Saturday, November 19, 2005

Queen's at World's MBA Fair in India

New Delhi
Date:Saturday November 26, 2005
Venue: Taj Mahal Hotel
Number One
Mansingh Road
New Delhi, 110 011
Time: 1400 - 1800

Date:Tuesday November 29, 2005
Venue:The Taj Krishna
Hyderabad Road No. 1
Banjara Hills
Hyderabad - 500 034
Time :1700 - 2100

Date:  Thursday December 1, 2005
Venue: Taj Residency, Bangalore
41/3, Mahatma Gandhi Road
Bangalore 560 001
Time: 1700 - 2100

Date:  Saturday December 3, 2005
Venue: Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai
Apollo Bunder
Mumbai 400001
Time : 1400 - 1800

More here

Bell the CAT

The mother of all competitive examinations is back! The Common Admission Test (CAT) for the prestigious IIMs and other B schools in India will be held tommorow Nov 20,2005.

I know a few folks who are taking this exam.They have been working very hard.
They have been attending coaching classes,studying feverishly and losing sleep.

Herez wishing the aspirants all the best for CAT.Just go there and give your best shot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I wrote this article after getting inspired by the success of team India in the recent Videocon Cricket Cup. Do go through it and post your views.

5 Lessons an IT Engineer can learn from the Indian Cricket Team

The Indian Cricket team has brought in lots of happiness, hope and cheer to Indian cricket fans. Just a month ago, Indian cricket was in turmoil. There were conflicts between the coach and the captain, the Indians had lost a series against the Lankans. The star performer Sachin's future was not clear. The team as a unit was not clicking. But with a new captain, disciplined team and a change in attitude, a miracle happened. A 6-1 series win over the Lankans proved that all this was not fluke. The new team India is a improved one.
As an IT professional,one who is also an ardent follower of cricket, I realized that there are a few lessons that our community of young IT engineers can learn from the new Team India. So, presenting before you 5 lessons a young IT Engineer can learn from Team India :

Lesson 1: Discover yourself when on Bench
Tendulkar was out of action from International cricket for 6 months. When he resumed international cricket this month, he lacked match practice.For this period, he wasn't contributing to the Indian team. This might have been very frustrating for him. There were some who said that his stint at international cricket was over. But I believe, Sachin used this time to reflect on his past, identify his weak spots and prepared himself for the new innings. The result: A blazing 93 on return to International cricket.
Compare Sachin's absence with someone from the IT industry. If an IT Engineer was not being productive or billable for a project, he would be labeled as some one on "Bench". Bench time is associated with a sense of failure among professionals in the IT industry due to lack of productivity. So, is there a lesson for us from Sachin? Of course yes! When you are in bench, make use of that time. Reflect on your past. Identify the weakness. Attend that soft skill training that you have always wanted to. Take up that IT certification that will boost your career. Sharpen your tech skills.
So, the lesson from Sachin for IT professionals: Bench time can be utilized effectively to improve the competence of an employee.

Lesson 2: Be Flexible
Mahendra Dhoni, on certain days, was asked to accelerate the scoring rate in the early stages of the game.On other days, he came lower down the batting order to provide stability. Irfan Pathan is a bowler who can bat. Gambhir scored a century and was yet made to sit out in one of the matches. A key factor in the success of the new team India was Flexibility. The cricketers have been brought out of their "comfort zone" and have been asked to be flexible in their mindset. The instructions are given at a short notice and one is expected to complete the task. The result: The team was winning and the young players looked more confident and assured of their place in the squad.
Shouldn't this too be the case with the young IT engineers? Your first project could involve stimulating, challenging work involved in a development project .However your next assignment could be to work in a maintenance project. If the work involves doing Quality reviews etc, we see many cross faces. Asked to be a project that involves testing, there are many reluctant faces. Here is where we need to take a lesson from Team India. We must understand that being flexible and working in different projects will provide one exposure to the software development life cycle (SDLC). And this is something that you want in your resume and is also good for our career. So, the lesson from Dhoni and Pathan for IT professionals: Be flexible and have an open mind to work on any project. Early days are for you to learn, explore and innovate.

