the Education sector for over 40 years. Its high time it looked forward to improving the quality of the poorly managed government schools and colleges. Infrastructure is also important. It is very important to build facilities for drinking water and toilets for both boys and girls. Many schools don’t even have such basic amenities. As a result, even the poor prefer to send their children to private schools. Then there is again the problem of absenteeism. It is estimated that 50% of the teachers don’t even turn up most of the time. Lots of other problems can come in this factor.

2) Autonomy: It is ironic that at one hand, thousands of dubious private colleges are duping people into joining their institutes, and the genuine colleges are being over-burdened with useless tasks related to bureaucracy. Even the IITs and IIMs do not have ultimate autonomy to take their own decisions. The Government, by interfering into the private decisions of the colleges is making things even worse. The colleges should be free to design their own curriculum and to allocate the faculty they deem fit.

3) Curriculum: Most schools and colleges follow an outdated curriculum which is hardly related to contemporary events. For example in Engineering, many colleges still teach courses which may no longer be relevant or required in todays workplace. A complete overhaul needs to be done. Latest equipment and other facilities should be procured, so that Indian students can do research in India itself, rather than leaving the country never to return.

4) Rote Learning: This archaic age old idiotic practice should be banned. I find it hard to believe that this is still practiced widely almost everywhere in India, starting from schools to colleges to even PhD. Most students are encouraged to just memorize whatever is written in the textbooks and vomit it during exams, for the sole purpose of getting good marks and beating the fellow student. There is very little scope for independent or creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Neither teachers nor parents are interested to encourage the child to try out something different or to pursue his/her passion. All they can think about is to force the child to become an Engineer, Doctor, etc so that he can get a job[which he will almost surely hate]. This mentality of avoiding risk, especially in middle class is also a cause for the downfall of creativity. People still rely on books for all of their knowledge, and hardly any importance is given to vocational training and practical implementation of ideas. Thus we should focus on a more industry oriented curriculum and one which encourages lateral thinking.

5) Killing of Passion: In India, there is market for only a few traditional streams: Engineering, Medicine, MBA, etc. It is comparatively easier for a student to get a job under these traditional streams, than to get a job after doing say, Philosophy or Geology, etc. Hence most parents force their children to sacrifice their passion or interest and to get into a stream which will ensure that they get a job. And considering that there are more than 700 million poor in India who do not even get food to eat every day, getting a job may mean everything for an average Indian student. This has resulted in one of the biggest catastrophes, according to me, in the Indian education system. Instead of getting decent painters, singers, dancers, sportsmen, athletes, chefs, psychologists, astronomers, biotechnologists, botanists, photographers, or even bird watchers, we get instead a million useless engineers produced each year, most of them unemployable and almost all of them frustrated with their lives. We need proper career counseling not only for students but also for parents. Parents are inadvertently spoiling the careers of their children, and not helping them.

These are some of the remedy measures that can be taken. More on the education system in future posts.
Monday, May 30, 2011 4 comments

Heroes!

This post is dedicated to those Fictional Heroes who have always inspired me with their good deeds. Am listing down Five of my most favorite heroes[all either from anime or cartoons] here, and a brief account of each.

1) Name- Son Goku



Anime- DragonballZ

Link: Goku

Note: Goku is a Saiyan from the planet Vegeta. He was sent to Earth so as to dominate it and eliminate all Mankind. Instead he got a bump on his head when he was a child and his programming got reversed- To protect the Earth at all costs. What I like about Goku is his simplicity and persistence. He never gives up no matter who the opponent is[He did surrender against Cell but that was because he knew his son could beat him]. He loves enjoying time with his friends and family, and does his best to protect them at all costs from all Evil that lurks in the Universe. Goku is known to push beyond his limits. He was the first person to reach Super Saiyan and also Super Saiyan 3 and 4. He may not be very intelligent or bright but he always knows a way out. Goku has always been one of my favorite heroes since childhood and his sense of humour is amazing too.

Signature Moves- Kamehameha, Spirit Bomb, Instant Transmission, Dragon Fist.

Quote-‘I won’t let you get away with this.’ Just before he transforms into a Super Saiyan.

2) Name- Superman/Clark Kent/Kal El



Cartoon- Superman the Animated Series, Justice League, etc.

Movies- Many, including the last- Superman Returns.

Link: Superman

Note: Superman needs no introduction. For Truth, Justice Forever. He is the person who stands in the light and protects the innocent. Superman has always stood as the symbol of hope and justice worldwide. He is the Ultimate Man of Tomorrow, the person who will do anything for World Peace. Moreover although he has great powers, he chooses never to Kill his enemies, no matter how evil they may be. He is also one of the co-founders of the Justice League. Superman also believes in Sacrifices, and has done whatever he could to protect the Earth and the Universe from evil forces. Superman is one of the biggest idols for all children.

Signature Moves- Heat Vision, X-Ray Vision, Super Punch.

Quote-‘I fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.’ To Black Adam.

3) Name- Kuchiki Byakuya, Captain of the Sixth Division in Soul Society.




Anime- Bleach

Link: Byakuya

Note: Byakuya has been one of my favorite anime characters of all times. His cool and calm demeanor makes him an instant hit amongst all anime lovers. He never worries about any situation and takes his decisions rationally. Even when he is facing the toughest of opponents, he maintains his calm and emotionless attitude. He is not afraid to take extreme decisions, like cutting off the nerves of his arm and leg in battle. And he takes a big pride in his work and status. But inside from heart, he is also a caring individual. He just doesn’t show his emotional side. For him Honour and Commitment to ones job/duty matters a lot.

Signature Moves- Bankai- Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, Bakudo no 61: Six Prison Rods of Light.

Quote-‘ Sovereignty means absolutely nothing against me.’ To the Seventh Espada before releasing his Bankai.

4) Name- Cyclops/ Scott Summers



Cartoon- X-Men

Movies- Xmen, X2, X3, Xmen: Origin

Link: Cyclops

Note: Cyclops is the leader of the X-men, a person typically portrayed as a true and committed leader. He cares a lot about his team, and is always ready to do the right thing. Apart from this, he is also a tactful and adroit person who can create instant strategies to counter his opponents. He knows how to take advantage of his opponents weakness. And he is also a firm believer in team work. He has one major power- Optic Blasts from his eyes. But with his mind and spirit, he is capable of doing lots.

Signature Move- Optic Blasts.

