Bee School Chronicles…. Part I


Finally I start writing an article that may come in three parts! There are still such other long articles pending in my blog’s private folio – My Bristol Days, My Life at Torry, Year by Year… With all due respect to the mentions in the blog, I would not be publishing them in the near future. But well, they will see light soon sometime by the end of this year – Waiting for some promises made before publishing data! Okay, enough of gas, now to start off on a journey, which started almost 10 months ago and now, is almost coming close to an end in another month or so! Across the post I would quote a few people and I hope they would not mind being quoted. The series of blogs go on from Before Great Lakes to A Little After Great Lakes, In Great Lakes and finally will close with Life in Great Lakes to Beyond Great Lakes, which I think may be sometime by the end of April. Though would be finishing my courses by the end of March, I graduate only in April, hence the delay. Will try to add some photos and videos to the blog as I move along – to ensure its not just plain text and boring!

Era I (BGL to ALBL – Before Great Lakes to A Little After Great Lakes)

It all started on the 3rd of February 2010, I had decided to move on to do my Masters, an offer from GMITE at IIMB, was not enough and I wanted to move on to do my Masters full time with applications going in to NUS, Nanyang, Singapore, ISB and well, with the very average GMAT score I had (honest)… was wondering where else to apply. Had ditched Said and Judge, given that they were financially out of bound short term. Queens was still on the horizon… But was unsure. Then, happened to call Ram HH, a close friend of mine (who passed out of Great Lakes – henceforth GL) and a few other ISB pass outs who asked me to consider Great Lakes, given that it was started by one of the famous gurus of accounting world. And there it was with constant prodding from Dhana, Harsha, Maddy, Ranga and well quite a few people, I decided to apply to Great Lakes. Two of my team members, one of them, the best team mate I had (need permission to quote name – a celebrity you see!) – also applied along with me. Ranga and Dhana offered to recommend me to Great Lakes, Vic had recommended me to ISB! God knows what all they had to write. And yes the application was complete. In spite of writing GMAT, I was dumb enough to even go and write GREAT, the school’s own exam. I don’t really know why I wrote it.

Dickenson Road, proved to be lucky again, I hopped on to the Great Lakes interview on 28th February at Royal Orchid Central, right next to the GMAT center run by Pearson in Bengaluru. Both me and my celebrity teammate had our interviews in the same session. It was a Sunday, empty roads greeted us. Thank god! Had a pleasant interview and well at that point of time, I had no clue who they were, but had ‘seen’ Prof. Veeravalli, Dr. Venkat R Krishnan and Mr. Easwar. Was one of the first few to be picked for the interview and had run into Prof. Veeravalli in the panel. Good show it was, but bad time as the one of previous days turned out to be the budget day and one more reason I got to hate the Congress Government.  A budget on the 26th of February! Come on. A few questions on work, budget, my city, Leadership, my onshore experience, Bristol and well it went on pretty well unlike my colleague who was questioned on 5Ps of marketing (What!!!), Pulse Modulation etc… Some questions were also on pro-kannada organizations and Bangalore turning out to be cosmopolitan and how it affected the life.

Came back home to Basavanagudi and drove to Mysore – bliss. Come 16th of March, I got an offer from Great Lakes. A personalized mailer from Prof. Swami and well I decided to jump on board. Bid goodbye to Torry Harris and as I have quoted earlier ended by longest association with any professional organization (Refer: https://amarharish.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/moving-out/). Quite a moment it was indeed – Nagesh and Ram were good people managers. I still cherish and miss the young and exuberant team that worked with me in Torry all along and Torry had made me meet a few great people along the journey. Headed home to work on some mandatory Finance and Statistics assignments. Had called Sunil Prasad, my ex-BU head. He had passed out of the IIMBs one year program and I wanted to know his take.

