A Tribute to George Carlin

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Get Over it Neo...

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Suggested Reading for MBAs and those who are about to start school

Here's a list of suggested readings from GmatClub

Books Recommended and the Number of Recommendations
Assembled by bb on 3/19/09 - to be continued

Finance Books
1. Blue Blood and Mutiny: The Fight for the soul of Morgan Stanley
2. Handbook of Corporate Finance: A Business Companion to Financial Markets, Decisions and Techniques
3. Banker to the Poor - book about the Grameen Bank and microfinance in the third world, and delves into how capitalism and the free market can be harnessed to return value to vulnerable communities x3
4. Liar's poker - a bit dated but its gives you a sweet intro to the S&T world x2
5. Ugly Americans (HFs)
6. When Markets Collide
7. Damn it feels good to be a banker - And Other Baller Things You Only Get to Say If You Work On Wall Street x2 - by Leveraged Sellout (it looks brilliant if it's the same quality as the blog)

Economics Books
1. Travels of a T-shirt - is pretty fun, written by a prof at georgetown - she explores the global economy (and the institutions that govern it) by following the creation, life, and death of your average t-shirt.
2. The World is Flat - Do not Buy
3. Passionate Economist
4. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
5. The End of Poverty - Harvard Alum and Professor at Columbia's Global Earth Institute, Sachs presents interesting, simple (perhaps even common sense) solutions to tackling the following obsctackes we will face in the upcoming century namely: the environment, poverty (extreme - less than $1-2/day) and population growth (in the poorest countries).
6. Common Wealth - regarding Jeffrey Sachs - as someone who works in international development, I'd like to point out that for all his popularity among the general public, most people working in the field think a lot of his "big ideas" are sheer lunacy. Particularly the idea of a "big push" to massively increase the amount of official development aid to developing-world governments. He's a very smart guy, and End of Poverty (as well as Common Wealth) are both interesting books with a lot of good information - but the policy prescriptions they contain are totally off the mark.
7. The White Man's Burden - t provides an outstanding analysis of not only successes and failures of trying to develop the third world, but at lot of it also applies to life in general (politics, economics, society, etc).
8. The Forgotten Man
9. The Chicago School - For those thinking about going to Chicago and going to economics
10. Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? - For those thinking about going to Chicago and going to economics

Leadership Books
1. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
2. We need Managers, Not MBAs - It's a scathing look at MBAs. If anyone reads this again, please keep an eye out for the part where he reveals the statistics that something like 70% of MBAs quit their jobs within two years of graduating (suggesting that the vast majority pick "wrong"). I cant find the exact stats anymore, so please, if you see it, take note of the page

Behavioral Books Books
1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - There's a little pop psychology to it, but it has some interesting insights.
2. Fooled by Randomness
3. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell: I had thought about many of the theories he exposes way before this came out, but it's still an interesting/easy/quick read.
4. Predictably Irrational - is by a fuqua prof that is a total boy genius. it's behavioral econ.
5. Why We Buy - if you have any interest in running a business that is consumer-facing (CPG, banking, retail, restaurants, the post office) this is a must-read. or if you just wanna know why the bananas are where they are in the grocery store. Behavioral Econ.

Investment Banking Books
1. More than Money by Mark Albion - No, its not a rant against banking - he says thats the right path for some - but it is a very real depiction of MANY MBA attitudes and it will make you consider your goals. Frankly, in retrospect, this short book is probably the single most important thing I could have read before getting my MBA. It so accurately captures exactly what so many of us have thought or felt at some point - about jobs, about money, about careers - I virtually promise that it will resonate with you at some level. Its also worth noting its a short and easy read.
2. Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World. . .and Then Nearly Lost It All - to all future investment bankers
3. Monkey Business - which was a very quick read that provides an interesting look into the IB landscape in recent times. x2
4. Barbarians at the Gate - really is a must read. I thought it was great and included all of the major Wall Street legends, Kravis, Wasserstein, Fortsman, Lipton, etc. x2
5. Risk Takers
6.Pioneering Portfolio Management
7. The accidental investment banker - Jonathan Knee - pretty funny; give you a very good idea over the Ibank world. Not great though.
8. Den of Thieves - well-researched book that brings up a number of scandals involving Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and others
9. 21. When Genius Failed

Accounting Books
1. The Portable MBA in Finance and Accounting

Marketing Books
Why We Shop: The Science of Shopping" by Paco Underhill. I found it very interesting especially for those with an interest in CPG, brand management, marketing, retail and even consulting. Its a quick read and very entertaining. I definitely find myself thinking differently every time I walk into a store now.

