I, The Absolute

Archive for March, 2005

The Naked Ape

Posted by itheabsolute on March 19, 2005

Mallika Sherawat is being wooed by Playboy. And no need to further explain what Playboy will do with her if she agrees.

But that’s not the story of this blog.

The reference is to the fantastic book by Desmond Morris. He explains why human beings are nothing but Apes who have lost / given up hair. Hence Naked Ape. He has to say that despite building up civilization, big cities, man still lives like apes. Apes (with some exceptions) live in groups not larger than 30-40. Despite living in a city man would at best / worst (?) have friends / relatives of typically not more than 50.

How will it be living amongst 320 people in the school’s campus. We will ape our cousin apes. We will form groups of 10, 20 or 30 and try and spend most of the time within these groups. Others will be at best acquaintances. There is nothing wrong with this. It is important to form good friendships with a few people than get just acquainted with a large group of 319 people. These relationships that are formed during the year will help in generating new ideas, later day lateral movements, perhaps new enterprises, etc.

I, for one, will like to behave on the lines explained by Desmond Morris.

PS: One disadvantage of a one-year format is it does not allow too much of time to really form very strong relationships

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


Posted by itheabsolute on March 18, 2005

• Is it required
• Why now
• Don’t tell me (you can tell me which bank you are joining. I wont tell anyone)
• Oh, you dint have an MBA degree.
• Why give up a seven figure income to incur an equivalent seven figure expenditure
• Are you giving up ESOPs? The share price is going to touch 800.
• MBA degree does not guarantee success

I recall the famous line from Baazigar – that 12 year old movie which catapulted Sharukh Khan to stardom (I thought only I had aged. Even Sharukh did. He is 40. But his female fan line is only growing)

‘To win something, you need to give up something’
(a poor translation of “kuch pane keliye, kuch kona padta hain)

My reasons for an MBA degree

• Career is a marathon. I have run a quarter of the possible career length. Not three fourths. Good time to take a break and rediscover / rejuvenate.

• Have reached middle management. I am told by our HR head that about 91 % of the employees of our organisation are junior to the grade I am in. But without an MBA degree will I have the skills to run the “last mile”. MBA degree is to prepare for the last mile.

• Nothing like learning on the job. There are, however, certain skills/ concepts which cannot be learnt from the job I handle. These skills are essential to reach my career goal. An MBA and that too a full-time one will only serve my requirement.

• I have really not understood why an MBA degree is required in certain positions. But without MBA degree you are not short-listed. You cannot prove what you are if you are not short-listed. Credentials are important.

• Money – not too concerned. The companies I am targeting pay extremely well.

• One year format. Excellent faculty profile. Experienced students. Decent ROI.

• Will trade my job for the overall experience of a good b-school. Any day.

PS: An MBA degree is many things to many people. A b-school is many things to many people. It is important to find one’s own reasons.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Sharks Vs Poets

Posted by itheabsolute on March 17, 2005

B-school students from backgrounds, which have much of analytical work, are called sharks; b-school students from non-traditional backgrounds who are relatively weak in analytical skills are called poets. The IB and Consulting jobs, number-crunching/quant driven that they are, usually go to the sharks. Poets go back to industries they have come from, but at a higher level or take career break at lower grades and salaries.

What are the attributes of a shark?

1. High GMAT
2. High analytical skills
3. Background in mathematics or engineering or accounting
4. Objective driven – knows where he has to go
5. Focussed – knows what to read to reach where he wants to go
6. Usually amongst the dean’s list
7. Feared before placements
8. Popular after placements (becoz he has gotten into GS)

What are the attributes of a poet?

1. Perhaps, high GMAT. But GMAT score is thanks to verbal percentile
2. Low on analytical skills
3. Background in arts or in sciences but has never studied in undergrad college
4. When was the first term over? Was thinking it was pre-term
5. Taking all the electives and subjects seriously. Never know which industry I will join
6. Dean’s list – what is it
7. Popular before placements – thank god becoz of poets there is that much less competition
8. Placements – uuff…finally got a job

PS: No offence meant to anyone. Was only trying to caricature. Further reading: Snapshots from Hell by Peter Robinson.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Unrelated Factoids / Thoughts – Part II

