Monday, October 24, 2005

MBA Grad or School Dropout?
Without getting into the merits of this article and getting trapped in generalizations, this certainly qualifies as a story-of-the-week, especially as the PGP cattle-fair auction (aka placement season) is drawing near.

PTI[ SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2005 11:38:47 AM]NRI Special Offer!NEW DELHI: Salaries drawn by sweepers, attendants, drivers and helpers working at power giant NTPC can arouse strong envy among students from IIMs and IITs as the packages offered to school dropouts comes very close to what top MNCs might offer B-school graduates.
Lal Beni, who perhaps never went to school and works as a sweeper in National Thermal Power Corporation, draws an annual package of Rs 8,68,146. One Safal Ram working as a helper in the company enjoys a handsome package of Rs 8,98,369 per annum, according to the annual report of the Corporation. List does not end here. Raghu Nath Sharma, a school dropout (quit studies after 4th std), enjoys a remuneration of over Rs 6.5 lakh per annum. Prem Singh, could not continue studies after 6th standard, brings home Rs 7,89,821, which is well enough to embarrass a highly educated person. Satbir Singh, a driver who discontinued studies after 8th standard, earns Rs 9,18,941 per annum which is few thousands less than R D Kapoor, Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and holds an MBA degree, and serves as Director in the same company and takes home Rs 10,62383, the report says. After having struggled to acquire MSc and PhD degrees, one D N Roy, Deputy General Manager in the company, could only manage half the salary (Rs 5,21,903) as that of Satbir.
A senior driver Rumal Singh earns Rs 5,67,447 which is few thousands more than that of Roy's. Thirty six years of experience and BSc (Engineering) degree could fetch only Rs 8,79,658 per annum for one S S Chakraborty, who serves as Chief Executive Officer in one of the units under the company, the report says.
The remuneration offered by the PSU includes salary, allowances, leave encashment, leave travel concession, payment for subsidised leased accommodation, reimbursement of medical expenses to employees and employer's contribution to Provident Fund and other funds.
However, it does not include the monetary value of the medical treatment provided in the Company's dispensaries/hospital of Project sites, since it cannot be quantified employee wise. In addition, the employees are entitled to gratuity/ group insurance in accordance with Company's Rules. The company also claims that none of the employees mentioned is related to any directors in the Public Sector Unit.

New elective process and its bizzareness

I absolutely fail to understand this so called "new elective process". The biggest problem that I have with this is it seems more complicated then our election process. Anyway the two step elective choice process seem absolutely bizzare because it just does not make sense.

The designers of this process might have tried this process so that they know the preference of people before they design the time-table but then if the preferences entered are the real ones then nobody needs two step process and if these are fake ones then the data is useless.

This whole problem could have been much easily solved by decided the list of electives couple of week earlier so that people have enough time in entering the elective choices and time table before the next quarter starts.

Anyway I am just happy that I don't have to go through with it but I can see trouble written all over it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Electives for Q3

The tentative list of quarters being offered has just come out:
  • Research for Marketing Decisions
  • Creative Marketing Prof. YLR Moorthi
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Strategy, Processes and Systems
  • Negotiation Skills (from December 16)
  • Corporate Tax Management
  • Elements of Management Consulting
  • Artificial Intelligence, Neural Nets and Applications
  • Inter-Cultural Management
  • Supply Chain Management (PGSEM Cap – 15)
  • International Banking (PGP, PGSEM joint Cap – 60)

The ones in red are either new or are being offered after more than 2 years. I think the coming quarter is also the one that does not count for the PGP placements. If so, then expect to see almost every single PGP student sleep, read the newspaper, a novel, or SMS during every single lecture, for the joint courses. RMD was a 2 credit core course till the class of 2004, and we had it in Q4 of AY 2003 (that would be the fourt quarter of academic year 2003-04).

Compare this with what was offered last year for Q3 (AY 04).

  • E-Business Models and Strategies
  • Product Management
  • Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks & Applications
  • International Banking
  • Personal & Interpersonal Effectiveness
  • Management of Commercial Contracts
  • Corporate Valuation
  • Global Financial Markets
  • Supply Chain Modeling and Analysis
  • Telecommunication Industry: Technologies and Dynamincs
  • Elements of Management Consulting

Monday, October 17, 2005

Life at IIMB, from a PGP's perspective

There are a fair number of blogs by IIMB PGP students also, of which most seem to stop after placement season, for some reason or the other. It's nice to hope that the PGSEM blog will continue even after graduation, if for no other reason that IIMB has absolutely no intentions whatsoever of ever even contemplating the possibility of offering anything close to placements for the PGSEM course. I will write a post on that separately, and what I learned from a former PGSEM Chairperson.

But this post is about the very eloquent description of an academic quarter by a gentleman named Nikhil Ramesh on his blog.

And I quote, verbatim...

