Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Juniors & Ragging-Ideal Condundrum

A long period of silence, lull and inactivity has got broken after the arrival of junior batch in the campus. The Mall road is buzzing with people walking, the Activity Centre is justifying its purpose of activities, some vella seniors are busy ragging the innocuous juniors and CFC is coming to know again what it means by the sudden rush of demand in night.
Today we had a formal interaction session with juniors at High Tea according IBA's culture and facilitated by the college admin.We grilled the students on lots of things right from the length of their oddly knotted ties, weird hobbies, reason behind their choice of IBA (surprising answers) and asking them about their BFs/GFs.Few of them got furious, most took it in very healthy way while some made us laugh out loud. The objective was to break the ice between juniors and seniors and it served the purpose. I had a chance to interact with some juniors and I found them quite mature and confident.

Since the juniors have arrived in campus,I have seen new atmosphere in campus while some of it is predictable while some are some startling. A few juniors have personally approached me and complained that they found some seniors quite hostile and arrogant.I heard them patiently and what I found happening in the campus made me agree with them completely. This was a bold revelation. I find it quite astonishing to see the kind of behavior of seniors with the junors.

The problem which I see with us is that we don’t know how to handle our seniordom.We don’t have a set of thumb rules as to what is expected from the seniors, what should be our code of conduct, what should be right attitude and how to make this new environment more welcoming and comfortable for juniors.

The senior batch has been waiting for the arrival of juniors so anxiously that we just can’t hold our emotions and we started grilling them from day 1.It made the juniors frightened, nervous and poignant to find the level of hostility in the environment.I believe that we should 1st of all embrace our junior batch with open arms, help them relax and adjust with new culture and forgive them for their ignorance if something annoyed the senior batch. After all if we want respect from them then we must first respect them. Charity begins from home first.Some of our batchmates are ragging juniors so mindlessly without giving any thought ,being so harsh with them unreasonably that it's going to create a very bad impression upon them.

As for me, I have made this very clear to myself that i am  not going to interfere in anything happening in the campus unless otherwise I find it unacceptable from my point of view. I will not rag any juniors and stay away from any controversies and I will maintain a code of conduct for myself which will create a good impression upon everybody.
When you are a senior then the tag of senior hood which comes with it is not easy, it is harder to maintain and justify it than just use it for name sake. We must be more responsible and more balanced in our approach.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

APICS,2010-12 Batch,Ragging & More

I am preparing for my 4th module of APICS certification exam whose exam is due in next 3weeks.I am thankful to this semester's course designer for giving me so much time and space to do my preparation. This semester schedule is ideal for me and this was exactly what I wanted. Too much time to study peacefuly.The exam is crucial for me because this is supposed to be the toughest module and I have to crack this one by any means. If it demands me to study for late in midnight, I am prepared to do that at any cost.If there is any one thing which i think about,if there is any one thing i dream about...for next 20days my mind is totally occupied by APICS.I dont see anything else in front of me.

On a different front, our juniors are going to arrive in campus in next 2 days. It is very obvious with the students to be excited to see new faces, meet new people and witness the biggest fun element 'ragging’. The students always want to feel the importance of being senior; always forthcoming in giving free gyan and making them do petty work. Funnily some of the students from my batch who are most likely to take ragging from students have been made members of anti ragging squad. Only god knows what will happen with juniors in hostels when the thieves are themselves asked to protect the bank. The excitement amongst the students over the prospect of finding boys hostels a more interesting and lively place very soon is quite palpable. As for me, I have only one hope from my batch mates that they don’t follow the footsteps of our seniors and demand the juniors to call us Sir/Ma'am or wish us Good Morning/good afternoon. If this really happens then I would be dismayed and would have to just attribute to our batchmates myopic vision and inability to see its effects on the attitudes of juniors.

I believe that a senior demanding a junior to call him sir/ma'am or wish him is unfair. After all if you really think that you should be respected then let them respect you because of your deeds, your achievements and your actions. It should not be forced but should be voluntary and forcing them to do this would be a very narrow minded approach and would smack of hypocracy.Moreover, when you are in a professional world or in a corporate ,you are always referred by your first name so why allow them to develop this habit which is illogical and irrational at its outset.

My Years with General Motors-Alfred P.Sloan

After a long gap, today I picked up this book 'My Years with General Motors' by Alfred P.Sloan and to my amazement I am finding it more exciting than before. Last I knew I started reading this book a year back when I was just inducted in my MBA course but then I couldn’t find much interest in reading because of its dry style of explaining running the management of general motors’ in its most rudimentary way and excruciating details. I lost interest then and left it believing that I will never be able to finish it.

After a year into my MBA I have come to understand business and world of management more closely and my interest in knowing each and every nuances of handling business is growing exponentially.

