Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Afterlife

Those of you who have accidentally reached this page thinking that it has anything to do with Death, God or Heaven & Hell.... You may leave!! Let me make it clear that my post is not even remotely related to the tunnel or the bright light which some people might believe in. Nor is it related to the Vosloo-directed movie from 2009. What I'm writing about is much more important than Death. It's about life after a B-School.... after you have flashy posts and a PGDM, IIM Tag.

People write so much about their life being transformed once they crack CAT and once they enter the portals of the various coveted B-schools across the globe. Very few write about the life immediately after. If they did, it would be a great surprise and shock. Don't start judging before you've read this post fully.

We dream BIG, most of us.... Maybe not "beyond" like some others, but we dream big. Despite the recession, which has brought many MBA grads to earth, there are still some aspirations which we all have when we join the corporate world. "Work Hard, Party Harder" seems to be the golden rule (especially when you've come from an IT company and then from IIM Indore); Flexible work hours soon seem like a distant dream (didn't we read about that stuff in OB??) The only flexible hours you'll get will be work on Sunday. You might get flexi-locations however. For those who love to travel, don't get too excited until you know where you're being sent. After a few months, you might just start missing the man who takes away only washing machines and free meals. :)

But that's not always the case... Sometimes you're frustrated for other reasons. IIM Indore truly feels like the hillock which never slept. You feel you had 25 hours in a day out there. Life never switched off. It's either studies (not very often) or sports or gossip or outings or a myriad of other crazy stuff. At the end of 2 years, it will surely be the best 2 years of your life; at least for most of us. Then when you move to a job which keeps you at a desk for 10 hours but real work for only 2, it begins to get boring... no, that's an understatement. It begins to get deadening. You're not doing any groundbreaking work... none of your devised strategies or marketing plans are gonna bring in millions. For a long time, you might not even have a permanent seat in your office. When people hear that you're management trainees, you might be put aside thinking that you're 2 month MBA interns. :)

What am I trying to convey...? First and foremost - Don't waste the best 2 years of your life. Live them to the fullest!! Secondly....Dream big, but have realistic expectations. There are a lot of MBAs where you are going. This should never discourage you, coz believe me, your work shall always be appreciated by superiors (it's important for them some way or the other) but more importantly, YOU will have to appreciate it and be able to put your heart into it; and as a dear professor once told me, your job shall be only as enjoyable as you yourself try to make it.

Welcome to life outside Planet I.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Too much to write...

Have you ever had so much on your mind that you just don't know what all to speak about. Have you ever felt that thoughts are speeding through your mind at Mach 3 and your hands are just too slow to pen them down. If you have, then you know exactly how I'm feeling right now!

The last time I wrote (March 16) was like aaaaaaaages ago... There is so much in my mind that it would explode if I didn't get it out, and so I'm back.... writing at 6 in the morning. No, I didn't just get up.... I never slept! My friends would say, "Sounds just like Ravi"... Some others out here at IIM will say, "He's gonna sleep through the whole of tomorrow." Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury due to classes and assignments lined up for the next 6-7 days.

Anyway, let me come back to the overload in my mind... Third Term exams, Summer Internship, Short stint in Surat (with my sisters), My Birthday :-), June at the Hillock, etc.

I can hardly remember the last End Term exams... As I said, they were like a zillion years ago. :) That makes one thing clear..... I'm not gonna speak about them. :)

I interned at Johnson & Johnson Medical during April-May in Mumbai. I guess that was the primary reason for my absence from blogosphere. Not that I was working my pants off, but well, what should I say, time jus flew by. JJMI (Johnson & Johnson Medical India) was like a dream come true. The best 2 months of corporate life any intern could hope for. A gr8 work culture, an awesome team of superiors and the best group of co-interns anyone could ask for - a true dream family! I hope you guys are interested in reading about those 2 months of mine, coz I'm gonna write about it even if you aren't... :) To keep the length of this post within limits, I'll show you the flash back in another post.

The only thing which made the Summer of 09' a bit sour was the fact that I didn't get time to go to my home town, Udaipur. However, I did meet everyone in the family; some in Mumbai, some others in Surat. The Surat trip was like a 48 hour Marathon, one I wished could go on forever. I kept people awake till 5 AM on both days (even my very sleepy Jiju). I bet they cursed me afterwards. :) One things for sure... This trip was a great example of - "Efficient utilization of time".

Come June 8th and I stepped foot back at Planet I, only to learn that our hostel rooms had been shifted... what a way to welcome us back.... Anyways, I ended up as one of the luckier ones (Just got shifted from G316 to G315.... some 5 metres). There were loads of protests, HostelCom had a hell of a time and very few people actually shifted to their new rooms. The Administration just gave up finally. :)

The last one month has been gr8 in Indore. I actually had begun to miss this place ; even though I was having an awesome time in Mumbai (minus the bed bugs). With the Juniors on campus, there were many moments of nostalgia. Some sadness - that one year had just whizzed by, but some relief, "Thank god it's over!". The past month has seen the likes of His Holiness Dalai Lama on campus speaking about "Compassion and Non-violence" (I'll speak about this in another post) in addition to many other speakers like Mr. M Damodaran and the US Consul General, Mr. Paul Folmsbee. Term 4 has also brought with it a great set of visiting faculty, Prof Rajesh Shrivastava being the pick of the lot. "A true mentor and a great Guru" (One more post will surely be dedicated to him..)

