Nov 28, 2005

Management education - Why?

I have been hearing from quite a number of people about the relevance of management education. Why is there so much of hype and attention given to MBA? Is it justified? Does it give hollow confidence to callow students? I'm going to list down my answers to these questions. The following are my personal opinions and they might contradict with others.

The world is in such a volatile state these days that unless and until you diversify, it is very difficult to survive in any industry. This volatility is very well exposed by the information technology industry's ups and downs in the past decade.

The trends are changing. Times when our parents and relatives would work for a single organization throughout their career are gone. People are looking for a change these days. The risk taking abilities of people are also flourishing. Job hopping and industry hopping are no longer alien terms. In such changing times, a management degree gives the much needed fillip for youngsters to pursue different and difficult careers.

How many youngsters are there in the country who would want to become an entrepreneur as soon as they finish their basic graduation? Very few. This is because they don't understand business. Our education system focusses more on science and technology in the school curriculum that students can't think far from medicine and engineering. Even after they pursue engineering, most of them are forced to take up post graduation courses like M.Tech or M.S. either by their parents or just by peer pressure.

According to me, unless one is interested in pursuing research after their post graduation, doing an M.Tech or M.S is a sheer waste of time, money and effort. Let's take an example. A person , say A fresh out of computer engineering joins an organization. Another person B goes to US to pursue his MS in software engineering. After two years, A has 2 years of industry experience whereas B has a post graduation degree in hand. Who would be more valuable? If I were the HR head of an organization, I would give more preference to A than B. B is as good as A 2 years before. An engineering degree or for that matter any basic degree is just a platform for a person to grow. A post graduation degree in the same technical field is not widening the platform, instead a person's technical expertise is widened a bit. It neither provides indepth technical knowledge nor it aids in identifying any specialization thereafter. All I can think of as the benefit of doing an M.S. is the exposure, nothing else. It depends on the individual to weigh his options between exposure and work experience.

Getting back to our main topic, an MBA immediately after graduation will not give enough returns. It would just be a continuum of the college education. This is where it gives hollow confidence to those young callow just-out-of-college students. When a person starts working, he gets to know his organization. Although he might not know the intricate details of how the business happens, atleast the work atmosphere triggers his thought process and he starts to question many decisions. After a work experience of 2-3 years, doing an MBA would give him good returns in terms of knowledge, networking by which he gets to understand the working model of different organizations and different industries his peers were part of and a wide variety of career options to choose thereafter. Infact, many universities abroad have imposed a restriction that only people with work experience for a minimum of 3 years can apply for MBA courses.

Domain knowledge in sales, marketing, finance and HR can be applicable in any field and in any industry. This variety would help a person to identify his forte and grow in that. Moreover, these fields are irreplaceable and industry-independent. Even if an industry dooms down in future, a person with such a qualification will be able to move over to another industry in no time. This is why an MBA is surrounded by such hype and hoopla and it is certainly justified. Anyone in India would want to have some backup plans and it is quite understandable, given the type of traditions and customs we follow.

Entrepreneurship has received the needed light, thanks to the various electives as part of MBA. People who had apprehensions on how they could go about establishing their own organization and what facts need to be kept in mind can find answers while doing an MBA. I'm sure the professors of good management institutions would be willing to share their knowledge on the different facets of entrepreneurship.

If a person is more inclined towards technology - the ifs and whys and the subtle nuances of technical know-hows interest him and he prefers to contribute in the technical line to an organization, i.e. he is employed by an employer other than himself, then he doesn't need an MBA. Also a person who would want to pursue research related to his technical interests doesn't need an MBA. These are the only two kinds of people who wouldn't need a management degree.

Before joining an MBA, M.Tech or M.S, the most important consideration is to take a few years to identify the next step and the reason behind choosing one. The best option is to work during these crucial decision making years and do the analysis.

If research and technology are the ones that interest you the most, do an M.S AND a doctorate.
If management and entrepreneurship are your passions, do an MBA.
If working under an employer keeps you happy, then gain as much as work experience as you can.

