Tuesday, May 30, 2006

5 days to go...

I am like wondering what to do and what not to do. Jus finished ramping up all the AWA prep stuff from Kaplan and Princeton. Some cool stuff present in Princeton, Kaplan was jus the usual, but helpful anyway.

Now I've got 2 days to kill, where i go to work everyday and come back and have the night for preps. I cannot take full length tests during that time. I have finished all the material i planned to finish by this time. So what are the options left?!?!

1. I am planning to finish all the small sectional tests given by Kaplan and PowerPrep. I have finished the Quant sections (coz it was fun) in these softwares. Now the (boring) verbal remains. Nice time to finish stuff.
2. As i mentioned already, i am gonna try re-doing math section from Kaplan 800. Mission 50 jus needs some more fool proofing.

I read some stuff in Kaplan book abt the last week before the exam. The thing made me smile all the way :) Whatever was mentioned, eventhough exaggerated to a level, was pretty much true. So the solutions offered are being seriously considered by urs truly.

So yeah - 2 days to kill basically. I don't wanna take rest for 2 days, as I'm sure I'd lose all the tempo I've built up. Friday is PowerPrep 2. Saturday is baby's day out, or rather baby's day dancing. Sunday will be GMATprep 2 and something else.

Monday - i am planning to re-install GMATprep (which will give me a majority of new Qs) and give one test exactly under the same situations. Starting by 1:30 and all the rest to follow. Dry run basically.

Gonna sleep now. Later...

Monday, May 29, 2006

6 days to go...

Whoosh!!! 2 months and a few days, I've completed books worth more than Rs.4500. Today - i am still confused with a few stuff.

As i have already mentioned - i am really confident on doing well in the Math section. Jus finished the AWA stuff in OG and it seems cool. No issues what so ever. I am jus not able to judge current proficiency level in the Verbal section and this thing is driving me nuts.

I am doing really well in the OG stuff. I remember doing well in the Kaplan material too. Kaplan 800 was not really a GOOD show - but it is a completely diff kind of book anyway. But in the simulation tests i give, i am not up there to where i want to be :(

Let us see how things go this week. One more week, where i think i will spend tomorrow with the AWA stuff in Kaplan and Princeton and the remaining on redoing selected Kaplan 800.

I have applied for 3 days of leave - Friday, Monday and and Tuesday. Saturday there is this dance show too - so i wont really be doing anything. Planning to take PowerPrep 2 by Friday. That will perhaps explain where i really stand.

Gotta sleep now. Later...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

7 days to go...

And i am seriously worried :(

I am doing consistently well in the Quants section. A bit rusty on Friday - but things are what they are now. I have taken 50 in all the 3 tests i wrote over the weekend. So - no worries. Jus gotta keep my cool, prevent over confidence, kill the anxiety to jump over to Verbal and do what i can.

But i am worried abt the verbal section. In all the tests i took, i see that i have improved my SC considerably. Even in the SC Qs i did in OG verbal review, i am doing a lot better than the old days. But i am worried about this new found development, or rather the opposite of it, in CR and RC.

RC, I'd say, is jus coz of me getting bored. I jus feel too sick to read those long passages. On the passages i concentrate, my hit rate is really really high. I only fail on those passages where i get disoriented. But this RC thingy is killin me. I dunno whether this has the same reasons. I am not able to pin point a single reason for this one. My hit rate in OG RCs were really good. I'm jus puzzled.

Apart from all this, i must also mention this. The Qs in both the Princeton and Kaplan tests are much more difficult than the ones i find in OG. I guess Princeton has got some major problems with the way it generates scores. I perform better than GMAT prep and score much worser - jus not logical. On the other hand, Kaplan seems to have got the scoring correct. But the Qs are definitely more difficult.

Scoring 50 with these difficult Qs gives me more confidence on Math. But i am not sure where i stand in the Verbal section.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

8 days to go...

I did what i wanted to today.

Gave the Kaplan first test and figured out that i jus get too pissed off to sit through the Verbal section. Made more than 15 mistakes - quite unexpected mistakes in the long untouched CR section and a few "that's not normal" mistakes in SC. Overall - verbal was dismal.

