Tag Archives: MBA

Writing a Statement of Purpose (SOP)- Do’s & Don’ts

The discussion started when one of my colleagues got an interview call from IIM Bangalore for their prestigious two year full time PGP program and he asked me to help him with his SOP. Since I have been exposed with both sides of the table attending and conducting interviews; the idea floated that I should put some tips or pointers for people writing SOP.

1- Purpose– It is not called the Statement of Purpose for nothing. Decide on a theme which you think is most relevant and in line with the objectives you want to convey to the panel reading your SOP. The purpose should eventually relate to the type of course or job you are going to pursue. This theme is something which should be common and reflect in all your answers, attitude and the statement of purpose. It is always advisable to introspect deeply and find the reason why you’re applying to a course or appearing for a particular exam/job. The answer obtained out of such introspection would form a great theme for binding the entire SOP together.

2- Background, Education and Work Experience– Your family, the environment and places you grew up can be a part of the SOP; but ensure the context such that subtly the backgrounds relate to the underlying theme of the SOP while indicating its contribution towards the person you are and the choices you are making today. Illustrate your education and work experience in a fashion that it looks like a series of events occurring by your choice all with a rationale of underlying theme. Elaborate on some specific aspects of your education or work which will be of value in the course you are trying to pursue.  Don’t mention this for the sake of it, especially if it doesn’t fit the theme they belong in your resume not in the SOP.

3- Future Plans– Delve deeper into the courses, subjects (if you haven’t researched, do it first) how they form the part of your long term and short term goal. This is the most important section of your SOP try to bring as much of facts on the paper and relate them with the theme and purpose. Any panel loves a candidate who knows what he is doing and why.

4- Hobbies-The SOP should include the extra-curricular interests and how they have developed you as a person. Relate these interests or hobbies very subtly if you can with the theme of the SOP.

5- Story– All the SOP in the end should form a small story of your life(past, present and most importantly future) subtly indicating that why the course you are pursuing or the job you are applying to is the most logical step in the story of your life.

6- 3Cs – Always remain Consistent, Clear and Concise while writing SOPs. Never contradict yourself in an SOP it is always a recipe for disaster. Avoid ambiguity of any kind, in a stress interview an ambiguous line might hijack your entire interview in a direction you never envisaged. Be concise, as a candidate you write one SOP and would like to showcase all your achievement.

Things not to do in an SOP-

1- Never use Slangs/SMS Lingo Phrases.

2- Use Quotations to glorify the SOP. It is not only weird to see quotes instead of candidates original words in an SOP but at times there have been instances when the interview  went towards the author of the quote and his other works as he was the favorite author of a member in the panel.

3- Use very flowery vocabulary- If the panel wanted to test your vocabulary they would have done it in the entrance test; think of the plight of the person who has to read 50 SOPs in a day and he has to refer to the dictionary to understand what the candidate is trying to say.

4- No Spelling and Grammatical Mistakes

5- Avoid abbreviations- Apart from the common and well known abbreviations avoid the rest in your SOP. When in doubt prefer the complete word/phrase over the abbreviation

 

Is there anything else you feel should be taken care while writing the SOPs?

Disclaimer: SOPs are a very personal and intense document to write and prepare. The above Do’s  & Don’ts are based on the author’s personal experience. The readers are advised to use their judgment and belief while writing the SOP.

God Save The Dork

Author: Sidin Vadukut 
Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: 199/-
Pages: 240

I had reviewed Sidin’s first book Dork some time back, if you haven’t read about it you can read it here. I have been following Sidin on his blog (which he hardly updated these days) and twitter (which is a frequently updated medium) since a long time. In his writing, Sidin has a very distinct sarcastic style humor which clearly, is his forte and he has succeeded to bring out some of the best of his humor in “God Save The Dork”.

This book is a sequel to Dork, which was the story of Robin Einstein Varghese, a dumb consultant who makes it huge on sheer luck and coincidence in a consulting firm. The sequel is based out of London where Robert is on secondment for a consulting assignment for a global bank. The story keeps taking interesting turns with every disaster Robin faces starting from exploring the British culture to presentations over wireless microphones, fraud executives and SEC investigation.

The book again takes a hard jibe on the management consulting industry and the practices it follows, the story is interesting filled with unpredictable events and disasters which keep our protagonist on his toes. The book is a light read with humor generously spread across the evenly paced story, there is no intense track which would force you to think but then the jokes and tragedies on Robin Einstein Varghese would ensure you never have a dull moment while reading the book.

