Friday, November 21, 2008

new link..

life has moved on post ISB... moving the blog to a new URL and a new title....
do check it out... comments are welcome

Monday, November 17, 2008

Relaunching ....

Been nearly a year and half since the hectic pace of life, new job, booming markets and general lethargy prevented me from being regular with the blog …. Have decided to reinitiate the blog now, and hopefully can be more regular….

Friday, February 02, 2007

winners curse.. or is it???

The Tata’s finally acquired Corus in the biggest acquisition by an Indian firm ever. The company stock however took a nosedive with the general consensus being that the company overpaid and thus would now have to bear the “Winners Curse”. The final price of 608p is much higher then the initial bid of 455p and this by all accounts appears an audacious price to pay for a company barely profitable. However here lies the catch, Tata groups overseas acquisition strategy is based upon the acquiring underperforming assets and then turning them around , they have successfully demonstrated their operational capabilities in the past by turning around Tetley, Nat steel etc to name a few. Moreover although the group officials deny it this deal was much more then a mare overseas acquisition for the Tata’s, consider this :
· Tata Steel is now the fifth largest producer of steel globally
· Tata group is the largest industrial group in India in terms of revenues, ahead of Reliance.
· The group has effectively shed the tag of being very conservative

The Corus deal has also fundamentally changed the steel industry by giving a major boost to the consolidation wave. With the consolidation process now on a roll the steel companies might be in for a fundamental re rating.

I for one remain confident of the long term benefits of this deal for the shareholders as Mr Tata says-“corporations live much longer…” , it’s a masterstroke from arguably the wisest businessman in India today. Don’t forget that he gave India its first home made car (the Indica) when very few gave him a chance... As he said in one of the interviews “I am a risk taker, not a gambler.” This may go down in history as his best moves or may be it won’t but one thing is certain it would certainly be registered in history amongst the most bold moves by India inc..

Thursday, February 01, 2007

of pepsi, coke and cars...

Placement week is right round the corner now and the season for pre placement talks is in full swing. Apart from the number of companies, interesting roles (and of course the money.. J) I notice an interesting trend amongst companies who come to campus with a host of goodies … to tell you what I mean Pepsi and Coke brought along large supplies of soft drinks and a large refrigerator containing the soft drinks was installed right outside the venue for the company presentation. Well not all companies make products that can be consumed by everyone so Hero Honda became more innovative and actually showcased the latest models of their motorbikes ( yeah we had a Karizma and CBZ etc displayed right outside the venue)… you cant take them with you though L… HLL was by far the most different of the lot , they actually sent a toy car for each student, now don’t ask me the rationale since the company neither makes cars nor any products related to cars… However the best and most innovative by far was Anand Bazaar Patrika (ABP) a media house which publishes Business World and many other titles. Each student received a personalized mailer from the company containing a CD titled “Corporate-II”, the cd inside had this printed on it- “ Blank CD ready to write your success story”, ever seen a better example to create brand recall… I am sure I have not been able to cover all the companies but the broader theme seems to be that companies are keen on creating a strong brand image on campus and for the students the goodies are rolling and no’ones complaining… in fact I gather that some people are anxiously waiting to see the makers of kingfisher or stross on campus J

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

007 - the year of the bond...

I had promised to be more regular , so here I am atleast keeping my word so far. Had just one exam this term and thankfully that is behind me now, however three term projects are still waiting to be finished.

Term 6 is about to get over and we are 3/4th an MBA now... as we bid adieu to 2006 and welcome 007- the year of the bond, as we enter the last lap before the grand finale , time to reflect on the good times we had during the 6 terms at ISB ... Special thanks to Sanket for this video..

Sunday, December 31, 2006

New year and term exams...

Something I have promised to do and failed repeatedly for the last few months is to be more regular in updating my blog. Blame it on more pressing engagements or my laziness, however expect to see this page being updated more regularly from now on....

Its new year eve today and guess what am I doing, yeah reading for the exam tomorrow ( yeas an exam on the first day of the new year) . I have just one exam this term, for the remaining three courses we have a take home assignment or a project. Although at first the proposition of a take home test or a term project seems attractive , believe me its not. If an exam kills you for one day projects mean a much prolonged misery.

