Test Testy

Monday, January 28, 2008

ISB makes it to the Top 20 - FT Global MBA Rankings

It's official and it's global - ISB is ranked 20 in the FT Global MBA Rankings.

ISB has been creating buzz since it started but people tried to brush it off as just hype. But as time went by ISB grads proved themselves and more and more companies came back to the school for campus placements. ISB has carefully and successfully rode the positive spiral of better placements-better admissions-best placements by backing it up with maintaining and improving everything in the school. ISB students proved themselves by reaching the top slots in every B-school competition they participated.

Participating in a B-school ranking survey that too FT's, I thought was a careful gamble ISB has taken. It would've been easy to stay happy in the special attention it has been getting from the media and recruiters but by participating in the rankings they have decided to send a strong signal.There were concerns about what would be the reaction if the rank is not in the top 100 but I think the ISB management believed completely in what they created. This was the best way to communicate their belief. This achievement also brings along with it lots of exposure and expectations.

I believe that if ISB continues its efforts to become stronger in areas other than placements, it can break into the Top within next two years. Congratulations everyone.

Check out the buzz on campus

Friday, January 25, 2008

Federer express conquered by Djokovic

Both the hot favorites in the men's singles have exited in the Australian open. This makes the final all the more interesting and exciting.

For the first time Federer appeared mortal and he succumbed to Djokovic's consistent game. May be Tipsarevic exhausted Federer to such an extent that he never regained his energy after that.

Looks like Federer express is nearing retirement and I wonder if there would be some to take Federer's place. Of the all the male tennis players I felt Sampras was the best but then Federer made me forget him easily. But now I don't think anyone can repeat such a feat in near time.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

He does it again

Tendulkar scored his 39th century and this time he does it so effortlessly. I love this Indian team and the refreshing change Kumble's captaincy bought to the Indian team. When the captain is able to take care of his personal game apart from captaincy, he signals confidence and players feel confident and are able to maintain their focus. They wouldn't need to take any undue pressure and can play their natural game. Watching Laxman and Tendulkar in full flow is a delight.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another brush with Microfinance

Yesterday I had another brush with Microfinance. This time I managed to get a greater insight in to the whole thing. Prof. Jonathan Morduch gave a talk on "Microfinance: The next Capitalist revolution?" He is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at New York University and a leading academic authority on Microfinance. He teaches international development with a focus on the spread of financial access to under-served populations.

Few issues that came out are:
1. Consumption loans and their impact on the industry
2. Returns expected from the organized MFIs
3. Commercial finance being available to MFIs and lastly
4. Role of MFIs

Here's the linkage to the official coverage on ISB website

I managed to catch up with the Basix guys after the talk and gathered more information. I see a great potential for innovation in this sector. Newer developments in Mobile phone technology such as secured wallet can aid easy delivery of services and also reduce costs drastically.

I see a great potential for venture capital model for MFIs. I see myself doing something in this area in the coming year

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A great day in the sports world

Australia witnessed two great matches today - 4th day of the third 5-day cricket match between Indian and Australia and a third round 5-set match between Federer and Janco Tipsarevic.

India has again played spoilsport for Australian cricket team's winning streak. While managed to equal the Steve's record of winning 16 matches in a row, he could stop India from winning the third match comfortably.

But I enjoyed most watching the tennis match and what Federer said after the match would explain something about this match. After winning the fantastic match he said he wished there are draws in tennis. This speaks so much about the opponent. This is the first time Federer faced such a level of competition from someone other than Nadal in the last three or four years. It was an amazing match. Tipsarevic is definitely a player to watch in future.

After a long-time I lazed out today and enjoyed watching both these matches. We are almost half-way through term 7 and it appears to be consolidation phase. PPT's, Case preps, cv reviews, EOI's are in full swing. Yesterday two C0 09 admits visited the campus and I think this is the beginning the gyan giving to the next batch.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mobile phone service ads - do they make sense

Advertisements of two leading mobile service providers - Airtel and Vodafone continue to intrigue me. I am referring to a series of ads by Vodafone about the value added services for Rs.30/month and the Airtel ad that shows kids crossing boundaries to play football.

