Friday, May 14, 2010

And I graduate...

Thanks Emory and Arnold Schwarzenegger... :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Interview experiences - Fall 2009

To serve the intention with which this blog was started, this entry is something I have been intending to write since a while. Thanks to my friend, Mr. Sharma for inspiring me to finally write it! :) It is specifically targeted towards all aspiring Management Consultants and is meant to give a brief on-the-ground picture of fetching a Management Consulting job - the competition, the numbers, the expectations and of course, the self-realization. :)

Management Consulting (MC) is a dream career for thousands of MBA students. According to a survey by MBA Admissions conducted in 2007, more than 30% of the entering class in all top 20 US b-schools had McKinsey & Company selected as their 'dream company'. More than 40% of these had an Investment Bank tied for this position, but unfortunately, the bank no more exists. And to add a little icing over the cake, now you also get a chance to compete with laid-off VPs and Directors who spent 10-15 years of their lives slogging behind a company only to be handed a pink slip one fine morning. Phew! These people, if fit enough to work efficiently for 10-12 hours a day, are like a bonanza package for MC firms. They not only make MC firms look great in front of clients through their years of industry experience, they also bring in those industry-wide contacts - and as we all know, America runs on contacts. I remember one of my friends saying, it's more about who you know than how much you know!!

I entered the b-school with similar aspirations as well, only to realize that Case Interviews were not as simple as they sounded. And... being in a country where businesses run so differently than your home country does make a lot of difference! If I recall the past, I think my first year internship interviews were a disaster, they make me feel how stupid I was in my first year! :) I somehow managed to get a near-MC internship which actually started building my foundation of how businesses run in the US. Summer 2008 not only re-affirmed my interest in MC, I also found myself much more confident with cases. But than came the year when many things crashed! :) Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 saw the number of open MC positions shrink to half and the competition quadruple.

A year later - in Fall 2009 - although the on-campus recruitment scene was still pathetic, I knew there were ways to fetch interviews with these firms. And this is the biggest takeaway I had in the two years. Even if a top notch MC company does not recruit from your campus, or they are not recruiting from your campus this year - you can still fetch their attention. And just two words for doing that - smart networking. Try to find out what are the hot things in the market, work on your resume and cover letter, and tell those companies how YOU can add value to their firm. I remember 'networking like a dog', literally, thanks to which I was able to fetch interviews with four of the top five firms in my field.

The good thing with case interviews is that you get better with time, your confidence grows with every case you crack. However, the bad thing is that there is only a certain level you can reach - you canNOT crack all the cases you get. The key is to note down and remember lessons from every case you bomb and keep building your tool kit.

First Round Interviews:

Generally, first round cases aren't usually very twisted, unless you get an over-smart interviewer. And I think not many students totally 'bomb' first round cases, if they are well practiced. So then how are you evaluated? Although all firms have different criteria - I think I could confidently generalize the basic ones, for the first round, into two buckets. First, your thinking process and second, your comfort with numbers. Of course, you need not be a walking PrecisionTree or a walking calculator - but showing solid strength in these areas definitely impresses most people in this industry. And then comes the lighter stuff such as your creativity, the way you carry yourself, your behavioral answers, 'the airport test' and the list goes on...

Final Round Interviews:

Firms differ a LOT in the way they give final round cases as well as the way they evaluate you. You typically deal with Partners in final rounds and so you expect to get high level 'strategic' cases. But don't let this expectation fool you. Partners in these firms can get more analytical and numbers oriented than you can ever imagine. After all, they are Partners for a reason! While all first round parameters are still important, you are also evaluated on your ability to 'influence the client'. And I think this is where experience comes into play. You either need to be a super-genius or a master in your field if you were to 'influence' C-level executives. However, here is the toughest part about cracking a final round interview day - you need to display that you rank consistently high in all these skills, 'consistent' being the key word here.

