Tag Archives: MBA

MS Technology Management : Decoded

By Ankit Chandra

Man and Blue Ones and Zeros

It might be a late night with no action in Las Vegas that has prompted me to write this, but, I wanted to put this up for many reasons..

1) Frustration
2) Information
3) Education
4) Entertainment

Like our Marketing professor taught us, I am trying to segment, and then target different audiences of this blog: prospective students for MS Tech Program, bored internet blog visitors, and fellow people looking for jobs 🙂

So first the history: I was working rather well at naukri.com (India’s biggest jobsite), when my boss kinda motivated me to quit my job. Alongside, I was very enamored by the product team at naukri, for it seemed they had the best of both the worlds. There was also a person called Sujith Nair. He was a dynamic project manager at naukri, who was someone I usually looked up to. But being the Taurean that I am, I didn’t wanna take that much time (which was anyhow short) to get to where Sujith Nair was. Simultaneously, there were these new chaps recruited from ISB into naukri at seemingly ridiculous salaries… (grrr) and above all, I wanted a change!!!

So came into picture Technology Management.  My research on the internet for Technology Management (on  edulix.com, etc ) showed me a bunch of options, including MBA in Technology Management at Berkeley, MIT, EPFL Lausanne, and MS – Technology Management at UIUC (with one year course duration). I liked MS Tech at UIUC because the College of Business was ranked at 38 in the world (financial times), the program was at UIUC (a campus which has GREAT reputation), and this was a quick one year program (so I could get to earning money sooner). At that time ISB wasn’t ranked in the global rankings (now in 2012 it’s somewhere around 11 in the world), and IIMs were somewhere in the 100s… (plus I flunked CAT more than once 🙂 )

I applied, kinda after the deadline, and made it in. I was very ecstatic about it!  And then the program started… The fact that MS Technology Management was a one year program made it a very intensive course work. And before we had even unpacked our bags, we ran into our first and most critical Fall career job fair. I did my part of selling, and got interviews from many great companies like Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook (which I couldn’t attend, and it turns out to be a VERY expensive mistake 🙂 ), Expedia, Cashnet USA, Capital IQ, ZS Associates etc, and got great feedback from all of them. It seemed they were very interested in the Technology Management program and what it had to offer…But there were 3 things which stood out after this:

1) They weren’t sure about what this Technology Management program was all about, and consequently there was a confusion about what profile they wanted me for.Some even asked me ‘So where do we place you’!. So some companies interviewed me for a software engineer position and some did for pure marketing… a major mismatch.

2) I wasn’t prepared enough with the MBA (which is what Technology Management is wrapped around) training to handle the interviews as yet. After all, it was just 4 weeks since we had come in, and were thrown in to compete with the one year MBAs… I was given a case interview when I didn’t even know what that was…

3) I wasn’t prepared even for the interviews where I thought I had a good chance. It takes at least 6 months ( in my opinion) to crack interviews at top companies, and I had only 1-2 months of clueless preparation effort. What I learned from this was that you MUST find out the ‘what to dos’, and ‘how to dos’ of interview preparation. Use career services, including engineering and business, your contacts and alumni to find that out.

As the program progressed into Spring semester, the whole course started to make sense. It is a great program in terms of what it teaches us… The bigger picture of technology and its management became clearer. I could now see the business value in the code I wrote, which till now I evaluated only on how smart it was and what cool things it could do… The holistic picture of Technology from Innovation, Supply chain, Process Management or financial perspective (like how should we value a dotcom) started appear clearly.

But sadly, there were more things happening in the ‘happening’ world, and the problem was multi-pronged:

1) some greedy people borrowed too much money and built houses with it, and caused the sub-prime crisis. (why does it always rain on me!!)
2) The fall semester job fair was gone and spring was mostly for internships (which we don’t have scope for, unless one goes out of the way and extends the program)
3) The career services department seemed as clueless about this program as the companies were :p

so ‘long story short’ as a speaker in marketing class said, we have to search for companies, educate the companies about the MS Technology management program, fight the recession (by praying to God) and keep looking for jobs everywhere… The final thing I realized was that this is NOT an easy job.

But with all that said, we went to HP Labs for a visit and made a presentation about commercializing a technology they had developed. They were really impressed with the multidimensional analysis of the technology we presented. So I think we are on the right track… what we need is a lil bit of hard (harder) work, and a lil bit of luck…

For all the people who want to come in to technology management stream, ( from anywhere in the world) please make sure that you have a good amount (around 5 years) of technical experience, so that u have the technology in ur head before coming here to see how to manage it. It also depends on what u wanna be after you graduate from the program (don’t join this program to ‘enter’ the management line). Also ensure that you understand what you want from the program, coz this is NOT a regular MBA and if you want to get into finance, accounting, marketing etc, this is NOT the program for you. this is simple and pure general management with a ‘technology’ focus (especially at MS Technology management- UIUC). So ur expertise will still be the technology u came from. Next, use UIUC’s brand image and network. Make sure u make great contacts in fall semester, coz I m not sure how many would land great jobs then. Use these contacts later when u r ready to take the technology management interviews. Job hunting is mostly going to be a year long exercise, and u must start as soon as u get here. You will get better with time, but start making those contacts as soon as possible.

