Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Its been quite a while since I posted. Looking back there are good list of things I want to blog. The journey at ISB is nearing its end. I walk along near lawns with parties of sections, teams and what not. Its a moment of celebration and reflection.

Here is my poem for my section 'E':

How soon hath Time come to an end?

Of cherished moments with our friends

With knowledge, job and self reprieve

Spring we arrive and spring we leave

Always ready to row in the CP flow

Made us go Eho! Eho!

The tempest fame spread like fire

Bringing dragon’s blab under professor’s ire

A passing philosopher asks which this is

Thou know not in ignorant bliss

I point my t-shirt in repartee

That is Section E filled with glee

Eho! is the official chant of the section. We were late in forming one but the tune was kinda catchy. The dragon refers to the official E shaped red dragon - our logo for section E. We were the riotous section known to be dreaded by everyone for our aggressive Class Participation (CP).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

ISB Solstice

This year's alumni reunion is dedicated to the founding batch to mark the 5th anniversary at ISB. There were close to 150 alums in campus. The timing could not have been more perfect - break for the students, christmas and the placement season is about to begin. The event kicked off with the inauguration from the Dean.

One alum recalled a quip:
M is busy taking a nap at the last bench in SAIT class. Professor Banker is discussing about Intel. He turns around and poses a question to students 'So why do you think Intel decided to do away with their memory chips?'. He directs the question straight to our M. She is nudged to reality by her neighbour only to realize the unaware of the situation. Involutarily she blurt out "Sir, it depends". Professor hails the response - 'Yes it all depended on ...' and went on to give an explanation. Smartly M pitches at the end 'Sir that was what I meant'! Full CP points awarded to M.

Photocontest judge and Well known cine photographer Avinash Gowarikar (of the Dus and Lagaan fame) partly stole the show with his insights in photography and education. Apart from these I didnt grasp much from the talks - I was trying hard to remain awake. I had slept at 5am only to be woken up NJ at 9am to inform that the event was about to start. Being part of the inauguration group, I had to show up. I contributed something meaningful by inviting alums for the speaker series and creating the poster for the event.

Placements will begin soon and with the alums coming in, the atmosphere is febrile for gyaan sessions and resume & interview tips (the last time we met our alums was during our orientation).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Time Flies

Topics in this post
1. Time
2. Term 6
3. Two things at ISB

Time elapses quickly. Today I met my PaEV Professor on the way to the library. He smiled warmly and said "another term coming to an end?". Going by his experience, I would think he was probably hinting at the pace of the course. With assignments coming one after the other, you loose track of large intervals of time. Assignments are like strain applied to rubber - initially the rubber is highly elastic and changes are reversible but over time when the strain goes beyond the yield point it is chaos. But assignments now no longer dreadful - this term I managed to do three in a day - the highest compared to my other terms. Going by magnitude each assignment on an average should take atleast three hours. Not a bad change but somewhere there always a compromise - you either skim through multiple things by knowing just enough to sail through or you can dig deep down into one area at the risk of jeopardising other - call it the T framework if I may borrow from the biz babble.

Term 6 is coming to a close soon. There are loads of assignments this term. But that should go through smoothly. This new year is full of promising.....well...exams actually! We'll be writing exams on all of Jan first week. Term breaks have long been forgotten. We rarely get a 3-day break (holidays are long forgotten). Now that we do have a break, thanks to Monday Christmas, its party time here! Another surprise was seeing Santa Claus making rounds in campus.

There are two things without which you cannot survive here - your social group and your laptop. There is always someone who can help you with the problem. Let me give an example. We were selected to the IIM-Indore competition. P and I decided to bunk classes and travel to Indore even if our travel costs were high "just for the experience". Reflecting now its a waste of money but at that point the excitement justified the costs. We reached Indore enroute Mumbai and spent the wee hours of the morning sleeping on airport lounge chairs. The dreadful assignment had struck again! On our way back we stopped at Mumbai airport, analysed a case, completed our assignments on the faithful chairs upto 3am in the morning. My friends patiently answering my 2am calls when they have classes at 8 or 10 in the morning. We had our assignment mailed to them and submitted it even before we were back at ISB, meeting the 8am deadline on that day. The laptop and the social group was a powerful combination.