Summary: A great light hearted humor book which one could enjoy laughing over those highly paid management consultant and their ways. A must read if you have been related to the management consulting industry.

Rating: 4/5

Apologies – Day 12

Apologies are something which are one of the greatest blessings of human nature, a simple and sincere apology can cure guilt, ease tension and pressure making one feel a lot lighter.

Some really important people in my life, I owe an apology to-

1- My Parents- for numerous tantrums I have thrown pointlessly, not listening to advices which were for my god and I should have listened too and taking them for granted at times.

2- My Library Teacher in School- She always wanted me to read more books, and I always evaded the library periods. I didn’t realize she was just trying to introduce me to one of my favorite activity.

3- One of My Very Good Friend- for not able to choose what is important, and ditching him for priorities which were not important

4- City of Kanpur- I left you to pursue better opportunities and a career. I always believed you had great potential but I never worked for you. I owe a lot of myself to this city but have been guilty of being selfish and not giving back

5- My IT Team in SIBM- One of my tantrums and way of opposition caused them embarrassment and troubles which was not necessary. Though I didn’t agree with the system but still these were one of the most amazing bunch of people I worked with and I would always feel sorry for being the one to be one their opposite side.

Book Review: Dork By Sidin Vadukut

Author: Sidin Vadukut
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Price: 199/-

Dork

Dork


Dork, basically is a book written taking a jibe on the consulting industry. It at a very primitive level showcases the disillusionment of the management graduates wrapped in the humor. It is the first book from the famous blogger and online editor of WSJ-LiveMint.

The book is primarily a tone of humor which is characteristically of Sidin, as in his blog. The read as an entire book and the plot is average, though the breezy humor in parts keeps you interested.

The setting of the book starts from the campus interview and moves to the world of consulting industry very soon. The main feature of the book, no doubt is the humor which at instances would keep you in splits. However, the book looses out majorly in connecting the protagonist with the audience. In an attempt to make it humorous Sidin has led the character of Robert Einstein Verghese so distant from the reality that as a reader you would not believe he can be for real.

This loss of connect, actually results in lack of engagement from the reader. You don’t tend to love the protagonist, or hate him (despite his stupidity). At most he leaves you irritated by his stupidity.

Though the book does depict shades of reality for the management graduates in the consulting industry, the exaggeration of the industry and the characters have been far away from reality. But one thing which stood out was absolutely fabulous promotion banner (Shared below) and the hilarious back cover and the words of praise on it. Typical Sidin humor at its best.
Dork Banner

Summary- Pick it up only for a breezy read during travel.

Rating- 2.5 /5

The Time When I Quit

Recently I quit my first job, it was an emotional and significant moment of my life and career. I wrote a parting shot part which would leave the people smiling as you know I hate sad good byes. So here is what I wrote-

I always use to get last day at office emails from people I didn’t knew(actually sometimes people I knew too) I always wondered that is it customary or they do it plain to make likes of me jealous. I had thought that I will simply get out of here, if I ever did, with silence and dignity. Now that you are already reading this we can all agree this ain’t gonna happen. So my best parting shot from here would be create a mail that would at least make you smile for a while and trust me on this I will put all my effort and won’t let any kind of truth stand in between the satire and humor of the mail.

Now that I have set the context of the letter, I came here after doing a soft engineering course and a professional business management course after which I landed for my first job, it was nothing like I could have ever dreamt of. It was surprisingly different, different than any of my colleges, or companies where I did internships and projects, it was like being back to school, and as the old adage goes school days are the best days of life things were similar yet a bit different here. I was always happy and scared of the school over time, when the last bell rang and the gates were thrown open you could see a crowd running towards the gate and at that time it was next to impossible to stop those enthusiastic kids, I have always had a same feeling here, when you stand amidst the path towards the exit gate around 6o clock bus time. I had a feeling that if I walked in an opposite direction people might push my giant frame to the ground and walk over. And somehow the look on the people’s face was satisfying, I actually made it a point to stand on the side lines of the food court and watch people leave. The times have come to an end, the kid has decided to be a drop out from this school.

Generally people are thankful and express gratitude in their last emails, I am not sure but my first and foremost gratitude should be conveyed to the person who conceived the idea to have a Café Coffee Day inside the campus, because of whom I have been branded as a person who has more caffeine than blood in his body by my own team. Not to forget the security guards who always ensured that I walked on the pavements instead of roads, lest I get run over by lorry’s and speeding traffic in an automotive free campus. I would like to thank the cleaning folks who actually thought it would be a great idea to clean the windows of my ECC room at 2 in the night hanging by the 5th floor, I was definitely entertained to see a person hanging outside my 5th floor window waving something weird at me in the half sleep.

