Sunday, September 30, 2007

Barbarians at the Gate!

It’s been a week since India was crowned the first ever Twenty-20 world champions: a welcome deviation which almost healed the pain of the 1st-round exit in the World Cup earlier in the year. Indian sports isn’t exactly as flourishing as the Indian economy and Indian cricket in particular has received its share of brickbats! So is this flash-in-the-pan victory in the Indian version of baseball enough to win back the huge fan following that cricket attracted not too long back? Granted, we played really well during the tournament and beat the best in the game- Australia, South Africa, England and arch rivals Pakistan (twice), and deserved to be the champions. For a first-time event, the T20 world cup generated huge amount of interest, not to mention revenues. And following our victory, the market value of the budding cricketers has touched a new high. But somehow T20 just doesn’t seem like cricket- it smacks of refined commerialisation, a gimmick to get through to the masses repeatedly let down by its national side and a quick-fix solution to a more deep rooted problem! Mind you, I am no purist mourning the near extinction of the classical version of the game- good old Test cricket. Come on, we are leading the life in the fast lane, we barely have time to catch a few glimpses of the 50-over ODI, let alone a 5-day event which will probably end in a draw! Twenty-20 gives us a packaged deal: instant gratification, brute force, adrenaline rush and it is the closest we can ever come to competing with football. It’s value for our time and money, and nobody is complaining, so what if the greatest masters of the game opt out of it- it gives a platform to the raw talent (literally)! Say goodbye to the gentleman’s game to be played in the leisure of the afternoon sun in the lush green outfields: “Times they are Changing” and it’s time for the “Barbarians at the Gate”!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Grounded for Life!!!

I think our institute is taking itself too seriously and that too, literally! I mean I know we study at Symbiosis, and hence we are supposed to be in close contact with the industry (symbiotic relationship with the corporate sector: it’s elementary, my dear Watson)… but when the industry is almost breathing down your neck and the concept of personal space for growth simply doesn’t exist, it becomes a problem!! For instance, during the last month, we have had more guest lectures than actual lectures by our faculty, which is all very well, but when it becomes a repetitive jargon dump on tired students, then it’s not very likely that it would be a beneficial exercise. And of course, now that the pre-summer placement talks have kicked off, it isn’t exactly rocket science to figure out that we are actually trying to lure companies on campus by inviting some of the top corporate honchos for the sake of “guest lectures”… nothing wrong with that, especially when you need to place a batch of 200 unprepared students in a space of one month! But it does become a form of a circus when you force a bunch of overworked first year kids to dress up in sarees and blazers and sit for long sessions in the auditorium almost every day (sometimes twice a day) especially after 2 grueling FCQs. Hell, these days, I wear a saree more often that my mum does!
Obviously, this state of affairs is bound to burst the bubble! One such guest lecture (the guest happened to be prominent industry expert) found a majority of the batch sleeping peacefully and blatantly in the audi, while most of the others were busy working on their laptops, listening to music or just plain day dreaming…. Mind you, it wasn’t that the lecture was bad, it was just that we have had an overdose, and couldn’t take any more of that convoluted management speak! End result: the guest wasn’t exactly too thrilled with our batch (which may well mean no placements), 10 of the culprits had a dressing down from the director and as of now, the entire batch is grounded indefinitely! We are not allowed to go out of the campus, no night outs, diwali vacation stands cancelled and the worst part is that we don’t know how long this curfew is going to haunt us! The only way out of this mess seems to be to crowd into the library or the computer lab all at once, because we have nothing better to do!
It’s not that I am a crusader against guest lectures- I think they are an important part of business education, it’s great to have successful people from the industry and share their experiences and give us a first hand view of how the corporate world functions! And of course, some of the speakers have been really outstanding, it’s just that I don’t like the idea of packing our days with fancy jargons just before the summers: it seems a get-rich-quick tactic and it doesn’t give us enough time to really absorb the learning. Being bombarded with general gyaan about the “changing business environment” is a poor disguise for what really is a batch assessment exercise! I feel like a helpless Indian girl dressed impeccably in a saree, sitting and waiting demurely for a prospective groom! But of course, if it comes with 4 slices of pizza and a bottle of soft drink (like today), I am all for it….there is no such thing as a free lunch, but hell, listening to sophisticated VPs (even if they don’t make much sense) is a small price to pay!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Real vs Reel

Finally I have to lay my hands on the much-coveted book: “Snapshots from Hell”. But I am glad I waited till I was three months into my MBA- man, I identify with the lead character so much! Well, unlike Peter Robinson, I haven’t worked for the government (thank god for that), I am not a poet and of course, I am not in Stanford. But emotionally I can empathize with him: for instance we are both trying to survive a sadistic system, where our aim in life has become “not to flunk”, we are both zombies trying hard to make sense of what goes on during the long lectures, but in vain and both of us suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome: i.e. we blame ourselves for everything that goes wrong. As Prantosh Sir said in his final lecture- we should learn to forgive ourselves and move on from our failures. Hence, I should ideally blame our OR faculty (and not myself) when I start crying after every lecture (post-OR depression)
I can’t believe we are almost through our first sem: we are done with most of the lectures (rather, they are done with us), companies have started visiting the campus for pre-summer placement talks and there is a flurry of GLs. It seems like yesterday when we had our first Marketing lecture and we were awed by Prantosh Sir. 3 months later, he gave his final speech, moving us to tears. I haven’t done justice to his teaching in terms of my FCQs, but he has humbly portrayed marketing as a “beautiful subject”. Time to open that big fat Bible of marketing- as he fondly refers to it as “Reltok”!

Saturday, September 1, 2007


1. Thou shall sleep during lectures.
2. Thou shall curse Sweety Stores everyday, and yet buy stuff from it at exorbitant prices.
3. Thou shall not turn up for Vedanta lecture earlier than fifteen minutes before the end of lecture.
4. Thou shall be a “visionary” when it comes to FCQs, assignments and submissions.
5. Thou shall love (leer at) thy neighbour: SCIT/SIIB guys/ girls.
6. Thou shall not attempt to distinguish between different dishes in the mess.
7. Thou shall religiously contribute to the “SCMHRD Fine Collection” (read SCMHRD Extortion Fund) by breaking inane rules- dress code, mobile phones, OSHE lectures.
8. Thou shall not have more than 30% attendance for non-acads.
9. Thou shall (NOT) learn 4 foreign languages: French/ German/ Spanish/Chinese, Excel VBA, OR I, Statistics.
10. Thou shall have only one religion: PFAFFING and only one god: PRANTOSH!!!!