Category Archives: mba

The Reading List

The one great thing about the library or the LRC (Learning Resource Center) at ISB is the wide variety of books available for one to read. Since we are pretty much allowed to issue a lot of books (I dont even know what the upper limit is…), I usually end up picking up 1 or 2 of them whenever I go there to study/discuss something with the group etc. However, as always, theres not much time to actually read the books, and I end up with an increasing pile that I need to read.

While I havent recently had much time for reading, the near future may actually give me a chance, so heres a list of my stack of books, so to speak. Making a public commitment is always supposed to help in motivation, right?
1. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman: Absolutely on top of my list, this is supposed to be THE book talking about product design and how designers/engineers may forget about the user while making sure aesthetics/functionality is complete in a product. An interesting read with lots of real life examples.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen: Part of a series of books by the Harvard professor, this book defined the very concept of ‘Disruptive Innovation‘, very important in the technology industry, and almost solely responsible for a whole course on the topic here at ISB. Hence my interest in learning more about it.
3. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson: The book by Wired magazine’s editor already has attained cult status in the way it attempts to explain a new way of doing business by concentrating on a large number of items with low demand for each. This so called ‘long tail’ effect is especially useful in the information age with models such as Amazon/itunes using it to build up volumes over the net.
4. fire in the valley by Paul Freiberger & Michael Swaine: This is another book that caught my eye randomly in the library. The source for the movie ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley‘, this 500 pager (2000 edition) is a history of the early years of silicon valley and the PC industry as it was evolving pre 1985, covering the rise of giants such as Apple, Microsoft etc. This is more of a personal interest thing, and something I am aways ready to read more about!
5. Snapshots from Hell by Peter Robinson is supposedly a great book and a look at the authors life at Stanford GSB. I am sure its going to be an interesting read, and I look forward to similarities with life at ISB!
6. Computer Networks by Andrew S. Tanenbaum: Surprised to see this staple of computer science graduates in the list? I was even more surprised to find a complete rack of the most common/recognised computer books in the ISB library! Lets just say I need a basic refresher to prepare myself for what I am planning to do post-ISB.
7. Just for Fun by Linus Torvalds with David Diamond: Linus’s biography. Do I even need to explain why I want to read this one? Only problem is I saw it on my table yesterday, but cant find it right now! Oh well, it’ll turn up.
8. Tintin and Co. by Michael Farr: One of the leading British experts on Tintin, this book is a look at the different characters appearing in the enduring comic series by Herge.
So theres the list. How many of these I actually end up reading, lets see… 😉

Now Reading: Matthew Reilly, Moving Mt. Fuji

After a lot of selling from my quaddy Ashish, I finally decided to give Matthew Reilley a try. He’s a big fan. I started on hte books in chronological order, and what can I say? I am hooked. I have always been a fan of good action writers with Alistair Maclean being one of my absolute all time favorites, however, Matthew Reilley is pretty good! The books are action packed, with never a dull page. The chapters seem to be in small bite sized pieces, but with so much action crammed into everything, you can never stop yourself at the end of a chapter alone!

To give you some idea, I went through his first 3 books in 4 days some weeks back (yes this blog post is, as always, overdue)! And especially considering that the only time you can get in ISB is against normal sleeptime, I didnt get a lot of that. So much so that I had to ask Ashish to keep the books away from me, till whenever I have enough time to sit and read one of those in a single sitting. 🙂
I am currently reading ‘How would you move Mount Fuji?’ by William Poundstone. A great book about puzzles, based on the kind initially popularised in the high-tech industry, this book was on my reading list for quite some time, till I saw it lying in the library. I am about halfway done, and it does have some very interesting puzzles that force you to look at problems from a number of different angles.

So much to do, so little time…Term 6

Ok, so this is going to be summary of the fast paced Term 6, simply because I don’t have much time to write a detailed post on each event. And that’s the whole point of this rant, time!

Term 6 started off pretty slowly with not much to do except all the events that we had this time. We had the Venture Capital Investment Competition, in association with the Kenan-Flagler Business School @ UNC. This was an internal round and the winner from ISB gets to participate in the Asia Round that we are organizing for the first time sometime in Feb. The winner of the Asia round then gets to goto UNC to participate in the finals with students from among the top B-Schools in the world. So this was kind of a trial run for us in preparation for organising the Asia round. I was handling all the logistics and I can tell you, it wasnt an easy job. It did go off without a hitch though, so no complaints.

