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.


Believe it or Not !

It’s the interview season and there are some really funny stories. A few excerpts:

A US-only company(one which doesnt sponsor H1-B) shortlists x candidates of which half require sponsorship.
Telephonic Interview Starts.
Interviewer introduces herself and then goes on to reveal that they dont sponsor visas.
Candidate(Without going into the resume walk) – The rest of the list requires sponsorship.So should i tell the remaining candidates this information?
Interviewer(In a spot)- Umm…welll…..

Disinterested Interviewer: Tell me a joke.
Candidate: I know jokes in Hindi and all of them are vulgar. Do you want me to translate ?

The same Disinterested Interviewer : Cricket seems to be a boring game. I heard its played over 5 days..blah blah
Candidate: What do you know about cricket. Let me clear your misconceptions. ….goes into the formats of 20-20 and one day….


Interviewer : What are essential leadership qualities
Candidate: Inspirational..motivational..charismatic..team-person
Interviewer(taking notes) – Tell me more
Candidate: Innovative , Strong interpersonal skills….blah blah..
Interviewer(taking notes) – Tell me more..see im writing down what you say and the HR will then call u for round 2 based on your responses…so just tell me more
Candidate(WTF !)- blah blah blah….
Interviewer(taking notes)- More?
Candidate (looking incredulous)- I have told you the universal set !!!!


Interviewer : How are your unix skills on a scale of 5
MBA Candidate (thinking WTF!) – How do you define 5 …is it kernal programing..? then its 4


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.

Summer Time !

It’s summer time in chapel hill. Nice and sunny with cool breeze occasionally blowing. Perfect to chill out and relax. College town loses its regular life in the summer. Business is slow, you get to see fewer people in the bars and restaurants. But all this is perfect for people who prefer lesser crowds. I’am able to see all this courtesy my prolonged battle in getting an internship. Until the classes got over and people started going off , I could maintain some morale but after that I had to dig real deep to keep me going and send that extra cover letter and resume to a job posting or call up an alum and pitch my case. For now things look good. At least I have managed a summer internship. The internship is in investment banking , this is the second bright point. So I have semi-achieved my first year aims in business school.Having missed out on the on-campus process was pretty disappointing and the off-campus process was quite excruciating. I think I took it a bit easy in the sense that i stuck to a narrow focus. All said and done, the war is still in its early stages and I have to do a lot to win it.

Its amazing how people behave differently when they make a breakthrough. I have seen people suddenly developing preferences they would not have thought about when they were literally begging for an internship. Some interesting comments have amused me over this time and this one takes the cake -” I knew I just needed one interview to crack an internship offer”..

The cheating case in Fuqua leaves one lesson for everyone – “A lot is stake so do not screw up valuable time and money especially if you are an international student”. People might have temptation to do something but never leave out the possibility of getting caught and its consequences. Its unfortunate that those people didn’t realize this and will not be getting a second chance.

I am working on a project to strategize the development of eastern north carolina and some counties of north carolina. One thing which I realized was that how the migration of upper class to rural US or smaller cities has driven away some of the smaller businesses and lower wage people. I further realized this when today I went to the Queen of Sheba , an authentic Ethopian restaurant and the propertior told us that they are closing for good this month since the establishment will be demolished and a 10 storey building is going to come up. Unfortunately the propertior will not be relocating since she isnt getting similar lease rates. So there goes our option of eating something food close to indian nearby.

As I move to Burlington,MA next month i hope to have interesting experiences to recount.

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.

I have nothing to write home about at the moment. With i-banks having finished their process, many of my classmates including me are asking – what next? How to get that elusive job of your choice ? Many people have made compromises and moved on to try whatever they can get. But the off campus process will definitely be rough. While most international students manage an off campus job , it is not always the type they wanted. With confidence shaken people wonder was it worth to spend so much money to struggle so much. The fault I think lies in the system of recruitment in US. It all boils down to networking, schmoozing and god knows what. Throw in a bit of other factors which I dont want to mention, and it becomes an uphill task for a normal international student to secure a great on campus job. But this adds to the experience – and I’m sure people will come out stronger after this. While I embark on another strategy for getting a job , I hope this time i am not wasting my time and effort.

Dunk is putting the ball into the basky hoop as well as a sting in hindi. The tar heels did both of these to the bucks last week. I had the good fortune of this being my first real basketball match as a spectator. The atmosphere was great with “UNC” being chanted. It was a match in which tar heels were losing for half the time but they came back in style to beat ohio 98-89. I also had the good fortune of watching this match with nice hot undergrad babes all around me. I am glad that despite my screwed up schedule I could spare 3 hours to watch this one!