Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mental Ailment

During our orientation, we had a talk about the mental stress people go through while at ISB. Most of the people who join ISB have been toppers in the past in their various fields/colleges/schools (and obviously they're not talking about people like me). By law of nature, there can be only one first and then the rest fall in place accordingly. So, a lot of people undergo a lot of trauma suddenly finding themselves at the bottom of the class. What they don't realize is that they're at the bottom of the pile among the cream. And suddenly, when they're in unfamiliar territory (to which there is a social stigma attached), they start to panic and become mentally imbalanced. ISB has a couple of inhouse psychiatrists to help us students out in such cases. We were all adviced to make use of their services even if we start feeling the pinch of such nerves.
My first reaction to it was to think who'd be crazy enough to go to a shrink n stuff. Then one of the people in the administration said something that got me thinking. She asked us why going to a doctor for physical ailments was considered okay by everone, but going to one for mental ailments was not okay. If someone has fever, or a bad cold we take them to a doctor without hesitation. Why don't we do the same when someone is mentally ill as well? Why is there a stigma attached to going to a doctor for medicine/advice on such types of illness alone? It's also another ailment and may sometimes need professional advice?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Vijay Mulbagal on Best of Blogging 2005-2006!

Congrats Vijay!

A fellow ISBian makes it into the top 10 world ranking of Student Blogs by Clear Admit. Good to see someone from ISB up at the 6th position amongst the Kellogs, Wharton and LBSs!

Top 10 Student Blogs
1. Marquis (Stanford) -
2. Poweryogi (Chicago) -
3. KV (LBS) -
4. FutureMBAGirl (Wharton) -
4. The Divine Miss N (LBS) -
6. Vijay (ISB) -
7. Wakechick (Chicago) -
8. NoellieBellie (IESE) -
9. Jerry Blank (Yale) -
10. Olivier (INSEAD) -

Thursday, April 27, 2006

CP fundaes!

CP = Class Participation.

We have a certain percentage (about 20%) of our final grades set aside for Class Participation (CP). CP can be in the form of answering questions, asking insightful questions, putting forth a valid point, etc. Such CP is usually termed "Insightful CP".
Somewhere along the line, ofcourse, the point of CP gets lost. Our seniors warned us that this would happen! We are only into our preterms and already CP is at max tolerable levels. As much as there are useful CP questions, there are also some really random questions asked just for the sake of asking questions. "Arbit CP" is the term coined somewhere along the years by some previous batch for such questions. We've started getting a share of this already :-).
I heard today that in one of the Statistics classes, the prof was going over Probability Theory. He was using the standard example of someone tossing a coin and the probabilities associated with it. Bang came an arbit CP "What is the probability that he decides to toss the coin?".

I think someone forgot to tell the arbit CP guy that the preterms are not graded :-)


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nokia's New "Phone"

Nokia has just introduced its latest "phone" in the N series. Well, more so a multimedia computer than a phone I would say. It has a 3.2MP camera which can also double up as a camcorder capable of shooting 90 minutes of good quality video.

Should anyone miss the point, Nokia's press extravaganza in a spiffed-up Berlin warehouse ended with a video in which the camera slowly panned across a tableau of dusty, discarded electronic equipment -- including digital cameras and a cobweb-covered iPod. The message: Nokia plans to make these products obsolete.

Very interesting to see how other industries react to phones starting to encroach on their market space. Read more about it here.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Flickr on

I'm taking a stab at trying out Flickr on my blog. Still testing out its settings and stuff. Bear with any instability on this page!

First Week Ends..

Phew!! I'm glad that this whirlwind first week finally ended. It seems like I've been here at ISB for ages already. I've come to know a lot of my section mates quite well already. A week of team building exercises, sports and cultural events gives you some decent insight into your team-mates I guess.
Reflecting back on the week, I've had an overload of gyaan sessions from the seniors, a tough day of "Bind and Unwind" team building events, a come-from-behind victory in the Ultimate Frisbee finals (for which I didn't mind getting dunked in the pool), our only face-saving win in Cricket, an embarassing "loss-of-memory" salsa performance at the culturals, and 3 rocking parties (one of which I was the stand-in DJ). I had great fun practicing for all of the competitions. Some of my fellow dancers apologized to me for the mess-up on-stage during the Salsa performance. In my opinion, its alright that we messed up. I think that the 3 days of preparation for that event was worth so much more than just the 3 min of performance we gave on stage. It has given me the opportunity to meet and get to know members of my section, who I might not have interacted with so much!!
Now that the first week is done, time to get a little serious. Pre-terms begin from Monday. I need to get my act together. Hopefully the weeks from now will not be as hectic as the one so far. The last week was specially unnerving because every minute of my day was running on someone else's schedule. I guess I am used to having a lot of personal time to myself.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The learning begins..

