And Back…

For almost four months, I was out of action from blogging. Some attributed it to my marriage, some to my new job and rest were not just caring about it! Anyway I am back here on WordPress. Long time since I posted anything – probably had devoted enough time to Sups and her college life! Yeah, my wife’s doing her M.Tech ad yes I had to run around to do her assignments ;).. Joking! Anyway, had to get adjusted to the new work life. Yet to get into the groove. Still settling at work. Not back at full pace and would definitely change soon, Need M for Motivation ;).

There has been another problem that’s stopped me from getting back to work, its the lunches and dinners at the houses of a plethora of relatives. As of now, the count stands at some 30 odd and still have not covered even 25% of the list of invites. This might go on for another couple of years!

While I was off, many things happened. Anna’s innumerable fast. Kapil Sibals attempts to gag Internet. BSYs on and off mode in hitting out at BJP leaders in Karnataka! Wow, all for power. Little do people know how to manage with power. Congress has gone on a huge campaign in UP and has forgotten all the issues dogging this nation, soon wish there is a change of power into good hands! Anyway all this will come up soon with much details!

Have had a few road trips across the state. Bangalore-Mysore-Shimoga-Hassan and now planning one this week to Kukke Subhramanya-Coorg-Dubare and then the week after to Mangalore for Prasanna’s wedding and then to Sagara for Srini’s wedding! Had stayed at Infy Mysore campus as well last week post-work. Now that was a treatment meted out to a king! Was sad that I stayed back at campus being hardly a kilometer or two away from home, but still for the sheer greatness of that place, it was worth being put up for one night! Was a wonderful stay and yes hoping to work from there some day!

Anna Hazare Movement

Its been hardly over a week since Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption has paused. He has partly succeeded in getting five ‘Civilians’ on board and yes probably the friends from the neighboring state are also happy that he has got their bete noire Sharad Pawar ousted from the same panel. I probably remained one of the few who did not like or share an Anna Hazre link on facebook nor did I join any anti-corruption rallies organized by many – Yeah there were too many claimants!

I respect the new committe that has been formed, as much as any denizen of my country would do. Probably to a large extent even agree that such a movement was necessary to curb corruption. But having a body to curb corruption – will it really work. We haver Lokayukta in Karnataka, with little power, I am honestly not sure if he would be able to do justice to his role. The politicians control him or his machinery and well, the rest is history. So why have a body for corruption and why not plug corruption at the roots! Mr. Anna Hazare, you did a great thing by creating this movement, but I think it can also be used to educate people how they themselves can stop aiding corruption which to a large extent has not been done or has not been followed. Lets agree to the fact that we are living as of now, in a country where corruption starts at grassroot level and probably ends beyond the top line – yeah god believers think even god is corrupt ;).

Sadly one thing I observed in both in the virtual and real world is that there is no strength that can be defined for this movement within the heart. The same time when Anna was fasting, me and Neel were meeting a group of to-be MBA’s and well right opposite to Blue Star in Koramangala, Bangalore, – I saw a youth bribe a traffic policeman! And yes, worst come home and log in, you see the person who copied the most in the exams, like the anti-corruption movement link. – Thats the world baby!

For all the people who liked the f-b messages on Anna Hazare’s movement, for all those who shared the messages, for those who posted that they even went to Jantar Mantar (hope they just did not stop at the website and claimed to have visited virtually!) – have you NEVER paid a bribe, have you NEVER aided corruption, have you EVER stopped someone from trying to be corrupt? Will you EVER not pay a bribe henceforth and stand against corruption weather Anna Hazare stands by it or not? – I think only if someone has sanity to say Yes to all these, then they can claim to be a true anti-corruption leader. Good that the rest are changing shades, and I hope they do stand by what they have pledged and it never ended the week the movement ended.

Nothingness… and Etios!

For the past two weeks, except seeking a glimpse of my StudMats, I have not done anything great. In fact I have started reconnecting with my lost friends PERSONALLY – Yeah all you facebook addicts, PERSONALLY :). But more or less, have not achieved anything credible with the one odd month of resting period I have post MBA, before I probably head for a non-IT, Strategy role in an IT firm!

The weeks have had trips to Bangalore, BIAL, frequent visits to Chamundi Hills – one planned for tomorrow as well, and yes attended the marriage of my classmate Harish KL and met a bunch of people who I had not seen for almost a year. The best part of  the week has been my test drive of the Toyota Etios!

