25 December 2014

Man up my dear Manager

By Prabhakar MN, PGDM (GM) 2014-15 student at XLRI, Jamshedpur
Author’s blog:                        
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A professor once told me that a great Manager is one who helps businesses take decisions despite incomplete information. I add to that by saying that the decisions have to be efficient (with minimal amount of effort Eg: time taken to reach a decision etc.). Also there is a degree of uncertainity in the enivornment. This is possible if he is emancipated; As I would like to look at this from an 'emancipation' perspective, one has to 
become a man before he becomes a manager. 
What makes man, a man?

Thinking beyond trivialities:
The trigger to this inquiry began when a fellow passenger once told me that he was unable to grow beyond his predicament of being rejected out by his prospective girl-friend. And that he would avoid seeing her in person again because he would burst into tears by becoming a wussy. Loving his girl to the end of the world is simply romantic. But, becoming a wussy isn't very presentable or manly for that matter. As much as a man would be able to fall in love, he should also be capable to fall out of love when needed. That brings us to the question -How do you turn a boy into a man? Well atleast, figuratively that is! 

Live it up!:
Which brings to us to the next set of questions:
Why isn't there a movie about a man sitting in front of his TV without moving?
Or a hit TV show about grass growing?
Humans find some things particularly interesting because we are wired to find them so. Drama, Adventure, Comedy, Success help us survive and gain materialistic status.
What is living it up?
Well this is:
“Discuss current music trends, discuss fun things. Don't just be plain normal and conform. Make personality interesting. Learn to tell a story! Become a renaissance man. Learn music or art, dance, history well. Specialize in one or 2 things; learn a little bit of everything. Just pick up a book and read about it. “

Get involved:
When someone exclaims, "You know the other day, I was reading about Leonardo Da Vinci ..." you realize that it’s a turn on. Pop culture, icons, romance are always in. When such people happen to pass by an antique building, they also know the story behind it. They would live every moment of their lives not worrying about petty things. Like a single cell, he too has a boundary similar to a semi-permeable membrane, where he could selectively let only the good things in and keep bad things out. Bad things here mean energy / mood drainers / disruptors.

Picture source: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/news/1647611/trailer_bulletin_zack_snyder_amp_frank_millers_quot300quot/

From history:
There is a vital part of a male's journey in his life that makes him a man. And, this can be brought out by a process referred to as ‘initiation’ (metaphorically). In the movie 300, for 7 year old prince, this happened when he was sent into the wild which involved brutal cold and extreme starvation. He came back victorious with the wild animal's skin he had slain. He eventually became the king. For Nelson Mandela, it happened during when was in prison for about 3 decades. This made go beyond petty emotions of revenge, etc., and to work for the greater good of the black populace. Basically in order for the ‘manliness’ to be established, the ‘boyishness’ has to ‘die’. Boyishness here signifies immature peIrson who always seeks immediate gratification and lacks the composure and patience.

In the movies:
This concept is in the movies as well. Take the song where Rishi Kapoor sings:
“Aaj hum jaise jigar wale kahan. Zakhm khaya hain tab huwe hain jawan.
In the movie Count of Monte Cristo (2002), the protagonist Edmond Dantes says
“Life is a storm, my young friend.
You will bask in the sunlight one moment,
be shattered on the rocks the next.
What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.
You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome.
Do your worst, for I will do mine!
Then the fates will know you as we know you…”

Available solutions:
Do we have any kind of ‘initiation’ process today? The closest thing that we have today is compulsory military service. But would it help in times of peace! We seem to have lost this concept of male 'initiation' ritual. Because a man is expected to be in control of himself, not be overwhelmed by the situation and to be in sync with his environment for most of the times. In order to become that, boys need to be invited to the select world of men! And the key to that is the ritual of ‘initiation’

Image source: http://fr.canoe.ca/divertissement/cinema/nouvelles/2008/01/13/4770778-ca.html

Last 2 words:

Until we have formal initiation ceremonies in place, 
the manager just needs to 
“Man up!"

26 September 2014


100 days over, already?