Management Books
1. How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle -- How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers - to all future Management Consultants...
2. The Halo Effect:... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers - Wow! Good book. It pretty much blows apart a lot of the analysis people do to find out what makes a company "successful".

International Relations and Policy Books
1. confessions of an economic hit man
2. Rise and Fall of Empires
3. Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein: Must read. it opened my mind to sooo many things. please go read it, it gets long but towards the end it's amazing.
4. Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism - Sixty percent of the world's population live on 6% of the world's income. The author argues that capitalism, if it accepts a social conscience out of self-preservation, can eventually develop a world where poverty is on the decline.
5. The Post American World - By far one of the most accessible poly-sci books around. Zakaria presents brutally honest opinions on the state of the U.S. in contrast to the rest of the World. He brings forth the challenges that face the U.S. and the world in the 21st century. Good read, not heavy at all.
6. No Logo is a bit dated but a lovely attack on globalization. if i weren't already too old, i'd grow up to be naomi klein.

Career and Networking Books
1. Ahead of the Curve x2 - best book I've read on business school - more specifically HBS - looking at a top bschool from the pov of a non-business candidate gave me an amazing idea of the whole thing.
2. Never Eat Alone - Its a great book about the power of networking and how to build a strong network

Green Books
1. Hot, Flat, and Crowded - which is about why we need a green revolution. While i'm just 1/3 of the way through, it's excellent so far... He's got some hard facts scientifically, politically, and economically about why we need to care about our planet and makes it easier for me to explain to another layperson why we need a green revolution.
2. Green to Gold by Daniel Esty x2

IT and Operations
1. Black Swan - not recommended (I read part of the book when it came out but just got sick of it and never finished. If true "black swan" events by definition cannot be predicted or foreseen in any way, what's the point of it?)
2. The Goal - is something you'll probably read in your ops class. the best textbook ever, the worst novel ever. i'm a closet ops geek, so i dug it.

Poker and Gambling Books
1. Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments - Dan Harrington
2. Read 'em and reap 'em
3. Bringing down the house

Fiction and Other
1. The prince - Niccolo Machiavelli: I don't know why but I recently picked it up and it's full of pretty interesting stuff. It is not about business but it gives you an idea of how Power was seen in the 1500.
2. Guns, Germs, and Steel - overview of Human Civilization, focusing on the question why Eurasians took over other continents rather than inhabitants of other continents - a bit repetitive but a good read - a lot of interesting information
3. Nathan McCall's Them - t's an interesting read, and a great book to invoke discussion amongst peers who view the world differently.
4. 9. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier - (not for the faint-hearted; story of a young boy in Africa). A diary/journal of sorts of a young boy who escaped the "recruitment" of rebels in Sierra Leone. Witness of death and consumed by drugs at a young age, he manages to escape through a very graphic yet inspiring story. Now in the U.S.
5. The snowball - Biography about Warren Buffet - I got this one as a present and thought it would be amazing, however I still haven't really started loving it (ive read around 25% of it- its looong) but I guess if you like biographies then you'll like it. x2
6. The Last Tycoons - “Cohan's thoroughness—he interviewed over 100 current and former bankers and assorted bigwigs—unearths a trove of colourful titbits, many quite racy . . . Illuminating are Mr. Cohan’s descriptions of the scheming, politicking, and general dysfunction that was Lazard.”
—Economist
7. Atlas Shrugged - the last and best of Ayn Rand's books - beware 1,000 pages and not really a travel size.

Damned Lies and Statistics!!

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Getting back here...


Ecosystem...

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Entrepreneurial resources at IIMC

1. Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI)
The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at IIMC is an initiative to achieve greater understanding of this process as well as stimulate its development for societal benefit. CEI’s vision is to be acknowledged as a program of international renown, where students, faculty, alumni, industry and policy makers collaborate, learn and innovate. The team comprises of faculty from different functional areas and disciplines. The Centre is currently led by Prof. Anjan Raichaudhri and headed by a core team of student representatives.


2. Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell)
The Entrepreneurship Cell of India’s premier B-school, IIM Calcutta, continues to promote the vision of spreading entrepreneurship with enthusiastic passion. The club renowned for organizing international B-school events maintains the tradition by organizing its flagship event Ascent’08 a manifestation of the fact that Entrepreneurship as a career is spreading rapidly in Business Schools of India.


