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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Orientation - Day 3

After sleeping for 3.5 hours, I woke up again at around 7 AM; because I had to complete the assignment that Prof. Agrawal gave. After finishing the breakfast, we went to the P11 lecture hall for the session on introduction to case study method of learning by Prof. Jose. To our surprise, the Robin Hood case was really given by the professor and not entirely a mock(however, PPT was not intended by the professor, I guess). It was a nice discussion. Again going like fish market discussion at times. The session finished with the professor explaining about how is classes will be, how to do well with case analysis etc. Till now, I haven't spoken in the class. I guess, I have to change it ASAP since a decent percentage of the marks is for class participation. This was followed by a session on positive psychology and meditation by Mr. Sandeep, who is with HSBC for the past 18 years. He was mainly talking about how to find the happiness, importance of meditation etc. Again the topic was too subjective, and I was not able to agree with him in certain occasions. The class was again very active.

Before lunch, we had another short session on the learning resources available at IIMB by Naufal, SAC member. The results for the events happening over the last 3 days were announced. We won the first place for blogs. However, there was tight competition among the teams. So SAC members announced there will be another event - Mad Ads after lunch.
We were asked to assemble by 2PM & the product that our group had to market was imported potatoes at the rate of Rs 200/Kg. I guess, we were the most creative group. We grabbed the first place ending overall at second place.
That brought to the conclusion of the 3 day orientation of PGSEM 2010 batch.

It was really a nice experience - the enthusiasm & efforts put by our seniors, peers, the stay at the hostel....

We are lucky to have a break for two weeks; and the classes officially start from June 18.

Orientation - Day 2

whoo! was awake till 3-3:30 AM, writing the experience, preparing for the skits etc. Actually, we had divided ourselves into two groups, one covering the skit discussions & the other covering blogging. After completing my blog post, visited the computer centre with the group leader, Prateep. Had a nice chat, and we departed for the day. We were asked to be at the lecture hall L1, sharp by the SAC members. So kept an alarm for 7 AM - virtually a sleep of around 3 hours.

I got up at around 6:30 AM itself, and took a quick batch. Our group had decided to assemble near the mess at 7:30 AM to discuss about the blogs & other events of the day. But only 7 out of the 19 turned up. After a small discussion, we went to the MDC(Management Development Centre) for breakfast. We reached the lecture hall by only 8:05 AM; and the hall was already closed. We were told a surprise quiz is going on and we will not be allowed to take it. After a while, a mid 30's looking like gentle man came out of the lecture hall (we were seeing him for the first time), and said -  he will allow us to take the test with 5 minutes less the allotted time. We were puzzled, that whether he is a real professor.

The quiz was a horrible experience with lots of questions from Microeconomics & Finance(which are two of the three subjects for us). We were given only 10 minutes; but it was enough since most of the questions were un answerable and guessing is not allowed (negative marking was there). But fortunately, later we came to know that it is another mock from our seniors :) ; just to give the actual feel of how the surprise quizzes will be and the importance of punctuality even to the extend of 1 minute.

By 9 AM, Prof. Agrawal came to the lecture hall to take his session on "What I want to learn @ IIM-B". He started with some gyaan on what we can expect @ IIMB and what all inputs are required from our side. He stressed on the effort, commitment & enthusiasm, we need to put since, we will be in campus only for 2-3 days. Then he started picking some from the class, asking them to talk on their expectations. Then he stressed on having a vision, clear mind on what you want to achieve and keep asking yourself, what I am learning? Then he moved to very abstract topics like Concept of Ba & the The Fifth Discipline (by Peter M. Senge). I didn't understand properly what he was trying to teach and started getting bored. But it didn't seem to be the case for my peers. The discussion went on & on. After awhile, we were given an assignment, in which we have to analyse the problems, one's organization is facing and come up with suggestions to tackle it; both from a person point of view and organization point of view. The discussion went on for long that, it became kind of boring for many and also for the professor. He had to hard stop with another assignment he wanted to discuss in the class pending. So he asked us to submit it the next day by 9:30 AM.