Me and Abhi just headed to the Palace Toyota showroom and well, boom – for that price, honestly I had not expected such a decent car. Amazing steering, amazing legroom and the bootspace that can probably hold a Cessna aircraft broken down! Except for the digital fuel guage, which needed magnifying glasses from a distance to see, I did not see much of an issue with the car. A perfect Sedan for starters. I may go for it. The only bad part I felt ’bout the car was the plastics, looked low on quality. That apart its true Toyota Class. Had read cases about Toyota in B-School and well had a 20 hour Japanese and Germal selling program as well, but today experienced the Toyota class at the wheel personally again. Cheers.

Closing these notes about nothing as I head to watch another few episodes of How I Met Your Mother! Next notes on – Is what Anna Hazare talking really practical and are his supporters really flawless?

Bee School Chronicles – Part Trois (III) – AfterLife

If you have missed the earlier parts, here are the links:

Bee School Chronicles…. Part I http://wp.me/pCXKH-6f

Bee School Chronicles… Part 2 http://wp.me/pCXKH-6I

Another Journey Ends: http://wp.me/pCXKH-6U

________________

The past two weeks has been a life of mixed feelings. Have seen emotions run high. An exit from another home – which had been my abode for nearly a year was tough, given the people I met over there. Three Hundred in the midst of pristine forests, beside a sprawling Bay of Bengal near an Atomic Center was a life to cherish than living in a city with over a Million who do not care who you are. But again, home is always a better place to live with Great friends and relatives looking forward for your return. My return has been decently full of activities. Had a bike rike to Bangalore, an aimless evening on Chamundi Hills with Ajay, Abhi and Abhi, A gastronomic tour of Traditional Bangalore with Narla, RP and Rakesh and of course the lovely lazy Mysore!

Catching up from where I left. Term 6 was very innovative in terms of Learning. I had hardly expected a Prof. to run in wearing a Bandana to the class. That is what exactly Mr. Ratan KK of the GutsGo fame did. He was at it again! He taught his subject with great enthusiasm. He always used to repeat, Lets Be at It… and yes he practised it hard. He was at it always. Hope to cross roads with him again.

For all reasons that Mr. Cherian would disagree, I was happy with Term 7. I probably had found someone who had the same affinity towards Lotus as me! A saffronised three hour journey on Day 1 of the International Business Strategty forced one of the most ardent communists to rethink his stance on the left and the so called centrists who have screwed up our nation since independence! The 21 hours of scintillating lectures on International Business left us dumbstruck and had a great end to Great Lakes. Closed my Term and Life at Great Lakes (academic), with a Mandarin exam. Well even after that, just to show my affinity to French than Mandarin, as a language, I had to replace III with Trois int he heading of this post :).

I had made Itchy, Patchy mentions on placements at Great Lakes. I had not had a great season and looked like that came to an end. Got a decent offer on campus and picked it up. Where when how…. Wait n See. Of course, may not be the career I wanted to be in, but good enough.

Life at Great Lakes, was starry and scarry! The batch celebrated Holi in an Unholy way, the white walls looked pink, red, blue, green, yellow, orange aaah… name a color. And the result, better untold – my purse still wonders where the money was lost. With the world cup fever on, most important matches were screened at Great Lakes and I witnessed the India vs Pakistan semi-final with a near 300 crowd in the Great Halls of Great Lakes. Slowly people started moving out of the campus and a few cried, a few supressed tears. Karthik, Shanup etc… ensured they saw every one off the campus and then bid goodbye. I took a last minute decision as well and left on the first of April 2011 seen off by my best mates with a heavy heart. Not always do you love a place, but you definitely love the pepole in the place.

We have done different things at Great Lakes, probably we have etched our first business plan out of nowhere – Waniben, Somu, Siva and Cherian would probably agree. Met one of the best mentors in the process, from NEN. Yeah B School helps you chart a path for your life if not anything else!

The nature of your stay in the B School is that it will definitely have many lose ends to the tale. (I second Mr. Robinson when he quotes this). You will have 296 different stories about Great Lakes to hear from 296 different Gladiators. Life still moves on. For me, B-School has been an experience that can never be forgotten, for the knowledge gained, for the people….. all at a home away from home.