When times are tough, most 'human beings' rely on safest choices, they do not want to take chances. Management Consulting firms are no exceptions these days. They will take you only if you are CONSISTENTLY GREAT. However, if you are like me and you find Management Consulting to be your passion, don't ever give up. It might not be your first job after b-school, but consider getting into a MC firm to be your short-term goal. Take up a job opportunity that would help you get into your dream firm - something that either has a big brand name or something that is directly related to the work your dream company does. Form a solid network while you are in school - with your consultant classmates, with consultant alums, with managers/parters you meet during your interviews (assuming you did not totally bomb their case) as well as Consulting recruiters. Try to remain in touch with them all. Follow consulting magazines such as KennedyInfo/ConsultingMag and finally, keep practicing those cases! Remember - success is a journey and not a destination. Plan your journey in small steps that are aligned to your ultimate goal - whatever it is.

While I near my graduation date May 10, 2010 - I am thinking how far have I come, and its actually kinda funny! :) From someone who had very unclear motives behind attending a b-school in US to someone who exactly knows what he wants in life. It looks like pursuing my desire to fetch a Management Consulting job has actually changed me. I will now leave you with a screenshot I would definitely show my son (or daughter) if he (or she) decides to do an MBA.. haha.. :)

Take care, everyone!


Monday, January 04, 2010

A decade - definitely not lost

There is no such thing as a ‘dull decade’. The arc of history is long—to maul a line by my local Atlanta hero, Dr. Martin Luther King—and it bends toward stuff happening. It’s a natural human tendency to give special attention to things close-by – be it times, places or people. Having acknowledged this, I still feel the past decade deserves a mention on the Right Experience, and this topic will hopefully lead to my re-entry as well as continued touch with the blogosphere.

There are decades when a few earthquakes shuffle the terrain and jostle the nerves—and then there are decades when the world splits open to the boiling core and remakes itself. Maybe after a generation or two have passed, the events of the 21st century’s first 10 years will recede in significance. With time, perhaps 9/11 will go back to being just another day in September. It sure seems unlikely from here. Indeed, the 10-year period beginning in 2000 has been marked by a string of colossal events that, in any other decade, would have been the undisputed story of their time. It has been a dazing and bedazzling era, almost biblical in its bookending events: the tragedy of 9/11 and the election of America’s first black president—a man whose name meant nothing to anyone outside of politics until just a few years before his ascension to the most powerful office in the world. Just think: Cataclysmic Tsunami—a catastrophe so vast it nearly wiped several cities off the map of the world—rates a distant, even debatable, third among this decade’s biggest headlines. Two ongoing wars, a global financial collapse, Hurricane Katrina, Mumbai 26/11, Gujarat riots… the list goes on and on.

The decade had its fair share of pleasant and gloomy times, almost looks like it had everything. The one thing this decade hasn’t had, oddly, is a name. People could never seem to agree on one. Is it the Double-Zeroes? The Oh-Ohs? The 2K’s? I even remember seeing at least five different ways of writing a date in 2000s. But well, it shouldn’t matter, except that it’s hard to wrap your arms around something when you don’t even know what to call it. “The ‘50s,” “the ‘60s” - the terms conjure a specific, albeit oversimplified, portrait of those eras in different nations. But perhaps it’s fitting that this decade should remain stubbornly absent a name. It’s been too vast, too shocking and too transformative, for just one.

And in any case, a decade or a year for that matter is just an empty unit of time, arbitrarily walling off of events that exist both within and beyond them. When we get close to the end of a year or a decade, it’s mere use is to be indulged in one’s favorite past-times: Looking backward and dreaming forward. With wishes that every ‘good’ dream seen by all the six billion eye-pairs turn into reality, here is wishing everyone a happy and a healthy new decade. Prosperous, who really knows? :)


Monday, March 09, 2009

Quarter Life Crises

It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing
that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may
not like.You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a
year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are

You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those
friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the
greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch
with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is
that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean
or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

You look at your job... and it is not even close to what you thought
you would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realizing
that you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you.

Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and
find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize
that you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly
adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't. One
minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure.

