Sunday, March 16, 2014

MBA and the non-amortizable intangible assets

This post may be useful for corporates who are considering doing an international MBA. Maybe not. None of the information below is factual. Just my $.02. I highly recommend not to take this seriously.

Do you need an MBA?

A short version: Do it. Can´t hurt*

Here´s a slightly longer version:

Contrary to what the applications and interviews demand, there is rarely a soul who knows exactly why he/she needs the MBA. An MBA isn´t a PhD in Molecular Biology. It isn´t meant to be. You can be assured of upping your BS skills, adding an extra line on your resume and be part of an eclectic group of people who are comfortable with business jargon. They are the ones who will sync with you to catch a low hanging fruit before close of play, simultaneously avoiding cannibalizing a cash cow. An MBA will neither guarantee that you will turn out to be a much smarter person, nor will it guarantee that you will start a $mn business. However, it guarantees a few opportunities for you to achieve them at some point. The real MBA starts once you´re done with it.

Opinions on the MBA or your choice of location maps itself on a wide range of spectrum. Many relatives feel that my presence in Spain is due to a lack of ability to find myself a way into the United States. ´Oh I´m sorry that you did not get into Amerikkaa. Should I ask my son for help? He is in Chickaako with a double masters´. I promptly tell them how I would love to be in Illinois as opposed to Barcelona and that I envy their son. Never take their glory away! My Dad cannot comprehend why any school would charge close to a 100,000 USD to teach anything. My smart uncle knew it was never about the MBA and keeps hinting to my parents ´He is going to party in Spain and come back to India and join the same company´ My bank in India wants me to prove I do not need the money to do my MBA to lend me some. MBA alumni will speak volumes about finding the ´right school that fits in with your style´. I agree partly to it. But it has a lot to do with liking the place where you´ve been and unable to imagine yourself in any other school, in retrospect. The truth is, you will fit into many schools if not any.

If you try to quantify the value of an MBA with your loan investment and what you end up making afterwards, you´re missing out on a great piece of the pie - People. Apart from being an experience of a lifetime, a long break from monotony, an MBA is an opportunity to meet very interesting people from different walks of life, different stages of their careers and very diverse mindsets. Try putting a value to that. When a bunch of us were comparing what life would have been like if we did an MBA from India, Harshad an MBA colleague, simply said ´We´d all be different people´. It is simply that. An MBA makes you different, largely because of the people you meet. You cannot avoid absorbing the gazillion perspectives being thrown at you. You ignore some but digest some. And these perspectives matter. They matter because they will shape the way you think about a problem and they will shape the way you do business.

The second part of the value is inspiration. Whoever you are, whatever you´ve achieved, you will always find people smarter than you, making you look very very small. And the best part about this - you have a year or two to interact with them, work with them and heck, possibly suck some awesomeness out of them. Nobody minds, really. Working groups in my business school consisting of diverse nationalities with different levels of intellect, experience, cultural nuances and motivation have survived, thus substantiating my claim. You either end up learning patience or help a team mate learn it, depending on the project #winwin

There is obviously more to this ranging from endless parties to working with real companies and traveling to many cool places. One last shot at leading a student life, crazy times and not having to worry about end of quarters and performance reviews. But the point I was trying to stress really, is the opportunity to meet people. Arguably, this is not an easy platform to match if you´re working at a corporate, however diverse the workforce is going to be.

I get a lot of emails from prospective students concerned about news articles on the economy and unemployment. If you´ve decided on not doing your MBA because you think you understand an FT article on how many jobs will exist when you graduate, good luck my friend, you probably don´t need an MBA. There are people who land sweet jobs from a top 50 school and those that find it hard to get into a job from the top 5. The proportions are different yes, but the point is, you can neither ignore the unpredictability, nor can you bank on the seemingly accurate probabilities that different sources give you. My advice would be to look at yourself and see if you need an MBA - need a change from what you have been doing, if you are open to exploring opportunities personally & on the career front, and more importantly, excited about meeting new people and going new places. If your answer is yes, go for it. Everything you get on top of it can only be a bonus. Take that chance. 

If you were seriously expecting this post to help you make a decision, well..

*Conditions apply. Of course.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ac"counting" stars

Well, I love accounting way too much



Goes back to printouts....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A ride to remember

I like long rides. This time, I decided to make it really long, before I kiss my Enfield a goodbye(at least for the next 2 years). In retrospect, it also looks like the trip had great timing, now that petrol costs a little more than it takes to feed a village.

My bike
It took an email and about 10 minutes to convince Swarnesh to join my trip to Nepal. We set off from Hyderabad on a Friday afternoon. Since Nepal was not baaju Secunderabad, nor was it reachable by going seedha (aur dead end mein right), I was armed with a basic map which showed some towns along the highway where we could potentially crash, en route.