Good luck. (pray the recession gets over soon)

PS: I did land a job by the end of the may 🙂 I joined this company after my OPT was processed, rather dramatically (But that needs a blog post of its own 🙂 )

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Love in the Times of Recession – Chapter 3 – Blink

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The first week of October also saw a new batch of students entering the campus. They came in as a whiff of fresh air for the students of Batch 5, who were facing many a turmoil due to recession in the markets. Many new girls caught the eyes of the boys who were in their best behavior and clothes.

An informal ice-breaking session was conducted in the first weekend, to get to know the new batch. A fun filled two-and-a-half-hour session ensued where the entire batch of 48 students were asked to perform a few tasks. Towards the end of the session, Ashima walked up to the front of the class to make an announcement.

“Folks, it was a wonderful opportunity getting to know you all on a personal level. On behalf of the students of Batch 5, it gives me great opportunity to invite you all for the Fresher’s Party to be conducted in two weeks time. The theme for the party will be disclosed just a few days before.”

Ayushman joined Ashima “But before you people start rejoicing about the Fresher’s Party, let me break some bad news”

Groans were heard from all corners of the class.

“Its tradition in our college to conduct a business plan competition just a week before the fresher’s. We introduce you all to BLINK…an annual competition, where all of you will be tested on your presentation skills and innovative ideas.

Business plans are decision making tools. A good business plan can help to make a good business credible, understandable and attractive to someone who is unfamiliar with the idea. Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines.”

Ashima chipped in “The entire class will be divided into 6 teams of 8 each. The common ground for all of you would be e – business, with respect to specific domains that will include Auction, e – learning,  Entertainment, Investment, Kids, Matrimony, Real Estate, Social Networking and Sports”

“The terms and conditions for the contest along with the list of groups will be mailed across to your group ID. Any clarifications, you people can always reach out to me,” concluded Ayushman.

At the end of it, Ayushman heaved a huge sigh of relief. It had been one hell of a ride to convince the class to adhere to the tradition at the campus. Because of the placement scenario, which was nowhere close to satisfying, most of the Batch 5 students were least interested in conducting the event. They wanted all their energies to be focused on the placements.

But Ayushman was different. He wanted the contest to happen and had his selfish reasons as well. Ayushman, by nature was hungry for fame.

He lobbied hard and managed to get them interested in the event. Ashima on the other hand worked hard in the girls’ hostel to make sure the fairer sex understand the importance of the contest being held. Finally there was a consensus on everything. From people sitting in the class to attend the contest, to the topics that were to be given to the juniors, everything was agreed upon.

A lot of ego-messaging was done to get the guys and the girls ready and Ayushman and his team made sure they leave no stone unturned to make the event one of the best ever held in the history of the college.

12th October 2011, the day of the BLINK dawned. The judges for the evening were Mr. Sainath, a former alumnus and a financial analyst, and Mr. Krishnan, a software engineer from Microsoft. Ayushman and Ashima were the unanimous choices for hosting the event.

This day was going to be the turning point in the life of Ayushman Bhatnagar.

Ashima was looking very pretty that day. Dressed in a white salwar kameez, she was dressed to kill. As he walked towards her, he saw her talking to Rahul. She was pretty, he thought. And when he finally joined them, she looked his way with a pair of hazy eyes that kept on coming.

“Hi,” she said as she offered her hand, “I m pretty nervous. I hope you aren’t. Hope we do a good job in there.”

But as he shook her hand and met those striking brown eyes, he knew before he’d taken his next breath that she was the one he could spend the rest of his life with. She seemed that good, that perfect…Ayushman was completely bowled over.

Ayushman and Ashima started the proceedings and each of the 6 teams proved their mettle, vying for the first place. The judges had a tough task in deciding the winners as every team tried outdoing the other.

After the event the judges spoke a few words of encouragement for both the batches. They said they understood the difficulty the seniors would have gone through coming up with the contest especially because the placement season was on and was impacted by the ongoing slowdown.

They saluted the resilience shown by the students of Batch 5 in these times of distress. Unfortunately not any of them knew that this show of strength was fading at a cancerous speed with every passing day.

All through this, Ayushman was absolutely quiet. He was so smitten by Ashima that he couldn’t peel his eyes off her.

“What is happening to me?” he wondered.

Later that night, Ayushman was very restless in his room. He just couldn’t take his mind away from Ashima. As much as he tried shutting her out of his mind, she kept flirting in absence.

He dished out his mobile from under the pillow and re-read the message she had sent him last week.

“Tomorrow, at 6 in the evening. I shall meet you in Barista,” he replied back.