In between had a few Great Lakes Bangalore meets. Met Binoy, Indraneel, Sandy, Siva, Nidhi, Bala, Anish and a few more people over there. Turned out to be a cozy pack of people. Locations kept changing, but I was unhappy that most of the times, it was in Koramangala – damn, I had to travel such a long time!

The day arrived on April 26th, I took the morning KF to Chennai and landed up in Great Lakes City office. The experience was probably no less than a wizard riding to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express. Except that I was offered Sandwich on flight instead of the Chocolate tarts. It did take some time for me to realize that this flight was not the real Hogwarts, but just a journey to Kings Cross! Hehe….

At Great Lakes office, we registered ourselves in and piled in our luggage for the luggage truck. Prof. Swami gave the welcome speech, I think I had to hear it thrice – New batches of people coming in and the same instructions to almost every one. There were some anxious parents (I wondered was I joining a kindergarten!), there were a few like us who preferred to stay away from home for a year (well that never happens, food beckons…). Finally came the real journey. We were supposed to travel along the scenic ECR (Eh????!!!), to the Great Lakes campus. Well we were loaded on to buses, not so cozy, but good. So there chugged off our Hug-Warts express. We were given a cozy welcome at Great Lakes, with Nimbu paani and some junk session (I still do not know what it was for! It was definitely not socializing – just a meeting for some ‘I liked beer last year, you like beer too…’ folks!). Attended the convocation of my previous batch, with Mr. Narayana Murthy gracing the occasion (Refer: https://amarharish.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/sleepless-but-enjoying/). Then after 2 days of nothing started the rigorous one-year program.

The start of the program, was with an academy called ELSA. The program resembled the Pegasus program I had been to with Torry Harris, but was in the Great Lakes campus itself. This actually opened up avenues with socialization. Met a few great people like Mr. Hilarious Haider in my so called Red Banded group. Latecomers were made to dance, but if Ravindra is reading this blog, nothing can beat the dance he did for turning up late in Pegasus!!! Had a trek on a nearby hill – blindfolded – Waaahh! At this point of time, still groups were getting formed and well I was wondering where I fit in – I was not a beer drinker! I was not a great dance enthusiast 🙂 Well later I found my own set to hang out with. Not to worry (May be the next part will get this in detail). The ELSA sessions were good, and ended with a mega cultural evening and a Salsa dance session (Thank god! No one has videos of probably me dancing!). At the end of the session a few people like one of my friend Shivesh here had created a niche for themselves for their style and class.

For three days, I did not know who my neighbors were or probably just had met them along and had not even remembered their names. But now, all four of us, in this corner have probably become inseparable parts of our day to day lives! Sharath, a Mangalorean, who studied in Mysore, who brings in cheer whenever around! Imon, a Delhi brought up, Karnataka educated bong and last but not the least Maama a.k.a Krish, well…. I have no words for him, a true Palakkad Iyer who has lost his identity and claims to be from Maharashtra, Kerala, TN and nowadays even AP! He is sometimes a lawyer and sometimes an accountant and respects his grand dad to the core! And of course me – well few feel, I wield a whip to enforce disciple… hehe… More added on as the block opposite to our Block 3A got constructed.

The next day, we had an introduction to faculty with Prof. Swami taking the lead. Prof. Sriram and Prof. Xavier (who has now moved on to IIM Ranchi as its director) had sessions for themselves doling out Dumbledore like instructions. Lake Veeranam and Lake Manasarovar turned out to be the Great Hall of Hogwarts for Great Lakes. Our dean, Dr. Bala addressed us as a class and opened up an array of promises. Meanwhile people started enrolling themselves in various committees, we being a student run organization and I gave my interviews and SOPs for Branding and Public Relations Committee and Admissions Committee for the next batch. For just one reason that Admissions selected me before Branding, I ventured in there and well the whole idea of giving back to the college did not seem to work out for me. The whole campus was abuzz with activities and everyone seemed to be in one or the other committee contributing to college work! Meanwhile one of my friends, Naren, had taken up the task of ensuring all of us subscribe to the dailies and stay abreast with information. I subscribed to The Mint, since I had online accounts of almost every other paper!

