Saturday, January 26, 2008

Preparation for GD/PI - Tips (2)

This post was supposed to be out about two weeks back but the extremely hectic and busy schedule forced me to postpone it to this date.

Step 3: Content
So after you are thorough with Steps 1 and 2(as described in first post of this series), you are almost ready for the personals part of the interview and now need to focus on building content for the talks.

At this point, I would like you to think over it for a moment - What is it that you "must" know? What is it that you "should" know? and What is it that you "may/may not" know to talk sensible in a discussion or an interview?

Clearly there are no defined rules for preparing for content. Nobody knows what is it that you will be asked in an interview so the scope of topics is unbounded and limitless. If we can classify the topics in above three categories, we can save sometime by not doing things which are less important. We can prioritise must dos over should dos.

Again the classification also has no defined rules. Only a general set of guidelines. For an example, there are a few things that are more likely to be asked in an interview like your work experience, some recent happenings in the related industry, some theory related to what you have done etc. Similarly topics from your UG which may not be directly related to your field of work or topics from your desired field of specialisation may be asked and then you have topics which are remotely related to you or are highly technical to the field of your UG etc., which are not very likely to be asked. Based on my experience and observations, I can prescribe you an order of readings, which I strongly suggest you to change to adopt to your particular case. I suggest you follow 3-1-4-5-6-2 or 3-1-4-5-2-6 (where 1=Newspaper, 2=Magazine, 3= Work-ex related, 4=Academics, 5=Interview experiences, 6=PG articles)

1. Read Newspapers properly
Spend atleast 2 hours daily to those 20 odd yellow pages. I can tell you those will come really handy in GDs and PIs. You may go through Economic Times or Business Standard for this purpose. Business Line and Financial Express would be a bit too much for new readers so you may avoid those at this stage. Business page of TOI is good as well but not sufficient at all. Do not waste much time on Sports page. You may like to refer to editorials to gain new perspectives on the topics of discussion, which may be useful for Group Discussions but otherwise the knowledge gain there is very limited.
Note that this is a daily activity and above given order for this activity is just to represent its importance.

2. Magazines
Scan through a few magazines of your choice(General/Business) to get an idea of what's going around in the world. Dont spend too much time on magazines. The purpose is to be aware of national/global happenings.

3. Work Experience
Arguably one of the most important component of your Personal Interview. Since you are already doing the job, I'll assume you know how to do it but for the purpose of interview, you are expected to know the theory behind those things as well. Also, in case of large teams working on a project, you can't get away by saying that others in my team were looking up this issue and I was not involved(unless very domain specific issues are there). Now since you are aspiring to be a management student, you must have been thinking about the practical applications and new innovative uses of the project you are doing. If not then start thinking as you are expected to be knowing that if you are genuinely motivated to get into B-school.

4. Academics
If I say, preparing academics is a nightmare for people in jobs, it would not be an overstatement. It must be noted down that preparing academics well is must for a fresher(a person with no prior work experience) and the importance of knowing academics well goes down with the number of years of experience. Although it must not be taken as a sacrosanct statement for there have been instances where candidates with 6-7 years of experience had their interviews totally based on their academic courses.
While preparing for academics you may like to prepare well for 1-2 interesting(*interesting in managerial language is generally interpreted as something of practical use and yet not very popular in people) courses and the courses related to your field of experience. To take an example, a person with IT experience in 'development' should know the concepts of structured programming and object oriented programming well. You know which courses can be related to your field of work, so give high importance to those. In that sense, acads and work experience are not mutually exclusive.
Another very important point to note over here is that interviewer's perception of your field of work may not exactly match the actual work you do. To save your face in such cases, it would be good if you can get some basic understanding of fields of those possible wrong interpretations. To give an example, I worked as mobile solutions developer but during many interviews, interviewer interpreted mobile solutions as embedded programming. They are different.

Basically, in academics the target is to do certain related courses well and a basic understanding of a lot of courses.
A special tip for people with B.Tech./B.E. in communications or related field(Electronics/Electricals/ICT) - Prepare well for course on Radio Frequency and Radio waves. You will find a lot of interviewers obsessed with obsessed with RF,AM/FM etc.

5. Read previous year Interview experiences
A lot of people write their interview experience on their personal blog and PagalGuy. Go through those to discover all that I have written. [:-)]

6. Read articles on PG
In case you still have sometime left, just go through articles on PG. They generally have some articles on recent world happenings to make candidates more acquainted to the topics and intricacies involved. This might help in Group Discussions/Personal Interviews.