Nov 24, 2005

வாழ்வதே சிறப்பு....

அம்மாவின் நீங்காத அரவணைப்பு
தங்கை பாப்பாவின் புன்சிரிப்பு
நெய் சாதத்தோடு பருப்பு
கொடுப்பது பாட்டியின் பொறுப்பு

தாத்தா கடை இனிப்பு
தம்பியின் கண்களில் பூரிப்பு
நண்பர்களின் விளையாட்டு அழைப்பு
ஓடினான் போடாமல் செருப்பு

யாரும் காட்டவில்லை வெறுப்பு
எதற்கும் இல்லையே மறுப்பு
வளர்ந்தான் மனதில் சினப்பு
மேஜையில் புத்தகங்கள் குவிப்பு

கண்டான் உலகின் செழிப்பு
சொந்த அலுவலகத்தின் திறப்பு
அழகியின் முகம் சிவப்பு
அவளில்லாமல் அவனுள்ளம் தவிப்பு

சென்ற பாதையில் குடிப்பு
வாழ்க்கை ஆனதே இழப்பு
தாயின் மடியில் பிறப்பு
எமனின் கைகளில் இறப்பு
நடுவில் வாழ்வதே சிறப்பு....

Nov 23, 2005

One day@the cricket stadium

A memorable day it was. Third day of the third test match between India and Australia in Chennai. The day before, Sudha (my brother) and I were so desperate to go for the match. Thank God, both of us had study holidays during that time. So no need to bunk college. We departed from our home at 5.30 am. Reached the stadium at 6.45 am. To our shock, there was a huge crowd with the queue going far and far from our sight, waiting for the tickets and on top of that, not even a single girl in that queue. I walked slowly towards the end of the queue, uncertain of whether we would get the tickets.

A policeman called me all of a sudden. I got so scared. "Is the cricket match only for men? Are women banned from this place? Why is this policeman calling me?", with puzzled looks, I walked upto him. He said, "There is a separate queue for women. You need not stand in this long queue". "Where is the queue?", I asked with a low tone. He pointed me towards the ticket counter. Not even a single women in that queue. I was so excited that I thanked the police uncle and rushed to the counter, got 2 tickets worth 100 each and ran towards my brother. Both of us entered the stadium so proudly as though we have accomplished something great.

After the security checks, we entered our stands. The ground looked amazing with a layer of dew drops on the fresh green grass. I ran towards the end of the stand, as close as possible towards the ground and occupied a chair in the first row. Sudha warned me that as day goes by, it would become very hot. But I ignored his warning and decided to sit in the front row the whole day.

Entered our cricket team and the mighty Aussies for net practice. As soon as we saw Sachin, we started shouting "Sachiiiiiiiiin Sachiiiiiiin". He didn't even give a glance at our side. Very busy practicing for the match, I thought. A round of Biscuits, kadalai (groundnuts) and murukku, we are done with our breakfast. Slowly the crowd was building up in the stadium. At 8.30, the stadium was almost full. The match started in an hour's time. India was batting their first innings after Aussies posted 300+. I remember vaguely that India's score at the start of the day was 30/1. After a few overs, the second wicket went down and the entire stadium was so jubiliant to welcome the master blaster.

Initially Sachin was playing slowly, taking singles and occasional 4s while we, the crowd were doing rounds of Mexican wave. It was fun, actually. Our energy levels were so high, looking at the people gathered. Slowly, Sachin gathered momentum and was smashing 4s of Shane Warne's bowling. Justin Langer was standing closer to our stands and people behind me were waving hands and saying hello to him. When he turned towards my side, I gave a vanakkam (namaste) in a typical Indian style and he gave a vanakkam back. The crowd was saying "Ooooooooo" while I was blushing.

