Blaming Political Instability

Sunday’s Economic Time’s carries an article on the downard trend of the Karnataka State’s GDP. What leaves me wondering is, the GDP of the state has grown up from the figure’s they themselves have shown in the exhibits, it looks like the economy has actually taken a U turn. Agree that from a 10+ GDP it came down to six, but over the last two years, it has again gone up to 8.6. And, yes ET calls it due to political instability. What about the financial crisis in between?

May be a part of it is due to the political instability, but however conducive the government is trying to make the atmosphere why are the opposition ruining the chances of the state. The flowers of Karnataka’s success bloomed during SM Krishna’s tenure, however while the Governemnt had planned to target other grown Tier-2 cities as the next IT/ Bio destinations, the father-son duo in between changed the landscape.

I remember having read an article which promoted Ram Nagar near Bangalore as an Investment destination. With almost zero infrastructure, who would go there? Was this done to serve the political ambitions of a few? If it is so, the state’s loss has been other states’ gains. If someone has blocked a pre-planned agenda, to get their plans actioned, probably that cannot be termed as political instability.

Mohandas Pai has rightly quoted that “There is a big disconnect between potential and actual action… this gap has only widened.” So how can someone blame political instability as the reason for this GDP fall and how can one ignore the now rising GDP again?

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The Two States

It has been really interesting to follow the news channels over the past week. While AFAQs quoted dipping figures on the News channels due to the Breaking News not being so well accepted by audience and what I would call as the local channel menace (I still think TV9/ Suvarna should change their style of reporting than sensationalization), the same report would probably have changed given the US Army’s capturing of the most dreaded man in the world.

While his capture may have made many feel happy, the location might have come as a surprise for many. India for instance has been stressing that the neighboring country has been harboring the most wanted men for long. But probably the statements were not deemed trustworthy and here it is! How he found his abode there and why it always happens in that country, I would probably cite the reason of the country being a failed state.

Historically, Pakistan was created to satisfy the ego of Jinnah, who proclaimed himself to be their sole leader, whereas India elected Nehru rather democratically (Hmm…. ). The intention of the two nations two has been different. While Indias focus has been on growth and good external relations, for Pakistan it has been just the mud slinging with India or just proving its military might over Kashmir. The focus of the leadership of the two nations have been different as well. The same can be observed if you just browse through the history of the leaders and their action within and beyon the two countries. A larger debate on this needs much more introspection and I am actually working towards collecting some literature on this stuff.

So I leave this post with this question. Is it the quality of the leaders who have ruled the two states that have created such a difference in the nations that were created out of the undivided India? My take – Yes.

Btw, Thanks to Sameer, my post on Great Lakes got published in MBA Crystal Ball, the link to the post is as below.

http://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2011/05/08/great-lakes-chennai-1-year-mba-amar-gets-nostalgic/

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.

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

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..

Following a Leader

One of the first acts of leadership – even Rod, seconded this (or rather it was the other way round), is that you must first learn to be a follower! Quite a few of my friends disagree on this. But well, I kind of feel the truth is yes. May be you are not following a person, but you are pursuing an institutional cause which both you and the person together ought to pursue. So you follow either the cause or the person.

One of my professors Dr. Venkat, has been teaching us Transformational Leadership and the Power and Influence in organizations. If you do not understand all the three, you make a mockery of yourself. A few of my friends argue on righteousness – Adhering to moral principles! Wow – when you cannot define what morality is how can you define what moral principles are? Too heavy a word to use? Transformational Leadership (I forgot the article which quoted it: my LIP materials are out of reach – So will update the source as soon as I reach them!), is a combination of idealized influence – where managers are role models, inspirational motivation – where leaders motivate the followers, intellectual simulation – where managers encourage innovation, individual consideration – managers act as coaches and advisers to associates. While many of my colleagues here have desired to kind of disagree that such kind of a leadership would work – which many would not accept in the public, some are not willing to realize that it takes time for this work! It definitely cannot happen overnight.

