10 Point something

A lot has happened in the past two months,albeit not here. MBA is taxing, especially when we try to make sense of business finance 3 hours prior to the exam 😛 . All said, let us not talk ill of the dread. In the days i have spent here, i have learned and re-learned many a things. Let me reiterate some of them for the benefit of the general public who aspire to be in management. In order to sound more organized and to give you an idea of how long this is going to take, let me give a number to the list of things i will talk about:

10 things (that i have to come up with now) –

1) The only things you would manage once you start your two year PGDM course is less sleep and more emails. 

2) If you do manage to stay awake and write down the seemingly-valid-points that you or your classmates make in the class, you would probably end up authoring a book titled  ‘The Art of Pfaff’  which would be thicker than than ‘The art of war’ by Sun Tsu. (Point no.2 is an example)

3) The two most important phrases that a mican should acquaint thyself with are – ‘It depends‘ and ‘Chill maar yaar‘. Use the former with the faculty and latter with your friends to solve any problem under the sun.

4)  Re-learning:  CTRL+ALT+DELETE (this time to avoid terminations)

5) If you felt the competition to get into a b-school is tough, wait till you get here. It’s dog-eat-dog and pfaff-beats-pfaff world. You know your peers so much better than you did once you have been through a GD with them (you get to know more if they get in and you don’t :P)

6)  Creative is subjective and everything is creative.

7) An open-book examination is tougher than a closed book, as you waste half your time searching hundreds of pages that you have never read.

8 ). The only conscious free time that you get would probably be in the loo. Make good use of it.

9) Remember, the two years of your life that you spend in a b-school is a paid social experiment.  Make the most out of it before it takes the most out of you.

10)  SOP, EOI, ROI, DCP .. You would start hating 3 letter acronyms

Key to abbreviations and management jargon:

pfaff: Nonsensical talk 

termination: spamming from somebody else’s email/FB account

EOI- expression of interest

ROI- Return on investment .. hmm 

SOP- Statement of purpose

DCP- Desperate Class Participation

EOM- End of message

The ACTUAL Solution – Toastmasters Prepared speech 9

Which one of these organizations do you know about or atleast heard of? World Health Organization in Geneva, International court of justice in Hague, Amnesty international, Interpol in Lyon, France.

How about Transparency International? Does it ring a bell?

Transparency international is an international NGO that monitors and publicizes political and corporate corruption (source:Wikipedia). It also publishes an annual corruption perceptions index. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 means very clean and 1 means highly corrupt, India boasts of a 3.3. The only solace is that we are better than our immediate neighbours like Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Srilanka. Corruption as we associate more often, is not always a result of dirty politics. It is in fact the result of a laidback attitude of seeking a comfort zone at a nominal expense. But i am not here to take a dig on the kalmadis and the rajas. I am here to start with me. The story of the corruption in me started when i was in class 11th. I was among the bright students of my class, but still, my parents who thought since the neighbourhood kid goes to tuition i must too, arranged for tuition. One of my friend and I after a few demo classes with several teachers finally settled for a physics professor near my home. After a few days, i was informed by several of my classmates that I should have picked my school teacher who also took tuitions for the subject over the one I had chosen. They said that they have heard if one does not do that one is awarded less marks in his subject. I didn’t waste any time enquiring if this was indeed true or merely a hoax and promptly joined the bandwagon ditching my first guru.

Mr toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests, the example that I gave may not be the best example of corruption, but the reason I chose to give that example is to emphasize on its triviality. Corruption exists within us. It is convenient for us to neglect the several instances where we encourage, ignore or at times indulge in corruption. Remember the time, when you gave a 100 rupee note to the cop who asked you to show proper papers for your vehicle or caught you tripple-riding. There are some people who claim that they have never offered a bribe, but instead told the policeman about the one chahcha ji or mama ji who sits on top of him. But to me that is no different. Then there are others who get their driving licenses made by an agent who does the dirty work for them while they relax. Some parents encourage this trend as they don’t want their children to waste time running behind the processes. There are other important things for their children to cater to.. like ‘Education’ they say. What better example of irony than that, if it does not educate us on what’s wrong and what’s right?

A few of us have been supporting Anna Hazare and his cause. We have been following the Jan lokpal bill which promises transparency. But will it change the mindset of the common man who survives on ‘jugaad? Does the lokpal bill change the cynicism that is prevalent around us? It is not our incompetence to fight corruption that has kept us in chains, it is our disposition towards everything that happens around us.

