Friday, June 30, 2006


Some of the professors whose classes I enjoy/enjoyed.

Professor Jagmohan Raju is back to teach us this term. During his class marketing seems important and practical. He seems to explain almost everything in simple terms. He introduces topic questions that makes us think as to why did something happened. He reaches out to students well.

Professor Akbar Zaheer. I almost thought Strategy to be boring regurgitating of facts till I attended his class. Ok, only one class is over but in that class we stopped short of saying a "wow". It is a subject where explanation is better than a ppt. Prof Zaheer just does that. He talks about the issues even relating to his research and spends only 10-15min on a ppt to wrap up the discussion. What I also liked is he encourages every student to speak (for the CP of 25 marks - the highest for any subject so far). There is no faff talk from students in his class just for marks. The atmosphere is also informal. When someone addressed Aks (as he wants us to call him) as 'Sir', he responded with 'Distinguished Students!'

Prof Rakesh Vohra's Economics lectures from my first term were also interesting. In one class I remember he introduced a basic concept and posed a seemingly simple question. When one of the students answered - he confirmed from the second student "Do you agree with him?". The professor provided some supporting statements to the first student's answer. After the second student agreed, he went ahead and ensured everyone in class was comfortable with the answer - "Does the class agree?". Yes. "Good. Now let me tell why your friend is incorrect". Class gasps!

Finally Prof Krishna Kumar - two time awardee of Best Professor of the Year - taught us Economics this term (he has already completed his portion and I have just finished writing the exam!). His CP method is unique - he asks you a specific question. You get it right and your CP is finished. His class is so popular that when he gave a general talk on India, students turned up to fill the classroom till the door.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Two things

Two things that you can never miss at ISB

1. The assignment deadlines
2. Classes at 8.15am

Most assignments require that we submit a soft copy as well as the hard copy. The deadline is usually early in the morning 8am or sometimes 00:00 hours. For the latter, at 11.40pm suddenly there is queue of jobs and printers in all buildings become scare resources. It is now the ultimate decider of our fate. The happy ones sigh a relief while those waiting for their printouts let out a curse. To add to the pressure, people pickup the wrong printouts. But at the end of it, everyone has submitted their assignments before the deadline, even if means a nightout, and things seem normal again.

The best of all assignments so far has been with marketing tool MarkStrat. Notoriously time consuming! It is a blackhole - time gets sucked into it. You tend to get either over passionate or simply don't understand how it works.

My quad mates are from my section and we seem to make it to the 8.15 class JIT. After one of those hectic days, for one class I literally woke up from bed and ran to the classroom. I remember Sandeep asking me this question before I came here. Now I see why mint gums are also for non-smokers. And there is nothing wrong when your group mate wishes a goodnight in the afternoon - as one of alums had joked or so we thought.

When assignment deadlines overlap with the 8am class, it is sheer glory. Nevertheless, things seem to get completed in the last minute and the cycle repeats.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

After the nighout

Lazily I got up in the afternoon hoping to see my list of assignments for the week. The stress from the nightout on marketing was slowing wearing down. My laptop slowly came to life and I began checking my emails. They were the usual ones - funny links, deadlines, (more) elections results. I paused on one of the mails. Cobra mail. It did not interest me at first. There was a rumour of a student spotting a snake and students were cautious since then. Well it was worth a look. It was in my block. Ok, someone had also posted pictures. I stopped at picture 2 in shock. Well it was my quad! I got to know my quad mate had been awakened (he had a nightout too) by the local people at 9am in the morning as a cobra was spotted outside his window. Luckily his room window was closed. Heard the guards here quickly sprung into action. It was a sad story for the snake.

In this excellent campus, it is not uncommon to find peacocks, snakes, and lizards. Was it ethical to kill the snake? You may argue that one will not hesitate to kill an animal that is a threat to one's survival. Maybe it was already injured as I heard it did not move. The security personnel had acted in the interest of the majority but with prudence the creature could have been captured and left elsewhere in the campus. As Maslow's hierarchy says safety need is being addressed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

meeting people

How to do you find friends or groups who share your interest considering the fast pace of the program. Well, environment here is no different from outside and the truth is there is no formula. You just bump into people who share the same interests. In the right setting, a 10-minute discussion with an individual and you probably know.

What makes certain people friends? An amateur attempt to rationalize this would be to see every individual having attribtues from a set of traits A, B, C,..,P, Q, R, S...Z. A combinaton, say A, P, S, from the set is makes a person unique. If the first conversation between two individuals throws up common trait (say P) then there is a good likelihood of bonding. On the other hand if one sees trait A and the other sees S, then maybe multiple meetings are needed to discover the commonality.

Should this be looked at in this complicated manner? Of course not. It is really simple. Imagine your close friend and think on what makes him your friend and you his. You will discover atleast one common trait P. If you have a circle of friends chances are everyone shares the trait {P} or the circle is actually a chain ( person with {AS} meets {SP} meets {PR} ). The latter is actually seen in social networks like orkut.


Watch this space if you are interested in the ISB information sessions or in meeting the alumni.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Breaks come and go

Need for something is felt by its absence than by its presence.

Trip to bangalore confirmed that the city infrastructure was still inadequate. The local autorickshaw-wallahs tried to take me for a ride showing "authorized fare charts" with exorbitant amounts. I could not resist smiling and politely reminded them in colloquial parlance. The weather as usual was pleasant. On reaching Bangalore, it was as thought there was time for everything in the world albeit for a brief period.

Meeting with my social circle meant more to me this time. Before my first trip to ISB, the excitement to join had veiled the sense of separation. Reality spoke hard this time. But I did not stay long partly because I also missed the ISB atmosphere. A catch-22 situation.

Looking back, the holidays were a welcome break from the busy schedule. Term 2 starts from Monday and it's back to business again (pun).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In Term 1

Term's four exams were held on two consecutive days this week. Last time I wrote four exams in two days was in school. As I was writing the first exam, it was announced that second term course packs must be collected by students the same day! I don't know if any student was desperate to start his next term. But the size of the course pack was sufficient to scare us before the next three exams.

Marketing was not my favourite subject (atleast for the moment) but the wonderful things happened in the class or in exam. The double entendre in the first weeks, Arbit Class Participation, Prof. Jagmohan Raju's (PJR) cold calling, 700 page reading scare two days before exams and best of all writing the exam.

PJR cold calling was unique. He makes best use of powerpoint slides. For the first few minutes, there is excitement in his class. A one-liner question flashes on screen. Every student now wonders if it is their turn today. PJR pauses and then pushes a key and a student photo appears. If a student is unable to answer then that student gets to cold call someone else or other students volunteer to answer. It seemed to me those who never CP'd in any class were the ones cold-called.

From term 1,
MicroEconomics - Prof Rakesh Vohra and Prof Amit Bubna Concepts, weekly quiz from Amit, Assignments that went into early hours of the day, two exams both problem based

Marketing - Prof Asim Ansari and Prof Jagmohan Raju
Too many terms, theory and problems, case discussions, CP and PJR cold calls, one exam

Accounting - Prof Mark Finn
Highly practical, fewer concepts but importance to data structure, weekly online quizzes, one exam

Statistics - Prof Bob Stine and Prof Richard Waterman
Most practical subject, application based with little or no formulae, no assignments, two exams

We have a term break now - it is a weekend from Wednesday!