Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2 down, 7 to go

My 2nd trimester exams are going on right now. Two exams are over so far. Till now the indications are that my grades this time will be much better than the pathetic grades I got last time. Lets see.. Next paper is marketing. Haven’t touched Kotler since the marketing paper last trim! The exam is in the morning and am now sitting in the middle of the night, blogging. Well, big deal ! After all its marketing. Its gonna be one more session of story writing . Well, its not exactly story writing, but you don’t hav to study much for these marketing exams. It takes a little more than common sense to solve these marketing cases. And for a fin guy like me I guess its too much to ask for to study marketing throughout the trimester.

The exams get over on 4th and we have planned a trip to Goa. My room mates -Pulkit and Arjun- and I are going. We will be there for 3-4 days. Planning to have lots of fun there.. We’ve hardly had any time to enjoy since diwali. The last party I had was in IIM Indore when I had gone there for presenting my paper in IRIS, their annual inter b school competition. Its been more than a month of slogging. Hope to finish the rest of the exams well and then go and have a helluva time in Goa!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cricket and Politics

Sourav Ganguly was unceremoniously removed from the national cricket team this week. OK, a player who is a former captain, is removed from the national squad. It created a controversy and rightly so. After all, its not every day that a former captain is removed from the team. That too after two seemingly decent performances in the previous test. I am not going to take sides in this specific issue of excluding Ganguly from the team. But what worries me most is that this issue is being discussed in the wrong alleys. When statements of politicians regarding the cricket team selection appear on the front pages of newspapers, you know that something is not right with the politicians and the media in this country. I was shocked to see the following headline in The Hindu: ‘I am Hurt and Shocked, says Pawar’. When I first saw the headline I wondered what new trouble was an ally (NCP) causing the congress. I was exasperated when I read the article to find that Pawar, our agriculture and welfare minister, was actually referring to Ganguly’s removal from the squad. As if this was not enough, then came the news that the speaker of the Lok Sabha has scheduled a discussion of the selection issue in parliament next week. So much for democracy ! Our parliament has always been behind schedule and a waiting list of bills and discussions have always been maintained. Important issues of national significance have been pending before the House for many months. Crores of rupees of the taxpayer’s money is spent in conducting each session of parliament. And our politicians are finding fantastic ways of efficient use of their time and energy !

And all this is being done for whom? Sourav Ganguly. A man who had been woefully out of form for more than a year and a half now. A man who can’t field and run between the wickets. At this stage of his career he can’t even hope to improve in these areas. Also, it is clear that even if he gets into good form, he will not last till the next world cup. Look at Australia. They dropped Ian Healy soon after he had a fantastic series with the bat and the gloves in South Africa. Healy was near best form of his career, but the selectors looked at the future and we all know how big a contribution to world cricket his successor- Adam Gilchrist- was. Steve Waugh was dropped as Australia captain when he was not in such a bad form with the bat and he was still a hugely inspirational figure within the team and an icon in his country as well as in the cricketing world. I guess the Indian public can learn a few things from observing these facts and behave more maturely.

Its ok for people to have different opinions in issues like these. But if you are a member of parliament then sorry boss, I haven’t elected you to get ‘hurt and shocked’ about the selection of a cricket team. And it’s a shame that the national media (least of all, The Hindu) should encourage such behaviour by giving front page coverage to such idiotic comments.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Likes and Hates about NMIMS

Yesterday was my birthday. And I had a good time. But only just. I am currently going through a bout of malaria. Thankfully I got a good doc and the medicines are working well and I am feeling well since yesterday. So I could maintain good spirit yesterday. But for 2-3 days before that, I was feeling like shit. Thats when I once again went thru that phase of regretting my decision of joining NMIMS. Of course, when I regain my senses, I realise that it was the correct decision. But the fact remains that, NMIMS, despite being a highly reputed institute, it lacks a lot. I shall try to list out the various pluses and minuses of the institute from a student's viewpoint.

1. Good placement- This is the number one criteria on most students' mind while choosing a B-School, and NMIMS scores well here. Especially since it became a deemed university 3 years back, the placement record has been very good. The average package of last year was 5 lakhs which I think is pretty good considering that the batch size is 240.

2. Location- The institute is located in a prime location in Mumbai. This gives a huge locational advantage to the institute and helps in attracting a lot of guest speakers apart from helping in attracting many companies for placements. Also, for any student, staying in Mumbai for 2 years is a good learning experience.

3. Babes- If there is any Mumbaikar reading this, he might be knowing the location of NMIMS. There is a cluster of colleges in the vicinity of NMIMS and the students considerthemselves to be among the "heppest" in the country. So, one can expect a great feast for the eyes throughout the day. Now I am not saying that it is a criteria for choosing a b-school, but if you are at NMIMS u can benefit from this 'facility'.