See you soon in the new year 2007...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

all in a days work...

When prime minister Dr.Manmohan Singh visited Hyderabad yesterday he had two major items on his agenda. A function to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of the Administrative Staff College of India, an institution reminiscent of the older socialist era, served as a place to train the most important and influential component in the controlled economy, the bureaucrats. The institution is rediscovering its relevance in the liberalised Indian economy driven by free markets.

The other function on the PM’s agenda was the fifth anniversary celebration at the ISB, a private institution with no government intervention. ISB is truly a product of the a transformational thought driven by economic freedom and develops the most important component in the capitalist system , the managers who run the corporations. The prime minister on one hand paid homage to a relic from bygone era and at the same time underlined the importance of institutions like the ISB as partners in the growth and development of the country… all in a days work.

Ps: didnt want to write about the event and his speach since you might already have read enough about it in the medis :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

The bidding Saga...

True to the spirit of free markets the course allocation for the elective terms takes place through competitive bidding, each student is allotted a total of 4000 points which is the currency for bidding. While term 5 bidding went over peacefully with most of the people getting the course they wanted and also getting them cheap, term 6 bidding proved to be a sharp contrast. The hottest course is “Corporate Controls, Mergers & Acquisitions”, almost the entire campus bid for the 165 available seats for the course, and true to expectations the cut off bid crossed 1000 points. Courses like “investing in private equity” and “pricing” also came close with the cutoff’s crossing 500. Some are worried they have spent all points they had, while some are disappointed they didn’t spend enough… call it the play of demand and supply or just exorbitant exuberance… its still by far the most efficient way of allocating scarce course seats….. that’s free markets in action.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Back after a long hiatus …

Its always sad to see your blog not updated for days, weeks and sometimes months, I have been guilty on almost all counts in the last few days (or a month… ) however here I am again.

The fourth term was rumored to be the easiest but it actually proved otherwise. As always we were still on our toes all the time, long nights on assignments, exams that make you clueless, exams where the avg score is 90, exams postponed at the last moment … the last of the core terms had it all.

Being the last of the core terms this was our last opportunity with the study groups and sections , we had been together for six months … time really flies off. Talking of groups the last six months were really an enriching experience for me, cant forget the all nighters for comp strat, investment analysis, operations (oh there were many..) dinners and parties together , the long hrs me and manu spent argueing passionately on almost all issues (but at the end we invariably made that right decision, and that’s what counts, and we are still good friends which counts much more ) and how can I forget markstrat where we started at the bottom of the table but swiftly turned the fortunes to end in the top two teams … memories they say is all that remains in the end … ISB has already made me lot richer in that sense …

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Random Snippets- Vi...

Its painful to stay away from my blog for so long, but at last I am back. The fourth term is perhaps the most taxing in terms of the schedule. Classes happen six days a week, since we have a long term break after this term , assignments and class preparations take most of the remaining time away. Last two weeks I have been engaged in the Leadership Development Program (LDP) during the weekends. For the uninitiated LDP is a program which focuses various aspects of effective leadership and goes on in stages during the terms. So far we have had sessions on feedbacks from previous workplace and its analysis as well as workshops on presentation skills, group dynamics etc.. Today we attended a workshop on problem solving conducted by Mckinsey. Mckinsey has been closely involved with the development of the school since its inception and this program further cements the relationship. The workshop dealt with developing a structured approach to problem solving using several tools employed by the consultants.
AT Kearney came to campus yesterday, this was third in the series of introductory talks by the consulting firms, BCG and Mckinsey came in the earlier weeks. ATK still seems to have the touch of a small organisation which is commendable given that the organisation has grown in size, they were eager to reach out to the students and know our reactions. The interaction did create a buzz and heightened the interest in consulting, something pretty similar to the reaction after the BCG and Mckinsey sessions. Consulting firms never fail to impress the audience and the way they handle the presentations could be a big take away even for those who are not looking at consulting as a career option.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

first knocks from the placement season...

The placement season might start early this year Goldman Sachs, Novartis, Macquaire Bank and Deutsche Bank have confirmed their visits for oct-nov. These are all international positions in finance, so there would be a tradeoff and we would have to make clear choices since these interviews (and possibly offers…) would take place a good two-three months before the placement week. But that’s how life is….

