One Year stand with ISB

This Blog aims to capture my affair with ISB and beyond.

Location: Hyderabad, India

I promise not to make this a chronicle of events unfolding in ISB or the world in general. These posts will generally qualify those events with my thoughts. At the same time I promise it will be enjoyable :-)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Exams in ISB

Some people are really concerned about the exams held in ISB. Here there is no fixed pattern for the term exams, mid terms or assignments. Each prof is free to choose an optimum mix of the different exam variables. There might be quizes (arbit whenever the prof feels like or weekly) or assignments consisting of problems and/or case studies. Some need to be done in groups and some are individual. There are lotsa variables which the profs can play with in the exams. Multiple choice vs short answer types vs only problems, duration of the exams, closed book/open book, last minute instructions, write with pen/pencil, :-), cheat sheets/Non cheat sheets etc. They can design the exam as they seem fit. (Well these are the variables which I have been introduced to till now and I am sure there are many more up their sleeves).

This diversity in testing the course knowledge has really caught the student body on a wrong footing. And there are many discussions going around on having a set pattern for the exams. I for one dont agree in having a set pattern. First of all most of the course content contains text book problems and solutions which are very difficult to replicate in real life. But hold on, this doesnt mean that they have no significance at all in real life. Nobody can know real life. There can be a hundred things going wrong or right at the same time. What these text book problems actually do is equip us with the basic principles and tools which can be used in a wide variety of situations. Infact some of them can be used in their nascent form in a wide variety of life situations. As good managers and leaders when we venture out into the real world, we are supposed to take decisions based on these basic principles but keeping the particular context which we are in, in mind. Of course teaching each and every nuances of everything in a B School is not possible as well as plausible. What a BSchool can do is equip you with the necessary tools and skills to solve real world problems. Once you understand that you ve got it and ISB is doing a wonderful job out of it with ample number of case studies and real examples. (Enron and World Com are the favourite whipping brats)

Coming back to exams, profs get only the variables mentioned above to make the picture a bit more realistic ofcourse apart from the twisting and turning the text book problems to a certain limit. By introducing variation in the pattern of exams, they can test how people react to the same problems in a different context in a different environment or under different constraints. This leads to not only a holistic learning of the subject matter but also teaches us to be aware of the context while making decisions.

That said, gotta get back to my studies. Tomorrow start the first term exams. This was a long break...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cities in love

Hyderabad and the surrounding campus is becoming more beautiful by the day. As the harsh sun is slowly giving way to the oncoming monsoons all the trees, birds and insects on the campus (including us lesser mortals) are excited and are coming out in all their beautiful colours. Even the little frogs on campus are beautiful and friendly. I can see peacocks outside my living room window wandering about with their not as beautiful female counterparts. I am yet to see a peacock dance though. The leaves on the neem tree outside my balcony keep rustling in the wind and the birds of all shapes and sizes try to find a place on it.

Cities do this to me. They unleash all their charm once I enter into one. There were unseasonal rains in Hyderabad when I first landed which was a sort of welcoming sign. I remember my first day in almost all the city I visited. The first day in Pune was a late July day which was very pleasant and green and beautiful. It was a pleasant transition after years of hot and humid climate in mumbai. Melbourne was the most lovable city I ever visited. I landed in Melbourne during the beginning of summer in October when Melbourne was becoming more beautiful by the day. I think that was the city which was in love with me the most. It pampered me with cool breezes, sudden showers to bring the heat down when temperatures touched 40, the beautiful botanical garden just a block away from my home, the yarra river, Flinder's Street station, Victoria Market, St Kilda Beach, the walk on Toorak Road and I can go on and on. Melbourne will always remember me for years to come !! Phoenix was another city which fell in love with me and literally stopped my trip back to mumbai out of sheer jealosy. Minneapolis introduced me to full time snow and had its own charm in winter. I actually built my first snowman there. But as they say, 'been around the world, there's no place like home, O Mumbai'. We share a love and hate relationship. When I am in mumbai I grow restless, when I am out of it, I long to go back. But wherever I go, whatever I do, she knows I will always come back to her.

Meanwhile on campus, assignments per weekend are averaging to 3. Next weekend will go in preparing for the first term exams. But silly, immature and crappy mails are still floating around in the Inboxes. The directors for the GSB have been elected and they are all set to deliver on their promises. I learnt to play Foosball which isnt as boring as I had previously imagined. Infact I think that is the most wonderful indoor game. Preparations havent started yet for the Term exams next week. Looking forward to the first term break...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mid terms and email etiquettes

Hey, long time no c! Was swept off by the Mid term tsunami. But as always Father time has healed all the pains and here I go, ready for the next one. I think these are all adjustment blues and teething problems and labour pains and things of the sort. I ll do fine... yeah I ll do fine..probably...

Just kidding guys. Its been more than a month since the one year affair started with ISB and as expected I am going thru the pains like a forlorn lover. But the decision of coming here and accepting her proposal was one made from the heart and not from the mind. Ofcourse the mind was all out for it. But this was a rare occasion when both concurred. And I had no choice but to go for it. As the song goes ('Julia' by flatlanders):

Now what's a few miles between the beauty and the beast (ISB and me)
What's it mean when angels keep flying by above
Storm clouds gatherin' round the full moon in the east (in middle east of India ie Hyd)
I was empty-headed but my heart was full of love

Now my empty headedness is causing all the problems, but when your heart is full of love u sail thru, rt?