Now that you have realized there is nothing worthwhile in this mail to actually read further and identified it was a complete waste of time. Actually you are cursing me for writing this one and then even sending this across to you, you may go back to work. Before you delete this mail, please enter these 2 mins spent reading this mail in the timesheet under code TWRLDM- Time Wasted Reading Trashy Last Day Mail, after all we are all serious about reporting our work hours people, aren’t we?

On a serious note, Adieu to all of you. I have made friends here which I would cherish my entire life, I have learned a lot through the people whom I have worked with. The HR folks made me give up everything I had related to this company from the computers, to phone, to the I-cards but one thing they won’t be able to take away is my friendship with people here and memories of good times I have had here. I express my sincere thanks to everyone who made my journey here worthwhile. This would be my last day here and henceforth I would be reachable at Email@id or can be followed through my website http://prats.co.in

Good Byes for now and as Daniel Ocean said, “See ya when I see ya”.

Prats

Book Review: The Professional by Subroto Bagchi

The Professional By Subroto Bagchi

The Professional By Subroto Bagchi


Author: Subroto Bagchi
Publisher: Penguin Portfolio
Price: 399/-

I generated a lot of respect for Subrto Bagchi, when I read High performance Entrepreneur as a writer in the realm of business and management. My respect for him increased manifolds after reading his story in Go, Kiss The World. Finally when I finished reading The Professional by him, he joined the place up there with the people I idolize, I aspire one day I can be in the same league as them. All this not because of what he has achieved, but the way he has achieved, it is more about the journey and the destination.
I would concentrate on “The Professional” here, the book is the percepts of how to be a perfect working professional. It is what, if I may call a bible for all working professionals people who would like to be professional in their conduct. Subroto Bagchi, has painstakingly illustrated the behavior, conduct and ethics of a professional.
In this world of falling moralities and flimsy loyalties, with likes of Satyam and Lehman rising from the dust and ending there itself, the conduct of a professional can be a grey area. What Bagchi illustrates is the mastering the art of being correct in spirit, not only in legalities. He writes the prescription for a strong and a moral work ethic still providing flexibilities to change organizations and switch loyalty. The examples he has quoted are relevant, inspiring and real life, motivating the professional on how he can follow the ethics and still be successful.
Though I am not sure how mature, the recruitment teams and the HR in the organizations are to value the kind of attitude Bagchi proposes in a professional. More difficult would be judging the professionals who actually live the attitude than mere glib who would try and speak their way to glory without actions. Bagchi, presents a correct and moral world pictures and also claims about the lengths he has gone to make sure these traits are identified and rewarded in his organization, but I have sincere doubts that these kind of model conduct would practically work in Non-Export areas, like government contractors, Builders, and many more agencies which thrive around the corruption in the government.
But still nevertheless, I would say it’s a brilliant book and a must read for all professionals. I would recommend it as a must read especially for the students of professional courses too, to understand the value and relevance of the perfect code of conduct for a professional.
Summary: A great read, very easy and free flowing in the content and message. Relevant, inspiring and still a light read. A must read for everyone.
Rating: 4.5 /5

MBA Connection

I was having a chat with one of my friends, It was a catching up after a long time chat and the conversation moved in such a direction, which can happen only between two MBA’s. The amazing point was there was nothing substantial in the conversation; but still both of us had a hearty laugh and shared an amazing moment of connect. I am reproducing an excerpt of the conversation which happened between us-