Quote-‘ The old saying, "Red skies in morning, traveler take warning," doesn't mean much when all of your mornings are red. ‘

5) Name- Uchiha Itachi



Anime- Naruto/Naruto Shippuden

Link: Itachi

Note: Arguably one of the best anime characters ever made, Itachi is the epitome of sacrifice. He sacrificed everything, starting from his home, his parents, his friends, his relatives, etc just to prevent a major war. He was forced to leave his village and was branded as a traitor and an assassin. But all this while, he was following orders given to him by the village elders. However he could not bring himself to kill his younger brother, Sasuke. Instead he fought a major battle with him and then transferred all his powers to him, dying shortly after. In a way, Itachi fought for the principles he believed in. But he was always trying to protect the village and do what was best for the larger good.
Signature Moves- Tsukiyomi, Amaterasu, Susano

Quote-‘ Foolish Little brother. If you wish to kill me, hate me, detest me. And yet survive in an unsightly way. Run, run and cling to life.’ To Sasuke.
Friday, May 27, 2011 2 comments

Back with Updates



All right, I am back with a new post after a while. It has almost been a month. Quite a few things have happened and I would like to share them with you all here.

1) I have finally become an Engineer[almost]. My last exam ended yesterday and now just the results are left.

2) Yesterday was my last official day at college. Yes it has ended. And I am more happy than anyone else.

3) Major Incident: Last week a terrible storm occurred. As a result lots of trees were uprooted, and quite a few happened to fall on the electricity carrying wires. There was a total breakdown in power supply. As a result we had to stay for three days without electricity. And whats worse, my final exams were on too. It was an extremely harrowing experience to say the least. But now after things have been sorted out, I wonder- Just three days made me feel so frustrated. But what about the plight of those 700 million Indians who live without electricity each day?

4) I bid farewell to few of my college friends, notably Sourav Dey and Kuntal Chowdhary. These two guys helped me survive my Hell days in college.

5) I have a load of games piled up, with just under one month to complete them. The list includes but is not limited to- Crysis 2, Mafia 2, Witcher 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, Final Fantasy 12, Fable 3, Fallout New Vegas, etc.

6) Tons of books to read as well. I recently completed the Girl who Played with Fire, and The World is Flat. Next up is Ambani and Sons, followed by couple of books written by Amartya Sen, and a few fiction novels.

7) Have to prepare for the things to be taken to Delhi, where I shall be spending the major part of my next 2 years. I shall be pursuing an MBA from FMS, which is under Delhi University.

8) I shall have to purchase a laptop soon. And as for the moment, am totally confused. Will buy a Dell or Sony Vaio most likely.

9) Finally, am waiting for some of my best friends to return home so that I can meet up with everyone before I leave home.

10) And I have to send an email to a very important person. :)

This is it from me. More later.

Friday, April 29, 2011 5 comments

Look before you Leap

I am sure that quite a few of you may have had some unpleasant experience while doing online shopping. Let me share my own.

This incident is related to a very popular ecommerce website. After hearing a lot of positive responses from my friends, I decided to make a purchase myself. Normally I avoid shopping on internet as I feel uncomfortable doing so. However in this case, I was attracted by a decent offer, that is on a particular game[for the PS2] which I had always desired.

So I placed an order for it. It was mentioned that I would receive the product in 5 business days. I waited for a week, becoming a little impatient before I finally received an unexpected email. In the mail it was mentioned that my order had been cancelled as they could not find that game anywhere. To say I was shocked after reading this would be an understatement. I sent them an email asking for an explanation. They replied that they do not keep any stock with themselves in the office, and after an order is placed they go and purchase it from their vendors. However in my case, none of the vendors had the item. To which I asked- Why didnt you put an Out of Stock message in that case? I got this reply-'When you placed the order, we had the product. But when we went to the vendor to get it, it went out of stock.'

I found that a laughable excuse for a company as reputed as theirs. Is there no record maintained for the availability of the product? In any case my amount was refunded. There was nothing to be done either.

Some time later, I decided to place an order for the same item again[I admit it, I am a desperate gamer]. This time the message was-'Item in stock. Delivered in 3 business days.' This time I got the item within 4 days itself[thanks largely to the highly efficient Bluedart courier service- It also replied to my email in 10 minutes]. I was overjoyed on getting the item at last. Finally after so many turn-arounds I could play my game in peace. But- yes you guessed right, my joy was shortlived. On opening the packet, I was shocked to see a different game than the one I had ordered. Let me explain with an analogy- 'Suppose I had ordered FIFA 2011. They sent me FIFA 2007 instead.'

It may have been a genuine mistake. Or it is also possible that they never had the actual game in the first place, and sent me that older game which I did not want. But the bottomline is- Why on earth did they make such a blunder? This was completely unexpected from a service as reputed as theirs. I guess the moral of the story is that even Big companies make Big mistakes.

I mailed them about the incident. My tone clearly displayed my disappointment. They have replied saying that they are sorry for the inconvenience. And I am waiting to see what happens next. Will they replace the item, or refund my money or do neither?

Next time you order something online be careful. Things may not go as planned. The advantage of purchasing an item from an actual shop is that you know what you are going to get. Thats all I have to say. If you have any interesting experience of your own, do post it here, or give me the link of the same.
Friday, April 15, 2011 9 comments

So you want to be an Entrepreneur?


For the past few months, I have read lots of interview experiences[mostly MBA] and have conversed with several people. In many cases, people say that they want to work in a company for 4-5 years, get some corporate experience, save some money, and then start a business of their own: That is become an Entrepreneur.

Now if 2 or 3 people were to tell me this, I could have believed them. But when almost every Tom, Dick and Harry begins to say this, I have no option but to be skeptical. Nowadays it has become a fad to say that someone wants to be an entrepreneur. Not withstanding the fact that he or she may not know the heads or tails of entrepreneurship. Out of 10 MBA aspirants, 6 or 7 will say that they want to be an entrepreneur so that is why they are doing an MBA. Interviewers have become so frustrated after hearing such clichéd answers that they automatically assume that when a person says he wants to be an entrepreneur, he is obviously lying.

Here are a few reasons as to why so many people say that they want to be an entrepreneur, especially with respect to contemporary Indian scenario.

1) The Cool Factor: People think its a cool and fashionable thing to be an entrepreneur. They also believe that they can become famous easily, and launch a mind blowingly innovative product or franchise, and go global within a few months, and become world renowned. Nowadays entrepreneurs have replaced film stars as role models for many.

2) The Money: Somehow, many young people have this impression that becoming an entrepreneur will help you in making some quick bucks. That they will become a millionaire instantly as they feel that they have some unique idea or business plan. They forget the amount of hard work and patience it needs for an entrepreneur to gain success. On an average it may take 8-10 years for an entrepreneur to get fully established. Moreover, 9 out of 10 entrepreneurial ventures end up as failures. Somehow most people ignore their fact and believe that becoming an entrepreneur is in their genes.