A bill can change the processes and ensure accountability but what we need more than the bill is a will. A will to sit through the examination when we have the option of buying the degree. A will to wait in the queue even when the alternate is as cheap as free. We must make our votes count, our voices heard, our cynical attitudes changed. So the next time when you buy your comfort, ask yourself – At what cost?

 

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GREEN

Green

Green is in nature

Green is in the growth

Green makes for a brighter future

If we look beyond the green of notes

Green is switching off monitors

Green is in planting of a tree

Green is printing on both sides, when needed

Not doing it for it is free

Green is a corporate dilemma

Balancing the sheet with the cause

Green is the new sensation

Less Action, More talks

Let green start from our desktops

Let green be the way of our lives

And when green is all that’s there to be seen

We can say ‘tomorrow’ has arrived

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The Curious Case of a Dipsomaniac

The Database is down. Viral Connectivity ceased. Thoughts of celebrating a half-day holiday from the office. And just then the embarrassment of being perceived as a dipsomaniac. Read on..

It so happens that i sometimes feel the urge for a carbonated beverage (*Paid ad space for the brands ready to advertise here*) right after the lunch. And today finding no particular work to do due to the aforementioned problems, i decided to give in to my urges. So i went to the canteen and asked for a pet bottle of the carbonated beverage i like the most. To my utter dismay, the guy said he does not have one and asked me to settle for a CAN instead.

Now, the environment conscious that i am, i don’t prefer cans as i believe they are tougher to dispose of safely. The countries that started the trend have switched back to glass bottles, but we still hold them close to our hearts. Anyways, I really wanted to sip some Co2 + H20 and so i bought one reluctantly.

I usually keep a plastic bottle filled with water on my desk. Now comes the interesting part. Instead of drinking from the can directly as any other man with common sense would, i thought of transferring the contents in to the pet bottle so that i can sip-and-work simultaneously. So i went to the pantry and started pouring the contents into the pet and just when i was about to finish, i saw somebody coming into the pantry. I was almost done, so i threw the can into the dustbin kept at some distance and rushed back. This is when i saw that person smiling and i could sense what he was thinking. Can’t you?

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Glass Ceiling @ Workplace – A myth or Reality?

There have been and still exists many a myths across genders, but the one that I criticize the most is the notion that Men are better managers than women. I grew up in a modest family which had only one earning member, naturally (particularly in the Indian context), my father. Fortunately my mother was never told to stay at home and look after the kids as it often happens in Indian families, but she chose to as she wanted to give us more time. That was her only priority. But then I saw her managing her professional life and personal life in a way that left me in complete awe of her. There is no wonder that the female goddesses portrayed in our scriptures had more than two hands. I deem it symbolic of the efforts they put in. Be it at home or their workplaces.

I believe the glass ceiling was a reality until the 20th century, but with the advent of 21st century the ceiling has become a myth and rightly so. Consider the fact that there were only 3 women CEOs in the fortune 500 companies at the start of the millennium and the number has increased to 15 in 2009 (source: about.com). The difference of 12 may seem insignificant at first but a drill-down approach would suggest that the number has actually quadrupled.

Most of the companies like TCS, IBM, and Accenture are increasing their female to male employee ratio which looks a lot less skewed than it used to five years before. Companies now prefer to keep female employees because of the proven fact that they are more loyal to the company resulting in less attrition. There has also been a paradigm shift in the corporate policies, especially in the areas of HR, where there is more flexibility in the working hours and transparency in the appraisal process. Mothers-to-be are given a break from work and greeted with open arms whenever they wish to come back. In some cases they are allowed to work from home for the entire period without any loss of pay whatsoever. It is these bold policy changes that has given today’s women the freedom of aspiration after getting married and even after becoming a parent.

Ten to fifteen years back, women were hired only for the profiles of a steno or a receptionist and the likes, which not only were less challenging, but were sexist as well. The scenario has changed today and we see them in all spheres of life. Today’s woman is independent, demanding and she is bold enough to take risks. One of the industries where the number of women leaders has shown a steady increase is the banking industry. Women leaders like Shikha Sharma, Managing Director and CEO of Axis Bank or Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO of ICICI bank inspire Indian women to go beyond the mirage of glass ceiling and achieve what most think of as a distant dream. The chauvinistic male mentality has also undergone a radical change as women have become more demanding about their career aspirations. It is not by default expected by the husband or the father in the family that the household chores are their counterpart’s concern. I know that the cynics would hate to believe all of this and call it ‘a utopian dream far from reality’, but then that is what defines cynical.