You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone
and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and
cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is
drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay
where you are or move forward.

You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do
such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet
anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. Or maybe you
love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure out why
you're doing this because you know that you aren't a bad person. You
want to settle down for good because now all of a sudden that becomes
top priority. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look

You begin to think a companion for life is better than a
hundred in the shack and for once you would not mind standing tall for
that special someone which otherwise you had never thought of until
now. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and
talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem
to make a decision. You worry about loans, money, the future and
making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be
great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Transcript from the Warren Buffett meeting

We recently had the opportunity to represent Emory during the meeting with Warren Buffett in his hometown Omaha. The meeting this time consisted of six different universities, with around 25 students from each university.

I would describe the day as the day of surprises. I was warned by some of seniors who had been to Omaha about the sudden temperature drops. But to our surprise, it turned out to the be the warmest day of season, with temperature touching 56F at times. The day started with a tour of one of the first businesses that Buffett bought 25 years ago - Nebraska Furniture Mart. Now, if I was not there on that trip, I could have never guessed that the biggest Furniture and Electronics store in the US, is not in Texas, is not in California, but it's in Omaha!

After about an hour there, it was time then to meet the legend. This was arranged through a two hour Q&A session, where we had the opportunity to ask anything except of course, his future investments. (Since that would move markets up and down). Having read about him a lot, I was so very satisfied to find his answers exactly in the line of his writings. Once he gets into rhythm, he not only becomes more and more of a standup comedian - but every problem looks so very simple and basic when he describes it. The transcript of his responses is presented at the end of this blog entry.

It was time then to move to one of his favorite restaurants - Piccolo's. We were served a 4 course meal and to my surprise again, I found one of the best Veggie Burger's in Omaha. Although now when I think about it, I am not sure if it was the burger or the pleasure of sitting on the same table as Warren Buffett that made it taste so great. The lunch ended with a Piccolo's specialty called the Root Beer Float - a non-alcoholic carbonated drink with floating vanila ice-cream.

All in all, it was a great experience and definitely worth the long flights. On my flight back to Atlanta, I was just not able to stop myself from thinking about the simplicity in his personality and character. His two storied house with no security around it, his office so modest it could barely fit us all and his car - a simple General Motors Cadillac. I find strong similarities between him and a great businessman from India I had the pleasure of meeting - Chief Mentor & Founder of the company I worked for, Mr. Narayan Murthy.

Before I end this post, I will leave you folks with transcript from the Q&A session with Warren Buffett:

Did you hear they called off the Wall Street Christmas Pageant this year? They had trouble finding three wise men…and a virgin. There are many opportunities right now. The markets are very inefficient at times, and this is one of those times.

Would you go into the health insurance business?

Health insurance is so ingrained into national policy that it is a tough business. It’s pretty adversarial. I’m not really that excited about it from a business perspective. I don’t want to write policies with high loan loss ratios. That being said, I would buy the stock of an undervalued healthcare insurer.

South Dakota:
You’ve recently invested in Goldman Sachs and GE. Is the financial sector a good buy right now?

No sector is a good buy unless you understand the business. However, I do believe that there is good value and great opportunity now in the financial sector because it is extremely unpopular. Sector’s themselves don’t make good buys, companies that are undervalued make good buys. The earnings prospects need to be greater than the current value. Anything that is unpopular is always great to look at. If I was getting out of school right now, I would take a look.

How much and how does risk factor into your investment decisions?

In general, emerging markets are not great for me because I need to put a lot of money to work. Risk comes around because you don’t understand things, not because of beta. There are normally 10 filters or so that I go through when I hear an idea. The first is can I understand the business and understand the downside not just today but five to ten years from now. There have been very few times that I’ve lost 1% of my net worth. I might be risk averse but I am not action adverse. Mrs. B saved $500 over the course of 16 years to start and build Nebraska Furniture Mart. I just stay within my circle of confidence. When I bought Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1983, Mrs. B took cash and not Berkshire stock. Why? She didn’t understand the value of stock. She understood cash and that is what she took. I need only need to be right a few times and can let thousands of ideas go by. I call it the “No called strike game” where unlike baseball the only strikes in investing are when you swing. I don’t have to swing. When I do invest, I don’t care if the stock price goes from $10 to $2 but I do care about if the value went from $10 to $2. Avoid debt. I always try to have the odds in my favor. When I go to Vegas, I’ll take bets if the guy wants to come to my room. I like those odds better.

