Monday, February 26, 2007

Term 8 begins..

Today Term 8 kicks off! Hopefully this term, I will get to everyone outside their quads, just like back in orientation week and Term 1. People have been disappearing after that for some reason! Last term was the worst in that aspect. The whole campus looked like a nuclear war zone. Hardly anyone on campus. People were sleep walking!

This term I think will be a lot more relaxed for most people (except for those who're still looking for their 2nd job). It's the time to P A R T Y!


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Planet of the Apes

Some of the chimps in West Africa have been observed fashioning a spear and using that to hunt smaller mammals..
Is this the beginning of the next dominant species on the earth? :-)

Read about it here.


Day 8 - Embarassment of the Riches!!

Day 8 starts today and the number to be placed has reached single digits. Job market seems to be amazing.

At the same time, it's a little sad to see so many great companies going back empty handed 'cause no one is attending their interviews today! I just came back from the Placement Control Desk which co-ordinates the whole event. Today they're really scrounging around to find students to attend the interviews!!

Brings me back to the same point I made in the last post. Lot of students were shortsighted this placement season! For example, today there is a leading international Real Estate firm on campus and no one left in the placement process to attend the interviews! This would've been the most ideal situation for a student to do a career shift into Real Estate Finance which is one of the hottest sector now! All he/she would have had to do was to get up in the morning, go through the website for about 15 min, and attended the interview showing some interest!! Couldn't have been simpler. Tomorrow there's a good Consulting/Market research company coming, and I doubt there will be a single person left eligible in the placement process!! They do great work on best practices around the world, and are highly respected throughout the world! (Oh.. BTW.. there are hardly any people remaining on campus to even call on to attend interviews. Most students have taken off to party already! A little pre-mature perhaps? Maybe they could've bettered their previous salaries or found more interesting roles?). The placement cell is considering calling up the recruiters and telling them not to come, because it just doesn't make sense anymore for them to come here beyond this point.

So, an important take-away for the next batch students would be, to not let the pressure get to you. Start telling yourself that you will sit through atleast the entire placement week to find yourself the best fit! There is nothing achieved by getting out of the placements on the 2nd or 3rd day by taking up a job with a mass-recruiter who you don't even want to work for! The relief that you get by signing out of the placements, can sometimes blind you from the opportunity cost (the cost of the missed opportunity!). Today's job market is such that, anyone who can do mental arithmetic will probably get placed. Question would be.. are you getting a job with maximized potential for the future!

I can probably put up some pictures from the placement week in the next post.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day 6..

Into the day 6 of the placements, and I would say that things are going on a good clip. We might actually see 90% of the batch have atleast one offer by the end of the week. Great job market I would say.. and increase in brand name is pulling far more good roles. Of course, there is/was extreme pressure during the week itself, and a lot of people succumbed to that pressure and took up an offer with a mass recruiter, just to keep one in hand. Each student is allowed to receive two offers (or accept to take up one offer.. whichever comes first), and they are out of the placements. However, each offer comes with a deadline to accept the offer. Hence, people are finding themselves taking up their "backups" because the deadline is running out, and they don't have the guts to take a risk and wait for better roles. And then, finally there are lots of great roles coming out on the later days, and people miss out on those good opportunities.

I want to take a step back and look at these "backups". So, some of the advantages of having a good backup can probably the following

* Definitely relieves you of some pressure
* Gives you confidence to go for better negotiations on the next offer
* If you don't get a better offer, well, one can still be happy.. its definitely a good job to be at.
* Can help focus on only very particular roles in the next few days.. and make sure that one can actually do targeted preparing. Usually till the first offer arrives, everyone is spread thin across multiple roles they are shooting for.

But, here's the deal.. a backup shouldn't be an offer that one takes just for the sake of having a job. My take on jobs is as follows