3. Yearly Entrepreneurship Summit
The Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at IIM Calcutta, in association with National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), organizes Annual Entrepreneurship Summit every year starting from 2007 in the IIM Calcutta campus. The main objective of the event is to create awareness among students about entrepreneurship, create synergy between academia and the practitioners, and align entrepreneurship with management education. The speakers for the event include eminent entrepreneurs and stalwarts from the industry. It is expected to be attended by several faculty and heads of institutes and hundreds of students from across the country.


4. Business Plan Competition - i2I
The Annual International Business School Meet of IIM Calcutta is widely recognized as the Largest Business School Meet in India.



Other resources for budding Entrepreneurs:

1. Indian Angel Network
2. NEN
3. Indavest
4. Your Story
5. The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE)
6. IDG Ventures India
7. StartupCentral
8. VentureWoods


If anyone has a comprehensive list of Business Plan Competitions held in India, could you please share that with me. I will update this post with your list. It'll be very useful to have that kind of info in one place.

What to do during your MBA

An interesting read about what to do as one goes thru an MBA program. I found it here.

What to do during your MBA

As You Begin….


Write down your goals: What are the top 3-5 things you want to accomplish during your B-School run? Review these goals regularly – hang them on your wall or keep it in your planner.

Get organized: If you do not already have one, get yourself a Palm Pilot, Treo, or paper-based system (Franklin Planner) to keep track of your (1) schedule, (2) rolodex, and (3) to do list. The rolodex is especially important – as you meet people (classmates, interviewers, professors, alumni), enter them in so you have record. Entering their names also will enhance your ability to remember them – repetition is the mother of skill.

Keep your resume up to date at all times! There is no official “resume season” – you could be asked for it at anytime, and failure to present one may preclude you from a great opportunity. Before you get knee-deep in classes, add your last experience to your resume if you haven’t already.

It’s all about Networking….

Get good at small talk: The best way to engage someone in small talk is to (1) remember their name when they tell you and (2) ask them questions. I always have four questions ready to go for anyone I meet:
– What is your name?
– Where are you from?
– Where do you/have you worked?
– Where are you living? (on campus/off campus)
Any of these four questions can lead you to “Level 2” questions: For example – “where are you from” leads to things like “I’ve never been there – what is it like?” or “did you like living there?” or “sounds like paradise on earth – do you want to return there?” etc.

Meet, Greet, and Meet Some More: Meet as many people as you can. Even if you do not regularly socialize with them, you will be surprised how your former classmates will welcome an email from you 10 years down the road, even if they barely remember you.

Keep Your Guard Up: One of the things I learned from my 1st year Negotiation class is that there are two broad sets of negotiators: Givers (“Pie Makers”) and Takers (“Zero Summers”). Givers are people with loads of integrity and are willing to work with you to create a bigger pie before negotiating on how to divvy it up. Zero Summers are in it for themselves; their sole purpose is to take as much as they can off the table. When a giver negotiates with another giver, there is huge potential for mutual benefit, but when a giver negotiates with a taker, the giver gets royally hosed every time. If you are, by nature, a giver, be very wary of the takers. (I typically assume someone is a taker until they prove they are giver.)

Don’t Become a Social Outcast: You are going to meet plenty of people who are just plain intimidating (Perhaps, you will recognize these people by the fact that they are going to pull up in Mercedes/BMW’s, talk about the CEOs they play golf with, and come from esteemed families/social circles). But there are plenty of people there who DO have things in common with you. Also, your social circles will develop over time, so don’t get freaked out if by the end of September, you have not found a group to hang out with.

Watch the Gossip: This probably won’t be an issue for you, but there will be plenty of opportunities (usually around beers) to make fun of people based on their classroom comments or other social gaffes. Try not to participate – it has a habit of coming back around, and you never know when you will have to work with that person on a team project.

Sometimes You Gotta Force Yourself: If you find yourself not feeling like going to a meeting, extracurricular, company brief, or social function, go anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I have dreaded going to one of these functions only to have learned something important or to have met someone that helped me down the road.

Today’s Professors are Tomorrow’s Colleagues: Meet your professors, get to know them. They value you – you keep them young and energized. Down the road, you will want to network with them. I did a horrible job of this.

The Classroom….

Go to Class: Not sure how classroom participation works at Berkeley, but at HBS it was a significant portion of the grade. Regardless, go to class – you will learn more that way. And don’t show up late – it is unprofessional and you will look bad – very bad. If it came down to being late or not going at all, I chose not going at all.

Recognize that you bring value to the table: Don’t be intimidated (as I was) by the I-bankers and Management Consultants. They will have really good, strategic work experience. But you have an equally relevant base of knowledge and experience. You have the advantage of having worked in an operational role, and knowing what works day to day amongst people who make the strategy happen. More importantly, not many have your experience in web marketing. Use these as your base.

