Saturday, November 26, 2005

GMAT :- "Disaster" is the word

Finished my GMAT about an hour back and the results were not as per expectations....N'ways I already booked a date to write it again in a lil under 2 weeks......hopefully will try to improve my score then.....or it might be an end to this whole MBA dream......because very few schools would be interested in an Uncle like me.

Had been hoping for a score close to 650, well guys I admit I am not as smart as most of you 650 was my decent expectation.....but the result was 610 (q-43, v-31), the verbal score was a big surprise all through the test the felling was that I have blown the quant and am doing well on the verbal.

Any suggestions or strategies from all you readers would be highly appreciated. My best wishes to all of you writting essays, filling out forms, interviewing or just waiting for that elusive call these days.....there is a seat waiting for all of us somewhere.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The GMAT Mystery

Well I am writing it here but I really do not know who scripted it. Was it ETS or Thomson Prometric? I have not been able to figure it out.

See if you can figure it out from the email I got from GMAC, “On occasion, technical or staffing problems may require a delayed start or the rescheduling of your test session. Weather conditions or other circumstances beyond the test administrator's control may also require a delayed start or the rescheduling of your test appointment.”

I was writing the GMAT on the 10th (Thursday) and had finished the Quant section, got back after my break and the computer just wont show anything……. The people at the center blamed it on ETS but I think it is far from the truth, think it was a problem with the internal system and not ETS because other people in the room were also writing exams. So if it really was ETS it must not have been just that one station. I am not very tech savvy but as a layman I thing my reasoning stands good.

The whole thing has now been scheduled for the 26th at a nearby location, hope it works out fine this time. J B, I did not post earlier because they were trying to fix me up for the test on Saturday the 12th, but it did not work out …… and now it is another two weeks of suspense.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Diwali

Wishing you all a bright Diwali lit up with Happiness and Prosperity

Deepawali or Diwali is certainly the biggest of all Hindu festivals. It's the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that's marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.

All the simple rituals of Diwali have a significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity.

During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope.
It brings back a lot of fond memories of childhood and home

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Apocalyptic Vision of Global Terrorism

A series of explosions rocked Delhi on Saturday evening, killing at least 65 people and leaving scores injured some of them critically. Most of those injured or killed in the explosions were ordinary people out shopping in the festival season.

Just when the entire country was getting ready to soak in the holiday spirit and enjoy Diwali, along comes another attempt to make the country shake with a possible terror attack on crowded markets and a DTC bus in Delhi. This is terror tactic at its best-hit innocent people where it hurts the most to get others to sit up and take notice. Hence the carefully planned attacks--on a bus, in a busy market. But India and Delhi has been through worse and this can only harden the people's resolve to stay together and repulse all attempts to make them cower.

Of course the proximity to Eid and Diwali seems significant - most probably so that the group behind this could inflict the most amount of injuries and garner more publicity. They wished to strike whilst their target’s guard was down.

The other seemingly obvious clue as to the timing of the bombs are the current unprecedented peace talks between India and Pakistan. We can only hope these aren’t derailed by this unfortunate tragedy. One of the talks’ main objectives was to discuss and agree upon a policy of opening up the Line of Control (LoC) to facilitate relief efforts in the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Himalayas....So Inspiring

One word makes the adventurer in me hold my breath in anticipation… one word makes the naturalist in me to think of the ideal place to be with nature… one word makes the traveler in me think of an exotic destination… one word makes the pilgrim in me think of salvation……. “Himalayas.” Yes, the Himalayas with its rugged mountain peaks, evergreen forests, bone chilling regions, important temples, makes it an ideal destination for everyone, a traveler, a pilgrim or a hardcore adventurer.

Yes the Himalayas are very dear to me, and always will be, I grew up in a small village in the Himalayas ....we did not have electricity till I was almost 8 and we got running water when I was almost 12, so life was not very easy. We had very limited exposure to the outside world, and what ever we learnt as kids was through radio (satellite dishes n television came there in the early 90’s) or the newspaper which we got late in the afternoon or the next day. Sports used to be limited to very few things because there was no infrastructure and cricket used to be played on the local road because that was the flattest piece of ground around.
(A Typical Himalayan Village)

Something big started happening around in the dusty roads around us in the early Eighties….. and it was not small, it was the only International motor sports event in India and this was the Himalayan Car Rally. Big factory teams from across Europe n Japan lined up to show there power on the Himalayas….and show they did. And that’s when the motor sports bug bit me.

The Himalayan Car Rally Died in the early 90’s lack of sponsorship……and the Himalayas remained silent till 1999 and another event “Raid De Himalaya” was born… The Raid de Himalaya is India's longest, toughest and the world's highest Motor sport adventure. It is the only Indian Motor sport event running on an International Permit for 7 years now. I happened to participate in the early events but haven’t done so lately….but I follow it closely because of it closeness to the Himalayas and a lot of my old buddies are involved in it.

(Tanglang La 5359 m, 17,582 feet)
Some of you would think…. Why would people, to all appearances sane and healthy, dart around mountainsides for 2,000 km, in howling cars and on screaming bikes, over what is arguably the toughest terrain in the world, at speeds that would make hair of most people, stand on end?
The answer my friends, Motorsport is not only about speed and mud ... it is a lot more ... it is also includes endurance, faith in ones self, trust in the team, and the machine, rising above fear, perfect coordination and also the Unexpected. It is more of a mental and physical game where one braves cold, hunger, sleep deprivation, oxygen starvation and general ill health for a few days....and then goes back and tells the world they had the time of their lives!! (Well isn’t that true about GMAT too!)