The scores yeah - 610, which by Kaplan standards is pretty decent. I haven't seen many ppl scoring beyond 650. But I'm not worried abt the overall scores. Kaplan scores are not reflective of the final scores. For the record - the sectional scores: Q 50, V 30. As is obvious - i lost it in Verbals.

Then i sat through 60 SCs from OG Verbal review and did pretty well. Ended up with 1 wrong answer for every 6 Qs - which is better than my target anyway :) This time tough - i had timed breaks and all, to made sure my concentration was there with me till the end. That is precisely what i shud be doing on D-day.

Looks like i have to revise some of the stuff i did in other sections - reason being my CR performance. Dunno whether this is a one off bad show - tomorrow's test will tell.

Anyway - at the back of my mind, there is this thought abt giving Kaplan 800 another shot. May be that's what I'll do during the coming weekdays - 1 section per day and i shud be through. Let's see how things shape up...

9 days to go...

Status: 115 Qs in Verbal Review and 9 tests to go.

Planning to finish the 100 Qs today and give atleast 3 tests over the weekend.

These 100 Qs are important to me coz they are from my weakest portion, SC, and where i think i have improved pretty much and where i think i shud still improve. It is like I've moved from bad to good and I'm wanting to be better :)

BTW i have found the secret to my doing well in the verbal section. I tried that in the Verbal review and it is working well. I'd basically want to do the same in Quants as well - but I'm good there anyway. So on D-Day i will start with this new found strategy and run into full-steam mode if time gets short.

Oh yeah - the strategy is not any secret formula for doing well. It is about keeping my concentration levels high throughout the course of the test. It will be put to test during the 9 test i will be giving over the next 9 days :)

Okay then - me goin for lunch following which i sit through the 100 SC Qs.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

10 days to go...

And i am almost done with my preps.

I have the last few pages of the GMAT Verbal review to finish and that's it. I'm planning to spend some quality time prepping for the AWA section too - all of this must get finished by the coming Wednesday, hopefully.

Now is the time to give tests. I have 7 more of those useless Kaplan and Princeton tests, after which I'd do the all important PowerPrep 2 and GMATPrep 2 tests.

I'm planning to make a post everyday till the test, recording all the last minute happenings :)
So keep watching this space!!!

Then there is that promised update on the dance show too :)

Life just seems to be so happening these days - serious work for 8 hrs, dance show preps and GMAT preps. Looks like everything will come to an end by the second week of June :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Some tinkering with the blog...

I was getting bored with the look and feel of the blog. More importantly - i thought that a 3 column layout was what i wanted. So i did some digging and found a template on this site. I was not completely happy with it, but it was pretty close to what i wanted.

So i got the template, spent many hours on trying to figure out the various "Blog code" terminologies and did changes in the original template. This is what I've ended up with.

Half way thru the work, my friend commented that the blog was not easy on the eyes. It had a lighter background then. It also had white colored links. I have changed these stuff and probably some more i don't remember. Needless to say, this is one of the complex html stuff I've ever done ;)

So yeah, blog gets a face lift and I'm open to all kinds of comments and feedbacks :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Reservations - total crap!!!

I get sick when i hear someone speaking in support of the reservations.
I get real bad sick.

Hear this from me folks - any group that is supporting this reservation proposal put forth by Mr.Arjun Singh, is playing the game of the masses. Whatever other reasons they put forth - uplifting the backward castes, providing equal chances, the Backward class needs this; all that is rank bad bull shit!!! Nothing less!!!

Now let us get this clear. I am not one of those people who's chances of getting into one of the premier institutes is gonna be affected if the policy gets implemented. I'm rather one of those backward class people, who'd be helped by such a policy. But no thanks - I'd take the merit route anyway!!!

Whenever the caste based reservations thing keeps cropping up, i start to think "what only if the person who wrote the Indian Constitution was not someone who was from a backward caste and what only if he had not gone through all that agony in his childhood days". Well, i really respect Mr.Ambedkar. But i really think the situation would have been different had the author been different.

Well, the constitution did do a lot of practically good things for the, let me say, oppressed class. It made untouchability a crime (which our great politicians still cannot stop from happening) it abolished many of such oppressive activities, many such things. All that is fine, but this reservations thingy is a bit over the line.

