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Archive for the ‘Journey’ Category

MB- Yay !

I am finally done with it and I am a lot poorer than I was two years before. The shock of the amount of money spent is mitigated by the concepts of NPV and IRR taught, interestingly, in the very curriculum I was spending my money on.

Overall I am glad that I am going to apply my knowledge learnt in MBA in my job. My undergrad knowledge of mechanical engineering was no use in developing a banking software product. Which brings me to the point of the flaw in the Indian education system and the way kids are pushed to becoming engineers, doctors, MBA’s. Recently IIT-Joint Entrance Exam and other engineering college results came out and there was a frenzy of excitement to be seen wherever I went. Excited dads and moms were discussing how there kids got so and so rank and were therefore going to get so and so branch in so and so institute. It’s almost an assembly line of kids doing math, science and then engineering and then going to Bangalore to sit in cubicles and code, suppressing all their creativity and inclinations to live the dreams and aspirations of their parents. Most of the parents don’t know what they are pushing their kids into; and they would be happier having their kid work for some Indian recognizable brand name like Infosys, TCS( which they can boast to their colleagues and neighbors )rather than Oracle, Nvidia or Synopsys.

I know I was in the same glut and doing an MBA was also following the same design. While I have followed the conventional track, yet I would like to believe that there was a subtle difference to my MBA as against an Indian MBA. A lot of learning happened through my classmates, most of who didn’t think in the way I thought, which is to say that they were not engineers. In addition to learning new ways of approaching a situation, I felt these two years gave me time to consider various career options (which I never got before in my life) and choose the one I felt the happiest with. That’s a big thing for us Indian mechanical engineers turned software engineers – the freedom of choice. Investment banking didn’t happen to me in these times of recession but I am pretty happy with what I have. The one thing I have learnt in the past few years is to do the best with what you have and keep trying to pursue what you enjoy. The quest for success continues.

I missed writing for a long time, partly due to being under excessive workload to complete credits early in time for H1-B application( Foreign non-resident students have additional challenges on the track) and then enjoying the last mod by going to the gym, playing a lot of racquetball, some tennis and a bit of golf.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to graduate. Studies were wonderful, you could choose classes starting a bit late and not get up early, let people see you unshaven and sleepy without raising an eyebrow, have Friday’s off the year long and not be too responsible to anyone. All this will change now I guess.

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Saucy and Modest

Here is a blog written by one of my classmates on Kenan-Flagler. Its a good read and a very apt description of our school and the life there. Danvers has allowed his personality to flow into this blog – saucy and modest at the same time.

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Every state in US has a burlington ..very much like every city in India having a Mahatma Gandhi road..Who or what was burlington is unclear..the first time i came across the word was when i found otto burlington magazine under the mattress of my college/undergrad roomate – “Tribes” (nick)..for those who have stayed in engineering college hostels in india very well know…that what is found under the mattresses is adult stuff…but i was disappointed since it just had skimpy fashion outfits..now Tribes is a very simple and straight-forward guy..and it was fair that he had a lower threshold and otto burlington was as good as it got, for him…
Then there is this chain of stores called burlington coat factory…and again its unclear that which burlington is referred to in the name….all i can say that its definitely not Burlington MA….
Now Burlington MA is a small Boston suburb with the I-95 bisecting it. It is hardly 6 miles in diameter and has big offices of IT giants like Oracle, SAP , Siemens and Sun Microsystems. In fact the campus of Sun Microsystems has a huge campus with a wide road aptly called Network drive dedicated to it. The highlight of Burlington is a huge mall called…no prizes for guessing – Burlington Mall. I am now a frequent visitor to the food court in the mall for a quick lunch. Yeah..quick is the word since work is generally hectic. I am not used to going to office by 8.30 am and working all day long without breaks, so that is one thing I am getting used to. The bright side is that I look forward to going to office and while i do want to zip towards my office on the unavoidable I-95, yet the slow moving traffic in the mornings inevitably allows me to listen to more songs on my tape then I would care to. Talking of songs , hereis a song by a recent graduate from IIM-A and i am not just promoting it because the singer is an MBA , but the song is pretty good.

The other intern this summer at my company is from *. Working and interacting with him, I have realized that KFBS is a highly underrated school. The skills and values it has given me already seem superior to those given by some “hyped-up” schools. While you would hear a lot of bullshit about schools being very collegial and emphasis on team-work etc, yet I believe that only some schools like KFBS are really close to it. Working in teams and co-operating within the same school is one thing, but going out and working with people from other schools is another thing. Apart from the lack of team-work skills, my co-worker had never heard of UNC..or KFBS…which is a shame..since he is doing his MBA from a same tier school. I wont delve into the details but all i would say is that business schools really should educate their students better and provide them a holistic education.


Another issue which i want to write about is the importance of proper use of language. There was a panel discussion addressed to our american classmates who were going on a global immersion elective this summer to india. Unfortunately one of the panel members made a mess of it by talking about how females are treated by frustrated males of india in Delhi and places like MG road in bangalore ..where they are pushed jostled etc. While there may be an inkling of truth to this, yet the way it was conveyed shock among the audience and a negative image was formed. Funny thing is that the person in question has hardly been to Delhi and one of my classmates from Delhi had to make a fruitless attempt at retrieving the situation. I just wish people were more careful on being an authority on a subject unnecessarily. For the next few days it felt awkward talking to the female american classmates of mine. I hope they returned from India with a much better impression.

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In Chapel Hill it Snows

I experienced my first snow fall today. Chapel Hill also does not normally experience snow and I do not know if it was a coincidence but the first years had a holiday on account of the interviews. Some residents of my apartment complex had made this snowman. I was also a snowman and stayed all day at home.

