March 31, 2006

MDI Unplugged! - Part One

Possibly one of the most beautiful campus' in India. Spread over 16 acres of flora, lawns, architecture, red bricks, hostels, and gyaan

The Change Masters gate entrance to MDI

The view from inside the gate

'Gurukula' - Academic block in simple terms means 'Where lectures are held'

The front entrance to Acad block - 'Renaissance'

The backdoor entreance to the 'Acad block'

'Jhaji' - The hole in the wall @Acad block from where we source our in-between-lectures meals!

MDI Unplugged! - Part Two

The NMP hostels. These guys are usually senior managers from PSU cos and they get a whole lot of facilities an their mess is more or less a 3 star hotel!

'Taksha Shila' - The NMP reception, lounge, and the upper floor is their '3 star' mess!

The Scholars block - The offices of the professors and the Director.

The Scholars building in all its glory

MDI Unplugged! - Part Three

The canteen

Sharmaji - And his archaic menu
The hangout spots - Jus outside the canteen (L-R) Mani, Kakkar, Raj & Mansur

Hangout spot - Part Two: Nescafe

Nescafe - This outlet has witnessed high attrition in the past few months. Chotu, Gopal, Babloo, another guy who lasted 2 days and off late Amar.

Finally the Auditorium - The place of a million openhouses, meetings, addresses and wot not.

MDI Unplugged! - Part Four

The passage from the library to the audi
One part of the quadrangle formed between the library, and the U shaped Scholars Block

A top view of the Library and the quadrangle
The reading rooms

The upper floor of the library - Rack and racks of books

The library building from the lawns

Packing and Cleaning Woes

Its that time of the year when you have to pack, clean and check out of Change Masters. And boy believe me it aint as easy as you think. I have discovered new things during Operation Cleanup.

First of which is that there have been many clothes that I have not used at all during my stay here. Next, I make a lot of notes. I seem to have a lot of spare sheets with arbit scribblings all over the damn place. I have hardly read the newspapers that I have subscribed too in the last 8 months.

And finally as economics would have it, we have spawned an industry. The packing and logistics industry has got a fillip from the sudents leaving MDI. Such has been the exodus rate that the front of Change Masters looks like a railway station. Apart from that the massive packing has lead the raddi wala outside campus to be the most sought after man. Over the past two days had you been trading in cardboard cartons, you would have made an 200% gain on your investments. So much for the value addition at BSchool and the thrill of 30% annual gains by the Sensex!

All said and done I am far away from completing my packing. The room almost looks empty. The college sounds have died down. The last of those left here are brooding on not being able to go home. The rest are partying knowing that once the summers start there wont be time left to scratch their butts. Me ... I thought of taking a few pictures around campus. Will upload them asap.

March 29, 2006

Bye bye time

For all practical purposes the Term is over. Exams are over almost, except for this paper on Strategic Management, which, if you have read my previous posts on the subject) will tell you what a waste of time it is. So here we are at the end of a year of BSchool and all I am set to go home. Have been feeling really homesick for the past 3 weeks and have been waiting for this time to come. Now that its finally arrived it makes me happy and sad. Happy coz I'll be seeing everyone again. Sad coz it brings back some really sad memories. But lets not get into all that right now :)

So what will I be doing for the summers in Bombay? For starters I'll be interning with the Aditya Birla Group at their Management Centre in the Corporate Strategy and Business Development Cell. The very name sounds exciting and I'm looking forward to doing some really good work there. Hopefully get a Pre-Placement Offer (PPO). ABG has been growing agressively for the past few years as they try to 'Take India to the World'. KMB has infused a lot of young blood into the group. And as they plan to become a $15bn organisation there will be a lot of challenging opportunities.

Enuf of the gyaan. Bottom line is Im going home. Im gonna have fun.

March 24, 2006

The truth about BSchool placements

There has been a hype in the media over the recent placement season of India's top Bschools. Each and every insitute worth its name has been posting average salaries and wot not. Now lemme tell you what all this hype and hoopla is about. And having spent a year at one of India's leading Bschools and having been a part of the process I think my words will have some credibility to them.