Now to all those clowns preparing to lock horns with me, drop the frown and think!!! Coz that's what the politicians don't want us to do. I am not against reservations completely (though ideally i wudnt wanna have such stuff - but we don't live in an ideal world do we???). But i differ from the great Mr.Ambedkar in the answer to the big question "Who needs reservation???"

Let us consider this example of my good friend. He belongs to one of these backward classes. His dad was in a really really good position in a govt firm - and keeps going up the ladder coz of the reservation bullshit. There is no lack of money in his house, no lack of facilities, no external pressures or demands whatsoever. He gets into one of the best schools in the city, gets taught by some of the best teachers in the city, lives the better side of life since day 1 of his life. Let us say he scores decently enough in std.12th and the Engineering Entrance to score some 10000 rank (in an exam where around 50000 ppl appear) in the state.

Now because he is from a backward class, eventhough he has got the best in life always, he gets this unfair advantage. A 10000 rank, which wud get u a seat in one of the lesser known colleges in the state, is now equivalent to perhaps a seat in one of the top 5 institutes. Isn't this plain injustice to the lot of others???

I personally know of many poor brahmin families - with the family finding it difficult to meet ends for their everyday life. Naturally, the kid in the family is not gonna have a "fun" life. He struggles through this, scores as decently as our hero did, or perhaps even better. His 5000, or why, a 1000 rank is less compared to the position of the first person.

So back to Mr.Ambedkar. My point abt him is this - If we had a diff first Law Minister, or if Mr.Ambedkar was JUST able to keep his childhood experiences away from him, we would have had reservations based on the economic status of the person. Not by this stupid caste system, which is just dividing the country at the moment.

I'm not saying that the caste based system is not helping anyone!!! But the example above clearly shows that there is a big flaw in the logic behind this policy and so - it sucks!!! By the economy based system, we clearly define that these are the people who have had the lesser opportunity to get quality life or rather quality education opportunities.

Still better - get into the primary education system, and make changes there to accommodate economically unfortunate people. Bring out rules to say "All primary schools should take in so many poor people and provide them free education".

This policy of "Sorry i cud not help u learn stuff, but i will make up for that by covering ur inability and my impotency by guaranteeing u seats for higher education" is a Strip-the-country-and-cover-my-ass policy.

To hell with these politicians...

I can still put up with these clowns. But heck - isn't 50% just way TOO much?!?! Half the class comes in through the back door. Isn't there a serious problem there. Why wudnt they just agree that they dont have brains and listen to ppl who have them? Perhaps we should force them to build their houses using the engineered who through the reservations, they shud be treated by the doctors who got their seats coz of their castes and not their marks, they shud fill their portfolio with the MBA grads who had "reserved" seats. With all due respect - they do complete their courses, but there were/are better guys who wud make better engineers, doctors or managers. Anyday.

Why wudnt there be brain drain. Already we have a shortage of good quality graduate schools. Now of all the seats offered at these schools, the govt snatched half of them away through its really "farsighted" policies. The drain has just widened dear politicians.

And yeah - speak to the foreign countries to increase our quota of Visas too.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

100 hits and still going...

As per IST - i shud have made this post some 20 mins ago. But still fine. Things dont change if we consider PST :)

Yeah!!! Today is the day the number of hits on my blog reached 100!!! And i know i wud have hardly contributed some 25 or 30 of those.

And yeah - no treat!!! That's when i hit 1000 ;)
So - the sooner that happens, the sooner u guys get that treat!!!

You guys know what to do right :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

What an MBA grad can do in IT

I jus used to have such discussions with my folks from college. I thought some just weren't comfortable with the thought that they needed an MBA education to get the specifics of business. They were always being Mr.Einstein - asking the WHY and the HOW of the issue!!! While i was trying to give them answers, i happened to get this mail from a senior of mine, who has just finished his MBA (or PGDBM) from IIM Indore. He's presently with a company named ATOS Origin.

