The Alumni Affairs Council Class of 2009
The Alumni Affairs Council is again in place, after a short hiatus! A five-member strong team, it plans to do wonders to the alumni relationships (no pun intended ?). Here is a brief introduction to the core team. Hopefully be hearing a lot more from them in the coming months.

Mita Bedi, Director
Mita was working as a freelance consultant for financial services organisations in Australia and the UK prior to coming to the ISB. Mita grew up in Sydney and decided to come to the ISB seeing it as an opportunity to explore India. She likes all things creative and hopes to own her own business some day.
Life so far at ISB: “Crazy but FUN!!”

Rahul Rathi, Communications Coordinator
Rahul was working as a Senior Analyst with McKinsey Knowledge Center, the knowledge arm of McKinsey & Co prior to joining the ISB. Rahul belongs to Chandigarh, and likes reading cartoons and writing jokes (on subjects surrounding him) in his free time.
Life so far at ISB: Unearthing, unnerving, unique…

Vinay Shenoy, Events Coordinator
Vinay is from Pune. He loves traveling (has driven close to 25000 kms through various places the year before ISB), adventure sports, movies, quizzing and Formula 1 racing. At the ISB he is forever optimising on his sleep time.
Life so far at ISB: Getting hit by a truck and learning to love it!

Santoshi, Events Coordinator
Santoshi was working as a Senior Consultant with Oracle India Private Limited in the IT Consulting space before joining the ISB. Santoshi hails from Bangalore and loves to travel and read (especially Rahul's jokes ;-)).
Life so far at ISB: Meandering through grades, parties, assignments, speaker sessions, meetings, classes, events but loving it all!

Danish Faruqui, External Clubs Coordinator
Danish is a Chartered Accountant and has worked with KPMG for over four years in the audit division. He also has a keen interest in the field of education and has been closely associated with educational institutions.
Life so far at ISB: Worth every second

24 hours at ISB
Unearthing, Unnerving, Unique…
By Rahul Rathi
Arbit, philosophising in his diary:

When did my day start, when will it end?
Who did I borrow the notes from, to whom did I lend?
Was MR > MC or was I selling an experience?
Did I pass out in GLEC, or was it an ephemeral trance?

Will I be a young leader, or will I sell (eh.. market) soap?
Should I aim McKinsey, is there still hope?
To consult, or not to consult - the focus oscillates with the grades
Admission into ISB was like the Gillette razor, the terms are like blades.

The going is tough, so the tough’s got to going
Else I would not remember what did Airbus 380 do, forget about Boeing.
The CISCOs and the Wal-Marts and the Southewests and the Intels
They are not aliens now, they do ring a bell

To Beatles n Dylan n Doors n The Corrs
Forgive me, for I can’t listen to you any more.
For I’m a busy man, and soon I’ll be an M-B-A
And they are already making me practice, all work and no play.

The biggest challenge while writing this is to decide on which hour to start with. All the hours, except dawn maybe, are equally full of zest and zeal. The concept of night and day is not particularly distinctive in the life of an ISB student. Even as I write this, its 4:59AM. Just completed my pre reads, with a generous sprinkling of day dreaming, at the darkest hours of the night. Ironical.

Back to reality:

“This term I just have to score all straight As to compensate for the Goddamn B-ves last term. This is MY term, and I righteously deserve my place in the List”, thought Arbit while still in bed. The funny bit is that this was a feeling 90% of the batch was going through, and the list could accommodate only 10% of it. Term 3 was after all the make or break term. After that, it was too late.

Arbit was lucky to have his classes in the afternoon, and hence this bold insolence towards time. In ISB, thinking comes later. Let’s do it first. But this was at the cost of not taking a bath for the third consecutive day. Arbit was not a member of the hygiene club in any case.

1:45PM – 6:15PM
Arbit lived upto his name and did arbit CP to the hilt. It wasn’t his mistake either. If you do not get enough ‘air time’ in the first three classes, then desperation becomes as natural an emotion as sex. He learnt the Risk-Return framework and action inertia today. Will definitely apply the latter beginning from now.

6:30PM – 9:30PM
Random Singh: Hey Arbit, are you coming for a game of squash
Arbit: No man, the marketing guru is around. I might be able to sell an extra 100 cases of beer tomorrow if I listen to his divine words of wisdom.

Arbit attended the lecture by a marketing guru, and probably learns the tricks of the trade. He has dinner after that, the famous Snake Porial with rice.