But that's not all... IRIS has become āhvān, Sanjeevani has become Aarohan, Utsaha plans to go Rural, Prof VK Gupta has become Dean (Administration), many of my batchmates have gotten engaged, some others married.... How can anyone be in such a hurry?? :)
And of course, there are those things which never change - For example the boy:girl ratio in PGP!

Anyways, I'm gonna try and get a wink before the 08.45 class (even that has changed from the earlier 09.30). I hope my mind can rest it's thinking process till then!

Coming Soon..... Summer of 09' @ Johnson & Johnson Medical

Monday, March 16, 2009

Entrepreneurship @ Prof. Sunil Handa

How often have you been mesmerized by a speaker? How often have you wished that a seminar would never end? I'm sure it's not too many times...

But with Prof. Sunil Handa, that is exactly what happened. He has an ability to make you think and rethink. When he speaks about entrepreneurship, he can bring even a snail out of it's shell, to challenge the world. I remember his words - "Be aggressive, Be assertive... Do not ask, Take it! The worst that could happen is that you will be told no." It would be IMPOSSIBLE to bring out the atmosphere of that session through this blog-post, but I'm just gonna let my thoughts flow...

Prof. Handa started off by asking people what stops them from venturing on their own.

When he asked why many of us would want to work for a couple of years before starting a venture. Some of the replies which came out were:
1. I'd work for a couple of years to earn some capital (seed money) for my business.
2. I'd work for a few years to increase contacts and create a network.
3. I'd work some time to gain experience.
4. I have to pay back my educational loan.
How many of us give the exact same answers? Who are we kidding? As Prof. Handa said, the only reason is - "Tumhari phatti hai!" With his extremely frank style, he dismissed each of those bluffs one by one:

1. Seed Money - Two Years - How Much??!!
On evaluating his earnings over 2 years, one of the participants here, "Nemo", said that he'd probably save about 2-3 Lakhs (he undervalued himself TOO much, the downturn has really psyched people out...). Isn't that a bit too little for capital money? Guess what the Prof had to say.... I'll give you a loan for 3 lakhs (zero interest) when you finish your studies. Work on your venture... If it clicks, you can pay me back the principle, otherwise forget about it. He had just one condition... Immediately write a letter to the Placement
Cell telling them that you're opting out of Final Placements!! Did he accept the offer? Well, would you have? Let's face it - many out there are just too unsure about how much risk they can take.

2. Work to increase contacts:
Prof Handa drew this diagram on the board and told us, "During the next 2 years, you will be that small white dot in the huge organization.

Do you think you're gonna build contacts with the boss of another company?". Let's face it, he was right again. Kutte ki dosti Kutte se hi hoti hai. lol ... I guess that rules out number 2 also. Prof. Handa gave the example of one incident when one of his students got an appointment with Mr. Dayanidhi Maran for half an hour which ended up getting cropped to 5 min. A small window of opportunity opened during that brief visit and Prof Handa said he slid through in that one-millionth of a second. Essentially, he wanted to prove how you must be aggressive, and the fact that you don't need work experience to create contacts. You might just see a vacant seat at a table of esteemed personalities. Go grab the chair!

3. To gain experience
According the Prof, you don't gain any experience at your 2 year job. Even if you do, you'd learn far more working on your own venture. So this reason is again pointless and just a myth.

4. To pay back educational loan
This is where Prof Handa spoke about "The Circle of screwed Indebtedness". What's that?? Well, it's essentially a vicious circle of loans... You know, loans taken to pay off previous loans. And the saga continues.... The prof was ready to give an offer here as well - To pay off our loan till we can pay him back, if we'd agree to start our own venture.

Why exactly are people afraid??
When OD told the Prof that jobs were safe and comfortable whereas entrepreneurship was risky, he made a complete mockery out of him. He told us that it was the over-protective behaviour of many parents and at times their non-terminating government jobs which gave us such perceptions. For him, it was obvious... Venturing out on your own was the absolutely safer bet, and then again, he asked..."Don't you guys want to be rich?" Oh that qs. triggered another drama when one of us said, "Money isn't that important, I just wana chill out and enjoy life." Bad thing to say to Prof Handa. Another person got sent to the crusher.

Let me tell you
a bit about "The Sunil Handa":
Born in a simple family, Prof Handa and his brother jumped into entrepreneurship early and with just Rs. 15,000. They soon owned over half a dozen pharma factories and had to their names a whooping 1200 Crores (1995). However, that was when life took a turn for him. A dispute and business split with his brother left him devastated. It took him numerous months and visits to all the saadhus (pendulum babas, magneto-therapists etc.) whom relatives referred him to, before he could come out of the depression. When he finally did, he kind of retired from his busy entrepreneur life, and started Eklavya School in Ahmedabad. For the past 17 years, Mr. Sunil Handa has been teaching a course called "LEM" (Labrotary in Entrepreneurial Motivation), at IIM Ahmedabad, a course which he says has no book, no notes, no quizzes/exams, practically no pedagogy. Just a few lectures and a whole load of one-to-one sessions. And his students he calls LEMmers. Prof Handa said that around 200 of his students are entrepreneurs today; people who interact with him very regularly and seek guidance on numerous issues.

There were
two main entrepreneurial examples which the Professor gave:

The first one was of Mr. K R Rao, one of Prof. Handa's own batchmates at IIM Ahmedabad. (1977-1979) This lad was a true social butterfly at that time; someone who many didn't even remember during their silver jubilee reunion (2004). But with "Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals" under his sleeve, Rao's net worth is over Rs. 3000 crore today. Though Mr. Rao was a B.Com-MBA grad, he was a true visionary.