Lesson 3: Work on the weakness else you'll be replaced:
Saurav Ganguly is an outstanding leader. But his form as a batsmen had not been great. He knew his weakness. Yet, there was no improvement happening.
Runs were not coming through. There was a rift in the team. Fitness was low.
The result: A man, who a lot of us thought was irreplaceable, was kept out of the team and yet the team did well.
IT Engineers might have strong technical skills. You might be an asset to the team but if there are specific areas that you need to work, do address them.
The technology in the IT industry is always changing. One should always be open to learning new technology and be ready working on one's weakness. Else, you'll be left out.
Lessons for IT professional: It is great to have some skills that are your strengths, but don't assume that you could just survive through them. Work on your weakness too.

Lesson 4: The Coach/ Leader has a vision:
Was Greg Chappel experimenting? Perhaps he had a strategy for team India .
Did he know what he was doing? Perhaps, he had a vision in his mind.
He had the required credentials. He knew the rules, he knew the game.
The Indians were asked to have faith in the new coach. And he is delivering what was expected out of him.
Consider the IT industry. Often the projects in the Indian IT industry have time and budget constraints. The command is given to the Project Manager and the Project Leader. A new team is set up and the leader makes a few quick decisions which we might not understand or like. But, we should realize that here is one man who has a plan in mind and will chalk the path for us to execute.
Lessons for IT professional: A leader is chosen by the management based on his experiences, abilities and potential. Have faith in him.

Lesson 5:Team Works:
When a TV Channel asked Greg Chappel what he thought was the reason for the success of new team India , he said that "everybody shared the work load". And this team India once again proved us how much one can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit..A good team is worth more than the sum of the individuals. We had t the same bunch of players, but there was a BIG difference in the results this time. The concept of team work has been constantly repeated to us. The IT industry comprises of ordinary people delivering world class software. Team work holds the key to success.
The biggest lesson that the new team Indian has taught: There is no "I" in "TEAMWORK" and Together Everyone Achieves More.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Goal Setting

We all make goals.Sometimes,it is best to write down your goals,Get inspired and share our progress.While browsing, I discovered a useful site today ( that exactly does this.

Do check it out. I have already written 2 of the 43 goals that I want to do.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Father of Modern Management- Peter Drucker dead

"Management deals with people, their values, their growth and development, social structure, the community and even with spiritual concerns"
- Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Peter F. Drucker, revered as the father of modern management for his numerous books and articles stressing innovation, entrepreneurship and strategies for dealing with a changing world, died Friday. He was 95.

May his soul rest in peace.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

On Monday evening(07th Nov),I was returning from office at around 09.30 PM on my bike when I had an accident.Thankfully,no one experienced any major injuries...Neither I nor the person whom I banged into!. ( Good thing..I was wearing an helmet!).But later that night there was so much pain,swelling in my right leg that I was pretty much sure that I had fractured my leg.
A few years ago,I had an arm fracture and this pain was very similar to that.! I was very tensed...What would happen to my MBA plans..? Would I be able to travel to Kingston ? There is so much work to be done..arranging for finances,visa ..How would I manage all that with a fractured leg! :(
My dad's elder brother is an Orthopaedic Specialist( he treated my fractured arm too!)and I visited him first thing in the morning along with my dad.There was so much pain in the leg that I was unable to walk.I struggled to reach the clinic.A battery of tests were conducted and thankfully the X-Rays reports showed that there was NO fracture.Phew..I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that!!.

I was told that I am unable to walk as there has been a knee ligament injury.I have been advised a week's bed rest.Crepe bandage has been applied.Lots of medicines have been prescribed.I have been instructed NOT to walk or bend my knee.So, for the whole of this week, I am in bed, cut off from work and thinking how important a Knee is for a human being.

I should be in action pretty soon.! :)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Big Don'ts: 15 Ways to Torpedo Your Application

The last date for submitting B school applications for various B schools is close.
Over the past few weeks, a few of my friends (prospective applicants to B schools) had emailed me their B school essays and asked me to review them.I provided my inputs and left it to them to take whatever they feel would be helpful.
I know how tough writing an essay is. The applicant might write an essay in a few minutes,hrs,days and might feel that he has covered everything that he wanted to say.And yet,after a few days, when he reviews the essays, he feels that there is a lot of scope for improvement.Review of essays are always helpful.
'Content' and the 'Intent' are two important factors that one should keep in mind while writing an essay.