"So it begins. The much talked about term 2. What's so significant about term 2 you ask ? Well, nothing much, except that it is a glimpse straight into hell, if my seniors are to be believed. And not one of those small peeps into hell where you just survey the scene for a few seconds and then decide whether you wanna vacation there or not, but it is a long sabatical, lasting for 3 months, where you will get to dance with the devil on a daily basis.Whats in term 2 that is making me dread it so you wanna know. Well read on.
Acads :Nothing much, just 4 extremely miserable subjects. Operations Management where the devil pulls down your pants, Marketing where he proceeds to make you remove your underwear, Quantitative Techniques where he clasps your .... ahem ahem......"jewels" in his scaly palms, and finally Corporate Finance where he will administer the coup de grace and squeeze the living daylights outta your manhood and ensure that he leaves you impotent. Oh, I forgot to mention, there are 2 more subjects, ManComm-II and some HR course, just to ensure that you dont have any spare time at hand to nurse your wounds."

The PGSM blog and search results

If you search for 'IIMB PGSEM' this blog does pretty well...
On Google it is the second result, after the IIMB PGSEM page (out of a total of 145 hits)
On Yahoo it is hit number three.
MSN actually places it first, even before the official IIMB PGSEM page!

The 9th quarter end term for Ad Management, and you can see Rakesh waving his hand

The 9th quarter end term for Ad Management; you can see Rakesh waving his hand

And Amit is being silly... he got an 'A' I think :-)

A tradition of the 2003 section A students... every end term paper has to end with a wave of the hands, especially if I am taking photos

This is for the Ad Mgt end term - the test was held in two classrooms. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 10, 2005

Finally Linked In for PGSEM

Please check your mail boxes. You would have received a mail regarding signing up as a member of linked in for PGSEM. That mail is the only way to sign-up.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Graduate and PhD Theses and keeping it simple

James Gosling has a post on his blog titled "Only solve the problems you need to solve". I woud advise every PGSM student to give it a read, especially the first part.
Back when I was a grad student I was spinning out of control trying to come up with a thesis topic. My advisor took me out to lunch one day and asked me a simple question: "What is a PhD thesis?" I yattered on for a while and he listened patiently. Eventually he said "No: It's just a stack of 100 pages with 4 signatures on top". I was falling into a common grad student trap of feeling that I needed to do something grandiose and solve all of the worlds problems. He was into "keep it simple". So I did, and I came up with a pretty straightforward thesis proposal. The odd thing was that when I finally finished my thesis, I realized that I had only delt (sic) with one sentence out of the simplified proposal.

Monday, October 03, 2005

PGSM Interim Report Format

Now that the deadline for the interim progress report of the PGSM project looms large - this weekend - we, the students, are scrambling to get our acts together. And the first question was - "CAN WE GET THIS POSTPONED?? PLEASE!!!! By at a week? Pretty please???" The second question was, "What's the darn format for the darn report?" (substitute 'darn' with Ray Barboni's favourite word in 'Get Shorty' for better effect). Since Rusty was smart enough to have completed the project in the 8th quarter itself, he was kind enough to send the format he used (turns out there is no prescribed or proscribed format, but anyway...).
Sample format for the interim project progress report

China Fudged its FDI Numbers

The Business Standard has carried a story on its front page on how an UNCTAD study has shown that China has been fudging (Enron-ing if you may) its FDI numbers by as much as 89%... No wonder their financial system is a mess.

Some quotes from the article:

China claims that it got FDI worth $5.42 billion from the US in 2002. But the US says it has invested a meagre $924 million during the period, Unctad’s World Investment Report 2005, says.

The OECD report states, “MOFCOM (ministry of commerce of the People’s Republic of China) FDI statistics are not based on the internationally recognised standards that are generally applied by OECD countries. Consequently, the differences in the statistics compiled by OECD countries on their investment in China and the statistics published by MOFCOM on OECD members investment in China show serious inconsistencies between these sources.”

The same topic was also covered in an PGSM elective course - International Business - where Prof Murali Patibandla had some readings for us on the history and evolution of China's FDI story.
A similar point made at that point was that a lot of China's FDI is actually a case of round-routing of money to outside China and then back to China as foreign direct investment to take advantage of the differential tax and property laws.
Prof Vivek Moorthy had covered some of this in a separate course, Global Financial Markets.

The Secrets of Pure Managers - from the Indian Software Industry

(I got this mail in my PGSM mail folder, thought it funny enough to post on the blog…) See the disclaimer at the bottom.

... sometimes you feel that you are living in a nightmare. You bide your time in an organization where you know next to nothing (save a few buzzwords). The people you manage are brighter, more knowledgeable and more energetic than you could hope to be. How does one cope? What is the future of your career? ...
Read on to find answers ...

The disciple and the sage

The disciple went up to Gargi Yagnyavalka and offered the sage the customary salute.