Closing my posts on Great Lakes with a few who would probably be etched in my memories forever!

1. Binoy/ Midhu, Megha, Iman, Krish – My great Study Group (I think we used to ensure that we stay together whenever possible even after the bonds of Term 1-3 were broken)

1A: Mr. Mukherjee – for all your Guts and Glory :).

2. Karthik Rajagopal *Just Karthik is too common a name!/ Sivaraman – Happy go lucky blokes (I take this back for Siva), Siva – the actual playboy of Great Lakes

3. Sharath Narla – Well, we shared common insights!

4. Puneet Singh – Everyone were preached LIP, he practised it!

5. Narendran – The daily dose of news (real news, not gossip)

6. Mr Aadhar Verma – Cynical, but practical (hmm…..)

7. Somnath/ Waniben – The Spliced adventure!

8. Bhat’s and the Pai’s – Cool, calm and composed!

9. Shiva/ Falguni – The Anupuram Walks

10. Mestha/ Chadha/ Vidhya – For all those IMC days!

11. Jr. Cherian – Alex – If nothing but Mysore and those stunning red Chaddis!

12. Ms. TK – For writing those five additional exams over the last few days. No one cried while they left the campus, but we had caught TK crying for having to write those exams.

13. Gandhi/ Sinha/ Lakhanpal – For all useless things 🙂 – Shanky catch you online buddy! and yes for the Pine Apple – never thought that could be a name when I heard it first.

14. Mrs. Sharmas and Ms Aggarwalas – For their intellectual capabilities and the former for sheer power to even push Mr. Mukherjee off a cliff with one hand.

15. The Menons – Rajiv and Rahul – One a finance geek another a no nonsense adcommer 🙂

16. The Peers – Calm, composed Mr. Shanup, who probably even the most irritating character cannot irritate

17. The Machcha – Mr. Keerthi Ashokkumar, who claimed to be the playboy of the batch on fb, and still owes treat or a lunch to a gal from Mumbai and another from a scary place starting with Muzaffar….

18. Nerur, The Vaidyanathans, Rakesh Singh, Ratan, Rau and his team – the visiting faculty who impressed the very second they spoke.

19. The Swamis, The Srirams, The Venkat, The Bala’s, The Veeravallis: Immortalized names in the lives of Great Lakers

The list goes on, but I stop here as a great lunch is calling me down.

We graduate on the 28th, with Mr. Premji slated to come along with the daughter of NTR whose name I do not remember and is a minister now with the Union Government. For further updates on me or my batchmates, mail back or stay in touch or check this blog, probably a few years, ten years, twenty years downt he line. (Yeah, I dont believe that the world will come to an end in 2012!)

From now starts another life of anxiety and uncertainity. Business School is not an easy way to riches or career changes. Not sure if more than 10% of my class has been able to make basic changes in their professional lives, if they ever thought they would make. The relations developed at Great Lakes is definitey a future economic benefit. Great Lakes has given us the contacts, its upto us to use them. Great Lakes has definitely made us smarter, tougher – We can always think – I made it thorugh Great Lakes, I can definitely make it through this! in times of any difficulties.

CONCLUDED

Another Journey Ends…

Some great man once said, its the journey that matters, not the destination. True to the core, another short but sweet journey comes to an end in another two days. Formal academic processes are done and I would be moving out of the campus soon. The nostalgia is sinking in. I see people who decided to leave early move, one by one e-Mails are trickling in bidding goodbye to the family of Great Lakers who were a part of the life for over a year now.

Most evenings are booked in the nearby restaurants for farewell dinners of the groups that were formed/ we were a part of. A few of my colleagues like Keerthi, convinced us to visit the Karmayoga village – Neikuppi to bid goodbye and set a base for the next batch to interact with them. Worthy it was.

Signing off from KarmaYoga at Neikuppi

Signing off from KarmaYoga at Neikuppi

Even now, I do not know where the sleep has run away! (On an honest note, seeing India bat, I had slept across the first innings of today’s match). But before the match, me, Keerthi, Puneet and Ravi made a point to go the village meet the school kids – bid a warm goodbye and head back to Great Lakes. The highly talked about India – Pak match also turned out to be exciting in the second half and my only hope now – India must win this world cup for one man – Sachin Tendulkar (MSD are you listening?). Today’s match was screened in the Great Halls of Great Lakes and almost the entire batch turned up without any force ;).

