Archive for June, 2005

Le tour de…

June 29, 05 by Bharani

The sports event for which I was waiting eagerly this year will be kicked off on July 2nd. It’s a sport of endurance, will-power and test of human character. One of the most inspirational icon of sporting world will be aiming for his 7th straight victory. A person who went into the mouth of death and came back to life as a transformed and more possessed man. By now you know what and whom I am talking about…It’s Tour de france and Lance Armstrong. Ever since I went to belgium, I have developed a love for this sport. I didn’t like this sport in the beginning, but as time went by, it bowled me over!

I will be closely following this year’s event inspite of my busy schedule in ISB. I like the sport partly due to Lance! and for his motto “Live Strong”!

Some facts about Tour de France 2005.

“..Running from Saturday July 2nd to Sunday July 24th 2005, the 92nd Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3607 kilometres.

These 21 stages have the following profiles:
* 9 flat stages,
* 3 medium mountain stages,
* 6 mountain stages,
* 2 individual time-trial stages,
* 1 team time-trial stage.

Distinctive aspects of the race
* 3 mountain finishes,
* 2 rest days,
* 74 kilometres of individual time-trials,
* 66 kilometres of team time-trials,
* 1 transfer by plane and one by train,
* 20 Category 1, Category 2 and highest level passes will be climbed,
* 9 new stop-over towns: Fromentine, Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile, Les Essarts, La Châtaigneraie, Chambord, Gérardmer, Miramas, Agde et Lézat-sur-Lèze. ..”

The average speed they ride will be around 45 kms/hr!! Years of practice will only take us there…Just completing the ride will be an honour! The event will begin with a Time Trial event, which is for sprinters…Can’t wait.

Tour de France official website/a>

Class Participation…

June 28, 05 by Bharani

One of the unique evaluation methods followed in B-schools is ‘Class Participation’. This is to encourage contributions/ideas/thoughts from Students. The better the quality more the marks awarded..That is, the more impressed the professor is, the more the marks.

For the past 2 months, I have been a witness to some amazing Comments from my classmates. But the number of such comments are easily counted just with your fingers!

Most of the comments given in the class during the Term 1 were recitation of facts/definitions provided in the book. Sometimes, the same opinion that was stated moments ago was re-delivered in a different flavour..All these happened when there was no marks awarded for Class participation in Term 1. But when we compared our section with other sections, we were convinced that our section was a much better place to be in..Occasionally there were brilliant comments and questions, no doubt.

Enter Term 2. Some courses have certain percentage of marks in the form of Class participation. For example, Competitive Strategy(we call CS) has 25% weightage for Class participation. Marketing has certain weightage for Class participation. The style of teaching of CS professor is well-suited to invite ‘arbit’ class participation (When some irrelevant comments or questions are made in the class, we call it as ‘arbit’. If the comment is very ‘arbit’, it will be rewarded with a round of applause. The purpose is to let the person know that he is occupying the valuable air time). Each class was focussing on a particular case. So, the class will begin with collecting key details of the case. It’s easy to make comments or observations in the beginning of the class. So the competition is fierce in the beginning. As the time goes by and as most of the observations are made, the CP level comes down. Much time was spent in thinking about what to answer and what question to ask, than to listen to comments of others or professor! (Some of my classmates concurred with this opinion). As days went by, the intensity of class participation was on the rise..For each question posed, 25-30 hands went up…

Class participation scaled new heights when one of the person who was sleeping, woke up suddenly, and posed a question and then went back to sleep! My good friend, on the other day, was eagerly waiting for an oppurtunity, and as soon as professor approved him he made his comment. Promptly checked whether TA has awarded marks for him and then relaxed his legs and arms in the chair! Gives an idea of competition for CP marks…

Controlling the quality of Class participation while encouraging all students is an art. Unless a professor is adept in that, he shouldn’t try CP evaluation in his class. Otherwise, some percentage of class is bound to go futile!

Nevertheless, it’s great to see occasional ‘gems’ from the classmates. The war of CP has just begun, and one ought to wonder what’s in store for future…

Textbooks – Term 2

June 28, 05 by Bharani

Marketing Decision Making

No books specified. But Philip Koetler’s book “A Framework for Marketing Management” that was used in Term 1 is quite useful here.

Competitive Strategy
Contemporary Strategy Analysis,5th Edition
Robert MGrant, Blackwell Publishers.
Contemporary Management
by Gareth R.Jones and Jennifer M.