3) No Boss, Please: Everybody wants to be his or her own boss. Most people detest the idea of a megalomaniac boss running after them 24 x 7, barking orders on the top of his voice. They feel that by becoming an entrepreneur, they have automatically become the CEO and are hence answerable to nobody but themselves. They feel that they can work whenever they want to, and can relax and take holidays whenever they want, as the business is their own. This is obviously a very false notion and can lead to disaster if the person indeed tries to launch his own venture.

There are several other factors too, but am not mentioning them. The truth is that NOT everyone can become an Entrepreneur. You need to have certain skill sets if you do want to be a successful entrepreneur, risk taking and social skills included. For details you can read a good book-'The High Performance Entrepreneur' written by Subroto Bagchi.

The worst thing you can do is to jump into entrepreneurship without evaluating the pros and cons of it. Remember just having one brilliant business idea does not mean that you can be a great entrepreneur. You need to have the ability to execute it and lead it to a chain of ideas which can develop into a sustainable business over a period of time.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 21 comments

MBA Exam Preparation Tips

Finally, the post which I have meant to write for quite some time. Over the last few months, many people have asked me questions related to MBA exams preparation. What to do and what not to do, tips, how to prepare for GDPI, etc. So I have decided to write on How I actually prepared. I will be writing two posts, the first one[ie this post] will deal with the written exams, and the second one for GDPI preparation. But before I start, here is a very important NOTE:

This is purely my personal experience and the methodology I followed in my preparation. If you do the same, it will NOT guarantee that you too will manage to get into a top Bschool. I am not claiming that if you follow the steps, you will surely succeed. What suits me may not suit you and vice versa. So instead of blindly following what someone else tells you, it would be best to create an original strategy that complements you. I am writing this post in the hope that it will be helpful to candidates appearing for such exams in the future. Do not consider my post as a Holy Grail or something which must be followed strictly. Make your own decisions. But yes, more than any coaching institute material, mocks, books, the three things which you surely need are:

i) Self Confidence

ii) Hard Work- Persistence

iii) Never Say Die Attitude

With these few words, I begin:

Written Tests:

For convenience, I have made this post into a Question-Answer format.

Q) 1) What do MBA entrance exams test us on?

Ans)

Most MBA entrance exams will test you on these parameters:

i) Quantitative Ability

ii) Verbal Ability

iii) Logical Ability

You can get the detailed syllabus in any coaching institute material. Different exams have different time limits. You can get more information online, and also at Pagalguy.com

Q) 2) When should one start preparing for MBA?

Ans) The first question which most people ask is What is the Ideal time to start preparation. I would say it would be better to Ask yourself Why MBA first and then decide how to prepare. If you are planning to do MBA without a valid reason, suit yourself. But do remember that it may come back to haunt you later in your life. Now to my first question. There is no ideal time to begin preparation. But generally, 6-8 months before CAT is enough. Am considering CAT as the default exam for obvious reasons.
Personally I started preparing after class 12th exams were over. But I repeat, you do NOT need to study for 3 years or more in order to crack CAT/other exams. Enjoy your college life and do not neglect studies. Plus it is always better to get some work experience before joining a Bschool.

Q)3) Which Coaching Institute to Take?

Ans) Whichever one you want. It hardly makes any difference. Personally I feel that coaching institutes are way too over-hyped with every institute claiming 100% success rate. Don’t be fooled by such ads alone, do a proper analysis before joining an institute. I made the grave mistake of joining an institute in my 3rd year of college and I regretted it. Best would be just to take up a test series and take mock tests. That’s it. If you have it in you, you can definitely make it into any top bschool, coaching or no coaching.

Q)4) How many Mock Test should one take?

Ans) I believe 10-12 mocks over a period of 5 months are more than enough. But make sure that you peak at the right time, ie when your CAT exam arrives. I personally took 12 mocks, that too of just one series[IMS]. My percentiles ranged from 89-97. Mostly in the 92-94 range. The mocks provided good practice. And analysis of mocks is crucial.

Things to AVOID:

i) Solving too many mocks, especially in a short span of time: This will just decrease your efficiency and increase your frustration.

ii) Joining too many test series, thinking you will get the best of all: Totally unwanted and useless thing to do. Most mock tests are similar to a great extent.

iii) Getting depressed after one poor performance: I got 83 and 84 percentile in my last 2 mocks. Yet I ended up with a percentile of 96.54. So nothing to get disappointed about mock scores. They are just for practice and analysis.

The most negative point about mocks is that most of them have a high standard of difficulty. Many people get frustrated after solving such problems. But in actual CAT, the problems will be logical based and you will hardly need to remember any formula or complicated step in order to solve them. I personally feel that solving extremely hard problems is a total waste of time. And I know one person who did not TAKE a SINGLE mock the entire season, was working, yet scored 99.7 percentile in CAT and 99.8 percentile in XAT. So it is quite possible to do well without bothering about your mock scores. I got fed up of mocks after I took ten of them.

Q)5) How do I prepare for Quant, Verbal, DI, LR, RC? Which books to follow?

Ans) One of the most common questions asked by many candidates. Here is a short guide:

i) Quant: Arun Sharma books are okay for beginners. You can solve the problems especially if you have forgotten your basics. Else you can take any coaching institute material and revise the basic concepts. Some topics such as Number System, Geometry, P & C, Time and Distance, etc are generally considered more important than others. Solving past papers of CAT, XAT, etc, may also help. Remember that you do not need to be a master of Mathematics in order to score well in this section. But make sure your accuracy is good. Do not do blind guesses. I am personally weak in Quant, so I cannot offer you much advice here, but do remember that with a bit of logic and common sense you can solve most problems.

ii) Verbal: GRE books are good, especially for vocabulary. Barrons guide may be useful for beginners. I personally liked Norman Lewis too. Do revise basic grammar from Wren and Martin or other books. CAT problems are usually typical in the sense that they are tricky, and the options are quite close to one another.
Apart from this, start reading extensively. Books, magazines and newspapers. The Hindu, TOI, ET, Frontline, India Today, etc. Try reading some non-fiction books, especially on management or business. This will not only improve your vocabulary, but will prove quite useful in tackling the Reading Comprehension section. Try to improve your reading speed and comprehending ability.

Remember: Reading books randomly wont help. If you do not like something do not force yourself to read it. For example there is no point starting with Ayn Rand if you are not interested in philosophy, just because your coaching institute teacher told you to. Finally solve previous year papers.

iii) Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning: This section just requires practice and common sense. But make sure that you have both speed and accuracy. Try to do calculations as fast as you can. Avoid using calculators at all costs. Make sure that you avoid passages which may consume too much time. Just by a cursory glance you should be able to decide which are the passages/caselets that you are going to attempt. Most important is not to get stuck on any problem. Practice from mock tests or previous year papers. Arun Sharma has mostly quite simple problems.