It has been a great year and I would like to quote Peter Robinson from Snapshots from Hell… (Lil’ modified)

“By the third week of Term 1, business school had succeeded in afflicting me with variations of the Stockholm Syndrome, named after the incident in which a hostage in a stockholm Bank Robbery fell in love with one of her captors.” [ Peter Robinson in ” Snapshots from Hell : The making of an MBA “]

Every one I am sure has fallen in love with this remote place and how much ever experience he or she has, has enjoyed being a student again for an year. Will miss the faculty, colleagues, life at Great Lakes. Our batch was called the Gladiators and Great Lakes shall remain the Colosseum where we fought and won… I salute every classmate of mine and close this post dedicating this article to my fellow group mates who spent quite a lot of energy in ensuring that we will be up to speed in our work… An ode to the group H3 G7.


Bee School Chronicles… Part 2

[Honest note: Things have changed after writing this article. This must be the third edition after censorship was imposed by quite a few of my friends and exclusive readers of this blog!]

Interestingly, the final version of this article is an outcome of a boring cricket match. I came down to Mysore hoping to see at least one India match on my Panasonic Viera, this world cup and well… ended up watching this till-now boring India-Ireland tie just under a hundred miles away at the Chinnaswamy. In the earlier post BSC1, had mostly covered how I joined Great Lakes and the first few I met over there. Without much fuss in Part II, I would cover the life over the next few terms before we head for a closure of the series sometime in Mid-April. The past two weeks, I have been walking a couple of people around the campus and the sad part, the first question they want to hear about mostly is where will we be placed! Not sure if my batchmates thought so as well. I feel the first question must focus on, I target this, if I need to be there, how will I achieve it. I may not be the right person to comment so given that I am still hunting for the two of my dream profiles, which seem to drift away every time they are near me! In the next few terms at Great Lakes, I saw many such people who did not know where to go, what to do in the long term, will the current profile suit them in the long term, whether, they would suit the organization they join – To me, these mattered more than just a job – My advice to the many who seek (Yeah… sometimes even I give free advice, just like everyone ;)), is that do not focus on a job focus on a career. There is quite a lot of difference between just a job and a career!

Era 2 (IGL – In Great Lakes)

The fun about a one year MBA is that you ‘have no time to think about anything and you have time to think about everything!’. My next ten months at Great Lakes were focused mostly on the lessons from each of the professors who threw light on the various career options subtly in their classes. It was upto us to pick up the cues and some did. Term one ended, Our dean had left and we were receiving his weekly mailers from NorthBrook, which remains a unique characteristic of Great Lakes. He was due to come back and teach us Managerial Accouting. Prof. Surysekar, being the doyen of Financial Accounting, had thwarted away my questions on Budgeting a few days earlier telling that it must be Prof. Bala who will teach you this and I do not want to take away the credits. I was wondering why!

Many took a break after Term 1. A few traveled as far as Mumbai leaving us, who stayed back to complete and submit the assignments on their behalf! Favors were returned back – not to worry! Before we could realize the classes had started. The stories of the terms were spicy, bland, sweet and yeah any other flavor you can think of. Karthik, my dear friend had ensured he will catch a seat for us in every class (more like a bus reservation), depending upon how interesting the class would be. We were assigned desks in some of the classes, but for the rest, we used to ensure that Maama – Krish, would sleep at peace. God knows what he was upto, he even ended up sleeping in the Dean’s class! But the moment he woke up, he would add some value and sleep back again.

Term 2 was lull and boring. Had an array of finance subjects and classes running almost 10-12 hours sometimes. Had the toughest exam of my life in Term 2. For a fact, I did not understand how Faculty Assistants were allocated, we had one of the most incompetent assistant for the most competent faculty (that happens even now!). Some subjects were a cakewalk. There were subjects on IT, Human Resources etc… but to rate the best subject of the Term, it was Macro Economics, taken by Dr. Rakesh Singh. He was dreaded before he landed in Great Lakes and when he left, he was the most adored one. The term also had the announcement of our new Career Services director, who would go on to become one of the most closest to students of Great Lakes in the coming days. He stayed on campus and was easily accessible for any queries 24/7. I think we had our Managerial Accounting classes this term as well and if I am not wrong, they were taken my Krish (whenever he did not sleep), Prannay and Priyanka.