Moving on to the next example, Prof. Handa spoke about his teaching career's first entrepreneurial student, Mr. Narendra Murkumbi. This lad's first idea was that of manufacturing a Neem Insecticide in Belgaum. Though Prof. Handa was apprehensive about the idea initially, he was assured of its success after speaking to an international neem expert, Dr. Gupta at ICRISAT. Though the product turned out to be a great success, the customers were farmers and hence the Receivables on his balance sheets were huge. It was in 1995 that Narendra came up with the idea of buying old sugar mills and starting production of sugar. Prof Handa told him that he was crazy and that sugar was meant for people in the upper echelons of politics. But like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Murkumbi was willing to risk it. He went on with his plan and today he is the owner of one of the world's most scientific state-of-the-art sugar mills, Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd. Not only that, he was also featured as one of India's new bilionaires by Business World. One interesting thing about Renuka Sugars is that they use co-generation to produce their own energy (using the waste, bagasse which comes from sugarcane). No electricity is purchased from outside. When Murkumbi explained the idea to Prof Handa, he said, "When god created sugarcane, he put enough energy in it to bring the sugar out of it."

Flirting with Ideas
After numerous success stories, Prof Handa told us that we must face reality, and it's not necessary that your first venture becomes a million dollar lottery. You have to experiment..."Flirt with different ideas" and eventually one of your plans will click. For some it's the first... for Prof Handa it was the 7th.

One on One Interaction
It was after the first session that Prof Handa decided to interact with a few participants who were interested in entrepreneurship. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity as well. (Thanks Jalan...). It was nice speaking to Prof Handa for about 25 min where we discussed certain patchy ideas that I had in my mind. He had so much to share and I could've sat there forever. But time is one thing you don't get when you need it the most. Anyways, I guess we all hope to interact with him again in the future. Let's see how much effect such talks have on IIM Indore's participants, and how many of us venture out on our own some day....

Some recent ventures by IIM Indore alumni:

OurOwnBook: is a user driven writing community started by 2 participants from IIM Indore's Class of 2008, Dhruv Bhushan and Anubhav Jain. is based on the revolutionary concept of Collaborative Book Building (CoBooBu). It brings together users, who wish to write, in an interactive and collaborative form to develop a storyline which would be published as a book. The two co-founders believe that Anyone Can Write. In fact, most people are desirous of being able to write an article, story, poem, blog, anything. They hope to someday see their names on the front page of a book. The only limitations are the lack of time to sit down and write hundreds of pages or the opportunity to be able to get a best seller published. OurOwnBook overcomes both.
How it works? OurOwnBook provides a brief storyline. The users develop the story collaboratively by appending to the already existing content. The moderators continuously review the contributions while providing cues, to develop an interesting plot. Once the storyline
is completely developed, they get it published in the form of a book. All contributors are recognized as co-authors of the book, making it "Our Own Book".

Fire up: is a revolutionary e-learning portal for Management Entrance Training. It has been designed to help the students fraternity crack the toughest management entrance examination, CAT, to qualify for admissions to the IIMs and other top B-schools in India. It is the brainchild of Mr. Vineet Patawari (IIMI Class of 2008) who spurned lucrative seven figure job offers to devote himself to his burning passion of expanding the learning horizons with new emergent technologies.

Ask Bima: is another one of Patawari's innovative online ventures. It is an online insurance information and application portal serving both investors and advisors.
It offers investors a platform to compare independently and choose the best life and non-life insurance product.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

An Adieu to PGP2

They were our seniors, they were our mentors, they were our tutors, they were our guiding stars, but above all, they were, are and will always stay our closest pals!
No words could suffice to convey our regards to them. We can all just try to make an attempt....
and so will I.

July 2008 was the beginning of a new phase for all of us. As we entered the gates of IIM Indore with many hopes, wishes, dreams and above all - anxious feelings. I still remember the first individual of PGP2 whom I met. None other than the great Saravanan, who was compiling a list with details of all the new members of the IIMI family. A list which we all use even today. The anxiousness increased when we were asked to assemble in the seminar hall, at close to midnight! Believe me, that was just the start. A session of introductions, which many complain was not the best, but I'm sure they tried their best.

The next few days were quite a memory - the best possible way to mingle two batches that will spend the next 1 school year together. You may have failed once but some of us got a taste of your creativity again (Honestly, you guys just can't quit can you?). Lets face it , those were the best days ever... with a DJ party to end the great start.

Life soon became hectic with actual lectures and once again - pain in the ass assignments, but then again you're not in an IIM for nothing. I probably shouldn't detail out how seniors have been an immense help in academics, but let's just say "Seek Duplicate Change".
It wasn't just academics, these guys were awesome mentors throughout the Summer Placement processes - who else would go through your resumes 5-6 times!

They passed on the culture of IIM Indore (however dull or rich it may be), they made us feel lively in one of the most boring corners of Indore, or should I say Rau. They showed us every hang out spot (if you can call them that) nearby. These guys were always running off to those rare classes at ODD times, but they were always in for a match or two of cricket/basketball/footbal/TT. I can't comment too much on what happened in A-Block (no I don't mean A Top floor) but I'm sure they had they're own parties and gossips. Life out here was interesting to say the least.... We even had our own "Cute little Ambassador".... Yes, I mean Arav. We're all gonna miss you buddy.

