Life @ISB

Goodbyes and all that…

Its been a month and a half since I last wrote anything here, and more than two since anything substantial. The single longest break I have taken since I started blogging. But then I am back. I had written the post below a day before I graduated but hadn’t gotten around to posting it. Anyway, this one extremely long vote of thanks if I may say so.

It was just about a year back that I was writing about leaving Evalueserve, and how I would miss them so much every day. To be honest, I did miss like crazy for a month or so. And then the schedule of ISB got the better of me. There was very little time to miss people, or reminisce about old days. Yet whenever I had a good chai (thanks a ton Megha), watched an F1 race, a football match, or a tennis game, used Excel or Word, and in general had a good time, those memories came flooding back! I still miss you guys a lot!!

I hadn’t been psenti about ISB so far. But then a friend sent a mail today that made me realize that there are just a couple of more days to go for what has been an amazing roller-coaster of a ride that is ISB! It’s been just about a year, and as promised, it has given memories and friends to last a lifetime. There are so many people to thank for it that using names is going to be difficult. But some must be mentioned.

My quaddies. Much like the wingies in Pilani, quaddies at ISB are your safety net. These are the people you end up spending most time with, and in general having a lot of fun with. Sam – my partner in crime, be it movies or music. Shared so many brilliant moments watching crappy movies before exams with him that it almost became a ritual. What F.R.I.E.N.D.S was to Pilani, House MD was to ISB. Good movies too were watched together. Raj – the nawab of the group. He taught us what alfresco dining was, but could never convince us about the difference between cartoons and animation though. Avin – the most reclusive of us all, also perhaps the smartest. With his cap and shades, Avin was the man to watch when we went for treats. He was the one responsible for a lot of aching muscles when he got the quad addicted to Wii Sports! Damn you man!! And don’t get me started on his choice of places to take his girl to 😛

My study group. My family at ISB. Kirti, Megha, Malavika, and Sunil. Love you guys! Kirti – the smart guy of the group. No academic problem was too tough for him. Sarcasm his best weapon, I gelled a lot with him, and we accounted for the most time pass during team meetings. Best of luck for married life dude!! Megha – the organized girl. As someone said for her, seems like she has Hermione’s Time Turner. Also known for her fabulous voice, amazing mimicry skills, and awesome chai making skills. Sunil – CA sahib, was the source of most gossip on campus. Wrote the most formal emails ever, and coined the term “Megha’s chai quad”. We will miss you on graduation day dude! Malavika – the dreamer, poet, and our very own IT person!! She has been a source for sanity in the group. The only one who understood FB, Twitter, Reader, Harry Potter, FRIENDS, and much more. The most enthu person in the group, she was the driver behind most group outings.

The extended study group. Gogo – the taller of the two Goyals. With his amazingly correct Hindi, and Rajasthani, he was the source of most comedy!! Supra – boodhi haddiyon mein abhi bhi bahut jaan hai. With endless stories, the old man of the group usually gave us a lot of gyaan. Jasnoor – the other IT engineer. Shared most geekery with him. Also, introduced me to the dhaba, and we went out for food a lot. With his almost alien vehicle, he was the most unlikely of Sardars one can ever meet. Kshitij – CP partner. We had a lot of common courses, and made life miserable for many. Also, his quad was the source of many get togethers. Diwali, New Year, CTB meetings, you name it. The lovely Radhika – ensured that we were well fed most of the times. Also, worked harder than most of us for the CTB.

RockEE – my section at ISB. Full of wonderful people, to single anyone out would not be fair.

CTB – the final study group, and most fun assignment. Kshitij, Radhika, Malavika, Sarosh, and Renu. One of the most fun group to hang out with! Sarosh – the One! This girl had so much energy and enthu that she spent most of her time at ISB ensuring that we enjoyed every moment of it. And always had fun doing what she did. The CTB was her brain child. Thanks for everything Sarosh! Renu – she ensured we worked, never ran out of chai, coffee, or Maggi, and wrote the most difficult write-ups of them all!! Hats off to you girl. Based in Mumbai, be sure that I will keep dropping in once in a while for some grub, and lots of psenti-putting sessions 🙂

Various study groups I had in electives – Mummyji, Mayank, Ashish, Yev, and others. You guys were awesome! Need to mention Mummyji & Mayank – you two were sooper fun!! INMK and MGCP was so much fun because of you. Thanks!!