Out of nowhere came Term 3, it was more or less the biggest brush with knowledge. Some subjects were repetitive, Management Information Systems and Statistics. Again, there was a grind of an Empirical Research going on – Just wondered, if I had touched upon so much Statistics even in Engineering! People always have problems and I realized that – Students had a problem with the way everything functioned, and Management had a problem with the way, the students functioned. The sufferers of wrong-regulations always suffered.

Term 3, was one of the most valuable terms in terms of knowledge. I had some fascinating subjects which laid the base for my future. Most people considered Strategy to be a little overboard (Yesterday, Mr. Haider even told me on the Wharf of the Temple Bay, that the way I explained something to him, I must be a Strategy major – Oh Comeon!), but well the basics that subject laid combined with a subject that would come in Term 7 was probably something no corporate should miss! Above all, we were probably being taught by one of the most experienced faculty in the domain. Jack Welch ruled. In fact, I re-started reading Jack – Straight from the Gut, right after my Strategy Classes. Every corporate house from Pepsi to Disney to GE were covered with the BCG’s – McKinseys and Porter’s model not giving a miss in a single class! Then we had Negotiations, by far one of the most practical subjects taught in the most practical way. Ahalya, Amol and Myself were involved in ‘pucca maaru’ types negotiations, sometimes without realizing who was creating value for whom! At end of the course one statement stood out – ‘Hold your bladders!’. The course also had one of the best movies I have seen in Great Lakes screened – The Negotiator. By the end of the course, we had Deepak Chopra’s amazing guide and had negotiated products ranging from a second hand Maruti car to a big Real Estate option.

We had Management Information Systems as well. Though it was a repeated course, for most of us from Technology, the Professor – Sridhar Nerur, added lots of value and gave tons of information on research and how to conduct research and the practicality of the research. We had a repetitive Quantitative Analysis subject and of course not to forget the first Operations Management subject covered by the coveted ‘Showman’ Vaidy Jayaraman. His classes were amusing and informative at the same time. One thing for sure, it was again one of the most enjoyable courses.

The term also introduced us to Market Research, the famous punchline of – ‘Close your Laptops’ was born. As one of my colleagues in one of his earlier mails to the class had mentioned, just to hear Prof. Bhardwaj make this statement, people used to keep the laptops open! It was fun enjoyable and well SPSS (the IBM product, not the nicknames!) was put to the best use in this class. Most of my batchmates ended up doing surveys standing in front of jewellery shops, being chased away by security guards etc… while we chose a path less traveled as usual… pitching in to study the response for the Supreme Court’s law on Article 371!

Last but not the least, we had the most soft spoken and doyen of Organizational Behavior, Prof Irudayaraj from XLRI come down to Great Lakes this term. His OB classes lasted just over an hour or so, but was attended with great respect and patience. He kind of had a fan club of his own, by the time he left the campus. The end of the term was however sad, Prof. Xavier had moved over to IIM Ranchi as its director and had left not only a vacant position in the organization but also in the hearts of many Gladiators. It took some time for the news to sink in.

The Big Bang happened – We moved to Term 4, we had to choose our own electives. My God! Calm down, nothing happened, but I was overawed by the confusion that reigned over choosing the electives! My list was clear, if you wanted to go and do something, you know what to pick – unless that subject was scrapped and you were confused! So big was the confusion that alumni came down to the campus and the Career club had got down people from IIM-C Alumni association to guide us! Cool though, got to interact with quite a few people, though the meets were of little help for me in choosing my electives.

Term 4, by far remains the best in terms of my academic performance as well as interests. The term started off with the much hyped ‘Leadership Influence and Power’ course. The course needs no introduction to Great Lakers and yeah I had written an SOP to get selected to that course. The course lived up to the hype and I will not disclose the course contents abiding by its bylaws. Dr. Venkat ensured that each of us think practically and bring out the best in the class. I am sure that the entire set of 55, who completed the course, did not miss even a single pre-read and are honored to have studied under him. For those who had not picked the course, the fact that we used to stick to our rooms and study was a problem – ‘LIP waalo… Baahar Aaaao Saalo’ had become a synonymous cry everyday in the hostels. We even completed a 35 hour Karma Yoga and authored a whitepaper for this course on our Leadership experiences in a nearby village called Neikuppi – with Mr. Keerthi Ashokkumar, who called himself the Playboy of Great Lakes. Of course, at the fag end, we even got together at the Radissons Temple Bay, for a casual interaction.

