Monday, January 30, 2006

Here's to Wisdom

Teeth, and Otherwise.

Early last week, I started to feel bursts of sharp pain in my lower left jaw. It seemed like the entirety of that area of my mouth was going to explode. Too busy to get it checked, I relied on Advil to keep it at bay. I even entertained the thought that it was TMJ, kinda like having a fancy defect. But, alas, it wasn't to be.

I woke up thursday morning in a lot of pain, and skipped class to let it subside. Feeling much better, I attended a make-up section in the afternoon. But, I had to leave half-way and run to the student care center. There, the miracles of the US Healthcare system started to play themselves out. Do you have an appointment? No. Oh. Pause. We can get you one, OK? Sure, but can someone take a look at this now, please. Well, the best we can do is a nurse. The thought of nurses in uniform caused a momentary relief, but this was serious business, so I said OK.

The nurse was kind enough to take one look, and get me a doctor. The doctor took one look and said that I needed to see a dentist, who would presumably take one look and give me a referral to an oral surgeon. So, I called the dentist's office and I was given an appointment. At exactly the same time as my interview today ! SOML. (story of my life - happens so often that I should start using acronyms :) I said No Can Do, so they gave me one for this thursday and advised that I go on an accelerated diet of Advils (600 mg every 6 hours). FIne.

Thursday night was hell. I felt like I should reach in and pull the damn wisdom tooth myself. Wake up friday morning (can i say that - if I haven't really slept thursday night? Hmm.) with half my face swollen. So, I call the dentist's office pleading death by crying if I didn't get this taken care of. So, I get sent to another facility, where a kind dentists did take one look and said that I couldn't wait another day. This was indeed a possibly infected wisdom tooth that needed to be extracted asap. The only oral surgeon available held court in fancy (read: ex-fuckin-pensive) digs in an office tower downtown. Get down there, only to be told that the doctor was busy by a, herself very busy giving grief to a poor boyfriend who hadn't returned her call earlier that day, secretary. I decided to sit it out and as luck would have it, the doctor was indeed less busier than she thought.

The procedure done, I have spent the entire time since then on a diet of wonderous vicodine. Which is all fine, except that I have an interview in less that an hour, and am nowhere close to being in any kind of shape to attend it. At least, I managed to launder a shirt and press my suit. But, I am starving since any attempt to eat solid food has me practising my Owww war-cries. I'm not even sure if I can keep up with two hours of talking.

And, just a while ago, I realized that these guys are going to call me later today to tell me that I bombed the interview, so might as well have my cell phone charged. I plug the charger into the socket on the floor, and as I am about to stand up, bang my head on a rail. Ouch. That hurt. And then I realized that I had to pick up my laundry from the basement. As I was coming up the elevator, the janitor who was cleaning it said: Careful man. Sure thing, I nodded. Yeah, I did slip as I was getting off my floor.

So, here we are folks. Off to an interview. Too much in pain to be bothered with shaking in my boots.

PS: Just realized that medical gauze is pretty cool to use to shine shoes :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2006


woohoo, i got tagged ! no, honestly, i needed something to do, sitting as I am here unable to talk after having my wisdom tooth extracted last night.

So, here goes:

Four Jobs I've had in my life:
* Newspaper Subscriptions seller
* Software programmer
* Concession Stand Guy
* Wedding Crasher (for the free food :)

Four Movies I can watch over and over
* Love, Actually
* Lagaan
* My cousin Vinny
* No Man's Land

Four Places I have lived
* Bangalore, India
* Hassan, India
* Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
* Boston, Massachussets

Four TV shows I loved to watch (back when I had a TV)
* Deadwood
* Carnivale
* Sopranos
* The Apprentice

Four Places I have been on vacation
* Denali, Alaska
* Oslo, Norway
* Cusco, Peru
* Ayuthaya, Thailand

Four Websites I visit daily
* Digg
* Google News
* Memeorandum
* Hella

Four of my Favorite dishes
* Mom's pappu-charu (oh, how long has it been !)
* ceviche
* ma paw tofu
* linguini puttanesca

Four Places I would rather be right now
* Dubai
* Boston
* Angkor Wat
* Ushuaia

Four Bloggers I am tagging:
* Wakechick
* Le Voyageur
* Brit-Chick
* Byron

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Recruiting: Keeping Score

The Winter Garden at the GSB is probably one of the worst places in the world to be right now. No, I'm not talking about the cleaning crews vacuuming away. It's hard to believe that interviews for internships for my class started only last thursday - feels like I have seen hundreds of people running around in dark suits for, like, forever. And the offers are starting to pour in. Like TDC said to me this afternoon, our world has suddenly been divided into two camps - the Haves and the Have-Not-Yets.

I am actually finding it uncomfortable being in this building. The talk everywhere is of closed lists, second rounds, and that daily evening routine - waiting by the phone for the interviewer to call. Without realizing it, I'm partaking in the same conversations too - something I intended not to. I should really stay away from this madness.

