Sunday, March 25, 2007

Random Walk

What do I want? From this MBA? From life? From myself? What are my values? My priorities? Why is it that I am in a foreign land, away from everyone and everything that I cherish? What is the benefit of a broader view of the world, a broad weltanschauung? What can I do with this? How will it help me in what I have to do?

Janani Janmabhoomischa, Swargadapi Gariyasi. Whatever happened to that? Why is it that people no longer cherish the task of serving the nation? Why is it that serving one’s nation is viewed in terms of taking over other nations, foreign resources? Why is serving the country always equated with non-confrontation and blindly following the directives of established leaders and policy makers? Why is it always win-lose? Why is environment being used as a tool to thwart the development opportunities of developing countries?

Why is it only me who is asking all of this? And why is it me again who has to look for answers? And why do I look for them within myself? Why is it that I do not feel overwhelmed by all these questions? Why is it that... ???

From the bottom of my heart, I care about the environment, about wildlife, about people, about our earth. About providing clean potable water and medical facilities to masses, securing their inclusive economic development – rather providing access to avenues for economic development. What people do with their lives is not my concern, my concern is that people should have the option of making a choice about their lives.

I want to see an end to the misery of the second largest (soon to be largest) population in the world. Ideally would like to see the end of all misery, but I am being a bit conservative in my ambitions here… Even attempting a shot at India’s problems is something that will merrily occupy the rest of my life… who knows what problems the world has? I want to provide people the choice of doing what they want with their lives. I want to free people of shackles – of poverty, of lack of education, of lack of resources, of a narrow mindset. Just think, only urban India has caused this tremendous impact and change in India’s economy, imagine when all of India gets into the action.

I sometimes think the theory underpinning corporate-ism is flawed. Creating share holder value, or in rare instances, stake holder value, somehow always ends up taking away from someone else. Rationalising suppliers takes away jobs, ruins businesses, families even. Off shoring destroys pockets of local economy and creates artificial and stressful environments in other localities. And reversing off shoring decisions because of local public outcry destroys pockets of local economy in the offshore countries. The theory looks too much at one snapshot in time, rather than continued benefits – I am arguing for sustainability if you like the word, but probably in a different way...

I think value is created by people, and people should be the measure of business success. But then, that is a different view, not just a different point of view…

Week Twentyfive - Lazy

Thats what I have been - lazy... not getting up from bed even when I am wide awake, not bothering to eat breakfast at breakfast time, skipping lunch and having early dinners... shooting pool, watching cricket, reading books, and wandering all over the place...

By the way, I am not alone in this lazy business, the Indian cricket team has been very lazy too... They proved once again to be a team full of Gods with feet, legs and even heads of clay... I think it is something about us Indians as a people... One moment we are idolising our heroes, calling cricket our religion and Sachin Tendulkar God Himself, the next, we are stoning their houses... But hey! That is what it is, and that is how it is for cricket players... win and you will be the best thing in recorded history, lose and you will be trampled on.

Diehard Indian cricket fan that I am, I am hoping that Bermuda defeat Bangladesh and India advances to the super eight. The irony and shame of that is not lost upon me either, but if that is what it takes, so be it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Week Twentyfour - End of Part 1

This week we had our exams for the second term, handed in the MIT report and Strategy report, and this ended the first part - core courses - of this MBA. Part 2 is about electives, chosen by each to suit his/her own requirements from this course.

After the exams, we had our career fair. A great effort by our careers team, a number of great companies present, great interactions... good opportunity. I did the rounds too, lets see where that leads to.

Yesterday we had an auction in support of charities. MBAs (full time, exec, modular) and MScs joined in some serious bidding for the items on auction, and we raised £11,798. It was good fun, and the more, umm, exotic (for lack of a better word), the more fun we had in raising the bid.

So now I am looking at a fortnight of rest, watching the cricket world cup, catching up on old friends, meeting new people, some thinking and some planning. I said I would write about my thoughts, not today, but certainly next week.

Here's to an Indian victory in the Caribbean!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Week Twentythree - Revise Wise

In preparation of next week's exams, the MBA course is occupied revising the 5 subjects we will write exam papers on. Revising hard - or for some, hardly - in the hope that we will cover in a few days what the course has been teaching us for the past term...

That has been pretty much the story of this week. The lectures ended by Tuesday, revision sessions - with and without teachers - are on. We did find time to play some cricket, but it is mostly working alone or in teams to get concepts straight and cover important topics.

I have spent some time thinking (!) but more on that later, next week maybe...

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Week Twentytwo - Holi hai!

Holi - the festival of colours, joy, abandon... I remember the Holis I went crazy, and the ones I didn’t do anything on. Time sent running, bicycling or riding from one friend's place to another, splashing colours and water, throwing water balloons, just letting go, finally stopping some time in the evening for a cup of "cutting" chai with samosas and fried salted mirchi. Other times, when I spent time not playing Holi but being in the company of someone special, under the pretext of studies... This is my quietest Holi ever, I am studying, honest. And wanting to run back to India, get drenched in the pure joy of Holi. I guess despite a sizeable Desi population, the pressures of the course take its toll. FYI, we have to submit a 2000 word assignment on Business Law - tomorrow.

This past week has been wonderful. We did the People Management group report, where all of our learning team members commented on the HR practices of their previous employers. It was a good exercise, and a great revision for the exams, scheduled next week. Commenting on the HR practices of Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd was a bit weird. I see why the policies are what they are, and how they are beneficial to the company and its employees, but put them in the context of the course and they look ancient. A lot, I think, has to do with the nature of this course - we get to learn how things should be, what the theory is, and then see how this is adapted to real life.

The lectures are now reaching their final stages, and we will have revision sessions this week.