Last class of Term 6

Term 6 is over but for the exams and the submissions. Just two more terms to go before I graduate. Time just flies past.

The subjects I had taken this term were Consumer Focused Product Development, Cause Marketing, Global Operations Management and Outsourcing & IT Based Businesses. The one professor I would like to mention about is Prof George Geis who took the outsourcing course for us. Among the IT professors who have come and taught here till now, he is definitely the best. The way he handled a subject like outsourcing is commendable.

Mittal Steel came for a pre-placement talk last week. The application process for companies has started. Preparations for placements have intensified. The consulting club has started “perspective building” sessions which are essentially internal speaker sessions where a student who has worked in the industry or the area in focus for the day will share his knowledge and thoughts with others. We have already had two good sessions. Two more are planned today.

We had a Section D reunion party yesterday on campus. Felt great to see good old folks after such a long time. We had lit a bonfire and played antakshari over pakodas, gulab jamun & cutting (mumbai wali chai) for quite sometime before thoughts of assignments to be submitted today played spoilsport. Hope we have as many of these reunions as possible before we go from this place.

Sleep – Where art thou?

Yesterday was the first time in the past one week when I had been able to sleep for about 3 hours in a day. I could only manage a total of about 6 hours of sleep in the 4 days before that put together, courtesy assignments and ELP. Gone are those days during the first few terms when I could manage to doze of for at least a healthy 6-7 hours per day whatever be the workload. The 5th and the 6th terms have been really demanding.

This is the last week of classes in the 6th term. Of the subjects I took, one has a written final exam next week and all others have submissions in other forms (projects, paper etc).

Initial round of bidding for term 7 is already over. Have got 4 of the 5 courses I had opted for. Planning to finally take 3. I am indifferent between the 4 courses; so which 3 I finally pick up will depend on the outcome of the first lecture of each course that I intend to sample.

GMAT score submission deadline extended for ISB R2

GMAT score submission deadline has been extended for this year’s round two applicants. The last date of application remains the same as before – January 7,2006 but applicants may send in their GMAT scores by January 15, 2006.Please read on for more details …..

There is a substantial growth noticed in the number of GMAT takers outside US, which is coming from countries like India and for the schools like the Indian School of Business. “Through Oct. 31, total GMAT volume is up 3%, but only 0.2% in the U.S. v/s 9.3% outside US” – quoted by GMAC in BusinessWeek.

V K Menon, Director – Admissions, at the ISB said,” The concept of the One Year programme in management, experienced student profile and the international faculty pool has been very well accepted by MBA aspirants in India. This has resulted in the sheer size of applicant pool for the ISB increasing by 80% in cycle-1. We are getting repeated requests to extend the application deadline for cycle-2 which is January 7, 2006, because of the unavailability of the GMAT dates.”

“Many of our students have had to push their test dates for GMAT because of non availability of slots. It is very unfortunate that we do not have enough centers to cater to the growing needs of the GMAT,” said Nidhi Khaitan Modi, Managing Partner, The Princeton Review-India.

Looking into the scenario the ISB will accept the GMAT scores till January 15, 2006. The last date of application remains the same as before – January 7, 2006 but applicants may send in their GMAT scores alone by January 15, 2006. This is also an opportunity for exceptional candidates with CAT (2002 onwards) scores to apply to the ISB. If they meet the combined admissions criteria, a provisional offer maybe made, subject to their taking the GMAT before March 10, 2006 and obtaining a minimum score of 680.

KP’s birthday

Today is my quadmate KP’s birthday. Keeping with the tradition, he was dunked in the campus swimming pool at 12 midnight. His week long excuses of having a bad throat, slight fever, headache etc couldn’t save him from landing in the pool. Here are a few snaps ……

The “swinging” before the “dunking”

Dunked !
The Birthday Cake
Cake Smearing (L to R: My quadmates Alok, KP and Vikram)

More on the music season

Jaya TV organizes music concerts under the banner of “Margazhi Maha Utsavam” every year during the December Music Season in Chennai. These concerts are then broadcast on Jaya TV from Monday to Saturday, 6PM to 7PM and then a portion of each days broadcast is replayed again the next day morning from 6:30AM to 7AM. This year’s broadcasts started on 14th Dec 2005 and are expected to go till 4th Jan 2006. Watched Sikkil Sisters’ flute concert today. Vocal concert by P. Unnikrishnan is scheduled tomorrow. Will not be able to hear it as I have classes at that time. Will try to catch up with the repeat broadcast in the morning.

A program called “Sangeeta Sangamam” comes almost daily on Vijay TV from 6PM to 6:30PM. Also came to know that recordings of the Chembai Music Festival held at Guruvayur Temple, Kerala can be viewed every morning from 6:00AM to 6:30AM on the DD Malayalam channel.

Lakshman Sruthi is organizing a five day musical festival called “Thiruvaiyaaru in Chennai” from the 21st to 25th Dec 2005. To know more details, please click here.

Music Academy season schedule can be accessed by clicking here.

Songlists from some of the season concerts are available here.

