Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Now it is the season of choosing the electives. The number of electives offered is pretty huge. Sometimes, I wish I never have a choice in anything, because whenever I choose, I'm afraid I might choose wrong :) So, finally I'm forced to decide on what I want to do of my MBA, something I've been postponing for long. Given my IT background, and the fact that I got through my interviews saying (with conviction, I might add) that I want to specialize in systems, the decision seems to be a nobrainer. Wish life were that easy !

Somehow, my options have forced me to think about my MBA in a different light. Starting with the most basic question - why the heck I'm doing this course ? Of course, the justifications in my SOP are all crap. But I got through, didn't I ?

I had a very good, enjoyable, challenging and high paying job, doing what I liked best (network programming on a Unix kernel) in a very good team (LB team) at a very good company(Netscaler) at a very good time (when it was getting acquired). I was staying at home (I won't ever underestimate the value of home food), so why the heck did I quit ? Was it worth the time and effort I'm now spending doing this MBA ? Worth the amount of sleep I'm skipping ? Worth getting screwed in the exams ? Worth staying away from home for 2 years and God forbid, perhaps more ? When I announced my decision to quit, almost everybody in Netscaler were surprised. In fact, Rakesh Singh, the GM, told me that he would understand if I were to do MS or MTech, but MBA ... ? He told me quite bluntly that  I was making a mistake. Others too, esp in my team, never understood what I thought I was planning to do in my life. What if they were right ? Was I wrong ?

I don't think so. 

It is true that my job at Netscaler was probably the best I could ever hope for as a fresher, but I wasn't happy with just my engineering. There is so much in the world to learn and engineering left out quite a bit. I was good at where I was for maybe 10 years, but what after that ? I would just be stuck as a unix network programmer. When would I ever get to know other things ? I know a few people who are very geeky but nice, and I'm unfortunately acquainted with a lot of techie morons who don't know anything other than IT but are so arrogant that you want to puke. Another reason why I was on the fringes of Linux India or BLUG - not only were there a lot of unpleasant things happening, there were quite a few morons there as well.  I was afraid narrow-mindedness could be contagious.

Now that I justified my intention for higher studies, it is obvious why it can't be a technical degree. What's the point ? For me, there is very little of value-add in learning computer science all over again. All I need to do is pick up a book, any one, whether it is Knuth's or a O'Reilly book on Python - it really doesn't matter, because I know the basics pretty well. So, MTech isn't worth the opportunity cost. That only leaves the MBA. However, among some techie crowd, business and management seems to be taboo. Superiority-complex. Hypocrisy. Any management-related discussion on slashdot invariably refers to PHB (pointy-haired boss) and the discussion goes downhill from there. There is a world out there that affects whatever I do, and I have no idea about it :-( Business or management are not unethical activities (sad that I have to be so explicit).   

Since I'm here in SJMSOM to learn, why would I need to specialize in anything, esp. in Systems. Somehow, the very concept of specialization seems to be a manifestation of  insecurity or closed-mindedness. Note that here in SOM, there is no concept of specialization per se, the electives we choose form our concentration. So, I've decided to take electives from all streams - though I can't say I want to specialize in general management (wouldn't that be an oxymoron ?).

So, what sort of job am I looking for ? Who cares, atleast for now ? One thing I've learnt about my life is that things don't turn out to be what you expect, so why waste time now ? :-)


At Thursday 20 April 2006 at 10:05:00 PM IST, Blogger Aravindan said...

quite right. enjoy the timeher. little chance that u wd exactly get the job of ur kind and expectations . just do whatever u wanted to do here. this is just a 2 years to think, do, be....

and be sure to enjoy ur life.

At Friday 21 April 2006 at 12:16:00 AM IST, Anonymous Karthik said...

I agree with you! I am also confused. I think, I will specialise in 'General Management' :)

At Friday 21 April 2006 at 1:40:00 AM IST, Blogger avneet said...

very true,now just have a great time here nd revisit wat u wanted to learn that was missing in ur job......just try nd fill that gap

At Saturday 22 April 2006 at 11:39:00 PM IST, Blogger K7 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Saturday 22 April 2006 at 11:40:00 PM IST, Blogger K7 said...

A lot of thoughts came to mind ... Enough to write a blog but still concising it down ......

But tell me ... do you become a very efficient and effective manager by simply joining a B-school ...

Just as you learn Python and Knuth ... I bet that you too can learn economics, HR, "TECHNOLOGY" on your own by reading books .... We've all been doing that !!!

Narrow-Mindedness has it's causes in many other other factors dear : It mostly stems from insecurity !!! Even managers can be narrow minded too !!

You write well though ... would love to see more from you

At Sunday 7 May 2006 at 11:02:00 PM IST, Blogger Chilli-In-Summer said...

My one year of experience in this re-entrante of academia has left me bewildered ;whether have I committed great sin by coming here and somehow with our pretty GOOD ( God knows what good means) academic system I am really frustrated and confused as u r .... Though have managed to meet by both ends in Academics of our school I am yet to feel a urge to choose an elective after one terrible year..... Well Sometimes Randomization also helps in the case of indecisiveness and I guess this time I gonna use that ..


At Monday 15 May 2006 at 12:53:00 PM IST, Blogger Sridhar Narasimhan said...

I think u are missing the entire point - diversity in learning is a necessary but not sufficient condition. There are of course other causes, and at different levels of perception going down till we come to the realm of philosophy. But it is not for me to talk about them.

Getting over the "frog in the well" attitude is going to be difficult, because we are so comfortable with what we have. For instance, given my IT background, it is probably easier for me to predominantly choose IT electives, but that doesn't mean it is good for me in the long run.

At Tuesday 30 May 2006 at 10:15:00 PM IST, Blogger Sayan Sircar said...

Me too am confused a bit...i hope grades have no correlation with placements


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