  • BSchool average salaries that have been posted in the media are only a ploy to attract the best students. Rather in Bschool speak, its for grabbing the marketshare of the students.
  • Sometimes only 5% of the batch gets the average salary that is quoted. And these guys get it because they have international placements and the exchange rate is the prime culprit. At Purchasing power parity (another post for this!) they will be again below the average salary
  • Most of the batch (50% plus) at any Indian BSchool, even the IIMs will give an arm and a leg for a post tax cash in hand figure of 30k p.m. And before you gasp lemme tell you that Rs.30,000 p.m. in hand post tax is a lot of money for people with even 2 years of work experience. I dont know whether you expect to be worth your weight in gold after 2 years of acads but then dont have great expectations from an MBA.
  • The cash component, and then non cash perks, and some more factor of safety by the institute plus deferred bonuses and a whole lot of stuff is added up to give you those near million rupee salaries that have been doing the rounds in the media. The biggest culprit here is the joining bonus which is usually recovered if you leave the firm within 3 years. So this figure hikes up the CTC by upto Rs.70,000.
  • Even for those $150,000+ figures quoted by the IIMs, the in-hand component would be in the region of $60,000-$80,000. So chill, its just the exchange rate stupid.
  • Yes there are a few Indian corporates that truly give you huge salaries. The post tax from these guys works out to Rs.45,000-Rs.50,000. But then there are only 3-5 such companies. And their total intake is just 2-3 people per company.
I hope I have given you a low down of what happens during Bschool placements. I admit there are a few guys who make it big. But then they are a few just like I said.

March 16, 2006

Rang Barse

It was Holi. The Festival of colours. It was probably the most decent Holi celebration I have witnessed till date with very restrained throw of colours and water, very unlike the Mumbai style of oil paints, acids, urine and the like. No 'bhaiya plastics' as is the case with Mumbai. Just plain water and for a change we had an NGO, the SNS Foundation, which provided us with herbal powders. The powders were of a good quality and scented again unlike the chemicals laced with lead and other toxic substances that we get in Mumbai.
L-R: Harshit, Tamagna, Jis, Me (time stamp) and Samir
We were then invited to 'Daddu's' place, our dear Director, Dr. Pritam Singh. We had sweets and then proceeded to the lawns behind the library where we had another round of sweets and 'thandai'.
L-R: Uday, Shantanu, Abhishek, Achyut, Sarvo, Me (time stamp again!) and Avdesh

And of course 'Holi' here is never complete without 'Bhaang'. Most of us being first timers and having had a rather crappy experience the last time Bhaang was served during 'Lohri', consumed the drink in copious amounts. Little that we knew that this time around the Bhaang was unadulterted and pure.
The laughing fit! : Ronnie, Me and Raghav in the foreground
So that made many of us laugh our way back to our rooms. Massive bouts of sleeping later, many of us were still under the spell. There has been a unanimous demand for only bhaang at the next MDI party!

March 14, 2006

The forgetten nick

Last night while chatting with Anna, Nikunj and Rups after a long time was reminded of a nick that Nicks had coined many years ago at VJ. 'Max' was what they called me much before the 'Gordy' that Rups coined. Though later Gordy went on to become the nick that I was associated with from the second year onwards and later on here at MDI, Max remains the name that only Nicks and Anna use. It was a very nostalgic moment when they both used it during the chat, and I was immediately transported to the Eden Gardens (a patch of garden) in front of the Textile and Structural dept. at VJ. It was like we were there under the tree once again chatting like old times. I immediately changed the nick on my IP messenger (The local campus LAN messenger) and updated the status on Yahoo too!

The origins of Max probably go back to the day I was christened. Other than my family and a few close friends no one knows that my full name is 'Gordon Maxmillan DSouza' which was some years later distorted by the Maharashtra Govt., Dept of Education to include Dad's name as is the practice in India, where the fathers name is appended to wards name. And so was entered in the school records 'D'Souza Gordon Gerald'. (Surname First, Name and then Father's Name said the clerk sitting at the admin office! in that order) The name has stuck. Coz when I was apping to engineering college and then after that to MDI, I had to keep it the same as the name that appeared on my school records.

Why Maxmillan?
Maxmillan Kolbe was a Polish priest who chose to be killed in the place of a fellow Pole during the holocaust years in the World War II at one of the many concentration camps. Ultimately many years later on the 10th of October 1982, Fr. Maxmillan Kolbe was canonized by Pope John Paul II. And on that same day, same year I was born. So my parents thought it fit to name me after the great man.