We've had our differences, egos and cold wars but then again, what's life withouf a few complaints? I guess what bonded us the most, was the endless cribbing about the profs and the insti rules (even the best places can be made to look like the worst :))

The batches have been much bigger in IIMs these days, and I'm sure none of us in PGP1 knew all the 174 (probably not even all 18 girls for that matter) of you, but we've all had our own near and dear friends. I am sure that "Melting Pot" won't be the same without you, nor will be the hostel corridors/quadrangles. You may not be around to see us through the next year, but your memories will forever remain with us and talk us through the tough times.... We will all miss you and hope to see you at Footprints 09'.

On behalf of everyone in PGP1, I'd like to wish each one of you farewell and good luck.

---- Ravi Mehta
Class of 2010

P.S. Do add as comments, any memories which you'd like to remember forever or would like others to know about.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Professor Daniel Drache at IIM Indore - Excerpts from the Talk

Professor Daniel Drache is the Associate Director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and also a Professor of Political Sciences at York University in Toronto, Canada. We were lucky to have him on campus to deliver a guest talk on "Barack Obama's Stunning Victory".
As B-school students (oops... I meant participants), we have one discussion quite a few times, "What's the difference between Managers & Leaders?" Does one imply the other? What are great leaders all about? Do managerial skills help leadership? I guess when we think about great leaders, a lot of images come to mind, including Gandhi, Mandela, Kennedy, etc. and in the years to come we may be hearing "Obama" in that list too.

Excerpts from the Seminar:
Professor Drache spoke to us as well as the faculty about Defiant Publics and Winning/ Losing in an internet age. Yup, Internet; and to be specific, he spoke a lot on Obama's campaign strategy using Web 2.0 and Facebook. It was amusing but not shocking to see that none of the professors sitting in the audience were on Facebook. Professor Drache even rewarded them a C- (of course jokingly) when he found out that they didn't Text (SMS) either. Anyways, how exactly did Obama use Facebook?? During his campaign, there were around 780 regional offices across the US, with paid staff, to arrange and coordinate virtual discussion groups, chat rooms and organizations to mobilize the ideas and suggestions of the American population. These virtual communities made the people feel a part of the campaign. They created networks, and slowly Obama was able to reach the hearts of cynical and critical voters below the age of 30. These activities led to an increase in voter turnout (mostly in favor of Obama) and also a clear mandate for the people.

To Americans, McCain meant "War and Patriotism - Loyalty to the nation, right/wrong; Tax cuts to richer people" but the voters finally voted against that. The crisis caused by the Bush administration and the fact that people felt worse off as compared to 5 years ago did not help the Republican's cause too much either. Professor Drache said that across the globe today, people hope to have a leader like Obama for "Change". He called the people of modern times, "Defiant" as they boldly resisted and questioned authority which forcefully wishes you to believe their ideologies. Recently the world has seen a steady decline of Deference. Also, over the past decade, there has been a clear shift in public opinion from Bush-Blair ideologies to ones which actually help the nation progress. During his lecture, Professor Daniel presented a very interesting online poll, which is given below:

The above statistics clearly show, that Obama is "America's favorite President" at the moment. The fact that a Black candidate won the elections rejects the belief that US citizens allow racism to cloud their thinking. Politics of inclusion and diversity led to Obama's victory.

Q&A session:
There were some interesting questions from the participants of IIM Indore and Sugandh had even become Mr. Drache's helpful aid by filling in the blanks on many a occasion. I must commend that fellow for a great GK. Or is it that "He doesn't study", as the professor said... :-) Anyways, back to Q&A....
In response to Raina, who asked the professor whether expectations may have just gone too high for Obama to fulfill them, Professor Drache said that no expectation can be too "HIGH" for a person like Obama however at times they may be unrealistic in terms of "time-frame".
Commenting on the new American President, he said that he was a truly diverse cosmopolitan. He had won with his policies and as a gracious and respectful person. However, Dr. Daniel did say that we'll have to wait for maybe around 2 years to actually see if he's able to bring change.

Professor Drache's recently released book: "Defiant Publics: The Unprecedented Growth of the Global Citizen"

Another book he mentioned:
"The Genius of American Politics" by Daniel J. Boorstin

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Past One Month.....

Though I keep promising myself that I'll write more often on this blog, the posts end up becoming more and more spaced out in time. This time, it's been 6 weeks, and it's felt like ages.

Since the last time I wrote, which was on December 24th, the major happenings at IIM Indore and in my life for that matter, have been End Term exams, Holidays back at home in Udaipur (which included a brief internship with an NGO, Seva Mandir), the National Youth Conference in January, the recent SP Jain Sports Meet (of which I was not a part), I-club elections, Celebrations and Movie Nights organized by CulCom in addition to the usual day to day activities...

End terms did save my face to some extent, but the damage had been done and I'm sure my CGP will fall in Term 2. But I guess there's no point crying over spilt milk. (Sometimes I hate cliches like that). I'm looking towards Term 3 now, hoping it'll be a bit more generous towards my grade sheet. My interest in Finance has been waning day by day, and now I truly know, I was meant to be a Marketing lad. :)

Holidays after a rigorous term are always a delight, and when you add "HOME" to that equation, it becomes Heaven. This term break of 11 days were truly a treat. Spent some quality time with my family and friends (though many of them weren't in town). Udaipur was awesome as always! The extended term break (yes, normally it's just 6-7 days), was because of an internship which we had to undergo as a part of our curriculum in SBM(Society, Business and Management). I visited some of the most far-fetched villages in Udaipur district, while I was interning with an NGO known as Seva Mandir.
Due to the recent Satyam Fiasco, our institute plans to add more courses which will sensitize the participants at IIM Indore to social and ethical aspects of business. I guess our juniors will benefit from such courses in the coming years. :) I remember the words of Prof. Pradip Khandwala (Ex-Director, IIM Ahmedabad) from yesterday's seminar. He had ended his talk with this line - "In Modern World Business, Goodness Pays!". He emphasized on the fact that CSR would help companies increase returns and reduce risk, thus increasing share value. I totally agree; companies will have to be socially responsible in the future, whether they like it or not!

