Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Woh 120 Ghante...

Disclaimer: (1)This post is a completion of unfinished remains of yore. In other words, it was a draft :D
(2) This is a totally personal experience. I, for one, am not representing the people who attended around 15+ interviews. I was down and out by the 6th one itself and was actually enjoying not getting shortlists.
(3) The gender angle has been carefully avoided for obvious reasons.

Some of my observations about one of the most entertaining(in retrospect) and yet screwed up(while I was undergoing it) time of my life which really opened my eyes in every sense...Yep, the much glorified Summer Internship Process. As an observer, i.e. before I got through XL, I often came across many articles about the Internship process in many of the B-schools, the IIM's especially. The exorbitant salaries, the wonderfully veiled comments of the students expressing their happiness about getting into jobs of their liking and such like. 55% of the offers came from consulting firms, 25% from FMCG blah blah...
I now have first hand experience of the fact that the media is at best a means of baseless communication. Not that they could do much better though.

Anyway, here goes.

Once upon a time, we were all happy and jolly. But then IT began.
One could argue that IT all started long time back when our beloved seniors put pressure on us for an activity called 'CV Preparation'. I'm skipping the details for the benefit of the readers(if and when, any :-D). It would suffice to say that it involved a lot of running around, digging up your own achievements, making up new achievements at times(most times actually), glorifying yourself to the hilt so much so that you were a completely transformed person after the 159th version of your CV and began to wonder if you'd really done any of this. You get the drift.

Then came the process. Shortlist pe shortlist, shortlist pe shortlist. And when your name figures once in every 10 shortlists, you begin to doubt yourself, your CV, your achievements. Some of the thoughts which go through your head at that time are
"Why didn't I listen to my folks and get 90% in 10th and 12th?"
"If only I had a few international papers to my name."
"Why, why oh why didn't I do anything in my Engineering???"
"************"(Read with Section Disclaimer Sub-section 3)
Soon the above thoughts die down and you begin to get into the GD mode. This is the mode where you start to "give a structure to the discussion" or forcefully, yet politely, remind others to "allow me to complete my point" and generally look in utmost earnest at all the people around you such that your head resembles a spectator of a Federer v. Nadal Wimbledon Final.

And by a complete twist of fate, guess what! You have been called for an interview! OMG! Now, it's time to see which company's interview is this? Oh..I never knew such a company existed.. Nevertheless, gobble a few facts, ponder on the dreaded question, Why HR?, sit with the Labour Law textbook in your hand in the Holding Area without bothering to read it. And basically wait till you get called. The interview goes swoosh, you don't know what happened, why, when and how. Why? Because it's all GAS. It's difficult to contain something in the pressurized gaseous form you see. Now just speed up the above 2 paragraphs by around 10 times. That's the process for you.

At the end, you get into a company, you feel elated as though that's what you wanted all along. You feel joyous, give promises of treats and generally look upon everyone like a benevolent King.

The process is such that even the most nonchalant of characters, even the ones who did not want a TAS or a HUL, even those who are perfectly content with being mediocre, begin to care and begin to fret as to what will happen to their future.
Funny how you lose your own sense of identity when you see others doing something else. And the even funnier part of this whole thing is how you begin to laugh at what you underwent a week back when you begin to put things in perspective.

And that's when I realised what a beautiful place XL is. Coz however much the competition, however much the feeling of desperation, was in those 5 days, it was heartening to see that people were still the same after IT, and eventually the most important event of the day was if Bishu Da failed to come.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Sample Week @ XLRI

It all began on the 2nd of August, Sunday at 3:00 P.M, once I returned from the Village trip. I knew that the following week was going to be tough since we had 19 classes scheduled in 4 days(each class is 1.5 hours)+2 quizzes scheduled. But nothing prepared me for 26 unread messages in my inbox most of which were regarding some or the other assignment/presentation to be submitted in a span of a day or two! I'd like to term this as a B-shock :D

The shocks were as follows:

  1. A Managerial Communication interview exercise scheduled right in the morning, and no way our group could take it lightly unless we wanted to face the wrath of Father Jesurajan.
  2. Fundamentals of Labour Law: Make a group presentation on CLRA Act, 1970. Needless to say, it required effort.
  3. Study for the Eco Quiz which was of PRIMARY importance considering that I'd got a 3/15 and 0/5 in the quizzes, and was amongst the lowest in my class :D
  4. Study for the Industrial Relations class coz the Prof is a staunch believer in the machinery of surprise quizzes.
  5. Read up some random case on job analysis for the Fundamentals of HR class.

How it turned out:

The B-shock was beyond my wildest dreams.

  1. I managed to arouse the wrath of Father Jesurajan by scoring a grandiose 22/100 in the interview exercise. Damn, I must have been good or what :D
  2. Our group wasn't asked to present the CLRA Act but the Prof nevertheless grilled me on a simple question which I failed to answer. Worst part is when I remember the answer outside the class and delude myself into thinking how smart I am.
  3. Screwed up the Eco quiz completely which has thereby ensured that I will not cross the double digit figure in Eco EVER.
  4. The 5 class a day drill transformed me into a zombie. At the end of it all, I had no feeling, no sensation, no sense of my identity whatsoever.

There are positives in everything and there were some to take out of this too! My body is now completely attuned to all kinds of shit. I can sleep for 2 hours a day or not sleep at all and can successfully remain awake for the whole of the next day in all the classes. I need minimum nutrition, can remain a social outcast and generally role play a zombie with complete ease. Marks don't affect me and I can get over a screwed quiz within a matter of seconds. Why? Because misery loves company and I don't have to look to far to find one of my cult!

