Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dynamics of MBA

Today Chirag, yes the dude going to IIMA to do PGDM in June, told me that the fee for his two year course at the institute would be INR 14.5 lacs. Now that indeed is a bulky amount and generally, if you are not the son of a minister or husband of Queen Elizabeth, you will need to take a loan. Surprisingly the interest rates for education loan are very high in our country, and if the amount is as good as 14.5 lacs, one needs to pay an EMI of around 30k per month to wave off the loan. That is not very much, given that an average IIMA passout gets something around 65k (I guess so) per month to spend just after the college. So, an EMI of 30k looks very affordable. But this would not be the case if the student doesn't want to take up the high paying corporate job after his/her MBA and wants to experience life and do unconventional things, which don't pay too much. And what if the corporate life takes a toll on the individual and he/she is unable to bear the pressure and is in the state of crumbling down before the burden of EMI gets over?

And the whole system of EMI means that the entrepreneurial blood has to be pumped out of the body for at least five years after the college ends. And after five years, the family (wife and chunnu munnu) sucks the entrepreneurial blood out of one's system. And thus, one gets trapped cursing one's decision to do MBA and feeling sad at one's helplessness. This is what I was discussing with Sudhir when I met him last week, and this is what I think stops me from thinking about an MBA from IIMs. The silver lining is that the five year period of EMI may get reduced to two year if one gets a phoren placement but the chances of that are slim and still the two year period remains there to slog like a corporate ass.

MBA from a foreign institute poses the same problem, the only benefit is that it is easier to get a foreign placement there and thus, one gets out of the EMI web very soon.

Wondering how so many of the graduates started their own companies just after their IIM (or MBA) days!! Insights would be most welcomed! :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

INDIANness Here & There

Two incidents happened yesterday and I was certainly not happy with the 'Indian way' people behaved in both the cases. The first one was in metro train when I was silently reading my novel (standing!). All of a sudden a guy from my back asked what I was reading. I told him the title of the book and the name of the author. Then he asked me about the story. I told him the brief synopsis too. Then he suggested a novel titled something like those of a soap opera these days (see, suggestions are so cheap here, everybody is distributing them for free and nobody is giving a job to this poor jobless soul). And to my disgust he even started narrating the story to me about how a guy meets a girl through sex chat or while watching online porn or something and how they were deeply in love after having a couple of rounds of phone sex and how my friend who was narrating the story was deeply touched by one single sentence of the girl where she confesses to the boy that he was only the seventh guy she had slept with. Okay this version of the conversation is a bit exaggerated by me but one can assume what situation I would have been while listening to the boring story of some Bollywood Masala Chhap novel. Further aggravating was the situation when he started asking about my educational background, the job I was doing/did, even the salary I used to get (Wow!). The only thing left, perhaps, was how many grandchildren I dream of having!! And after listening to my story, this guy again started fretting about what he is doing and what he wants to do, what factor is creating a hindrance in his plans of doing an MBA and what is the alternate path he is taking. I don't understand the reason for which people start sharing all this to complete strangers, without bothering about whether the later is interested in it or no! Sometimes, the need of talking and expressing one's feeling may be there but why is this need seems a priority while travelling only! Still trying to figure out the answer!

The other incident took place an hour after the above one. I had a telephonic interview scheduled between 11:30 am to 12:30 pm for the LAMP fellowship. I was all ready with my phone fully charged, earphones ready, and answers dancing in my head ready to be thrown out through mouth. But to my utter surprise, no call came between the given time interval (obviously Indian). I mailed them regarding this and they apologized citing for their 'running behind the schedule'. The same could have been done at the given time so that I could have spared the tension of waiting for the call. And to add to that, they called me up at around 2:45 pm asking to give the interview then. I was not at home and couldn't do that at that time. When I requested rescheduling, I was asked in details what I was doing for not being able to give the interview. I don't understand why was the interviewer so keen in knowing what exactly I was doing then (since you are an Indian, share everything about your life with me!). May be I was planning to murder someone but that is nobody's business. You were supposed to call me at a given time and you didn't. Now, why are you after what I am doing and how long will I take doing that?

I guess people realize that there is a personal space not to be intruded!