The term also had more practical subjects like Brand Management. Even to-date, when I met folks from Vertebrand or did their internships, one of the major savior was Prof. Swami’s Brand Management slides. On the car to Chennai, every time I would have a dose of his slides and how to practically build a brand thoughts run through my mind. Some words like DIODVAC, The four Who, What, What About, What About You and Me???….. questions will probably be etched in the memories of several who picked this course. Coupled with this was the Integrated Marketing Communications program run by Mr. Jayraj Rau and co at Great Lakes. The ex-JWT team descended on our campus and gave us insights on Marketing Communications, PR, Creativity, Media Planning. We too ended up created an advert for a diaper.

Apart from that Iman conferred upon me the award of being the most autocratic person he met :). Thanks for my guidelines for the never ending Project Management assignments. We had done a marriage plan using Microsoft Project Planner (which was supposed to be used for Iman’s marriage) and yes of course had started the steps to prepare for the PMP exam completing the necessary course hours! Supply Chain Modeling and Analysis missed out a major part. Did not like that subject that much!

‘What do you do selling saboon and shampoo????’ – Its a different era and you need to sell different things differently! Understand – ‘Whom to pursue, How to convert’ – Many of the questions raised in between innumerable graphs that were drawn and quadrants that represented so many unknown things! Yeah Distribution and Sales Management had a 100 page book, but the way Prof. V K Murti covered it, it was like expanding the 100 odd pages in Ram Charan’s – What the CEO wants you to know to some 1000 odd! Again, another great subject, professor and read, got over just within 20 hours :(! Meanwhile there were issues here and there, some had issues with food, with scores, with contests and what not, but well with so much knowledge around and a stupid fly that had entered my room, to be driven out, I did not bother!

Aaahh… I had almost forgotten! I must have mentioned that I had picked up Admissions team to serve Great Lakes as a part of my way to give something to the college. We had a photo shoot to shoot the campus from different angles and well, things did not go well with me. At this point, I stepped out of mainstream activities and enjoyed playing the second fiddle by being a campus tour guide ;). Later I realized that not everyone are the same and well, people are thoughtless and never look at the greater good of doing something. No – I am not heading towards altruism.

Meanwhile, Prof. Swami, me and Binoy had picked up a situation with one of a Healthcare major in Chennai and had come up with a case for them to expand into a hub and spoke. More or less, we had covered what they were upto now and what their offerings were leaving the case open at that point.

Term five sunk in. The highlight – T. N. Sheshan, former Chief Election Commissioner India and Shri N Vittal, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner. They taught Ethics at Great Lakes and no two better people to hear about ethics from. Good 20 hours. People like my friend Puneet, used the occasion to increase their political clout. The rest of us listened to the stories doled out by Mr. Sheshan and Mr. Vittal. Had yet another boring subject called Ramayana, Bhagwadgita and Management – Honestly one the courses that I sat through with no use. Talk of to-be-leaders? 🙂 – There are quite a few people who had a mention here, for now, respecting my reviewer’s intent, I leave this space ‘blank’.

Life continued with many subjects – Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial Statements Analysis, Enterprise Resource Planning (I gave a presentation on MS Dynamics ERP here!), New Product Development – which I thought was a perfect example of how to ask people to do a PhD program. No pun intended, but yeah that’s what it was. Pricing Strategies was an enjoyable subject but my dear friend Mr. Binoy ended the course on a high quoting that Toyota Fortuner did not need brakes! Yeah! Our dean took another course in Term 5, called Strategic Cost and Profitability Management.

Below comic (Source: PHD Comics) would add some spice to the New Product’s course I had picked this term!

 

Do You Wanna Do a PhD?