Step 4: Practice
The Last and very important step is to practice.
Any speech, no matter how short or long, without modulations is boring and ineffective. Relate it to listening to a song or a movie. A speech with proper modulations engages audience and force them to listen to you. It is not the decibel level that gets you a chance in Group Discussion, it is the modulation level. If you speak flat then rest assured, somebody will cut it off in between and others will support him/her. Make it interesting for others to listen to and you will emerge as a leader of the group. Similarly, in an interview, it is equally important to keep the interviewer interested in you and your talk.


I'll try to put on another post in this series, covering Do(s) and Dont(s) for GD/PI. Keep checking Abhi's space.

A happening time for sports

Cricket

They say Cricket anishchittaon ka khel hai(Cricket is a game of uncertainity). It proved itself correct when the on-field drama got dragged off-field after Sydney test. The umpires were asked to leave the series in between and different umpires were called for rest of the series. Steve Bucknor described it as an unfortunate event and was disappointed for being sent back for just making 2 errors when there were 11 appeals. (Mind you, he gave 12 wrong decisions in the Sydney test – all against Indians).

Umpires consult Ricky Ponting for giving a decision.

Third Umpire gives wrong decision(obviously in favour of Australia)- The batsman(Andrew Symonds) is clearly out of crease and the third umpire presses Green Button.

Then India surprised the Aussies on their favourite ground, Adellaide with an impressive win.

India announced its cricket team for upcoming triangular series, with Australia and Sri Lanka, with no Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid in the side. BCCI said the captain was given the team he wanted. Mahendra Singh Dhoni cites fielding to be the reason for dropping out Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid! (I never knew Rahul Dravid was a poor fielder). I am not particularly a fan of Saurav Ganguly but when he plays well, you cant help but appreciate him and I can claim without a hesitancy that Saurav has performed reasonably well since he made his comeback. He has proved himself time to time and showing him the way out when he is gaining back his form doesn't make any sense to me. Similarly for Rahul Dravid. He gave up captaincy even though he was doing pretty good, then he lost his form completely. The player who is synonymous for wall was finding it difficult even to keep his wicket. You drop him at that point of time, it looks fair but just when the person gets back his form, you ask him to leave- doesn't make sense at all.

Sreesanth makes a comeback. Before leaving for the tour makes a media statement, "Aussies should be worried I am coming", I remember last time Zaheer Khan did similar thing in World Cup (before final) and had to pay a heavy price as it took him about a year to gain back his form and place in the team.

Kumble again proving his utility with bat as well by scoring 87 in the first innings of 4th test match against Australia. Sachin gets another century in the series and reaching 150+ this time.


 

Tennis

Australian Open Mens Semifinal 1: Tsongo surprised everyone by defeating World number 2 Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Tsongo is just 22 years old and in playing his first grand slam tournament.

But Djokovik had bigger surprises in mind.. He thrashed world number 1 "Roger Federer" in straight sets!! Something I don't recall for happening in near past.

Lets see what happens in Womens final, which is scheduled to start in a few hours, while the mens final promises some high quality Tennis and huge excitementson Sunday.


 

Add to that, IIM-C team is going to XLRI next week for sports meet.

So overall, a happening period for sports this is.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

m-Publish


published this post from mobile.


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As it always happens in exam days - the time when usually everybody is found studying - except a few (including me), who can still be found wasting time somewhere or other. So here is what I wasted my time with today - was listening to songs on mobile(I like Sony Ericsson headphones so much that I, sometimes, listen to songs on mobile despite of that dummy 14" screen being still there) - having worked with mobiles for so long(worked as developer for mobile solutions for about a year), i felt like doing something with mobile - "but what?" was the question- so just started browsing- happened to make a Google search on my name (donno why i did tht!) - found this pic of mine - so just downloaded it (wasted a few bucks(GPRS charges) for nothing, although had this image on my laptop so could have transferred it for free) - anyways now I have the pic so what do I do now - waste another buck or two by posting it on blog- and then created this blog and posted it from my mobile - actually making the 14" more dummy (except that this editing could not have been done without qwerty keys).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Google Sucks!!



Breaking News:

Google lost yet another of its fan a few moments back.