Anu: Surat, city of bombs
me:  cool, City of Diamonds as well
     Shaadi ke liye shopping kar lo
     😛
anu:  ye y e..
      u mean..pehle diamonds khareed ke rakh lu
      fir ladka to mil hi jayega
      lol
me:  he he he
     Aur kya
     obviously
     Ladka bhi khush rahega
anu:  corrct
      i shud optimize my time
me:  ladki ne diamonds already khareed rakhe hai
      mujhe dukhi nahi karegi
      Diamonds ke liye
      😛
anu:  lol
      mayb or mayb not..
me:  Thats the nightmare guys have when they are palnnign to get married
     “Mujhe 22 Carat Solitare chahiye” types
     🙂
anu:  lol
      but mister
      there is smething called as credit also
      coz.. agar main 10-20lac k diamond credit pe le lungi ….to uski vaat lag jayegi….
      lol
      ki holo?
me:  He he he he
     10-20 Lac ka credit
anu:  yeah
me:  baap re
anu:  ajakl credit dene k liye bahut banks vaise bhi ghum rahe hain
me:  Matlab tum shaadi ki annual returns main liabilities main lis hogi instead of assets
anu:  vo sari zindagi chukata hi rahega
      aur nahi to kya
me:  Bechara structured financing ka course revise karta karta mar jayega
anu:  kisi ke palle padungi …to sochega ki pichle janam me koi ghor paap kiya hoga
me:  🙂
anu:  lol
      lol
      LOL
      arrey uski khud ki life imbalance ho jayegi…. balance sheet kya banayega 😀
me:  Persona Life Sub Prime crisis
     the asset which looked strikingly attractive on the eve of the marriage turned liabilities in the longer term
     Leading to Bankruptcy
     Awesome Awesome
     lets Recommend US govt they should design a bail out package around you 😛
     for financing all your diamonds
     what say?
anu:  lol
      pls recommend them
      atleast wud fetch me lotsa limelite
      if nothing else
      😀
me:  he he he I might also get the Nobel Prize for solving the Sub prime Crisis
     Win-Win-Win Situation
     🙂
anu:  yo yo

My Problems with Strategy

Strategy is a very nice small word defined by Webster dictionary as “1 a (1) : the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war (2) : the science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions b : a variety of or instance of the use of strategy
2 a : a careful plan or method : a clever stratagem b : the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal
3 : an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behavior, metabolism, or structure) that serves or appears to serve an important function in achieving evolutionary success”.

I feel in the current scenario it is one of the ill treated and demeaned word, specially where my fellow “HumBheeHain”(read MBA) comrades. Now after seeing the summer project titles of many of my fellow beings I have come to utter dislike for this word. I don’t know why but even my summer project title also includes the word (ps: yes I made the title) and is the most frequently occurring word in my resume as well. Getting back to the point that why I would not want to be associated with anything that has something related to this generic word of “strategy”.

1- It is too easy and non-challenging; almost every B-school student does it in his summer internship after the first year. You know things like “Strategy Formulation”, “Strategy Evolution” and other things of sorts.

2- Every company on the block does it; everyone seems to have it, more or less on the similar line. Everyone talks about customers, service, growth, market leader etc. even the ones who file for the bankruptcy. So why to be involved with one which is not the differentiator.

3- Once can not make their strategy independently without the help of someone. Either they need summer interns from the business schools or the glorified strategic consultants which are flocking our campuses on day to day basis. So it is a job from the lower end of the value chain which can easily be outsourced.

4- It partners us with our own competitors and might lead to risks. For example both Wipro & TCS are a strategic partner to General motors which also make them strategic partner to each other. I assume that strategy would be following the transitive laws of multiplication. After all strategy should be objective in nature.

5- Another thing which really irritates me about this word is it starts with an S (Read : ass) and ends in Y (Read: Why). May be because who starts it is a real donkey in himself and some why’s are always left in the end. Well why do I need an ass to make a plan which in the end would still leave some why? I swear I have no clue.

6- When I search in google the “strategy failure” I get more than 3 times more results from when I search “strategy success”. Now why would I like to spend my time doing something which is more associated with failure than to success.

8- If I rearrange the letters of the word strategy the words I get are grayest, gyrates, & targets all three such depressing words so now you would know how much depressing league this words belong to.

9- Another reason is that strategies are sometimes so stupid and they make you wonder if it is worth it, like some of you are wondering over my attention grabbing strategy to miss seven on the numbering list and cursing my strategy to gain attention

10- The only thing that is good with strategy is sometimes it works for no apparent reason, like some of you are looking up paying close attention to the crap I have written to see if I have really missed out seven.

So now you know why I am not really entertained by the idea of a job at strategic position in a strategic company having strategic clients asking it perform strategic roles for them and in turn giving me strategic growth paths in my career.

MBAs for Sale

With the placement season starting to gear up in the campus, it is time for me to start ranting about the same. The freshly groomed MBAs have been cut, cleaned, polished and now put up for the sale. The prospective bidders have been sent a product catalogue with all the jazzy photographs. Prospective buyers are flocking everyday to enhance the stake of their claims for the young sheep (read students) out for sale. The bet is who will produce more meat. The actual weighing would begin later. The funniest part of this assessing (read interviewing) by the prospective buyers is the reality behind. A typical assessing process happens as follows-

Buyer: Tell me something about yourself?

Sheep: Everything I wanted to tell you is already on the sheet of paper you are holding, it is called a resume. Have you ever seen it before, I guess not. Anyways I will recite whatever I can, hope this will help you to buy me and take me home, please.