 

The war had begun in Term 5, yeah I had not covered the placement season without which probably the whole of Term 5 would have been boring and without entertainment for me. I was waiting for the right role, location etc…. Okay, Great Lakes had two placement weeks for our batch and the week 1, we had top class firms come in on Day 1 and Day 2. I had applied to only two of them and had ZERO shortlists or in Dr. Bala’s own terms Zilch :). Accenture and Infy were my only targets and the college had rejected my infy application given that I had submitted it Three minutes late (Thats the discipline in Great Lakes and Yes, I RESPECT it). Yeah Three… You always thought Three and its multiples were lucky??? So there I was with zero calls, zero interviews after five days of placements and lifting my hand every time Dr. Bala asked who is yet to be placed in the class! Somehow enjoyed it, though there was a concern in mind, I never had thought the college would need to be a placement agency for me. It is not! Somehow enjoyed this situation.

So Term 5 ended without much ado for me where as celebrations had started and continues for many Gladiators. Vidhya had got through HCL, Karthik, me, Binoy, Iman, were still looking around. Sharath had settled at home ground for Infy. But by far the most deserving candidate was Indraneel. He put in his effort, took the right channels and made it through his dream job at Great Lakes, a well deserved one.

Another placement week came by. Again just one shortlist and well dinged in the interview! Shocked. Had a long chat with my Prof. He too was unable to understand the psychology behind hiring. An excellent interview, a matching profile, still what do the firms want! Binoy got through Accenture this time around

There was also a rumor on campus, if you own a Mac, you do not get a job. Nitin Pahuja, broke the rule last week. Hehe – yeah some soothsayer made this statement and all the MUGs – Mac User Group Members want to prove it wrong.

Term Six went by as well. A highly obnoxious gaseous subject called Technology Management passed by. We presented a notorious presentation on Human Augmentation. Still not able to link this subject to the course! Had e-Marketing. Mr Ratan KK from GutsGo walked us through the Digital Marketing techniques in his 20 hour program which was cool, nice and different. Was probably the only one in the Digital Marketing class who at that point of time, did not have an account on facebook!

Not always will their be a good pair. I did not attend any marriages recently, the comment is unnecessary in that perspective. I always felt that the most inappropriate Teaching Associate is tagged with the Most Appropriate faculty and it happened again. I would not take names here :). Yeah but well since I picked the marriage tag here, I missed quite a few marriages – Thyagi/Rekha, Vignesh, Savitha, Archana, Dhana(?????), Sneha – Sorry folks and yes a few relatives’ as well (this part I am glad to have missed).

I began my journey in Term 3 with Strategy and would probably be ending my journey in Great Lakes studying strategy! We had a great professor teach us the Economics of Strategy. Every concept that Prof. Sriram had touched upon in Term 3, was discussed in much more details with Great cases to follow. Live day to day examples were covered and we enjoyed the classes! Whoever suggested Dr. Suresh Srinivasan, hats off!

‘Ni Hao’, ‘Ni Shenti Hao ma’ – When you probably entered an ancient Gurukul, you would hear Mantras being chanted to appease the gods. Come to Great Lakes, you will hear such un-understandable mantras. Naah.. We are learning Mandarin. And yeah it sounds no less than one of those hymns you would sing. I have given three tests till now in Mandarin and yeah to a large extent have learnt quite a few words to survive in case I land in the Middle Kingdom.

Its hardly over a week to vacate this cozy G3J numbered room of mine. The AC is still running at 19Degrees. But the nostalgia is yet to set in fully. Someone all of  a sudden still sings the old Kishore songs in the midnight while I curse, nudge my Rug back and sleep. My last subject is over as well and it was Damn Damn Damn GOOD and Binoy/ Me/ Indraneel are acting as Tour Guides and answering every minute query that the Spartans who visit the campus have with the former and the latter even extending their presence to the Social Media forums. Puneet sends in the menu for next week and more or less I have decided to eat out unless I have a call scheduled. Have finished my internship as well with Vertebrand and had fun working with them.

As I close these snapshots, I still have a lot to share about the people, the place, the organization and yeah that all will conclude in the last part. There were several events as well at our own Great Lakes, several stalwarts visited us. But if I cover that here, there will be only Spice in the  last version. So Just wait… And Read on… For Now..

The Art(Science) of Learning a Language

Whew! Nowadays, I am sitting in language classes at Great Lakes! Yes, I have to learn Mandarin as a part of my curriculum and trust me this has been one of the hardest language classes I have sat through.