Missing this year’s season concerts a lot. Hearing once favorite artistes perform live is an experience quite different from hearing a recording of their performance. Will try to be there in Chennai for next year’s season if all goes well.

60 days to placements

Its been a while since I posted. Life has been real busy with assignments, Poseidon and ELP occupying all the time. Enjoyed participating in the Poseidon music competition. Though our ISB team didn’t win, I am satisfied with the effort we put in given the limited time (2 days) we had for practice.

The latest from campus is that placement time is fast approaching and almost everybody has started preparing hard for the same. Just came back from a talk by Pramath Sinha, Principal, McKinsey & Co on how to prepare for interviews. Though most of what he talked was already known, his talk served as a reminder that there is not much time left for the start of the placement season and that a lot of stuff needs to be done. Have to start preparing for placements earnestly. But for now, back to the ELP (project) work …..

Surveys

Have to post this here as a requirement for using an online survey ……. so here it goes …..

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QuestionPro Online Surveys also licenses its software free to Students and Researchers in the academic community. The projects have to be strictly academic in nature and should not be part of any other funded research or consulting.

Additional Links:

Salutations to a great maestro …..

This one might be interesting to you if you are a fan of carnatic music. Found a web site that has reviews of a lot of concerts of Sri T.N. Seshagopalan (also known as TNS). The site is maintained by a 69 year old fan of TNS who says that he makes it a point to attend as many concerts of TNS as possible. You can access the reviews at the following two URLs:
URL1 – click here
URL2 – click here

TNS is my all time favorite among carnatic classical vocalists. I just love listening to his audio recordings whenever time permits. Apart from TNS, T.M.Krishna and Sanjay Subrahmanyam occupy a lot of my listening time.

Solstice 2005

“Solstice” is the name of the annual alumni-students meet. Solstice this year was organized from 9th Dec to 11th Dec 2005. Many alums were on campus and we had a lot of gyaan sessions organized by the placement committee and a few clubs to facilitate interaction between students and alums on placement related stuff. There was a cool party on 9th Dec titled “Arabian Nights”. Many people were dressed as Arab sheikhs. There was a rock show by UK based “Bhangra Knights” yesterday night.

A few of us had a chance today to interact with Raja Banerjee, last year’s blogger par excellence and an alum currently working for Cognizant.

The ISB campus always succeeds in impressing visitors big time. My uncle came from Chennai for two days to attend a function at a relative’s place in Hyderabad and stayed with me on campus. He was really impressed with the infrastructure, the ambience and with the food provided here (Well regarding food, though it is hygenic, it really gets monotonous and boring at times). Feel really sad that I couldn’t spend much time with him due to so many activities going on here.

The Trip to Ahobilam – Part 1

*** Giving details of the recent trip to Ahobilam below …. might prove useful for people planning a trip to the place in the future ***

Ahobilam is located in Curnool district of Andhra Pradesh, about 380 kms away from Hyderabad in the Nallamalai Hills of the Eastern Ghats. It is one of the foremost places of worship of Lord Narasimha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is unique in the sense that it is the only place that enshrines nine forms of Lord Narasimha. Ahobilam is divided into lower Ahobilam and the upper Ahobilam. Upper Ahobilam is about 8 km away from lower Ahobilam. Ahobilam is also known as Ahobalam meaning great strength (Aho – great, balam – strength).

According to Hindu mythology, Nallamalai Hills is the personification of Adisesha, the great serpent bed of Lord Vishnu. Four important Shaiva (Lord Shiva) and Vaishnava (Lord Vishnu) places of worship are located in these hills – Srisailam (Shaiva) is the tail end, Ahobilam (Vaishnava) is the middle portion, Tirumala (Vaishnava) is the head and Srikalahasti (Shaiva) is the mouth of Adisesha.

If you are going by road from Hyderabad to Ahobilam, places to watch for to check whether you are on the right route are Nandyal (former PM P.V. Narasimha Rao’s constituency) and Allagadda. Ahobilam is around 30km from Allagadda. Please look out carefully for the signs on the side of the road. They are very helpful in finding the way to the place.

A few of us here, especially Murali & Rajani (full name is Rajanikanth, not the Tam hero though), had been planning to go to Ahobilam for quite some time now but the plans had not materialized due to the very busy schedule here. Finally, we decided that whatever the work load may be, we need to make the trip, even if we had to shorten its duration. So we booked a Toyota Qualis and decided to start just after midnight on the 2nd/3rd of Dec. Five of us – Murali, Rajani, Ramki, Kartik and I, finally left for Ahobilam on the 3rd at around 2AM. The trip involved some 6-7 hours of driving on the road. After a halt of about 1-1.5 hours inbetween for the driver to take some rest, we reached Ahobilam in the morning at about 10:15AM.


One of the sunflower farms seen on the way to Ahobilam

The first thing that struck Murali on reaching lower Ahobilam was that the place had developed a lot since he had last come here in the late 90s. He was the only one in our group who had been to this place earlier. When you enter lower Ahobilam, the road kind of splits into two paths. The straight one leads to upper Ahobilam and the one to the right leads to the main temple of lower Ahobilam. It appeared as thought all that lower Ahobilam consisted of was the temple, shops surrounding the temple whose owners depended heavily on tourism for their existence, a few homes and a few guest houses.