Maxmillan has never seen any official records thanks to the Indian Govt. and most probably I'll leave it at that. I have always preferred to just enter all offical records with just Gordon DSouza. But I like Max. Feels like a part of me is pure and unaduleterated.

March 9, 2006

Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasiya

Today the MDI Chapter of SPIC MACAY organised a performance by Padmabhushan Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia at our campus. Panditji is known internationally as an acclaimed artiste of the Bansuri (basically a flute). He belongs to the Maihar Gharana of Hindustani music, has dabbled in fusion and has had a stint in films too!

In much younger times

Panditji started off by playing the afternoon ragas. He said that he rarely gets to play the afty ragas at SPIC MACAY events. He then went on play a few Holi tunes. Well I don't remember the technical names of the pieces because I'm zero at Classical Indian Music. But whatever it was it, I had a great time especially during the jugalbandi with Pandit Vijay Ghate.

The performance

Later we all volunteers got an opportunity to be photographed with Panditji. Must say that he is a very sweet chap, very witty and a jovial gent. Much unlike previous artistes who came last time

Padmabhushan Pandit HariPrasad Chaurasia and Me

Have realised one thing after the event. I do not know anything about Indian Culture. I do not have any tastes in anything about our culture. And I have decided that I'm going to rectify that. Thanks SPIC MACAY!

March 7, 2006

Behind the HBS curtain

Today for our class on Strategic Management our course instructor Dr. Amit Kapoor (co-instructor with Micheal E Porter at HBS), showed us a video of a classroom discussion at HBS on the Volvo trucks case (Volvo Trucks(A) : Penetrating the US market, Prof Orjan Sorwell and others). The class formed part of the course on 'Microeconomics of Competitiveness' and was facilitated by Porter himself.

It was an insightful peek into what happens at arguably one of the top B-Schools in the world. The discussion was well structured by the legend. He explored the locational strategies, the global network, the comparision between Europe and US, the reasons for entering the US, etc. At the end the discussion did produce some quality inputs. But almost all inputs were almost prompted by Porter and a few others were from some really experienced people in the class.

More than a video on a case analysis the clip proved to be a big confidence booster for me. Today I broke the myth of excellence that surrounds prestigious B-Schools outside India. (I already busted my belief on the IIMs much earlier :) ) The image that an average person has on B-Schools like Harvard and the likes is that the people who make it to these institutions are undoubtedly the best in terms of business acumen, insights, and opinions that any student body can offer. However, after listening to some of the views, it became apparent that we here at MDI (maybe I could add top Indian B-Schools) have much better class dicussions, talk more sense and less jargon, and also come to the point faster with less prodding or prompting from faculty.

Well to put some thing in their favour, they listened, and were disciplined in their approach; as in, no one cross talks when another makes a point. (Probably because they were being taped! or because 50% of the grade is towards quality class participation. And we were told that there is an aide who takes notes on the class contributions). I agree that here the major grouse is that students sleep in front of the instructor, don't prepare well, etc. But apart for a strong alumni network I can't see reason for Harvard to be better than any top Indian BSchool. I know that this statement may look blasphemous to many but I have my reasons.

Getting into a top BSchool is more difficult than HBS.
These institutions get the top 2% of India's brightest minds (thats 2,500-3,000 from the top 10 BSchools)
Most of them possess extremely strong analytical skills since they have good engineering backgrounds.
More than 50% of students have previous work experience.
And now this video proves that these guys in HBS are no great shakes.

All said and done, I am really proud of being in MDI and proud to be Indian. It's no wonder that people around the world consider us a smart and intelligent people. Sounds extremely jingoistic, but I don't care!

March 4, 2006

And so they went ... lock, stock and placed!!!

Today was the Convocation ceremony of our senior batch. And they went out in style. Sunil Bharti Mittal of the Bharti Group was the Guest of Honour. Wondered what it would feel like next year when I would be leaving this place? Another thing was that Placements 2006 was officially released. And like the standard litany of the various magazines and newspapers that would scream the statistics here is for those who will not get to read it. The report says that the average salary is Rs9.1 lakhs and some more details which are of no importance. Don't ask me how they calculate the average. Rumour has it though that the guy drafting the report got up at 9:10 this morning ;)
The Class of 2006. Aren't they a happy lot!

March 1, 2006

Of jammed drains!

Came across this interesting mail. PFA the attachment!
(click to enlarge)

Durham Univ surely has some problems on their hands! (pun intended)