IIM Indore :: Alumni-Freshers Meet 2008

Education, IIM

Recently, I attended the Delhi chapter of  IIM Indore Alumni & Freshers meet. The last such meet I attended was in Chennai, 2005.

With each passing year, it’s a delight to see batches of enthusiastic youngsters push you further and further up in the echelons of seniority. Fortuitously, for my batch (1998-2000)  the tag ‘senior-most’ or ‘first batch’ came as the fringe benefit of being the first batch of IIM Indore! No matter how many batches get added, we will always remain — the ‘batch of origin’.

A few observations:

  • The recent batches are the strongest in terms of numbers, most visible, and not surprisingly, most vocal too :-)
  • The fresh batch of people joining the institute are invariably a mix of predictable profiles (Engineering and economics graduates) and some interesting ones too (MBBS doctors & people with etymology as a hobby!). Maybe it’s a figment of my imagination, but these youngsters, on the threshold of a career defining move, have a dreamy halo around them!
  • It’s good to see the presence of girls at such a gathering; and if they are smartly attired, even better! Why do I even need to make such a statement that has shades of sexist overtones? For the simple but stark reason that girls continue to remain a lop-sided minority in institutes of higher education in India. I don’t have the numbers, but the number of girls students would be less than 10% at IITs and less than 20% at IIMs. In our batch it would have been around 15%, but in the batch after us — it was 0% . Yes, no girls at all!
  • One of the easiest ice-breakers between various batches is a discussion on the faculty. “So, who taught Operations to you guys?” “Prof. Agarwal? Oh! He taught us too. Great guy!” “So, is he still around?”

The ‘batch of origin’ privilege ensured that I was asked to cut the cake and deliver a speech too ;-)

And since 1998 itself I was ready for such an occasion, and had this one speech drafted in my mind! :-p Borrowing extensively from Prof. Asopa’s (the then Director of IIM Indore) talk to us when we complained to him about sundry facilities not working. He had mentioned that building an institute is like building a big boat, that sails on high seas and charts new courses and discovers new horizons. We the first batch, were the bottom of the boat — the most critical part of the boat. That bears the brunt of choppy waters on behalf of the whole boat.

I used to wonder then (1998) why did he not use ‘foundation of a building’ as the cliched  metaphor to define the first batch. Today, I can see why. The bottom of the boat moves along with the boat to where ever the boat is headed. On the other hand, the foundation of a building lies buried underground and forgotten, once the edifice takes shape.

It’s been a decade. Time flies. IIM Indore soars.


Teach an old CAT new tricks: CAT 2006

Education, IIM

If you have come here searching for ways to enhance your performance in the forthcoming CAT 2006 exam — the post ends for you right here! It’s time to get back to more and more practice/mock tests. There’s no better preparation than match-practice!

There are some experiences from CAT 1996 and CAT 1997 that I remember.

CAT 1996:

I prepared from an IMS package for about three months, including two months of intensive efforts. Saw a clear pattern in my performance picking up as I went along, and then the d-day came. The examination centre, mercifully, was a school close by. All aspirants were seated in classrooms based on their serial/admission numbers. There are a few absentees. The OMR answer sheets are distributed first; and then the question papers — which are in 4 sets labelled A, B, C and D. These are supposed to be distributed in a pre-designated manner, with different people getting different sets. If there is any absentee, the invigilator is supposed to leave his/her designated question papers on his/her empty desk and distribute the remaining papers sequentially. However, our invigilator passed on this question paper to the person seated next and broke the sequence. Ouch!

Soon someone realizes that he/she has been handed over a question paper set other than that meant for him/her. The invigilator panics. All of us panic. And then begins a frantic exercise of passing around the question papers till everyone gets the question papers meant for them! By then 15 minutes are over.

In the remaining time, we vacillate between trying to answer as many of the 150 odd questions as possible and asking the invigilator to compensate us for the lost time. Considering that it was her gaffe, she agrees. However…

…as soon as the 120 minutes are over — the IIM representatives at the venue walk-in and we are refused any extra time. We plead, we sulk, we petition (impromptu, hand-written), and then we leave — resigned to our respective fates. Ruing the 15 minutes lost — which equals 20+ questions. This in one of the most competitive of exams in India!