How do you think about value?

The formula for value was handed down from 600 BC by a guy named Aesop. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Investing is about laying out a bird now to get two or more out of the bush. The keys are to only look at the bushes you like and identify how long it will take to get them out. When interest rates are 20%, you need to get it out right now. When rates are 1%, you have 10 years. Think about what the asset will produce. Look at the asset, not the beta. I don’t really care about volatility. Stock price is not that important to me. I don’t care if they close the NYSE for 5 years. I care more about the business than I do about events. I care about people drinking more Coke.
If I were running a business school I would only have 2 courses. The first would obviously be an investing class about how to value a business. The second would be how to think about the stock market and how to deal with the volatility. The stock market is funny. You have a bunch of silly people setting prices all the time. This is great. Graham’s Ch. 8 on Mr. Market is the most important thing I have ever read. Now think about the NYSE. You have thousands of companies to choose from. For me, that universe has shrunk because I need to put large dollar amounts to work. Attitude is much more important than IQ. You can really get into trouble with a high IQ, i.e. Long-Term Capital.

Penn State:
Why did you invest in Harley-Davidson?

I like the 15%. I measured that 15% against other credits and it looked attractive on both a relative basis and an absolute basis. Lately, the government has become the guarantor for some companies but not for others and the “haves” and “have-nots” determined by certainty of government assistance rather than the credit quality. Any company where you can get your customers to tattoo your name on their body has quite a strong brand. For this investment I had to think what is the probability that they will not pay me back and would I want to own the company if they did not. Risk premiums in the corporate bond market went from real low to real high. Right now, they’re out of whack. The flip side is that governments are overpriced. T-bills actually had a negative interest rate. I never thought I’d see that. Buying corporates and shorting the 10-year is a great idea and smart guys went broke doing it because even if you’re right, you need to be able to play out your hand. I always think about what I would do if a nuclear bomb went off or if Bernanke ran off with Paris Hilton to South America.

Do you feel that the might of America has changed?

I would never bet against America. The system in the U.S. has allowed the country to unleash more for the world than any other country. Since 1776, the U.S. had a different system than the rest of the world and that system unleashed the human potential. We were not the smartest nor did we have the best resources. This is the same system we have in place today with people of similar intelligence. I have and would bet against the U.S. currency, stocks, etc. but the United States prevails over time. There are all kinds of rocky roads but we have rule of law, equality of opportunity, and a meritocracy. We have a market system and people apply energies and imagination to come up with things someone would want. Everyone in this room is working far below his/her potential.

We know that you are a big bridge player. Do you think that bridge correlates to investing? Are there any traits or characteristics that might carry over from one to the other?

Bridge is the best game there is. You’re drawing inferences from every bid and play of a card, and every card that is or isn’t played. It teaches you about partnership and other human skills. In bridge, you draw inferences from everything and that carries over well into investing. In bridge, similar to in life, you’ll never get the same hand twice but the past does have a meaning. The past does not make the future definitive but you can draw from those experiences. I think the partnership aspect of bridge is a great lesson for life. If I’m going into battle, I want to partner with the best. I was playing with a world champion and we were playing against my sister and her husband. We lost, so I took the scorepad and I ate it.

South Dakota:
What are your views on derivatives and how do you think they have affected the global market?

