I, The Absolute

On Campus

Posted by itheabsolute on April 18, 2006

On campus. It is a good but different feeling. We are here only to pass the baton. After that though we remain the stakeholders we no longer belong here. The school actually only belongs to the current batch and once they graudate no longer to them.

The current batch is much larger in size but no different from how we were. Same enthu, more or less same questions, same interest in consulting, same doubts, same fears, same determination…nothing much has changed. However, the diversity within the batch is quite interesting. I believe that every batch is a random sample and when you pick a random sample you get to see all types. Diversity of sizes, thinking, backgrounds, intellect, outlook, interests is something which the students are going to quite enjoy.

Life would not be very interesting if i knew what will happen tomorrow. To keep life interesting, it is better to leave the details for the current students to discover themselves. All that I may want to talk about on campus are

1. Start making your resume. Today.
2. Be Organized.
3. Be disciplined.

The rest will all be easy and fine.

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Business is no science

Posted by itheabsolute on April 16, 2006

Not that I am a novice to the business world. I have had nine years of experience in banking. I have made decisions. I have been appraised for both my behavior and the outcomes I have managed. But in the busyness of doing my own job, I did not have time to reflect at length about my own decisions and decision making process.

Now that I am working with my friend on his business, I get to see the business and decision mking process dispassionately.

Business is hardly science. Despite the fact that today many disciplines within management use huge amount of math. Business involves decisions to be made by “people”. People are hardly fully rational. People are emotional. They are a-rational and in some aspects, irrational.

When such is the state of human beings, recommendations which are based on facts may not be implemented. My friend told me that there are certain decisions he ‘does not’ want to make. This may mean that the decisions are constrained and may not bring the optimal results. He is fine by them. There is a self-image element to his business. He cannot overcome that. Mind you, my friend is an entrepreneur and a much smarter person that I am. But still he is a human being. At the end of it, just thanks to small improvements in processes and products, his business would surely look better than now.

The point is that all that we read in a b-school tends to presume that human beings are rational. In fact, my first argument with Prof Krishna Kumar (macroeconomics professor at ISB) was that man is not (necessarily) rational. In the last few years, most of the Nobel Prizes in economics have gone to people who have worked in the behavioral economics.

Management education and its professors need to build new theories with a new ingredeient in their formula. That it is people who make decisions and that people are not necessarily rational. I guess we can achieve far more efficiency and profitability than we do now.

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Beyond ISB

Posted by itheabsolute on April 13, 2006

Context, as I believe quite strongly, is a powerful influencer of our thinking and actions. Now that the context that is ISB is now behind, what thinking and actions keep my company needs to be observed.

I will be joining my employer on June 1st. It is difficult to be completely purpose less and wander about. Or even just laze around till then. As of now, I have engaged myself with some assignment where I am helping a friend reorganize his business.

During the last days on campus, I was checking the fotos of most of the colleagues to see if there was difference in weight when they joined and leaving. Almost 90 % of them have put on weight. I checked my weight and found that I have gained about 2 kilos during the last one year on campus. The problem with campus is that, despite all the squash, swimming and gym visits, people tend to put on weight because there is no other physical activity. Studying is at the top of all sedentary activities. Have found a place to play squash….and time to bring down the weight.

I will back on campus on 16th night for orientation. Hope to meet a few friends and the class of 2007, some of whom I have come to know through interaction on the blog and mail.

Btw, the certificate we received from ISB is signed by the Deans of ISB, Wharton and Kellogg.

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Can blogs be purpose-free?

Posted by itheabsolute on April 8, 2006

Today I received my certificate for Torch Bearer Awards during an Award function. The core terms and elective terms best professors also received their awards. A small video was shown covering almost all the professors. I should say that some professors did not match our expectations only because that term would have had much better professors. As we saw the video, we felt that almost all the professors were brilliant. It is only that some were more equal than others.

Tomorrow, we graduate. It is a moment I have been waiting for. I had to make many tough decisions to realise this ambition of getting a management degree. But as i look back i can only pat myself for these decisions. Status quo is always an easy decision, but the repercussions need not be easy to handle.

I believe that blogs are purpose driven. I had started this blog when i received the amdit letter from ISB. So, in a sense, the underlying purpose of the blog was ISB.
I have tried not to make the blog an online diary. I have tried, in the manner I felt okay, to question, to argue, to share, to discuss, to convey my opinions/views/what i learnt/knew through my blog. I may not have reached truth, but then I never aimed at it too. (there are only two truths in the world (uncertainty & relativity)). I hope the blog had served some purpose and helped a few people see or think more than they did before. I enjoyed doing the blog.

Now that I graduate from ISB, I am not sure what I should share and who would be its audience. But I know that I need to reinvent myself and find a place. Maybe, I will share my thoughts about what i read in books; what i see in the business world; what i observe about people…..