On this lovely Saturday morning I woke up lazily and saw this book kept on my book shelf, I don’t know why I picked up this book and started reading it from where I left this. Now I am finding so much joy and interest in reading this book that I feel like finishing it as soon as possible. The book explains the nitty gritty of running day to day operation of GM, its business situation and plans during so different periods of economic cycle like pre WWII,post recession and how Alfred P.Sloan took the helms of the company and brought it from 1917 to 1963 with massive expansion. I appreciate his objective and very quantitative way of explanation. His quote is still fresh in my mind when at the end of chapter he shows the financial statement of GM from 1917 till next 45years he says by giving a wisdom that "United States is not only an opportunity, it is also very demanding on those whose ambition is to excel in it."

I am now able to fully comprehend the purpose of book and understand the reason why Bill Gates said that "If there is one business book you want to read in your lifetime, it’s got to be this one”.
                I cannot agree more than this truly!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Professors & their Ways of Teaching

If somebody thinks or believes that giving lectures is a job or a task then I would have to say that it’s a very myopic thought, it’s much more than's an OBSESSION, it’s a HIGH, and it’s a pure satisfaction of deliverance with exactitude. Often times sitting in one of those endless series of never ending lectures I used to sometimes wonder what drives them so much that makes them deliver a lecture for 2hrs with same level of enthusiasm, energy and concentration. I never realized it only after myself putting in the shoes of a lecturer. I found the very simple joy of sharing with the audience what I know best. I did that in that spirit because I was awaiting that tacit recognition by my audience though my possession of that knowledge, I can vouch for what I am saying because today I myself gave one of my lengthiest presentation of 1hr.

We have two great professors in our college. They are the gurus in their respective domains which is Strategy and Brand Management. Both have very impeccable and distinguished profiles as one is an IIT, IIM alumnus and has consulted to numerous companies in his career span while the other is FMS Alum and has worked with McKinsey Consultancy and is widely travelled. Both of them are excellent orators, highly erudite and deep thinkers. But there is huge difference in their teaching style no wonder when they come to the class the audience are spellbound and totally immersed. I want to briefly elucidate the difference between them.

The person who teaches Brand Mgmt is a very smart guy. He is very versatile, dynamic and the best part is he knows what his audience wants from him and what he needs to give to them. And trust me he does exactly that.intially when I used to come to his class I was instantly hooked and used to regard him as a revered figure. Over the times after listening him more and more I became convinced that he is a very shrewd and smart teacher.he knows exactly where to hit and what kind of game to play so people would just love him. He would talk like an iconoclast, a rebel and a person who is just amongst them. He would say what we all like to hear. He never has any definite agenda in his mind when he come to the class, sort of the personality which those creative agency guys know the NO-PLAN-IS-THE-BEST- PLAN type of people. But what I’ve tried to decipher is that he constantly tries to hammer our conventional thinking patterns, tries to revolutionize our thoughts and idiosyncrasies radically and he would always say things which would charge up the whole class.

No doubt he is a very well read and his words emanate erudition from his mouth and they way he connects with everybody is marvellous.he is the one of few person who believes and validates the importance of EGO, ATTITUDE in the class which sometimes makes me remind of Ayn Rand. He will talk things which will make you think over it and lets you asks you those questions which were there in your mind but unfortunately hidden in the deepest recesses of your psyche. I observe him very closely in the class and I am coming to believe that to him a lecture is not a means to earn money but it gives him some kind of sadist pleasure which can only be felt. It’s the ideal platform where he can speak his mind freely unobstructively and these lecture gives him a satisfaction by knowing that he is such a great orator, that he has the capability of keep class glued, that he can practice and experiment with those speaking styles which he reads in the books. One thing I must commend him for is that he has a great taste for things. He reads good books and he watches good movies. It’s something very atypical in Bengali intellectuals which I always admire.

The professor who teaches STRATEGY is great intellectual and sharp minded man but there is something which separates him hugely from this Brand proff.he is very logical, very matter-of-fact in his approach and has clear cut agenda. I am in no way attempting to make mistake by juxtaposing him with other proff, but his style is bit peculiar. I enjoy his class equally well but I have to be much focused and determined to not get distracted because when he speaks he talks very heavy and he teaches in strictly Socratic way. Very to the point, very fundamental, very objective, very crisp and very balanced without leaving a hint of verbosity. He talks slowly while thinking simultaneously and he doesn’t care if people are interested in his talks or not. But he always tries to find out reasons in vain for smallest things as if he is some kind of behavioral this point I’ve to admit I’ve picked up his habits too and I have also started questioning each and every other thing which is simply unreasonable only in vain hope that there could be some reason behind it.

Sometimes I think why reason is such powerful force. Why reason is such a big common denominator binding everyone. Why is reason so objective in nature? Is acceptance of reason as just and fair way of life by the so called 'society' a natural phenomenon or some force is invisibly causing upon us to see things as it wants us to see. Sounding too abstract...