The reason I got this into the picture is, I have read many articles (Thanks to Dr. Venkat), from a leader’s perspective, but from a followers perspective, the leadership completely fails if the follower fails to recognize the presence of either of these factors or fails to acknowledge their presence. This is happening in one of the cases which I am practically observing from the past two days (I would like to maintain the privacy of the individuals involved). If the follower fails to realize the motivation they are getting from their leader or fail to recognize a source of motivation, if the followers fails to see the seed sown for innovation and leader effectiveness in promoting activities and finally, if the follower gives up on the advice and the coaching given by the leader – I doubt if this would work!

What is left open in the end is how and when do followers realize that there is an increased sense of collective identify and common mission and what is the ideal time for them to realize it in a short-duration program?

Moving on, there has also been an occasion of leader-self sacrifice, which has been suggested to be an effective act of leadership that communicates a leaders dedication to the collective good (Van Kippenberg and Van Kippenberg, 2005 – in the Applied Journal of Psychology) – but again how long do you think the leader’s sacrifice will be sustained for the collective good? Would the leader be missed later? – May be yes. A sacrifice of position by a leader, may push him or her out of the horizon, then what is the use of the gained trust if that results in a system going down? – Debatable.

If leaders have the option to choose a follower, then I think the follower must mostly be selected on value congruence – if time is a factor. The value systems going together may probably result in ease in achieving a collective goal.

Where are the Journo’s heading?

If there was something that was little credible in India – it was the media. We common men and women, were exposed to the corrupt policies of the politicians and the immoral practices through the media – which we trusted, followed and revered to a great extent. Much credit should go to the erstwhile Indian Expresses and Deccan Heralds and The Hindu’s for having made us develop this follower-ship. Now, in the days of Page 3 over the rest, media seems to have really lost its credibility. Instances, many! One my most trusted journalists and whom I revered for all that she has covered in her career Barkha Dutt (Twitter handle @bdutt) has literally let her fan following down! The Open Magazine has brought her down and her conversations with Nira Radia, well has really got her to lose her established base and credibility. She has been one of the few who apparently had criticized blogs and online media long ago, looks like that has come back to haunt her! So has been the impact that I am trying to voice down my opinions of getting the live streaming open on campus at Great Lakes!

Now coming to the part of why I am losing trust in the media:

1. Barkha Dutt in case she had got a report or a conversation like her, would have vehemently come down on whoever was being exposed ensuring an end to the spectrum of his public survival! And now, none of the news channels including Times Now or CNN IBN have not even covered the incident. I think, I even saw a tweet from Rajdeep covering it up – something like Barkha’s achievements are much more than this minor hiccup. That probably is Barkha and Vir Sanghvi’s story, yellow journalism to the core and I think that probably even erodes the fan base that NDTV had got a little bit! We the People – yeah, I don’t really know if I will watch the show any more!

2. Next one comes closer home! In Bengaluru, apparently mediapersons have been caught in the muck with allocations of G Category sites. Have they been caught pants down? – May be yes, Churumuri says so – http://churumuri.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/bangalore-journos-named-in-site-allotment-scam/

With such conflicts of interests, I am thinking is it right on one person to achieve a goal by unethical and immoral practices, even if it is for the collective good of the nation. Barkha may have helped in one way to get A Raja installed. Raja also somewhere argued that the prices are low because of the giveaways during the auction! Huh! Yeah I think that is one of the reasons why there may be more mobiles than underwears in India.

I am sitting through Mr. N Vittal, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner’s classes here at Great Lakes. At the right time, when he talks about corruption in businesses and moral and ethical values, the newspapers seem to be flooded with scams after scams after scams! Good time spent in the business ethics class, which I otherwise was feeling was a recap of the newspapers of the 90’s and early oo’s. As I end this post, I still ponder, weather media houses stick to morality and ethics while delivering the news to the viewers and is it a necessity for them to do so? Debatable, isn’t it?