Rest will be continued in future posts. Feel free to ask any queries if you have. Thank you.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 14 comments

The Holi Gift

All right, I have been quite busy in the past one month or so, and did not get much time to write blog posts. Reason being I had multiple MBA interviews all over the country. I visited Mumbai, Kanpur, Kharagpur for the first time in my life, and my visit ended with a Delhi trip. While returning home, I got a call in the evening. It was Appurv[one of my friends and a Puy], who informed me that I had been selected in IIFT. That was a great feeling. I called up a few friends and told them the same.
I was satisfied and happy with my performance[IIFT GDPI] and was expecting a convert. I managed to get into the Delhi campus in the first list itself. But a bigger surprise was about to come. I had my FMS interview on 16th march.

[You can check it out on PG here ]

And here is the link for my IIFT GDPI experience:


I personally feel that I did well in both interviews. Especially in FMS, as I wasn’t asked your normal questions. I returned home on 18th morning, and decided to meet up with 2 of my best friends. We visited the Crossword bookstore which has recently opened in Durgapur. I bought 2 books and became a life time member. Awesome place for bookworms like me to chill out. Then I visited my friends place. Got an Sms from Anand saying that I had converted FMS. Its hard to describe how I felt after that. But it was definitely a great feeling. Especially when you are with your best friends. Called up Mom and told her the news. She didn’t believe that the result could come out so soon. Also saw that a few other people whom I know made it[Abhirup, Divya, Shashank, Abhishek, etc]. Now I shall have to go to Delhi soon to pay the fees. Session will probably start in July.

I would like to thank each and every one of you[including YOU the person who is currently reading this post] for supporting me in every way possible. If it weren’t for your backup I would have never made it so far. I hope I will have a great time at FMS and I wish each and every one of you all the best in your own ventures.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank some people[apart from my parents, relatives and few close friends] who were really helpful. This list is in no particular order.

Puys:

Shashank The Doc Mod, Shruti ji, Neha Seth, Avneet-ji, Mayank, Rohit Awasthi, Pallavi Puri, Rito Da, Anand J, Siddarth, Dhiresh, Ashish, Appurv, Neha Chavan, Sakshi, Namita, Varnika, Varun Saxena, Anwesa, Akanksha, Bharadwaj, Rishabh, SKR, Subhankar, Krutika, Manjushaa, Priti, Arshdeep, Pallavi Kesarwani, Shruti Srivastava, Pooja Roy, Vikram, Shirsho, Lopa Mudra, Raghav, Avinav, Hari, Naga, Caartey, Gagan, Nishant, Pritesh, Ranjeet Pratap Singh, Tanveer Sir, Prem Sir, Keerthi, Adi, Abhishek Bhatia, Prerna and others.

College Friends:

Sourav Dey, Susant, Tripti, Vivek, Rittika, Satwati, Atreyee, Kuntal, Subhojit, Saptak, Ramit, Dhiraj, Arindam, Madhumita, Swati, Kunti, Binita, Lovelin, Supratik, Surajit, Manu, Amit, Ansuman, Debashis, Abhro, Arijita, Monodeep, Priyank, Pulkit, Rohit, Supriyo, Sukant, Sumit, Sangeeta, Swami Anand Prem, Shukla, Shreshta, Shashi, Satnam, Abhishek Adhikary, Sucharita, Sumit, Arijit, Aurko, Anirban Nandy, Saroj, Soumya, Soumen, Aniket, Samrat, and many more.

Others:
Sushmit, Jayanta, Sumit Pramanik, Saurabh Audichya, Praadnya, Ankita, Swapnil, and all my Facebook friends.


With this, my MBA season officially comes to an end. I am now a member of FMS[2011-2013 batch], and Delhi University. I am quite satisfied with my performance, even though I did not get a single IIM call.

Let my convert be a proof that even freshers with average acads[85 and 79 %] and an average profile can make it to the top Bschools. All the best to all of you.

Looking forward to meeting my fellow Batchmates and seniors at FMS. This is Satwinder, signing off. Good night and Happy Holi.
Thursday, March 10, 2011 4 comments

Corporal Punishment- The True Bane!


This is a sensitive topic no doubt. Corporal punishment was banned in India a few years ago. Yet the ban remains more on paper and is scarcely enforced. Teachers beat their students every day, and punishment is not just restricted to slaps or hits. In many cases students are whipped by canes, hit on the head with a duster, kicked, punched, knocked down, and what not. Something which even a policeman dare not do to a criminal.

I have personally seen teachers pound students as if they were in a wrestling match. That too in primary school. I personally find such kind of behavior unpardonable and inexcusable. Its nothing short of sadism. The teachers know that[in most cases] the child cannot hit back and will not. So they take out all their frustration on the helpless kid.

We live in a hectic world. Many people get stressed out or frustrated after doing monotonous jobs and getting scolded by their seniors. They know that they cannot abuse their bosses directly. Rather they take out their frustration on helpless victims, such as children.

Another reason is short temper. People who get angry easily tend to take out their anger on children. Especially teachers or other staff members. And then there are some people who cannot control their fury, and lash out without thinking twice. It may be due to a minor reason such as whispering during class.



The consequence is that the child may get hurt not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. And emotional scars are hard to cure. It is seen that such children who were abused during childhood either commit suicide or become criminals themselves. So rather than beating up a kid for minor faults, we must learn to counsel them.

If a teacher is caught handing out corporal punishment, he/she should be rusticated and put into prison. There can be no compromise. Corporal punishment is a crime and we have to draw a line. Else the consequence can be fatal.

To give just one famous example, Rouvanjit Rawla, a 13 year old student of La Martiniere, Kolkata committed suicide after he was brutally caned in the school. The principal actually tried to justify the act, under pretext of instilling discipline. But discipline cannot be instilled by corporal punishment, or fear.

Let us join our hands and help raise awareness on Corporal Punishment[and its consequences].
Sunday, February 27, 2011 7 comments

The Last 4 Years

*Note- This is a Personal Post and if you are not interested in reading about my personal life, kindly skip it.

Some of you [Especially if you know me personally] may have wondered that I have rarely written anything about my college life. In fact almost nothing. Maybe you were a bit puzzled as to why be that so? After all, college life is supposed to be the most enjoyable, fun period of one’s life. It’s the time when a teenager blossoms into an adult. It’s a time when students get to become independent, learn to party, start preparing for job interviews, make their career paths, get into good[or bad] company, make multiple friends, in short enjoy their most productive years. College life is something which no person forgets. Many[or most] people consider it as the best time of their life. People currently bogged down with their hectic work schedule recollect their college days with nostalgia. Unfortunately all the above characteristics do not apply to me.