Here are few DON'Ts that I once read at the Business Week forum.I had posted this stuff earlier on my blog too...but since a lot of folks are are in the Application Stage, posting these tips again.


1)Write about the high school glory days.:
Unless you're right out of college, or you've got a great story to tell, resist using your high-school experiences for the essays. What does it say about your maturity if all you can talk about is being editor of the yearbook or captain of the
varsity team?

2)Submit essays that don't answer the questions.
An essay that does no more than restate your resume frustrates the admissions committees. After reading 5,000 applications, they get irritated to see another long-winded evasive one. Don't lose focus. Make sure your stories answer the question.

3)Fill essays with industry jargon and detail.
Many essays are burdened by business-speak and unnecessary detail. This clutters your story. Construct your essays with only enough detail about your job to frame your story and make your point. After that, put the emphasis on yourself—what you've accomplished and why you were successful.

4)Write about a failure that's too personal or inconsequential.
Refrain from using breakups, divorces, and other romantic calamities as examples of failures. What may work on a confessional talk show is too personal for a b-school essay. Also, don't relate a "failure" like getting one C in college (out of an otherwise straight-A average). It calls your perspective into question. Talk about a failure that matured your judgment or changed your outlook.

5)Reveal half-baked reasons for wanting the MBA.
Admissions officers favor applicants who have well-defined goals. Because the school's reputation is tied to the performance of its graduates, those who know what they want are a safer investment. If b-school is just a pit stop on the great journey of life, admissions committees would prefer you make it elsewhere. However unsure you are about your future, it's critical that you demonstrate that you have a plan.

6)Exceed the recommended word limits.
Poundage is not the measure of value here. Exceeding the recommended word limit suggests you don't know how to follow directions, operate within constraints, organize your thoughts, or all of the above. Get to the crux of your story and make your points. You'll find the word limits adequate.

7)Submit an application full of typos and grammatical errors.
How you present yourself on the application is as important as what you present. Although typos don't necessarily knock you out of the running, they suggest a sloppy attitude. Poor grammar is also a problem. It distracts from the clean lines of your story and advertises poor writing skills. Present your application professionally—neatly typed and proofed for typos and grammar. And forget gimmicks like a videotape. This isn't America's Funniest Home Videos.

8)Send one school an essay intended for another—or forget to change the school name when using the same essay for several applications.
Double check before you send anything out. Admissions committees are (understandably) insulted when they see another school's name or forms.

9)Make whiny excuses for everything.
Admissions committees have heard it all—illness, marital difficulties, learning disabilities, test anxiety, bad grades, pink slips, putting oneself through school—anything and everything that has ever happened to anybody. Admissions officers have lived through these things, too. No one expects you to sail through life unscathed. What they do expect is that you own up to your shortcomings. Avoid trite, predictable explanations. If your undergraduate experience was one long party, be honest. Discuss who you were then, and who you've become today. Write confidently about your weaknesses and mistakes. Whatever the problem, it's important you show you can recover and move on.

10)Make the wrong choice of recommenders.
A top-notch application can be doomed by second-rate recommendations. This can happen because you misjudged the recommendors' estimation of you or you failed to give them direction and focus. As we've said, recommendations from political figures, your uncle's CEO golfing buddy, and others with lifestyles of the rich and famous don't impress (and sometimes annoy) admissions folk—unless such recommenders really know you or built the school's library.

11)Let the recommender miss the deadline.
Make sure you give the person writing your recommendation plenty of lead time to write and send in their recommendation. Even with advance notice, a well-meaning but forgetful person can drop the ball. It's your job to remind them of the deadlines. Do what you have to do to make sure they get there on time.