To commemorate the 146th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, IIM Indore organized a National Youth Conference from January 12-14 2009. Our new Director, Prof. Ravichandran is of the view that IIM Indore should be different in terms of the things we do and the way we do them. This Conference was his brain-child. The goal was to sensitise the young men and women of India to issues of national concern and to identify the role that the youth must play to take India forward in its march towards being counted among the best. Designed as a series of guest lectures and panel discussions, the Conference addressed areas such as Economic Reforms, Micro Finance, Spirituality, Science & Technology, Rural Health and Agriculture. The conference was attended by around 15 eminent guest speakers and over 300 participants from 40 colleges across India.
Among the guest speakers were Mr. Shekhar Gupta, Editor in Chief of Indian Express, Mr. D R Karthikeyan, former Director of the CBI, Dr. A D Dharma, the Deputy Director at ISRO Bangalore and many others.

Though life is pretty hectic on this hillock, the Cultural Committee (another student body under SAC) ensures that we pay our regards to the ultimate manager above us, I mean "GOD". The committee brings together the entire IIM Indore family during occasions such as Lodhi, Sarasvati Pooja, etc. We even had our own Santa Clause's distributing gifts during Christmas. During special occasions, Movies are screened for the entire batch in the auditorium, and sometimes under the stars, in front of a bonfire. We come to enjoy even classics like "Gunda" (there's no sarcasm in that statement). Great work Guys....

Though we might not have the best sports facilities yet (there are plans for a Sports Complex in the pipe-line, and may take some time to be fully functional), we have some pretty good athletes at Planet I. SportsCom is one damn active committee out here. They've been conducting regular events over the past month and there have been great competitions to watch. In addition to that, our team secured fourth place (there were 12 colleges in all) at the recent sports meet at SP Jain, Mumbai. Congrats to all the guys and girls who took part in the meet.... :)

It was election time again on campus during the first week of February. This time round, they were for members of I-clubs (Interest clubs). However, there wasn't much campaign-fever this time. One of my friends, Abhi was elected as Secy for Currenc-I, which is the Economics & IB club of IIM Indore, and a few of us got to take a party from him. That was one good thing, in addition to of course many other friends (Surya aka Mummy, OD, Shashi, Arijit Das,, Dogra, Goli, Avadhoot, and a few others) who were also elected. Good luck guys....

Its 1.53 AM, and I just had to take a bath, because of one idiot "Raina", who showered everyone with cold drink a while back... Let me rewind a bit... It was actually Karl's birthday, and we all cut a cake and plastered a bit on his face. That was when the sprinklers started, first on Karl, and then Raina sprayed everyone else. Of course, we got back at him, tore his shirt and had a slipper fight. It didn't end there.... Gunjan went mad with the liquid soap after we tried taking a picture of him in the Men's room. Oh, we MBAs know how to enjoy and get wild sometimes. I wish I had Raina's pics. I'd post them here....

Anyways, I'll end this huge post now. I'm tired and have some work to get back to. See you again soon.. Adios.... :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Xams, Xmas and a bit more...

It's been almost 2 weeks since I've penned something online. Is that right? "Penned"?? I guess I should say "typed", but who cares... :)

As you must have felt, I have been busy. I guess I took this term a bit lightly, messed up a few grades and now I'm slogging at the end trying to make amends. But I've learnt my lessons. I just hope I can get through this storm. 4 exams over in the first 2-day phase. 5 more at the turn of the year. Sadly, they end on 31st and I'll have to spend New Years eve in the train back home.

But that's not the only thing which has kept me busy. I've shouldered a new responsibility out here. I got elected as the Secretary for the Media & Public Relations Committee. (a part of SWAC, I mean SAC... I'll tell you about that later) You can say, I've helped myself become a bit more busier. But I guess it's fine. Always been passionate to work for this committee, and though it seems like a daunting task, I hope to do my duties well. One thing about being the head of anything is that, You very easily become the target of so-called "Critics". And these days there are many. You're scrutinized by every individual; One wrong move and Wham, they'll hit you right where it hurts. One thing I'm glad about.... I have a great team - 3 individuals (Srinath, Raj and Srihari) who have a very level-headed approach to everything and I hope we all complement each other in the days to come. Here's to you guys - Cheers!

This time round, the elections (yes even IIMs have elections) were a very new experience. People (including myself) campaigning for votes, making new contacts and even friends at times. Manifestos being presented, Questions being raised, Controversies and Rumors brewing. Some of it was truly painful and shocking, but all in all I guess I had my share of fun. I learnt how childish as well as how mature individuals can be. It all got over pretty fast. I'm gonna miss those days, and those posts on the News Groups.

Politics and Exams apart, it's been a dull last month of the year. The 2nd term just seems to be dragging itself for too long. It's become like one of those Saas-Bahu serials. I'm just dying to get back home to Udaipur and enjoy the Winter (Man, it feels so gud to cuddle up in bed and sleep all day long) :). I have to get attached to some NGO also during the same period. IIMs don't leave you free very easily :) Projects, assignments, Field Visits, Surveys... You name it, They've got it! I guess we all asked for it when we entered this humble abode. But I'm sure it's better than working for some IT company 15 hrs. a day. I can wait for another 15-16 months.