In my 2002 letter to shareholders I referred to them as “weapons of mass destruction.” Derivatives are really just a way to create a product with a very long fuse, for example, 100 years. That kind of system allows claims to be built up. AIG called me in September and told me they were about to get downgraded which would have required higher posting requirements. Now this is an enterprise that has been built up over decades and was effectively destroyed in 48 hours by these products. With derivatives, you’re exposed to counterparties and thus reliant on others. These claims built up over time to the tune of billions of dollars and when one falls, the whole system falls. It’s kind of like venereal disease in that it’s not important who you sleep with but rather who everyone else is sleeping with. Derivatives are not evil by themselves but rather everyone needs to be able to handle them. System wide, they’re poison. Berkshire holds many derivatives but we always hold the money at Berkshire.

What do you think about the stimulus package? Would you rather see tax cuts or government spending?

We’ll come out of this just fine. The idea of a stimulus is to do things that will have an impact quickly and the current proposal won’t do that. When dealing with situations like this, you can’t do just one thing but always need to ask yourself what is the next question. We have utilized monetary policy and guaranteed everything in sight. It’s a standard Keynesian prescription. Tax cuts benefit people differently in the short term. We are basically saying, we’re not going to pay for what we’re doing in terms of government spending and that we’ll just mail you some money but it’s better than doing nothing. In the end, you should buy stock in a business that an idiot can run because someday, one will.

How do you think differently today than you did twenty years ago? Where do you expect to see the greatest differences in 2030?

The fundamental things about investing that I learned when I was younger haven’t changed. I am lucky to have picked up a book at 19 that gave structure to investing and investment decisions. Over time, I learned different ways to apply it. I have learned what it is outside my circle of confidence. I bought See’s in 1972 and I think understanding the value of brand helped drive the decision to buy Coca-Cola in 1988. Through experience, I have gotten smarter on predicting and evaluating human behavior. I really enjoy doing what I do and I get to do what I want. I enjoy talking to groups like these. The Blumkins are some of my best friends and I continue to add friends by buying businesses.

Penn State:
What advice would you give the average person in the U.S.?

It’s hard to give advice to someone who might lose their job. My Dad went to work on August 13, 1931 to find out his company had closed. He had no job and two kids. You want to be as prepared as you can and you just don’t want to have debt. Medical problems cause a lot of the grief and lots of credit card debt. Credit cards are poison. You should be ahead of the game all the time rather than behind as it is harder to work your way out of a hole. You want to play the game from strength, and you have to think ahead. People don’t always want to hear advice when things are going well. People risked everything they had and needed for something they didn’t have or need. Charlie once said, “The problem isn’t getting rich, it’s staying sane.

What are the biggest challenges that this country faces?

The biggest problem is probably weapons of mass destruction. We have always had people who were ill-fitted to society and wished harm on others. In 1945 the atom bomb was unlocked, and that changed everything. What you could do with the wrong kind of infectious disease is incredible. You can transmit things much faster today. Governments, individuals and organizations can’t control security. It’s what I would spend all of my money on if I could fix it. Everyone here in this room won what I call the ovarian lottery. You were born at the right time and we were all very, very lucky. We are in the luckiest 1% of humanity.

What are some of the mistakes that Secretary Paulson made during the sub-prime crisis?

Hank is a great guy and great friend. He’s extremely smart about markets but not so smart about politics. I sympathize with Hank. Hank Paulson was not the supreme commander. The whole situation has developed faster and at an extreme pace, more than anyone thought. The first TARP program got voted down, which changed the dynamic. All variables affect other variables. Congress did not appreciate how severe the problem was. I call it an “Economic Pearl Harbor” in September. FDR essentially had a blank check and that what people think is important and believing it makes it so. He restored confidence in the banking system. Paulson’s job may have been almost impossible given the circumstances. He was used to operating in a sphere that did not require consensus (Goldman Sachs). People that take that on [public service jobs] are laying themselves open to be unfairly attacked, criticized and scrutinized. In hindsight, letting Lehman fail was probably not the right thing but it was difficult to tell at the time. It created trust problems as money market funds fell apart soon thereafter. People want to be led at this point, but fall back into old habits very easily.

