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 :-)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Mid terms and admissions

Today were Term 2 mid terms. But there was no relief after the exams. There are submissions due. Sometimes I feel like a robot, switch off one subject and then immediately switch on the next, switch on parties and drinks, then switch it off, grab some sleep, then again switch on something else. I know deep down inside, it is changing my very being. I am more equipped to fight lethargy and remain enthusiastic most of the time, something which was lost somewhere in the last 3 to 4 years. But thats what I am here for and thats what I am getting. So no issues :-).

All you kiddos looking out for a place in this institute better start preparing now itself. You will never know when the deadlines will come n go. Start working on the Essays and start building a perspective on where yo ucome from, where you are right now and where you want to go. The essays basically ask these 3 things. And never ever copy essays from others. Dont even refer to them. These are the things which are wholly and truly yours as you see it and no part of it should include opinions or ideas of others. Ofcourse you can take professional help but only after you have first drafted the essays, only after first providing the meat, the seasoning part can be refined by professional help...

The application deadlines for batch of 08 are Oct 3, 2006 for cycle 1 and Dec 1, 2006 for cycle 2. One more point to note is that GRE scores will no longer be considered. Please check the website for complete details.

Check this space for more on admissions.

Monday, June 26, 2006

True Colors

The more you need her help, the more she let's you down,
The more you like the way she walks the more she shakes her hips,
The more you fall in love with life the more she runs around,
The more you fear the kiss of death the more she licks her lips
-Flatlanders in Julia

Well the 'she' is none other than ISB itself. The first 2 weeks of the 2nd term I have been struggling to make sense of night and day. Running around like a zombie for lectures (after prereads), markstrat decision making sessions, DMOP assignments and pre readings of 30 to 35 pg case studies in Competitive Strategy. When I look back on the last 2 weeks I couldnt help imagine the amount of knowledge I have gained and the number of tools I have used. But its worth mentioning that at the end of the day its very fulfilling. A few words about the different subjects in Term 2:

Global Economics: Very interesting subject about macroeconomics and about the world in general. Also the prof KK makes it very interesting and makes sure there are not much arbit CPs and the knowledge transfer happens at high efficiency. You get to know why China and India are on their way to become successful global economies and what can hamper their growth and why globalisation is the logical way forward.

Decision Models and Analysis: This is all about spreadsheeting and modeling and simulations. Becomes very interesting once you know how to model and if you are familiar with spreadsheets. So all ye ISB aspirants, hone up those excel and solver and crystal ball skills. It will do u good in this subject, because the learning curve is very steep with hardly any time. You are thrown in deep waters with sharks all around. (Of course I dont mean fellow students :-))

Competitive Strategy: This is all about huge cases and what orgs did in particular strategic situations and what we should do to see that history doesnt repeat itself in the corporate world and what are the principles and thought processes behind the strategies. Since this is a very subjective subject, it becomes difficult to arrive at concrete conclusions because 10 people think in 100 different ways and so it might seem that this is B*****t at times. But one has to keep in mind that thats how the real world is. Sometimes you dont know that you have taken a strategic decision until after you have taken it. At hindsight you realise that everything was moving in that direction and the decision was taken non strategically rather than deliberately. But still it was a turning point in the life of the organisation. Isnt this similar to everyday life?

Marketing Decision making: Well this one is a time sucking machine. We need to play a simulation game thruout the term as a firm selling fancy electronic goods in a godforsaken world called Markstrat and make profits and thus compete with other firms (who are ofcourse other student groups). The learnings are tremendous and you get to use a lot of data to base your decisions. But at the end of the day what counts is what profits you made in your industry, since a sizeable porion of your marks are dependent on it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Leader vs Manager

I was reading John Maxwells book ‘Developing the leader within you’ recently and couldn’t help pondering over the immaturity used in defining leadership. This is also followed in many books and by other authors while defining leadership. John says that Manager gets the job done while the leader inspires others to do a better job. I don’t understand why people take pleasure in beating the manager and glorifying the leader. Why a leader has to be defined by comparing to a manager. Most of the definitions of leadership also imply that a bad leader is a manager, some moron who only gets work done but doesn’t inspire the followers to do better work.

A manager is not actually a bad leader. He/she is generally defined within the context of a particular unit of work or service, like a project manager or a program manager. What it essentially means is that a manager is responsible for the work unit as a whole which includes both human and non human entities like infrastructure, machinery, assets, costs, budgets etc. All these entities need to be managed to deliver the work unit especially the non human ones, they cannot be led. However managing some or all of these entities finally requires leading people. Leadership is an enabler to management. In that context leadership is also superior to management since good management requires good leadership but the reverse is not true. Thus leadership drives management of resources and people to achieve the final goal. A leader and a manager have two separate but overlapping functions and the statement that a manager is a bad leader or some such sort doesn’t really hold water.

Most real life problem solving calls for situational leadership ie leadership styles that change with the context and time. So its not always practical to follow the inspirational form of leadership (which is the pinnacle of leadership as defined by Maxwell). The goal or the end of any organization is not to inspire people per se but to make profits. Inspiring people is just a very important and high priority means towards achieving that goal. A leader plays a huge role in getting the work done from people and needs to use different forms of leadership which meets the final end. In some situations he needs to use inspirational leadership while in others authoritative, but making him/herself clear. While in a leadership position your goal can’t be to make everybody happy. Your strategies and actions have to be to meet the goals of the organization.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Look Heru, Look Theru, everywheru Haiderabadu...

The term 1 exams got over on the 6th and since then the campus is wearing a deserted sleepy look. Half of the bunch has gone to meet mamma and pappa and ofcourse special friends. The exams were some huge brain chewers and it is such a huge relief that they are over. The next term is starting tomorrow and the huge coursepacks are lying clean and unblemished on the table. The thought of opening them has crossed my mind several times but as yet I have been unsuccessful. But I know sooner or later I will have to open them and enable the flow of knowledge through my mind's circuit which will undoubtedly offer a huge resistance.

Kandy and I decided to go on Hyderabad darshan yesterday. First we went to Charminar, where there was a narrow spiral and dirty staircase to go to the top. The view from the top was very good and we could see the entire old city. The thing that was striking (well it no longer strikes me) was the unkempt, disorganised and inprofessional way in which our country people choose to keep our historical monuments and places. The Bhool Bhoolaiya in Lucknow is another example. I had a nightmarish experience there and ended up without seeing the entire structure. If only India can wake up and start maintaining these places professionally so that tourists have a good experience of the rich history and culture of our wonderful country. This would also make good business sense and there is a lot of money to be earned.

The next place we visited were the Lumbini gardens. It wasa very well maintained place and we also went on a boat ride to the centre of the Husain sagar lake where stands erect the tallest statue of Lord Buddha in India. This place unlike Charminar is very well maintained and Kandy and I had a wonderful time there. However the most fascinating and paisa vasool part of our entire endeavor was the Laser Show just outside Lumbini Park. Initially I thought it was similar to the one in Brindavan Gardens in Mysore. But this experience was incredible. Apart from the display of water fountains dancing in sync to popular music numbers, there was a good 15 min film on the history and culture of Hyderabad projected on a wall of water. Whatever I could make out of the melodious song is mentioned in the title :-). The last part was chaala best.