This afternoon, I was chatting with a couple of my good friends who have not been second-rounded yet, and it was like their fears and worries about finding an internship started to affect me. I have never been gladder running off to a study group meeting ! Good luck guys, it's still early days, it'll all work out soon. It's not my place to offer advice, but really do I like this quote:

Let others cheer the winning man, there's one I hold worthwhile.
Tis he who does the best he can, then loses with a smile.
Beaten he is, but not to stay, down with the rank and file.
For he shall win some other day, who loses with a smile.

While on the subject of quotes, I found this one by Vince Lombardi quite topical:
“If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?”

In addition to the Haves and the Have-Not-Yets, there is a third category of cats that make a special effort to enhance the reputation of MBAs as the scum-of-our-earth: the Have-but-Want-Mores. This is an, admittedly small, category of the population that is not satisfied with the five-odd offers they already have, including their 'top' choices. They somehow find the strength in them to go at it every day, seemingly until Kingdom Come, moving from Banking to Consulting to ....

Now, I know all about choices and free will and competition and winners and losers-should-suck-it-up and la di dah. But, I can't find it in me to condone this behavior. Many years ago, I was an undergraduate student at a college that had no working campus placement system. A few of us decided to change this and put one in place for my graduating class. I visited dozens of companies with a friend asking them to consider recruiting at our school, knocking on doors of people who didn't even bother to acknowledge our presence. It was a gruelling experience, but one that hasn't let me forget how precious the recruitment opportunities we have at the GSB are. I might sound like a pinko, but I do believe that they need to be used judiciously.

I think there is a sense of entitlement at this place - that all these jobs are one's to take. I think it is absolutely awesome that we have the choices to pursue a variety of career interests. Truly Awesome. But, one can't forget that this is not a community of One. Every offer that one accumulates (knowing fully well that they already have others that they are more interested in) is an offer that someone else wanted to but doesn't. I know I can't expect much sympathy for this argument, given that this place is all about the Individual.

But, every individual here is also here because of a certain thing they want to develop called the 'network'. I have to ask - are you better served by having a classmate work at a 2nd Tier firm because you cornered a Top Tier job that you knew you weren't going to take? You know that the companies aren't going to go back and make other offers once you decline. In a delightfully perverse way, you are better served by stopping and thinking about your fellow classmates.

I will be remiss if I don't point out again that such examples are a small minority. For the most part, those I have had conversations with are stand-up folks who have removed themselves from the running once they got their top choice jobs. I admire that because I think it is the right thing to do.

In my opinion, Keeping score is not the point of this entire exercise. Finding the right place for each one of us is.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Time-Space Continuum

It happened for the second time in a week. I wake up. Look at the clock. 10:30. Class at 8:30. Damn.

Except, this time I was to head straight from end of class at 11:30 to the airport with some people to catch a flight out to Houston. OK, so class was blown. But, I hadn't packed. Worse, I had planned to get my laundry done before I left. Why, oh why, did I have to fall off to sleep without setting an alarm?

Actually, last week, I did set the alarm. I was up until 4 in the morning, and wanted to grab a couple of hours of sleep before heading to class. So, I set the alarm on my cellphone, put the cellphone across the room in its charger and zzz. I wake up, look at my watch and it's 10:50 ! Cursed myself for not listening to my alarm, when I realized that the cellphone was in my hand !!! So, I had - sometime during the morning, apparently unbeknownst to me - walked over to the cellphone, turned it off, and back to zzz. This MBA thing man, plays with your mind.

Anyways, this morning. I scramble. Grab my stuff, unlaundered and all, pack it up, and on the way to the shower, I open the curtains.

What the ? It's dark outside !

Got to say, i haven't had such a surprise thrown at me in a while. I was pretty confused when it hit me - it was 10:30 PM, not AM. Open up the laptop to check the date. Phew. It was actually the night before, not a day later :-) This MBA thing man, plays with your mind.

I went skating last afternoon in Millenium Park and must have fallen asleep as soon as I got home. That was a relief. I could do my laundry, get my homework done in time, make the class, and catch the plane. Life is good. Tons of time. Maybe a little zzz as reward ...

Woke up like an hour ago. At 5. And here I am. Homework. Due. In 2h 25mins. Haven't started. Sh*t.

At least my clothes are in the washer !

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Recruiting Tips

OK, you've got to stop laughing now. I know, the Yogi offering recruiting tips is like the GSB offering scholarships. But, it could happen, and when it does, it is with very good reason.

So, dear recruitees, here are some words of pure, distilled wisdom fresh from personal experience.

If you can help it, never, EVER, tell a recruiter that *he* reminds you of an old girlfriend !

Not good :-)

Second, make sure you check up on any 'baggage' before applying. I realized this AM during class - the formulas were getting a bit much (and I never got that homework done :) - that I know someone who works at one of (the only two !) firms I have interviews with. Which might actually be a good thing, except his wife totally hates me. You see, she wanted to set me up with her sister at one point. She sent me pictures and everything, and me being me, I procrastinated about writing back and then I replied back apologizing profusely and sent her a couple of my pictures (I look so much better in real life anyways) and promising to call asap. You know what happens next, I got sidetracked and that call never happened. I learned later that she was mucho pissed. I deserve it for being such a jackass.

