Monday, October 29, 2007

Why MBA !

I had once written an article on MBA and other related stuff during my first year at IIM A. Looking back I don't even remember most of the "hard" stuff I learnt while on campus. I do remember the proffs, friends, garbas, night canteen, Kutch & living in tents discussing philosophy as part of the course Explorations in Roles and Identities, dance / presentations under Managing Across cultures, all the novels read & movies watched under Leadership, Vision, Meaning and Reality.
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, over a period of time of course! He named them Lira, etc, etc based on some foreign currencies because he liked foreign currencies. Now what kind of a man would want to think of his daughters and think about money at the same time!
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?
Student: ?
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 :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Art, Design, Philosophy

Interview with Freeman Patterson. Brilliant. Get it here. Read it. Print it. Save it. (It is bit dated in production, but guess never dated in content)