Apr 30, 2007

An IIM convert and aftermath

IIMB professors liked me for this performance and gave me a PGSEM admit.. Now after that, over the last few days I've been subject to lot of brainwashing over this.. Lot of my well-wishers including friends and many family members want me to giv a shot at PGP again .. For the uninitiated, PGP is the flagship program of IIMs , which is a full time course and its members of this course who rake in multimillion offers at the end of the course , whereas PGSEM or Post Graduate Program in Software Enterprise Management is a new program with classes only on friday mornings and saturdays ... Although the course syllabus is broadly the same, PGSEM doesnt have official placements... It is a program meant for working executives.. To do it , you got to have the support of the company where u r working.. And it does not make sense to offer placements under this arrangement.. If u say " Allow me to attend the course along with work , IIM will get me placed " , no company will allow you to do that course... All this effectively means if I attend PGSEM , I'll have to find my own way either inside or outside oracle after this..

All said and done..But I'm still joining PGSEM ... The reasons,

* CAT is a lottery.. My CAT story till date is here

* CAT performance can depend largely on the DAY

* I'm someone who believes much in highest brands....Thats why I didnt giv a try for MDI/NITIE or anything like that last yr / this year .. In other words, the kind of satisfaction I would have had if I did my MBA from second level institutes would be much lower than what I'd have after this PGSEM even if it is part-time..I might be wrong here, but then, I would go with my gut-feeling :)

* I'm not keen on i-banking /finance/ marketing..For me, systems level jobs in ERP or web or related sectors would be a better fit ...

* I'm someone who is a bit keen on entrepreneurial stuff.. ( You'll hopefully see one roll out soon :) .. ) ..For such a mindset, I feel a little bit relaxed course is OK.. :)

* If I repeat CAT and get into I / K / L after 4yrs workexp , it might not be as beneficial in the long run..( I could be wrong here too )

* I feel I've missed out on lots of life by running behind CAT over the last 2-3 years.. Enough of that..

* Except A,C all other IIMs giv out calls based on lot of criteria other than CAT-score.. I know a guy who got B,L calls with overall percentile, sectional percentiles, 10th , 12th , workexp less than me...except for the B-tech score.. Specifically, IIMB has given lot of weightage to B-tech score( mine is just 74 % ) ..So, unless I score something like 99.9 and all , IIMB PGP is out of my bounds... So, even if I write again,it'll be like fighting for the 400 odd seats at IIMA and IIMC combined..

* By the time I finish this course ,I'll be having 5+ yrs exp in oracle + an IIMB degree .. Dont you think thats an attractive prospect for better options ?

*Last but not the least,I'll be having salary here during the course :) ..

So , all people who are demanding treats for this, please please realize that I won't be among the select few who will be the toast of the newspapers 2 yrs later with exorbitant pay packets from i-banks and consults :)

If you want treats, I can give you leads on where to go and demand.. :D
The below are the PGP converts whom I know.... Many many congratulations to each of them Eke out treats from them..:)

IIMA converts

1) Raghav ( 99.95 %le with 100 percentile in verbal.. ask him tips : )
2) Abid ( An infrequent blogger..But a guy to watch out for in the future..God of quizzing :) )

IIMB converts
1) Shyam,Vineet -- Do they blog ?? ( BIK converts )
2) Rajesh -- A very special congrats as he converted his lone B -call at 96.4 :)..A tremendous achievement really ..
3) Kandy -- Sits in the next cubicle :) I can convey any treat demands directly :)...BI converts..

-- Gentlemen, all the best for your future :)


Apr 19, 2007

Rain at B'lore..

Yesterday night , b'lore got its first summer showers this season..( Did I miss any ? ) ..
The immediate beneficiary -- My bike , which got a free wash :) ... Now it looks very clean atleast to my standards .... Some days back a friend joked ( or was she serious :) ? ) that no girl would take a lift on my bike if I kept it this way ( Only bike part that I rub dust off is the mirror and seat :) ) ... Now that the rain Gods have been kind on that aspect lemme see if any luck ( chick ) comes my way :) .... But packed weekend plans now.. I'm off to Vizag and then to Chennai this weekend .. By the time I comeback, bike will be back in old condition :( .. and I being too lazy wont bother to clean till next service.. Or may be the next rain ... :)


Apr 13, 2007

My PGSEM interview @IIMB.