Google Search ruled the search engines for quite sometime. MSN, Yahoo!, Altavista, Ask etc. tried giving some competition but by now Google had become synonymous to Search Engine. Then Google launched Gmail, e-mail service with 1GB - something no body had thought of at that time. Yahoo and Rediff lost their share. As a reaction to this, Yahoo raised mailbox sizes to 100 MB and Rediff made it 1GB. Note that Hotmail was still offering 2MB mailboxes at this time. Gmail added another funda of ever increasing mailbox sizes and in very short time, it reached 2GB mark(As on date Gmail provides more than 6GB space in mailboxes). Then came Google News - collection of news articles from various news portals compiled under appropriate headings. Sites like Rediff, Yahoo and Indiatimes again lost some visitors. Then they bought Blogger and Picassa, promoted Orkut - All three of which being very popular and addictive services. They launched Google reader - yet another RSS reader with the provision of sharing the links with friends. Google Docs and Spreadsheet have as well started getting accepted by people and not to forget Google Earth, which became the craze of people sometime back. Other popular services include Google Videos, YouTube, Google Labs, Google Book Search etc. So overall Google seems to have done a very impressive work.

But there is something which I observed a few moments back and disliked it from bottom of my heart. While I was just browsing through my Orkut profile, I happened to click at the Orkut interface of my blog and what I found there was surprise!! All the posts that I have and I had deleted are still there. The posts I deleted more than months back are there in completion. The videos I even removed from YouTube are still there. The images I uploaded to my Blogger account with some particular post are still there. The next thing I did was to check the Google Reader for my blog and no surprises..each of those posts were there as well!!


Would anybody tell me what the hell is going on!!!
Why is Google spying into our lives!!
Even if I were to believe Google that these things are just to direct appropriate ads to me, I do not see a reason why Google should be keeping the data that even I have deleted. And this gives me a feeling that no matter whether you enable or disable saving and archiving of data/ search queries/results clicked/ chat records/.. , they always save it. If you enable, they provide you a view of that and if you disable, things happen against your wish and you dont get to know that.

Recently I remember reading an article on some research going on in the field of bio-medical field, do I interpret it as Google making virtual models of our personality in the cyber-world, who can predict with reasonable accuracy, the next thing we are going to do.
I know this might sound overtly skeptic at the moment but Doesn't it pose a threat on our identity??

And above all, is there any reason why this should not be considered as breaching into my privacy!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Preparation for GD/PI - Tips (1)

STEP 1: GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF

You have taken the first step but the winner is one who walks till the last step.

Are you a winner?

What makes a winner?
It is simple. A winner is one who has a good aptitude (and can adopt according to situations), who has a firm determination, who has a good luck and very importantly he/she has access to more resources than others.

People might ridicule but this is what is the fact of life. You need to be more resourceful to succeed in this world. Talent takes you till certain points..from there it is you and your chances. (These chances come from luck and resourcefulness, so do not undermine this important aspect)


Anyways that was just a passing thought...might be useful for many of you but the real motive of this post is to help you with some GD/PI prep tips.
First, I claim no expertise in this but having gone through a number of GD/PI (s), I can talk a bit from my experience.

Personal Interview:
Why do they take personal interviews?
First and foremost it is important to understand the basic purpose of an interview. Interviews are conducted to get to know you - this is what you must have heard a number of times - but this is actually only half part of the story. Interviews are conducted to get to know you and to see how well does the person matches with the requirements of the organisation (in this case IIMs) and to see the potential benefits that the organisation would have if the person is selected. IIMs conduct GD/PI also to check whether the person can sustain the academic pressure and rigour of a B-School.
And believe me, expectation levels are very high. All of you are expected to be achievers and these things will get more clear to you when you join any of the top 3 B-schools in the country (IIM- A,C,B).

IIMs expect a person to be academically oriented with very strong extra-curricular achievements and having held significant Positions of Responsibilities. In simpler language that should sound like scoring 90% in Boards, CPI equivalent to 80% in Graduation(preferably from IIT), a few international publications, Played a few sports at national level, Won a few competitions at national level, President of your college council and played Captain atleast a few times.

If that scares you, it is fine. But that is just a set of expectations and nothing can be done about it but what can be done about is to get to know yourself well. Believe me, all of us have done something or else in life which can makes us stand out in the crowd. We generally ignore those things thinking those to be trivial but any achievement that you have had till now could turn things in your favour(You never know). The idea is to get as close to those expectations level as we can get.

Examples of a few trivial (as you thought) yet important achievements:
  1. You stood among top Three in class in your school in classes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.. (So what!!) -- Consistently stood among Top Three for Nine consecutive years (Now what do you think)
  2. You initiated some club in your college (Yeah thats fine..I did it coz I liked doing it) -- Founder Member, xyz club @ xyz college (Why not take some credit for things you have done)
  3. ...
  4. ..
The above two examples are just two symbolic examples..there can be many more cases like this and with variety of types.
My suggestion - Collect all your certificates first..compile a list..Send over the list to a few knowledgeable people and let them decide which all points should and should not be there.



