Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wall Street and Stock Exchanges

[Category: Business]

It seems Wall St. is putting serious efforts into making sure that the duopoly of NASDAQ and NYSE (esp. post its merger with Archipelago Holdings Inc.) doesn't eat into their bottomline. Off late there have been many articles on this and here is just one of them.

Fidelity, Citigroup, CSFB and LB have announced a new "Boston Equities Exchange". Whereas, Citigroup, CSFB, MS and UBS had earlier bought stake in "Philadelphia Stock Exchange", of which ML was a stake holder already. This leaves GS (which is a prima force in the NYSE and Archipelago merger) and Bear Sterns in the BB category without any stake in an exchange.

In other news, in Bangalore, I was stopped by the traffic police thrice last week asking for my Driving Licence. I suspect at one occassion they were also checking if the drivers were drunk. Good work, am happy there's some work in this direction because more than 50% of accidents are a result of drunken driving! Wish they adopt some scientific measures like Breath Analyzers to do this and do it more often!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Insead Interview...

[Category: MBA]

So this was a long overdue post. My apologies.

Had my interview in a cafe over lunch. Very conversational. The interviewer is working in Software Industry in Marketing and was in tech before MBA.

I was asked only five questions. Hope it is not a bad sign. Rest of the interview was conversation around Insead, France, US, India and world in general (It seemed like two guys with good GK talking over world peace!)

Here are the questions:

1. Career story (more of the present job only), Why MBA, Why Insead? (No resume walkthrough)
2. Why the particular future goals?
3. What other schools did you apply to?
4. Cultural aspect of my present work
5. Any question I have for him (I had quite a few).

BTW, just found a cool post on INSEAD essays tips by Clearadmit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thoughts on Management

[Business, MBA]

I've been thinking to put this on paper for quite a time, but always something or the other was stopping me. I also need to finish a previous (and unpublished!) post on leadership v/s managing, but that needs to wait for the time being.

So for a start, here are few thoughts on Management:

1. Communication skills are very important! For the Nth time!

2. "The greatest enemy of Communication is the illusion of it" - Pierre Martineau.

3. The ideal first boss is the person who grills you and makes you work harder than expected. The analytical skills gained will be very useful later on. I know the harm of not having a killer boss first hand!

4. An important task is to learn how to suggest your boss that his work has got a flaw. Also important is to tell your employees humbly that their work needs to be re-done, and

5. No one in today's company is indispensable! If that's the case at your place, something is wrong! -> If someone is indispensable, something is wrong.

Critiques are welcome! More to be added.

Edit: Added an explanation in statement 5 above.

Google Talk

[Category: Business]

Yahoo had IM,
MSN had MSN messenger,
Google had none!

Not anymore, my most favorite company, Google has just launched Google Talk. And it seems they have taken time to make it easy for the first time user!

With this, soon my yahoo account is going to turn obsolete... if Google gives me "googlegroups" (a la yahoogroups) too :)

Happy talking!

PS: If you install it, feel free to ping me on leoptimiste at gmail dot com

Sunday, August 21, 2005

London Business School (LBS) announces admission deadlines

[Category: MBA]

LBS announced the admission deadlines for the class of 2008 . Information updated on the sidebar.

Also updated the R4 date for Insead Sep 2006 intake.

Back, alive!

[Category: General]

I would have died out of boredom during my vacation, had it been a couple more days!

Though it'll make a few posts if I give a detailed memo of how my silliness, combined with damn hard luck, no companions and incredibly bad weather kept me away from a trip I was so looking forward to, I'll just say that the Trekking trip stands postponed as of now. May be in October when the weather Gods won't be that angry with this poor soul :)

In the next few days, I'll write about my findings in North India, where I went after an year (exact to within a few hours!), and the future plans and some thoughts on management from the discussions with a senior guy in CxO roles in India (both Indian companies and MNCs).