View Larger Map

Ilayaraja, Rahman, Steely Dan, Metallica and some Classic rock artists were forced to give me company - helps me not hearing the guys honking behind and also gives me the only opportunity to sing out loud with a non-critical audience. As I kicked the engine on from office, I took a nice look at the kilometer reading  and wondered how far the 2nd digit was gonna advance. The ride till the city limits was amusing to the people around, I guess. 2 idiots clad in black from top to bottom wearing thick jackets when it is 42 degrees celsius. One of them had it confirmed when he asked me where I was going and I told him Nepal. He was like "Nepal? Kya bol rahe ho aap? Bike se?" - Me: "haan bhayya bahuth accha bike hai" Him: "Haan woh toh hai..lekin.."*scratches head and waves goodbye*

NH7 - the better part of it. NH7

I hadn't yet realized the journey was going to be more fun than just reaching/exploring Nepal. Stops at random Dhabas, villages, chai shops for samose, chai, lassi, roti daal, chicken curry pretty much made my trip. Garam samose For the first night, after riding through some rain and covering 500+ kms, we landed up in Nagpur and crashed there after hogging dry chicken and beers. The hotel owner was convinced we are advertising "Googall"by biking through India. We rode towards Bhedaghat the next day, leaving Maharashtra and entering Madhya Pradesh - a state I would go to just for the lassi.

Bhedaghat was a gifted place - fantastic waterfalls and the marble rocks. Since Marble rocks had boats that carried half of MP in one ride, we decided to take a boat for ourself by paying some extra. The boatman was an interesting guy using puns and phrases to describe the rock formations, doing justice to the extra buck, we paid.
This place also served as a holy destination for hindu worshippers.
Marble rocks and the lake
Marble rocks1
Other than this beautiful waterfalls, Waterfalls Bhedaghat there are 3 reasons I remember Bhedaghat for:

a) The lucky coconuts: Coconuts are sold right outside the waterfalls area with the incentive that if people wish for something and throw the coconut in, the wish would come true. A fisherman stands next to where the whirlpool is that would send any object, including coconuts, to pass through it. He picks up all the coconuts and sells it back to the shops outside. #EpicWin!
b) A dive in time saves nine: As we were boating though the marble rocks, a kid positioned himself on one of the rock cliffs pretending to jump. I obviously screamed for him to stop, so I can click a photo. I did, as he jumped, and the next thing I know he surfaces near by boat asking me money for the picture. I gave him money and he swam back, walked up to the cliff and waited for his next customer (read idiot)
Show me the money
c) Chanced upon the board and I expected a room filled with gulab jamuns:


We rode towards Benares, leaving MP and into UP. I wondered if UP lorry drivers sat at Dhabas and discussed how many people they killed that day. Most of the near death accidents for me happened there. Heck - even the cattle on the road were on a mission to kill or get killed. Benares was probably the only place I could have just pani pooris for dinner. And I did.

The next day was about leaving India and entering Nepal via the Sunauli border. After another 500 kms, we stopped at the last Indian town to have chai and xerox  the documents required for crossing the border. Around 9 pm, we rode through an arch that read "Welcome to Nepal" - Swarnesh and I hi-fived and proceeded to get our entry permits. We had Nepali beers and Nepali sutta and crashed right across the border.
Nepali roads (Swarnesh in the reflection)
Nepal roads
The ride on mountains with a heavy downpour made it fun but slower. After a puncture and its fix...
Bike puncture
Nepali kids who were excited about our puncture
Nepali kids
...we reached Pokhara - a spectacular location. Another boatman with a brilliant idea - if we go to the waters at 4 30 am, he promised us the best view of the Himalayan range from Pokhara with a reflection on the lake. Pokhara also has superb eat outs encircling the lake.
Pokhara lake
My fav pic from the trip
Pokhara lake
The next day, we rode to Kathmandu, another very interesting place. I am just gonna leave readers now with some pictures since the post is already quite ....yaawwwnn
Paragliding at Sarangkot
A buddhist temple atop ~200 steps
Kathmandu temple

Many more punctures, lassis, chais, suttas, beers, conversations with people, dhabas, quick peeks at IPL scores on mini-television sets later...
Roti daal in MP
A boy from MP rolling tobacco (He tells me he also goes to school)
MP boy rolling tobacco

...we reached Hyderabad on the 11th day. As I slept, I wished I never stop riding...As I woke up, I remembered I had a job and got to work. Sigh.

Found this on the notice board at a harley rental in Nevada: You don't stop riding because you become old - You get old because you stop riding

Tibet, you're next. Cheers.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pursuit of what, again?

Not much of a quotes guy since I always have my own crap to give - But here are the last lines from one of my all time favorite movies....

You love playing with that. You love playing with all your stuffed animals. You love your Mommy, your Daddy. You love your pajamas. You love everything, don't ya? Yea. But you know what, buddy? As you get older... some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore. Like your Jack-in-a-Box. Maybe you'll realize it's just a piece of tin and a stuffed animal. And the older you get, the fewer things you really love. And by the time you get to my age, maybe it's only one or two things. With me, I think it's one.

-The Hurt Locker

And with that, he returns to the roads of the war torn country with his bomb-proof suit on...