Have started working on my resume which seems to be the most important part since when at times more then 100 people apply for a position getting shortlisted can be a challenge in itself, moreover the resume defines one’s first impression on the recruiters. Most recruiters do not have time to go beyond a page during the initial short listing process so the resume should not exceed a page. As they say if your resume goes beyond a page you are probably the president of the united states. So its important to create a crisp at the same time comprehensive resume that can highlight all the relevant skills for a job. However its easier said then done as I am discovering first hand….

Term-3 ....

Another 6 weeks and another term fly’s-by . But term-3 was special for the two subjects that left a mark on every one. Entrepreneurship was the first, unlike what people initially expected the course was not about developing a business plan, infect we did not even talk about a business plan, instead we dealt with a number of cases trying to explore the mindset of entrepreneurs and the different forms entrepreneurship can take under different circumstances . Both the instructors, prof.Venkatraman and prof.Valamuri were outstanding; they definitely managed to get everyone thinking and changed a lot of perspectives.

The course on Corporate Finance deserves more then a mere mention, Prof. Suren Mansinka handled an intricate and at times complicated subject in a very succinct manner. He is amongst the best professors I have ever met. After his last lecture one of the students went upto him and said “I do not have a finance background and before the course I was a bit terrified of finance, but now I love it “ … I feel the comment says it all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

got my elp...

A conventional two year MBA format offers a period of internship where students work and learn on the job, with a one year MBA model there’s no time window available for a full time internship. The Experiential Learning Program is a way around, this is a short term project where teams work remotely for most of the project and spend a short time at the client location.

Coming to our experience this year, just finished the ELP interview with Morgan Stanley, UK and guess what we got the project. Elated we certainly are since this is one of the few international projects on offer so far. The opportunity to work with a leading global investment bank is something all of us are looking forward to. The project would involve developing models for trading strategies in the fixed income market.

The first hurdle has been crossed but there’s very little time to rest on our laurels since the project would certainly be very demanding. We know that this is nothing more then a small first step, but its in the right direction …

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random Snippets-V

  • Time is flying fast, we have already entered the later half of term-3. The mid terms were held last saturday. With exams every third week we have now got used to the examination pressure, no longer does one see the tension and disruption of normal schedules before an upcoming exam. Life now moves as normal and exams they have become a part of life...

  • The Centre For Analytical Finance(CAF) organised a conference on corporate governance this saturday. The list of speakers included illustreuos names from the industry.Unfortunately we has our exams the whole dayso couldnt attend the event. This was indeed a perfect example of bad administrative planning, a little bit of better scheduling would have allowed the students to attend and gain from the conference. Hope we learn...

  • The citibank scholorship opened last week, yesterday was the due date for applications. I am told that more then 300 people have applied, and I am one amongst them. Will keep you posted on this.

  • Before I conclude I would leave you with an image which examplifies my talent at photography ;) , watch the timing...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Random Snippets-IV

  • Lots happening on campus.... the results for exchange were announced yesterday. This year ISB has done away with interviews for selecting candidates for exchange programme, instead the bidding system has been extended to exchange selection as well. For the uninitiated the bidding system is commonly used across b-schools to allocate elective courses. Each student is alloted a fixed quota of bidding points that can be used to bid for courses and now also the exchange programme. The ones bidding the highest are selected for the course. As was expected the bids for the exchange programme reached some very high levels with people bidding almost all the available points to the exchange programme.

  • The only shortcoming with exchange in a one year course is that the exchange period typically includes the placement period, which would mean that you might not be able to participate in the campus placement process. Although, last year some of the students did travel back to India during the placement period , but it still is viewed as a risk by most since whether you can come back or not also depends on the schedule of exams etc at the school. Having said that being on a foreign campus is also a once in a lifetime experiance.... life's full of choices, heard about tradeoffs....

  • I talked about the Class Economist contest in one of the previous posts, its an online debate around contemporary economic issues. The results were announced last week. And as you might have guessed it by now that yours truely was the winner. So I am entitled to use the title of Class Economist now. ;)

  • Consulting club hosted the first event yesterday. The panel discussion was moderated by AjitRangnekar and also included three of the alums from BCG, McKinsey and Accenture discussing various whats and hows of consulting. Read more about this on the consulting club blog.