You'd be mistaken to think that a 3 day weekend would have rejuvenated me. Far from that, the weekend just seemed like a momentous occassion for all the Profs to burden us with more work, if that were possible. Ah well, the concept of a "Week" no longer holds any significance for me.

In the end, as one of the Profs here very aptly put,

"When rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy."

Adios :-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Return of the Villagers!

Just came back from one of the most humbling yet enjoyable experiences of my life. 1o of us visited various villages which are being supported by Gram Vikas Kendra, the NGO started by Tata Motors as part of their CSR drive.
We were a group of 10 people and I for one had an absolute blast during the trip. I've just highlighted some of my observations below.

1) Tata, as a group, has really done wonders in many spheres. Apart from successfully setting up a profit making business model, they have also inclulcated a culture of values within most of the employees. Their CSR drive started long before any of the other businesses in India and moreover, without any ulterior motives(read Carbon Credits and/or Tax Evasion).
The cursory view of their initiatives which I had in those 3 days related to what GVK had done for the various villages that it had 'adopted'. And well, I was truly impressed. Holding training sessions for farmers to increase their yield, adopting and promoting organic methods of farming, converting entire streches of wasteland into literal forests where wildlife has got an opportunity to flourish, spreading the message of cleanliness and sanitation in villages and making it feasible for the villagers to own private latrines, so on and so forth. All these initiatives are truly 'social' in nature and shouldn't be something which we should admire superficially. Far from being 'business'(profit)oriented initiatives, these are schemes which sometimes take decades to mature. To reconcile this lifestyle with that of a corporate one does prove to be hard to accept, but they have done it. Without any loss of efficiency or red tapeism setting in, they have CAUSED changes.

2) My second observation is something which struck me as and when I observed the reactions of some of my group members to the harsh environment that we were staying in. No light, make-shift bathroom arrangement, mediocre food and the unforgiving weather. Our generation, is suffering from a sense of disconnect far greater than what the others might have undergone in a time frame of say a 150 years. The youth of today might believe that our past was a slave to traditions and worthless rituals, but how far are we behind in aping the West without consciously evaluating what is good and what is not? How sure are we of the fact that urbanization is the answer to all our problems? Every individual is so engrossed in his own comfort zone, so unwilling to get out of it, that it seems very logically to conduce that soon we shall become independent beings devoid of any compassion whatsoever. If the managers of tommorow, who will someday become CEO's of huge organizations which have effects on the market, politics and ultimately society, do not appreciate who they serving, it is hard to imagine how this country will progress and ever come out of the seemingly unsurpassable rich-poor divide. Class structure in any society is inevitable, necessary in fact, but current trends just go on to show that the levels of skewness shall be magnified in the times to come. I might sound like a thoroughbred utopian, but it just doesn't go down with me well that no one is ready to sacrifice an inch, rather even attempt to strike a balance. Personal gain has become far more important in today's context.

This analysis shall be continued in the further blogs as more important things await.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Very Nice Quote

"Why of sheep do we not learn peace?
Because I don't want you to shear my fleece."

Hehe. How beautifully the quote has captured the essence of Man.

I got the results of my OB quiz today. 430/650. I wonder why Professor ISF opts for such a marking scheme. I wonder if there is some behavioral tendency which comes into effect once the total is elevated to such high levels!

Just got done with a wonderful class on Labour Laws. Never imagined I would be studying Law and liking it. The greatness of Professor P.K Padhi and his unique style goes a great way in explaining my liking for the subject. 1.5 hours of total concentration and complete understanding. Long time since I had that. Matter of fact, first time :D

'Til later.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Beginning

With all humility and complete surrender, I bow down to the Almighty and hereby begin my written journey.

After lots of contemplation, loads of mood swings and overcoming the gargantuan factor of laziness within me, I have officially arrived!

How wonderful and lovely everything feels at the start of anything! It's a pretty awesome feeling, really. The start of any activity holds a promise within, which sometimes(most times, in my experience) is far more important and far more beautiful a journey than the actual fulfillment of the same promise. An apt quote which I read in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Pirsig was "Sometimes, it is better to travel than to arrive".

Why does this happen? Is it a general feeling, or am I built this way? I am sure the degree to which this phenomenon occurs varies a lot but I believe it exists nevertheless. Some people really convince themselves that 'This is what I always wanted, so I might as well be happy with it', fully aware of the fact that they are indeed, not happy. And by happy, I mean a near-permanent state of the 'feel-good' feeling which arises naturally, not by conditioning or coercing oneself. On ocassion, after any achievement, there is a time lag, between the feeling of elatedness and the feeling of eventual despair. Well, despair would be too strong a word, but you get what I mean. Why does this feeling arise? Because the result has not conformed to our expectations. Aaah, 'Expectation', another beautiful word which can make and break universes of people.

Most of us are result-driven people. I have yet to come across a person who remains unaffected by result. And by unaffected, I definitely do not mean indifference. Many people have this ability to behave like ducks above water( I possess the ability :D), with their feet fluttering away to glory beneath the surface, giving the outside world the impression of ever-lasting peace. That's rubbish. What I mean is detachment. Fine line between that and indifference but it's a huge difference once you realise the greatness of detachment.

I have observed that the moment a person associates himself with any particular action, the result of that action shall bear upon him with full force. Could be a happy result or a sad one. In other words, as I dig deeper, I find the concept of Ego coming forth.
Hmm, enough for now, shall be continued.

Till next time, Adios!