Time to head to the library and revise what was taught in class today. It isn’t an easy world. The proverbial ‘hay-making’ does not stop when the sun stops shining here.

1:30AM – 2:30AM
The time of the day, when Arbit and his friends usually sit at CCD and laugh and crib about things – from the prof being a nerd or a genius to the course being beyond comprehension to the glamorous crowd at F Bar to the idea whose time has come.

2:30AM – 4:30AM
Read the newspaper, do the pre reads, think about home, smile, cry, frown.. .till you are half asleep.

After some tossing and turning in the bed, Arbit decides to write ‘A day in the life of an MBA Student’. “It should be fun”, thought Arbit.

Arbit, philosophising in his diary:

Will I get my dream job, will I not?
My mornings and evenings are filled with that thought.
What am I running after for, what the heck?!
Is it consulting or finance or retail or just a fat pay cheque?
I’d like to rise, and reach the top of the hill
It might be lonely there, but want to go there still
This is the time of my life, live it well, they say.
Network, study, eat well and play.
I paid a fortune here, and will not sleep in any class.
With the way the economy is going, I’ll have to settle in Honduras…

Degrees of Freedom
By Navin Rajaram
I try to imagine John Von Neumann or Erwin Schrodinger or even Albert Einstein as a kid in school. The kid enrolls in school. Mathematics, analysis and reducing the seemingly complex to the trivial – all these come easily to his mind. While the moderates and not so moderates bite their pencils, scribble furiously or scratch their heads vigorously when the Maths/Science teacher asks the class to solve a problem out of their scope of knowledge, the young Albert/Erwin/John looks at the problem and sits unassumingly or decides to blurt out the answer. Surprised looks all around as all faces in class turn to this unlikely responder. Albert/Erwin/John tries his best to ignore the looks of surprise from some astonished kids in search for idols early in their age, the sneers from the backbenchers who would never solve that problem for another few lifetimes or even the teacher who stands there thinking - maybe the kid's really good or he read the same book I read that gave the solution.

I now try to imagine Rahul Dravid. Or a Sunil Gavaskar. These names come to mind because the word "focus" is what I am thinking of. Dravid is at the crease. He's been there for almost 2-3 hours now. There is intense chatter from behind the wicket. The wicketkeeper, slip catchers are trying their best to distract his concentration. Someone screams a personal remark, the other guys join in the laughter. But Dravid is in what cricketers like to call "The Zone". He does not hear a thing, or if he heard it, the words pass by through him. There are no oscillations - the stone hits the water but there are no ripples. Dravid can hear nothing - there are only two things in this world for him at this point of time. Him and the ball that will be thrown at him. Nothing else matters. The rest of the world is non-existent.

Now, try to imagine a Jimi Hendrix or a Jimmy Page playing the guitar. The audience watches agape as Page/Hendrix strums the chords without so much as a care as to how the notes will sound like. The music flows, melodious, perfect in every which way imaginable. There are no discordant notes, no jarring chords. Jimmy does not know if that is even possible - the bad sound I mean.

I finally try to imagine a Buddha or a Jesus or a rishi or a Prophet meditating. People pass by and see them sitting in immaculate posture, eyes closed - thinking nothing, but thinking everything. Attached to nothing, yet very much existing within the scheme of reality. A mischievous passerby decides to test the enlightened one. At first some sounds, then a stone, eventually a last ditch attempt to dislodge the one from his posture. The one slowly lets it all happen. The body moves on force, but the mind - stays where it is, was and always has been looking for. There is no reaction, not even a response. The passerby loses motivation and with a resigned look - either decides to ask for forgiveness if regret is the dominant emotion or slips away from the spot. Neither makes a difference to the seated one.

What is it that made me imagine all these seemingly uncorrelated events? The mind. The mind is a beautiful thing. It can be one's worst enemy and one's best friend. If I'd sat beside Einstein in class, I'd have been too immature to understand the way his mind worked. But maybe today, I'd have given anything to sit a lifetime and watch that mind work. That mind which knows not what limitations are. A problem comes up. While I work furiously and analyze approaches within my limitations, the "free" mind takes it and reduces it to as trivial a question as 2+2. The free mind is unburdened or ignorant of its own limitations. It is unfettered and does not know where the limits lie. And that is precisely because there are no limits. A mind like mine knows there are limits, there are fears, there are boundaries. And it takes time to overcome these. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I do not.