If you ask me to describe my college life in one word, I would say-‘Pathetic’. I did not enjoy anything for one moment, hardly made any friends, hardly did anything productive, faced betrayals, threats, abuses, detested the classes like anything, hardly did anything of use in practical classes, and even the extra-curriculars weren’t up to the mark. Now first of all let me state that I do not hold ANYBODY responsible for my situation. If I have to blame anyone for it, it would be myself alone. Though I have had serious arguments with some people here, I do not believe in holding grudges against anyone. You may think that I am being too pessimistic, that everyone faces his/her shares of ups and downs in college, that we have to witness both good times and bad times. It’s just that I feel that I experienced the bad times 9 out of 10 times.

Often when I tell others[people who are not in my college] about how I feel, most of them reply in the same way-‘You will feel like this now, but once you leave the college you will start missing it.’ I can assure you that I will not feel that way. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I am in fact desperate to get out of my college and finally start enjoying my life. I almost feel as if I am carrying out a prison sentence of 4 years. Maybe one of the reasons for my sorrow is the fact that I did not stay in a hostel. Hence I did not get to mix around with people much. I made just a handful of real friends, and I felt that most people here are just too casual to take anything[including studies] seriously. In short, I disliked the environment here from the start. I felt that most of the teachers here are at best, just average, and many do not even know basic details of the subject they are supposed to teach. I will not blame them, as they are possibly paid quite less, and it is obvious that they joined the teaching profession only because they were unable to find jobs elsewhere. So its natural to say that the classes are a big bore, and I don’t think I have actually learned anything of use in the past four years.

Often I ask myself this question-‘What on earth am I doing here? Shouldn’t I be in a better college, or maybe doing some other course?’ I wish I could answer that. Maybe I made a big mistake by joining this institution. Maybe I should not even be doing Computer Science and Engineering. Who knows. I wish I could go back into the past and change the decisions I made. But that is just a losers approach. I have to take responsibility for my action and bear with the consequence. That’s the way of life.
In fact I believe that my college life is a perfect example of What a College life SHOULD NOT be. Academically, I did not learn anything, socially I could not make friends, recreation wise, I did not attend any party, or any festival with dealt with fun, environment wise, I could not adjust, as I always felt that I was incompatible here. Slowly, I shut myself off with the rest [in college]. I would pretend as if everything was okay, but hardly anyone noticed my pain. People believed I was selfish. But for me, every day was like a torture session. I was feeling suffocated, depressed, dejected. I knew I had to get out. That was the only thing which kept me going. That and my desire to get into a top Bschool, which was one of my goals.

There are many people here who do not have any ambition at all. They are satisfied the way they are. They have no desire to learn or to excel. While most of them at least desire to get jobs, some are even too lethargic for that. Its as if wasting time doing all sort of negative activities[smoking, drinking, drugs, pornography, abusing others to name a few] is the only thing that matters in college. Today I will admit that I always wanted to rise above such people, and then come out on top. What made the difference is ambition. I knew I could never be satisfied with a mere degree and an ordinary job.

My college life will end in two months. I am eager to forget, to leave everything behind, and start anew, afresh, rejuvenated. A New life, a New beginning. One which will hopefully be much better than the previous one. Even today, if someone asks me what exactly I learned or gained in my four years of college life, I have no qualms in giving a one word answer-‘Nothing’.
Monday, February 14, 2011 14 comments

The Price of Ignorance!

A Disco Party


Finally, its time for a serious topic. In one sentence- ‘Inequality in distribution of wealth in India’. Now first let me clarify that inequality is definitely not exclusive to India alone. For example, recently Tunisia’s president Ben Ali had to give up his post, mainly due to the protests made by the common people. Ben Ali and his family had amassed a huge amount of wealth and were living a life of opulence where the people of his country were suffering from unemployment and lack of food, etc. India also faces similar problems of high food inflation, unemployment, etc, but as not witnessed such a large scaled protest, yet.

If you are not an Indian, and are not staying in India, chances are that you may have read some article or the other- stating India’s economic progress, rapid GDP growth at a rate of 8.9%, ever rising purchasing power of the middle class, opening up of MNCs every week, with companies such as Google and Facebook, and now even Wikipedia setting up their offices in India. Some articles boast about India’s demographic dividend, suggesting that half of India’s population is under 25 years of age, and that India is a young country, whereas most developed countries are becoming Old countries. Or you may hear about the success stories of some Indian companies, especially in the I.T and BPO sector, such as Infosys.

But if you are an Indian, then I am sure you know of the inside story as well. More than 70% of the population thrives on less than Rupees 20[approximately half a dollar] a day. Unemployment is almost at 10%[and that too of the labor population]. 65% of Indian people[and that amounts to over 700 million people, almost twice that of the population of the USA] don’t even have access to toilets, forget having a concrete house or access to clean drinking water. 60% of Indians do not get proper food to eat, nor do they have a proper place to stay or live. Just 16% of India’s GDP is obtained from the agriculture sector, but ironically, over 60% of the population is dependent on it as their primary source of income. Farmers are paid awfully low amounts for selling their crops. In the slums of Mumbai, 15-20 people sleep in one room, of a dank and dark house. Millions of children die before they reach the age of 5 every year. Diseases such as malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, dysentery, etc, regularly claim the lives of millions. Most people still do not have access to basic health facilities, primary education, voting rights, food, shelter, etc. More than one-third of the population drops out of school by class 8. India has a Human Development Index of 119[less than even Guyana or Namibia], and it is estimated that the condition of the BIMARU[Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh] states is worse than that of the poorest countries of Africa.

A Slum in India

If the situation is indeed that bad, then where is all that wealth going? It’s easy- In the hands of a selected group of people. To state simply- ‘The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer.’ To give an example- India has more money[over 1.2 trillion dollars] in the black market than the rest of the world combined. Corruption is at a all time high. Money is pilfered like anything: be it the Coal mafia, Oil Mafia, Kerosene mafia, or even Milk mafia, nothing is spared. There is a well developed nexus between politicians, bureaucrats, police, media, businessmen, corporate-houses, and what not. The Government is ready to spend crores of rupees in building statutes of politicians but refuses to spend money in making toilets, hospitals or efficient schools.