X-mas!! It's the season to be jolly. I guess we all are a bit jolly right now because of the 5 day gap between the two exam phases. Not too sure about Sections A & B; poor fellas have 4 classes every day, thats about 6-7 hrs of rigorous boredom. Sorry for you guys...
December kinda reminds me of the US. I miss the snow, the decorated streets and malls, the Christmas tree at home, those gr8 gifts :). I miss those days when school would suddenly be called off, the snow-man and the snow-fights! They're all a distant memory now :(

I watched a movie yesterday, "One-hour photo" where the protagonist speaks about the magic behind photos; about how families capture time in the blink of an eye, or should i say "shutter". Even I have so many pics from those gr8 old days, when ignorance was a bliss, when blunders were called cute by people, when you could get low grades and not even care. Were those days gr8 or what??! Wish I had a time-machine.. :)

Anyways, I gotta get back to work. Still 5 exams to go, and some work for MediaCom. See ya all soon. Hope I get some time b4 I go off home, to write some more... Adios.

Monday, December 8, 2008

IPL @ IIM Indore (Manoranjan Ka Baap)

So what if the Champions League (20/20) got cancelled; we at Planet I designed our very own IPL. The concept was new but the excitement for cricket was just the same. A combined event by our Marketing Club (Mercur-i) and Sports Committee, IPL was a bucket full of energy.

Rules of the Game:
Oh, don't worry, I wont list down loads of bullet points here like an ICC Rule Book. Let me just get you acquainted with the event. 12 Teams of 10 members each (6 for the cricket team + 4 for the Marketing) were formed and divided into 4 groups. If you think the teams were too small, think again! A ground the size of a tennis court and just 6 overs to slog. You've got a thrilling watch for your eyes.

The rules kinda reminded me of cricket at home during my childhood. I'm sure many of you have had innovative rules of your own. Ball hits the boundary wall, Superb Six! If it goes over the wall directly, You're back to the pavilion. :-) Last man allowed to play alone, and you can run him out at both ends. Remember such memories of childhood?
Our version of IPL had some such rules. I guess that's what made the game more interesting. We even picked up the idea of Power Play. A free over of smashing where you can only be run-out or skied out ( that's when u hit the ball over the hostel's 2nd floor).

Round 1 was intra-group, where each team played 4 matches. The best team from each, went on to the semifinals. The final 4 were Eagles, Ab tak Chhappan, Lemon Brothers and Master Batters. The tournament favourites "Eagles" were able to pull off a win in the finals, when they seemed to be struggling a bit for the first time. Ab tak Chhappan, which had an immense fan-following sure entertained their friends out their.

Cash (Read Mercuri Dollars) -
IPL wasn't just about winning the ball game. It was also about marketing your teams. Though this idea got a slow start, there was a bunch of creativity towards the end. The media up for buy (Each team had restricted amount of Mercuri Dollars and the media usage had to be paid for) consisted of posters, pamphlets, jingles, videos and even outdoor events like plays/speeches.

It all started with a few gr8 team names, names like Master Batters, Ab Tak Chhappan, The Lemon Brothers (I heard they even served Lemonade one day), GAY Men (Gaonwaale Angry Young Men); A few really good slogans, for example "Kyunki Hum Kisi Ka Ehsaan Nahi Lete" (MasterBatters), "The Nerds who love Playing with Balls" (Community Service). I'd love to put a few posters of teams Community Service and Master Batters up on this post, but my blog would start getting flagged for obscenity. :) I'll have to get publishing rights from the team managers b4 I can actually put up some of their creativity online. :)

Something Different -
Team ChidimaarR put up oval boards on the boundary and challenged the opponent teams' batsmen to hit them. The Prize?? CHOCOLATES!
One of the IPL teams blew up some creatively shaped balloons (if you know what I mean :-)) and hung them near the playing field.

In all, the online newsgroups at IIM Indore were flooded with publicity stints. And spectators were loving it. A round of applause for Sportscom & Mercur-i. Let's hope this fun-filled event becomes an annual fiesta.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

So Much is Happening...

We all take a few days off don't we? Well, I've been a bit busy with submissions recently, that I haven't had time to update my blog. But that doesn't mean that Planet-I has been silent. Rather, it's been the exact opposite.

So much has happened since my midterms got over on 19th November. You can say that we know how to keep our selves busy. As if our Profs don't give enough work. Didn't they tell you that elite institutes like IIMs are about holistic personality enhancement?? :-)
Now let's see... There's been our sports activities including our very own IPL & IFL, RTI week (Dec 1-7), Parthenon 08', our Freshers' Party (if you can call it that) and much more. Don't worry... I'll give you details, but in a later post. One post wouldn't be enough to speak about all of that. We'll take it one by one.

So what's this one about. It's about IIM Indore's newest member. No, no one has been given lateral entry into our institute, if that's what you're thinking. I'm referring to our recently appointed Director, Professor N. Ravichandran who joined us on November 27. Prior to this, Prof. Ravichandran was teaching OM & Strategy at IIM Ahmedabad for quite some time. With change comes waves of hope. And I believe that's exactly what many of us at Planet-I are hoping for. I'm not saying that things are bad out here, but we all know, everything can be improved.