The entire batch of 432 people in the class of 2007 at ISB have been split into 6 sections from A to F for all purposes (academics, sports and culturals). We've been having many ice-breaking events within the section, across the sections and otherwise. Within each section, there are 12 study groups (of 6 people) with whom we will live, die and fight for our survival with for the next 4 terms.
The alums were sent to a professional team building event managers to learn to walk us through the events. Each study group got to interact with their corresponding study groups across sections. Throughout the day long events, it was interesting learning experience where we learnt to observe each others' traits. We were asked to walk around a section of the lawns and associate ourselves with any one object there. It was interesting how most people in the group associated themselves with different things. Some people associated themselves with water for its ability to be flexible, while others associated themselves to the trees/plants and how each leaf represented a unique talent. And there were even a couple of us who associated with the big rocks around as a sign of being reliable, steady and level headed. I'm still getting to know my study group very well, but the day long team-building events definitely get me a glimpse into their personalities. A couple were very agressive, some not-so-agressive but still gave extremely valuable inputs during the games. I got to see how different view points and analytical approaches to the same problem helped us create a flawless (well, almost) product out :-). There were some aspects of the people in my team which irritated me, ofcourse, I've come to put that aside and give respect to each one's strength. Hopefully we'll all learn from each other over the next 4 core-terms.
We are into the sporting and cultural events now. Section A (my section) jumped into the lead today at the end of the sporting events. But tonight is the biggie.. The Talent Nite. We have a song and a dance lined up from our section. Tonights event will decide the winning section. Its going to be close!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pics From My Quad.

My room

View from my window

And some more.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Breathless at ISB

Phew!! 3 days have been maddening. This is orientation/party week. We have cultural, sport and team building events. Starting morning 8.30am everyday we've had back to back to back things lined up till about 2.00am next morning (including the parties). We had an awesome party on Monday night thrown to us by the alums (2006 batch). It was raining quite heavily, but party was held still. Party turned out to be one with rain dance :-). Felt liberating!
Ofcourse, the long hours are beginning to tell already. I woke up this morning exhausted, with burning eyes. But, well, I had to be at the mess by 8.15am. I shoved in some food real quickly before heading to the team-building games. Talking about food, I was hoping to lose weight in the next one year at ISB. However, I think if at all anything, it's going to end up the other way around. Every meal at the mess is a buffet. So, at most meals, I find myself eating much more than I would've normally eaten if I were at home. Food's been good so far. Good variety.
Alright, its about 10.45pm now, gotta shower and head for the next party!

Still running Breathless...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

From ISB

This is my first post from ISB. First day was a blast except for the heat. Had fun meeting a lot of people I've been in touch with only over the internet. Just as it has happened with all the previous batches, there has been a fair share of introductions, re-introductions and re-re-introductions. We had our first address from the Dean and Deputy dean this morning. It was funny to watch people come in late for the first meet itself :-).
Ajit Rangnekar, the deputy dean, spoke really well. He had a myth buster session. He seems to have his finger on the pulse of the students' life here. He even joked about how single eligible students (both sexes) get "taken" by the end of the first term. Overall, it had us listening to him for about an hour without us realizing it.
We've all given our laptops for formatting to the IT department (yes, all laptops are formatted before and after the one year at ISB). So, right now, I feel cramped without access to the internet as and when I want to.
Starting tomorrow, the games and other fun events start. I have probably met about 100 out of the 425(??) people this batch. I can recall about half their names. We managed to get together a bunch of people to play Ultimate Frisbee yesterday. Ofcourse, everyone here are beginners, but I think everyone enjoyed it. We have the ice-breakers starting out tomorrow. We've all been segregated into sections (of 60 students I think). We go through the core-courses as part of these class sections. The ice-breakers are going to be inter-section events. I'm looking forward to them. Some fun before the roller-coaster ride gets into high gear. We have cricket, frisbee and other cultural events lined up for this whole week. Next week, the pre-term courses begin.
Looking at the current batch, it looks like there are about 70-80 people from Infosys. It also looks like there are about a 100 delhi-ites (the single largest group). It looks like there are about 30-35 Tamilians around from what I've seen.

More later..

Thursday, April 13, 2006

@!$#%@# And Other Such Expletives.

Someone hacked into my yahoo mail account and has changed the password. I never figured I was important enough for someone to hack into my account for info.

I tried reseting the password through the "Forgot password" link. But, apparantly, whoever changed the password, also changed the zipcode. So, I can't even generate reset the password.