Time indeed flies. I'm not talking about 100 days new government in our Sub-continent, but about my MBA at a premier Business School

Is there a report card? Few highlights are:

Promise: I'll keep this as crisp as possible

1. There is definitely a change in perspective after coming a long way from being a workman many years ago, graduate to an officer, and to maintain a resolve which would enable me to head as a responsible business leader in the future

2. One always notices many people slogging it out, burning midnight oil and sometimes becoming easily irritable when under stress or self-imagined-high-pressure. With all due respect to the aspirants who want to land in as the cherry (not icing) of the cake, I'm in no mood for all this and would settle to be near the mean of the curve when it comes to academics (hint: marks) and would love to enjoy this wonderful gift. Refer to the curve to choose your desired performance level. This is indeed a personal choice

3. Hey, BTW, one could get a set of visiting cards of his alter ego: 
4. For many Business Management students, day becomes night, night becomes day? Well, its one's choice. When does one want to sleep? No confusion here baby, No jet lag either!
NP: "Time" by Pink Floyd: 

5. Coming to the trivial stuff, one gets to know that the month has passed only when the washer-man comes asks for monthly charges. Also its always a trade-off when you have only 24 hours (actually as per Aryabhata its less than 24) in a day when you have multiple things to be done at the same time in a.....
.... Premier Business School (you guessed it right)

6. One common pitfall or answer to avoid is "it depends" which I've been able to carry off well. Should I elaborate this in the near future? It depends!

7. I dread the 23:59:59 deadline of assignments, group projects and take home exams because I intend to sleep well before that.

8. Kobayashi Maru (reference: Star Trek)
9. As one treads deep into the MBA (do we have the liberty of time to do that?), it is also quite possible to forget the forest for the trees, and even forget the leaves for the chlorophyll? Zooming out from cholorophyll to the forest level, I'd reckon that my internal lyric (not rhetoric) is that I'm living my dream of doing an MBA in a Premier Business School. Yes, Premier Business School. Everyday that passes by doesn't come back again. it is even more valuable here. Most importantly, value of something is known when its not there. So, one should not take this MBA for granted (very important)!

10. Real life skills to be still improved upon is patience, tolerance and risk-management

11. A typical day would contain going through the concepts and practical applications of Monte Carlo simulation used in derivative markets, Du pont analysis of Financial results, Lean for service operations, Elements of marketing research, Human Resource Planning and game theory dynamics in Vickery auction of micro economics. Did I forget to mention case study competitions, club / committee work, group projects? Oh, the list would go on and on. Finally it would also attract the term "All is well."

And the most hilarious one:
12. Suffer fools gladly!
My dream for our mother earth:
In the early 90s, I used to read a lot of science-fiction comics and books. I always imagined that in 20-30 years from then, we would be able to colonize the moon, solve dangerous diseases, move towards one-world-government and the likes. Was I asking for too much? All I see is that we haven't achieved even a fraction of what we are capable of (I'm sure many of us realize this by seeing events like terrorism, misandry and diseases). On a larger, macro-level wars are nothing but anger of one state against another. But, is it usually of the state? No, it is of one or few leaders who are vociferous. Where did these leaders come from? Usually by due course of inheritance or scaling up from the ranks. Back then when they were small, as individuals, there was anger and ego. It was not contained as time passed through and manifested into the macro levels as well. Therefore it boils down the individual level. However deep and profound it may seem, I always say:
"For a better world and realization of our utopian dream, we need to make our anger and happiness cheaper"

This was just one blog entry. In case you want to read more,
My full blog: 

My linked in: 

My FB: 

Are you game?
Satan Infernous

PS: Premier Business School

16 June 2014

Where eagles dare!

