Tag Archives: to the point…

Sleep!

I just discovered that it is just as hard to try to fall asleep when you are wide awake as it is to try to wake up when you are fast asleep! I never in my life imagined that this would be the case, being as fond of sleeping as I am. But its true nevertheless, I woke up at 3 am today and spent an hour trying to go back to sleep and I could not. So having thus woken, I have spent a delightful hour reading about ‘How To Measure My Life’ and other such interesting articles. Not a bad start to the day after all!

Go Google!

I am constantly amazed by the things you can do with +Google! Yesterday I discovered Google Reader and Google News. I knew they existed but had never really had a chance to explore them before (read: didn’t really bother). But after reading ‘The Google Story’ a few months, I have really come to notice the role that Google plays in our lives. It is everywhere! And now I know for a fact that you can literally find anything on it. But I digress, it was the Google Reader and Google News that I was raving about. They have opened the doors for my latest mission to step into the world of current affairs and could not be more grateful. Now I have all the sites (and blogs: those have nothing to do with current affairs just the pleasure of stalking the web in search of hitherto undiscovered blogs) neatly categorized in folders (yes, I’m obsessive like that) and can view them all from one platform with hardly any need to go to each site individually unless searching for something old. Moreover for those of us with blogs on blogger.com, the blogs we follow from the dashboard can be fed into Google Reader and vice versa. Google News I still haven’t grasped completely yet but the idea is the same: all the news on a topic gathered together on one page with options to view just the snippets or entire articles or just have an icon that takes you to the site page. I might as well also say how much I like the Google Dashboard which is landing page for all Google products that you subscribe to.

Anyway, this was not intended to be a technical review so all you techie folks can head over to http://googleblog.blogspot.in if you want some of that.

Until next time,
Cheers

Rants of the MBA Aspirant

Writing about yourself is the hardest thing you shall ever have done. Just the very thought makes my forehead  frown and my stomach grumble and my hands itching to do anything but write (or type as the case may be). But unfortunately most B-schools set quite a store by what we think of ourselves and leave these interesting questions in the application forms that need to be answered. How would you rate yourself on versatility? Adversities faced in life? Responsibilities shouldered? And each application wants them just a little differently. So here I am now pulling my hair out trying to look at my CV and figure out where the hell the answers are hidden and how best to write them. Ultimately it will just come down to forcing myself to stick my butt to a chair for 3 straight hours and thrashing out the stuff cringing at every loftily written phrase and neatly glossy paragraph but alas it must be done for only then do the gates to these hallowed halls open to us.

While we are on the subject, I’ll take a step back and talk about all the other things these erstwhile institutes have us do. I’ll begin with the application fees shall I? It is anywhere between Rs. 950 and 1650 for entrance exams. Some institutes are kind enough to not charge additional fees to apply to the college but there are others where you will end up paying anywhere between Rs. 950 and 1650 over and above the entrance exam fees to fill out the application form for the institute. I wonder if anyone has ever studied what this means financially for the institute? With the number of students applying for their post graduation courses to B-schools increasing by the year, the corresponding increase in expenditure borne by the institute would only marginally increase. Many of these institutes do not even print their admission brochures any more, preferring instead to have downloadable PDF versions, very commendable of them and I am all for making the earth a greener place but that still leaves us with a lot of unaccounted for money! I can understand the reason for placing a fee on admissions as adding value to the process ensuring students who apply are actually serious about studying in the particular institute. But unfortunately it does not work like that anymore, students who can afford it (and some who can’t!) are all filling out the endless forms for every exam and application form. The simplest solution I would say is to reduce the application fees to a minimal amount and instead design every application form (as opposed to only a handful who currently follow this procedure) with qualitative essay type question which will actually cull out the serious students from the ‘also rans’. Of course entrance exams as method of elimination shall have to continue, without them managing logistics would be a nightmare, but application procedures should be better thought through.

Speaking of application procedures, having filled out my share of forms, I have come to believe that very few institutes actually have a clear cut vision of what they want in an applying candidates and design their forms accordingly while in others there are mostly run of the mill fields with very little scope for expressing individuality. And lets not even get started with the poor quality of online platforms that are used that some have and of course each has a different requirement of the kind of browser required and acceptable bank credit/ debit/ online payment options. I think that that effectively summarizes the pains of all MBA aspirants in the present day. However lets not forget that after all this, there still remains the little matter of actually taking the tests, speaking up at the GDs and acing the PIs. All the best all!

Cheers!