I haven't really worked much for this post, apart from cutting the "hi - how r u" kinda stuff, re arranging the contents, adding up a few links etc. So all the contents are purely from my senior. This makes some interesting reading though - especially for those confused ones (who like to be better called as ASPIRANTS). For the others, it might sound like excerpts from a Mgmt course book :)
so - here we go...

### Mail Begins Here ###

Let us come to your question of what MBA guys can do in the IT industry. There are 4 broad areas where MBA grads can get into
(1) project mgmt
(2) business analysis
(3) business development
(4) consultancy

Nobody would want to get into Project management (post MBA i.e.). Except for the last-in-the-batch kinda guys. This is what a BE with probably 10 - 15 yrs (depending upon the company and the person) of experience gets to do.

Business analysis is not really related to IT per se. It is abt finding how business events can affect company. Things like recent government changes, IT innovations and any other stuff which might throw up issues or new project ventures will be followed by these guys. Almost 40% of the MBA guys end up here.

Business Development is the hot cake. It is abt modeling outsourcing contracts, interacting with customers, giving presentations, bidding etc - basically planning for and getting business. Very few guys land up here (since there are very less openings).

We can now categorize Consultancy into 2 sub sections:
Technical consultancy (like SAP etc) - Some guys do go to such profiles. But frankly, this is not for MBA students. You can reach here without MBA, albeit slower. You need to understand coding et al.

Functional consultancy (retail, telecom, manufacturing etc) is quite good, and a good many land up here. You need to have a technical bent of mind, but not essentially coding experience.

### Mail Ends Here ###

guess that pretty much sums up what's what.
How does that sound guys?!?! Anything interesting???

If this is what u wanna do in life, coz i think it is pretty much difficult to change domains after ur Masters and it is all the more difficult to change ur job profile after ur first job, go get that MBA for urself and specialize in IT (or sit for IT company interviews).

Cross Posted here

Sunday, May 14, 2006

GMAT preps - How long is good enough?!?!

I am in that kind of mood today.

With just a tad more than 20 days for the test, and almost 85% of my preps complete (don't ask me how i reached that number) - the test day seems to be both painfully distant and frighteningly close. I am still not able to decide.

It has been more than 2 months now, since i stared the preparations keenly. With Kaplan Premier 2006, Princeton 2006 and the Kaplan 800 books taking up the first 5 weeks - I am working on the OGs now. I am done with the Math Qs in the big book and have completed the Math Review as well. I am presently at the fag end of the Verbal Qs in the big book and once done, I'll jump into the Verbal Review. Then all that is left will be the preps for the AWA section.

In my estimate, all this should not take more than 2 weeks. And then i have some 10 tests to give - including the all important GMATPrep 2 and PowerPrep 2 tests, apart from the i-dont-care Princeton and Kaplan tests. Give that a week or so. so in the next 3 weeks - i should be all done with preps.

The really big Question is - Has it all helped?!?! I'd say yes!!! I'm not that rusty (or rather hyper-confident) in Math and i know i can score really well if i keep concentrating throughout the 37 Qs. I've brushed up important grammar (especially the GMAT specific grammar) stuff, refreshed and streamlined my techniques on RC and CR. I know i can do well, but can also end up selecting many many wrong answers if i dont concentrate.

As is obvious, the key word seems to be CONCENTRATE!!! Must do on D-day!!!

Now - to the Q that lead to the post. I'd say something which I've been saying always - there is no "one size fits all" strategy for GMAT. But prepping is an important part - so ppl shud take care, investigate enough and plan really well. I'd say that the number of required hours will be a better thing to analyze.

I was able to give around 2 hrs every day and atleast 5 hrs of the weekend for GMAT preps. Calculate all that and i get around 200 hours, or around 20 hrs per week. That'd be it. Plan how you can draw those 200 hrs from your life - let it take weeks or months, 200 hrs will be it.

Now just when u thought I'd made it simple, I'd like to add this factor to the eqn. The proficiency level. I'd consider myself to be good in Math and above average in verbal (a statement which will be tested on the 6th of June of course) So if u guys differ, plz do consider that too when deciding on the number of hrs u'd wanna put in. If u are not sure abt ur proficiency level - taking a diagnostic test from somewhere wud help.

So yeah - looks like I've solved an important problem everyone seems to be having. That's my social service for the day. Gotta sleep now.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Dance Baby Dance...