STEP 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR REASONS FOR DOING MBA

Now this is very important. I don't know how many people would actually be knowing why do they want to do an MBA. I can say this without any disclaimers that majority of the people out there preparing for GD/PI (s) would say MONEY!! If that is your reason, it is fine but what would you like to do?
You people are gonna be managers and if you are so short-sighted, I have my doubts on a lot of things.
Get in touch with some of your friends, your seniors, your acquaintances who are doing MBA/who have done MBA and get to know the profiles on offer. Then, do some proper study to get an unbiased view of that. Evaluate all the options and decide which one you would like to go for. "Why?" would follow by itself.
You will be asked this question in almost all the forms and in almost all the interviews. This answer believe me is very important for you to get through Interview Process.

Draft your answer and again get in touch with knowledgeable people to review those answers. 5-6 revisions should make if an ok-types answer.

The next step is to Prepare Content - To be posted in Next Post -Tips (2).

New Rules of Cricket

After watching the second Test Match in Sydney, some rules have to be incorporated by ICC to give the other teams a perfect clarification. Anyways a New Year should have its new set of official rules.
If you might not have realised till now, the match was the first Test Match been played this year(2008).

1). Ricky Ponting:

THE TRULY GENUINE CRICKETER OF THE CRICKET ERA AND WHOSE INTEGRITY SHOULD NOT BE DOUBTED
should be considered as the FOURTH UMPIRE. As per the new rules, FOURTH UMPIRE decision is final and will over ride any decisions taken by any other umpires. ON-FIELD umpires can seek the assistance of RICKY PONTING even if he is not on the field. This rule is to be made, so that every team should understand the importance of the FOURTH UMPIRE.



2). While AUSTRALIAN TEAM is bowling, If the ball flies anywhere close to the AUSTRALIAN FIELDER(WITHIN 5 metre distance), the batsman is to be considered OUT irrelevant of whether the catch was taken cleanly or grassed. Any decision for further clarification should be seeked from the FOURTH UMPIRE. This is made to ensure that the cricket is played with SPORTIVE SPIRIT by all the teams.


3). While BATTING, AUSTRALIAN players will wait for the ON-FIELD UMPIRE decisions only (even if the catch goes to the FIFTH SLIP as the ball might not have touched the bat). Each AUSTRALIAN batsman has to be out FOUR TIMES (minimum) before he can return to the pavilion. In case of THE CRICKETER WITH INTEGRITY, this can be higher.


4). UMPIRES should consider a huge bonus if an AUSTRALIAN player scores a century. Any wrong decisions can be ignored as they will be paid huge bonus and will receive the backing of the AUSTRALIAN team and board.


5). All AUSTRALIAN players are eligible to keep commenting about all players on the field and the OPPONENT TEAM should never comment as they will be spoiling the spirit of the AUSTRALIAN team. Any comments made in any other language are to be considered as RACIALISM only.


6). MATCH REFREE decisions will be taken purely on the AUSTRALIAN TEAM advices only. Player views from the other teams decisions will not be considered for hearing. MATCH REFREES are to be given huge bonus if this rule is implemented.


7) . NO VISITING TEAM should plan to win in AUSTRALIA. This is to ensure that the sportive spirit of CRICKET is maintained.


8). THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE:
If any bowler gets RICKY PONTING - “THE UNDISPUTED CRICKETER WITH INTEGTIRY IN THE GAME OF CRICKET” - more than twice in a series, he will be banned for the REST OF THE SERIES. This is to ensure that the best batsman/Captain will be played to break records and create history in the game of CRICKET.


These rules will clarify better to the all teams VISITING AUSTRALIA.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My VisualDNA

My Visual DNA:





The Personality Analysis can be read at this link.
The summary goes like:
Mood: Dreamer
Fun: Conqueror
Habits: Junkie Monkey (???)
Love: Home Soul

Analysis of My Wishes by Visual DNA: (Also available at link)
I'd like to see when Adam met Eve and it all hung out. Ideally, I'd wake up early on a ranch where the horses run free in the fields and the mountain air is pure, and later, when the fancy takes me, stroll out to the best golf-course in the world, which I'd own; If I thought about it, I really need somewhere U can go and laugh at everything, and no one will think I'm in the slightest bit mad, and sometimes I wish I could be super-fit and be first to reach the finish-line in the 100m sprint. I'd like to make any plant flourish in any landscape, however derelict and however poisoned it may be, and it would be amazing to see planet earth from somewhere else, hanging in the stars maybe. Pet? I'm not sure I want to live with one at all. Finally, I'd like to have a party just for two, just on our own, and maybe I'd invite along a friend I haven't yet met.