Posted by itheabsolute on March 16, 2005

1. B-school life is a subset of life.
2. Treat to the one who explains to me James Joyce’s Ulysses.
3. Culture is a way of life; not something, which happened in past; nor something, which is preserved in museums.
4. My first question when interviewing someone – why is your resume more than one paged. Were you the secretary of state of the US?
5. The US is not a rice eating country. Why is the current secretary of state of the US named ‘Rice’?
6. Philippines language has the maximum number of words for ‘rice’.
7. In English there are no separate words for uncooked and boiled/cooked ‘rice’
8. What would a refrigerator or a train be called if a ‘Telugu’ or a ‘Hindi’ man were to invent them? (there are no words for these things in these languages)
9. What did Vaughan mean when he said, “I saw eternity the other night”?
10. Is Jackie Chan a masochist? Otherwise, why does he hurt himself in all the films and have it shown to us in the end of the film.
11. Why did Jackie choose Mallika for his film?
12. The word ‘like’ has the maximum number of meanings
13. Would life be different if the protagonists of “Sex and the City” lived in India?
14. People’s representatives! Who can represent me? I don’t intend anyone to represent me – D H Lawrence
15. Is there more intense positive emotion that what a Lawrentain woman can feel
16. Was Freud oedipal?
17. ‘Locomotion’ is the fundamental difference between animals and plants
18. Is the heroine in “Lucky – No time for love” a look alike of Aishwarya?
19. Can you current ‘good deeds’ cleanse of your ‘past sins’?
20. Will people stop calling life insurance policy as LIC policy?
21. Will maidservants stop asking for ‘surf’ when they want washing powder?

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments »

Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective People

Posted by itheabsolute on March 15, 2005

1. Be reactive. Let someone else take the initiative. If and when someone does it, think about reacting.
2. Never Plan. Keep going; you will reach somewhere. Who cares where you reach
3. Discuss things randomly. Confuse others so that they never bother you with tasks and assignments
4. Win-win does not exist. There is only limited amount of “winning” possible. If you share it with someone else then you will have to give up your share (refer to the rules of physics which say that amount of energy is constant. You can only change the forms.)
5. Interrupt others while they are talking. Listening is not a habit; people who don’t have anything to talk listen.
6. Entropy is an accepted reality. All succumb to it. So I also go from bad to worse.
7. Things lying idle rust. My mind too. No need to complain

PS: Apologies to Covey

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Human Nature, Economics, et al

Posted by itheabsolute on March 14, 2005

Behavioral economics has been Nobel Prize winning topic in the recent past.

For long, it was thought that man was rational. Only war was irrational and religion and love were a-rational. But when it came to economic decisions, it was considered that man made decisions which were in the best interest of self and which maximized the value/profit.

Some examples of a-rational/irrational aspects of economic behavior

a. tipping a waiter, when you know you are not going to return to the restaurant or the hotel again
b. giving alms
c. buying a shirt to “oblige” a salesman or because you are too shy to say no
d. spending on credit cards beyond means
e. gambling
f. alcoholism

Human nature is the bottom line of entire knowledge. As long as we try to segregate knowledge into disciplines and pursue studying them separately, we are bound to fail to explain various questions facing us, including some of the above.

Some more examples of the questions troubling us are – not being able to reach 100 % efficiency; treating symptoms rather than causes (treat fever with anti-pyretic whereas the cause could be something else), getting clueless about global warming, etc

Post Scriptum:
a. I do not contend the viewpoint that for the sake of ease, clarity and focus, segregation of knowledge into disciplines is important.
b. I also won’t mind a debate on “whether knowledge is possible”.
c. Further reading on the topics: The Turning Point by Frijof Capra / Against the Gods by Peter Bernstein
d. Referred dictionary meaning of ‘man’: The generic use of the word to refer to any human being / any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Unrelated Factoids / Thoughts – Part I

Posted by itheabsolute on March 14, 2005

1. Most of the religions have born in deserts or during times when there was much misery

2. Travel on a beam of light

3. Culture and Region have a stronger correlation than culture and religion

4. Is HBS right in denying admission to the candidates who peeked into the application system to know their admission status?

5. Is there a need for Prince Charles and Camilla to marry “now”?

6. What will human beings evolve into?

7. Is man the purpose of the Universe?

8. Is Aishwarya Rai the most beautiful woman?

9. Can she ever stop giggling on screen?

10. The necessity of having an opinion; the implications thereof

11. I heard someone say, “I am an Indian, but don’t own an inch of it”.

12. Did Mountbatten approve of Nehru-Edwina’s affair?

13. Is platonic love possible?

14. Once expressed, an emotion ceases to be an emotion and is an expression…only an expression

15. Are human beings born to work?

16. What would Ravana write if he wrote ‘Ramayana’?

17. Will I ever get rid of cell phone in my life?

18. Can anyone carry ‘the’ latest cell phone for more than a week?

19. Will an Indian be ever able to wear a right sized “Tommy Hilfiger”?

20. How many times were you hit by the boxer’s hand during the day

21. How will life be after “with malice towards one and all” stops getting published?

22. Will we ever celebrate ‘men’s day’?

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Katrina proposed to me

Posted by itheabsolute on March 13, 2005

The latest Tata Indica V2 ad is one of the best I have seen in times. The protagonist gets hit by a boxer’s hand every time he lies. One of his claims
is that Katrina Kaif proposes to him and he rejects her offer…….