Another round of Biscuits, kadalai (groundnuts) and murukku, lunch is over. When Sachin was in his 80s, he hit the ball in the air towards our side. Michael Slater standing closer to us was about to catch the ball when we shouted "booooooo". Poor guy, I guess he got tensed and he dropped the catch. He turned back and stared at us. On 94, Sachin hit a six and reached his 100. What a shot !!!

The wickets fell down later and we got to leave the stadium before the entire crowd starts leaving. Although people might argue that it's more comfortable sitting at home and watching the match, I would definitely say that watching a cricket match live in a stadium is a wonderful experience. All cricket fans must experience this atleast once in their lifetime. Overall, it was a memorable day for me which I would cherish forever.........

Is there an end to it?

"Ma, I'm leaving for coaching class", says the 13 year old Aravind. "Drink a glass of milk and leave. You had just come home from school", replies the mother. "No time, ma", he says taking his cycle and rushing towards his class. Such incidents have become a common sight these days.

Open the newspaper, you see advertisements of different coaching institutes coxing to grind the brains of these young students with IIT-JEE, SAT and PMT entrance coaching classes. There was another unique ad that I happened to see recently. A small kid holding a thick management book with spectacles over his tiny eyes and the caption reads "Start early". Many students in 9th and 10th std are attending IIT-JEE classes apart from their regular classes at school. They are being forced by parents, relatives and neighbours to multitask all these classes and churn their little brains with almost every single concept of Physics and Chemistry. I say relatives and neighbours here because most of the parents get influenced by these peers who put their kids to these extra classes and this inturn makes them feel insecure about "their" kid's career. "Oh, maybe he should also join these classes from now on, Only then he would be well prepared four years from now", says Aravind's dad, as though IIT is the end of the world for all these 9th std studying students.

A child would get to understand his interest only in these growing-up years. But they don't have a choice. They are too small to take their own decisions. Naturally, it gets grilled onto their minds that IIT is their ambition. Why don't we think of any option other than medicine and engineering during the deciding days after 10th std? If a student is inclined towards these fields, then it is perfectly fine. But if he/she is forced to join, worse effects are bound to happen in the future.

What has happened to our Aravind? After a few years...........

Aravind has indeed got a seat in IIT after 4 years of strenuous hard work and dedication. His childhood is gone now. Enters teenage, he finds himself in one of the most prestigious, at the same time a tough course. The hard work and struggle continues for another 4 years. GPAs, ranks and semesters torture him. Praying to God that these 4 years should pass quickly, he spends his days. Now in 3rd year, his uncle asks him to prepare for GRE and take up his higher studies in US while his distant cousin says that MBA is the best option and that he should start preparing for CAT. Pulled from both ends, he finds himself confused in choosing one of the two paths. His dad says in a cool manner "Why don't you prepare for both these exams? You can try both these options and go ahead with whatever you get selected for". Aravind stares at his dad, thinking "Tu baap yaa villain? Am I a man or a machine?". But he is left with no choice since it is instilled in his mind that he is still not mature enough to take his own decisions. Slogging with his engineering exams, he prepares half heartedly for GRE and CAT. Exams came and went. But his marks were not upto the mark. Dad shouts "I knew you were going to flunk. With so little preparation, how were you able to go and watch movies?". "Dad, It's been a year since I watched a movie. Since my friends insisted, I went last week", Aravind replied softly. "I'm putting you in an intensive coaching class for GRE. The classes start from tomorrow. Better prepare well this time. You need to join your MS next year at any cost. Look at Santhanam, your cousin. He is doing his PhD there. He got through GRE in his very first attempt. And her sister, Usha, she is going to join MBA this year. Get some inspiration from them", his dad spoke angrily.

"Ma, I'm leaving for coaching class", says the 21 year old Aravind. "Drink a glass of milk and leave", replies the mother. "No time, ma", he says taking his bike and rushing towards his class. And the saga continues.........

Nov 21, 2005

ஏ நிலவே !!!