But I think about it......quite often......!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ayn Rand and the World we Live

I was never a serious student from my childhood. I grew up amongst the people who were mediocre and had simple easy thoughts towards life. I was never a serious reader and I never use to read books. Life takes its turns and life presents you some situations and opportunities which change your life radically. Your life, your thought patterns and your ideologies gets radically questioned by few small things which have drastic effects. I too had my share of incidences of such sort.

one of those turn of events came when I was in engg.Once my 2 year celebration of my freedom which I gained away from home died and the euphoria subsided I saw that life was becoming very mundane and bland. I started to questions a lot of things but I never was able to find answers to those questions. Some things led to another and I happened to read an autobiography of mahatma gandhi.that book to me was a life changer.
It made me introspect much deeply, it made me see where I am and what am I here for.that was one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

Today I want to talk about one more book which has left a long lasting impression on me. What my ideologies are today and what I believe today I owe to that writer.
I am talking about Ayn Rand and her book Atlas Shrugged. The book is 1000 pages long and it’s a fiction. The book revolves around a person Henry Reardon who is a very hard working, industrious and capitalist mill owner. The plot revolves around the philosophy of Ayn Rand about objectivity, greed, ego, selfishness, rationality, ethics etc.

Reardon is a person of values and ethics and he is inner driven and not outer driven unlike others. He lives his life on the very fundamental tenets of objective reality and reason. His ideas are too high, standards too lofty and he is hell bent and resolute is guiding his life based on the principles set by him instead of being submissive to a force smacking of lack of reason.
The book taught me a lot of things which has philosophical impinge and my perspectives towards everything are shaped by Ayn Rand.

I would like to mind the readers that this book is not just a case in point but it has sold millions of copies throughout the world. There is even a term called ‘Randian’ Philosophy. I am always amazed and happy to see her fan following and her being a subject of discussion even after her death. When anyone reads Ayn Rand he will not be just walking through a story but doing time travel, he is giving his mind a shape and a food for thought. It’s no wonder that the former Fed Reserve Chairman Mr. Alan Greenspan was one of the great loyalists of Ayn Rand he implemented a lot of capitalist policies based on his understandings of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

I sometimes think that why don’t people read books. There is so much to know in the world and there is so little time with us even then consciously we waste our time.for me reading books is not a passion but has become a more incorrigible disease called obsession. I can’t quote anything better than this which I read in book ‘NAMESAKE’, "you can travel the whole world without moving an inch”, that’s what books can do magic on us.I think sometimes that I have wasted so much previous times of my yesteryears, had I been a reading books since long past I’d been a better person.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Distraction is omnipresent

After coming back to the campus i am observing some drastic changes in myself in terms of my behaviour, attitude, outlook and my perspective.
when i came here for the first time i was very much focused about my studies, I used to be a voracious reader ,I was more active and i used to be sincere in doing assignments. On the down side, back then i feel i was less social, more reserved, submissive and unargumentive but after doing my summers i see myself less active, more social, more relaxed (with a hint of complacency) but a new hunger for gaining knowledge and higher ability to concentrate and focus on things in my priority.

life here could be distracting sometimes. with so many things to do in a single day and many of those tasks could be non academic, this is distracting, you could be linked up with various people in campus too and this is distracting, with added responsibilities your administrative tasks gets more and more and this again is a distraction. Getting too much involved in all this is very easy and tempting and its more hard to make yourself be a part of it and yet not be in it..What helps you be easy is you always say this to yourself "this is necessary but it's a DISTRACTION”. The moment you say this to yourself your mind realizes what are the things in which you should be involved in and what not...

Hard work to me is not a phase of time, it’s not a temporary period through which i am going through but it's a way of life, it’s a continuous process where you’re challenging yourself, raising your standards, gaining more experience and wisdom and making life richer and meaningful.

When i roam in my hostel and i see people simply whiling away their time i feel very sad. It makes me ask myself why don’t they do what they should do? Are they not concerned? What is this pass time which is so powerful distraction that stops them from being more meaningful..

May be it’s an odd thought because a general phenomenon is a when a person expects too much from himself he sees a self fulfilling prophecy and expects others to thing the same..i forget the world is not same...

Love-Hate Relationship with MBA

I think I can never get over from my love-hate relationship with my college.when I joined MBA I thought that this sine wave in my mind is just temporary effect and is only because I am in a new environment but I now I believe it's not unique but its' a very natural emotion.
I love my college here for numerous reasons:
1. I get plenty of time to do what I like.
2. I get a lot of time to read books. (Sometimes I overdo it by reading 3newspapers a day!!).
3. My mindset that this MBA is an opportunity for me to undo what all mistakes I have don’t in my past and I can mould myself in a new shape in these 2 years..I think I am right here to some extent.
4. The course is very interesting.
5. The lectures are very few which means more time for self study

I hate my college for:
1. Because the atmosphere is not challenging and competitive.
2. People are more complacent and try to not think.
3. I think I don’t deserve this.
4. Sometimmes teachers disappoint me.
5. The food is terrible.
Nevertheless, we all have our own reasons to love and hate things no matter where we are because nothing is perfect and wherever you are you know for sure that there is a huge room for improvement.
During my SIP I had interacted a no of students from different colleges and I was surprised that even they had their own reasons for dislikes with their colleges even through their were graduating from top colleges of country. But that does not mean that we must become complacent in fact we must try more harder to life our standards continuously.