Monday, October 19, 2009

Personality types found in B school

A typical so called decent MBA college in India is an eclectic collection of people from all parts of India. There are few international participants also garnishing the platter on sides. Such a diverse collection of students not only differ in terms of their preferences about food, drinks, clothes, languages and festivals, they also have quite distinct personalities and attitude towards studies and extra curricular activities. Here are some prominent personality types which I have seen in my institute. This psychographic classification is based on my random observations, has no correlation with the regional origins of students and is definitely not exhaustive. I am making my little contribution to the already vast collection of blogs, books and magazine articles which talk about MBA students at lengths. So here I go…

•Grade hungry crammers: These are people who are obsessed about grades. Although I totally agree that grades are important and good grades never hurt anyone, this bunch of people takes it to altogether different level. You will find these bookworms talking about studies all the time. Some of them try to show it off to impress others. But they are stumped when faced with questions out of the textbooks. Their face is an indication of their current CGPA. They get depressed even if they score low in a tiny winy quiz. Rather than gaining knowledge their purpose of studying and working on projects is to get high grades. They will make sure that they do not pursue those kinds of studies which do not carry any marks for a particular subject. They are most compatible with selfish slaves.

•Selfish slaves: In medieval times, slavery was thrust upon helpless victims who were paying for the debts of their parents. However in modern 21st century, cunning selfish souls submissively volunteer themselves to engage in flattery of their masters to fulfil their different academic and non academic pursuits in an MBA institution. Most of them lack their own independent existence and are seen as shadows accompanying their masters. Some of them are shrewd enough to solicit different masters at varying points of time to be in the company of best one. However, I feel that such a person ends up fulfilling his/her short term goals at the cost of long term goals. One day destiny will force them to stand on their own feet and they will collapse if their feet are infirm.

•Intellectual dumb asses: Some people tend to overestimate the grey matter in their heads. They tend to think of themselves as the highly intellectual people who know anything and everything on the earth. For them MBA gyan is something obvious and does not pose any challenge to their intellect. They love to flaunt about whatever little they know. For them ignorance is definitely not a bliss and they have honed the skills of maintaining deceptive appearances to perfection. They are always looking for peopel who will pamper their egoes. The initial part of the oxymoronic term used to describe such people is their public self and the later part is their private self. In reality they are the empty vessels which make the most noise.

•Cynical cribbers: These people are the quintessential roadblocks in any work. They love to crib, doubt, critique and protest. They won’t take any initiative and will not contribute in any work. They will always stand on the sidelines and pass cynical and discouraging remarks. They firmly believe that there is always scope for improvement. For them, everything around them is either useless, flawed or irrelavent. However they won’t do anything to improve it and when challenged to do so, they would provide all sorts of lame excuses and shy away from the task. I doubt even if they are suitable for the job of Corporate Cassandras in companies.

•Indifferent Aliens: Looking at some people I always wonder why are they doing MBA. Neither they are aware nor do they care about academic and other activities on the campus. Grades obviously do not matter to them. Hence threats of sub grading do not force them to attend the classes. They believe that fortune favours the brave and hence challenge their fate by sitting for whatever classes they attend without any preparation. They are total free riders when it comes to group work. They want to follow the path of least resistance and will opt for all the easy go electives. However unlike cynical cribbers, they are the harmless creatures who will not critique others.

Disclaimer: I am certainly not the best student of my MBA institute in anyway. This post is not written to preach anything. I do not intend to offend anyone by this post. It is written in lighter vein and please take it in the right spirit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Great Indian Railways Journey