  • Finally this was one of those rare weekends with just one assignment to complete. Friday night saw the Bhangra Fever come alive at the "Bend it with Bhangra" party.... I leave you with some snaps from the party...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Will the Yuan Appreciate ?

The US has long been frustrated by Chinas currency being artificially maintained at below the actual market value, and has been pressurising Beijing to revalue its currency , efforts that have borne little so far given the Yuan has appreciated by a mare 1.4% in the last one year.

Although the Chinese currency is traded over the counter but the Chinese govt, through its market interventions, makes sure the Yuan trades at the desired value. An undervalued Yuan makes Chinese exports cheaper thus helping the export driven Chinese economy.

As per recent reports the Chinese economy is currently growing at 10-11% per annum, on the back of a huge trade surplus. The flooding cash ends up being used for landings by the banks. Left unchecked this could lead to excess capacity and bankruptcies that could snowball into a financial crisis.

The Chinese govt has finally taken steps to prevent overheating of the economy by controlling the money supply in the economy by increasing reserve requirements for banks, and allowing its banks to invest overseas. The lending rates have also been revised upwards recently , all signaling an effort to slowdown the economy. An appreciating Yuan could be next….

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who Says Elephants Cant Dance ?

Just finished reading Who Says Elephants Cant Dance by Louis Gartner who led IBM for over a decade during which period the company witnessed a historic turnaround , rediscovered itself and regained industry leadership.

The book is a classic when it comes to corporate strategy, IBM once the industry leader ceded its advantage in the personal computer space to Intel and Microsoft by promoting an open standard, unknowingly they created competition for their flagship mainframe business. It was widely believed at one time that the PC revolution would wipe out the mainframe technology and with it IBM.

Gerstener who was a complete stranger to the world of high technology, changed the situation simply by taking an objective look at what was wrong with IBM as a company.

Three important messages from the book :

1.The power within :

Almost the entire management team the managed the turnaround were long time IBMers, the new CEO only made them realize their potential and the same team that had been written off actually staged a turnaround for the company. That’s the power of effective leadership..

2.The power of integration :

Although IBM was a giant with global presence, there was almost no coordination between the divisions and geographies. At times the same customers had to deal with different IBMs when it came to different regions or services. Gerstener created the idea of One IBM without hierarchies and the giant size soon turned to its advantage.


With the focus now shifting to services IBM had to work more closely with competitors like Oracle, SAP or Microsoft so as to offer better value to the customer. So although they were now competing at one level , at another IBM consultants were helping their client implement Oracle or Microsoft suites… to succeed organizations have to evolve with times and change with changing customer tastes.

A must read for all management professionals …hats off to Mr.Garstener….

Friday, July 07, 2006


In my last post I talked about the marketing strategy simulation Markstrat... all the eight rounds are now over and in terms of our performance what began as a noghtmare has finally ended on a much sweeter note. We began the first round on a disasterous note finding ourselves at the bottom of the league. What followed were rounds of debate, arguements and at times self doubt.Not all was lost but we had to play it big to regain lost ground and stay competitive. But unfortunately given the disastor in round-1 there was not enough money to sustain our R&D for new products and market the existing brands effectively. Our calculations suggested that a loan was a feasible option and although we were strongly adviced against taking the risk (since few companied in the past had managed to recover after taking a loan) we decided to go with our own conviction. Well and it worked ... The loan money helped us develop blockbuster products quickly and we could utilise the market oppertunities to our advantage.The next seven rounds saw us grow exponentially and rise up from the 18th position to the top 3 teams.
Competition and failures bring out the real you and all of us saw it during the rounds of markstrat, when groups did badly but recovered, some did well consistanly while some others did extremenly well to begin with but faded soon after and a few started badly and could never recover. Some groups full of individual brilliance didnt do well while some groups of very ordinery people worked well as a team and the results showed . Lots of lessons for life .....
PS: Just finished reading "Who Says Elephants Cant Dance" by Louis Gerstener. Its a fabulous story about IBM's famous turnaround and how the company rediscovered its strenghts and itself... expect more on the book soon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Random Snippets-III

Life has never been so fast... really, most of us have already lost the sence and count of time, when you need the sunday paper to realise that its a holiday time sure is running faster.