And karma points being what they are, I will probably crack my first round cases, wow the socks off the partners in the second rounds, and as I am getting off the elevator leaving the building run into this guy . And a certain Congratultions letter will get the Printer-to-Shredder treatment :-)

Which leaves me with one shot at a job on-campus - at the most sought after firm for consultants. Whose recruiter looked at my card (since I was too lazy at that point to order official GSB cards) and said: "do you use these to pick up girls at bars?"

Did someone say admissions mistake?

this is Deep sh*t!

So, I wake up. Like. 5 minutes ago. Plan wasn't to have slept at all. Homework. Due. In 2 hours. Haven't started. Sh*t.

So, what do I do. Boot up Blogger. Look up stat counter. Good Morning and Hallelujah!

I have hits from a link on a new-born blog that is just a few hours into its life. Hmm.

The author, who goes by the moniker Deep, writes: "My old buddy, lets call him poweryogi, who never shys away from experimenting seems to have found his religion in blogging." Hmm.

If I think who I think this is, and I think I may be thinking right, I think this is awesome! There's a reason why Serendipity is the most beautiful word in the english language. Welcome to the blogosphere, Deep ! This is a way cool way to start my day.

OK. Got to run. Homework. Due. In 1h 50mins. Haven't started. Sh*t.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sing in your own voice

I will always remember what days like today must be for those applicants whose applications were denied by the GSB. I had many of those myself during the application process but, for some weird reason, it was hard to get used to. It hurt every time, as it must, but I am a firm believer that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

But, one must also keep this in perspective. These results are only the imperfect opinions of a set of people who are looking at a few sheets of paper and have met you for an hour. There was your story, of your own telling, but you had no control of its reading by those who read it. An application failed the race against other applications. It is an inaccurate reflection on the person behind the application. I wish for those who are disappointed today to move on to better things - be it stronger applications for other schools, reapplications, or find something else that sparks those neurons, if that's case.

I was reading Hugh McLeod's manifesto on ChangeThis just now and there was a section titled, Sing in your own voice, that made me think.

Picasso was a terrible colorist. Turner couldn't paint human beings worth a damn. Saul Steinberg's formal drafting skills were appalling. T.S. Eliot had a full-time day job. Henry Miller was a wildly uneven writer. Bob Dylan can't sing or play guitar.

But that didn't stop them, right?

So I guess the next question is, “Why not?”

I have no idea. Why should it?

Good Luck !

The Rule of Four

Back to Blogging ! The unrelenting stupidity of the end-of-quarter stress about a month ago had sucked the mojo out of moi, and I spent a majority of my winter break trying to regain it by hibernating. It's time to get it back, post by post.

How was y'all's n'year? Mine was spent in almost exactly the same way as the past two years - working on application essays :-) Only this time, there weren't my own. I was helping a couple of friends (and wasn't too much of help to a third one - you know who you are!), and realized that I've become somewhat of a maestro at offering up free advice. Correction. Offering up free advice and sounding like I know what the hell I'm talking about. The amazed you-da-man looks on their faces have convinced me that I may yet have a career in consulting.

Talking of careers (and that's all I can really do at this point), we are a week or so away from this place being flooded with 'cut it with a knife' tensions. It's the start of interview season and I've heard that the zorros among us come out, swords blazing and all, ready to take down everyone else in their path to the promised lands of prized internships. I've even been told a few people break down and cry. I sure hope it doesn't turn out so bad.

I've sent in four internship applications in typical fashion, all on the dates they were due. One with no cover letter (though it was required), one more with no cover letter (hey, they didn't say they needed one), and two past the deadline (hey, but I wrote you guys a cover letter!). I'm sticking with four. That's the number of schools I applied to the second time also ! Maybe there's a lucky number thing going on? Further validation - Just like with my applications, I got a ding from the first firm :-) The second one invited me to interview ! The other two are probably still wondering why I didn't stick to a you-the-best cover letter but was telling stories. I'm sure they'll at least get a kick out of it. The way I look at it, if i can bring a smile to someone's face, even in my stupidity, my job on this earth is done :-)

And, talking of applications, congratulations to those who received admit calls from Chicago GSB today! Go out and enjoy the moment, and I hope to meet with some of you over Admit Weekend and beyond. Fair warning: a year from now you'll be telling wide-eyed applicant listeners how your life was transformed on this day :-)

To those who didn't get the call today, the best with finding out the results tomorrow. I'm not plugged into the admissions center, so I don't know if they have finished making all the calls or not, but I suspect they may have missed getting to some just because of the sheer volume of communications. It ain't never over until it's over. I wish you luck.

And, finally, to those few lucky ones that this school, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to put through the Yogi experience, hope you get some sleep :-)