A new way for a new year…

So I have found the perfect solution to new year resolutions. Make the resolution in January but implement it in April. That way you have three blissful months in which you can just tell yourself that you’ll start the next day! Imagine the peace of it and believe me it works, I’ve been meaning to start a morning walk regimen since the morning of January 1, 2012 (which happened to also be a Sunday) but I finally managed to get myself out in the crisp and cool, early morning air only today. We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of starting the day early but you only truly understand it if you experience it. Watching the sky get lighter and lighter until the sun is finally up, the lovely weather long before it gets unbearably hot and of course the peace all around, not to mention the fact that the day seems so much longer when you’ve been up since 6 am. Even that took a while to cultivate, being a person who used to on an average sleep at 3 am every day switching to 12 am was not easy. The first few weeks were accompanied by massive headaches every day since I’m assuming the head probably had no idea what hit it! Change is never easy but if you really want to make it happen, there is a very high chance that you actually will. Some things in life will never change but there are other things, things which have always been a certain way without you questioning it which will not make sense sometimes. It could be a bad habit, a nervous disposition, moody behaviour, an angry countenance or just a certain outlook towards life. The day you realise that it isn’t helping you is the day you will set about changing it; it will be a long journey doubtless but when you reach the end it will have been worth it and it will be a lesson learnt for life. Its never too late or too early to change anything, you just have to make up your mind to do it. With that thought, I’m going to go an make my Sunday extremely productive as opposed to extremely lazy so lets how that goes!

Cheers!

Freedom…

The last few books that I read (especially the order in which I read them) has really got me thinking. The simplest things are the easiest to miss and when someone does take notice and makes a success out of it, we wonder what special powers they are blessed with. The people themselves know it ofcourse, it just leaves the rest of us baffled. To explain a little more clearly, the book I finished reading just today is ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell. More impressive than the title is the subtitle – “The Story of Success”. You may be forgiven for yawning and thinking heard that before but seriously, this is a very radical approach. According to this book, the way we behave is rooted in our cultures and environments we were reared in no matter how far removed we are from it. It also goes on to prove that success is no accident but a combination of opportunities and hard work. The term ‘hard work’ is looked down upon these days, with smart work being the flavour of the season, but it amounts to the same things, gaining proficiency in your chosen field by constant application and practice and thereby getting better and better at it. Moving on to the the next book on the list, this one was an old favourite, ‘Freakonomics’, discovering the hidden side of everything has never been so much fun. An interesting thing to note about both these books is that while at the heart of it they deal with facts, figures, research and analysis, they are not the run of the mill economics textbooks (read: they don’t send you off to sleep) simply because they are narrated like stories with examples of real people, real lives which makes them so irresistible, you keep turning the pages waiting to see what happens next. And once you do find out, you not only have a great story but you’ve also learnt a few facts of life! And that brings me to the other 2 books that I read recently, ‘It Happened in India’ by Kishore Biyani and ‘Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch’ by Arindam Chaudhury. They are similar yet different books, almost mirror images of each other. While Kishore Biyani tells his story of success with the his theories of management hidden within them, Arindam Chaudhury talks about his theories and gives us examples to support them. In any case 2 things were very apparent once I was done reading these books; the first being that management in India is very distinct process (hence proving Malcolm Gladwell’s point that culture has everything to do with people’s behaviours). Traditional theories, models, best practices and procedures need to be customized to suit the Indian context instead of lifting straight out of popular literature. The second fact is that though there are plenty of people who have realized this truth and are doing things differently, there is hardly any record of it, nobody writes about or publicizes a new way of working which actually works in this country! So the big learnings for the month are to understand how our culture defines the way we work and use it to our advantage and also to make sure that we tell the world about how we do things instead of trying to mould ourselves to fit the so called universally accepted principles which are at best applicable to only half the world’s population.

And that my friends is what I think freedom means. Its about making the choice to embrace who we are instead of being ashamed of it and telling the world we are proud to be who we are instead of apologizing for not fitting into acceptable definitions.
Happy Independence Day…
Cheers!