Marketing course in this term involves a simulation game called Markstrat wherein each team has been assigned a competing company to manage, each company has a set of products in the market and within a given budget each team has to manage the marketing, distribution and R&D for the company. The software is fantastic and I must admit it seems only reality can come closer to reality. Competition is the best motivation and we can see groups spending long hrs and even whole nights discussiong the strategy for their company ... the game has just begun with only two of the eight rounds completed so far... expect lot more action here.

I have always loved economics and so far I just reveared one person in the field , that was Mrs. Ansari our Eco teacher at school, the one who introduced us to economics. However I have found the second addition to the list in Prof. Krishna Kumar who is teaching us the Macroeconomics in this term. He has really helped us in developing a perspective on relevant current issues like globalisation, trade policy, market economics, outsourcing et all... For a lot of us he has added a new dimension to economics beyond the mathematical equations and graphs.

Continuing with economics there is a competition called Class Economist thats on these days and people are fiercly debating the Role of Govt in modern economies on the forum... more on this sooon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Term 2 begins...

Term-2 begins… lots of changes for people like me. The schedules are so planned that we do not get used to a particular timing of classes, thus while we had a morning schedule in term 1, this time its afternoon and we shall be back to a morning schedule next term. At first glance the courses for the term look pretty quant heavy, the general perception is that IIT guys would find it pretty easy while the rest would have to work a bit harder.

The seating arrangement also changed, I was in the last row earlier (well there are just four rows in the class, but still last is last J) this term I am in the second row, in close vicinity of the prof. which means I cannot sleep during the lactures …

I mentioned earlier about the accounting research projects for CAs , although less then half the CAs in our batch opted for it , still it was a fabulous learning experience for all of us. There were in all six groups and presentations ranged from corporate governance to carbon trading, HR accounting et all… My group studied the accounting issues around Intangible Assets with special reference to the pharma industry. We studied major research oriented companies around the world and also developed a case study around an Indian Biotech startup. The professors appeared pretty pleased with the effort of all the groups. The module was a resounding success for all of us and I would strongly recommend it to the CAs in the coming batches since being in the regular course can be a safe strategy but it comes with a heavy cost of no incremental learning.

Most of Term-1 was spent getting used to the new surroundings, new schedules and trying to stay awake for the full length of the classes… The accounting project actually took more time then the regular course would have, in all this my personal reading took a backseat . Utilized the term break to catch up on this front, have just finished reading “One Up on wall Street” by Peter Lynch, a nice book on applying common sense to investing. Peter Lynch has summerises his experiences, successes and failures beautifully to evolve lessons on investing for the uninitiated.

Just picked up “Who says elephants cant dance?” By Louis Garstner, this book is around the turnaround of IBM just over ten years back. From the little that I have read so far the book is captivating to say the least… expect more on this soon.

Our section celebrated the first day of the new term as the RED & BLUE Day … a photograph taken that day …..

Friday, June 09, 2006

Term-1 .......

Term -1 is officially over and I am now 12.5% an MBA …... the last two days after the exams have been the most relaxed period for me so far, went to watch Fanaa on Wednesday (and walia couldnt stop applying the newly acquired concepts in marketing through out the movie, product placement, sublimal advertising et all.. ), spent a few hrs on the squash court each day and played at the inter section cricket tournament …. And the biggest luxury of them all got to sleep for more then 10 hrs sleep each day.

However some learning’s from term-1 :

1. Time is the most precious commodity at ISB… there is so much to do and so many avenues and forums that one has to carefully choose what all he wants to be involved into. Perhaps everyone of the 418 students have has a creditable past but what might differentiate us at the end of the year would be the way we managed to 24 hrs in each day.

2. Procrastination is a crime ….. simply because there is no room for procrastination , when each day has so much lined up one has no other option but complete the days work then and there.

3. Welcome to the world of continuous learning ….. Each term at ISB is just six weeks with exams almost every two and a half weeks (mid terms and then the final term exam)… gone are the old days when one could afford to sleep in the class and catch up later, or when one could get down to serious work a few months before exams and still manage decent scores… at ISB there is just no time for all that, with the last class taking place three days before the exam and the last assignment due just a day before the exams begin there is no option to let your study plan derail.