Learn the jargon: You will find that the consultants and I-bankers will come in with a certain level of business savvy that you do not have (and I did not have going in to HBS). These people have operated at a more strategic level than you; learn from them. Listen how they talk and write down phrases you hear that sound good. Also write down phrases that sound equally ridiculous – you may be able to start a game of Business Bingo or even write a B-School comedy.

Have fun learning new stuff: You are paying a lot of money for this – focus less on grades, and more on learning.

Leverage other people’s knowledge: Form a study group with people with diverse backgrounds. Aside from the learning aspects, it is a good way to socialize.

Get the Wall Street Journal: Read it everyday, even if only for 15 minutes over coffee – it is the best way to get educated on business, and gives you tidbits to contribute to conversations in and out of class.

The Future….

View yourself as your own business: You officially work for YOU Inc. You are your own business. Figure out what things interest you (e.g. web marketing), and become THE expert on it. Then find opportunities (not necessarily “jobs”) where you can leverage your expertise. There will be times in the upcoming years where these opportunities will take the form of a job. Other times, these opportunities may take the form of a consulting/freelance role. Ultimately, these opportunities lead to the development of new skills and expertise, which open up a whole new set of opportunities.

Don’t settle for a job: Figure out something that interests you and go from there. I was interested in technology, I researched a couple of industries, and decided to go into telecom; I did not waste my time learning about other “hot industries” like Financial Services. Perhaps I could have made more money, but it did not interest me and I would not have been successful because I did not have the interest.

Don’t wait ‘til “interview season” to look for an opportunity: Devote time each week to learning about industries/companies/opportunities you are interested in. Get yourself a small notebook to jot down statistics or quotes that you can use in interviews, cover letters, and conversations. This is all part of the building expertise theme – you need to come across as an expert and part of that is industry knowledge.

Watch Your Burn Rate (a.k.a. Beware of Clothing Companies): In keeping with the “view yourself as your own business” theme, the #1 reason why startups fail is they run out of cash. So don’t let YOU Inc run out of cash. Rest assured, Hickey Freeman will try to sell you a $1500 suit, claiming that “you need this suit to be successful in your interviews.” Unless you are headed to Wall Street, a tailored $300-$400 suit will do you fine. The more general idea behind this is don’t do anything that unnecessarily raises your burn rate. Doing so will raise the amount you have to borrow and puts you in a deeper hole.

Organize Your Finances: Consider getting Quicken – it is a good time to get your finances organized. Also, keep good paper records around your school loans. We bought a plastic, portable file box with 2-3 accordion files to go inside – one was for our School Loans and the others were for bills, etc. Just don’t do anything to screw up your credit rating. You will need it later.

Debt Fears: Don’t worry about your debt – you will find a way to pay it off. We emerged from B-School/L-School with over $100K of debt; we paid it off, and we don’t exactly have Wall Street power jobs. (In fairness, they kinda do have big important jobs)

One year is all you need : The new age MBA


Even though many Ivy league European b-schools have been running one year MBA programs for last several decades, for some reason it never became as popular in the US and Indian schools. The equations, however, are all set to change now. In fact, in India, the third-wave of MBA programs has already begun. Drawing a very crude analogy from Alvin Toffler's book The Third wave, a one-year MBA program can be compared to the third wave (post-industrial) and a two-year program to second wave (industrial) society.

Whatever was designed to serve the industrial society (whether punching cards or a two year business program) is running the risk of getting obsolete unless it is re-architected to embrace the onslaught of the electronic age. An age that is driven by Moore's law - my interpretation of which is - "future will empower us to accomplish more and more things in lesser time". It shouldn't come as a surprise that the legendary czar of electronic age, Bill Gates, couldn't afford to waste two years at HBS and dropped out after first year.

In the Indian context, ISB should get credit for spearheading the new era of one year MBA programs in India. It was setup at Hyderabad in 2001 in association with Wharton, Kellogg and LBS. IIMA joined the bandwagon in 2006 and then came along IIMC, L, B and I.

A one year MBA offers several benefits that one cannot realistically expect from a two year program but it comes with a price - the price of managing your time in the most efficient way. It is certainly not for the light-hearted. You cannot survive the program without becoming an expert in time management and prioritization skills, arguably the most important skills successful managers possess.

Most one year program take people with reasonable work experience, which essentially means the participants have tested the waters and have a fair idea about where they are going in life. Imagine the breadth of perspectives one can develop sitting among such classmates!!