Image this – you are being hit every time you pretend or lie.

How many times during a day would you be hit by the boxer’s hand?

It is very difficult to be clean, truthful and upright. We have to literally fight against ourselves to be so. Perhaps, it is human nature to lie, to pretend and be unethical.

Welcome comments

More on human nature during next week.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

If it bleeds, we can kill it

Posted by itheabsolute on March 12, 2005

Was watching “Predator” for the nth time.

This is what Arnold Schwarzenegger declares to his teammates when the woman under the team’s captivity tells that the team had hurt the ‘animal’ when the team fired the guns.

This line has been one of my all time favorites. There are many strategy lessons that we can learn from it.

At the time he utters these words, Schwarzenegger does not know what this animal (predator) is or looks like. But he thinks he can kill it because the animal can bleed.

Many times, we limit our thinking to what is ‘probable’, not what is ‘possible’. This line tells that if something is possible, we can do it.

I have tried to develop my thinking around this philosophy. The questions “why” and “why not” have been quintessential. Why’ this’, why not ‘that’ or why ‘that’, why not ‘this’. Since the time I have adopted this thinking, I have created opportunities to increase my portfolio at job, improve bottom line, grow my career, and develop my own personality and personal life.

My motto for the year to come: If there is a dean’s list, then I can be in it.

Post Scriptum: referred dictionary meaning of (a) can – ability; (b) probable – likely to happen; (c) possible – that might or might not happen

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Life Management

Posted by itheabsolute on March 11, 2005

Yesterday, a fellow blogger spoke about time management. Meticulous. Well planned. Good concept. It happens with me. Time manages me. Jokes apart. I will move to a different framework.

Time existed before I was born. It will after I am dead. (I understand time remains as long as space remains. Space is absolute. Time is relative.). Fail trying to manage time.

I will talk about “life management”.

How good are we at this? Let me talk about mine

First five years: Life.what was it ? yeah, mother told I was alive and her proudest asset. Good.

Next ten years: school, teachers, home work, play in dirt, poor grades, no pocket money, school uniform (same blue and white dress for ten years!), bruises all over the body, a fight a week, love from mother, fear of mother and father, friendships which I thought would last life long, my bicycle (gave more happiness than my first car), adventure is running far away from home – come back at 5 pm, get beaten by mother, draw ellipse for a circle, get beaten by geometry teacher, give your homework to your friend after you have shown it to the teacher, get caught, get beaten badly, last day of exams – pour ink all over your friends and enemies, every year……………….

Next five years: college, lecturers, their distrusting looks at me, I passed plus two!!!, movies, movies, and more movies, why do parents give so less pocket money, I am the king of the world , my bike, 80 km per hour speeds on bikes, to be or not be, love, love again, new friends – this time I am sure friendships will last forever (thankfully, retain a few of them), finally baccalaureate……………..

Next five years: love – seriously!, marriage – child marriage, job (finally got it. thought I would never get one), Mumbai, people, groups, crowds, pushing, trains, 513 am train, 1243 am train, home-auto-train-auto-office & office-auto-train-auto-home routine, gumption to challenge the boss and auditors, customer is the king, pay DD charges even when the bank gives it free, work for 18 hours a day, office politics, work is important, but so are para-banking stuff, office romance is popular……………..

Next five years: idealism – what is it, boss is god – I want my next salary, Hyderabad, good morning at 11 am, hyderabad traffic – I miss Mumbai trains, my santro, I drive to office – good, where do I park?, good night – its 9 pm, bank merger, tough time, multinational bank, hey, I am going up the professional ladder, realise I am impatient, new job again, santro has umpteen dents, sell off, Hyderabad traffic – ggrrrhhh!, my Honda, expertise to drive in Hyderabad traffic, customers can be managed – if you cant manage reality, manage perception, love the smell of money, want more, Hyderabad rocks, still good morning at 11 am, but good night at 1 am, stock options, march is the most important month – appraisals happen then, pch..pch, have to give money up…………………

Now: ready for ISB

Have I managed my life. Don’t know. Till date looks like life has managed me.

Coming up: Life Management – balance physical, social, intellectual and spiritual aspects of life

Physical – health and fitness (exercise, play and eat properly)
Social – excellent personal relationships. Contribution to poverty alleviation (thanks to my role of managing microcredit portfolio, I contribute to poverty alleviation in an indirect fashion. Going forward will contribute directly by giving time and money)
Intellectual – good career. Read, think, observe, and interact. Writing and teaching as a chosen activity in ten years
Spiritual – define the purpose of my life.

Will do this. Promise!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »