Monday, April 20, 2009

Its done

The final exams for term-9 were held from the 16-18th of April 2009. It's done! It's over. We have our weekends back.

The last three years were very intense for me. I got promoted twice, had one kid and wrapped up my MBA. We moved house from Delhi to Gurgaon and traveled to multiple places. See

So here are my parting thoughts at the end of this 3 year part time MBA program at IIM Lucknow.

In spite of the early disappointments and the general feeling of being stripped of time, these three years have been great. I have learnt a lot in my MBA program. I have made new friends and gained appreciation for economics, finance, HR that I never had before. I know how to read income statements, value options, manage forex exposures and understand when someone is trying to bullshit me. I know how corporate valuations work or don't work :). I know how to create my own financial models, run marketing surveys and use quant tools to analyze the data effectively.

I have more confidence in approaching business problems and in investing my money for my own financial sanity and independence. Clearly, these are invaluable things to know.

I have a lot of respect for some of my professors at this school:
  1. Prof. Manoj Anand - for being patient and getting the class to learn cost accounting and financial management II and getting us to read and understand the footnotes in Brealey and Myers Principles of Corporate Finance.
  2. Prof. S.C. Bansal - for getting us all to embrace learning and get off our corporate high horses as managers
  3. Prof. Punam Sehgal - for helping us understand organization behavior and look inside us for our intrinsic motivators (I would have never used these works 3 years ago).
  4. Prof. Tharuvai Srinivasan - for being a whiff of fresh air after multiple mediocre professors taught us in term 7 and 8. He got us to learn International Finance and got us to attempt questions that we would not have even understood at the beginning of the program.
  5. Prof. J.K Das, Prof. Amit Mookerjee - for having faith in the first few batches of the working manager's program and for innovating in a government of India organization. There was no reason for them to do so. There were no incentives for them to champion this program. But, they decided to do it anyway. Thank you.
  6. Prof. S. Dash - for forcing us to spend the time creating our questionnaire and analyzing data using reasonably advanced quant techniques so that we understood real world issues with market research. I'll post my MR project for you all to see with this post.
  7. Prof. N.K Gupta - It is scary what true quant mastery means. This is personified by Prof. Gupta. He showed us multiple times that we knew nothing well enough to answer him. His question papers were hard and educational. He taught us Quant I, Quant III
  8. Prof. Sushil Kumar - Learning about Carbon markets and the environment was so much fun. It was great to see someone as polished and thoughtful as Prof. Kumar teaching at IIM Lucknow's Noida Campus. This course was really useful and interesting for me.
There were some absolutely redundant courses that really made me hate my time in class. I think it was both the professors as well as the course content that made these extremely theoretical and boring and reminded my why I hated my college education in India at the university of Pune. It was all learning by rote, courses were taught by very mediocre professors who were really not into the subject they were teaching. So.. I list these course and shy away from listed the profs:
  1. Operations Management I and II: Horribly taught. Had nothing to do with today's operations management. The course needs to be rubished or re-invented by some one who cares for this subject.
  2. Information Technology concepts: What! after 5 years at Adobe and 3 years at Dolby and 4 years of engineering I was being taught what is a database and what is an ERP and that to at just a definition level. God save the students to have to deal with this compulsory course. 
  3. Management information systems: we read a horrible book for this course and this course was a NOP (all Electronics engineers should get this).
  4. Advanced data analysis - Poorly taught. Had to re-learn every thing from Prof. Satyabushan Dash in Term 8.
  5. There weren't enough electives to choose from and some of the electives were useless. For example: 
  • Customer relationship management: horrible cases, old cases, irrelevant definitions and theory
  • New venture planning: we provided a lot of feedback on how to improve the course. hopefully some of this will be taken up soon
  • Business to Business marketing: Gosh.. this course was so horribly taught and structured that it made me weep. I still did very well in this course because there was nothing to learn. The prof was self involved and eventually decided that he'll never teach with course again. Yay!
So, what is the net net summary?

I learnt a lot. I learnt how to manage my time. I learnt how much time I really have. I know enough to read an economist's report and understand our national budget. I know more about people and their expectations from higher education. Enough said.

I highly recommend it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Term 5

I can't believe it's term-5 already. Things have been so busy at work and at school that I have not had time to write.