Phew...Another interview after one year at the same campus.. This time, PGSEM@IIMB . Went there with a totally open mind..Only preparation that I did was to go through the SOP which I gave them @ the time of application.. Didnt want to take chances with the traffic on Bannerghatta road..So reached there quite early.. at about 1.15 PM for the 2 PM slot.. Unlike last years PGP experience, the fervour among candidates was not there.. There was a guy sitting there and reading a guide for facing personal Interviews... Thats the heights of nervousness I think..

I was the third one to go in.. There were two profs.. One guy having a slight resemblance to Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi ( A bit thin though ) ..And another one with a beard , resembling a typical 'Malayalam Sahityakaran' .. I would call them P1 and P2..

P1 : Take your seat Ajith.
Me : Thank you, nice to meet u..

P1: Tell us something about yourself
( Ah..Is this going to be another customary MBA interview ? )
Me : Told about where I come from, education, NIT Calicut, Oracle ..And described me as a person who focuses on Short term goals and long term vision.. --

P1 had a puzzled look on hearing this..
P1 : Why so ? Why no specific long term goals..
Me : Told about why having long term vision minus specifics was good.. Cited an
example in SOP..

-- I proceeded on talking something more about myself..and told them that this is the
second time that I'm coming there for an interview..

P1 asked about the specifics..
I told about last CAT details..The PGP call and subsequent waitlist story.

P2: What was ur CAT percentile last year ?
Me: 97.11

P2: And this year ?
Me: 98.08

P2: And u didnt get a PGP call this year with this score ? ( Really, This is one thing which even I wish to know with plenty of ppl in 97 range getting PGP calls with lower sectionals than me )

Me : No I didnt. Maybe because of the B-tech percentage weightage or increased number of students..

P2 : Your B-tech score of 74 is not bad ( Really glad to hear that from someone at IIMB :) )
Me:Well, one more thing is you can't equate last years percentile with this..The number of students has gone up..Last year it was about 1.75 Lakh and this year its about 2 Lakh.

P2: But when you consider the top 2 percentage students, its a minor change rt ? ..
( Kya kareh, IIM seats are not increasing much due to that stupid OBC quota ) .
Whats your sectionals ?
Me: DI - 98.25 , Verbal - 96.8 , QA - 90.28

P2: Maybe because of QA
Me: Maybe..( Hell..No.. I know ppl with 85 range in QA getting calls at 97 overall.. Its BTech score :( ...I didnt want to proceed much more on that direction..So just agreed with P2 )

P1: ( Seeing that he had enough of it ) Whatever , even we don't know about the criteria ( This is something called as tactical withdrawal... If it was an open discussion, I would have loved to argue upon this point.. Even I had enough of this CAT discussion by that point .. If IIM Profs are looking into this blog, This is a link that they should go through which mocks the selection criteria there )

P1: Ok..so tell me why should we take you..or, why PGSEM ?
( Good that they converged on this point finally )
Me: Rephrased what I've written in SOP..Explained about the possibilities of ERP sector.. And how an MBA can help me in this role..

P1: ( He seemed to be satisfied at this point ) ..Asked again something which I dont remember exactly what was..But had got something again to do with this why PGSEM and not PGP..
Me : ( The reason is pretty simple which I emphasized initially-- I didnt get a call for PGP -- )
I told that I'll be definitely proceeding in the software sector itself, but with a more functionally oriented role..And I dont have any interest in specializing in Marketing or Finance..Considering that aspect the difference between PGSEM and PGP is mainly lack of placements, which I can hopefully overcome with the alumni network support.. ( I'm still skeptical over that aspect..But then , having something is better than having nothing ) ..

P1: Tell me about ur hobbies or activities..Are u a kind of Geek ? ( Once upon a time, I was considered to be one as my friends tell )..
Me: Reading,blogging, a bit of NGO work, quizzing..

P2:Oh u blog? Whats ur blog URL ? ( This was to come :) )
Me: -- Gave it --

P2: So,what u blog ?
Me: Anything that comes in my life.. You can expect the interview description there tomorrow. :)

P2: --He Had an amusing smile :) --

P1 -- Some questions on NGO related stuff --
Me -- Told --

P1 : Have u tried teaching to kids ?
Me: Yes I have tried once ..But failed miserably..