If someone is rejoicing that this is the end of the blog, please pause. I am going nowhere. I will continue to blog. I cannot but blog.

PS: Thanks to GPRS and Bluetooth, I am able to connect to internet from my studio.

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Fact Sheet

Posted by itheabsolute on April 5, 2006

For those interested: Fact Sheet – Placements 2006 (Log on to http://www.isb.edu for detailed info)

Record International salary : USD 233,800
Average International salary : USD 120,700

Highest Indian salary : INR 30.34 lakhs
Average Indian salary : INR 11.77 lakhs

As you will read in newspapers tomorrow, the main points on which the entire ISB management and the ISB students focussed were the overall experience (learning & network), the career shifts and entrepreneurial roles. Money is important but it always chases good roles. So those were what many people at ISB were trying to chase.

PS: Laptop is unformatted, which means that i cannot access internet from my studio. Which again means that I cannot blog from there. I guess I will do one more post before I leave ISB.

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ISB Placements – Press release

Posted by itheabsolute on April 4, 2006

ISB is going to release its placement results tom, with the press conference starting about 11.45 am. The press conference will be simultaneously conducted at Hyderabad and Delhi. Some students also will participate in the press conference. I will be part of the press conference at Hyderabad.

Incoming students and aspirants may want to watch for news items on TV tomorrow and for headlines in the press the day after.

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Same Time, Same Day, Next Week

Posted by itheabsolute on April 2, 2006

A few parties, a few sign offs from ISB admn, taking back up of data, efforts at trying to swim, more of squash, searching for a leased accomodation at Mumbai, being a lazybone, lotsa bitching about, a few more of good movies on DVD, desperately trying to organize course material, watching TV………but not the piece that i need to prepare for – leaving this place. It appears as though this place and the routine are the integral part of my being and I cannot imagine myself not being around.

Same time, same day, Next week – I will be gone from here. And will be missing this place very badly.

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ISB grads rake in INR 1 crore

Posted by itheabsolute on March 31, 2006

Grab today’s ET. It talks about ISB’s $ salaries………. As many as five graduates seem to have been offered $ 200,000 salaries and this is unprecedented in the history of Indian B-schools. Though the highest salary number is yet to be released, it is rumored that at least one of them may have been offered a salary higher than the all time high salary received by a IIMC grad in 2001 – $ 225000. There is no report on the INR salaries yet. Another week to go before the numbers come out officially.

Though I was quick to post this, I have not left behind my belief that flashing out top few salaries are a marketing feat of the b-schools and the crave of our Media for these stories as it is easy to sell them. A b-school is much more than the top salaries grabbed by a few people. And thus, evaluation of a b-school should be based on various non-financial metrics as well.

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Life will never be the same again

Posted by itheabsolute on March 29, 2006

Last day of my classes at ISB.

If someone asked me at gun point what i learnt with having spent INR 1.5 million, incurring high opportunity cost, losing an year of experience and toiling late into the nights, i dont think i can say either this or that.

because the purpose of the program, at least to me, is not ‘necessarily’ getting to know strategy or marketing or economics. the purpose is more to get an overall perspective of business. more importantly, the program would have failed its purpose if it had not increased my intellectual curiosity. there cannot be any takeaway greater than increased intellectual curiosity.

my salute to the spirit of education, to the institution which gave opportunity to scores of people like me who had missed an opportunity to go to a b-school earlier in life, to the professors who do great benefit to the society through their research and teaching, and to my colleagues who have the ability to see life in a million more ways that i can imagine.

as i was getting into this school in April 2005, i conjectured that life will never be the same again. now, having gone through this one year, i can say confidently that, yes, life will never be the same again for me.

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Life moves on

Posted by itheabsolute on March 23, 2006

Now that I have bunked more classes than I am allowed to, without the possibility of a penalty of getting a lower grade, I have to drag myself to all the remaining classes. It is fundamentally a question of incentives. Though some classes are interesting, there is no interest left in me. In many of the candidates.

We have received a note listing the exit formalities to be completed to let us go from here.

The classes and exams get over by April 1. Between April 1 and April 7, there are not official activities. People are going out on tours. Latest by April 5, we will have our laptops reformated. We can then no longer use the laptops within the ISB network. Library will lend the last book / DVD to us on April 4 and the latest date to return it will be April 5. We are required to settle all our dues by April 5. ISB will not be the same place on April 6. The activity will pick up on April 7 and will conclude on April 8. April 8 is the graduation day. We can stay back maximum till 12 noon on April 10.

The year has really gone faster than I could ever imagine. I have enjoyed the year in more ways than one. The school will be missed long since we are gone from here, but having served its purpose, the school has no place for us people. The school will get ready to receive the new set of hopeful, enthusiastic and slightly anxious people on April 15

Life moves on.

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