PS: Thanks Wannabe for writing to me and enquiring about things at my end. Hope all is great at your end too!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Travel in Bangalore...

[Category: General]

(Start of Rant)

Last week I had a pleasure of traveling some distances in day time (both peak and off-peak hours) in Bangalore. The driving experience was pathetic! It took me on an average one hour to travel 10 miles. And this was not only on week days, but on weekends too.

For instance, passing through the famed Cubban Park area, across which the Karnataka Power center resides, and of which the AssministrationTM (Pun intended) is so proud of, took 20 minutes, not unlike the rest of Bangalore. It is just about one km. long.

Everyone knows that Infrastructure in Bangalore is a serious mess, but the AssministrationTM belives in only creating one ways and road humps, none of which is a solution to increasing traffic. I think it is high time Bangalore Govt. realizes this. The better solutions may be:

1. Build flyovers (and complete the ones which AssministrationTM started three years back. It takes this long only in Bangalore!)

2. Get the Metro Rail track on fast track. (not what they did to International Airport, wherein it took 10 years just to decide the project and consortium!)

3. Control day time traffic by carrot and stick approach, a la Singapore.

4. And please, please make public transportation accessible to non-Kannadigas too. Only in Bangalore, you can find a local bus boasting all advertisements in English, Number plate in English, even the small tag "Body built by KREC or something" in English, but THE ROUTE info IN KANNADA only. Here goes the metropolis-ness [sic] of "namma Bangalore"!

Cheers to the AssministrationTM!

(End of Rant)

Logogle: Google rocks, once again!

[Category: Business]

Check this out

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mt. Everest - More details (Part -II)

[Category: Personal]

We've started getting queries for more details and below are some of the things to ponder about. I'm adding as much information as possible but trying to avoid the uninterested reader to be bored or hijack this blog for my trek :)

The costs are maximum expected costs, but yet they’re just estimates. I expect the actual expenses to be below this. There may be one or two days of variation in the estimates.

1 a) Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek through Nepal (EBCN henceforth): 14 days, including a day in Kathmandu and one day rest (optional and depending upon consensus) in trek up hill.

Estimated Cost: $500 + transportation/Visa (Visa is only for non-Indians/Nepalese) into and out of Kathmandu.

1 b) Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek through Tibet (EBCT henceforth): 19 days, including 2-5 days in Kathmandu to get the Tibetan Visa, 1 day in Lhase and one day rest (optional and depending upon consensus) in trek up hill.

Estimated Cost: $1000 + transportation/Visa (Visa is only for non-Indians/Nepalese) into and out of Nepal.

2 a) Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek through Nepal (KBCN henceforth): 24 days, including a day in Kathmandu and one day rest (optional and depending upon consensus) in trek up hill. This trek will cover both North and South base camp and is the toughest among all the options.

Estimated Cost: $800 + transportation/Visa (Visa is only for non-Indians/Nepalese) into and out of Kathmandu.

2 b) Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek through India (KBCI henceforth): 14 days, including a day in Gangtok, a day in Darjeeling and one day rest (optional and depending upon consensus) in trek up hill.

Estimated Cost: $500 + transportation/Visa (Visa is only for non-Indians/Nepalese) into and out of Gangtok. Flights go upto Bagdogra followed by a 4-5 hours journey by bus to Gangtok.

Foreigners will have to take trekking permits in India, Nepal and Tibet.

Special Note for KBCI:

If you're an Indian, and going to KBCI, permit is not necessary. For foreigners, it is best to travel to Delhi/Calcutta (en route to Bagdogra) and take the permit. More info on http://www.sikkiminfo.net/trekking.htm

With last 4 days of advice from people who have contacted us, many forums searches and what not, we've come to know that 2A is ruled out because of being too time consuming and arduous in the end, without that fun. 2B may be ruled out thanks to the heavy monsoons in India this season. Now 1A and 1B are most viable options, though I still stay open for some adventure :)