Any one been in this situation before? Any bright ideas?

EDIT : I was speaking to one of my friends whose Yahoo account was also hacked last night. We figured that we'd clicked on a stupid geocities link. I got a message last night on my YM from someone on my list asking me to check out pics on that page. I clicked. Guess, it found the rest of my account info from the cookies in my browser cache. Didn't realize a geocities link could be my undoing :-(.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chennai ISB Co2007 Meet-1 with Alums

These pics were taken at the Chennai ISB meet with alums held at Barrista, T.Nagar on 9th April, 2006. Alums have an (A) besides their names.

Jegan, Srivatsan & Prabhu with Divya(A)

Visesh & Venkatakrishna with Chaitanya(A), Anshuman(A) & Ajith(A) (face not completely seen in the picture)

Srini(A) and Narayanan

Sindhu getting gyan from Sundar(A)

Aarthi(A) with Srinivas & Venkatakrishna

Chaithanya(A), Prabhu, Karthik, Srivatsan

Srinivas, Venkatakrishna & Vishesh's turns for gyaan from Divya(A)

Pavithra & Karthik

Vijay watching Megh selling his Soulfull album to Ajith(A). Megh actually sold 20 CDs at the meet! (He'd also sold 3 CDs to the adcom during his interview. But that's another story!)

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Interesting new places have come up in Chennai. I went with a couple of friends to this coffee/dessert place called Mocha on Khader Nawaz Khan road. I hear that its a chain that originated in Bombay. It was interestingly done up.. and had pretty good deserts. They had lawn seating as well as indoor seating. I had been there when I was in Chennai in December too. Each table was uniquely done. The last time I had been there, I sat outside in a Rickshaw seat (!) and some car seats laid out in the lawn. This time we got only an indoor seating. However, the first room I saw made me gag...
Here's a pic of that room!!

It was a toilet converted into a coffee table. I probably might've been able to sit on the 'seat' closest to the door.. but definitely not where this guy is seated!! I think I would've died of claustrophobia! Ofcourse, many other people seemed to be enjoying this room particularly. The waiter was surprised that we outrightly rejected this seating. He told us later that this was their most in-demand room. For the more experimenting type of people, there was also tub seating on the right side in the same room (not covered in this photograph).

They had interesting ways of decorating their deserts. Here's one that I liked..

Saturday, April 08, 2006


After 10 days of slogging it out deep in the lemon jungles of the Amazon, cutting and hacking through the various theories and suggestions.. I emerge victorious and triumphant. An unchallenged score!!


My advice to all of you.. ignore what the B-schools teach you. Customers are idiots!! (Atleast in this simulation). They're suckers for lemon juice!

Friday, April 07, 2006

They both say.. pick her up!!

"I want to make friendship with you!" is probably the worst pickup line I've heard!

Here's the latest from the "He says, She says" column by Sudhish & Shonali. A guy's and a gal's take on pickup lines..
Keep 'em coming guys. They make damn good reads!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Boot Camp.. This April..

Hmm. I might consider buying the iBook now. I gotta admit, they really look cool. But well, are they practical? For people like me, who are hesistant to try the Mac in the real world, the opportunity is here now!

If you don't know what I'm talking about..

check THIS out!

Macs can do Windows, too. If you have the latest Macs which run on the Intel processors, all you have to do is download Boot Camp from the Apple website and use it to install Windows native on your Mac. Boot Camp lets you do alternative boot with either the Mac OS or Windows.. Good move Mr. Steve Jobs.

ISB Placements 2006

Its all over the news. I just managed to get a glimpse of it on CNN. Some of the stats I remember..

> Highest International Salary : US $233,000.
> Highest Domestic Salary : Rs. 33.3 Lakhs.
> Average Domestic Salary : Rs. 11.77 Lakhs.
> Highest International Salary by a woman : US $223,000.
> 4 offers above US $200,000.
> IIM-C's record of highest international placement (US $230,000) broken.

A growing economy, globalization and inflation put together can explain this phenomenon. But well, I like to attribute it to the class of 2006.. Way to go guys!

On the other hand, it's a little scary to see the amount of hype around B-School salaries in India (probably as much as the wardrobe malfunction incidents). People tend to get unrealistic in their expectations.

Just consider the stats on the Domestic Salaries. Average is Rs. 11.77 lakhs per annum while the highest is Rs. 33.33 lakhs. It can be subject to many different kinds of interpretations. I'm not at ISB right now, so, I really don't know the exact scene. But, just so that expectations don't border unrealism, I'll take the middle approach.. not too conservative, not too optimistic.