The Bigger Picture…

Sometimes we just get too caught up in the moment to realize that there is so much more beyond it. These are the times when we let our worst fears rule our best instincts and the worst that can happen at a time like this that you find that you have no one beside you to tell you otherwise. If you are ever faced with a situation like this, then just repeat to yourself a very simple statement: This too shall pass. For there is nothing in this world that lasts forever. So if you’re going through hell, accept it. If you find not a single friend around you who understands why you are doing what you are doing, accept it. If at times you yourself don’t understand the things you are doing, accept it (trust me, your instincts know better). Think of the bigger picture. The bad time will pass and your far thinking will take you places, the true friends will remain by your side for life in spite of what it may seem like for now and your instincts will be well honed to recognize these signs in future. And most of all just remember that there is a lesson in everything in life and that is NOT that you should fear what life throws at you just because you have had one bad experience in the past, but that you now are better equipped to deal with the situation before you. It isn’t easy I know to keep yourself from sinking into doubt, but make a deal with yourself not to wallow in it. Take a minute, but only a minute, to tell yourself every single thing that you can possibly do wrong and then vow not to let it happen. You will feel better for it for two reasons; one is that once you list all the negatives they won’t seem all that bad and two is that the reassurance from yourself that you won’t let anything go wrong will go a long way in boosting your confidence when you find it failing. Don’t get me wrong, mistakes will still happen, but they won’t cripple you if you have that vision in your head of where you are headed, the light in your eyes which guides your path and voice in your ear that gives you your confidence, in short: the bigger picture is what you need to think of.

Fortune…

When once upon a time,

You sat upon a wall
Staring into the distance
With dreams shining in your eyes
The people of the town,
Would look at you and say,
“There’s a lad who needs to
get the hell away!”
The children of the town
Would come around and play
And look at you in awe
And wonder what you did all day
But alas they never knew
The reason you were there
Was only so that you
Would be fortunate enough
To catch a glimpse of
The fair maiden that resides
Behind the castle wall
The very wall on which you sat
And wasted your life away.
And life and fate are such that
In the end you didn’t even sway
When you took that last quiet breath
The reason I call this poem (or atleast an attempt at poetry!) ‘Fortune’, is because I believe that most of us waste our life away waiting to catch a glimpse of it. Instead, lets get off that wall and do something about it. Cheers!

And yet another semester is coming to an end. Its been one hell of a ride and I’m glad its coming to an end, finally. I guess thats how its supposed to work. Everything passes, no matter what. And in the end all that you are left with are the memories, which is not a bad thing at all, really 🙂

The World of Studies…

Today, I realised the futility of education. As a matter of course, we students of BBA are required to study a subject called ‘Organizational Behaviour’. An admirable subject, one that I quite enjoy under ordinary circumstances, but today it reached heights of ridiculousness like never before. Today we studied the ‘Punctuated Equillibrium Model’ which applies to temporary groups working with deadlines. If it sounds very impressive, let me assure you at the very outset that it is nothing of the sort. You will see what I mean when I give you a simple example of a school project in which you have to work with a group and finish by a particular date. Hasn’t it always been the experience that, before we know it half the time is over and when the deadline is looming, the best work gets done at phenominal speeds (usually the night before!). That is exactly what this ‘Model’ attempts to explain, using words that could easily bounce off your head without a moment’s notice. Behaviour of human beings working in temporary groups with deadlines have been studied and the performance v/s time graph has been plotted to tell us what we’ve known since atleast class 7, that performance is always at it’s highest when the time is short and the pressure is on. Except that the ‘Punctuated Equillibrium Model’ would say, “Temporary groups go through transitions between inertia and activity”. It really beats me hollow sometimes how so much time is wasted in telling us things that we’ve known for years. Anyway, before it becomes preachy, all I’ll say is that there has to be a limit to the nonsense so I guess I’ll wait around for that. Till then, bye!

The IPL Bonanza…

As the IPL (finally) comes to an end, one can’t help but wonder how much more cricket one can digest. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge cricket fan myself but a month and a half of non-stop cricket (Two matches a day, for heavens sake!) can take a toll on your mental health. Add that to the fact that the 20-20 World Cup is coming up, and you’ve got yourself perfect conditions for a nervous breakdown. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but with good reason! And it’s not just the cricket that is endless, it’s the analysis, that begins an hour before the game and continues for god knows how long after the game is over, I mean have they heard of the word ‘overkill’? People just want to see a good game of cricket, with some classy shots and thrilling run chases, is that too much to ask for? Oh and don’t even get me started me started on the new craze for ’20-20′ apparently to attract the female population, it has in fact served to lessen my love for the game quite a bit. But no matter what I say, I will still be caught glued to the TV from the moment someone calls ‘heads’ till the time they declare the ‘Man of the Match’ and also avidly reading the next morning’s newspaper analysis of everything that went right and wrong in the match the day before. What can I say, you love it or hate it, there is just no escaping it (in this country atleast!)