Modi – I have become so used to him being around that it just seemed poetic justice that he also got a job in Mumbai. Thanks for hanging out with me at Apollo and all the help here at ISB. See you soon in Mumbai 🙂

Everyone at ISB I have missed. There are people from my SV, my ELP team, various elective sessions, the clubs, and many more! Thanks for making it one memorable year!!

Special mention of the entire ISB staff in general, and housekeeping in particular, for making the ISB experience an exceptionally smooth one. The levels of service this guys provide is just mind-blowing. I still wonder how I will get used to life in Mumbai without the serviced apartment 🙁

Akanksha – can’t believe that you weren’t present for my graduation. The first known face in Hyderabad, ISB experience would not have been the same without you. Thanks for driving me around, the Batman poster :P, home grub, getting me all the stuff I needed from the city, and always being willing to listen when I cribbed about life at ISB. Thanks a ton!!

I know I will be in touch with most of you, but it will not be so with a few others. For them, something I remember from long back,

सितारों को दमन में छुपा के रखना
बड़ी दूर तक रात ही रात होगी
मुसाफिर हो तुम भी मुसाफिर हैं हम भी
किसी मोड़ पे फिर मुलाकात होगी


The Man, The Master, The Boy Wonder

Sachin's 200* against SA
Sachin gets the double!

No one else has deserved any record any more!


Race to the top

Dan Vasella stepped aside from the CEO role at Novartis yesterday to be succeeded by Joe Jimenez, the head of their pharmaceutical business. Along with this, the other person in contention, Joerg Reinhardt, quit the company to look for options elsewhere.

This reminded me of a course we had, on Managing Teams, taught by Henry Moon, this brilliant guy who somehow made everything sound so simple.

In one of the classes he was explaining why CEO salaries are so high. His contention was that the brilliant people at the level below the CEO are the ones that drive any organization and the position of the CEO is like the reward. And they know only one out of many will reach there. Therefore, in order to incentivize everyone to actually fight for the spot and perform at their best, it was important to keep the reward high, just as you would do in a lottery. If the chance of winning is low the reward has to be high to compensate for it.

One of the drawbacks of such a system is that when some one wins, the others in the race generally leave the company, and that is a concern. However, Prof. Moon said that this is inevitable and was necessary to promote fresh blood. He gave the example of GE – when Jeff Immelt became CEO, the others in contention left to head other organizations. When this played out again yesterday, I couldn’t help wondering if there is no other option.

As they say in hindi, “Ek mayan mein do talwar nahi reh sakti.


Louis rocks!!

You know how there are moments in class you would probably never forget about. Well, this was one of them. At first I thought I would post it on the ISB Students’ Blog, but then figured it would be slightly inappropriate for that.

Anyway, we have this absolutely amazing professor, Louis Thomas, who teaches us Economics of Strategy, and was trying to explain how commitment works. It was then when he came up with this example. And after that I haven’t been able to think of a better one. Hats off to you Louis! And Meatloaf makes it even more memorable.

PS: For those who were wondering what baseball was doing in the song, read this. And the song is Paradise by the dashboard lights.

Life @ISB

Dead as a doornail!!

The past week has been super hectic, even by ISB standards. I attended an equivalent of at least 18 classes (2 hours each). Read so many cases and papers that my head hurt. And was showered by as much information as can be humanly digested, and then some more.

ISB and Wharton hosted, perhaps a first, joint course on Healthcare Innovation in India. Attended by 30 participants each from ISB and Wharton the course was compressed over two and a half days and talked about all aspects of the healthcare sector in India, from lifesciences to delivery, and from insurance to social investment funds. It was like a crash course, just a little faster.

Though the course was a lot of fun, it was very demanding too, and I spent the entire day today going through motions and somehow dragging myself through it. Almost know how zombies move around.

And have a dunking to attend to at midnight – so no sleep before that. With the placement season coming up, blogging will be sparse, unless of course I get one quickly 😛

PS: Cricket is a wonderful sport. I connected so much with a South African exchange student, talking almost only about cricket. And he was as avid a follower as anyone else, and ’twas a nice long chat with him 🙂