What happens whenever I read these lines:

1) Reminds me that sometimes, it's important you know what you really wanna do...
2) ...and sometimes you have no fucking clue what it is.

*Goes back to his coffee, Internet and a motorcycle ride....*

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Penn diagram

I love graphs, charts and the likes - especially Venn diagrams. Here is a Penn diagram (#thamizh-pun)

For earlier graph based nonsense, look for the label Graph-hic. And before you hurl stones at me, you can always refer to the disclaimer on the profile. Peace.

Of course, more of these later. *Scratches head*....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Random thoughts on Afreaka (#2)

This post ain't named so cuz it's a sequence of the previous post, but when SRK names a movie Don2 with no relevance to the first one, so can I...


With each step, bus journey, matatu ride and a random conversation with an African , you come to realize that you're in a different continent and all the travel is quite fatal to prejudice. As any other travel experience, you will be baffled at the diversity of the people - Nigeria alone has 510 live languages with 250 ethnic groups. And within Kenya, there are 42 different tribes with several thousand different clans who do not speak the same language. And overall, I've never seen a race of people who've got a better sense of humor than the Africans.

Some random observations and #TIA moments (in no particular order, just like my room)

- A guy at the Maasai market guy saw my t-shirt (that read "Being Human") and chased me yelling "Hey brotha, if you really wanna be human, why don't you give me some cash?" - I figured Karma is a bitch, given that Salman Khan killed the "Black Buck". Just saying...

- As I heard about the reversed dowry system in most parts of Africa, I could not stop but imagine a Reddy daddy with 2 kids, a girl and a boy where the son marries an African woman and the daughter, a Telugu boy. Jokes apart, I would love to see that happen.

- Everyday, as I walked back from work, I would notice a cool gang of friends chatting with each other, sitting on their motorcycles. Only when one of them approached me and asked if he could drop me, did I realize that they were actually "transport". The "boda-boda" is an insanely phenomenal system in East Africa where people drop other people on a motorcycle or a bicycle for a fee. Legend has it that when a machaan was approached by a boda-boda, he told him poda-poda. And yes, the name stuck.

- And everyday, as I walked back from work, I would also notice a cool gang of women at the crossroads, waiting to get into new cars, everyday. You get the drift. But unlike in (most parts of)India, women in Nairobi choose to do it themselves for an extra buck. Although some things like an extra dash of lipstick, high heeled boots and gawdy dressing remains consistently the same.

- Modern day African women change their hairstyles every week. Got my bubble burst once when a random chick said hi to me and then I realize I failed to recognize my own colleague. Accra, Ghana has more salons/sq km than any other place in the world. Speaking of Accra and shops, they have phrases as names of their shops and it always is, in praise of the Lord.

- Safaris don't get any better anywhere else - waking up to see zebras and wildebeests a few metres outside your tent and chasing down a cheetah chasing its prey were probably the best parts of my trip.

- During the safari, we went deep inside the wild in search of lions and we ended up seeing a Maasai dude chilling with his cattle, unarmed. Take that superheroes! Maasai tribes kill lions but live in fear of termites. They literally, scale new heights, in securing more girlfriends by jumping as high as they can.


- Africans are the best dancers. Ever. A personal must-do recommendation is to walk into a bar and witness Africans dance for Shakira's waka waka song. The speed at which women can shake their butt, rivals the hummingbird's wing flap. Interestingly, slow reggae dance is also amazing to look at. Overall, I think they are the most uninhibited and awesome dancers.

- If you thought the movie Madagascar was funny, you should read the story of a former DJ who organized a coup there to became the president of Madagascar. Can you imagine that happening in India?

- India will look like a reasonably honest country with not so many issues, if you end up here
> Nigerian cops will simply stop cars and ask for money, without a reason
> When asked why I was being charged for an extra $30 for my visa to Ghana, the
woman simply said "Do you wanna go to Ghana or not?"

Weddings, food, religious practices, clothing and many other aspects are mind blowingly different and unique out here. Guess there is only so much I can recollect today...Can't wait for Tanzania feb '12.

Of course, more later.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Those evil returning winds...

The final pain of a mother's yell
the end of a hiccup you can't tell
The final seconds of the exam,
the confession of a friend's sham
Scraped knees, broken chin,
those wounds on the skin
Gone with the wind...

The final vision of the breathless,
as the mortuary's ajar door passes
The untasted drops of the vintage,
as the glass shatters on the floorage
The last rice that nourished the departed
the last ice that unfulfilled the besotted
Gone with the wind...

The final step of the vagabond,
the last sex with the blonde
That final puff of the last cigarette,
those promises that you unkept
The end of an indulgence,
the beginning of temptation
Gone with the returning wind...

My 2 paisas:
Humans have always known to deal well with things that they know have ended. They could end so well or end so bad, but that doesn't matter. What bothers mankind are those things that can be had or done again, for one last time. That last time, which comes again, and again...and again. Aaah those evil returning winds