ஒரு கோடி பூசிதறல்கள்
ஒரே ஒரு மலர்ந்த முகம்
ஏ நிலவே !!!

யாரை தேடி தேய்கிறாய்
தேய்ந்து தேய்ந்து மிளிர்கிறாய்
உன் அழகு
ஆண்களை வசீகரிக்கிறது
பெண்களை தலை குனிய வைக்கிறது

உன்னை வர்ணிக்காதவர்
பூவுலகில் இல்லை
உன்னால் மயங்காதவர்
எவ்வுலகிலும் இல்லை

அழகின் சிகரம் நீ
காதலின் தூது நீ
விடா முயற்சியின் மூலாதாரம் நீ
இன்ப குளிர்ச்சியின் ஜீவாதாரம் நீ

உன் வரவு இல்லையெனில் உலகம் இருண்டு கிடக்கும்
உயிர்கள் அமைதி இழக்கும்
இத்தனை வலிமை உன்னிடம்
ஆனால் ஏன் சிறு கலக்கம்

யாரும் முழுமை இல்லையென
உணர்த்த வந்த புதியவளே
அடக்கத்தோடு இருப்பவளே
ஏ நிலவே !!!

என்னை மறந்தேன் ....

கடல் அலைகள் என்னை எழுப்பின
முத்துக்கள் காத்திருப்பதை அறிவிப்பதற்காக
இடி மேகங்கள் என்னை எழுப்பின
மழைத்துளிகள் பொழிய காத்திருப்பதை அறிவிப்பதற்காக

இதமான தென்றல் காற்று என்னை எழுப்பியது
சங்கு பூக்கள் மலர்ந்ததை அறிவிப்பதற்காக
புல்லாங்குழல் இசை என்னை எழுப்பியது
நான் என்னை மறந்ததை அறிவிப்பதற்காக.....

PS : Both these poems were taken from my boot camp training notes dated July 2002 :-) ..... Guess it's easy to find out who was the inspiration behind these poems.

என் வாழ்க்கை....

பச்சை பசேல் புல்வெளி
நான் மட்டும் தனியாக
இனிய இசை என் செவிகளில்
மிதமான தாளம் என் கால்களில்

வானம் எனக்கு குடையாக
பூமி தாய் மடியாக
தனிமை எனக்கு துணையாக
வாழ்வேன் நான் நானாக

கவலைகள் மறந்து
தவறுகள் துறந்து
மகிழ்ச்சி ஒன்றே குறிக்கோளாய்
வாழ்வேன் நான் நானாக

பட்டாம்பூச்சிகள் வட்டமடிக்கட்டும்
குயில்கள் கானம் படிக்கட்டும்
ரோஜா முகம் மலரட்டும்
நீரோடை வழி திறக்கட்டும்

நீல நிற குறிஞ்சி பூக்கள் கம்பளம் விரிக்க
மூங்கில் மரங்கள் புல்லாங்குழலாய் மாற
வாழ்வேன் நான் நானாக........

Nov 18, 2005

Are you ready to be a leader?

"Leadership wisdom", the latest I read from Robin Sharma's works was an enriching experience. I have read his other books "The monk who sold his Ferrari", "Megaliving" and "Who will cry when you die?". He projects some basic concepts and then narrates them using stories or experiences in daily life. That's what makes his books more interesting and inspirational.

Although some of the leadership rituals he portrays might sound idealistic, they are not impossible to implement. What should be the characteristics of a visionary leader, how one should treat his employees, what principles one need to focus on so that his subordinates accept him and most importantly, trust him - you get answers to all these questions and many more in Leadership Wisdom.

Julian Mantle, the protogonist of this motivational story after quitting his high profile job of a lawyer goes to Himalayas and returns home with full of ancient wisdom taught by the sages of Sivana. The Monk who sold his Ferrari talked about the rituals of personal effectiveness while leadership wisdom focusses on the eight rituals of visionary leadership.