Vodafone ads are really superior on the imagery dimension despite having a functional message. But the question I have in mind is about the usefulness of these services and whether anyone would buy these services at 30 bucks in India. Instead having something for 10 bucks might encourage people to at least try and at 30 bucks a month I don't see any value and I wouldn't subscribe to any of those services.

On the other hand Airtel's ad is completely on the imagery side but it fails to communicate any value that is relevant to a mobile communications service provider. The ad is decent but the number of times it is being aired is making it boring and eliminating any positive associations.

I am still wondering what is Vodafone's value proposition over Hutch and what is it going to do once number portability is introduced in India. It is challenge for all the service providers and it would be interesting to wait and watch.

One of the readers has requested more info about signaling and I am planning to write the next post on that once again. Keep reading.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's all about signaling

In every situation, whether in personal life or corporate life, we will be signaling many things by behaving in a certain way. Think about it, people around us are constantly assessing you just by what you are saying but by many other things.

While some of the signals are explicit many are implicit and some times are distorted by emotions. To succeed in life it therefore becomes important to manage the kind of signaling we do. Each of us, consciously or sub-consciously, will be constantly trying to portray a certain image.

As most you will agree, our thoughts shape our behavior and sometimes even our appearance. This has become a fascinating thing for me these days to observe people and trying to assess what's the image they are trying to portray and what others are perceiving. In some cases the signals are so strong that I am getting biased but in some cases the signal is weak and it appears that these people are attempting anything. May be they don't want to grab too much attention. While it is difficult to project and establish a positive image, it is so easy to project a negative image. I believe that this is true for corporates and also individuals.

Things are getting hot at ISB as the placement week is coming closer. While there is lot of anticipation among the readers of this bog, I have decided not to get into details on this blog. I would rather focus on observing things during this stressful time as I expect this situation to bring out the best and worst out of people.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Term 7 begins

Term 7 begins today and this is the term who would be maximum non-academic action. Yes I am referring to the Placement season that is hotting up. Everyone I know has been asking whether I am placed yet or not; there is still a month-and-half to go for the placement week. More than the students, it is the outsiders who are more keen about placements. It's a full circle - every year it starts with media reporting that so many students got salaries of a crore or above and then the school tries to grapple with too much media attention as it inflates all the expectation while secretly enjoying the coverage. All the prospective students get excited about it and the students who already got admits show the media coverage to their kith and kin and boast that next it would be much better as the next batch is better than the previous one. They go in with lots of expectations, slog hard and start dreaming. Now the companies have to do the catching up business - it's not just a matter of talent, it's a matter of branding, pride and all other non-HR reasons. The key issue for the HR folks would be to figure out what roles do they want to hire for and how much should they be paying. Should they reveal the figure in the ppt or should they keep it a open-secret or avoid the question altogether. Whatever they do, they will be hit by adverse selection in one form or the other. HR folks go back to the HR consultants to understand what the current compensation levels and what they can offer but find them so distant from the figures reported in the media earlier that they have the most difficult situation in the world. If they don't offer good packages, they will not get Day 1 or even Day 2 and there will be a great chances of declining offers, which is the most dreaded thing after one puts in so much effort into the campus recruitment. It's not that if the B-school grad's entry is going to drastically change the fortunes of the company - half of them don't stick with the first company anyway, but it is about all those non-HR goals and they are more important.

I know that I lost my way while writing this post but nevertheless I want to put down all the random thoughts I have been having about placements since last 20 odd days.

I have decided to keep Term 7 a little light by taking only 3 courses but we still have to finish our project, which should be done in this week.

For all the R1 admits, you have 3 more months to live the normal life, so enjoy it and R2 applicants - don't be in a rush, things will happen at their pace, you have only so much in control, but be ready to run on the word "go."

Good luck to you all.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


While reading a paper on Micro Finance in the Journal of Corporate Finance, I suddenly realized how closely connected this area is to my long-term dream.

I have therefore decided to promote awareness among the readers about Unitus. I am reproducing the mission statement of Unitus from their website:

Our mission is to fight global poverty by increasing access to microfinance.

Unitus envisions a world where microfinance is available to every individual. We work toward this vision by accelerating the growth of the world's highest-potential emerging microfinance institutions. We provide capital investments and capacity-building consulting, thus empowering these organizations to scale and provide life-changing financial services to dramatically more of the world's working poor.