Back in the early days of my life, I honestly do not remember the way I learnt my mother tongue Kannada. It somehow seemed to come from the blood and has stayed there ever since. Be it grammar or the accent (all the three – Malenadu, Mangalooru and Uttarakannada bhaashe- apart form the Mysore side Kannada), I have no clue how I caught them up. Many people who try to learn the language feel its tough to read, write and understand, but well…. Even for me, I started following Kannada only after joining Marimallappa’s Institutions, one of the premier schools in Karanataka State. In fact, I had found it difficult to mingle with non-English speaking folks for the first few days when I joined this school, but when I left this school, I had forgotten the accent/ the slang I had learnt from CFTRI!

Then as I grew up, I got acclimatized with English. Somehow it went on and on, with schools having 1st Language English and 3rd Language as Kannada, I was able to gain a decent understanding and vocabulary of the knowledge. Learning came from books, billboards (At that time, most of the billboards were in English!!!) and many other sources including posters in railway compartments! CFTRI school, where I joined for primary education kind of added the necessary fuel to learn this language and more importantly use it until I joined Marimallappa’s.

One more language that added on to my list at CFTRI was Hindi! Being the national language, I picked it up as the II Language and somehow due to the impact of Doordarshan and amazing teachers, I had no issue in picking up the language to a large extent. But now, if the same teachers run me through a grammar test for the language, they are surely going to stop teaching Hindi!

As I moved  on to Marimallappa’s probably given the value system over there, I picked up Sanskrit as my first language. The school had its prayers in Sanskrit (Titled – Om Shri Gurubhyon Namah) and everyone prayed with folded hands, being from Teresian’s and CFTRI, it took me over three months to get adjusted to this style and  I still remember Shri N R Muralidhar, teaching Sanskrit in the most methodical, yet interesting way! From the basics of Ramaha Paatam Patathi to the most complicated samaasas and chandass somehow Dr. Muralidhar made it look like a cakewalk. I also owe my handwriting to him. My writing was like a hen’s leg, before he trained me in all three – Kannada, English and Devanagari scripts.

Then, there was a pause in the language learning process, though it continued with Sanskrit and English at pre-university levels, no major impacts. Meanwhile, I was almost forgetting a dialect which I was speaking at home called Sankethi – the language has no script, its only spoken. My mom’s family used to speak in that language and I somehow caught it and was speaking very fluently. Well but kind of stopped speaking it after sometime, regaining the lost tongue now.

During the final year of my Engineering, was jobless with only two days of classes. I used to work in Hewlett Packard for four days and under a special arrangement, used to attend classes on Friday/ Saturday in Mysore. Sunday used to go waste and me being me, did not wanna let go of this time. Alliance Francaise under the leadership of Mrs. Meenakshi Sukumaran had opened up a branch in Mysore and I registered for French classes with her. Superman Subramanya also came down for a class, but well did not go beyond the first class given his busy schedule! Took about a year or so to learn basic french, given that I used to attend classes only once a week. Even now, I am in the same state, with no one to converse in French – but somehow it remains a nugget in my collection of the jewels called language.

As I traveled to Scotland, thoughts of learning Galic had crossed my brain, but when my tour guide made me listen to the Scottish National Anthem – The flower of Scotland in Galic – I gave up! But got to know that Scots are striving hard to preserve Galic as hard as we are trying to preserve Sanskrit, the oldest language in India. In a similar way, Welsh, is being promoted in Wales.

And now, the reason for the blog. Of late, whether one wants or not, everyone in Great Lakes are learning Mandarin. In this jargonized world – to gain a Competitive Advantage, one has to learn the language of the country which has the maximum population in the world – China. Trust me, however the geo-political scenario might turn out to be, I pity the Chinese for having had to learn the language. Someone once said, the volume of data coming today every second apparently matches the volume of words used by New York Times a century ago over a year and that probably matches the number of characters in Mandarin. Well, with such a large character set, I really think, Chinese take at least half their life learning their own language! So tough is the language that our professor here has declared that she would be happy if we say Hello in Chinese and ask for ‘Ubhayakushlopari Sampratha’ in Chinese. I meant ask for the well-being (and that was in Kannada)!

If I can claim that I can understand something in Mandarin also, that would be my Seventh language. I am not counting the few words I know in Galic, Welsh as an extended vocabulary – I am not certified in them! And yes, even after trying to learn and still learning Seven Languages I am wondering what is the art or science of learning a Language? How does it happen? May be calls for some research.