Decision Models & Optimisation
Spreadsheet Modeling & Decision Analysis: A Practical Introduction to Management Science, 4th edition,
Cliff T Ragsdale, Cincinnati South Western
College Publishing, 2001

Global Economics:
International Economics: Theory and PolicyPaul R Krugman, Maurice Obstfeld,(6th edition),
Addison Wesley

Macroeconomics
Andrew Abel and Ben Bernanke (A&B)

===========================================

We are 50% through in Term 2. Time is flying very fast. Workloads are still under manageable level (not without a price, takes a lot of effort). People are appearing to be bit relaxed than the previous term. Groupism is evolving rapidly. Career-focus is gradually gaining importance in people’s agenda. Academic focus will gradually go down.

Markstrat is highly addictive. You can hear everyone here muttering SIRO, SIBI, SUSI, SULI, SOMA, SALT etc., These are the product names of various firms. The competition is heating up…The results for period 3 will be announced tomorrow. Eagerly waiting the results.

Library resources…

June 26, 05 by Bharani

The Library in ISB provides vast amount of resources. Numerous books, articles, magazines on all business related topics are available. Few sections are allocated for personality development, interview, career et., It also houses quite a few educational videos, movies etc.,

ISB has provided all of us with access to e-library. This is another wealth of information. ISB has paid subscriptions to sites FT, Economist, EIU, McKinsey Quarterly, Harvard business review, MIT sloan Management review etc., I have gone through only few of them. But once I start reading the articles, it’s highly addictive. I am Planning to slowly diversify my time across general and diverse readings. I also saw couple of videos on “Lessons on Excellence” by late Mr.Sumantra Ghoshal. He is such a wonderful speaker and presenter…I had imagined him as a great academician, but this video has multiplied respect for him. LBS grads (and early batches of ISB) were lucky to hear from him first-hand.

Loads and loads of work are thrown upon us. Despite this ever-increasing workload, somehow we are managing to complete all the assignments. Does this mean that we have improved in handling things? I don’t know.

The results for Markstrat period 2 were announced today. My group is in the exact middle of table in our industry, performance-wise. But we have made some long-term strategic steps, so hoping to see the returns in the forthcoming periods.

Markstrat!

June 24, 05 by Bharani

It’s been a crazy week…’Hectic’ wouldn’t suffice to describe the intensity.

This term is more group-intensive as most of the assignments are group-based. Wednesday was the longest day in ISB for all of us. We had 3 classes, an evening session on Markstrat software and group meetings on single day. Not to forget the readings for the next class.

Yesterday night we had a good team session on Markstrat. We met in one of our group-mates apartment. He is staying in a studio apartment, which is spacier than our Shared apartments. The meeting which started 9:30 p.m, went on till 5:00 a.m!

There was a major power-breakdown today morning in ISB. ISB is managing with few generators. Centralized A/C will be down until the electricity is restored. The class rooms in ISB are not conducive for lectures without A/C[No air circulation, Windows are sealed by glass]. It is extremely difficult to sit in such conditions for 4 hours of lecture. Professors took the pain to get on with lectures. We had more breaks than usual to get fresh oxygen! I am pretty exhausted now…We have to make Markstrat decision by tomorrow morning and a group assignment to submit by tomorrow morning, so will head for another team meeting at 9:30 p.m.

This has been the busiest week in ISB so far..

Faculty…

June 23, 05 by Bharani

Faculty has two meanings according to dictionary:

1.The body of teachers and administrators at a school
2.One of the inherent cognitive or perceptual powers of the mind

Rarely do we see the second attribute in a faculty, who by default satisfy the first definition..

During my undergraduate days, only one or two professors per term were good and others were not such a great pedagogies. Either they couldn’t arouse interest in the minds of students or they lacked authority in the subject knowledge. Nevertheless, I was learning something along, mostly compensated by the self study…

The situation in ISB is drastically different. Each professor here is a veteran in their respective subjects. The subjects they teach and their way of teaching are their forte! And a few among these professors are able to generate amazing level of interest among students (It’s not easy to arouse uniform interest across pretty diverse student body)

They have worked hard, thought hard and practised hard to convey a concept in a most succinct and crystal clear way as possible. All most all of these professors have good sense of humor too..We are getting best possible faculty on each subject area..

To give an analogy, it’s like a dream product with collection of superior features of all the products available in the market. How will it be if you get a product with Sony’s quality, Apple’s ingenuity, Ferrari’s performance, etc., (you can fill your own analogy)? We are getting a similar product (Education) here in ISB with best possible faculty for each subject(attribute).

20,965

June 21, 05 by Bharani

I really felt like being taught by God, when Prof. Jagmohan Raju taught us today. He stands one cut ahead of others. His introduction about himself was concise. His review on the concepts learned in previous term was succinct and clear. His approach towards the case discussion was very good. He also generated whole lot of interest from students, which I never saw so far here..By the time the class finished, we wanted more..That sums it all!