At last!!! At last i got something which i was searching for such a long time. A good place to dance. I enrolled with Swingers dance school for their summer course. The dance form i'm gonna learn is called The Jive!!! It is a North American Partnering Club Dance (that was the explanation given by the instructor) !!!

The place - Swingers has been in Chennai for really long now. They started in way back 1988 and have carved a real good name for themselves in the field. For many aspiring dancers these days, Swingers is a de-facto place. It was suggested to me by a professional dancer guy who choreographed our Company show. I joined their Kilpauk center in December but had to quit in a month coz the place just dint appeal to me. I guess it was coz of the pace at which the course was designed. I shud not have opted for that course. Anyway - i joined the TNagar branch this time coz it is closer to my office. It has been 3 great days till today.

The course - this is a 15 day crash course from May 10th to May 30th, and it will end in a show on the 3rd of June. As mentioned above, we learn Jiving. The instructor mentioned that we'll also be taught a bit of Salsa. Looks like fun and Swingers' shows are really good. I'm excited at the prospect of performing in one.

The experience - Great. I really like the instructor. Her name is Irene and she seems to be quite a famous person at Swingers. I cud trace her association with the dance school till 2001, by when she was choreo-ing dances. So i guess she has spent a long time there. She runs the class really well - I never felt bored. What's more - she even partnered with me today, and appreciated my performance too. There is a big diff, obviously, between dancing with her and any of the participants!!! It was just that much more fun with her - dance was how i like it to be.

So yeah!!! Watch out for more updates on the dance thing. We've just begun to shake our legs. The show is just so far away. We're starting with a new song from Monday. In 2 weeks, we'll be performing :) That just sounds TOO good!!! At last...

A great story - written by my friend

If u guys thought my attempt at story writing was decent, take a look at this story written by my friend Pradeep.

It is really really good Me says...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Story writing - Me...

I wrote this story for a short story writing initiative in the group blog we run. The story was so well received that I thought I must post it here too :) Here we go...

Shiva was sweating profusely, in spite of the pleasant Ooty climate. He must have had run more than 2KMs without any break, not even daring to look back and verify whether he was really being chased or not. He was beyond the state when his brain can listen to his body shouting "I can't anymore"!!!

His mind was thinking all the time. The last week had been a very bad one for him and his 6 college buddies - Anil, Raghu, Vijay, Sethu, Mano and Gokul. All 7 of them had traveled to Ooty for a fun week last Sunday, a week off from work and other pressures. Things haven't turned out to be the way they planned.

Vijay died on Sunday night!!! He fell down from the roof of the hotel they were staying. Or that's what they thought initially. The same night, their bags were found missing, they dint have money to return immediately. They rang up their homes, left messages and came back to their rooms waiting for a call back. Then they found that note in the room. It had only 4 words - YOU SIX WILL DIE.

Since then they have all been on the run. And one after one, one per day in fact, Shiva saw all his friends die. Today is Saturday, he's the last one left and he's running away from death now!!! All his friends, before their last breath, mentioned one name - Leela!!!

Shiva is afraid!!! What is happening is so obvious!!! Why this is happening, the dead 6 and Shiva know. Whatever that was, today he has to escape. "Run Shiva" - he told to himself, even though his legs were crying for a break!!!

And then he saw her!!! He felt a chill on his spine. He knew this was it. Her eyes were fixed on him. They followed him wherever he moved. And then, she blinked. The camera was fixed on Shiva's face. The light boys switched 2 heavy power light beams onto him, the rays which will be converted into something spectacular by the animation crew, and he enacted whatever the director had asked him to. Then Shiva fell onto the ground - as a dead person would do!!!

"Cut" called the director. It was a lot better than the unit had expected from Shiva and they were happy!!! There were claps all around. The 6 dead friends were clapping too. The director was the first to reach him. "Great job Shiva. This will be a big break in your career!". "Yeah Yeah Yeah!!!" nodded all the others as they surrounded him. He was still on the ground, motionless.