After lunch, we were asked to assemble at the auditorium to continue with the sports and cultural events. Also the task was assigned to the group captains to form the teams for various sports events. Our seniors scheduled the events in such a way that many events will go in parallel, forcing everyone in the groups to participate in some event or the other. Brilliant! ;  but this was a herculean task for us :(

Already we were last in the rankings; so we devised a strategy (wow, I have started using buzzwords ;) ) in such a way that we can have strong teams for some events at the least. It turned out to be the right strategy, we coming first in the volley ball, second in cricket & third in most of the other events like general quiz, logo quiz, basket ball, badminton etc. Sports events ended by around 6:30 and we were asked to assemble immediately at the auditorium to start the skit/talent show. Our script writer, Alok were one of the best among the bunch. Our skit became a wonderful entertainment for the audience  with a dance from Rakshmi & a song from Prateep; eventually, we grabbing yet another first place. It was dinner time and, we were again asked to assemble at the auditorium by 9:30PM for treasure hunt and to pass over some information about a case study that we have to submit. Again a twist was there - the details about the case study will be given only after completing the treasure hunt. Since we have a session on case study analysis; the next day somewhere in the dilemma that whether its a seniors' activity or a real assignment. Some left for the day, remaining assembled for the treasure hunt at around 9:45PM(I think we missed again the aspect of punctuality :) ). We had to find 21 clues which can any  be where in the campus(which sprawls acres). We decided to go in groups of four and Prateep coordinated the hunt through calls. Our seniors had in put in lot of efforts to make the hunt maximum fun, at the same time tough. An interesting thing happened during the hunt for my sub group. There was a clue "Welcome to HELL". After running to various places, we thought it might be somewhere in the main reception area, and started searching everywhere there, even the foot mats (Welcome is written in bold in these). Suddenly the security came to us and said, "How many people will come here and change these and search here; I have to put it back in the right position all the times :) ). Finally we were called back, since the time was only upto 11:30PM. Many clues couldn't be found by any one. However once again, we grabbed the second place.

Then the case study was given to us. It was about the problems faced by Robin Hood to maintain his quest. We were asked to analyze the case and submit a PPT with 12 slides. Since it was a Robin Hood case study, many of us thought, its again a seniors' activity only. The deadline was to submit it by next day, 8AM. We formed sub groups among us of 4 - Alok, Abhisek, Prashanth & Me. We started the discussion and went till 2:30AM, when we finally finished the PPT. I came to understand the importance of group brainstorming for a case. I slept once again at around 3:30 AM....

hmm...this is B School life...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Orientation - Day 1

Though, we were supposed to report only at 12 noon in the hostel blocks; since I got a lift, I reached here by 11:45 AM. As expected, none were there, and even the security was not sure, why I am here. After explaining to him about my intention of entering the campus with a suit case and a laptop backpack; I was directed to the hostel block. After walking for sometime in lush green campus, I reached the hostel blocks. I was embarrassed to contact the hostel office since it was just after 12’O clock; so I just roamed around the hostel blocks. This was like another dream coming true.

After sometime, I decided to get the keys from the hostel office and got the first room - J201. Once I entered the room, I understood why Laxmi indicated to bring whatever you might need. Though, I have never stayed in the hostels till now; I was not completely surprised by the dusty floor, spider webs here and there. After cleaning them, I decided to roam in the floor; but couldn’t meet any one. It was just 12:30PM. I saw some guys in the third floor; but from the way they talked, I understood they should be PGP2/FPM guys; didn’t go to meet them (thought, why to get myself into trouble J ragging)

Finally, I met a guy, Sachin from Qualcomm who was also in my floor. From first sight, I thought he should be some less experienced guy like me; but later found out that he has around 9 years of experience. Then we decided to find the Amrutha Kalash. We roamed around for 15 minutes passing by it at the least once without knowing it. Then we started seeing one by one guys, checking in. We met more than 10 guys within 15 minutes and had a nice chat for half an hour. We went later for the lunch, where I met a very senior guy from my college (10 years senior) who was fortunate enough of attending two orientations in this week (PGSEM & his kid’s J ). By the way, I belong to Group C - Condors which also boasts of two entrepreneurs. After lunch, we went to the auditorium, where we were greeted with 3 books - Financial Accounting, Contemporary Strategic Management & Microeconomics.