All in all its all about maintaining discipline and focus…

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mid Terms....

The mid term fever is finally over … yes just had the first mid term exams yesterday. The mood on campus had suddenly changed since Monday . People could be seen pouring over books every where , the LRC was completely occupied all the time and the security had to drag people out at the closing time ie. 2am. , reference books on economics suddenly disappeared from the shelves, I even heard people lining up at 7am waiting for the LRC to open at 8 so that they could be the first once to grab the reference books in short supply. The gym, squash courts or the pool all wore a deserted look for a few days.

We had two exams on stats and economics on Friday . The stats exam was a closed book one however we were allowed to carry a single page of notes to the exam, that’s a cheat sheet in ISB parlance.. Eco on the other hand was an open book exam and we were allowed to carry any amount of books notes etc to the exam centre. Well honestly none could help. While stats appeared the more difficult of the two it turned out to be economics which stumped almost everyone. Each question had a new surprise and the mood after the exam was just that… surprise or shock. But honestly the eco exam was very intelligently designed, each question required absolute clarity of concepts and the ability to apply them. Guess this being our first brush with this pattern of exams that emphesise and test application rather then plain learning of concepts , we would get better as time progresses. It was also interesting to note that although it was an open book exam very few actually opened the books and even those who did found little help in doing so.

The evening saw a party organised by the spouses association. Time to let your hair down, enjoy , relax and get ready for the next battle....

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The rising middle class ...

The middle class in India was so far perceived as pretty apathetic to any political movement, well not any more. The fight against the reservation policy is no more being fought on the streets alone, but like millions of others you too can contribute to it through sms and email campaigns, blogs etc. and help build a social opinion. What started with a handful of students from AIIMS at Delhi has now taken shape of a national movement in no time. The so far silent Indian middle class has been on the forefront of the anti reservation stir , people have found unique ways to express their concerns without disrupting their normal lives. Like the employees of many tech companies choose to wear black on Friday as a mark of their protest against the policy, people are becoming more aware of the importance of their opinion in a democracy. However some do question if all this really works, well it does, the widespread movement has forced the govt. to do a rethink and go slow on the new policy. May sanity prevail….

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The reservation ghost has come to haunt us again. The government’s proposal to increase reservations in educational institutions is causing widespread rage across the country. We have had the policy of reservations for certain castes and communities, considered to be backward , ever since we won our independence 59 yrs ago. Simple logic says that if the targeted beneficiaries are still no better off the policy is due for an overhaul. But imagine what do our lawmakers do , instead of scrapping the policy of reservations they chose to increase them. The concerned minister represents a region which is the most backward in India, and has continued to remain so. So much for his credentials.

Nothing could be more painful then a deserving case not getting admission to premier institutes all because of his caste .I admire the US society because it accepted the idea of merit to the core. People from every religion and nationality were accepted with open arms as long as they could contribute to the society. Success stories of numerous NRIs bear enough testimony to the fact. Equal opportunity and merit are the fundamental tenets for any society to grow and prosper. Unfortunately India has some distance to travel on this count, and people like Arjun Singh are making sure they lay as many hurdles as possible on this path of growth.

PS : In the next move the government plans to bring unaided institutions like the ISB too within the purview of the reservation guidelines. Isn’t it time for us to stand for meritocracy??

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The First Assignment .....

All first's in life have a particular significance and become part of cherished memories. Ask anyone what he did on the first day at school or who all he met the first day at office and chances are you would get a complete recollection of all events. ... but try asking the same about say the 132nd day at school or the 56th day at office.

The first group assignment in marketing was submitted yesterday, group could be seen completing the final draft of the case analysis for the better part of the day, however come evening the relief was evident on all faces. So much so that during dinner I kept guessing from the expressions whether the person walking into the dining hall had completed the assignment, and guess what 18 on 20 times my estimation was correct. For the remaining two .... well you cant really blame me since some people wear the same expression whether happy or sad...

Thats my group submitting the assignment..........
after a merathon final meeting lasting over five can read the joy and relief on our faces.

Adventure or opportunity .....

The accounting course in Term-1 pretty basic in nature. But considering the fact that almost 70% of the batch is totally new to accounting the course does serve a purpose in the program.