P1: Why ?
Me: U got to know their mother tongue if are attempting that..Otherwise u'll fail..
( This is an honest advise to anyone who want to try teaching under-privileged children.. First
thing that you should do is to learn their mother tongue )

P1: What kind of books u read ? ( Here the trouble starts )
Me: I told about three books that I'm currently reading.. 1) Snow by Orhan Pamuk, 2) The Search 3) The Last Don by Mario Puzzo.

P1: -- Some question about Snow --
Me -- Explained the plot of 'Snow' ..The conflict between political Islam and Western Ideals..

P1: Wasn't that author involved in some controversy.. ?
Me - Yes he was..

P1: What exactly was that..
Me -- ( Oh..Its going into Turkish history ) ..Told about the massacre of Armenians and Kurds by Turks during World War 1..Orhan Pamuk's denunciation of that and the related trouble.. Explained the story well.. ( I'm writing a review on this book which is there among my 'blog drafts' right now..So that research helped :) ) ..

P1:Anything more about Snow ?
Me: Told about a statement in the story by one of the characters comparing communism with the kind of ethnic system thats prevailing there in the post-cold war period.. The gist of the statement was about a nationalistic feeling versus the Turkish, Kurd , Armen, Azeri ( various ethnic tribes there ) feeling..

P1: When was communism there in Turkey ? ( This guy seemed to be very sound in history )
Me: I guess for a brief period in the post - Mustafa Kemal ( Father of Modern Turkey ) period.. ( Not very sure about this ..might be incorrect ..But read something like that in the novel ) ..Told about the revolutions and counter revolutions in Turkey and associated communist support..

P1:-- Some more question on that -- Had to answer something related to Mustafa Kemal and Ottoman empire .. ( Oh..enough ..enough.. no more history )

P1: Can you compare this kind of ethnic tension in Turkey to India..
Me: Told some references to ethnic tensions happening..But firmly said that u cannot compare Turkey with India as Turkey was forecefully secularised under a millitary rule.

P1:Tell me how Indian economy is doing ? ( finally history ends here )
Me:Doing pretty well

P1: Pretty well because u r getting paid well ?
Me -- Talked about the number of jobs getting created..etc etc

P1:Metrics ?
Me : Mentioned the growth rate..

P1:How much percentage of Indian economy is services ?
Me -- Told some number which was off-target :) --

P1:U better revisit ur numbers :)
Me : Sure

P1: How much percentage is agriculture ?
Me: about 50 ? ( Hell..awfully wrong this time too )

P1:Ok..Leave it..Tell me how much percentage of population of India works in agriculture ?
Me : 60 - 70

P2:How u remember that ? ( Was that correct first of all ? )
Me:-I remember reading that for my last years PGP interview :)

P1: -- Asked some question about the metrics of salary growth in ERP sector --
Me: -- Told something.. which they finally seemed to agree upon..

P1 -- Some questions on people management --
Me: Said I'm an individual contributor..

P1 -- Aspects of management that I'm interested upon ?
Me: Told about the business analysis part, functional details..Basically giving references to
my SOP again..

P1 -- Asking P2 if there is anything more ?
P2 -- He too seemed to be fed up with Turkish history details :)

P2:How will u rate the interview..?
Me:Very well ( Was it ? ..anyway, I enjoyed it ... and I'm an optimist.) ..was a good experience :)

P1:- I'll give you a feedback.. ( Pointing to my right shoulder.. ) Iron the shirt properly before interview :)
Me : Sure :) ( I did Iron it..but then, I'm someone who has not ironed a shirt for about 3 - 4 years .. We don't need to wear formals here... Being a bit lazy, thats a perfect excuse..Isnt it ? ..So, that inexperience showed )

P1: Thats it Ajith..
Me : I do have a question to you..How much does the Alumni network help PGSEM students here ? -- Gave some more specifics --

P1: U'll have to check with the current students..I cannot comment on that.. -- Told about the recent nature of course.. and spoke tentatively about the initiatives ..

Me: Thats it from my side too.. May I know your names?
P1 introduced himself..
P2: I wont give you my name..U'll put it in blog :)
Me: Fine, I'll refer you as P1 and P2 :)
P2:Thats fine :)

Me: Thanks :)
Walked off.. Asked them do I need to call the next candidate ..They said No..

-- I might have missed some Q's ...but more or less this was it :) .
If this doesnt click, It might be CAT - 2007 again.. :) .

Added later -- First thing that I did after coming out of interview was to take out my tie :) .