We took the road to the right and immediately found a guest house (Malola Guest House) run by Sri Ahobila Mutt on the right. We booked a room, took bath, had some food in a nearby canteen and then left for the main temple, a few yards down the same road.
We had a good darshan of the lord of the temple – Prahladavarada Narasimhar and the goddess. Thereafter, we arranged for a local guide and started on the journey to upper Ahobilam. You need a guide if you are planning to visit “ugrasthambam” and “jwala narasimhar” (which I will describe later) in the jungles of upper Ahobilam as trekking to these places is very difficult and it might also prove tough to find the path to reach these places. You can do without a guide if you are planning to visit only the other shrines.

On the way, we stopped at the “Karanja Narasimhar” shrine.
The deity is installed under a “karanja” tree and hence the name. It is believed that Lord Narasimha appeared before Hanuman, who visited this place, with bow and arrow showing that he is Lord Rama himself. The idol depicts the same.

We had the fortune of getting the “prasadam”. After this, we left for upper Ahobilam.

One of the hills seen en-route*************************

Click here to access Part 2 of this post.

Visit by Goldman Sachs President & CEO

Lloyd C. Blankfein, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is at the ISB today along with many members of the senior management team. Goldman Sachs Foundation will support ISB’s Centre for Analytical Finance by making a grant to support research work at the centre and to bring world renowned professors in finance from the best B-Schools across the world to teach at the ISB for full terms.

Here is a snippet from the press release on this:

Goldman Sachs Foundation to Support ISB’s Centre for Analytical Finance

Funding to be used for research and faculty

Hyderabad, December 7, 2005 – The Goldman Sachs Foundation, a global philanthropic organization funded by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., is making a grant to the Centre for Analytical Finance (CAF) at the Indian School of Business (ISB) to support research work at the Centre. The funding will also be directed towards bringing in world renowned professors in finance from the best business schools across the world to teach at the ISB for full terms.The Goldman Sachs Foundation supports academic programmes that provide high-quality instruction in the related subjects of entrepreneurship, business, financial literacy, economics and leadership.

Present for the media briefing at the ISB, Lloyd C. Blankfein, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., said, “Goldman Sachs, through the Foundation, is proud to support the Indian School of Business and its efforts to prepare a new generation of business leaders. The $1 million grant announced today will support the school’s Centre for Analytical Finance which will strengthen its position as the premier finance research centre in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Speaking on the grant, Professor M Rammohan Rao, Dean, ISB, said, “It is a matter of great pride for us that an organization such as the Goldman Sachs Foundation has chosen to support the ISB. This is the first time that the GS Foundation is supporting an educational institution in India. The Goldman Sachs Foundation has had a long standing association with the ISB, being one of the first to support us when the School was being established.”

Commenting on the funding, Professor Sankar De, Executive Director, Centre for Analytical Finance, ISB, said, “This is a truly momentous occasion for CAF, ISB, India and Asia! Goldman Sachs is the world’s most renowned financial services firm. CAF is Asia’s newest finance research centre at an academic institution. This funding makes us partners, and all emerging markets stand to benefit from the research the funding will support.”

The Centre for Analytical Finance at the ISB is dedicated to research in all areas of finance, including financial markets, instruments, institutions, and regulations. It has the mandate to bring together world leaders in all areas of finance, including academics, practice, and regulation, and consolidate its position as the leading finance research centre in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to ISB faculty, CAF researchers include distinguished scholars from the University of California, Berkeley; University of Chicago; Cornell University; Kellogg School of Management; New York University; University of California, Los Angeles; The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) and other academic institutions of global standing.

Octavia

Octavia is the music competition which the music club @ ISB is organizing as a part of its annual inter B-School meet. In case your school would like to participate or know more about it, please click here.

Consulting Interviews – How to prepare?

Yash (undoubtedly one of the toppers here) and Rohit (President, Consulting Club, ISB) have started a blog to share their views and insights on how to prepare for consulting interviews. URL of the blog is http://bigticketatisb.blogspot.com/

On the personal front, started late night, day before yesterday on a trip to Ahobilam, a temple town located in Curnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Came back today morning after many hours of arduous trekking through jungles in the hills of the Nallamalai range to visit temples of different forms of Lord Narasimha. Every single part of the body is aching due to this sudden surge in physical activity. Lots of assignments to be done today. Will blog on the trip and the wonderful experience in the next few posts.

ISB Founding Day

2nd Dec 2001: ISB was inaugurated.

Today is the ISB Founding Day. We have a flag hoisting ceremony scheduled to start in a few minutes time. We also have cake cutting and a torch run planned for the evening.

Its amazing to see how much the school has achieved in just 4 years now.

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There is an article on rediff.com about the Heathcare summit that was held at ISB recently. The article has inputs from doctors and a few pharma people of our batch. To access it, please click here.