Classes started, with Marketing, Prof. Swami delivered his lectures in his own style. He started off with his caricature, explaining his background and probably over the course of the next seven weeks ensured we touched every aspect of marketing, every page of Kotler and some pages of Keller through his own slides and a set of cases to read for every class. As far as I remember, this was one of the subjects where we stayed up late nights in the Amphitheater, Bistro, rooms churning out presentations after presentations and to date what I rate as the best presentation we put forth in Great Lakes, stands to be he Marketing project which we did. All five of us, Binoy, Megha, Krish (mama), Imon and me, put in our heart and soul into the project. Binoy’s wife Midhu, a great friend of all of us, tried helping us ensuring that her husband is awake beyond his working hours which close at 10.

Slowly other subjects started, Mircoeconomics, with Prof. Shanti, Intelligently Interacting with Others, which was dreaded to the core, with Dr. Venkat and Dr. Zubin from TISS – which introduced us to Karma Yoga and Group Processes. I still feel that the small book on Vivekananda’s speeches with the same name was the toughest to read and comprehend! Statistics with Prof. Viswanathan and Business Communication with Prof. Lalitha Maheshwaran added on to the list. One course that just dropped in, went past without much ado, but had the maximum impact was Financial Accounting. So good it was and by far was taught by the best professor in Finance I have met in Great Lakes, Prof. Surysekar from Miami. He made Accounting look as simple as a cakewalk. Plus we had Rajveer, who was one of the most efficient lecturers helping us out in the back end to understand the basics!

As term 1 neared an end, we all had got acclimatized with the environment. Our group of 10, with Me, Binoy, Megha, Iman, Krish, Mani, Gouri, Rishi, Shanup and one of the Lehmann Brother – Sriram, had ventured out on to a village to help them out and empower them. Little did we know we would end up exploring every nook and corner of that village called Nerumbur when eight of us walked out of that place after the next three months! Nerumbur markets resembled the Diagon Alley. Normally people went out to our very own Hogsmead – Anupuram, Mahabalipuram and Kalpakkam as well to have a time out. In all Gladiators, as we were called were having a great time, little aware of the oncoming storm.

Term 1 ended with much ado, people went home – given their home sickness. I am too old to remember whether I did. I think I did not :).

I had befriended quite a few more people, a few who made a lot of difference later on – Karthik, Siva, Rout, Shiva, Indraneel, Sneha, Chadha, Vasajit, Vidhya, Prannay – the kid wizard, Venkat (RV), Keerthi (who gained enlightenment in his second Karmayoga stint with me and Binoy during Leadership Influence and Power course!) just to mention a few and yes the list is endless (will grow in my next blog). Tried to find a few people who could speak my mother tongue so that we could curse with no one understanding what we said – apart from me and Sharath, found Alex, from namma Mysooru, Bhattaru and of course CFA, his holyness Shri Rakesh Mamdapur from Gulbarga. More on the people at Great Lakes in the next part.

Next Version: The stories from Term 2 to Term 6 at Great Lakes. Changing tides. The courses, The curses. The Dean. The Placements. The Careerpath.

H3 GL

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About amarharish
Was working as a Consultant for Five Years. Moved on to pursue a Masters in Management at Great Lakes, Chennai. Interests include Hi Tech, Brands, Quizzing, Leadership to name a few!

7 Responses to Bee School Chronicles…. Part I

  1. Nidhi says:

    Nice read Amar..such fine details… I too went back to the days when everything was so new..

  2. Shiva says:

    Loved every word of the post!

  3. Vishal Mantri says:

    Nice account of the life . .
    Words forced me to look back the memory lane !!

  4. Sowmya says:

    Loved it! Waiting for part-2!

  5. Pingback: Bee School Chronicles… Part 2 « Life… As It Is…

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