For those of you who're thinking that this is an even distribution of people across the entire range, hold that thought. Not good! For those of you who even think that half the people got above average.. thats probably not true either. For the half-half case to happen, there has to be one earning equivalent on either side.. so, for the Rs. 33.33 lakhs there should be an equivalent smaller amount on the other end of the spectrum. Which would have to be about a negative Rs. 9.79 lakhs. I'm guessing that the lowest salaray grossed is more around 7 lakhs.
So, what does that leave us with? A more realistic median guess approach would be that most people fell in the range of 8.5 and 12.5 lakhs per annum (a rough estimate which would give an average salary of about 10.5 lakhs per annum), and a few extremely high domestic saries skewed the average all the way up to $11.77. So, the crux of this remains that more than half the people (maybe about 60%) got packages less than the average. Well, now.. doesn't that sound more realistic? The average age and work-ex at ISB is only 27 and 4.5 years respectively. So for everyone talking about MBA grads being overpaid, think again. I think this is what they deserve and thats what they're getting paid. The people with these "highest" figures, are obviously the people who are more quailfied (either have lot of work-ex, or have extremely niche work experience before ISB).

And for those of you who read this so called analysis and are thinking that IIMs must be better off.. well, the same analysis would hold good there too. Make informed decisions. Make informed opinions.

Unlike the very popular Siddhuism... in this case Statistics aren't like mini skirts. They don't easily reveal more than what they hide.

p.s. Amma, Appa.. If you're reading this. NO.. I"m not going to end up making 24 lakhs per annum :-). Reason : I'm not the next Bill Gates in the making as already substantiated by me joining ISB. He dropped out of college!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Lemonade Stand Simulation

I got this Lemonade Stand Simulation link from Sid's blog a couple of months back. He'd played this game as part of one of his classes at University of Michigan Business School. Its a fun game. I played it a bit back then, but now, I'm playing it much more after I saw the roadside food stall guy couple of days back. Total timepass game. But, the more I play it, the more I realize how difficult it is to maximize profits and understand the dynamics of the industry..

You start off with 20 bucks at the beginning of the game. The game goes for 30 days (which takes about 10 min to play). Everyday morning, based on the weather forecast, you decide the quantity of sugar, cups, ice-cubes and lemons you need.
My max profit has been only $6.28. Lets see how much better someone else can do.

You'll sure appreciate every roadside vendor after this!

Road Side Entrepreneur

I had the chance to go to Ritchie Street yesterday to buy some parts for assembling a PC. For the un-initiated, Ritchie Street is the BestBuy/CircuitCity/Frys of Chennai. You can find Computer parts, cell-phones and all electronics for the cheapest possible rates in India in this small street. 300 stores in that street. Ritchie street always amazes me. My friend and I were sitting at one of stores waiting for our turn to bargain with the seller. Man, I got tired just WATCHING the store guy handling people. Somehow he seemed to be speaking on 3 land-lines, 1 cell-phone, handling customers in his always over-flowing store (which was about 8 feet by 5 feet) AND issuing orders to his 3 assistants to go pick up parts from different locations. The store guy says that everyday by night 9.00pm his throat is sore from talking. No surprise there. The 4 hours I was at his store, he would've spoken to about 300 different people & dealt with about 80 other suppliers. It is very interesting to observe the industry dynamics happening here in India.
Well, but this post however, is not about these guys who sell computer parts. There was another street-side guy who probably made more profit than the guys sitting inside those stores. Very hard working, genuine chap. He had 4 assistants with him. He makes probably one of the best Channa-samosa I've eaten. My friend was chatting with him, and we were amazed at how he well his business was doing.
He says that during peak winter he rings in about Rs. 15,000 per day. His average in summer is about Rs. 9,000 a day. Apparantly during the big Chennai rains, his sales dropped to Rs. 2000 a day! (Thats still about Rs.50,000 a month t a x free)
He charges 10 bucks for a plate of Channa-Samosa. He also sells Jelabis and Gulab Jamuns. Most people I noticed had atleast 2 plates of whatever they ordered.. and in the 15 minutes I stood there (at about 3.30 in the afternoon), I saw about 30 people eat from him. So, I guess he could be saying the truth. I was just wondering how much investment he actually has to make everyday :-). Incase you're wondering why he still does business in this road-side, think again.. he gets so many customers because of the appearance of his shop and its location! Its all about the ambience..

Jingle Bells - Conspiracy Theory!

Warning : Not for the faint hearted. Make sure you have audio.

Follow this link.

P.S. Don't kick me if you find it stupid.. or otherwise!