12)Be impersonal in the personal statement.
Each school has its own version of the "Use this space to tell us anything else about yourself" personal statement question. Yet many applicants avoid the word "personal" like the plague. Instead of talking about how putting themselves through school lowered their GPA, they talk about the rising cost of tuition in America. The personal statement is your chance to make yourself different from the other applicants, further show a personal side, or explain a problem. Take a chance and be genuine; admissions officers prefer sincerity to a song and dance.

13)Make too many generalizations.
Many applicants approach the essays as though they were writing a newspaper editorial. They make policy statements and deliver platitudes about life without giving any supporting examples from their own experiences. Granted, these may be the kind of hot-air essays that the application appears to ask for, and probably deserves. But admissions officers dislike essays that don't say anything. An essay full of generalizations is a giveaway that you don't have anything to say, don't know what to say, or just don't know how to say whatever it is you want to say.

14)Neglect to communicate that you've researched the program and that you belong there.
B-schools take enormous pride in their programs. The rankings make them even more conscious of their academic turf and differences. While all promise an MBA, they don't all deliver it the same way. The schools have unique offerings and specialties. Applicants need to convince the committee that the school's programs meet their needs. It's not good enough to declare prestige as the primary reason for selecting a school (even though this is the basis for many applicants' choice).

15)Fail to be courteous to employees in the admissions office.
No doubt, many admissions offices operate with the efficiency of sludge. But no matter what the problem, you need to keep your frustration in check. If you become a pest or complainer, this may become part of your applicant profile. An offended office worker may share his or her ill feelings about you with the boss—that admissions officer you've been trying so hard to impress.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Big Fight

TCS picked up a $260-million order straight from ABN Amro, which split the $2.2-billion order between multiple vendors.

For the past couple of years, the Indian IT services majors have been working towards precisely this goal - to get clients to start inviting them to bid directly for the really big deals. They have added on to their front ends to get invited to the deals. They have hired top talent from global consultancies, picked up specialised consultancy firms, and worked at consciously increasing the breadth of their offerings.

On the other end,IBM is looking for its next big ticket acquisition in India. EDS is on the verge of acquiring a Tier-II IT services firm in India.Computer Services Corporation is hunting for a suitable catch.

Have a look at the Outsourcing Prize for 2008:

The Prize: (All figure estimates for 2008)
Global Outsourcing Pie:$700 Billion
Offshore slice of the Pie:$94 Billion
India's slice of the Pie: $48 Billion

Just how prepared are Indian IT services majors for this whole new game?
How will the MNCs work towards getting a big chunk of the Pie.?
The Businessworld India magazine covered all this in an interesting article here.

Here are some observations from the article:

Big Six
Affiliated Computer Services (ACS)
Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC)
HP Services.

Indian (Desi) Three
Tata Consultancy Services(TCS)

The Trend to Outsource:
In the pre-2002 era, a global vendor would typically offshore a part of the
application development and maintenance (ADM) piece (usually requiring between
500-2,000 people) to an Indian vendor. But post-slowdown, because of the cost
pressures, the offshore component of the orders shot up. From the usual $1
million-10 million slice of a $1-billion order, the offshore component suddenly
jumped to $20 million or even $50 million routinely. And there were offshore
contracts of the order of $100 million.

Along with cost, customers are also looking for best-of-breed solutions and negotiating with vendors who can offer that. As the ABN deal illustrates, the infrastructure management part and the applications development part would now be outsourced to separate vendors, in line with their specific expertise.

The MNC Strategy
-The global Big Six have been ramping up their offshore development capabilities on a war footing.

-To counter Indian IT's India-centric offshore sourcing proposition, they have been touting the advantages of their 'global offshore' sourcing strategy. Their proposition to clients is: we can offer you not only India development centres, but also others around the world.

The Indian Companies -Challenges and Strategy
-One of the biggest challenges Indian companies face is in the 'sweet spot' they enjoy - application development and maintainence(ADM), a highly commoditised business.This currently accounts for 50-60 per cent of the Indian industry's revenues. But in the global context, ADM is not more than 30 per cent of the total work. Tier I firms like Infosys, Wipro and TCS are trying to change their dependence on ADM by building domain expertise in specific high-growth industry verticals like healthcare, retail and utilities. These top three players started re-organising their businesses along specific industry verticals two years ago.