VCIC Internal Round
Parallel to the VCIC, we also had the Energy Conclave organised by the Energy and Manufacturing Club on the same weekend!

Next, we had the RBI Governor, Dr. D Subbarao on campus to talk about the impact of the recent crisis on India and our future growth.

Dr. D Subbarao @ ISB

Then we had the ISB Leadership Summit, ISB’s flagship event with over 30 speakers coming over to speak on multiple panels, all on a single day. It was an interesting experience, with the sad part being the choices we needed to make on which discussion to attend. I settled for a very interesting panel discussion where Mr. B S Nagesh, the MD of Shopper’s Stop, spoke on his experience with Indian Retail and its growth over the years.

Mr. Nagesh on Indian Retail

Then of course, we also had ISB Day celebrations as ISB turned 8, with a cultural program over the weekend as well, with some great performances by students, staff, families, you name it!

ISB Day- The Acapella Band!

In between we also had the finals of iDiya, the social entrepreneurship competition, with teams of working professionals from all over India competing, and the top 6 teams attending mentoring workshops at ISB. One of the highlights of the competition was the session on Responsible Leadership by Rahul Bose, who besides being an actor, is involved in a lot of different things, from the Indian rugby team to his NGO.

In addition, pre-placement talks have started, with companies coming to campus almost everyday to deliver their pitches. There are some really interesting roles up for grabs, and resumes are being polished, and interviews being prepared for.

And last, but definitely NOT the least, we have Solstice 2009 this weekend. The biggest fun event of the year, when ISB alums from all over come back to school for 3 days of partying with the current batch.

WHEW! So much for being short, I am already out of breath.
Oh, and this is just a single term at ISB!

PS: Originally posted at, and edited by Amit Goyal, our friendly ISB weblog admin.

Three parts to Life @ ISB

No, this is not the analysis of the different study terms we have here at ISB. What I am looking at is the three kinds of things we end up doing on any given day. The first thing you are warned about at ISB and you are expected to do is, well, study. Attend classes on the weekdays and try to finish assignments on the weekends. The weekdays actually end up being a lot more chill than the weekends, since we only have classes for 4 hours 4 days a week (in the core terms at least).
The weekends are much more hectic, with multiple assignments due early in the mornings. Most nights are spent completing the assignments, with scenes of people running all the way to the boxes placed in the atrium to submit them at the last minute, to people sitting on the submission box to stop anyone taking the box away till their group arrives after printing the assignment! Time, however, is snatched away for outings after a night-out or suddenly formed movie plans.
The second part of life here is the social part. This includes all the speaker sessions we keep having on campus, with a choice often required between multiple sessions going on simultaneously. That’s when you need to prioritise ruthlessly. Of course, then there are all the cultural events, weekend parties and short outings to just chill out and relax. And yes, we have a dedicated Student Life Council charged with organising such events, and they really do one helluva job!!
The third and equally important (Yeah, right!!) part of life here is…. sleep. Yes, something that we get precious little of much of the time. On an average, so long as you manage 5-6 hours you are good. This is also the most flexible component in the course, and the only place where you can compromise.
You can decide that you don’t care much about your grades, but that doesn’t mean you can just chill out. Attending classes is compulsory, and the same is the case with the assignments, unless, of course, you want to risk failing the course.
What invariably ends up happening is that sleep is usually the only thing you can be flexible on if you want to do everything else. For example, today there was an interactive session with Rahul Bose. So in addition to classes, studying/preparing reports and the session, if I want to write this post, that’s another half an hour of sleep sacrificed.
PS: Also posted on, ISB’s official student blog.

Contemplation….old friends and the world outside ISB

Theres nothing like sitting in front of the 24hr CCD (yes, we have one on campus…) in the cold, at 1AM at night, coffee in hand, doing nothing, but talking on the phone to a really really old friend. I know there are deadlines to meet, people to see, but theres nothing like talking to someone after such a long long time, someone whos not from ISB, someone not bothered about what assignment needs to be finished this week.

It makes one think about the world outside ISB, about old friendships/relationships, things to do that dont involve pre-reads/cases/assignments/speaker series/case competitions/resumes.
Yes, I know I am supposed to be busy, working away, but you know what, the one thing you can always adjust in ISB is time, with sleep the only thing thats going to take a hit, the only thing one can compromise on here in ISB in fact!