Professor Ravichandran doesn't need an introduction; his credentials speak for themselves. You could google his name and find hundreds of links on him. You would probably learn that he's a great researcher and a great guru. We at IIM Indore are yet to know him better, but based on what I've read, he always means business. And yes, did I forget to mention, he has some great one-liners.
During his first interaction with the whole PGP fraternity, he made quite an impact. Though I won't and can't discuss everything he said, I must say I was impressed by his criticism. I've always felt that the only one who can make a difference is the one who identifies and accepts the loop holes in a system, big or small. There's no point in praising yourself among your own family members. Kind of reminds me of a friend out here, who proclaimed something during a certain event. He said "I'm here for CHANGE". Well, maybe he really had a point.

Bug then again, these have all just been speeches till now. I remember my IIM Lucknow's GD topic: "Words without Deeds, is like a garden full of weeds". So let's hope that the garden turns out to give real flowers. And as Professor Ravichandran said at the end of his introductory speech, "From nowonwards, let our actions speak and not our words".

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's raining Pink Slips!!

While surfing the news over the past couple of months, job-cuts have been catching my eyes.. It's like an unstoppable Big Bang! The only thing is, nothing's expanding... It's all falling apart. Doing an MBA, I sometimes wonder, are all the managers in the world just puppets. Are they all so helpless, that one huge storm (read Sub-prime crisis) can leave huge conglomerates to nothing more than beggars??
I was on such a gr8 vacation at home after my first term at IIM Indore, when my dad handed me the newspaper and showed me the headlines..."Lehman Brothers goes bankrupt". Who wasn't reading about the Sub-prime crisis?? Who didn't know that something like this was right around the corner?? But even then, that news left me shocked to say the least. I mean "LEHMAN BROTHERS" ??!!
I guess that's old news now. In the hindsight, people now just call Lehman Brothers a foolish company. Those same people who couldn't stop praising them as if they were god, have become their worst critics. See how the wheel of time can turn you around?
Coming back to why I started writing this post - The economic downturn has left so many people across the globe without jobs. Sudden pink-slips on your office desks are no more a surprise. Just to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, I'll quote a few of the figures from recent news articles:

1. Volvo - 6,000 jobs
2. General Motors - 3,600 at least
3. DHL US Express - 9,500 (in addition to reduction of 5,400 positions at the beginning of this year) ; part of their plan to cut operating costs to 770 million from the previous 4.2 billion euros
4. Nokia Siemens Networks - 1,820
5. Morgan Stanley - 19% of its 44,000 staff
6. Goldman Sachs - 3,200 (10%) ; in addition to executives losing their year-end bonuses
7. Sun Microsystems - 6,000 (18%)
8. Ford Motor Co. - 2,600
9. GlaxoSmithKline - 1,000 job-cuts (in addition to doing away with 800 vacancies)
10. Citigroup - 52,000
11. Bank of America - 7,500 and counting
12. American Express - 7,000 (10% of global workforce)
13. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) - 3,000
14. Virgin Media (owned by Richard Branson) - 2,200 (15%) by 2012
15. British Telecom - 10,000 jobs by March 09'

There are too many figures, but I'm sure you get the picture. Though the scene looks gloomy for the global Indians, number of job-cuts in the domestic Indian Market have been comparitively less stark. Let's see what the future holds for us MBAs...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Patal Pani

Life as an MBA student at IIM Indore is like NFS. Why the analogy? Well, I was playing the game a while back and I realized how much it resembles the past few months of my life out here. Time has been running at such high velocity that everything other than Planet I has just crossed the corner of my eyes without 2nd thought. But of course, life here holds an element of excitement. There's nothing comparable to the night outs with friends, running around taking videos for projects, preparing presentations at 3 am as if the day would never end, or just chilling out in the mess. Fun with cricket, TT, Badminton or even Carrom.
The only thing that makes me sad sometimes is the fact that we're like birds confined to our cages. I sometimes feel like I've been pinned to a notice board from where I can just flutter as much as the thumb tack allows me. That's why, when Ashish suggested we go out, the other day, I was ready in a jiffy. Of course, we had to wait till the day's classes got over.
I had gone through some pics a few days back in a senior's orkut profile, and I knew the best place to go on a weekend to hang out - "Patal Pani". "Patal" in hindi refers to the deepest point of earth and "pani" means water. The place is actually a cascading waterfall with a lake formed at its bootom. This lake's depth is said to be unfathomable and believed to reach the mythological "Underground World" ; hence goes the name. The gorge between the two cliffs is approximately 200 feet deep.
Located approximately 20 kms from IIM Indore, this place is not a tourist hot spot and hence it's mostly calm and peaceful. The beauty of the landscape has to be seen to be believed. You kinda discover the place and just say "Oh my gosh". I say "discover", because the waterfall is slightly hidden from the common eye.

Another exciting part of the trip was the journey to Patal Pani, on a Yamaha Bike(Ashish was the lucky one, to get the far better Splendor). I must thank Rakesh T. for that wonderful experience (Dude, how do you manage without mud-guards??). Everything was going fine until we asked one dear old uncle about the route. He gave us a shortcut and assured us it was a nice road. Now I know what to expect when people from MP say "Nice Roads" (Honestly, the roads out here are pathetic!). Anyways, we took dear uncle's advice and ended up in Never-Never Land (I'm tellin u, never again...). The route went through bad roads and no-roads; through villages and unused roads. We had planned to buy some stuff to eat and drink, in addition to batteries for Abhiruchi's camera. Boy, we sure ended up on the wrong side of the railway tracks. We finally reached Patal Pani after the bike stopped me more than a dozen times.
On speaking to a couple of locals, we understood that drinking water meant "Hand-pumps" in the wilderness, and food...Well let's just not speak about it. Thank god, Neha had brought along with her a packet of chips and a bottle of Maaza.
So, the 4 of us (Abhiruchi, Ashish, Neha and Myself) went out to explore the vast lands before us and the waterfall beyond. The ambience was amazing and we went on a photography spree.