-The second leg of the strategy of the Indian IT firms has been to move up the value chain into areas like consulting and remote infrastructure management. Unlike its peers, Infosys stands out as the only Indian company to have invested in building a pure consulting practice. It has invested $20 million in Infosys Consulting till date and will have 500 people by the end of the year. TCS is aiming for a similar strength by the same time and is looking at a combination of organic and inorganic growth.

-Another big challenge that Indian firms face is their dependence on just 2-3 marquee customers. Market leader TCS, for instance, derives 13 per cent of its revenues from GE, which is known to drive a hard bargain on billing rates.

-The biggest challenge that Indian companies face and will face even more this year is on the people front. This applies equally across levels - entry and middle and even within the senior management. With the MNCs planning to recruit from campuses this year, the Indian firms are bound to feel the heat at the entry level. But the crisis really is at the middle manager levels, where resources are usually built through lateral hires for a specific skill or domain expertise. An Accenture or IBM typically pays 25-30 per cent more at the middle level than a Tier I Indian IT firm.

The Future:
-If the market focuses on best-of-breed solutions, the Indian majors will continue to get the commoditised application development jobs, while Accenture will pick up the plum consultancy jobs and EDS will continue hogging the integration jobs. And if offshoring is limited to only application development jobs, the global MNCs will, in the short run, have an overwhelming advantage over the Indian players while bidding for the high-end jobs.

-In terms of sheer numbers, therefore, IBM and Accenture can hope to throw in the same number of people for offshore work that TCS and Infosys can. On the other hand, the Indian majors still have a long way to go before they can boast of front ends that compare anywhere near any of their global rivals. Infosys and TCS will have 500 consultants each this year, but that's a far cry from Accenture's 2,000 global consultants

-IBM is the only player in the world that has the range of services to bid for a full job.

-Accenture and EDS are far more narrow-focused. Accenture is primarily a consulting firm still - and consulting is growing at a mere 1 per cent a year. Unless it can change itself radically or unless consultancy starts growing faster once again, it has a big handicap.

-EDS is strong in large end-to-end systems integration projects but also weak on the application development and maintenance side. These are precisely the factors why clients are shopping for the best of breed vendors today.

-Of the Indian biggies, TCS has demonstrated its skills in handling really big orders. Infosys and Wipro have those capabilities too - but they still have a long way to go. Finally, even in the top three, only TCS has a full bouquet of services to offer.

- Infosys is still primarily an application development firm now building up a consultancy division, and also throwing in some BPO capabilities into the range. Wipro has a strong technology remote infrastructure management focus, but also glaring gaps like consultancy in its armoury.

In balance, the MNCs seem to still hold some advantage over the Indian players in bidding for the really high-end jobs. And that can be seen starkly from the way the orders have been going so far in places where the players have come face to face.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pitching Canadian MBA Programs

An article from BusinessWeek

Nine top MBA programs in Canada have joined together to market the Canadian MBA at large to a world audience., a new Web site that was officially launched in early October, aims to give prospective students a convenient way to learn what business education in Canada is all about. not only allows prospective students easy access to inside information on Canada's MBA programs, it gives the institutions control of the info being disseminated. "Before the site was created, students conducting Web searches on Canadian MBA programs would be steered toward an India-based site littered with inaccurate information," explains Jean Talbot, the director of the MBA program at HEC Montreal.

The participating schools are: University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business, HEC Montreal, University of Western Ontario Richard Ivey School of Business, Concordia University John Molson School of Business, McGill University MBA program, Queen's School of Business, University of Toronto Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business, and York University Schulich School of Business.

Besides housing links to the nine participating programs, provides student testimonials from the schools, as well as a brief profile on each institution and its location. It also connects students to useful information about Canada, including how to obtain a visa and the advantages of a Canadian education. "We've done this together, for the purpose of attracting more quality international applicants, but we still compete for students," says Talbot, who claims the move is typical of cooperative Canadian culture and business. With one-stop shopping for those looking to get an MBA in Canada, might usher in a whole new era of competition.