Predictably, no call from any of the IIMs.

CAT 1997:

Prepared for only two weeks, from my previous year’s IMS package. The preparation consisted of getting into the mock-test routine at the earliest. Having been through the rigmarole a year earlier, certainly made it a little easier while preparing. The actual exam though, is a blur in my memory!

Unpredictably, got a call from IIM Indore!

Morals of the story:

1. IMS package is a good help
2. There is no better practice than match-practice
3. CAT is just a freakin’ two-hour performance, you need to peak for it
The best-laid plans of mice and men
Gang aft agley (=often go wrong).
And leave us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy
— Robert Burns

Lalu sets up railway chair @ IIM Ahmedabad

Education, Humour, IIM, Politics

Continuing with the newly-fangled romance between Lalu Yadav and IIM Ahmedabad, the Railway Minister announced the setting up of a ‘railways chair’ at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for studying the “infrastructure of the Indian Railways” and its economy. (read press report)

Swadeshe Joke:
After the IIM Ahmedabad Director, Bakul Dholakia gets Lalu Yadav to set up a ‘railway chair’ at IIM-A, the Director of IIM Lucknow, Devi Singh feels the way to go one up would be to get Lalu to set up a railway sleeper at IIM-L and that too air conditioned! But being the media & entertainment loving Institute that IIM Indore is, the IIM-I Director, SP Parashar feels the best would be to get a complete railway bogie and make a case-study out of Mani Ratnam shooting ‘Chhaiyya chhaiyya…’ on the rooftop of a railway bogie!


The hottest case-study topic

Education, IIM, Media & Entertainment, Politics

Clay figure of Laloo - by yours truly

On February 24, 2006, he said:

Mere zunu ka natija zaroor niklega,
isee siaah samandar se noor niklega.

Hum bhi dariya hai, apnaa hunar hame maloom hai,
jis taraph bhi chal padenge, rastaa ban jayega.

Ek kadam hum badhe, ek kadam tum,
aao milkar naap de, phasle chand tak.

Hum na haare par wo jeete, aisa hai prayas,
musafir ho rail ka raja, hum sabki ye aas.

Mun me bhav seva ka, hotho par muskan,
Behtar seva wazib daam, rail ki hogi yeh pehchan.

Kaamgaaro ki lagan se, hai tarakki sabki,
hausla inka badhao, ki yeh kuchh aur baddhe.

Aam admi hee hamara devta hai,
vah jeetega toh hum bhi jeet payenge,
tabhi toh yeh tay karke baithey hain,
faisle ab usi ke hak mein jaayenge.

Maine dekhe hain saare khwab naye,
likh raha hoon main inqilab naye.

Yeh inaayat nahin, mera vishwas hai,
daurey mehengai mein rail sasti rahe,
apnaa inaam humko to mill jayega,
rail par aapki sarparasti rahe.

And last month, students at one of the most hallowed institutes of management education in the world, Harvard, were introduced to the working of the newly annointed miracle man of India Inc. — Union Minister for Railways, Lalu Prasad Yadav (who in 2002 mysteriously changed the spelling of his name from Laloo)!

The verses above were from his Railway Budget speech in Parliament.

Last week, Professor G Raghuraman of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was delighting the media all over, with the disclosure of his management-academician’s equivalent of a muse. That’s all you would need to make a wonderfully punchy (but surprisingly short-lived) story — Lalu Prasad Yadav, media’s favourite politician-entertainer, being endorsed by arguably the best management institute in India.

The flavour of the month is IIMs making case-studies on objects of popular interest. If it was Krrish @ IIM Indore then, it is Lalu @ IIM Ahmedabad now. The pace and direction seem to suggest that Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh bachchan are just waiting to be studied. And why not! Between them, they account for a few hundred crores of business.

On Lalu, the turn around in perception has been remarkable. For someone long identified with nepotism, corruption and mismanagement in his home state, Bihar — being seen as the messiah for one of the largest public sector organizations is nothing short of a miracle.

“I think he must have taken the present task as an opportunity to prove his abilities and improve his image,” mused the professor.

Either I have become too cynical, or this is the height of naivete…