“Teacher'', he asked, “can you explain to me the secrets of pure managers? I have been a student of the Indian software industry for many years but I am unable to understand the role that pure managers played. My heart is now troubled, and I am unable to sleep at night. I have now begun seeing visions of tessaracts spinning in 4-space and my dreams are full of strings vibrating in Calabi-Yau spaces.''

The sage put down the CD-ROM twirling on his finger and looked at the student over the rims of his spectacles.

“Very well'', said Gargi, looking at the earnest young man in front of him. “First, let us review some definitions.''

“What is a Pure Manager?''

“A manager who manages a team without having a clue about the work that the team does'', said the novice.

“Good. And what is a deliverable?''

“Something of value to a customer, O Sage'', replied the young man.

“Is a status report a deliverable?''

“No, O sage. A computer cannot execute a status report.''

“And what about a Quality Plan?''

“O sage, a Quality Plan in itself also has little value to the customer.''

“So what is a deliverable, then?'', asked the sage.

“Something the customer can use, to serve his need. A working program, perhaps'', answered the novice.

“Good'', the sage was pleased. “Now, in a project managed by a Pure Manager, who determines the progress of the project?''

“The people working in the team, O sire'', replied the novice, “for the pure manager, by definition, cannot determine the correctness of any course of action, since he hath no clue about the merits of one path over the other.''

“So what does the Pure Manager bring to the project team?'', asked the sage.

The disciple was silent. The sage continued, “Have you spent the necessary hours studying the dynamics of team meetings?''

“Yes, teacher, using our history-scope to peer into the past'', said the novice.

“What have you observed?'', asked the sage.

“I have observed that Pure Managers sit at their desk, masterfully holding their mice, whilst their techies sit hunched up, unsure of themselves, as if ashamed of their nerdiness'', the student replied.

“And what was the nature of the interactions between the team and manager?'', asked the sage.

“The techies were very young and needed frequent reassurance'', said the novice.

“And the Pure Manager provided reassurance?'', asked the sage.

“Yes, teacher, the techies seemed to ascribe great value to his facial expressions.''

The sage was pleased with the students perspicacity. “This then, is what the Pure Manager brings to the meeting table'', he said. “Engineers, being unsure of themselves and being inherently driven by logic, seek meaning for their existence in this world. On finding no obvious, undisputed meaning, these youngsters panic, and search for someone to structure their lives for them. The Pure Manager serves to fill in this niche.''
The student was silent for a while. “Tell me more about the secrets of the Pure Managers'', he asked.

“Very well'', said the sage. “The only real role for a pure manager is to periodically say Tatha Astu ["so be it" in Sanskrit], to his team members. However, some care has to be exercised in playing this role.

These are the guidelines:
The Pure Manager must not say Tatha Astu too often; once in a while, he should look serious and say "No". Doing so will preserve the apparent value of his "Yes".
The Pure Manager should practise every morning on his smile.
The Pure Manager must endeavour to project an all-knowing and sagacious look. A facial expression representing a state midway between constipation and Buddha-like enlightenment has been found to work the best.''

“O Sage,'' said the novice, “your description reminds me of the priests in my native land.''

Gargi, looked with renewed interest at the young man. “Indeed. The similarities are deep. Let us compare the two.''
“I still don't understand how it works.'' said the novice.

Gargi, looked at the earnest young man. “Student, one of the deepest needs of a human being is that the world she perceives be understandable. So when a believer goes to a priest or manager desiring guidance, and gets in return an almost meaningful string of symbols and sounds, the person has two choices:

(a) she has to admit to herself that she has been an idiot to waste her time, or,
(b) she creates her own "meaning" to the string of symbols and sounds she is perceiving.

In most cases, it is option (b) that she settles for. Then since the person now "owns" her private meaning of the symbols she encountered, she becomes even more reluctant to confront reality.''

“Does any meaningless ritual or slide set work then?'', asked the student.

“No, my son'', said the sage, “there is an art to Pure Management too.''

“First, your religous rituals or company initiatives should be within reach of your target population. For example, cook up rituals that your older believers can do while sitting down, rather than requiring energetic physical activity from them; it is difficult to be religious in the middle of an aerobic workout. At the same time do not make your rituals too easy to perform; so prolong your meetings arbitrarily or schedule them for inconvenient times of the day like 4:00am.''

“Your presentations, meetings or religious rituals need to be almost meaningful, just on the border of making sense. If they are too random, then your believers will catch on to your game.

Conversely, if by mistake, you happen give your reportees something with real meaning to do, they will not need you anymore.''

The disciple was silent for a while. “I now understand why the number of priests in India surged after the IT industry crash of the early 21st century. Thank you, O Sage, for your time.''
Gargi smiled, and went back to spinning his CD-ROM.

(Taken from

Note for the humour impaired:, this is a joke, a witticism, written in jest, a yarn, a farce (mayve even in real life at times), but not to be taken literally, despite the abundant presence of too-close-to-reality anecdotal evidences.

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