P.S. Heartiest congratulations to Chirag Agrawal. The dood is going to IIMA for grad school. Please drop by and congratulate him here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Of Reading and Life

I am reading 'Keep Off the Grass' by Karan Bajaj for the last couple of days. The book is nice (for the first hundred pages I have read) in the sense that it captures the dilemma of a well settled young professional trying to find his roots, his purpose for existence. And this leads him to quit his high paying investment banking job with Goldman Sachs in New York City and come to India to do an MBA at IIM Bangalore.

Since I have not read any book about a B-school, it is giving me a nice insight about what goes on in an Indian business school. But at the same time, I am not liking the way the writer has kept himself overly obsessed with IITians. There is one character called Sarkar (an IIT passout) who befriends our protagonist Samrat. Though the  IITian is only bothered about getting stoned and spitting lofty philosophical statements after that, he is shown so intelligent (mathematically) that he aces all the exams and is in the run for the Presidential Gold Medal. Is an IITian really so smart or the writer is actually so obsessed about the people studying there. Karan Bajaj has also mentioned 'IIT' a few times in his second novel 'Jonny Gone Down'.

I am also reading '1984' by George Orwell these days in parallel. Though the book requires more concentration owing to its heavy language and a serious topic (communism), it looks like an interesting read till now. But I am sure that I am going to be bored somewhere in between as I am never ever comfortable with the idea of anti-communism. Accepted that communism is a failed system of governance and most of the countries are done with it but I generally have a liking for it, given the nanga naach of Indian politicians.

Life is going normal otherwise. I am getting very lazy in the absence of  any definite agenda for the day. I think I need to get on to a job very soon before I start getting really bored sitting idle. But will a job be able to quench my thirst for meaningful existence? And finally what is a meaningful existence? Is it only a mirage, a delusion? Am I thinking a lot? Or is it better to learn to except this emptiness of meaning? I generally am!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Oh Life! You've got different faces!
Roses are there, but thorns also sing the song;
You bring both laughter and tears along.
You are a road and we, weary travelers,
With love or hate make it smooth or rough.
You seem to be but are not very tough.
Sorrow may come before joy
But that's only thing that makes it sweeter.
The only message you give us is
To spread peace and more of bliss!

P.S. This poem was written in 2004 when I was a Class 11 student. The task was to write a poem with a particular set of words and I came up with what is written above.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tum Bihari Ho Na

This post should have come about a week ago at least but call it my laziness or the blame it on the World Cup or Poonam Pandey that it took so long. However, even though I am late, I am here to unveil another face life had shown me a few days ago. While coming to Delhi on last Tuesday i.e. 29th March, I had a verbal fight with a family sharing my train compartment. The reason was simple, they wanted to sleep during the daytime and wanted me to go to my berth and sleep as well. I refused and this led to the quarrel. Generally, I avoid such things while travelling, but this almost around 60 man and his wife and his daughter looked too haughty to me and I decided not to 'cooperate' with them.

So, when I refused to change my place and go to upper berth, this family started shouting at me and called up the TTE. The TTE, as the rules say, took my side. And then the family started taking it all on my 'Bihari' culture. "Lagta hai tum Bihar se aaye ho. Yahi culture hai tumhara? Itne din ho gaye mujhe travel karte huye, kabhi aisa koi nahi mila tumhare jaisa. Train me gunda gardi karte ho tum. Mera bhi beta tumhare hi itna bada hai, wo to aisa nahi hai." (It seems you have come from Bihar. Is this your culture? I have been travelling for so many days but never seen anyone like you. You behave badly in train. My son is also of your age but he is so cooperating.). The uncle now intimidated me by citing his all important and powerful contacts in Lucknow. I don't understand a few points here:

  • How can someone from eastern UP accuse a Bihari of being uncultured?
  • They should have requested me as they were asking for a favour, yet they forced me. Still, they call themselves cultured??!!!!
  • The three of them were shouting about my culture as if shouting will wash away everything bad about my culture and show that they are more cultured?
  • Talking about contacts in Lucknow made them very cultured?
  • If a fellow Bihari doesn't agree to all your whims at any place, you start taking it out on the Bihari culture?

People are going to have stereotypes about Biharis, I agree but they should also think before they are speaking or doing anything. And this incident has strengthened my stereotype about the 'self believed importance and intelligence' of people around Lucknow.