The professors for the course offered all CA’s an alternative whereby we have been given an option to opt out of the regular accounting course. Instead we would be required to undertake a research assignment requiring us to present at the end of the term and also submit a term paper. The course would also be supplemented by a few meetings wherein the professors have agreed to talk to us on emerging issues under accounting and their research work. Prof Kallapur presented last week on Esops and their accounting, while Prof. Finn would talk to us this week on Variable Interest Entities (Would be able to write about what this means after I attend the talk). So the bottom line is no regular classes, no routine assignments and no exams. Our course grades would be based upon the evaluation of the term paper. The project needs to be undertaken in groups of three. Although this route would require us to perhaps put in more effort and risking the near certain “A” on the grades, not sure if risking is the right word since one should still end up with a good grade if he puts in enough effort in the project.

The module is however optional so while a few of up opted in, many others choose to stick to the regular course. Groups are working on issues ranging from Corporate Governance to Carbon Trading and HR accounting etall. My group would be presenting the term paper on the issue of “Accounting for Intellectual Property Rights”. The topic is pretty interesting but would certainly require lot of work since the area of accounting for intangibles if still far from being fully explored. Watch this space for much more on the issue.

The whole decision to opt for the scheme or not was centered around the possible implication on the grades, or the notion having to work hard for a possibly certain grade. Well as for me the reasons for choosing the research module over regular class were quite simple…. Its not all about grades and grades alone, although grades are important but concern over them should not deter us from a good learning opportunity. A bschool education is as much about exploring new frontiers , the way to make the best use of the internationally reputed faculty available here is to be able to interact with them on a variety of contemporary issues. As for the risk, well at times taking no risk at all is the biggest risk in itself. So while some call it needless adventure I call it opportunity.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Life in Term-1

Term-1 is gathering steam fast, some of the most colourful characters have suddenly turned bookworms..... they now prefer the company of books to ordinary mortals....... ( thats Ritesh)

..... and spend most of the day in the LRC (Learning Resource Centre..)

while some others prefer to use the LRC for a sweet nap .....

Finally... thats my study group getting "Fadexed" ( first case analysis for the marketing class) {the one on extreme right is me}

Monday, May 01, 2006

Random Snippets- II .....

  • Term-1 began today, Prof. Aseem Ansari from Columbia kicked off the Marketing Course with the Fadex Case discussion. More on him in the days to come. The other class of the day was Accounting , Prof. Sanjay Kalapur is taking our section while some of the sections are covered by Prof Mark Finn. Having been through the rigors of the CA course I found the first class material pretty basic, however a large majority is absolutely new to accounts so cant say the same for them. I am told both the professors are planning a special program for the Chartered Accountants in the batch, they would be announcing the details pretty soon. All in all it was a good first day in office.

  • Round of introductions still continue, each time I feel I now know all the people in my batch I come across a new face. While some of us are still pretty enthusiastic about knowing more people for some it’s a real pain to respond if you greet them on the way.

  • Squash continues as well, infact I am pretty happy with myself on this front. I have built in an hour each day into my routine and have adhered to it for more then two weeks now. It’s nice to be back on the courts after almost three years, I did struggle for stamina in the beginning (well I still do…) but slowly getting back the old touch. More on this soon.......

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Random Snippets-I

  • The biggest realization for me from the first few weeks on campus has been that one needs to maintain a strong focus. I have 428 friends around, innumerable student clubs, numerous other activities and a few classes and group activities in between, but alas we have just a year on hand (525600 minutes to be precise).This place offers endless opportunities for every interest and inclination. One needs to be very careful in selecting what all he wants to be involved into. There is a real risk of spreading oneself too thin , one needs to make sure he makes the best use of the available resources and the time…. And that’s what management is all about … isn’t it.

  • Its amazing to see the sociology at work on campus. Most people have already organized themselves into their own groups , some prefer to move alone all the time while some are found in pairs whenever you see them.

  • First term begins on Monday and there is lots of material to be read for the first class (around 100 pages for marketing class, 100 odd for economics et all. .). We all are pretty enthusiastic right now and almost everyone has completed the reading. Some people have even completed the following chapters. Would be interesting to see how many can continue the same enthusiasm. I am told the year at ISB is all about maintaining the momentum. Sounds simple but its not gonna be easy.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Random Snippets ....

