Archive for April, 2006

We had our final practical exams today – which went relatively well.
The external examiner, apart from being a jovial fellow, turned out to be pretty much entertaining also …

Anyways, I did finish my program (assignment we are supposed to code in 3 hours) well before time and was left musing on some issues, which finally resulted in this post.

A recent news article flashed through my memory – one which in 4 ISB (Indian School of Business) graduates were offered jobs which paid salaries of approximately Rs. 10,400,000 – the highest that any MBA graduate from the country.
Now, ignoring the fact, that the salaries are actually in US Dollars (USD 233,800 to be precise) and these students will probably be abroad (where it is much more expensive to live), the salaries ARE pretty high. More so, when you are starting in a company.

Now comparing this to the salaries that we (Engineering graduates) from the Pune University make – which is more or less in the range of Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 450,000, it would take us approximate 20 years to make the same amount that one of these ISB guys make in 1 year.

Which in more harsh and simpler terms means that one of these 4 guys will make more in 15 days of working compared to what we guys will make in a year of working.

A pretty compelling reason to do an MBA, ain’t it?

However, IIM-Ahemdabad, which is considered one of the toughest schools in the world to get into and which is also one of the better IIMs in the country, has a national average package of Rs. 1,000,000 (10 lacs) and their highest Indian offer was Rs. 3,400,000 (34 lacs). I’m not aware of their international packages.

Makes you do some thinking …

Doing some more research on this subject, brought me to this very interesting artice by the Hindustan Times – titled : The Jobs Paradox

A quote from the article states:

They are qualified engineers and MBAs, but they have no jobs. India had more than 60,000 unemployed graduate engineers at last count, according to government figures. No official figure for unemployed MBAs has been published yet.

And yet, India also has a shortage of skilled technical manpower. The country will face a shortfall of 1,50,000 IT engineers in 2010, says a Nasscom-McKinsey report released four months ago.

The article further goes to say that though India produces a LOT of Engineers and other graduates – many of them are “unemployable”.

The only standard body governing technical education in the country is the AICTE – which sadly cannot maintain standards … Most of the institutes certified by them are not upto the standards at all – and it does not take an expert to notice this.

Another problem (which the article also states) that there is big shortage of good teachers. The main reason being that teachers don’t draw a big salary in most of the colleges. Freshly placed students tend to make as much as the teachers – if not more … one reason, why teaching is not such a lucrative option and why there is such a dearth of good teachers.

Even in my college, though we always tend to get good overall results every year, barring a few teachers, others don’t make a case for joining the college.
This is the case with most of the colleges around Pune – even the so called better colleges.

A good teacher is recognised instantly and respected by all the students – so we do get to hear accounts of “good” teachers – but these have been too far and few …

This finally brings us back to the question of how the results tend to be good irrespective of the teachers?
There are two points to the answer – students who are sincere and/or brilliant from the beginning who carry themselves through and a very redundant and predictable education system – the latter of which I’ll leave for discussion on a different article.

Hence, this creates a catch 22 situation.
Colleges, in order to do well, need to pick good students from the starting — and good students only go to colleges that are doing well.

The case with our college is slightly different – its more of a proximity thing.
Our college is located in the heart of the city – and thus is more or less close to every corner of the city. ( The average time of getting to college is about 15 mins)
This draws more or less the good students from around who probably don’t want to spend their lives travelling to colleges – and hence, the college is doing well.

But at the end of the day, all the colleges are failing to produce engineers which companies can use – so much, that the companies, given up all hope of finding good people, have started picking up good students early (before graduation) and training them on weekends – so that, by the time they pass out, they can start working immediately.

Then there is the question of reservation – and with it now poised to reach 50%, I pity the students and more so the companies – because finding good talent will become even more difficult.
One of the recruiters who came to our college mentioned that they prefer “a particular college in the city” over others – because they have no – or very low reservation policies.
Hence, the probability of finding brilliant students is much more there.

Other colleges do have brilliant students, but they are more difficult to locate and generally lost because of such reservation policies.

Something for everone to ponder about …

By the way, do give the original article a read. Very worth it …
Links here : The Jobs Paradox – Hindustan Times

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Social Networking …

What started off sometime ago as just filling out a large form for kicks … (it was quite a novelty back then and the term social networking was probably not coined) has become a huge phenomenon today.

I never really went back to my orkut account for quite some time actually … probably a year atleast.
For me it was just something that would help some old classmate find me – if ever the need be … I did not feel the need to even update my profile … except for some very rudimentary contact details …

I even forgot I had an account there … I had friends on orkut in single digits and no one really cared about the site.

And nowadays, I’m hitting the site almost everyday … sometimes more than four to five times … and everybody I know is on orkut …

Over the past few months, orkut has just propelled into a the next big “2 point O” thing on the web – so much that google bought it – and now you log in using your google account.

Honestly speaking, Orkut is very poorly implemented – but its a great idea.
The reason it is so alive and kicking even today – and after the gzillion “No Donut For You – Bad Server” messages, people are still using it.

The conditions have definitely improved, because at one point of time, I remember people would not sign up, coz Orkut would keep rejecting their registrations due to server problems … and filling out those huge forms was a pain in the rear.

Saying all this, Orkut is still much better than the many other sites that have sprung up in its wake …
Google has a huge task on its hand – cleaning up a lot of bugs and getting a more stable release out. Orkut has had its share of security issues … which is even more scary considering the large amounts of personal information stored out there.

