Yesterday while debating average as a performance metric for sets with a PE friend of mine, my mind was taken back to one of my favorite professors from IIM A, Ravi C.
(For those who know him I needn't explain, for those who don't I can't explain!!).
There was an event something to the following (I can't remember word by word)
Student : Sir, on average the queue is 2.25 people long
Proff: 2.25 people? Do you think average is a good measure to put forth in this case ?
Student : Welll....
Proff: That’s like the censor board saying that average family size in our country is 3.2 . Means a woman in the family is almost perpetually pregnant. Right ?
The topic of Ravi C brings back many many valuable memories. He is definitely one of the top 3 things you can take away from IIM A.
You can go here (Orkut Fan Cub) or here (Ranga's blog) for his more famous one liners. (Highly Highly recommended)
Some of my own favorites are
1."Cycle time does not mean that you take three women and expect to have a child in three months, it will still take nine months"
2.On scheduling conflicts:
Student: “It arises because of shared resources.”
RC: “You mean like Princess Diana or Draupadi..?”
3. On core value proposition :
If IIMA, on the strength of its brand, tries to run a circus, it won't work. Even if it tries to convey the fact that the PGP (the "MBA" equivalent) and the circus are one and the same!"
4.I once had a TA who had three daughters,
If you have to name them arbitrarily, you might as well call them 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and so on (after a loong pause) Not 2.1, because then you would have some explaining to do. [A guy in the well is lost at this comment, to him: You dont get it do u ? (Turnign to the class) He did not get what the difference is between 1.2 and 2.1, i can explain to him the difference but not the process, let him figure that out for himself!
5.RaviC asks a guy to explain the first case of the course...
He starts: If we do SWOT analysis....
RaviC: (who has a clear aversion to all such legendary frameworks being adopted without a clear understanding) What is SWOT?
RaviC: I'll tell you. Strength is your wife, Weakness is your neighbor's wife, opportunity is when your neighbor is away, threat is when you are away!
Personally I still remember me giving him the good news of my getting through to Mc Kinsey. Different people complimented me in different ways. Ravi C was typically Ravi C. All he said was "I'm glad but not surprised". I regard that as one of the best compliments I've ever received in life :)