Click on the below logo to learn more about Unitus and Microfinance in general and how you could contribute to the cause.

Unitus - Global Microfinance Accelerator

Say goodbye!

I'm reproducing a mail from a section-mate of mine about the cricket match and the horrendous things happening on the cricket ground

Written by: P.V.Bhaskar - bhaskar_pv@yahoo.com

I’ve just returned from a frustrating morning of cricket-watching. I am a cricket fan, and I love the game. Believe it or not, I watch test matches, ball-to-ball. I find it more interesting than basketball or soccer because of the profundity of the game – the technicality, the rules, the strategies… everything. I love the current Indian cricket team. I also believe that on the field, Australia is the best team in the world today, as it has been for more than a decade now. So it is with a sad heart that I write this essay.

I think we’ve had enough. Kumble has a hearing with the match referee today over the controversy surrounding Steve Bucknor’s decisions yesterday and Harbhajan Singh’s verbal fight with Andrew Symonds. I am willing to bet on the outcome. Bhajji will be punished. Symonds will walk away with those monstrous painted lips of his shaped in a grin. No action will be taken on Bucknor. Kumble will be humiliated. I am willing to bet on it. Sad part is, there’s no one who’ll take my bet.

I think we’ve had enough. We’ve seen the bad side of the Australian team for years now. We know how desperate they can get for a win. We know how much integrity Ponting has on the field. We know that Gilchrist is the only one left in the squad who’ll walk when out. We know they slander and rebuke opponent players. They can’t keep their goddamn traps shut. So why do we play Australia? If they are the best side, one has a right to want to test one’s skills against them, on their fields. I am willing to take humiliation from the Aussie bat and ball, but not from things I cannot control. I am not willing to stand in front of the match referee and listen to gibberish knowing all the while that I am right and will still be punished. I am not willing to let slimy eels like Ponting get away with schoolboy nonsense. Who on earth is he to look at Ganguly and tell him he’s out? Forget Benson’s error for a while. Who is Ponting (of all people) to decide who’s out and who’s not? And even if he was Gandhi for a brief moment, who does he think he is, wagging that annoying finger of his at Ganguly, instead of talking to the umpire?

I think we’ve had enough. I don’t plan to be a consultant. No, I should rephrase that. I plan not to be a consultant. That said, I will venture here to make a recommendation. I say we announce that we won’t play Australia again, except in world championship ties where opponents are drawn, not selected. Let it not be contingent on what happens in the match referee’s courtroom. Let this be an independent decision. One might be tempted to want to win a match and then make this announcement. I say that is overboard. Make it now. You won’t lose your daily bread if you don’t play Australia. In fact, we don’t depend on them in any manner. There are many other test-playing nations. Play them. Or just stay at home. But there is no need to play Australia. For those of you who believe playing Australia and winning is like making a trip to Mecca, let me tell you that I choose to be an atheist. If politics make it necessary for you to play Australia, announce that your batsmen will bat wrong-handed. Anything. Let them know we don’t need this nonsense.

Goodbye, Australia. We've had enough.

BTW: I fully agree with Bhaskar.

Shame Australian Cricket team

There have been many situations when cricket umpires went wrong earlier but the current test match between India and Australia is witnessing too many of them. Worst of all is the one that has been taken just a second before - Sourav Ganguly given out caught in the slips. Michael Clarke clearly picked it up from the ground and even grounded it before completing the catch but claimed the catch and when Ganguly noticing this stood his ground, umpire asks Ponting to which he confirms that according to him it was out and the the umpire then gives Ganguly out.

Just few minutes earlier when a ball hit pad of Dhoni and was in the air, Ponting makes a great effort managed to reach the ball but put it on the ground but goes on to appeal.

Clearly Australians can do better. They have been world champions for a long time but they seem to have forgotten how to win a game fairly. They have been known for sledging but they are sledging even the ethics. Is Ponting under too much pressure to win each match and better Steve Waugh or Mark Taylor. In any case Ponting is no match for Steve or Taylor; Steve and Taylor were great sportsmen and displayed the spirit even in tough times.

Except for running behind the ball hard Australians are not doing anything right. As for any over-aggressive entity, breaking point seems to have come for Australian Cricket team, which I am sure all of us will witness shortly.