It was the director who saw small the pool of blood around his nose. He was dead for REAL!!! The first assistant director then touched the director's shoulder and with trembling hands, gave him his mobile. He was trembling - "It is Leela madam sir. She's saying that she'll be late for the shooting sir!!! She says she's been trying for the past one hour to all our mobiles".

That's when they observed - Leela was missing!!! There was a piece of paper in the place where she was last seen. It simply said "YOU SIX WILL DIE".

Saturday, May 06, 2006

PowerPrep Test 1 - A disappointing 680

The split stands as M49 V34.
And I had done better than the GMATPrep test 1 :(

To start with, this s/w does not display the "out of count" Q's at all. And I think the GMATPrep counts all Qs and has a weird formula to give us the score. By law of percentages - I had done better here. Not that I can do anything abt it - just cribbing :)

What I cud have done - concentrated a bit more on the 3 stupid mistakes I did in math and 4 or 5 stupid ones in Verbal. Sometimes I over analyzed the verbal Qs and ended up with wrong answers - even when I initially selected the correct answer. I should get out of this practice.

BTW - I am done with the Math section of OG11. And I did that in 5 days!!! I'm planning to get done with Math by end of day tomorrow. Still have the Green Book (OG - Math book) to complete.

I'll then have some 4 weeks before the exam. 1 week will go for AWA etc and some chillin out. So 3 weeks of Verbal preps and I wanna set things straight.

What I know after these 2 tests
1. I can get an above 50 score in Math if I keep concentrating thru the exam. What happened today will enuf to remind me abt this on D-Day :)
2. I need a score around 40 in V and I have to work a lot for that. Presently, it seems that I am around the 35 mark. A diff of getting 3 or 4 Qs right I guess. I think it is possible. This is what I am gonna keep working at in the days to come.

By the time I give GMATPrep 2 and PowerPrep2 - I wud hopefully be in the M50, V40 range.
That's the mission for now!!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Failed states - 2006

The US Foreign Policy Magazine and US based fund-for-peace releases a list of the most viable countires in the world. India stands at a commendable 93 (eventh0uh some of the indicators are disturbing). A point to note here is that Pakistan is ranked as the 9th most vulnerable country in the world. It was 34th on the list last year and has had a major slump to decline to 9th.

The parameters are well thought out me thinks and also gives a major help to those trying to improve the state of the country (if someone is really bothered that is). If we keep speaking about the failure of the system, sitting in a country which scores a decent 6.7 on "Progressive Deterioration of Public Services" - i cannot even imagine the state of a country like Somalia (10 - but we know that already right) or North Korea (9.5!!!)

On the overall list - we(Rank 93) are placed better than even China(Rank 57)and Russia(Rank 43), while UK(Rank 130) and USA(Rank 128) are, no-prizes-for-guessing, better than us.

Monday, May 01, 2006

An important pic.

When I was image-googling for my prev post, to find a nice pic of a flag with the sickle et al, I found this pic thru Wiki.

This is a very important pic in the history of mankind. The soldier seen is a Russian. The flag is that of the Soviet Union. He is standing on top of the Reichstag flying the flag after the German nation fell. This picture signals the beginning of the end of the World War II.

This is one of World War II's iconic images. This is the photo of the Hammer and Sickle being flown over the Reichstag building as Berlin falls to the Red Army.

Thought I must post it to let the world know :)

Celebrate May Day!!!

1886 is a LONG time ago!!!

Today - we are all able to work in a 9 to 6 regime, spend time with the family in the evening, demand extra pay in case we are asked to work beyond 6; all because these people fought against the established methods of employment, demanding the 8 hour job system!!!

The whole thing started when, in the year 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions set the govt a deadline of May 1 1886, to implement the 8 hour per day scheme. Since what they expected did not happen, the union went on a strike on this day that year. What followed was a long long ordeal - with the govt backed owners trying to suppress the legitimate demand of the working class and the wounded working class retaliating every time with more vigor. The whole thing lead to the acceptance of the 8 hour work per day rule.

To mark this success of the trade unions (or the working class in general), this day is being celebrated as the Workers Day throughout the world!!! Even though I have never been in a company with unions (I would never want to be in one of these so called trade unions of these days anyway!!!) - this achievement of them is by all means commendable or in fact salutable!!!