Some of the rituals which I liked personally are "Link paycheck to purpose", "Reward routinely, recognise relentlessly" and "Focus on the worthy". The most interesting part of Robin Sharma's books is that the concepts and techniques he shares are always linked to a connecting theme. His writings doesn't go with just preaching self improvement techniques. And that's what makes his books worthy reading.

What amazes me is the fact that atmost importance is given to the sages in Himalayas and their preachings. It motivates me to take a travel to the holy mountains. That's always been a part of my dreams , yes, to visit Himalayas and to experience the feelings that many people talk about, including our superstar Rajni.

Next in my agenda is to read "The saint, surfer and CEO" by the same author. I had started reading this book sometime back, finished half of it but somehow didn't manage to complete it.

Any Robin Sharma fan out there? Comment on your opinions on his books.

Nov 17, 2005

Day-to-day happenings

A severe headache trying to break my head into pieces. Not sure which incident had caused me this pain. Rather I should say, several incidents that are happening in day-to-day life are disturbing me for the fact that things are not in my hand.

Traffic jams - Is there a way to control them? Why can't people follow traffic rules? I feel like slapping every person driving a 2-wheeler and rushing through the traffic taking the pavement. Idiots, why you guys are in such a hurry? Is there any Formula-1 race happening everyday on Bangalore roads? I really support the message that Anniyan movie portrays. Only when there is a severe punishment like life sentence, people will obey the rules.

Yesterday while travelling by bus, an old woman aged about 50 years was spitting paan all over the road. The government has not asked her to paint the road in red. With no regrets whatsover, she was happily doing that. I felt like blasting her but controlled my temper. I got down the bus when I noticed a young college girl dropping the bus ticket on the road and walking towards her college. Why don't people think that our country is also our home and it's our duty to keep it clean?

Today, the government bus didn't come at the right time and I had to take the next bus. Thank God ,my stop is the starting point and I got a seat. With each and every bus stop, people were thronging into the bus. I was worried that the bus might topple. An old man got inside the bus. There was hardly any place to stand and he was standing in the footsteps. Why don't the buses come at the proper time? Even if the bus is stuck at traffic, one would expect the bus to arrive atmost 30 minutes late. But the bus didn't turn up at all.

I face such situations everyday and feel that I couldn't do anything to sort out things. And on top of all that, a Desi from US comes to me and complains that the country is polluted and how people come to work everyday etc etc. Hey, you were also once a part of this country. Don't forget that. Why do such people ever come to our country?

The problem with me is that I become emotional, I'm not able to think peacefully about what I need to do. I get very angry at such people. Anyone facing the same problem like me? Any suggestions on what I should be doing? Please don't tell me that I should just go on with life with all the bad things happening around. I cannot.

Nov 16, 2005

One night @ the call center - a breezy read

This is a kind of a book which you would want to read it on a lazy Saturday afternoon after a heavy lunch. If you liked Five point someone (by the same author Chetan Bhagat), you would definitely like ONTCC.

The book starts off with a stranger narrating the experiences to Chetan about six people who work at a call centre in Gurgaon. The whole story revolves around the incidents that happen in one particular night and how the lives of those six youngsters change after that. A very realistic story, I should say. The narration is fast paced, very interesting and ofcourse, unputdownable. But the most important thing that makes this book captivating is the style of writing, in simple English with no complex jargon. I would prefer to read a book without looking at the dictionary quite often. What I look for in fictional books is good time-pass and a gripping storyline, nothing else. For those of you who have similar interest like me, go and grab a copy of ONTCC.

Chetan, Looking forward to your next book.

Nov 15, 2005

About me......

A country rich with different cultures and heritages,
My mind full of different thought processes.

A country with enormous potential to become one of the powerful nations in the world
I acknowledge the tremendous potential within me.

Lots of confusions prevailing in Kashmir
My head filled with so many whys and hows.

A country possessing both good and evil
My mind personifies two different personalities.

Now I tag Akilesh (If at all, he writes sometime in the future!)

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