Well the air is full of election and soapbox preparations. And there are a lot of consequent email wars being fought in our Inboxes. This is really naive and immature (I know they mean the same thing but required here for emphasis). People just dont know how to respect the written word and end up being sarcastic and hurting each other. If there is one system that is highly abused (not only in ISB but everywhere) most prominently is the email. After all it is much easier to write some crap and press the send button without checking out the To list than pick up the phone and speak the same crap right. When will people realise that if something is bothering them then they need to just pick up the phone and talk to that SPECIFIC person rather than write a mail and cc everybody. Hmmm lil bit hard but very effective, dontcha think.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Lotsa things are happening around. The GSB (student board) presidential elections, CAS sessions, LDPs and the biggie: midterms. It seems like ages since I last took the examination paraphernalia and stumbled into a classroom full of anxious faces. It also brings to mind the unpleasant experience I had had during my second year engineering exam. It was the electrical engineering exam and I was busy slogging, when the director of exams walked in. I didnt even notice him, but he stopped at my desk, and pulled a brand new copy of Theraja (The electrical engineering textbook), from a corner of my desk. I was totally flabbergasted. Apparently I had forgotten to keep the book back in my bag and it was lying there all the time, unnoticed not only by me but also the invigilator who distributed the papers. I was so frightened that I could see th e sword of a 'Keep Term' hanging over me instantaneously. I pleaded with the director who didnt argue, just gave me a cold look and walked off with my Theraja. I thought I was done for. The invigilator came and started giving me gyaan and scaring me that he will be back and you will be banned from the exam. I still remember the intense pressure under which I completed the remaining half of the paper, half of my attention always at the door.

But surprisingly nothing happened that day. So it was an agonising wait till the declaration of the results. More surprisingly, the results were also good and I managed to get a good score. So the only thing I lost was a brand new copy of Theraja. As Shah Rukh said in DDLJ (or was it DTPH?)

Ache logon ke saath acha hota hai (Good things happen to good people). Thus this also proved that I am good :-)))

But this time strangely there is no fear, no anxiety just plain indifference. I think I ll be jolted into reality once I get the term 1 grades :-).

The soap box for the GSB president was held this week in which the candidates were given a chance to sell themselves to the junta. Wouldnt comment on any of them, but it seems there is a general lack of interest among the student community to enter into politics. The elections were held today and we ll have the results probably by this weekend. There is a strange pattern among the candidates: All have names starting with P,... hmmm, I wonder if that was an unwritten criteria to become Mr President :-??

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Girls and Phones

A dog is a man's best friend?
Well for a woman its different. A woman's best friend is the cellular phone which like them comes in all shapes and sizes. They hang it around their neck and let it kiss their ears for hours together. And this has become alltogether more profound on the campus. If you can find a member of the fairer sex not talking to anybody then she is probably talking on the phone (I can say with 95% confidence from the random sample I randomly collected). Well this also proves one more thing: Women love to talk. Some of the data points (time spent on the phone) have been huge outliers, ranging from 1 hour to a maximum of 2 and a half hours which my friend recorded (Thanks M). Actually this was the motivation for the research :-).

Hope I dont get bashed up the next time I am on campus :-

Coming back to academics, its become absolutely difficult to concentrate on all things said in class. And this has been a common problem too. But I have a small workaround: I just listen. I Dont think, dont evaluate. Just listen. But believe me, there is always a temptation to evaluate or try to unerstand what is being said. If you can fight over the temptation then I think life should be easier. This also requires a belief that whatever the prof says is correct and true !! which means you just need to sit there like a robot, and hang on to every word coming from the prof as if your life depends on it. You can spend some time later, evaluating it. I ll try to put this into practice right away. Readers are requested to try this and let me know.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


I was sifting thru my purse which was overloaded with trivial chits, papers and business cards, so that I could make some space for cash. It brough back long lost memories of yester years and I spent almost an hour going thru the treasure which had accumulated over time. It still contains the discount coupon for the Heat nighclub in Melbourne's crown casino which I never got to use. Everything about Melbourne flashed before my eyes and the wonderful year that I had spent there. Melbourne remains the most romantic and beautiful cities I ve ever visited. But the paper that caught my greatest attention was a clipping which I had cut from a weekly bulletin which was circulated in a church I frequented in Minneapolis. It went like this:

Why is It?
A man wakes up after sleeping
under an ADVERISED blanket
on an ADVERTISED mattress
and pulls off ADVERTISED pajamas
bathes in an ADVERTISED shower
shaves with an ADVERTISED razor
brushes his teeth
with ADVERTISED tothpaste
washes with ADVERTISED soap
puts on ADVERTISED clothes
drinks a cuppa ADVERTISED coffee
drives to work in an ADVERTISED car
and then...
refuses to ADVERTISE
believing it doesnt pay.
Later if business in poor
he ADVERTISES it for sale.
Why Is It?

Funny and very effective way of advertising for advertising, isnt it?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I think I have broken all my previous records of the highest number of pages read per week in the first half week of the Core terms itself. The last time I remember reading so much was when I was hooked on to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. But there is a difference: Atlas Shrugged was simply unputdownable and these books are so putdownable. But the subjects are really interestinig and the profs are also doing a wonderful job. One more thing that is interested is the CP (Class Participation) in the class. Helps in alleviating the drudgery a little.

The LRC in ISB has a very good DVD collection. Just the other day I was watching 'Wall Street'. Noted a wonderful quote from Bud Fox (Chalie Sheen) to Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas):

All warfare is based on deception,
If your enemy is superior, evade him,
If he is angry, irritate him,
If equally matched, fight
And if not, split and reevaluate...

A great marketing strategy considering that enemy means your competitors? Hmmmmm...