* Getting a job is an eventuality. I haven't ever met anyone who's always been without a job! Everyone gets a job. When they get it.. is the question. It is as simple as that.
* A lot of people stress themselves out by asking themselves stupid questions like "damn.. will I get a job or not?". Duh.. you'll definitely get one! A more pertinent question probably will be "Will I get the job I want, by day X of the placement process?". But then again, what's the point of getting stressed about it when the answer is a "no". It could be one of two things.. You don't fit the role, or you'll just have to wait longer. Easy enough to deal with either way.
* If you are looking for something specific/unique.. then just by definition of the word "unique" which means that it's not something common, you will take time to come across such a role! If it were lying in abundance, then it wouldn't be "unique". So, be patient!
* Note for career switchers.. You need to persist! Not take your backup and get out of the placements on the 2nd day! There are 9 days just in this placement week, and then another month and a half. So what if you don't get the role on day 2? Obviously, someone with a marketing background will get a marketing job first! Take two resumes, and you'll know why someone would want to pick the first one which has a marketing background.. as compared to someone who's looking for one.. and has no background in marketing! It's not rocket science! But, as the first few companies take their picks, most people with the strongest background will be gone. For the next wave of companies, switchers stand the best chance!
* Define your backup properly. A backup should be something that you are willing to actually work on! If you really don't want an offer and take it as a backup.. then well, all you have done is waste one of your offers.
* Pick something that will be long term.. This year quite a few people had trouble 'cause they'd switched too many jobs in a short span of time. Many companies consider this a negative, especially if their employee acquisition cost is high (in terms of the amount invested in recruiting and training the new employee). Its simple, they require returns for their investment in you, and if they're not convinced that you will stick on to give them returns, they won't invest! Example this year would be a Dean's lister who really felt the pinch of this 'cause in 32 months of experience he had switched 3 jobs. You don't want to be labeled as a person having the "one-year itch". Pick a company where you'll stick around for atleast 3-4 years!

I'm out of the placement process as of last night. I got both roles I really wanted to get. And just a small view point here, just 'cause I didn't get roles I interviewed for 3 days back, doesn't mean I'm a duffer.. and just 'cause I got one of the really meaty great opportunity roles yesterday doesn't make me a genious either! Nothing changed from that day to yesterday. Interviews are quite random. One day you can do everything and still nothing will come together. Another day, you can do the exact same thing, and everything will click. Most people sitting through placements at ISB will agree on this! Sometimes it could just be that you're not the best fit!

My quaddies have all managed switches successfully as well! One of them consulting, one of the other sales in a finance company, one of them moved into Private Equity.. and me into Strategic Marketing (I think). The successful switches, especially into finance, all came due to a lot of patience, resilience to the pressure, and not succumbing to it!

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Matrix Pong - Hillarious video!!

Amazing video..

Friday, February 16, 2007

Day 0 kicks off!

Day 0 (DDay - 1) kicked off today with the consulting biggies starting their interview processes. Some of the day 1 companies come a day earlier and start interviewing 'cause they have a 2 day interview process.
The consulting biggies are on campus interviewing most of the Dean's listers and some more. Most of the people who get the jobs with these companies will take them and be out of the placement process. They have a reputation of cleaning up most of the Dean's listers with good offers. Offers will start flowing in from tomorrow evening. Damn.. I wish I had the time to go to the Atrium and click some pictures!

Mimicry of Cricket Commentators

This guy is good!

I found some other stuff on youtube. Not sure if its the same guy. This guy does a fabulous job at making fun of Tony Greig.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

DDay minus 3

Its 3 days to placement week. I have a few interviews lined up. No complaints so far about that aspect. But tensions ride high here at ISB where a majority of the people don't have any shortlists yet. A majority of the companies have not released their shortlists yet, which is pushing people to the edge of their seats. I guess a lot of it is peer pressure. Though it is a known fact that a lot of people will not be placed within the placement week (which is when a majority of the placements occur), no one wants to be the one who goes into the 8th term without a job. I guess it would suck to watch the majority of your batch party, while you're still wondering where you're going. I sincerely hope that everyone has atleast one offer by the end of this placement week! This whole deal is a bed of roses probably from the outside world, but to be in here, is to be sitting inside a pressure cooker for a lot of people :-).
The people who find it most difficult to differentiate are the IT people (something for the next batch to note maybe?). IT guys with 6+ years of experience will probably be able to differentiate themselves. IT women with 4+ years of experience will probably be able to differentiate themselves too. Anyone with lower experience than this, well, think again before you come to ISB. Every employer probably will get a 200 applications similar to yours. Whatever exceptional feat you have done, there's a strong chance that atleast 10 other people have done. Services background especially. IT product backgrounds have fared much better till this point. So, next batch students, know what you're getting into and set your expectations right. Get the right experience and differentiating factors in place before doing your MBA in an Indian B-school.
There are a lot of people with less than 2 years experience coming into ISB, expecting some 14-15 lakh jobs! Hmm, read my post last year about the 2006 placements. If someone was making some 3 lakhs per annum pre ISB, how can he/she expect a 400% increase in salary just by coming to ISB??? Your salary will be a function of your experience (there will always be a few exceptions.. but exceptions are not examples)!! ISB is not a money multiplier :-). Be prepared for a sub 10-lakh job. Thats probably more than the fair rate of returns (still an approximate 3x multiplier). Later you will probably blame everyone else around you, but, probably will not realize that you made the decision to come here. No one held a gun at your head and asked you to go do an MBA!
The CA's are also having a tough time with the non-finance background guys stepping into their turf for those rosy Investment Banking, Private Equity, Corporate Finance jobs!
Other than that, there are some "funny" things going on with the placement process itself; politics, collusions, arm-twisting etc.
We still have a good 1.5 months to go for placements to finish. But, in the meanwhile, the cooker gets hotter, and pressure mounts inside!!

