Sunday, April 29, 2007

World Cup 2007: An anticlimax!

Well it's all over: the much-awaited Carribbean Crusade and it turned out to be a pretty bland and unprofitable affair- so much for all the hype. Apart from a few sparks of brilliance from B'desh and Ireland, there wasn't much to talk about (except perhaps the murder of Bob Woolmer): no nail biting finish, no match which went right down to the wire, even the semis and the final were pretty much onesided. of course, with India and Pakistan not even making it to the super eight, cricket world cup was no longer a religious festival... even i was pretty much an aetheist this time around. What with the match fixing scandal raising its ugly head once more, the super commercialisation of the game and the Woolmer tragedy, cricket has lost its sanctity!
It's a pity that teo of my fav sports (cricket n tennis) are fast becoming a one man show: as australia bulldozed its way to a record third consecutive WC victory, it has now become unparalleled in the game (never mind its losing streak prior to the event- when the going gets tough, the tough gets going), and of course, Roger Federer is invincible... am so bored to death!!
Having said that, WC 2011 will hold the same interest!! We have a poor memory, and Team India does its best to remind us time and again!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lessons from the saga of management entrance exams

Doing my masters in Business Administration had been an ambition I had cherished since my school days: not particularly bcz I wanted to be a businesswoman or bcz I wanted to make pots of money (though of course, the money would come really handy to help me graduate from Fashion Street to Shopper’s Stop) but simply bcz I wanted to, bcz I enjoyed the so-called “aptitude tests” and lets be hnest, bcz of the glamour attached to the profession (n the promise of intelligent men… but of course, am wiser now: that species doesn’t exist, at least not in the world I live in)
Now after 3 years of preparation, two attempts at CAT, I hv come to the conclusion, that management entrance exams are NOT about your aptitude at all!!!

Lessons from Written Exams:
1. If you think u are good in one section, be prepare to be royally screwed in it. Being an economics graduate, maths was my weakest section and English my strongest… Hell I read a lot, I scored over 90 percentile in VA in all the 30 odd mocks I took n never missed the VA cutoff, n it was the saving grace in all the mocks I wrote. So was counting on it very much. Lo and behold, come CAT 06, me stuck with a measly 80 percentile in VA!! Bigger shock in XAT 07- 98%tile overall, but only 84 in VA; so no call from XLRI! Now XAT maths is normally very tough esp for ppl like me who are not exactly comfy with higher maths, and I ended up scoring 95 in QA!!! Gross misjudgment of “aptitude”.
Anyways, if you think you r good in certain areas, n u have a proven track record, then trust your judgment even though the entrance exams results might paint a different story…
If you think you hv done well, think again. Invariably other ppl end up doing betr than you, n u end up with a measly percentile score. On the other hand, if you think you hv royally screwed up, then rejoice n fill up the forms of best colleges…
2. Dnt take 2 entrance exams in a day! The dates invariably clash, n you end up messing up both. So dnt be too greedy, n prioritise…
3. All that crap about mngment exams being a test of your “inherent skills” is bunkum! The more you practise, the better you get at it, like sex… or else, ppl wudnt hv needed multiple attempts to crack CAT… so much for getting your “aptitude” right!!

Lessons from GD/ PI:
1. It’s tougher than written exams
In many cases, multiple calls can lead to multiple rejects (my case)… so no room for complacency…
2. Good communication skills (read good accent and fluency) doesn’t automatically guarantee u an upper hand…
3. Looking good can be an advantage in some cases (and a disadvantage in others)
4. Coming from a disadvantaged background can be useful in certain socially conscious institutes…
5. Being a girl can be an advantage especially in the sex-starved male dominated battle zone…
A non technical background helps to make an instant differentiation

PS: In spite of being a presentable, nontechnical arts graduate with good communication skills and a good profile (and a girl) I managed to screw up most of my GD/PIs… so all said and done, nobody knows what they are looking for…

At the end of the day, for most B-schools, you are just a statistic: a weighted average of your written exam score, your performance in your GD/PI, your “past academic record” and your work expererience- no points for being a good manager in your daily life, or a responsible, accountable, honest, compassionate, intelligent person. Can’t blame them, it’s a demand-supply mismatch and there isn’t enough time to look at your application from a humane perspective. To be fair, they have the amazing talent of picking up some of the brightest people in spite of a handicapped procedure and resource crunch- so we live with it!

Now comes the most important lesson… the lessons which will serve through my life; not the formulae I mugged up for written exams, not the editorials which I swallowed without proper understanding, not even the Wikipidea articles I read stealing office resources (time, internet, stationary to write it down…)
The lesson to keep my focus, to be disciplined for a long stretch of one year, the determination and the strength to go on even when I was this close to giving up, the courage to say “No” when I was dying to do the opposite, the perseverance to put in my best effort to see my dream come true- this was the real lesson; Preparing for management entrance exams wasn’t just about cracking 10th std sums (thousands of them), or reading through pages of RC passages, or solving puzzles and banging my head over long DI charts; it was more about a test of character, a test of patience and a constant urge to push myself to the brink- it was about nurturing my dream!! And in the process I have become a better person, more matured, more aware, more accountable, stronger and most of all, more honest with myself!! And of course, it gave me the opportunity to interact with some awesome people, some amazing minds and some deep introspection: these are the real lessons that I will take with me after this experience of management entrance exams!!

IIM Results Out!!

Finally after months of speculation the quota cauldron has been temporarily put on hold and the IIMs came out with their merit list! As I surfed through Pagalguy i came across LIFE... with its shades of grey!! Ecstatic people, who after months (in most cases years) of hard work, finally made it, people recounting their past disappointments in previous attempts and their sheer joy after being rewarded at last, mixed feelings for people waitlisted n heartbreak for those who couldnt make it... it was all there, in front of my eyes. I was happy for some of the regular Puys who did get through, was amazed at the rejection of some of the most brilliant minds and one particular Mr Prem Ravi, a 30 year old who recently had a baby girl, who had only one call (IIMA), who was an inspiration for me n many others, who was a living example that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way out, no matter what the obstacles. I haven't met him, nor do I know how his GD/PI went, but I believe that nobody deserved it more than he did: his struggle has touched a chord with anybody who still has some humanity left in him/her!! I don't know why he was rejected but for once, even I, who is so passionately against the quota regime, just for one tiny moment, wished that the OBC quota will come through, just to make room for him! But the next moment I regained my sanity: his not being there, is a loss to IIMA!!!
I have deep respect for the IIMs as an institute, but I can't say the same for their selection criteria. Having said that, it had been my dream to be a part of it, ever since I was fifteen! I have grown up in Calcutta, and after a few visits to the IIMC Campus, some stories about the faculty by my father, some experiences narrated by a friend, I fell in love with it!! Now it hit me that I will probably never be a part of it and it did bring a few tears...I almost felt that may be I should take one more shot at CAT, but thankfully I grew up real fast!! IIMs are not the end of the world, I know I am good (and humble...) and I will be happy! and of course, SCMHRD is an amazing institute and am deeply grateful that I am going to be part of it for the next two years...
So... here goes... life is an open road... let the engines roll

Friday, April 27, 2007

Its my Life!!!

My very own blog!!! cant believe it... after reading a host of blogs n wishing i had something similar to give vent to my frustrations, my trials and tribulations; well here i am... in spite of being a technologically challenged person.
So the journey begins... ANOTHER BRICK ON THE WALL!!!