Buyer: Tell me something which is not on your CV.

Sheep: Why would I hide anything from you which would enforce your decision to take me or you are interested in how many girlfriends I have had till date or when it was the first time I got drunk in the local bar. No I am not going to tell you any of this I have been prepared for such stupid behavior from you and have left out some points outside that stupid sheet of paper so will recite those. Ps I will recite in such a casual manner, u know I got first prize in acting when I was in class second.

Buyer: Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?

Sheep: You know if you take me on board today tomorrow I will wake up in the bar with a crazy hangover and if you don’t I will spend whole night reading about the buyer coming tomorrow. So you can figure out what I am doing tomorrow morning, isn’t 5 years a bit too long to predict. Oh yeah!!!! for you, it’s a secret do you know career is very important for me, I fixed up a plan last night going through the career patrh given on your website.

Buyer: Tell me why our company?

Sheep: Its fairly simple you are one of the very few people who would buy me on a cost and still spend on me and would expect me to make phone calls and forward emails whole day. I swear I couldn’t find another idiot like you who would pay me for doing this all my life. Eh you know my inherent interest would create synergies with you. Ever heard this line?

Buyer: What are your weaknesses?

Sheep: Well I simply can not resist good food and sexy women. I hope you don’t have sexual harassment laws in place. Ah Weaknesses I believe in constant updation of the self.

Buyer: What are your favorite subjects in you curriculum?

Sheep: Do you really believe that I might have a favorite subject in the curriculum. What kind of a nerd are you. But you want an answer let me think, which subject you wouldn’t have ever studied and understood. Yes strategies on success of educational institutes on the placement front. Does it help???

Buyer: Any questions you would like to ask?

Sheep: oh yes, I prepared a list I just have it hidden it in my socks wait a second I will read out the questions to you.

Buyer: We like you mr. Sheep would you like to work for us?

Sheep: Obviously, why on earth do you think I am dressed in these stupid ties and blazer. You are not here searching for a groom for your daughter is it? Even if it is then also I am interested.

Buyer: Welcome on board mr. Sheep

Sheep: Righto boss!!! Why don’t you show me the money now? By the way who is my secretary can I ask her to do my fourth semester assignments?

MBA: Mediocre But Arrogant

Since a long time I was wondering about the perception of the rest of the world about us MBAs. After reading the recent post about MBAs being silly shrewd pointless nothings on Rul’s blog I felt that I should also express my views on the same. Yeah you guessed it right this is going to be another long gyaan session.

I have seen a lot of jokes and acronyms expansion about uselessness of the MBAs. What I fail to understand that why people see us as a bunch of buffoons? Is it because most of us scored well on an aptitude test to be a part of this clan? Is it because after passing out most of us get really well paid jobs? Is it because we work really hard for all the moolah we get? I have heard the people complaining that MBAs are grossly overpaid; they are not worth what they cost. What I don’t understand is when in all the private enterprises the wages are set up by free market, there is absolutely no government intervention implementing a minimum wages (until and unless one decides to work as a physical labour) for the MBAs, then why this scorn against these people? Anyone who is actually is not worth the efforts will not be able to survive in the market place, but this doesn’t mean that all the MBAs can be branded as “silly shrewd pointless nothings”.

No matter what people say about us, the truth is that we are one of the major benefactors of the society. Apart from keeping the wheels of economy moving, we are also responsible for numerous things which have changed the face of society as a whole. Today people from rural India are having access to a lot of products which the urban India uses. A kamla bai from a village also has the option of exercising a choice between Ponds or Charmis because MBAs at both Lever’s and Colgate-Palmolive are struggling everyday to ensure the products reach her. A farmer gets additional money to buy seeds because the MBAs at ICICI bank are trying hard to make micro finance loans available. Raman uncle is tension free after he has put his money into a mutual fund, where the MBAs are everyday dealing with markets to give him a return to help him in his old age. A lot of people are being saved from being unemployed, because MBAs in investment banks and consultancies are working hard so that the companies employing so many workers don’t close down just sail through the troubled waters. Yes all this is not for charity, and each on of us is paid and paid well. But it is not that MBAs are getting all this money for free; they do their own bit for the world around.

I would say that it is not justified to look down upon the MBA junta for no real reasons. There is no reason for them to be branded as “silly shrewd pointless nothings”. It is a free world and let them do what they are supposed to do and judge them on the basis of the work they do. Al least do not brand them even before they actually get a chance to show what they are willing to do.