India has become a land of contrasts. On one hand, the number of billionaires in India is rising, on the other hand- millions of people are starving to death each year. But the thing which really makes me frustrated is the Total Apathy of the Upper and Middle class towards the Lower class[and I am just as guilty as the rest]. Most of us[ie the Middle class and Upper class] pretend that the lower class does not exist. That the 700 million people simply do not live here, as our fellow countrymen. Instead we are more interested in knowing about the latest variety of imported shoes which are available in the market, or which movie is doing the rounds in the theatres. An average person from an affluent family can spend thousands of rupees during a single lunch session alone. Something which a poor person cannot afford even after working for 2 years. We are misusing wealth like anything. We want to flaunt our affluence, show-off our purchasing power potential in front of our peers and friends.

I have seen people turn their face in disgust whenever they see poor people begging or just moving down the street. Or they just casually move away, doing the Ignoring act. In extreme cases, they may even abuse or strike them down. In fact, the largest recipient group of violence and crime in India is the one including people from the extreme backward castes[also usually the poorest]. Everyone knows that they do not have the power or will to fight back. The unfortunate situation in India at present is that everyone is too busy with their personal lives, to spare time or thought for the poor. Why should we be concerned with inclusive growth as long as we are getting our own cups of cappuccino or Baskin Robbins ice-cream?

In this regard, I salute the spirit of those 1.2 million NGOs in India, which are helping to fight corruption and help the needy. I will mention the name of one-Pratham, which has been doing its best to provide education to the poor children. If only the spirit of giving was present in each one of us, we could have indeed made India a REAL developed country, and not one which just remains on paper. However, I am optimistic and I do hope that people will continue to give back in future. Otherwise the Price of Ignorance will be too much to pay.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 11 comments

What is Love?

Abstract:





She was sitting just one row ahead of me. I could see her back clearly. She was wearing a purple top. Her hair was neatly tied back, and held by a black clip. She had one hand on the desk and the other clutched her brown leather bag. She was listening attentively to whatever the professor was saying. And I was watching attentively to whatever she was doing. I had eyes only for her and nothing else. Somewhere I could hear the voice of a koyel, and vividly the sound made by fluttering leaves as the wind blew by. But it was all distant. There were 20 other students inside the classroom, but I pretended as if they did not exist.

She was wearing a golden bracelet on her right hand, and had a silver watch on the left. Sometimes when she turned, I could catch glimpses of her face. It was pure natural beauty, with minimal make-up, just the sort of features I preferred. She was wearing short diamond ear-rings, with a subtle hole carved in them. The radiance of the ear-rings enhanced the brightness of her looks. Her looks displayed confidence, intelligence, and maturity. She had a spark in her, a glow which I could feel but could not describe. I had talked with her yesterday for the first time. At first I was hesitant, but I soon discovered that she was amiable and honest. She asked me about me background, my interests, my career plans. I inquired about hers. She smiled. I looked, but could not speak. My tongue would not move.

Today, she had wished me Good Morning as she entered the classroom. I mumbled something in reciprocation, but I could feel my face turning red. I lowered my gaze, unable to do anything more. 1 hour had passed since that moment. Yet I could not take my eyes off her. She removed her hair-clip, tied the hair back again[though it was quite un-necessary] and put the clip back on. I followed every hand movement of hers. Her eyes illustrated curiosity, interest, passion. But they also hinted at loneliness. Her hair basked under the sunlight, reflecting it straight at my eyes, forcing me to blink. I felt as if she needed company. Maybe the guy sitting next to her felt the same, as he touched her arm and made a funny comment[I am guessing it was funny, even though I could not hear it, as she started laughing after hearing it]. I felt a sudden twinge of jealousy. But for what? I didn’t even know her well enough.

It was evening. All the classes had ended. She was walking towards the exit. This was it. Do or die. I almost ran in order to keep up with her. I hope she did not notice that I was almost out of breath. She smiled again, and I started examining her face once more. Was I being rude? I did not know. ‘Well then, bye. Will catch up with you again later,’ she said and smiled at me.

‘I do not know if we will ever meet again but yes all the best for the future.’
She stared, apparently a bit surprised at my sudden comment. I turned and started walking. I did not look back.

I was in love.





Note: The above short story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely co-incidental and entirely un-intentional.
Friday, February 4, 2011 17 comments

Its Her Fault. She was wearing Indecent Clothes!


I was reading this article on yahoo,check Here , and the comments which followed it. Apparently a Principal of a college asked a girl to pull down the zipper of her pullover to show her T-shirt. That was ostensibly done to check if the girl was wearing an indecent dress or not, and whether she deserved punishment for it. Many people supported the action of the principal, saying that girls should not wear provocative dresses to college, as it is responsible for corrupting the society, and that it instigates men to carry out nefarious tasks[read- Sexual assault].

Okay, my point is, no matter what kind of clothes a girl wears, what right do you[any male] have to tell her to unzip her pullover[or any other dress] and show you what lies underneath, etc. If majority of the people are offended by someones clothing, then he/she should be told explicitly that a dressing code needs to be followed, irrespective of the gender of the person. Why single out girls alone?

We live in a Male-dominated society, there is no doubt about that. Men are supposed to dictate the rules, and women are supposed to follow them with unquestionable obedience. If such a thing does not happen, the man gets angered, and with an injured ego, does his level best to take revenge[ Read- Honour Killing, Rape, Molestation(especially when his advances are spurned), Kidnapping, Murder, Domestic Violence- say on refusal to give dowry, Other Crimes, etc]. If a girl gets raped, its her fault for wearing provocative dresses and wandering alone at night. If a girl gets molested or beaten up, its her fault for not responding to the advances made by hoodlums. If a girl marries someone against the wishes of her relatives, she is ostracized and treated as an outcast, as a disgrace on the family. If a girl[or her family] is unable to provide sufficient amount of dowry, she is subjected to domestic violence. And the in-laws justify it by saying-'Un logo ne hamari Demand poori nahi ki'





In todays world, the situation has improved somewhat. Women are becoming independent, leading teams, becoming managers in famous organizations, etc. However crime against women has not subsidized. Sexual harassment cases[in workplaces] are on the rise. Most men still cannot accept women as their equal. They want to dominate over them and make them do what they wish.

People try to justify their horrendous act[say molestation or sexual assault] by saying that the girl wasnt dressed appropriately. This is ridiculous. No matter what kind of dress a girl wears, who on earth has given you the license to go and exploit a woman? Its almost as if wearing such clothes unleashes such an irresistible lecherous urge in men, coupled with lust, that they cannot stop themselves. Its true that Indian society is still mostly conservative in the sense that people tend to feel uncomfortable if they see girls wearing a skimpy outfit, or tight-fitting clothes, etc. But you have the choice of not looking at them, going away from the place if you wish. Or if its a public gathering, and you and your are feeling extremely uncomfortable, just go and tell them what you feel. But theres absolutely no excuse for molesting or mistreating women on account of their clothing.