  • The pre terms began today. This week long modules are designed to acwuint us of the basic concepts to be applied during the core terms. Out of the three courses on offer (Quant, Stats and Accounting) I have opted for only the quant course. Didn’t go there expecting much apart from getting a feel of attending classes after almost four years. And I must confess that the professor kept a good job of keeping us all wide awake for atleast 90 of the 120 minutes lecture. Prof. Shankar (who is teaching us this course) is a faculty at IIM-B. He made the class lot more interesting by providing a historical perspective to math. I aim to refresh my math concepts during the course and also be able to appreciate the application of math to business problems a lot better.

  • Every day I bump into a large number of people, we greet each other out of sheer courtesy although on many of the occasions we do not know each others name. I have discovered this that its almost impossible to remember 400 names so soon. My rule for this.
    1. Don’t take offence if people forget you r name.
    2. Don’t expect yourself to remember all the names, nothing wrong with asking people to say their names again.

  • Infrastructure at ISB is superb. The campus is a wifi zone. The internet speed is 100mbps which is cool. The LRC is the best I have seen anywhere, it has a huge collection on almost each and every issue, not to mentions a superb collection of DVDs.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Business and Art ......

ISB has a tradition of inviting eminent speakers from a variety of areas to interact with the students. We hosted Girish Shahene on the campus yesterday. For the uninitiated like me Girish gave useful insights into the different forms of art. We also discussed at length about the huge upsurge in the market for art in India and the demand and valuation of works by Indian artists.

I had the opportunity of meeting with Girish over breakfast and being a CA I could not help but dwell over the commercial aspects and the thought of art as an investment medium. My key take aways :

1. Invest in art only after you begin to appreciate the beauty of the piece and the artists vision. Not all works ,even by the renowned artists, would fetch those astronomical valuations. Most of the people who benefited from investing into art didn’t really “Invest” at the first place. They acquired a piece for the sheer joy of seeing it every day . Another reason why art auctions sells expensive is that collectors are often quite reluctant to let go of their priced possessions. So the demand far outstrips the supply.

2. There is no ready market for art (and there cannot be). Unlike stocks and shares art cannot be bought and sold anytime in the market. So you could be stuck with a piece of canvas for years without finding a buyer.

3. Art Funds : An art fund doesn’t really sound that exciting a concept. Since unlike stocks the value of stock doesn’t correspond to an underlying like profits, EPS etc.. An art fund would be under compulsion to buy and sell regularly to show consistent performance and ROI for the investors, and this might not actually be a good idea.

So the bottomline is enjoy art…. Appreciate it …. A demeterialised form of art doesn’t seem such a great thought.

Friday, April 21, 2006

First week at ISB...

Its nearly a week now since we came here. The first week was dedicated entirely to the induction. Alumni from the previous batch turned out in large numbers to interact with us and organised a large number of sessions around various club activities, their experiance during placements and life at ISB in general. In fact one factor I was a bit apprehansive before joining ISB was that unlike a two year program we would not have a seniour batch to help and guide and you might end up reinventing the wheel each time in such a situation. But the alums have done a good job at helping us benefit from their experiances.

Suddenly I am surrounded with 400 people most of whom I am meeting for the first time but a lot of them would turn out to be friends for life in the course of the next one year. All of us have been struggling to remember as many names as we could. cant remember how many times I have introduced myself almost every time we step out of the quad we encounter a new face.

Section competitions are on simultaneously our batch strength is larger as compared to the previous batches we have been organised into six sections unlike four in the previous batches. Our section is leading the charts and the final results would be announced tomorrow after the talant nite.

On a personal note I have resumed squash I was a struggle to begin with having picked up the racket again after almost two years. Need to get down seriously to thinking about my career options post ISB.One fact lot of alums stressed was to start working on the resume from day-1. I hope to start my effort on this front from today.

The preterms begin from monday so I would be back to the classroom after almost four years now. Not sure how easy it would be to sit through two hrs of lactures.

All in all its been an exciting week so far met a lot of now and interesting people and it was a joy listening and sharing experiances. Met some old contacts as well including a friend from school days and one who was studying togather during the CA final exams.

Lots more to follow since its all just started.......