This Book Is A Copyright of the author. Any Infringement or usage on any other website will invite legal action. 

The Photograph above has been taken from http://www.facebook.com/taylor.maries.photos. For more such pictures visit the wonderful page. 

….And I Completed My MBA….

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Gurulakshmi Iyer-Hait narrates an account of how difficult it was to manage a husband alongside a regular MBA course. Husband looked more manageable than MBA. Read on…..

I am sitting in the examination hall sweating. It’s the QT exam. Well, I had memorized all the formulae. To all those who are unknown to Mr. Quantitative Techniques, it cannot be mastered by memorizing. But I had done it. The examiner distributes question papers and answer sheets and I go blank. I just feel like going to deep slumber. Just then my sub conscious weak mind is woken up. And Ah!! it was a dream!! What a nightmare, I realize. People dream of missing a train, being left in front of a monster and here I was, dreaming of going blank in the examination hall. Having woken up I could not resist thinking of my B-School days.

Well it was difficult to manage home and college. Yes, I was married when I enrolled for my MBA. After trying all the career options in professional financial courses, I decided to end my jinx by getting married. For parents, this was the safest bet. Finally they were getting rid of me and alongside my whims and fancies of another expenditure involved in a professional course. This definitely was a two-way victory for the Iyers. However the aspiring and restless mind that I have, I just couldn’t remain composed without getting into something fruitful. This time I decided to convince my better half to get me enrolled into this prestigious course called MBA!!!

College after marriage wasn’t easy to say the least. Day long lectures, challenging presentations and assignments. No wonder it was a monstrous task to get placed after all that toil that went in for 2 years. A great balance and adjustment was needed at the home front and husband dear readily agreed to such adjustments. Did he have an option after the kind of money he had spent and also his belief in me was at stake.

The thought of again attending college brought back memories of graduation .The good memories though as usual did not last long. The initial excitement was replaced gradually by over whelm, anxiety and cut throat competition. Late night lectures, Sunday presentations became part and parcel of life. Getting half a day off on Sunday was a bonus for both of us. We actually learnt to live within constraints then. But when I entered corporate world, I remember frowning on six days working culture. What a pun it was?

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Guessing the lunch menu while sitting in the lectures seems so funny now. The IP messengers were such a boon to pass on secret messages within the class or to exchange jokes on professors.

And finally the thought of the tension during the placement season. Even today I feel butterflies when I think of those days. Companies came in and picked up students, both friends and competitors while you waited for your turn anxiously. Someone will surely be fooled by you is a strong belief which starts to fizzle as the placement season nears its end. As you wait, someone selects you and all that you enjoyed in those 2 years seems to slip away faster than water from your hands.

After two years of excessive pressure, fun and sweat, I finally became an MBA, something that was very important for me to break the jinx and get started with a new life altogether!! Today when I get up from my nightmare and think about those days, it really seems like a great achievement to me, an achievement or rather an opportunity not all married women get!!

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An Ode to My First Job: Season One – Episode 1

First Day At Work

 

Our youngest writer Kushal Khandelwal talks of his high hopes from an MBA degree and 6 figure salary expectations. How it all came crashing down like a pack of cards as he entered his office on the first day.

You’re pretty much the most recent entrant & the youngest person at your company. You get all the bitch work – and sometimes don’t get credit for doing it. You stay late and most importantly, what you’re doing now is NOT what you want to be doing the rest of your life. Where are you working??? Your first job… where else God Damn It.

Fresh out of college and ready to race fast & ahead, the first job is what gets you pulsating for a long and fulfilling career. Many pictures loom as I complete my first year at my first job. Just like every other management graduate, I also dreamt of a big office in one of those shiny towers.

But what I came through on my first day was a 1500 sq ft office with some 15 people working (including the three of us who joined that day). What a crash landing it was!! And while I was still recovering from this, my training manager had put such restrictions that I was in fact feeling the pain of those Jews sentenced in Nazi concentration camps. Many perceived myths are no more only Myths… 🙂

Two weeks went by and I was live doing real-time interactions on the front-end of the team. Thank God, I was reporting to another manager now. My new manager was a fantabulous person to work with, one who reads his team in the first go, understands the plus & the minuses and stands irrespective. Now here, I learnt the importance of a first job, in fact to be more specific, your first Boss and also realized the fact that in general you don’t leave your job, you leave your manager.

With time moving on, I was able to find every type of character that my HR faculties taught. Type A, B, C, X, Y, Z etc.. At times, it was close to the Big Boss (for my American readers, big brother) house (with so much bitching against each other). So, the first taste of office politics was in. And yah, this also helped in getting some good friends (well because our target of humour was same).  So now, I was getting accustomed and feeling a bit relieved; by this I mean I was learning how to write the sort of memo your boss wants to read. 🙂

Keep watching this space for more. I would come back with more such experiences you will all empathize but at the same time love reading with a pinch of humour.

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