South Dakota:
What do you think about the U.S. trade deficit?

I talked to Barack back in August, and said: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the economy will be terrible, so you’ll definitely get elected. The bad news is that the economy will be even worse at inauguration.” He asked, “Do you think it’s too late to throw the election?” The trade situation is there and it causes problem and could exacerbate the situation.
We create sovereign wealth funds, buying more goods and services than everyone else in the world. The decline in the oil price has helped the trade deficit but nothing will get better until everyone feels better. Every day, we buy $2 billion of goods and service more than we produce and export. We give the exporting nations USD. The trade deficit creates claims on the United States. Sometimes we’re a little hypocritical. For example, three years ago, the Chinese wanted to buy Unocal (a small oil company in California) and Congress wanted to condemn China for wanting to buy the oil company with the money we gave them (through U.S. imports). The trade deficit creates a situation because we give people claim checks, then we get upset when they want to use them. It’s not useful to fan those flames, and that’s what’s wrong with “Buy America.” The trade deficit will come up big time when we get past the current problems.

Why do you live the way that you do?

Do you mean, why am I frugal? You can’t buy health and you can’t buy love. I’m the highest handicap member of Augusta. I’d rather play golf here with people I like than at the fanciest golf course in the world. I can do anything that I want, and I do. I buy everything I want to have. I’m not interested in cars and my goal is not to make people envious. Don’t confuse the cost of living with the standard of living. Bella Eidenberg was a Polish Jew who was at Auschwitz and some of her family didn’t make it. Twenty years ago she said she was slow to make friends, and that the real question in her mind was always, “Would they hide me?” If you have a lot of people that would hide you, you’ve had a very successful life. That can’t be bought. I know people that have billions of dollars and their children would say, “he’s in the attic.”
I estimate that I live on $100,000 per year, except for my plane which costs me about $1 to $1.5 million. I like the plane, it improves my life. My computer and my airplane changed my life in a big way and I’m not sure, if I had to choose, which one I’d give up. If I took out $3 billion of Berkshire stock, I could have paid 30,000 people $100,000 per year to paint my portrait every day. I could have paid 50,000 people $60,000 per year to dress in loin cloths and haul rocks to create the Buffett tomb. That’s not me. I believe in giving my kids enough so they can do anything, but not so much that they can do nothing.

Penn State:
What do you think of the good bank, bad bank idea?

It is tough to do but if it were done well, it could do a lot. Call the bad bank an “Aggregator Bank.” There is a lot to be said in cleaning out past problems. There are 7,000 banks in the U.S. with such varying degrees of conditions so it is tough to provide a sweeping overhaul. The biggest thing they’re wrestling with is pricing what goes into the aggregator bank. These are smart, well-intentioned people working enormously hard.

You take great pride in keeping your schedule wide open. Do you believe that corporate America is overscheduled and overstretched?

[Showed his blank schedule book]. Bill Gates is overscheduled. I am extremely lucky and I can say no to anything because there isn’t an entity that can use economic pressure to make me do something. A lot of CEOs get into a lot of the rituals that are part of the job. I would rather deliver papers than be the CEO of GE. They have too much stuff to do that is a big pain. Don’t get me wrong, CEOs have it pretty good. I’d imagine that every CEO in the Fortune 500 would be willing to take the job for half of the money. The 76 or so CEOs that run companies at Berkshire don’t have to deal with bankers or lawyers. At Berkshire, we’ve never had a meeting for all of them anywhere. There are no presentations and no committees. They can be more productive, and it makes it attractive when they can do what they like to do best.

What are three traits of successful managers?