I'll write about Solstice, the annual ISB alumni meet next.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Term 4 officially ends

Term 4 officially ended today. The SAIT* term exam had been postponed due to some administrative reason and was held in term 5. Term 4 exams were not easy. MGTO* exam was googly. All short answers were from nook and corner of the course pack. Most subjects required rote memorization. All core terms are over and from this term onwards it’s electives to specialize in an area.

I plan to take a few quant electives from term 5. The bidding system is used in selecting a course. The system is similar to the one used at Wharton. Briefly each student gets X points in his kitty and he smartly rations and bids points for the course he wants to join. The problem is that course bidding reduces to a one-shot game. If you don’t get a course in phase 1, you have to bid again and the prices for that course will go up in phase 2. Simple economics in play - supply is less than demand, prices will go high. If students don’t collude for the points, everyone ends up loosing points by bidding for the course. Since the points for all students are fixed, if one bids high this term, he might suffer with shortage of points next term.

I was partly disappointed to know even if a classroom can accommodate 70 students but if the course professor decides on 55, then only 55 can be allotted to that class. I am on the waiting list for a course and will have to bid in phase 2.

All sections ties are now dissolved barring the email alias. All study groups are also dissolved. New dynamic study groups will be formed as and when needed for the elective subjects.

* SAIT – Strategic Analysis of IT
* MGTO – Management of Organizations / HR

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Beauty lies in the...hands of the photoshop user

See the flash ad campaign

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


My small writeup on population and the role of incentives.

Penalties coerced with legal or economic implication restrict the freedom of choice for individuals. Although some countries have enforced penalties successfully, like China with its one-child policy (OCP), the overriding approach, as defined by Dr. Amartya Sen, will ultimately lead to exploitation and abuse of the system. Unlike communist China, in India opinions of people decide whether the system is efficient. India decided to drop its sterilization program offering cash incentives in favour of a more voluntary approach to birth control in the mid-1990s. As a result of the enforced birth control policies during the emergency period in 1970s in India, candidates favouring the policies were defeated in the general elections.

The impact of incentives in population stabilization is difficult to ascertain. Given the improvements in healthcare, individuals can reverse the fertility control effects defeating the purpose of incentives. Moreover the reward may attract only weaker sections of the society.

Incentives for child-spacing, contraception or non-pregnancy raise ethical questions. Incentives help individuals, who are already thinking about a fertility, to hasten their decision making. An incentive to attract medical graduates, as stated in the National Population Policy 2000, by reserving seats in post graduate courses for medical graduates provided the candidate has served for 5 years at the First Referral Units is a positive measure. On the other hand, disincentives include barring individuals who have more than 2 children from taking up political posts. In 2003 during the Haryana Panchayat Raj elections, some contesters who violated this disincentive were disqualified from contesting elections resulting in a political imbroglio.

Policies and their incentives are a good way to promote awareness but they should complement rather than precede initiatives in education, healthcare and increasing job opportunities to control population. India’s overall fertility rate is not uniform and hence in a democratic system like India, high collaboration among masses along with incentives can address population issues. Government collaboration with NGOs and village self-help groups can set up a revolving fund for income generation.

In summary, it is difficult to have an efficient policy using incentives alone. Incentives and complementary programs on education and healthcare can be an effective measure towards population control.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Mid term exams ended today. We were to submit a presentation which was a take home exam on how government policy affects an organization. The question was open and one could come with all the wrong way of doing it considering all instructions were verbal and the exam carried half the grade weight. The second exam was on Investment Analysis. The paper was not difficult but I misread the exam time and when it was just 5min due to return the paper, I had one full question worth 20min left. Crammed in all I could but ended up writing the wrong answer for one part; didn’t feel good after coming out of the hall.

Today was hectic. After the 1.5 hours of exam from 8.30am, we had a class in the morning and another one in the evening. Somewhere in the middle, I finished writing my take home exam. When everything was done in the evening, it was time to party. Apart from the reason that the exams got over, this is last term where we remain as section E. My study group will also most likely be dissolved (unless we decided to continue with each other). So there is an emotional wave towards collective nouns like section and group. I will dedicate one post to my group. It has been some wonderful experience working with them.

Now that I’m back from the party (actually we were politely asked to leave the restaurant; people here are used to owl timings but the restaurant could not bear 40 students partying beyond 12am), its time to look at the pre-read for tomorrow’s class which starts at 8.45am.