Later we were asked to fill the information form & was followed by photo sessions. Our seniors concluded the session by little gyaan and asked us to assemble back in the auditorium by 4PM in formals. Since Laxmi had sent couple of mails asking us to be in business formals, I borrowed the suit from my cousin. I was excited to wear them, since it was my first time in life. I wore the full suit and went back to the auditorium right on time putting me in yet another embarrassing situation with very minimal people in business formals. From 4PM onwards, the gyaan & presentations started from our senior SAC members explaining about the various committees, course rigor etc. Before coming to campus itself, I wanted to join some committee; so was keenly listening to them. There are roughly around 6 sub committees within SAC- each having a secretary, coordinator & volunteers. I guess, I will try for branding & communication committee or forum for industry/alumni interaction. The session continued for long that our seniors had to hard stop & ask us to go for snacks. We didn’t leave them during the snacks; attacked them with lot more questions and concerns. By this time, I understood the batch profile; it ranged from 2.5 years to 15 years (later, I found there is a person with around 20 years of experience; I cannot believe it, and still don’t; have to meet him). The cautions that were given by the seniors and interaction with some of the peers put me again for a short time in a dilemma, whether this program is really suitable for a guy like me with less than 3 years of experience. My worries got a little augmented, when a guy with a similar profile was also in dilemma, and said I may have to rethink; but I changed my mind immediately and have decided to go with this whole heartedly and make use of IIMB to my level best because I don’t want to miss IIMB.

The inauguration ceremonies started at around 6:45 PM, with Prof Agrawal inviting even some of the new PGSEMers to light and participate in the inauguration ceremony. This was followed by the inaugural address from Prof. Agrawal welcoming officially to the program. During the speech, he mentioned 843 students have so far graduated from IIMB in PGSEM. This was followed by a very inspirational talk by Mr. Harsh Manglik, chairman, NASSCOM & also the CEO of Accenture, India. He talked on various areas starting from IT to health sector to CSR activities that are needed to make a better India. He mentioned that NASSCOM expects IT industry to be worth $175 billion. He continued his speech, covering leadership, elimination of poverty, making the under privileged with the help of CSR activities and the role of IT in it. One of the key that attracted everyone was the five points that he asked to keep in mind for success - 1) Dream & nurture it 2) Courage (without courage, you cannot make your dreams come true) 3) Apply the thoughts 4) Empathy & 5) Integrity. This was followed by a speech from the IIMB Director Prof. Chandra who again welcomed us & promised whatever help he can do to make our stay @ IIMB better & interesting. Then Agrawal Sir invited Prof. Singh who gave a very interesting talk which kept us laughing & attracted to him. I guess he will be teaching us some social sciences related courses.

During dinner, I met some more peers; though could not remember all names. After dinner, we were asked to assemble near auditorium for the fun events. It started with anthakshari, which we won easily. This was followed by Dumb-C, which we couldn’t do well; leaving us last. But we hope to bounce back tomorrow. We have been asked to write about our experience so far and also plan our skit for tomorrow night. Also we have to be at the auditorium at 8 AM sharp for remaining activities. Overall, very good experience so far, impressive organization and helping mentality from the seniors present. Tomorrow is going to be the real start, with Prof. Agrawal talking about what we want to learn at IIMB and the house cup from afternoon onwards.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Expectations from PGSEM

Well having said in my previous posts, whatever be the negative comments, I got for this course; I am going forward with it. I believe if I plan accordingly and give me best, I should be able to draw maximum out of this course.

Most of the ones, to whom I discussed with, advised me to take the course with a caution & pinch of salt. So I have rather lowered my expectations. All that I am hoping to get from this course is:

- Interaction with some of the best faculty in management education in the world
- Interaction & build some life long relations with my peers
- Make use to the maximum whatever, IIM provides a PGSEMer
- Be part of some committees and do some very good work
- Win, or at the least participate in some B School competitions
- Study well (It seems very hard, with my project becoming more tighter) and try to get an exchange program (I guess, again hard for a PGSEMer); So these two are on kinda lower priority :)
- Try my level best to consider this opportunity as a "Earn while you learn" rather than "Learn while you earn" :) (Hope, my managers are not reading this post...)