Passion is the number one thing that I look for in a manager. IQ is not really that important. They need to be able to work well with others and the ability to get people to do what you want them to do. I’d say intelligence, energy, integrity. If you don’t have the last one, the first one will kill you. All you have is a crook who works hard.
If you could put 10% of your future earnings on one of your classmates, you would pick the one that’s most effective at working with people. These are qualities that are elective. If you could pick one to sell short, it would be the person that no one wants to work with. You can elect to be the kind of person you want to be. Look at those qualities of the two people you’ve selected (one long and one short). They’re all qualities that you possess. It’s like marriage. If you want a marriage that’s going to last, look for someone with low expectations. Don’t keep score. Keeping score doesn’t build organizations, homes, etc. I have never had one fight with Charlie. When I took over Solomon I had to pick the best person to run it. I interviewed 15 people and I asked myself, “Who would I go into a foxhole with?” I never look at grades or where you went to school.
Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken. In terms of picking people how do you lead your life in a way that I’d pick you?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai, again... :(

Another terror attack in India... Another 100+ people killed... Day long coverage from the Indian television media, newspapers filled with unfortunate photos... And, the same cluelessness on the part of all the intelligence agencies of the world... Everything sounds so very familiar, almost like a deja-vu... Is this the new era we are going towards, where such attacks are to be 'expected' every month? Where every person leaving his home in the morning, is not really sure if he would return back that night? Where one part of the world is working hard towards 'raising the standard of life' while the other part witnesses the 'value of human life' deteriorating every day? There are many things that baffle me when it comes to 'our' responses to such incidents... But the thing I am sure of is the answer to all these questions... And the answer is "NO"...

India has witnessed atleast half a dozen such attacks in 2008 alone... And everytime such unfortunate incident takes place, I usually try to check some Indian TV channel on the web and get all my news online... However, the way media has been reporting today has made me believe that today's incident could potentially be a game-changer... There have been at least three national news channels in the US, covering the mumbai incident throughout the day - without breaking even once for local US news.. For the first time, I am witnessing such major global coverage of a non-US incident and this indeed gives me some 'hope' that the world is finally taking a note of the plight of terrorism in 'third world' countries...

One of the famous reporters for a major US news channel mentioned that today was India's 9/11... I was actually amused to listen that because if you look in terms of the number of casualties, there have been many more attacks in India where this number was far more than the one reported today... This makes me ponder - why is the western media paying so much attention this time? Is it because 'westerners' were targeted for the first time in India? Is it because it was the most co-ordinated attack launched ever in India? Or is it because elections are over and there is nothing substantial to report? Whatever the reason is - I am happy that atleast this time, an incident as unfortunate as this one, did not go unnoticed by the West...

While I certainly appreciate the statements all the governments of the world including the 'government-elect' here in the US have rolled out, what the world really needs is action... We must realize that terrorism does not have religion and neither can it be identified by a nationality... Terrorism in any format or in any part of the world is equally dangerous and the solution can only be reached when the roots are targeted... It is said that 'good' always conquers the 'evil' and I am staunch believer that terrorism has to be, and will be vanished some day... Let this be the day, all the governments of the world unite together to target the roots rather than the branches... Let this be the day, that sparks a 'plan to eradicate terrorism' rather than a mere 'war on terrorism'...


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Can I have a minute...

"Can I have a minute to jot down my thoughts?"
If you are a Management Consultant or an aspiring Management Consultant, this line will certainly sound a bell... Thats what all of us, no matter from which school we come from or which country we work in, speak in the first few minutes of that roller coaster fun-ride called 'case interview'.

Here at Goizueta Business School, the Fall 2008 semester has begun and so has the full-time job search. It has just been about a week since the classes started and I am already forcing myself to make some tough choices between 'classes' and 'job search'. Same is the situation with most of the students, who like me in these tough times, were not fortunate enough to have the cushion of a PPO after our internships.

I am really excited about the classes I am taking this semester. I wish I had the opportunity to take them in the last semester because they would have helped me a lot during my internship interviews. But nways, better late then never.

I basically thought to write down something on the blog tonight coz starting tomorrow, I am going to grab that pencil and a piece of paper and practice as many cases as I can. Given the state of the economy and the increased class size, I really want to make sure that I give full justice to each and every call I receive.

Will keep you folks updated with the happenings in the Right World.

Till then,