I believe the best time in the history-to-be is now. In a country which has a woman president, another woman at the helm of affairs of the ruling party, a woman as the chief minister of the capital, and another heading one the world’s most popular beverage company, we are definitely not short of aspirations. All that we, as the civilized society, need to do is loosen the grip.

(This piece of write-up was my entry for an essay competition at my organization. Fortunately or Unfortunately the results were never announced 🙂 )

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Are we the best team yet?

I remember asking my father 200 bucks so that i can buy a bat to bat up the order among my friends in the gully cricket matches. ‘Mujhe batting do nahi to main ja raha hun’ worked wonders in improving one’s own game. 😉

Yesterday, it was our batting that again did the trick. Chasing down a mammoth total of 274, we reinforced our might over the rest of the world in this wonderful game that unites us irrespective of caste, color, religion, language and most importantly gender.

We have won the cup and there are rhetorical questions on we being the best team in the world. We did win the world and played our hearts out. It was evident the way we fielded. The way zaheer despite his anatomical limitations dived to save a boundary. The way we never took a back seat in the game even when sachin and sehwag failed to give us a good start. But still are we the best side.

Forget the rankings- Forget the accolades – Forget the achievements of the best of our batsmen. Do we have a bowler who is truly feared?  Each time Malinga threw himself (and the bowl) over the players (pun intended), my friends and I would have our hearts in our mouths. With Zaheer’s genius in the first few overs and yuvraj’s cameo turned maestro, we had our moments but the question still beckons- Are we a world-class team complete in itself?

Coming back to where i had started, 80 percent of the aspiring indian cricketers are ‘aspiring sachins’. Nobody aspires to be a glenn mcgrath in precision, or a muralidharan in turn. Our fielding has improved in the last few games and it is not all of a sudden that we have improved it. A good fielding side means a more committed side. I know it is a tough ask for munaf patel to be as agile as jonty rhodes. But did’nt we see the same commitment among zaheer, nehra , patel in the last few games. Yuvraj competing with raina and kohli on the field and then them doing the same thing while batting. It was the determination of our boys that made us world champions.

I believe, the reason we won is because we had the right mix of personalities (for the better or for worse). Grace and class of sachin tendulkar, Aggression and imprudence of Sehwag (particularly against pakistan), Serenity of one of the best leaders our country has seen Mahendra singh dhoni and his discerning intuitions, Adaptability of Raina, Never say die attitude of Bhajj and the profanities of all the punjabi boys (including the ones in the canadian team) which helped us play those mind games, which was, until the quarter-finals ponting’s area of expertise.

We can’t be complacent with this baap-of-all-victories. We need a better team to go and win it in Australia in 2015. Sachin would probably still be playing then. Yuvraj would continue his sinusoidal form with hopefully the crest featuring during WC2015  . Sreesanth would definitely be around.. this time in the cheerleading team. But what i would really love to see is a fast bowler sprinting down the pitch and producing an in-swinging yorker unsettling the countrymen of the opposite country and giving them the jitters.

For the time being, let us bask in the glory our men-in-blue have brought us. Thank you Team India.

 

(Two extremes of the same emotion. Image Courtesy: buzz.faabo.com )

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Of Democracy and marriages ..

There have been uprisings in the middle east – Egyptians finally danced to the tune of ‘Walk like an Egyption’ – They re-erected the home erectus in them. and boy they did it in some way. Tunisia followed suit and now libya trying to libyarate themselves from the narcissistic gadaffi. Freedom, rights , Democracy is what they seek..

Democracy , the cynics say is nothing but the freedom to choose between devil and the deep blue sea. I have an opinion (and god i love to have one in this democracy) .. I believe democracy is like Love marriages. 🙂

Love marriages can get sore and the statistics show that most of the marriages that end up in a divorce are the love marriages.. (Inspite of what we would like to believe.) But still the choice was ours. Democracy in the same way is a choice that we make. But then speaking of choices, democracy is also like arranged marriages – An array of pleasing faces and too little information on the table. All we can do is follow our instincts and hope that we made the right choice.

But guess what’s missing? In any of the above cases, one has to go through a painful process of divorce, often wait for an year or two (rethinking process) before a consensus is achieved. Democracy makes us wait longer 🙂

Live-Ins anybody?   I wish … 🙂

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