My intention is to gain maximum as I can from the learning front, try to position myself during the course itself and try for various profiles that I am interested in. But GOD only knows, if I will also become just another Dev/Test manager if the work schedule is tight for me to even plan.
But I tend to believe in positive, because I am a pessimist by nature and I don't want to screw my IIMB journey....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Joker in the pack

I was very excited, when my waiting list got converted. In fact I was praying like no one else in world for a week, to get the WL converted. I will be God fearing ever :)
As soon as I got the convert letter, I started informing others with at most enthusiasm. Predominantly, the response was very postive, inspiring & accolades. But then, I started getting mixed reactions. A sample

Me : Hey dude, I got into IIMB for its part time program, PGSEM
X   : wow! great man. Congrats!
Me : Thank you..
X   : its a 3 year course...conducted during weekends...right?
Me: Yeah, 2.5 years; Fridays & Saturdays.
X   : hmm...part time may not be that good; why don't you try for a full time again?...its much better option.
Me: Yeah, but iam fed up of writing CAT; and i don't want to miss IIMB
X  : hmm, how much is the fees?
Me: 9L
X  : Oh man! does your company sponsor you?
Me: No
X  : Oh! will IIM provide placement support?
Me: No
X  : awful! are you crazy to opt this?

These dialogues didn't hurt me much since they were more 3rd parties, and I continued to believe PGSEM is my choice! But that slowly changed, when I met 3-4 guys who already did it recently. To my surprise, the opinion was negative from the ROI perspective. But all agreed with the amount & quality of learning you will get. Some even mentioned, some companies will even not consider you at all :(

A awful dilemma!!!

It has always been my case throughout my life :) I am person, who goes behind brands. Not getting into IIT/NIT was my worry during college days. Fortunately, that changed, when I got into one of the best product development teams in world. I don't want to repeat that again (I am not sure, whether I will even reach near IIMs if I write CAT again). Moreover, my dream is to learn from some of the best faculty, participate in exciting discussions, be part of wonderful infrastructures :) So my heart always said to go ahead with this offer. Only things that was worrying me was the huge amount invested and the negative opinion about its acceptance in the industry. But I have decided to go ahead with the offer. I believe any sort of investement for an education will not go in vain, and that too in a world class, renowned institute like IIM Bangalore.

IIM Bangalore, Thank You for accepting me :) Here I come...

I have decided to be a joker in the pack! (title of the book about Life@IIMB by Ritesh Shram & neeraj Pahlajani)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

PGSEM Interview

The interview was after one month on April 25 (Sunday)
My Slot was 9AM

Essay - Challenges faced by Indian IT industry to maintain the growth in the next decade

Wrote some good points. But later noticed that, my concentration was more on the challeges faced by an firm, rather than the industry as a whole. Guess, that was ok :)

Interview - 2nd one to be called
Panel - 2 Young guys (1 working in Yahoo; other may be a faculty)

1. Tell us something about yourself?
2. What do you blog on? (I mentioned blogging in introduction; A long discussions on blogs)
3. Oh!, you blog about online marketing, can you compare text & video marketing?
4. What is your take on video marketing?
5. Who is the market leader in video marketing? (Said Google; corrected me saying, for you information, its Yahoo)
6. What do you think is the rigor of PGSEM?
7. What are the adjustments and preparation one may need to take for this course?
8. How many hours will you think will be needed for this course preparation?
9. Why PGSEM and not PGP?
10. What do you expect to gain from this course? (guess, made some mistake in the middle, one panelist kept on asking more and more)
11. Which area are you interested in?
12. Can you explain your job profile?
13. Do you have client interaction?
14. What are the challenges you face when interacting with the customers?
15. Why product management?
16. What is the difference between services marketing and product marketing? (Long discussion, finally they mentioned, "No, you are contradicting the two; you seems to be not clear on the exact difference between the two?" :D )
17. What are the challenges of a senior manager, say having 10 years of experience?
18. What do you think are the necessary qualities of him? (Mentioned 4-5)
19. That’s all, only four qualities?, what about presentation skills? :D
20. What are your hobbies?
21. Which CSR activities of the IBM do you participate in?
22. In the SOP, you mentioned that every one tends to put the blame on system or Government for social issues, what differently do you do? (They grilled me on this :) )
23. What all individual contributions can be done to resolve child labor?
24. no, no...but that didn't the issue you are taking about (i was talking about child labor)
25. some ethical questions (finally they said, what ever you are saying will help only to lessen the guilt feelings, not the actual problem)
26. We don't have any more questions, do you want to ask something to us?