Okay.. kicking myself to go study. More later!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Placement week gets closer!

Placement week is 10 days away. I see a lot of people walking around with dead-pan expressions. I find it very funny that the tension is almost palpable. Some of the international offers have just started flowing in. For some reason, this seems to put more pressure on the rest of the people. The way I see it, people should be relieved. Those people who get their offers now are usually less serious about later interviews. This means less competition. I am very very happy that lots of people are getting offers already. Both in terms of having seen how hard they've been preparing.. and also for my own selfish reasons of them not being in my way for the jobs I'm targeting! So far, the salaries are looking good. Guess its a great job market out there! Looks like there's some real dearth for talent out in the industry that they're willing to pay so much for people with even a few years of experience. Guess, it's also the 6.1% inflation speaking :-).

So, if you're asking me what I"m doing in the middle of all this.. This is what my schedule looks like on all days except Tuesdays and Thursdays.

9.00am : wake up and start working on resume/EOI for the job application due by 12.00am
10.25am : rush to the cafeteria to have breakfast. (Note, cafeteria shuts down at 10.30 :-) )
11.00am : come back to my room, finish my application and turn it in just minutes before the deadline.
12.00pm : Read the newspaper and watch some TV at leisure
1.30pm : Go have a shower.
2.00pm : Check out slashdot for an hour
3.00pm : damn, I woke up so early.. need to sleep for a while
4.30pm : wake up and check mails
5.30pm : Go play Ultimate Frisbee
6.30pm : Go work out in the gym.
7.30pm : come back from the gym, generally browse the net
8.30pm : Go have a shower
9.00pm : Go for dinner
10.15pm : Meet up for some interview prep with my prep-group
11.30pm : Come back.. and start reading case for next morning 8.00am class
1.30am : Hit the sack

On tuesday's and thursday's I wake up at 7.30am and so my whole days are screwed anyway. Nothing productive happens except for the 2 classes I go to!

Hmm, and now I'm wondering when the panic attack will hit me, so that I can actually prepare for my interviews! I need to atleast revise some core-term stuff.. but absolutely 0 enthu for that!

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Some pictures from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Someone forwarded me this link.

Sometimes you wonder if all humans are blood thirsty!

CAUTION: NOT for the faint hearted

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Waa.. I want a Wii

There are sometimes I regret not being in the US. This is one such time.

I found a couple of awesome demo videos of the Nintendo Wii on YouTube. It's amazing!

Being an Innovator/Early Adopter.. I feel inadept/handicapped right now! :-(

Check out these awesome videos.

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Good samaritans

My uncle and aunt get special mention at a website for doing good service to the community. They're both doctors.. my uncle is an ENT surgeon, and my aunt is an Eye specialist. It is amazing how they chose to move to Chengalpattu, a remote town, about 50 km from Chennai, after their marriage. They chose to setup practice there, and are now known throughout the town. So much so that, this one time, me and a few other people were stranded on a train due to a derailed train ahead of us. The only alternative train that was sent, passed by Chengalpattu. We decided to get down there 'cause we were exhausted, and I hoped to find a way to my Uncle's place. I didn't address nor his phone number. We landed there, and I decided to try my luck with an auto guy to try and reach my uncle's place. To my surprise, we were whisked away there immediately free of cost. Now, thats the kind of good work they've been doing there. And mind you, this is no small town. This is a decently big town having a population of more than 60,000 people.
They constructed a hospital about 3 years back, and they do so many free surgeries, consultings, and medical camps. I'm really proud that they got a mention today.

Read about them here.

I always wonder if I would be able to leave the comforts of a city life, and move to a remote town and setup my life around there for a social cause. The returns are never lucrative.. but then again.. its not all about returns is it?? Damn my MBA.