One more notable thing was the railway tunnel (Ajmer-Khandwa line) cutting through the huge mountains. It kinda reminded me of Doodh Sagar in Goa, which I could only visit from the seat of my train. We had a strong urge to explore the depths of the gorge, but considering the words of caution from people around, we decided against it. We just stood at the top of the waterfall and felt awed by god's creation.
As sunset approached us fast, we had to shrug the desire to stay back. We were worried about going back via the same road in the darkness. So we decided to set back, but after we saw the sun fall beyond mountains in the backdrop. It was a wonderful view, to say the least. The journey back was far more comfortable, mainly due to 2 reasons:
1. Ashish was the one sporting Yamaha this time :-)
2. We found a new and civilized route back to campus.
With dinner at Riddhi-Siddhi following our escapade into the wild, I would say, that was an evening that shall be cherished forever.

To my fellow nature-lovers who decide to explore Patal-Pani, "A few words of Advice":
a) Buy all supplies (that includes water & eatables) before you go beyond Mhow.
b) Be wise when you ask for directions. Don't hesitate to turn back!
c) Observe extreme care while at the top of the waterfall. The rocks are slippery. Better be Safe than Sorry.
d) Last but not the Least, Don't forget your best Cameras.
Good Luck.
I'll leave you with a few more pictures to tease your eyes. Click on the link below:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Klueless 4 challenges you !!

It's that time of the year when every one of you gets to be Sherlock Holmes. Yes, Klueless is back. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're missing something BIG!
Have you ever forgotten to sleep, eat and even go for nature's call. If not, I bet you this may be a first very soon. Get ready to get addicted. Because soon, you'll find yourself awake in the wee hours of the morning searching for hidden klues. If you think I'm joking, you need to think again. Once you're in, there's no coming out. You're with us till the end.
We understand your pulse.We understand your every move. We know you want more. And so, we'll keep coming back at you! We wanna see you go mad for that one missing string, that one missing link. Soon you'll be drifting away during lectures and family chats. What's on your mind Dear? "KLUELESS"
Switch off those cell phones, Close your windows and doors. Put up that "DO NOT DISTURB" sign. Because you're gonna be glued to that seat for quite some time.
Click on any of the Klueless banners if you think you can handle the pressure!

To proceed to the official blog of Klueless for live updates and more help on the event, click on the poster below.

Previous episodes of Klueless:

To learn about other events at IRIS 2008:

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Earth from Above"

This post is not really related to life at IIM Indore, but I thought I'd share this link with those of you out there who love photography. It's a link to my other blog, and this particular post speaks about Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a great photographer and environmentalist, and his exhibit being arranged in NY city in 2009. You can find further links to his site and his photographs, which concentrate on planet earth and sustainability of life, in this post:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Indore runs for Peace

This October 2nd, the people of Indore took a strong initiative and proclaimed to the world that they have not been blemished by the recent violence across the city. As a tribute to the great Mahatma, 5000+ people were found participating in the Indore Marathon organized by IIM Indore. This event was to help create a platform where the people of Indore could unite and express their concern and tolerance. It also helped to create mutual affection among fellow residents.

The marathon, which started at 7 am, consisted of two runs-a 10km peace run and a 3 km celebratory run. It was a measure of a person's mental and physical stamina. The runners were a mixture of teenagers, youngsters and senior citizens; students and corporates. There were serious runners as well as people who were out there to make a difference and enjoy. I'm sure even Gandhi's statue at Regal Square would've felt like coming down and being a part of the cause. As many of us believe, his soul was surely with us that morning.

The 1st prize, a Honda Stunner, was bagged by Mr. Vijay Yadav, who finished the 10 km run in a mere 38 minutes. In the Female category, Ms. Smita walked away with the honors. There were other prizes as well, such as an LCD TV, a laptop, mobile phones, etc.

The event saw 200 odd IIM Indore students volunteering for the event in addition to another 100 NCC cadets assisting them. The main sponsor for the event was ACC Cements.The participants expressed their solidarity and felt that there should be more events on similar lines. The echoing "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" at the close of the event spoke loads regarding the resolve of my fellow Indories.

Now, let me rewind a bit for you....

This event was conceptualized months back in the minds of a few PGP2 students at IIM Indore. From then on there was no looking back. The entire IIMI community was involved with the event in some form or the other. There were student groups handling media coverage, sponsorship, operations and most importantly Participation. Around 50 students, in teams of 2, went to almost 55 schools, colleges and corporate offices in Indore to create awareness and enthusiasm for the event.
On the eve of the event, IIM Indore did not sleep! There were participants involved in tracking the route, putting up banners and signs, arranging check points and Food & Beverage stalls, etc. IIMI's bus was doing multiple runs across Rau and SGITS, bringing more hands for the event. It was a great learning experience for many of us at Planet I, and it brought us all together for ONE CAUSE.
Come 7 am and the people of Indore responded to our efforts and kept our smiles alive. I salute you Indore and applaud you all for the love and concern you've shown for our city. Long live Indore, Long live Peace!

To view some more snaps taken during the Marathon, please click on the link below: