A week that had gone by…

B-schools in India, precisely the IIMs are mostly known for fat pay packages and hot corporate profiles. For an aspirant, getting into one of those hallowed portals of higher learning is an entry ticket to a life long assurance of fat paychecks. For parents and family members of the ones who managed to scrape through the rigors of a tough admission procedure aka CAT, it is a matter of prestige and immense pride.

The craze about these institutions is such that if some day God had to grant a wish, all Indians would have asked for reserved seats in IIT-IIMs for their sons and daughters. India, as a society values education and intellect. Therefore, every parent wants his/her children to focus more on education rather  than ‘wasting’ time on sports and hobbies. I don’t say that education guarantees wisdom… but that is what the perception is here in our country.

Now, the point here is… I also, like countless many, did engineering and then got into a B-school. For most MBA students, the biggest aim is to end up with a dream job at the end of the course. There is nothing wrong in that… more so because a B-School takes a significant amount investment, both in terms of time and money.

Frankly speaking I was never really bothered about too much money or a very high profile job when I joined IIM Lucknow. But, there was one thing that I was very sure of… that I would like to have a career in marketing. Never did I budge or even think about anything else. Marketing interested me because it did and it still does… I don’t have any concrete reasons for my fondness towards this particular stream. You may attribute it to my phobia towards anything remotely connected to Finance, but the truth is that I never saw myself being a corporate bank manager or an Investment Banker.

Last year, the global meltdown started and slowly but gradually news started spreading that the Sub-prime crisis was actually something more serious than a mere conception of an Economist’s mind. Even then it was a common belief in campus that nothing severe would happen… The great Indian Elephant, as was a common argument in classroom discussions then, would shrug it off and move forward with minor scratches. After all we are an emerging economy and Indian financial system is known to be stable and well regulated.

Although people interested in finance were a little worried because deteriorating financial conditions in the West would mean that prospects of having jobs abroad would decrease, no one really thought that getting a dream profile would be tough. I was even less bothered because I thought marketing jobs would be aplenty with few takers, as was the case before. I, for that matter any one in my batch, was not helped by the fact that we had the best placements record in the previous batch. The expectations were already high.

The scene started changing when banks in the West started collapsing… Some divisions got closed… markets started falling… economic outlook became worse than ever. Some PPOs (Pre Placement Offers) of students from other campuses, mostly offered by foreign recruiters (finance) to summer interns were getting cancelled. The media also left no stone unturned in ballyhooing the stories. The ultimate panic button was finally pressed when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on September 15th, 2008. Finance enthusiasts, for whom Lehman Brothers was like the Mecca of I-Banking, were unable to digest the news… there was a general sense of gloom in the campus.

Suddenly there was some sort of urgency in the air and people knew that nothing was going good with the job scene. It was a known fact that getting jobs was going to be difficult… profiles were going to be shitty and packages were going to be dicey.

The summers’ placements process of our juniors also confirmed the fact that things were not going in the right direction… There were no signs of the Global economy showing signs of recovery. News, mostly baleful ones, started spreading from here and there. Finally when our turn came to suit up and face the moment we had always been waiting for (although we had not been waiting for such a scene to come in the exact sense… but even then), we realized that most of us were caught unprepared.

The placements week came… Tension was palpable and gloom was in the air. The waiting rooms were full of unexpressed distressing human emotions… It was as if a mammoth dark cloud had turned the weather sullen… There were gleaming rays of sun, but those were not enough for 300 pairs of expectant eyes, which were fast losing hope on anything & everything around.

On a personal front, I found it very hard to get marketing shortlists. My entire two years were dedicated to creating a CV meant for a dream marketing profile… I don’t know what was wrong with my preparation but the lists which came out with my name on them were very few. The companies did not like my profile or probably they did not go through my resume… I don’t know! And there were companies where I was shortlisted but they were more than difficult to crack, however numbered such opportunities might have been.

I could not sleep the night before I got placed… I had stopped being sad by then. However one thing that saddened me was that I gave sleepless nights to my parents… I probably should not have told them about the placements because the more companies I was missing out on, the more concerned they were becoming…

Throughout the entire process I tried to be very composed and I actually was. There was some kind of optimism which probably flows from my inner self. But I was angry… and I was pissed with the situations surrounding all of us. What wrong did my batch do to face this…? We were doomed and I did not want to accept that.

There was one time though, when I was scared. That was when I was sitting in the waiting room for my day to start on the day I got placed. I probably got drifted into a mild sleep and that brought me some nightmares. I suddenly woke up sweating and realized that I did not have much time left to get a job in my hands. That was a ‘make or break’ day for me. Thankfully, in the end it was a good day for me. I got placed and felt it was ‘good riddance’ for me to be out of that quagmire. And I actually felt blessed to have a job in my hand.

Worse than my own situation were cases where people who saw more than 10-15 interviews and were yet not placed… I felt bad for them. For me, it was a case of wait and watch till my time came… For a lot, it was like go & face the interview only to be rejected in the last round. That probably hurt more…

The economy is slowly turning around. People are getting jobs… Summer placements have shown signs of recovery… companies are suddenly in the mood of recruitment. People from my batch will be looking for opportunities now. Some of our very bright minds had to settle for ‘poor’ jobs out of compulsion because they did not have any other options left in hand… It will be interesting now to see how the batch starts adapting and competing. Mind you, we will have to compete with experienced people and our juniors for the same set of jobs in the market. We might emerge as the greatest survivors but there is an equal chance of us being the ‘doomed batch’ forever.  People have conflicting view points… Only time will tell!

P.S: The ‘week’ mentioned in the title refers to a B-school placement week. The post written here reflect entirely my personal views.

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Rozen-e-deewar

Rozen-e-Deewar” is an Urdu word which means “A hole in a wall (of a prison cell) from which a ray of light emerges and gives hope & freshness”. (Courtesy: Wikipedia).

It is also the name of the debut album (and its title song) of Roxen, a Pakistani band. The song has got some great guitar beats and the lyrics have deep meanings. I was randomly playing songs in my Nokia Xpress Music 5130 and this particular song took me back to where I belong. I went back to Lucknow. Rozen-e-deewar was unofficially the anthem of Manfest.

We really love this song. As the meaning suggests, it depicts hope in bleak situations. While working for Manfest, we had to face a lot of such situations which were actually very tricky. At times, we had to follow that frail ray of hope under very dark situations in a persistent manner to make things happen. Rozen-e-deewar was like our war cry.

Not only Manfest, a lot of people from my batch loved this song. Every IIM Lucknow party would have this song played over and over again.

If you like this song & you want to listen to the original version; then visit this link here

BTW, I bought an Apple iPod Classic 120 GB for 13K today. I am sure I am going to fall in love with this beauty in no time. Thanks to a friend of mine in my company, I am slowly but surely getting obsessed with these cool electronic gadgets. Earlier, I used to shut down all my temptations towards such things but ever since I started earning, I have started taking interests. Now I am looking forward to owning some more of such pieces. I would like to buy an iPhone or a Nokia E71 Smart Phone. I know both are differently positioned, but both of them make a lot of sense to me. The prospect of owning an iPhone actually influenced my decision to choose an iPod classic over an iPod Touch.

That’s how it has been till now.

I would sincerely try not to neglect my blog in future… Hopefully you readers would love to quip something on my posts.

Adieu HelL

Here I am… back in blogosphere after a long pause. I abstained from posting because of my laziness coupled with lack of enthusiasm; but for all the ears accustomed to the clichéd answers, I will say that YES I WAS BUSY.

Many things have happened over the past few months. Most important of all, Manfest 2009 came to a successful end; and to our utter delight, Businessworld rated it to be the largest business school festival in the country. It was an honor to be a part of such an extravaganza. Also, I got an MBA degree: D. I am proud to announce that I am “Partha Pratim Basumatary, PGDM IIM Lucknow” now. Hey, I also got placed. I am going to join a Pharma major soon. 🙂

I have a lot to write about many things but I think this post should entirely be dedicated to IIM Lucknow. I got to spend the two best years of my life (at least till now) at HelL. It was an amazing experience being among a coterie of people who were so enthusiastic and full of energy about absolutely anything & everything in life. Back in 2007, I was worried about leaving IIFT Delhi for IIM Lucknow because I was not sure about the ‘returns’ (in strict MBA parlance). Today, I can say with full confidence that joining IIM Lucknow was one of the best things that I ever did.

In the hindsight, if some one asks me to pick up a few things from my ‘IIM Lucknow memories’ – the ones which are very close to me, then I will choose the following:

·         Manfest: Eat Sleep and Drink Manfest. That had been the motto for all eight of us from Manfest core for the past two years. We did absolutely nothing other than conducting two successful editions of Manfest. Everything in our lives; be it academics, parties, celebrations or sadness – everything had been governed by our aim of making Manfest successful. We played ‘games’ with others, we strained our relationships with friends, we cut short our personal commitments, we bunked classes & took grade drops in some of the most dreaded subjects- all these without any kind of remorse – only for Manfest. We fought with each other at 2 A.M in the morning but went to Taj for breakfast the very same day at 7 A.M. The best part of this team was that you could shout at anyone on top of your voice least expecting a strain in your personal relationship with that person. People will call that professionalism – I will call that understanding. The most important reason why this team had been successful was that we never stopped arguing about a particular point until and unless ALL eight of us were CONVINCED. For example, during the selection of our juniors, we spent more than 24 hours discussing ONE particular candidate – and mind it, that was not a joke. We discussed, had breakfast, came back, had lunch, started discussing again and it went on till the next day.

·         Controls: Very close to my heart again, it was one group which actually redefined the term ‘hard work’ in my dictionary. A controls team runs the final placements process for the seniors and the summer placements process for the juniors.  If some one has to experience pressure, be a part of this team. Before we got to conduct the actual placements process, we had to go through a lot of dry runs. After hours of bashing cum discourses being given by the Senior Controls Team, we used to spend a lot of time inside the ‘Den’ trying to find solutions to the confounding problems. The team had only two months to fully understand the ‘art’ of conducting the process and prepare itself for it. It was a small time for any team to perform to its best considering the fact that the enormity of the task at hand was unquestionable. Also, we had less time to be a ‘team’ rather than being a group of individuals. One major difference between Controls and Manfest was that in the later case, we had enough time for all of us to understand each other. But, in Controls, it was a pressure cooker situation. Anyways, We used to spend our time in the ‘Den’ till 6-7 AM in the morning, then attend our classes, come back and sleep in our rooms before going back to the Den again at 6-7 PM. This cycle continued… We missed all the Instis, we took a beating on our academics but we conducted the process which saw IIM Lucknow receiving the highest number of offers in its entire history. That made us proud… but the best part of being in Controls was that I made a lot of very good friends. These people created a lot of difference in my life.

·         Instis: Ideally, we should have had Instis every fortnight. But, due to some reasons, their frequency decreased. One Insti a month or two was what we had to be contended with. For those of you who do not know what an Insti means: Instis are the institute parties. People come, get drunk, dance to the fullest, head bang to the Bhangra beats, get senti, puke everywhere in the campus, spend nights staring up at the sky… and do much more. I will miss those Insti parties. The best part of an Insti party is that the behaviors of people change once they are drunk. Some become emotional, some start giving sermons thinking they are very wise, some start speaking their heart out, some one who is very recluse also starts gelling with others… I guess alcohol puts off all your inhibitions for some time. Probably a person starts listening to his heart when he is drunk… he does not worry about the society or for that matter anything other than himself. I was at the receiving end of some of the ‘legendary statements’ made by some of my best friends after they were drunk. 😛

·         Football: I became a true fan of Football only after I joined HelL. I met many football lovers there… We watched so many EPL, La Liga or Champions League matches together. Fighting over clubs, trying to create Pool vs. United rivalry intentionally, passing Anti-Chelsea rants: P, discussing team selections as if we were the experts and celebrating goals – some of which were ‘unscored’ as well: P… I enjoyed all these thoroughly. I also found a way of putting all my worries and tensions on the back burner – whenever I felt low I would watch soccer videos of the clubs that I support. I have become a big fan of Manchester United. I also support Real Madrid and like AC Milan’s way of playing. BTW, I tried playing this game… as a defender. Size does matter here [: P]. I was successful in blocking some of the best players’ advances on the IIM Lucknow football ground. I also played in the inter-hostel football tournament for my hostel.

·         Kababs & Pizzas: Lucknawi delicacies… Ummm…  This place is heaven for non-veg food lovers. I will miss those Galawat kababs. 😦 They are so famous & tasty that even the companies coming to IIM Lucknow for recruitment would take a break for two hours to go to the city and have them. Tunday, Naushi Jaan, Dastarkhwaan – I will miss them all. :(. Also, my bulging belly would be a great testimony of my love for Zinger burger from KFC and Cheese burst pizzas from Dominos.

·         Rural Trips: We developed this unique way of doing our bit of CSR. Whenever we found ourselves having some free time in the evenings, we ventured out into rural Lucknow with beers and bikes. Go to any random village, drink beer, watch the sunset, jump on the hay stacks, click some photographs and come back. This was our way of ‘giving back to the society’. 😛

 

IIM Lucknow, for me, was a very fulfilling experience. I actually got everything… did many new things… got to feel every bit of emotion. Of all the points that I mentioned above, I did not mention anything about the people I met there. Off course, no experience mentioned above would have been put to sense without having good people around. I don’t want to name any one on this post but I am glad that I got to meet some of my best friends at HelL. Never did I expect that I would find such good people at the post graduate level. I have made some amazing friends over the past two years… Starting from Group-1 to Manfest to Controls to the rest, it was great to know you all. Every bit of memory that I share with that place will speak countless lines about each one of you.   

P.S: This post reflects my personal opinions. Please contact me before quoting anything in any kind of media.

                                                                                                                                                – Partha Pratim Basumatary 

Switching loyalties

Isn’t it amazing how the soccer players switch their loyalties within no time?

International World Cup qualifiers are underway and the club players are playing for their national teams against their very own club mates. And they are playing alongside players who are their ‘foes’ for most part of the year.

It is the height of professionalism? Is not it difficult for the players to adjust? A thousand case studies can be developed on this subject…

Life roxxx!

My carelessness towards my blog is unacceptable… Long time since I posted the last time. I am trying to be back.

Life has been good here… Work is there but the fun element has increased. We friends hang out together, party more often and watch movies whenever we get time. These are the days which make one feel that time should stop… Everything has been just perfect… or at least near perfect. I am enjoying every bit of my stay here at L because I know life will change once you are into the corporate world. I won’t pass any judgments on my life which is yet to come but I know one thing for sure that people do change once they start ‘working’. And most of the times, the change is not pleasant…

‘Controls’ has started again and preparation for Manfest is already underway. Oh, BTW we have launched our first event – Karvy Online -a live stock trading event which is the biggest of its kind in the country. Mega bucks to be won plus there are a lot of other takeaways like the ‘gyaan’ of trading at a time when the market is in a slump… Also, you get to trade in commodities as well… So, form a team of 2 or 3 and register here. You can also play it individually if you want to do it alone.

On a personal level, I some times wonder how long it will take me to understand my own self. I am discovering and rediscovering myself over and over again. Every other day I find something new and I say to myself, “Oh Wow! I am like this as well…” I some times think I am becoming a better person because of this but at the same time I also feel this is hampering my natural instincts… I have become more and more conscious about who and what I am… It restricts my emotions… my actions and my reactions…

FYI, College has suddenly become ‘greener’ because of ‘imported pastures’ from Europe. 😉

It is sometimes amazing how time passes by and how people come to your life and change it for good or bad. I am still confused as far as my personal life is concerned… Maybe that is how life is.

‘Happening’ days

I feel like writing today. The last few days have been very ‘happening’ and I have had a bag full of surprise elements in my life.

Mid term exams are over. I never thought they could be as simple. Half of my exams were open books and the rest were application based. I love such papers where I get the opportunity to think and write. I hate mugging stuffs and reproducing the meaningless frameworks and theories on the answer sheets.

I like marketing. I want to pursue a career in hard core marketing. People think it is all GLOBE. I say, “No! It is not” Marketing is all about common sense… It is about understanding yourself and others. A person who can keep his eyes & ears open and who can understand others can only become a good marketer.

I had the chance to talk with a very close friend from the past. It was nice to have a feeling that I got back my best friend. 🙂

Life in general

Some things are better unsaid but I beg your pardon for putting personal stuff on a public domain.

Before some one gets me wrong, I would like to clarify that I am perfectly fine. But, being a person who probably introspects a lot, I felt I should pen down a few things.

After coming back from summers, PGP2s have established a trend of taking long walks around the campus almost every night. I have also joined the bandwagon, though gradually I have become a regular walker… I sometimes walk even twice. The cool breeze, lonely roads and relative isolation give me enough time to think about myself and my life.

I have some very good friends here in L… And it would be wrong to say that I am lonely. I have people to talk to, friends to rely upon and ears to listen to my litanies. But, as some one rightly pointed out something is missing in life.

I don’t know why I am thinking like this… Maybe I should not. But, even amongst people who are so good, why is it that I feel so isolated… so engrossed in my own thinking that I cannot keep pace with the external world. I find myself so lonely even in between a group which cannot get better. There are no answers… at least for now. Second year for me has been relatively chiller academically. I expect the load to increase soon. Things should fall into place once I am into a lot of responsibilities. The screw is getting tightened gradually…