4. Good peer group- Since last year (my batch) NMIMS removed the gujju quota for its selection process. They have a 15% management quota which is again based on your score in the selection process. (Mind you, this works out better than even the IIMs' quota for SC/ST and handicaps which creates a huge differential among the students in terms of quality). In fact, NMIMS has one of the most transparent selection processes among Indian B Schools.All this has meant that most of the students here are very good. Many of them just missed out on IIM or XL selection and almost all of them could've got into an IIM with a little bit of luck. Interacting with students of such high calibre for 2 years is a big 'value add' for any student.

5. Reputation- One of the most important assets of NMIMS is that it has a good brand name. Though it might not be well known among the public in south India, it is known to those who matter.


Now lets have a look at the ugly side.

1. Space- It the single most obvious factor that hits at you when you first visit the institute. There is a severe lack of space. In fact there is a severe lack of most resources. The resources might be acceptable in the eyes of some, but we are talking about a premier b school here. When a student goes thru a rigorous selection process and finally gets the prize of getting a seat in a
premier b school, it is natural that he expects a good campus. It may not be as lavish as an IIM campus, but atleast some space that can give a decent environment. NMIMS hardly has a campus. The institute is built in an area that is less than 1 acre. The hostel of course cannot fit into this, so it is located outside. To make things worse, the institute has zillions of courses
running in it. part time, full time, pharma, family business, executive program, MBA tech, MBA capital markets,..the list just goes on. No one is sure exactly how many courses are run, leave alone the no. of students enrolled. And all these students have one building that has around 10-12 class rooms, 1 comp lab with around 60 comps, 1 library and a small space inside the compound where you can relax and chit chat in between classes or in the evenings.Oh, that is if you can compete against a couple of hundred others for 30 odd seats available. During certain times like exams, the open space which we call as the 'quad', gives a good resemblance of a Mumbai local. ( If you are from chennai, a better example would be the scene inside a 29 C bus at 8.30 pm). The library is very good at NMIMS (IMO). But the sheer no. of students means
that very few are properly served.

2. The pedagogy- NMIMS was under mumbai university till 2001 or 02. So most of its faculty are used to teaching its students and helping them get 'good percentage' in the board exams. The predominant pedagogy applied in NMIMS is black board and lectue based. The widely used case study based methodology used in other top b schools is not regarded favourably here. Of course there are a few exceptions among the faculty members here, but they are, well, few.This pedagogy means that there is a certain lack of rigour in the course. Of course, students here do burn the midnight lamp and no one sleeps before 1 or 2am, but one can definitely feel the lack of seriousness or rigour in the air.
The hangover from the mumbai university era has also meanr that there is a lack of discipline in the air. There is little incentive for meeting deadlines, coming to lectures on time or even coming to classes at all. IMO, strictness in all these areas would make a better manager.

3. Batch size- The batch size of 240 is huge. Except some of the IIMs, I dont think any other institute has such a huge batch size. Such a huge size means that it beocmes difficult to get all students placed with good companies and packages. Also, it is more difficult to get a bonding among the students. (of course, opinions can differ).

4. Hostel- Now this is where my malaria case comes into the picture. Now, NMIMS does not have a hostel. The MBA students of NMIMS stay in the hostel of SVKM, which is the trust that runs NMIMS among othet educational institutes. Last year the NMIMS students did not get to stay in the hostel because "it was shut for renovation". Those guys were lucky. I dont know what renovation was done though. Soon after the monsoon started this year, the roofs of many rooms started leaking. The approach road to the hostel,...well, ther is no approach road. there is
just a lot of mud and stones. And the hostel is surrounde by slums. And the food is pathetic to say the least. Prime conditions for malaria. During the monsoon, everything came. Students were down with malaria, jaundice, dengue, rat fever, and what not. many of us were paranoid during the 1st trim exams. I somehow escaped the season relatively unscathed with 'simple' throat infections and viral fevers. But it got to me
finally. Now i am lying on the bed with malaria.
To sum it up, the hostel that the NMIMS students are staying in, is a shithole. And the worst part is that the authorities know abt it and are least bothered.

OK..its a long blog eh? Anyway, that is what was in my mind. But having said everything, the bottomline is that the most important criteria for most students in choosing a b school is placements. Money matters- doesn't it?

Monday, December 05, 2005

My First Blog !

OK. So, this is my first Blog and I have no idea what Iam gonna write. In fact I have no idea what my blogs are all gonna be about. They can be self indulgent, they can be about something I feel strongly about, they can be humorous, they can be boring, well...u got it, they can be about anything. Well, what else can u expect? afterall, it is my blog.

I dont know why I am writing a blog or how long I will keep writing blogs. In fact this could very well end up being my last blog ! anyway, I guess one of the reasons could be that, after a few years, when I go thru my blog I might feel amused or maybe even proud of what i've written. This could be a way of preserving my thoughts and views for a long time so that after many years I can look back and realise who I was.