Interesting Indeed!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Again, the same time of year

It is again the same time of the year when some cannot express their happiness while some cannot express their discontent. Everybody is tense..no matter happy or sad.
Yes it is the CAT results again!!

First of all hearty congratulations to all those who cleared the first hurdle. Now if you think that tough times are over, sympathies for you are there as well. Getting through CAT is the easiest and it only gets tough from here. You had 7-8 months to prepare for CAT, you will have less than 2 months to prepare for GD/PI. You had a course outline for CAT, sky is the limit for GK. You improved your quanty skills in a few months, now improve your verbal skills in a few days!

My purpose is not to scare you out of this GD/PI process but to prevent you from getting smug. It is not uncommon that people kill their chances by thinking, "i have 6 calls..i am not that bad a person..kahin na kahin to ho hi jayega". What you need to realise is that those 5 or 6(or whatever) calls you have, they are independent of each other, each of which requires a decent amount of effort to be put in. You have got a really good opportunity with this and I do not want you to let go this opportunity like that.




Now our friends who could not make it through this time:
I do not sympathize with you because you do not need any sympathies. You have got another opportunity to think whether or not you want to do an MBA. It is not that MBA is good for all. Some people are just meant for MBA some are not. Try to find out what you want to do exactly in life and then see if MBA happens to be in line. All those who got calls, do not have that option to think now. You are lucky at least in that aspect. I am not saying these for the sake of saying. I actually mean it. This might sound like yet another consoling message but believe me it is not. The very fact that you have not lost anything at all makes the word consoling more than redundant.
It is that time of the year...that time of your life, when you set your goals right..when you know what you want to do. Just know it and do it.
Never ever do an act coz someone else is doing it. Do it coz you want to do it, even when no one else is willing to do that.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Confused!!

These days I am going through a different kind of dilemma..A dilemma related to the lifestyle..I don't know which one is better and that is the root cause of this dilemma!

The Person I used to be:
I was never a Maggu(bookworm) but I was always sincere about my studies. I knew what I had to do and had a sense of dedication towards completing it... Everything else was secondary. Not exactly but I was a kind of timetable guy(those whose life is a timetable and they can tell you what they would be doing at certain time in future)... I liked all what I read and did not understand what some of my friends meant when they said all those studies were waste of time. Those people tried looking in reason to do those things and could not find it.. Frankly I never attempted. I was blinded by the passion of computers and IT. I loved all of those stuff. And I had a good academic record.

The Person I became:
I started looking for reasons to do each and every act I had to do...did not find good enough reasons for most of these things..lost interest.. started getting confused from time to time!.. started criticising systems and pedagogies.. started believing that all of this is useless and I must only do whatever I want to do.. started looking down upon students who loved these studies.. attributed all of this to the education I have had till now(It enabled me to think and this system is making me stop thinking).. My rationale changed to: The only way to survive in a B-School is to stop thinking.. My friend circles got smaller in size and closely bound(as against loosely bound large friend circles along with some close friends earlier).. I stopped studying.. did not have anything else to do as such so got into watching movies and devised a thousand ways to kill time.. never bothered to read cases or do any kind of home work before classes.. the funda became- only time to study is a day before exam(or rather a few hours before exam).. became over-confident(Ohh..this thing..yeah it is very simple..it can be done like this..it will hardly take anytime.. will look for it whenever required).. And obviously academic records suffered!

When I was what I was, people used to say they were much more happier than me..they did not have to read as often as I used to.. Now I ask- is it fun?..Perhaps not!


Having seen both the sides of the coin.. now I am confused!! Though it might not look like so from the post and the post may look biased towards what I was but to be true I am confused! This appears to me a vicious cycle which never ends. As far as the factor of happiness goes, I think it is all in mind and it is our mental state which makes us happy or sad.. I had no issues studying then and was happy; Now even if I am not studying I am happy for not reading. There was always a positive frame of mind and I appreciated things a lot; Now I have a destructive frame of mind and find happiness in ridiculing others and trying to dominate others. Earlier it was helping others that used to bring a sense of satisfaction; Now it is getting people to help me with ease. The funda used to be- Why not do it when you can do it!; Now it is- Why should I do it if I can get it done!.

I do not comment on which one is correct and which one is not. If I ask my parents, it is first; If I ask my colleagues, it is second. No matter whether you agree or not, actually, both of these are correct. And that is where the confusion is- Which Abhishek is better: Abhishek @ DA-IICT and before or Abhishek @ IIM-C??

Having lived more than two terms as Abhishek of now, I think it is time to get back to the original mode now. Let's see how things turn around in days to come.

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