A Dravid in "The Zone" knows the exact way a spinner will turn the ball on seeing it release from the hand. Or when a 130kph bowl is directed at him, the feet move without the mind telling them to. The mind knows where the ball will eventually arrive and the bat involuntarily goes to meet the ball at the exact moment, at that exact instant where the impact will impart the ball the greatest force. A cricketer in "The Zone" is a joy to watch - because it is a free mind at work. A mind that does not know where it should stop. And it cannot stop.

A free mind as the Buddha or a rishi is unperturbed. It just acts without oscillations - if actions are involved. There is no emotion involved, no reason to. The world moves and the ripples are absorbed like a sponge - and one does not know where all of it goes. They come and they go.

As I write this I am quite aware perfection is unseen or unheard. Perfection in the truest sense is perspective. Every one has their notion of it. And perfection, if seen by our perspective, is transient. It does not last forever. Again idealism and practicality are two sides of the coin. But every now and then, there are glimpses of the sublime when "free" minds work. Minds that do not know anything, minds that are empty, devoid of conditioning and yes - perfect because of this emptiness.

Navin Rajaram is a M.S. in Electrical Engineering who spent 4 torturous years as a Senior Design Engineer in the semiconductor industry. Not satisfied with the masochism, he opted for an year at the ISB and is the Quiz Club President there.

The Terms Gone By
By Sandeep Ramesh
They say life or an MBA is not really about the goal, but about the journey. Every journey requires us to make changes to adapt ourselves to the rigors and challenges of life. I heard lots of different definitions of what an MBA teaches you, I heard people say an MBA is about networking, career shifts, getting those dream jobs, applying class-room concepts in a real life setting or just teaching you about plain time-management.

However, I believe the most important thing that an MBA teaches you is to be flexible and open to change, and the brief chronological summary of events described below will attest to the fact that my mind has adopted a revolving-door policy during my time here at ISB.

Before the start of the course: ‘These alums are nuts!!!!! How can they complain so much about life being stressful here, there’s only 2 classes a day and only Monday through Thursday, heck, this year should be a walk in the park!!!! Though 4 As should be a cakewalk, I don’t think I want to expend too much of my effort on academics, I mean I do want to network, write amazing B-Plans, join as many clubs as I can, party, watch movies, sleep………..I wonder if I should join McKinsey, or will I-banking be a better option. The lure of the lucre vs. the flamboyance of consulting ??? Well I guess I’ll decide on that later.

After the first mid-terms: I thought I had arrived, and here I was, walking out of the exam hall in a trance, not even sure what subject the damn paper was about!!!! ‘I think this rules out consulting, in any case a hectic travel schedule and unearthly working hours don’t sound so good when you’re thinking of settling down in life.

After the first end-term: “Wow!! That was 1/8th of my MBA……IF I graduate!!!! Maybe I-banking isn’t my cup of tea either, I mean do I seriously want to spend the rest of my working life as a number cruncher? My people skills make me better suited for a managerial role.

Of course then the next wave of tests hit me…….. and the results hit even harder! That ruled out general management and after the 2’nd marketing course I went “*&%^, looking at all the quant!!! I figured marketing was creative branding and catchy tag-lines and this course seemed to have more numbers than the local telephone directory! That leaves me with entrepreneurship, now all I have to do is to find someone desperate enough to fund my venture or give me a job!!!!!

Well, well, well. I think I have exaggerated a little, but then is it not fun to make a mountain out of a molehill? Sometimes?

Life at ISB has been a rollercoaster ride. For once, it seems difficult to keep pace with time. Even my watch has given up now. With so much to do in so less time, I sometimes wonder whether we should have some sort of a 2-month break after Term 4, so that we can do things we want to do – an internship, extensive participation in competitions, network, relax…..

Ok. Time for yet another dose of exaggeration. Here are a few MBA classes practical definitions, for those who did it long time ago

Sunk cost: Payment for twelve month meal plan at Goel dining hall.

Prisoner’s dilemma: Choosing between Goel and café for a meal.

Binary Variables: Marks that you think you will probably get in DMOP after coming out of the examination hall

Optimisation: Deciding which curry at Goel will cause minimal damage to your digestive system.

Cheap talk: Goel’s announcement of a ‘refreshing theme dinner’

Statistically significant: Whatever the profs say in class. Text books would not help.

Marketing: Same dish at Goel under 6 different names on 6 different days

Sandeep Ramesh was working as the Assistant Marketing Manager- Nile Limited prior to coming to ISB. He was also a freelance writer and has written articles on many sportspersons.