In the last 8 months or so most of us have stopped complaining about the quality of the program and the lack of flexibility. Occasionally we find a good professor or good reading material that makes the course bearable. We had good professors in finance and marketing and there were some courses that seem really redundant, for example:

1. Material Management - Don't know of anyone who is really interested in this course. None of us are managing inventory or have an inclination to. More importantly, we have already learned these things in our Financial Management I course.

2. Management Information Systems: A strangely taught course with focus on theoretical understanding of work systems, CRUD matrix, MIS strategy, Role of managers and a really sadly designed mid term paper

3. Business environment: A course that can put an owl to sleep at night. This should basically be a course with lots of reading assignments. Folks should be ask to submit summaries of chapters, topics, articles before each class and we should spend time discussing better things than going over the history of the Indian economy or ricardian models of world trade. Perhaps, just having every one read the "commanding heights" would have been enough.

People were really happy with the half credit elective courses only because there was no homework involved in the HRM or the Advanced Oral communication courses.

Most folks agree that structural changes need to be made to this course so that it is easier on working managers. The 80% attendance requirement and the 4 year cap on the completion of the program seem really hard to manage for lot of people. One person in our program today are commuting from Chennai, another has taken a leave of absence from his government job since he was transfered - without warning - to Chennai.

Two folks got married this term and a couple of participants had babies. Of course, like every year, a couple of folks also dropped out of the course due to personal reasons. A couple of folks also switched jobs during the course.

I think you can find out the true value of a course if folks show up for class even if there isn't an minimum requirement for attendance. A lot of courses will get minimal presence from participants if the institute drops this requirement. One other thing that I hate is that the last class for each course ends up with the participants asking what the instructor will ask in the exam (mid term or end term) so that they can structure their preparation for the course. This is vastly different from my MS course at UT Austin and kinda sad to see.

All course participants seem to agree that the sunk costs are too high to quit the course now and are barely able to motivate themselves to learn. We all have forgotten one of the first lessons in finance - SUNK COSTS ARE ALWAYS IRRELEVANT.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mid Term Exams, Term-3

March 1-April 10, 2007

We had our mid term exams for the following subjects last week: Communication for Management, Quantitative Analysis for Management, Marketing Management and Designing work organizations.

I liked all these subjects and did fairly well in the exams.

Post midterm was a blur. I had to take a business trip Mumbai, a personal trip to Goa and bunch of other things came up around work and projects that kept me from really getting into the course. The finals start in one week and I have a lot to study. I cant get myself study. I am already thinking about the post final - yearly - 2 month break.

Advanced Data Analysis seems like a complete waste of time. It was taught poorly.

powered by performancing firefox

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Term 2 - Week 3

Term 2 Post Mid Term, Week 3

We are now halfway through the 1st year of this MBA program and some things are becoming clear:
  • Most people are in the program for money. Some folks asked a prof. whether a topic would be asked in the exams so that they could conveniently skip it

  • People fight over 2-3 marks so that they can have the best GPA.
  • Only a few projects have truly led to learning
  • Each prof has his/her own expectations, which must be fulfilled. This is analogous to doing what your manager asks you to do to be successful.
  • The next 2.5 years are not going to be easy
  • More people will drop out of the program because of its stringent rules and an obstinate inconsiderate dean.
  • The committee with the most volunteers is the placement committee :)
  • Even at this level, people resort to teaching in exams.
Maybe I am naive and my expectations unreal but I was expecting more. I was expecting better interactions in class. Most working managers hardly have time to read up on a topic before coming to class. Hence, discussions in class are kind of limited but really useful at times.

The spirit of camaraderie's is missing.

I have found a few good folks though and I like working with them. I am doing well in class. I expect 3A's, 1C and 1B in Term 1. I can't believe I still care how I am doing academically.

We had our mid terms for Term 2 two weeks ago. They went well.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Term 2 - week 3

Managment Accounting II - Cost Accounting is really going over our heads right now. We really are not able to understand how to use all the information we are getting in this class. I spent most of the day yesterday reading up three chapters of the good about joint costs, split off points, activity based costing and cost allocation. I think I might be able to contribute better in class now.