In last 5 years I have traveled many times by train and most of the times it’s been long journeys stretching to 18-20 hrs at least. I have heard many people complaining about the poor services of the Indian railways in terms of extraordinary yet frequent delays of 6 to 8 hrs, overcrowded trains, unhygienic food, beggars and eunuchs annoying passengers, dirty stations and disgusting toilets. But luckily I was spared of all these miseries till now. So on 29th Sep 09, with a confirmed second class sleeper ticket in my hand I went to the Aurangabad railway station to catch Sachkhand Express to return to Delhi for my fifth semester. Some of my friends had suggested me many times before that traveling by second class for a 24 hrs journey can seriously screw up the whole journey. But I had always rejected it by calling them as squeamish and snobbish people. I had sweet memories of so many previous journeys to bank upon. But my entire dream run on Indian railways was set to get severally jolted on that fateful day. The moment I entered the station, I heard a female announcing in her monotonous voice that the train is delayed by 1 hour. The announcement was getting repeated in English, Hindi and Marathi and I hated myself for knowing all the three languages. I was getting irritated now. Add to this the fact that I had to hastily pack up all my stuff and get ready to reach the station to catch the train on time. After one hour, the same voice cracked through the speaker announcing a further delay of one hour. By now my chatter with mom and dad was coming to a halt. Everyone was getting bored. I already had two cups of tea gulped down to kill the time. Once again the same announcement of one more hour delay was made. But this time, the same lady added a personal touch to the announcement and apologized for the delay. The implied meaning was that you deserve an apology from the Indian Railways only if the train is delayed by at least 3 hours. So instead of soothing my nerves it caused inflammation in my heart. I was totally pissed off now.
Finally the train arrived after a delay of three and half hours. As it was coming to halt, I got reminded of Mumbai locals. All the bogies were jam packed with people, most of them Sikh pilgrims returning to their homes in Punjab after Dasera celebration at Nanded. I saw my coach door closed and started knocking heavily with my fist. But no one opened it. Now I saw the other door of the coach getting opened and I ran towards it. As I was entering through the door, a couple of people started pushing me out and were yelling in Punjabi. So I lost my temper, pushed them back and forced my way through the crowd. When I reached my seat, I saw7-8 Punjabi budhiyas sitting in the compartment and an old man sleeping on my upper berth. I took a deep breath and mentally prepared myself for the anticipated ugly brawl with them. But I told them in a calm and firm voice that I have a seat reserved over here. Before I could finish speaking, 3-4 ladies started yelling on me and were asking me to leave the damn train itself. I raised my voice and started screaming that I will not move from here come what may. I could see my dad standing outside the train trying to convince the ladies from the window to allow me to sit at my place. Then a huge well built young man came and asked me to show the ticket. Suddenly he tried to snatch it from my hand. In the midst of this chaos, I saw my mom and she was sobbing. I tried to put a brave face and told my parents that they need not worry at all and I will get my seat anyhow. But I was also worried and clueless about how will I do that. Looking at print out of my internet booked ticket, one lady raised the doubt that it’s a bogus ticket. For a moment, I couldn’t figure out whether I should laugh on her ignorance or should cry about my ordeal. When the train started moving, the commotion in and out of train rose to the highest level. Hell broke down and the train got flooded with people. I was hit 2-3 times by waves of people crushing on me.
At last God came to rescue me in the form of a man who was holding a list of seats booked for the so called yatrionka jattha (group of pilgrims). He came, patted on my shoulder and told everyone that this guy has a seat reserved here and we need to somehow accommodate him. I was so relieved to hear that. I thanked him with a big grin on my face. I politely asked the man sleeping on my berth to get down once again. He climbed down reluctantly and I jumped on my berth in a flash. But half of my berth was occupied by the luggage of others. I did not dare to ask them to move the luggage and tried to sleep on the other half by folding my legs and hands as much as I can. Below me, I could see people sitting and sleeping all over the place in a snugly fit manner. Every inch of possible space was being used. Sleeping babies and luggage were stuffed together on the side upper berths. In the middle of it all, the market in the train was still running in full swing. The tea vendors, samosa and vada sellers were still venturing in the train and making big money. However, not a single TC came to my seat in the entire journey. There was non stop chatter in the train. Some one was busy eating langar meals, someone was playing cards for time pass, some one was trying to cajole the kid to stop crying by offering him biscuits and a lot of them were singing the bhajans praising the almighty waheguru. As the night fall down, tired passengers started making arrangements for sleeping. When I saw the old ladies in my compartment struggling with the middle berth seat chains, I jumped down and helped them with it. I also moved their luggage below the seats. Surprisingly it worked wonders for me. I could see the old ladies smiling in a gesture to thank me. One of them started a general traveler’s type conversation with me. She was talking in Punjabi and I was replying in Hindi. I am sure both of us were able to understand very little of it. But the gesture of empathy and respect was more important. But still I did not want to take any chances and hence told her that I am a soldier working in the army :). Another lady then started moving her luggage from my berth and I was so happy to see my entire empty berth. I jumped back on it and slept like a dead wood for the next 12 hours.