Monday, October 20, 2003

The MBA bandwangon

Read Mahesh Murthy's article on the validity of an MBA. It seems quite interesting and quite related to a CG discussion. What did I do? I wrote this to Mahesh Murthy.

This MBA thingy always had me thinking - I come from a very conservative
"banking" background, and went through the rigours of Engineering at a
fairly well known institute. Point being, the focus was always about getting
a job - and getting a better job than, say, your father, your roommate, your
aunt's sister-in-law's nephew twice removed. And in the hullaboo, I managed
to sit through tons of "CAT" material, go through mock tests, discuss GD and
interview strategies - all in my pre-final year. But all through, there was
this nagging doubt that this wasn't what I'd been looking for. All my life,
or at least as long as I can remember, I've wanted to start my own
business - which is kinda weird considering the environment I was in.

Anyways, keeping "start-your-business" as a long term goal, I started to
evaluate the possibilities, and then this MBA thing seemed like a sham -
just another effort to get to a better pedestal so you can negotiate the
TLAs at a job - CTC, LTA, EMI etc. And the IIMs just got me jittery - if
most IIM students are just out of college, what level of business skills
would you learn from them? Education was anyhow not my forte - I was always
a self learner. I couldn't figure out any advantage of an IIM MBA other than
one - Networking. Finally I decided against it - if it had to be, it would
have to be a few years later.

I ended up starting my own company five years ago. I don't know if an MBA
would've helped but it sure would have taken 2 more years for me to start
up, plus I'd probably have an education loan liability. And in the software
industry, the two years would've been murder! Ergo, I would've started in
2000 rather than 1998, and we all know what's happened since 2000.

All said, I know now that management skills are important - I learnt things
the hard way, and sometimes there's been no excuse for the ignorance.
Management books are good and helpful, and now I'm looking to get to short
term courses on global marketing, operations research, case study analyses.
Maybe I'm more qualified to do an MBA now than ever, and yet the courses
they all seem to offer have only a single light at the end of the tunnel -
the ubiquitous job offer. What I need is not a job - I need to know how to
keep my employees motivated, how to "break into" new markets, how to price
in a tender based project, how to negotiate with suppliers, how to spread
risk, how to manage expectations. Jeez, this sounds like management jargon!
But it's what I need - I know what business is, give me the skills to
administer. Sadly, Indian management institutes seem to have lost what an
MBA should stand for.

And you know what, I think I'm just full of it. IIMs aren't that bad, and I believe there is some quality education that emanates from its hollows. But does an IIM MBA suit me? Will it make or break the dream I had when I started Agni? What will it teach me? Answers- I don't know. In triplicate.

I can't say this to others, but I would say an MBA is a no-no unless you have money or time. If you don't have both, do your number the way you wanted to do it. It's no longer about blood, sweat and tears - it's about intelligence and being stubborn enough to keep to your goal. If you want to make it big, cut your dream into do-able chunks and build upon it. Management books may help, talking to people might help, but the major part of the work is going to be done between your ears.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

A hair raising experience

We now have an established version of the facial hair earlier mentioned. Not that this is of any interest to anyone, but my feeling is that if I can't write stuff that's only interesting to me in my own blog, there's no point in doing anything. The unknown indian will remain unknown.

CG's come to a conclusion, after a long long argument, that women's bodies have a mass appeal. Amen, I say. It's not that's I have anything against the male body - I really can't afford to do that for risk of retribution by my own body to begin with - but it's the female "form" that is ludicrously exciting. Ludicrous because a set of curves doesn't really look that good on anything else. No, not even cars - "so you have a car, that don't impress me much". The problem starts when you look on the inside - men, in general, are clueless at this point. What, if anything, makes a woman what she is? What makes her think? What gives her the attributes that can completely defy logic at one point in time, and at another, make you feel like an utter bozo? And what makes her know that she can just wink this and move that and suddenly a man is reduced to a moving blob of hormones? They say we've evolved but really, men become quite indistinguishable from amoeba when a woman does her little number. Except perhaps the saliva.

It's a wonder I'm being paid. I haven't really worked over the last week. There's a lot of depressing activities like people getting married. Someone did today - and as far as I remember she was my first crush. Not counting that poor girl in my 3rd standard classroom who I kissed right in front of everybody else - I don't even know her name. But man she must've been the absolute first woman that got me going, and the entire gender's kept it up since then.

The question making the rounds today is "Will it ever happen". Marriage. Long term relationship. I'm not sure. I'm just paranoid that I'll get the wrong girl. Or even, as Arun puts it, a "womban kokkey female". I can't leave something this big to my mom - sorry, you brought me up and all, but somewhere along the way my mind has wandered into unchartered territory. No, I amn't gay and all that - I still prefer the female "form". (Doubts? Internet cache available as proof) But I'm not sure Mom can find someone for me - plus of course there are things like horoscopes and parents and family which I don't really want to get involved with.

Okay, so what am I looking for? Someone who's fun to be with. Who'll rap me on the knuckles when I do my rounds of the insanity corridors. Who'll laugh and give me that imperceptible nod of approval when I crack a good one. And what d'ya do about the ghazals? The reading between the lines of the songs you listen to? Er...yes, of course, there's got to be a poetic end somewhere, and a connect on the passion. Jobs I don't care about - I don't think I'm going to be working in this industry for the rest of my life. Oh yeah, and she should like to travel. I'd like to show her the Norways, the New Zealands and even the Ramnagars. I'd like to be able to talk about anything - complain, crib or scream; laugh, flirt or embarass. I'd like to be able to listen, even if I only pretend to - and I'd like to get listened to, even if it's a pretense. Too much to ask for? Probably, but that's me, isn't it? I've always wanted something, and looked until I found it. Now, I only know what I DON'T want...I know the problems in what's been there, and in what might have been. I know where I screwed up, and I know now what I am. I can't ask for more, but I won't settle for less. And on my end, I promise: 70 Kgs by Jan 2004.

77 right now, down from 84. I'm getting there. Oh, and please don't count the beard.

Update 10/10/2005: I'm married now, and I don't know what I was making such a fuss about - I fell in love with Sunila just a few days after we met. Maybe a few hours. I dunno. But it's so much fun now. And she likes even when I'm back to 85 Kgs.

Monday, October 06, 2003

A new look

The unknown indian will sport a french beard. The current status is a little better than fungus, but it seems to have attracted attention. The good kind. We'll leave it at that.

Oh yes, and I'm the CEO now. It's a much better title than "Director". I'm not sure if it's a promotion but I swear I'll treat it like one. I find the responsibility disconcerting - "take the company to a new level" seems to be the need of the day. We could take the second floor...but I have an uncanny feeling that's not what's expected. The role has come, will we get anywhere? Where do we go from here? And where the heck are we? Questions, Questions and more Questions. The entrepreneur will have to find the answers, and here I am, finding only questions - yet, there's a hope somewhere. I think we should be able to sell our services to bigger and more established enterprises. And how I plan to do it will have to be relegated to the next blog, because hey I'm still starting to build on the thought.

Abstruce and obscure. No committments. That's what it's been all about so don't worry if you're confused. The light will come.