I had recently read a movie director saying that a good story generally sells even though it may not be very nicely shot … which I think is the case with Orkut.
Good idea, bad implementation.

But with google now in the picture, things have already started to look bright (slightly though)

In the end, you love it or hate it … but you find yourself being drawn to it so often … and this will probably be something which would help us friends and classmates communicate more easily once we’re on our own and the common college grounds cease to exist …

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Today, unfortunately (for some) or fortunately (for most), was our Engineering College Farewell to all the final year students … Something to explicitly tell us – that its now officially over – end of student life for the most of us …

Most of us who have been placed, have to join by the first week of July – so its a big step, moving onto a job and whole new world …

Anyways, as I turned up for the farewell at 6:30 – there was the usual, the boring principal speech and the yada yada … Something which nobody enjoys …

As the evening progressed, the motley crowd of students that we are – some were enjoying it thoroughly while others were getting bored …

After the speeches that were given by members of the staff, there were some contests organised by the juniors … of which some were fun, and some weird …

I was dragged into taking part in two contests – one which involved recognising a junior student and being able to give out his full name – these guys brought in front of me, a guy – whom I had never seen before – and thus guessing his name was way out of the question – much to the embarrasment of both of us.

The only solace was that the best anybody got was one guy guessing the last name of his junior.

The second contest which I was dragged into – which I would never have gone into – on my own free will was the Mr. College Contest …

Here things got a bit awry …
The guys who got called up (there were about 12 of us there initially) did not like the fact that the compere was dictating rules very sternly to the participants …

The contest was supposed to be a fun contest – nothing was at stake and the rules could be bent a little.

Added to the fact, that the Final Year students of our college (and a good percentage of people on the stage at that time) are NOT the most affable, the guys decided to screw up the event.
So one common line was thought, and everybody introduced themselves as : “Hi ! My name is so and so … and I’d like to be known as XXXX” (XXXX being a common joke that we have amongst us)
So, basically – the Mr and Ms. College Contest got completely ruined

Anyways, what struck me at that time was that farewells are pretty difficult to organise … especially in colleges like ours where there is not much interaction between the juniors and the seniors at other times of the year.

The thing that screwed up the last Mr. and Ms. College contest was that people thought that they were being dictated rules – rules to a party which was being thrown for them.
This is the difficult part in organising such a thing …

I have organised a couple of things, but never a farewell of such sorts – nor have I thought about how I’d do it …
The difficulty comes in drawing the line between doing it well and over doing it a bit … and mostly in catering to the people whom the party is for, making the rules – and at the same time pulling it off without making the people think that they are being bossed over.

Then again, we have a pretty rowdy crowd – which makes it even more difficult to organise such an event. But at the end of it, it was fun nevertheless and people should probably be grateful to the organisers for atleast taking the initiative to hold such a thing.

Anyways, so long MESCOE … sort of mixed reactions for me …
Technically, still a long way to college “officially” being over – there are submissions, and exams and projects to demonstrate – so shall write an “official college over post” once all those things are taken care off …

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Haaaave you met Ted ?

There is this new comedy on air nowadays – happened to catch one of the episodes, thanks to a good chum of mine, and now have fallen in love with the series.

The series is just in its first season as of today, with about 18 episodes aired.
Sadly, the show has not come to India (and I pretty much doubt it will) and we generally get to see it due to the magic of bittorrents :)

Anyways, the show is called – “How I met your mother” and tells us the story of how the protagonist – Ted (Josh Radnor) falls in love. The series is kind of a flashback in which he is telling this story to his kids – and hence the weird sounding name.

Anyways, the cast also includes Neil Patrick Harris – Ted’s friend Barney – who I feel would be the primary reason for watching the show.
His character and the way he portrays it is brilliant – something that Chandler was to friends – but with no ethics … which makes it so much more enjoyable.

The second reason to watch the show would be the utterly cute Cobie Smulders – who plays Robin – Ted’s on and off love interest in the series.

The other two people who make up the team of five are Jason Segal – Marshall (Ted’s best friend from college) and Alyson Hannigan (from American Pie) – who plays Lily – Marshall’s fiancee.

The chemistry between the five is very good which eases you into the show at once and makes you feel right at home.
The show is like Friends in some ways, but still very different in its own way which is very refreshing …

If you’re a fan of friends, you’ll love this show …

Anyways, what prompted me to write this blog today, was that I came across Barney’s blog : http://www.barneysblog.com

In the show, Barney talks about blogging many times and all those incidents are right there.
Its nice to see that the producers take that extra effort to do these things which gives the show a more real feel to it and makes the characters a bit more believable.

Be sure to check out Barney’s Lemon Law (even if you haven’t watched that episode)

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Aeon Flux

Was unfortunate to have ended up going for the movie today.
What could have been our only solace that it had Charlize Theron – wasn’t worth it …

Spending a hundered bucks on the film still hurts and will do for sometime now …

Will have to watch a couple of good movies just to wash the bad taste down …
Just goes to show that even Hollywood can churn out utterly crappy movies …

This one, just had a lot of budget to add to it the slickness (and also Charlize Theron)

Which makes this movie, in one sentence – “An utterly crappy, slick flick which also happens to have Charlize Theron” :p

Catch my review of the movie here.

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