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Timbuk2

I lost the bag i had won. Yeah you can manage to do so. Pretty much like the indian cricket team loses matches from winning positions. It so happened that in the operations class on wednesday , our prof was discussing how custom made orders for things had grown to be liked and how they are operated. To press home the importance of lead time in custom orders, he ordered a large customized bag from www.timbuk2.com worth 120$. I came out of the class wondering what he would do with the bag.Probably donate it to a auction for charity.Turned out that he was planning on a lucky dip in Friday’s class.The bag got shipped and delivered within 24 hours.Amazing lead times i must say.Anyways , on the spur of the moment i decided to miss today’s(friday) class to go for a visit to Red Hat organized by the business technology club. The trip was no good as Red Hat was reeling from a double whammy of Microsoft tying up with Novell for linux and Oracle deciding to support Red Hat linux themselves. People seemed demoralized and there was hardly any discussion on the MBA’s responsibilities etc.When i came back to school in the afternoon for the marketing class, my section mates had a whale of time telling me how my name was the first one picked by the professors and since i was not there the next lucky person got it. The prof stuck my name to the board since I had missed the class.Agony!!!
Hemanth, my roomate pacified me thus – “The bag was not yours.If you would have not gone , your name wouldnt have come up.Since you were gone , your name came up”! I couldnt agree with him more. quite a bit of lousy luck.

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The Tale of Two Treks

The first “trek” was to New York city. If I had doubts why it was called a trek , then they were dispelled when i found myself walking from bank to bank in midtown manhattan.The career trek was organised by the finance club and almost 80 first years thronged the banks.I wont talk about the presentations etc at the banks as it was a lot about schmoozing and networking.What I will talk about is New York city.Midtown Manhattan has towering buildings with most banks housed in them.Downtown Manhattan is graced by the Wall Street , where only few banks now operate.Although downtown manhattan seems less crowded and more spread out than midtown manhattan.An integral part of New York is the NY subway.Old and dirty are the words for it.Several places have a strong stench and homeless people loiter about.However some parts like the NY penn station are ok and you can get nice coffee for only 1.2$ with milk and sugar added.I will have to say that is what kept me going for the first part of the days in NY.As you come out of the station, you can observe the buzz and the life of the city.With corner eateries and roadside shops it is a one to be seen.I guess the best thing about NY is that you have so many options of places to buy things and eat at.However parking is very expensive.I observed the rates at a place and they were like 24$ for an hour.One of my friends told me that some people give their cars for oil change which costs them 12$ and the car is parked for a day!
I visited the World trade center site and it seemed unbelievable that I had been inside that place 18 years ago and now it was just nothing.When in NY , two things should definitely be done. Watch the Manhattan skyline from Newport NJ and vice versa.It seems that jersey city is generally a very bad place to live in and in jersey city the best place to live is Newport.I stayed in Edison NJ , which has the largest concentration of desis in US.As tushar joked, if you set fire to any building or complex there , there would be only desis except the fireman.Oak street market is a total indian style market , with sari shops and nice eateries.
I found times square to be hyped up.Nothing great except that they have put lights in most of the shops and it just looks lively. New York is for those people who love the fast paced life and love to live among crowds.
Charlotte on the other hand is for the country lovers.Nice city with a small downtown having skyscrapers.People tend to own nice big houses and have very little commute time.If you want to own a piece of grass then charlotte has the advantage over NY.I think i felt a little sad in Charlotte as memories of those 4-5 months when my dad used to take me around charlotte came flooding by.
The treks were very tiring and i am glad at the two days of rest i am having before the next mod starts.This is supposed to be the toughest one.I saw the remake of Don.It would be unfair to compare it with the previous one , but as my stats prof used to say its an illusion that life is fair , so comparision is inevitable.First, shahrukh is a misfit to the role.Second , the movie has major logical flaws.But i will give credit to farhan akhtar that he twisted the plot a bit to keep the audience guessing.I feel the performances were all short of the orginal ones.Shahrukh was not convincing as the don and priyanka did not portray the hatred she had for don so well as zeenat could do. However , the look and feel of the movie was nice. Remember Anant, when we had seen the movie more than a decade ago , i had asked you which amitabh did you like more – and you had said – Don,because he was always in control. I was wondering during the movie..if in this the don was better , and frankly  shahrukh is better essaying the more easy-going and romantic role of vijay..however , i was also wondering that shahrukh was slipping back into the don mould while in the oringinal amitabh was portray the lost look of vijay very well , in fact he had us convinced that the don was dead. Whether the slippage by shahrukh was incidental or not , no one knows.However the movie is engrossing and should be seen.

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End of the Mod

The first mod is almost over , with the last days of classes today. Next week the exams take over. And then there is a night out waiting for me in the form of the internal deloitte case competition.Hope we dominate! This is a month of travel , 3 days in New York , 2 days in Charlotte and 3 days in Cincinnati,ohio. All dedicated to job search. I am looking forward to the New York trip as I will get to meet Tushar , my high-school friend after 9 years.

The job search here is so different from that in india. Personal contacts , networking , schmoozing are the skills in play. Especially for an investment banking job search, it takes a toll on you.Lets see how it goes. Everyone says that you need a backup , but where is the time for that!

Watched Khosla ka Ghosla in a near empty theatre in Cary. I liked the movie a lot. A low budget but well-made movie. The song by kailash kher – Chak de phatte is very good. Tara Sharma is as fresh as ever , while Anupam Kher , Ranvir Shorey and Boman Irani have put in excellent performances. The story is also so realistic , the land sharks in North India are really a headache for the hard-earning middle class.

During the break in the movie , i craved for coffee and so I ordered an espresso. 2.25$  and 25 ml later , i realized how different the espresso is in US. And its so expensive as well for just 25 ml.

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