With advent of westernization, Indian people are doing their best when it comes to imitation. Women walking in bikinis may be an ordinary sight in America or Brazil, but may flabbergast Indian people[especially middle aged or above]. Moreover, Indian men are known to be lewd, they love staring at women and passing comments, whistling, etc. Most people act as if that is normal. 'Arrey, jawan ladka hai. Abhi hi to umar hai yeh sab karne ki,' is a common reply. Aur jab woh jawan ladka koi kharab harkat kare, then its all the fault of girls who are asking for trouble by trying to be independent. 'Usko ghar se bahar jaane ko kisni kaha tha? She deserved it.' Such outdated mentality has no place in the current civilized society.

In ancient Greece and Rome, rape was legal. And the woman who got raped was considered to be a criminal and punished. Sometimes even burnt to death. In present day India, most rape victims are considered as a black spot in society, and are further harassed by the police, if they are bold enough to file a report. Most cases are never reported, and if they are, the criminal manages to escape by paying a paltry fine. In rare cases do criminals serve out an entire rape sentence[that too of a mere 7 years]. There have been instances of criminals raping the same woman again after getting out of prison. Where are we headed? If we have such a defunct law, how can we think of handling justice? Most rapes occur because the rapist is confident that he can get away with it.



If you see a woman in a skimpy outfit[or any outfit for that matter], and you cannot control your impulses, and you assault her, then you are a certified criminal. There can be no excuse for your immoral behavior. Let women wear whatever they are comfortable in. It is you[read-man] who needs to control your emotions. For a second think the reverse. Assume that a man is walking topless in the street. Do you expect every girl to jump and pounce on him? Even if they did, would you say that it is the fault of the man for not wearing proper clothes? So why should you blame a girl for what she wears[or does not wear]? When a girl says No, she MEANS NO. Do not take that NO for a Yes, that she is inviting you to violate her. True, the society is heavily tilted in favor of males. But that does not mean we should not opt for equality.

If you think that I am exaggerating too much, then feel free to read this News-18 Year Old Girl burned to death for defying rape.. Maybe then your viewpoint will change.

We men[that includes me] should learn to give women the respect they deserve. We should learn to appreciate the work they do, the decisions they make. For a developing and progressing country, we need to shed our archaic outlook, and move ahead. For a better India and a better world. Lets join our hands together in Fighting Crimes against Women.
Thursday, January 27, 2011 9 comments

MBA Progress Report

All right, here I will write a brief personal post about my performance in season 2010: MBA entrance exams. Followed by a short review and whats next.

1) CAT: 96.54 Percentile
Division:
QA: 88.39
DI: 93.80
VA: 94.60
Calls: None, till now.
Expected Calls: IMT Ghaziabad, IMI Delhi.
Borderline Case: MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai.

2) XAT:
84.18 Percentile.
QA: 72.xx
AR: 87.xx
VA: 71.xx
Calls: None
Expected Calls: None

3) FMS:
Score: Not Yet Declared, expected in range of 440-460.
Percentile: Not yet declared, but possibly 98.5+
Got a GDPI call.

4) IIFT:
Score: 39.15 [Cut-off was 35.74 for General Category]
Got a GDPI call.

5) JMET:
All India Rank: 743.
Score: 83.75
Calls Till Now: None
Expected Calls: IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras.

6) NMAT:
Score: 224 out of 360.
Percentile: Yet to be Declared
Call Expected[but not confirmed].

Review:

So Basically I did well in two exams, ie FMS and IIFT, and got GDPI calls from both. I did average in CAT, JMET and NMAT, and will still get some calls from them. And needless to say, I did poorly in XAT, and will not get any calls from it. So overall, I should have around 7-8 calls, and hopefully I will convert at least a few. My IIFT GDPI will take place next place itself, as I get ready for it. The others will take place later, possibly in March. As I do not have a job, it is imperative for me to convert as many calls as I can this time itself. My prime target is FMS of course, that’s the best amongst the lot. And coming a close second is IIFT. And I am not really interested in doing an MBA from an IIT, but lets see what the future has in store for us.

Personally, I am quite disappointed with my CAT and XAT result. I expected 98+ percentile in CAT[which could have fetched me MDI and NITIE calls]. And I better not talk about XAT for now, I know people who didn’t prepare a bit and managed to get 98+ percentile in XAT. Heck, there are some guys who didn’t even apply to XLRI and still got more than 95 percentile. Have lost the respect I had for XLRI after seeing its erratic criteria of giving calls. [People with 93 percentile have got calls and guys with 99.9 percentile don’t]. Moreover the paper was exceptionally tough[having questions of IITJEE standard], and to make matters worse, it had differential marking. So if someone guessed and got a 5 mark question correct, its quite possible that his percentile will shoot upto 98[say]. In the eventuality that I will repeat next year, I will surely not be taking XAT come what may.

So, to end, the bottomline is that I have to concentrate on IIFT and FMS for now, and do my best to convert both of them.

All the best for GDPI[to all aspirants]. With this, I am signing off for now.

Thus ends the Written Stage of MBA Season 2010. Am I satisfied? Mostly yes. Now lets see how the GDPI Stage turns out to be.

P.S.- I will not be appearing for MH-CET.
Monday, January 17, 2011 9 comments

Career Counselling? WTH!


I believe that one of the biggest problems that the Indian youth face nowadays is regarding choice of career. Most do not take a decision for themselves, and let their parents/relatives decide. Which can turn out to be disastrous since nobody knows you better than yourself. I have heard many of my friends say the same thing over and over again-‘Yaar, I don’t know what I want to do in life. I am not sure which career to opt for, or what to do in future. I am not satisfied with my current situation/my job/my life/etc.’ Many of them opt for safe courses- Engineering, Medical, Management, etc which can guarantee them jobs. But what after that? If you get into a job which doesn’t suit your aptitude, then you will struggle throughout your life.

Anyways, I recently read ‘Serious Men’, written by a journalist, Manu Joseph, who is also the editor of the Open magazine. It’s a fantastic novel, dealing with current day Mumbai, Science, Astronomy, Love, Sarcasm, Reservation, Education, Poverty, etc. Highly recommended novel, and a well deserving winner of the Hindu 2010 Literary award. I am quoting an entire page from the same[Verbatim]:


This, Ayyan accepted, was life. It was, in a way, a fortunate life. It would go on and on like this. And one day, very soon in fact, Adi would be an adolescent. An adolescent son of a clerk. A miserable thing to be in this country. He would have to forget all his dreams and tell himself that what he wanted to do was engineering. It’s the only hope, everyone would tell him. Engineering, Adi would realize, is every mother’s advice to her son, a father’s irrevocable decision, a boy’s first foreboding of life. A certainty, like death, that was long decided in the cradle. Sooner or later, he would have to call it his ambition. And to attain it, he would compete with thousands and thousands of boys like him in the only human activity for which Indians had a special talent. Objective-type entrance exams. Very few tests in the world would be tougher than these. So, in the enchanting years of early youth, when the mind is wild, and the limbs are strong, he would not run free by the sea or try to squeeze the growing breasts of wary girls. Instead he would sit like an ascetic in a one-room home and master something called quantitative ability. ‘If three natural numbers are randomly selected from one to hundred then what is the probability that all three are divisible by both two and three?’