The unique feature of his class is “Photo cold calling”. He would ask a question and instead of pointing to someone, he displays a photo of the person (randomly chosen) on the screen..That’s an experience…

Tomorrow will be a long-day. We have three classes and a session on MarkStrat software. We also have lot of readings to do for tomorrow’s class.

If you were wondering what the title is, it’s the latest visitor count!

Crashed…

June 20, 05 by Bharani

The day started off with a meeting with Savita Mahajan, Sunita Chatta and Joseph Hopper. It was a meeting arranged to interact with the study group [group basis]. All sorts of complaints and feedbacks were provided. Overall, it was a good session.

Since the meeting went 30 minutes into extra time, I had rush back to my room to complete my remaining readings for the day’s class. Attended the classes in the afternoon. Then headed back to Atrium for a meeting with B-Section Editors, as we are planning to release our intra-section magazine on Tuesday. Managed to complete the final edition of Magazine..Thanks to the editorial group…

After completing the task, I decided to continue with my Case-write up on BARCO which was due on Tuesday morning..When I opened the laptop, it didn’t respond. After wasting my efforts in wrestling with my laptop, I took it to the hands of IT support. They said, Windows XP needs to be reinstalled. It was not a good news…I had my 80% work on case-writeup in the Laptop. Starting from scratch would be too much…So, after 3 hours of effort Windows was functioning properly..but officeXP was not working. This means that I will have trouble opening Outlook, Word…[Can’t imagine how much Outlook, Excel, Word have integrated into our lives]..I needed Word for formatting. Now, it was almost 2:00 a.m and library was closed too..Many of my flatmates in SV2 have slept..So headed to SV2 living room, which hosted a old PC but functioning one. Utilized it and somehow managed to complete the case write-up and dropped the assignment in drop-box…

Regarding outlook, I remembered that IT department provided us with webaccess..So currently reading mails through webaccess..There are unusually high number of mails to respond to…Not feeling like responding now..Will take it up tomorrow.

According to IT guys, My laptop needs to reformatted to fix the problems..taking backup now…Attention guys…BACKUP your work, you never know when your laptop will abandon you!

Lessons learned.

June 19, 05 by Bharani

Lessons learned : [from my observations during the week]

1. Assumption is the mother of all misunderstandings. Look through the skin.
2. If you are not comfortable about others imposing stuff on you, tell them straight-forward. Be assertive where it is required. A minute is minute for everyone, especially during this intensive year, and that should be respected, if not respected deal that with assertion..
3. Not everyone here are to make friends. Understand the reality and accommodate.
4. Some time I think excellent insights but decide that they are wrong after listening to others. In the end, what I thought actually turns out to be correct. So be confident with opinions.

Sometimes, I observe that people ridicule the actions of some people. Later, the same person who ridiculed will approach the person who was ridiculed and ask for help..that too on the same topic on which he was ridiculed..How ridiculous!!!

Activities in Abundance!

June 18, 05 by Bharani

Last two days were parties galore. Thursday night was reserved for Section B Party. Thanks to few enthusiastic people in the class, who pulled off the event. People came with red-colored robes. The night was filled with games, dance and mass dunking. We raided the rooms of our section mates who didn’t make it to the party and took them along for mass dunking. If Thursday night was for Section B, Friday night was reserved for party for entire ISBians. The Graduate Student body (shortly called as GSB) owed us all a treat for winning the elections. This one was on a much larger scale with professional DJ and Professional bartenders. I could here music till the wee hours of morning..

The weekend is packed with lots of readings, case analysis, write-ups and group discussions. This doesn’t mean that there are no activities going around here in ISB. Each day is filled with some speeches, some club activities etc., We had a “SPORTS AND MOVIES” quiz on Saturday…ver well organized. We have great bunch of quizzers here in ISB. One of the main motto of ISBians this year is to beat IIM-A in their home turf, during their B-school event…Should be possible after seeing the quizzing talent here…

We also have Business Technology Club meetings, Finance club meetings, Net Impact meetings, Toastmaster club meetings etc., Recently there was a Golf club started too. Many enthusiastic people have enrolled for Golf-lessons. Main slogan being “it’s a CEO’s game!”. Monday we have the “Foreign language courses” enrollment. 3 courses are being offered French, Spanish and German. A total of 100 hours in the span of 6 months will be allotted for this. Needs a solid committment. Photography club is all set to begin soon…Also, every now and then, we will have guest speaker sessions, with renowned people sharing their experiences with us. Now to spread your energies among so much activities needs prudence and careful time management..Making compromises is very essential.

We are planning to circulate a Section-B magazine. I am one among the editors. All formal and informal stuff will be reported on the magazine.