Did the OM homeworks yesterday. The soap case design in complete. Design for Manufacturing and Assembly has also been compared with Industrial design. I would have posted by homework but our OM prof insists on a hand written assignment.

I still have to study for the QAM quiz tomorrow.

The student council has been dissolved. I think the WMP student council really needs to focus on getting the best instructors to Noida and work on making this program easier for managers. Their current focus on outside speakers and other business school festivals seems dumb to me.

powered by performancing firefox

Monday, October 23, 2006

Term 2 begins

The finals for Term 1 were on October 5,6&7. The MANAC and BIO finals were relatively tough and thorough. The LAM and ECO papers were a joke. The LAM paper was almost exactly the same as the last years paper. The ECO paper required us to 4 out of 6 questions.All these questions were from the back of Michael Baye. The solution of all Michael Baye questions was distributed earlier by the students. There was no learning in these two papers/

Term 2 began. It seems that I will not have 80% attendance in the IT in Management paper. I have to go the US for one week. We have 3 ITM classes that week. Since this is a .5 credit course, there will be a total of 10 classes for ITM before mid term. I am figuring out how to get out of this situation.

The Quantitative Aspects of Mgmt I and MANAC II professors are interesting. The MANAC II prof is really knowledgeable and soft spoken. He tries to answer all questions asked in class, which sometimes slows us down. He has a habit of standing close to the person who asked the question and giving him an answer. He then asks the student "Yes/No" to ensure that he was understood. He also grabs his pants and raises them to the top of his waist as if they would fall down if not raised up. This is funny.

The QAM prof spoke at length about how his IIT, IIM son forced him to leave Mauritius and join IIM Lucknow. He is also a good teacher, thorough. We expect that he is give us a really tough exam.

The dissapointment of this term is that CK Singh will be teaching us OM II. Last week, he spoke how ashamed he felt about the choice of jeans made by his grand daughters. He said that jeans dont require washing for days and that he finds it disgusting. He then blamed Jeans for bringing AIDS and Chickengunia in India! He also told a surdar in our class that the color blue does not look good on him. Finally, he said that we must all wear White at all times because it reflects heat.

He is just absolutely boring and irritating. All of the class feels that attending his classes is a waste of time. They are there only for attendence. We are planning to write to the dean. I wrote up a document that Ashutosh will fair up before we ask everyone to sign it.

CK Singh has given us two dumb homeworks already:
1. Design a soap case
2. Answer Question 2 on page x in Aquilano based on the solved example on page y in Aquilano.

The dinner after Term1 finals was interesting. Bhushan, Anil, Ashish and I went to have a beer and dinner. We finished the ECO paper in 30 minutes. We were allotted three hours for it. We located the cheapest bear in Sector 18 Noida and drank and ate. Bhushan called Nupur to see if she would be interested in joining us, she didn't.. Anyhow, we have a good conversation about relationships and women in India today and why Bhushan and Ashish are still single. :)

We invited the CEO for holland tracktors to meet students of both the batches of IIML NC (noida campus). Only 25 people showed up. THe student body was really irritated at the lack of response. had a small disagreement with Ketaki the night before and decided to stay home on Saturday morning to get this disaggrement to closure.

powered by performancing firefox

powered by performancing firefox

powered by performancing firefox

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Week 5 - post mid term

Busy week. We had our MANAC presentations. Each group of 4 folks were randomly asked to talk about either their individual project or group projects. Each group had 3 minutes. It seemed too little a time to do justice to all the work we had done for our projects over the last three months. Anyhow, we all went through this rigorous viva. Some did ok, some did not even get a chance to speak as their group ran out of time.

We had a guest lecturer from Institute of international law, who spoke to us about Human Rights and international covenants govering human rights and the responsibilities of companies regarding human rights. It was in interesting lecture. This happened during our Legal Aspects of Management class.

Our last behavior in organizations class was interesting. We were shown a video of the "Parable of the Sadhu" and how people with different backgrounds commented on what transpired. I was impressed by the law professor who ran the discussion.

Things continue to be busy as we have two presentations, for Law and Eco, due next Saturday. We havent spent anytime on them yet. Yesterday was spent working on the law presentation. It is too much work - kids, work and mba all together.

Also, finals are next week. Most of us haven't studied for them at all.

powered by performancing firefox