He would have to answer this probably in thirty seconds in order to stand any chance against boys who were barely seven when they were fed iron capsules and sample-question papers for this very purpose; who had attended tuitions and memorized all the formulae in the world before they had learnt how to masturbate; whose parents whispered into their ears every day of their lives the answer to the decisive question: ’What do you want to become in life?’ Adi would have to fight them for a sliver of the future that men of God reviled without conviction as the ‘material world’, exactly the place that a father wishes for his son. Adi, despite the misfortunes of poverty, would somehow have to find a way to get into an engineering college. And then ensure that he did not spend a single day of his life as an engineer. Because everyone would tell him then that the real money was in MBA.

And so, even before the engineering course was over, he would start all over again, and prepare to battle thousands and thousands of boys like him in yet more entrance exams. When he finally made it and became a zombie who had entirely forgotten what he really wanted to do with his life, the light-skinned boys in the dormitory would look at him with a sad chuckle and whisper among themselves that he was a beneficiary of a 15 per cent reservation for the Dalits. ‘Lucky bastard,’ they would say.



Okay, I agree that the above page is highly exaggerated, in fact to the extreme. Obviously not ALL boys are taking up engineering, and Indians are definitely not good in just competitive exams, to name a few. But the point to be noted is the thing in General which the author wants to say. Lack of clarity in making the biggest decision of one’s Life- Career choice. Doing engineering and MBA from a good college will almost surely fetch you a good job, and that is the only reason why people do it. Because that way, at least they can earn and sustain a living in this highly competitive global environment. Even if they have to sacrifice their dreams for it. There are many people who say that let them do engineering and MBA first, and then they will try to achieve their dreams. That is just an excuse for avoiding risks, and rarely if ever wills such people achieve their goals. At max, they can earn a comfortable living in this materialistic world.



Unfortunately, in India, the concept of career counseling is almost non-existent. 90% of Indian students take up a career/course which is not suited to their aptitude/liking. No wonder they get frustrated and depressed, many even take the extreme step of committing suicide. To avoid such incidents, I believe that schools should include mandatory career counseling say for students in standard 9th or 10th. Parents should also be counseled and told not to interfere in the personal decision of the student. It is a very big misconception that only engineers and managers can get good jobs. It’s a commonly known fact that Indians only look up to education as a means to getting a job, and not as something to gain knowledge/skills/experience/etc. It’s the lure of those attractive placements that students automatically gravitate towards IITs and IIMs. I have met very few people who wanted to study in an IIT because they had an interest in Science or Engineering. We really need more students like Rancho from 3 Idiots[played by Aamir Khan].

If only people started following their own passion for a change, it would benefit us all. But are they ready to give up the security of a high paying job and take a risk? The future will tell.
Monday, January 10, 2011 4 comments

Why Blame Only the Politicians?


Wish everyone a very Happy New Year to all. Hope this year brings you all new hopes, new desires, and new aspirations. If we talk about the current situation, am pretty sure that Corruption is the hot topic, and everyone has witnessed it in some form of the other.

2010 may as well be known as the Year of the Scams for India. CWG Scam, Adarsh Scam, 2-G Scam, and the list goes on and on. Most of us common people feel frustrated, angry, helpless after witnessing such venality, but how many of us have actually tried to do something about it?

We Indians are number one, when it comes to complaining and blaming others, no doubt. [I have written an entire post on our Querulous nature, you can read it here]. It is quite easy to point fingers at politicians and bureaucrats, and exclaim-‘These corrupt people have destroyed Indian economy, culture, etc and are responsible for widespread theft, hooliganism for which common people have to pay.’ But has anybody wondered how tough it is to actually contest elections, and perform the duties of a politician, or even that of a government official? I am not saying that politicians are not corrupt, many of them are. But we should avoid extreme Generalization[Such as all lawyers are liars, all bureaucrats are inefficient, and so on]. The fault is not just with the politicians, it is with each and every one of us.

I have heard many people complain- ‘The entire system of governance is corrupt.’ Now let me ask them-‘Who created the system? Did the system create us or did we create the system?’ It is the common man[or at least most of them] responsible for electing the politicians as a representative. Moreover, am pretty sure that most of us have paid bribes at some time or the other, and indulged in other nefarious activities which are considered normal and acceptable in today’s scenario. Most people are in too much of a hurry to battle corruption. They want quick solutions, and to avoid waiting, are willing to degrade to any level. And later they moan-‘That idiot stole my money.’ But who gave it to him in the first place? By law, both the bribe giver and bribe taker must be considered as criminals. By that definition, most of us are criminals. So why just blame the government? We are just as responsible for the spread of corruption as the politicians are.

The truth is that most of us have a subservient attitude. We do not have the temerity to deal with corruption. We let things remain as they are- Pleading helplessness. At max, we complain, shout, destroy public property, raise rallies, but we fail to take any concrete, positive action. We demand that politicians be punished, but at the same time we continue to give bribes for our own needs. Such sort of hypocritical behavior will lead us nowhere. If we want a corruption-free, efficient government, then all of us need to contribute. Sitting back and complaining about corruption will just not do. Let us do our bit in this battle.

Simple things matter. Avoid paying bribes at any cost. If you have not done anything wrong, there is nothing to be afraid of. Learn to be patient, it will help you in the long run. If you see a person indulging in corrupt practices, then complain to the head of the company, police, or anyone in-charge. Yes it is true that many police-men are also corrupt, but there will definitely be at least a few honest workers ready to help you. Form a group- It always helps, rather than trying to do everything on your own. Raise awareness about corruption- Many people are cheated into paying extra for things/services for which they should not. Do not pay more than the MRP mentioned. Always ask for a receipt while purchasing an item/offering donation/etc.

If you believe that tackling a bureaucracy in an honest way is impossible, then I would suggest you read the brilliant autobiography of Captain Gopinath- Simply Fly. It will tell you how this person dealt with the bureaucracy with an iron-hand: He simply refused to bribe anyone.

Let us all join hands and look forward towards a corruption-free new decade. For a better India and a better world.
 
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