NP: "We will rise" by Arch Enemy 

Long long ago,
so long ago,
nobody remembers how long ago...
Satan Infernous conceived the idea of doing an MBA, to discover that it has be done in a premium B-school only.
However there was a problem: Satan has left main-stream studies for work.
There was a realization as well: The odds of getting into a premium B-school increase if you're an Engineer
And thus started the journey of:
Studies - Work - Work+Studies - Studies - Work - Studies!
Confused: The schematic would help understand better. "Ah, a picture speaks a thousand words. So does a schematic"

Fast-forward 15 years and Mr. Infernous has made it, along with many others. The journey to this B-School was tough indeed. There were no 'top-of-the-edge' preparation classes in the Wine-capital-of-India. So Satan had to get up at 0330hrs, 
catch a train,
even in the rain,
oh the pain,
it didn't go in vain...
Dave Mustaine?,
and return by 2330hrs every Sunday. After the entrance exam, there was a gruelling interview. Satan was brutally honest during that. Yeah, there was a Group-discussion and blah blah blah. 

Finally a Duronto across south-eastern India and Steel Express beyond Raka Mines to reach 'the B-School'.Travelling in the train, curling upto a book (Mastery by Robert Green) while chilling by the window is defintely an under-rated pleasure: 

B-School definitely fun and challenging. The accomodation is quite comfortable so far. The window faces east, so that one could watch the sunrise as early as 0500hrs. Yes, its quite opposite: Mornings are earlier here as its on the Eastern side contrary to the evenings were longer back in the Wine-capital-of-India as it was on the Western side. A picture taken at 0500hrs. I'm not sure whether this one speaks a thousand words..

Speaking of early:
1. Mission 120+ started
2. Organized 3 meetups in Bangalore
3. Resigned early and joined a ad-hoc job for about a month

What will this 1 year hold? Only time will tell...

PS: Limnology... IM...

18 May 2014

Meter the heater

It was just a normal saturday, I attended a "Write club" meet up and was headed to meet Satana Infernous 90km away. The train journey was normal for the first 100min or so. Eating grapes, drinking buttermilk and chatting with a new-found auntie.

But then at around 2000hrs I took my cell-phone out. It came out of my pocket and went out of the window. In a split second all these things flashed in my complicated brain:
1. What about the contact details?
2. What about the lengthy procedure in getting the replacement SIM for the special number?
3. What about the pictures, songs etc. in the memory card?
4. What is the cost of a brand new cell-phone?
5. What is happening?

While I was thinking all this, I stood up by reflex action and also a made a mental note of the landmark, a railway pole. Yeah Satan Infernous hardly panics in emergencies and contingencies. I rushed to the door. The auntie shouted "Don't get down!". I had the resolve to jump into the partial darkness of the jungle. The determination was to get back the phone, added by the silver lining that the train was travelling at 10kmph, and that I could see the small-station about 2km away. The man sitting at the door took his own sweet time to get up and added himself to the chorus "Don't get down!". The human brain is an amazing organ. It could be your best friend or the worst enemy. In this case, the former was true, as my mind started counting the seconds passed automatically. It was about 20s when I got down. I estimated that my phone fell down about 40-70feet back. I started walking back & tried to search for it, but in vain. There was silence everywhere. I could hear a dog bark faar away.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel. It was literally a light, from somebody's farmhouse. I started walking in moonlit darkness. It was more like the video games where the character walks in the forest. I was walking across some tall plants and came upto the farmhouse. Pretty brave, Huh? Only to get scared by a dog which got up & barked! I explained to those people about my story.
Villager1: Didn't you get scared?
Satan: No, Big deal!
Villager2: You city people are not so brave
Satan: The worst thing that could happen is to die, and I'm not afraid of death!

We started our mission of finding the cellphone. We couldn't reach my number as the phone got dismantled (battery separated from main body). After combing the area for for about half an hour we found the main body of cellphone. There were more cracks than the no. of contacts on the front panel. Another 10min of searching yielded us with the battery. I didn't want to waste more time in finding the back cover. The Villager2 dropped off to the bus stand. I paid him 500bucks as a 'reward'

When I met the villagers, they were delighted to see me that I wasn't afraid. I explained this to them: 

"Fear. An important psychological emotion. It has changed a lot these days. In olden times, one was afraid of being killed by a wild animal or the enemy. Today the nature of fear has changed. Fear is that feeling when you get that you don't have a 52inch LED TV at your home. Fear is not giving your guests ice-cream and snacks when they come into the house. Fear is when a college boy doesn't have a girlfriend. Fear has become more subtle and stealthy. It is this fear that the advertising industry uses!"