(Hostile Terrain, Look at the Lack of Vegetation)

The biggest challenge on the event is always the harsh nature, low temperatures and lack of oxygen, which causes Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).This health condition, if not managed appropriately, can cause coma and eventually death. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, and physical condition.AMS happens only at high altitudes above 2,438m., and since the event is mostly at altitudes higher than this and sometimes at heights of up to 6,000m it becomes a serious mental and physical block, AMS is brought on by the body’s inability to cope with a reduced amount of oxygen. As we ascend, the air thins out and there’s less number of oxygen molecules per breath.

(yours truly in Action)

This year’s event ran the whole first week of October a distance of more than 2000 Kms. From Shimla to Srinagar, over some of the toughest terrain in the world…. Traveling over some of the major passes on the way
Jalori Pass 3223m (10,574)
Rohtang pass 4268m (14,002)
Kunzum 4598m (15,085)
Baralacha 4883m (16,020)
Lachhulungla 5064m (16,616)
Tanglangla 5359m (17,582)
Fatula 4108m (13,479)
At the end of it all a mere 53 seconds separated the first from the second, I can imagine how these guys must have driven there hearts out. Kudos to Eveyone who finished and partcipated.... it is this spirit that I salute to.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Booked my date to face the BEAST

I finally registered to take the GMAT on 10th Nov., so that gives me a little over a month of study time......I ve been thinking of writing the exam since June but something always came up... or maybe I was just plain Lazy.

So today morning I decided it is now or never......and since the first round deadline for one of my favorite schools is Nov 30, I wanted to make sure that the scores reached the school in time. I am also working on the essays these days....but I plan to go a little slow on them for the near future and concentrate on taming the beast.

Also I was a lil angry today when I signed up...coz we have to pay a federal tax to write the GMAT here in Canada....... tax even on educational stuff, and they give freebies to addicts...I just don't get it as to what path is this country headed.

N'ways I ll need some tips for verbal from all you guys...So if you have anything on your mind, please do forward it to me. Good Luck to all the fellow bloggers who have deadlines around the corner.

take care

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Where am I headed?

Had started this blog over the summer so as to get me moving on my MBA journey....and the plan was to write the GMAT by June or July...... But then circumstances around me changed and I had to move....Countries and it really was a hassle this time around.

The MBA thing has been with me since about the last 4 years...... I had thought over it at the early part of my career....But it wasn't really prevalent in my Industry, so even if you had one did not help as much as experience did. Well the industry was Hospitality and I started my career as a HOMT (Hotel Operations Management Trainee) and my soul was in the kitchen, I wanted to finish my training and stick to the food production role ...that is to be a chef.

But the Beaucracy in a public sector hotel got on my nerves and I was looking at any option to jump ship...... and since no good option came...... had to create one..... and the entrepreneurship phase started. This was 1993 and we started a travel company which specialized in outdoor adventure tours.....there were hardly any operators in the sector in India at that time...... we did okay over the summer...and had great bookings for the winter season (for skiing), even hired a New Zealander for training.....and something that had never happened, happened... it didn't snow till early Feb and it all went me a lot went into the organization of our winter program....hiring staff, arranging fuel, supplies, food, fresh supplies and even had 2 mules on a zillion other things. We lost probably whatever we had and by spring were in the red.....but then suddelnly things changed and the trekking season started and we tied up with some of the biggest schools in Delhi.....we offered a 6 day trek for 800 bucks (that is a lil less than $ 20) all inclusive.... we picked the group from the school and dropped them back at the school on the 7 the day. That might not sound a lot of money but we were operating on a 40 - 50 percent margin and the volume was just crazy...over the course of the summer we had schools from as far as Gujarat as our clients.

It was demanding and tough.....but it was always fun, and between me and my partner we made almost half a million Indian this time the kids who went with us were so happy that there parents wanted us to organize events for their companies and we had some of the top Indian and multinational companies in India on our client list. Life was good...and challenging..but the reward and feeling was even better.

Suddenly my partner wanted to leave.....maybe the events of last winter were comming to mind and he did not want to risk it....and he had an offer from one of the top schools in our field in the US.....this was 94 and not very many people wanted to stay back in India. Maybe I would have done the same if I was in his place....and we sold the business for about 1/4 th of our annual revenues, (that was lack of experience there).

Now I was again without anything to do...I had left my Industry and to get in at that level again was a challenge......and then I got to talk to one of the senior people from a bank who had been our client......and I was offered a position at one the biggest banks at a starting salary of 2,750 Indian rupees...but I had no option, so I thought I ll stick for some time..... I completed 5 years at this company and realized that it was the end of the ladder for me....because I had no MBA....and so the MBA bug bit me.

At this stage I got the opportunity to run a hospitality operation, with more than a 100 employees and revenues in excess of 100 million rupees....... It was one hell of a job.... I remember once I didn't get home for more than 72 hours. While at this operation I met Ravi Deol (fouder of Barista Coffee Chain in India)... Barista was small then and we were discussing the possibility of opening a outlet at our property...( It did happen, but I had left this company by that time)..but the entrepreneurship bug was catching me again.

Out of the blue my wife's cousin came over, saw the place I was working in....and liked a pool table there...and wanted to buy a similar one......It had come from a Thai supplier. I spoke to the supplier and we had it shipped over in a months time.....and now this thing was in Delhi and had to be transported and installed in a city north of Delhi...... the people who had promised to install it backed out...and I was in a fix. Eventually I found a guy who could do it, and as things are in India he wanted to do it on his terms....but I had no option, so he took a fortune but finished the job.

Thanks to him because he was billing me at such a rate......prob as if he was a big 4 consultant... I kept on standing on his that he finished it quick. While he was doing it I realized that there was nothing much in a pool table.

In a month we had built up a Sample and perfected it, now we started advertising...and as soon as we got the first confirmed order I quit my job. This was around the summer of 1999.....and things started moving slowly. The first set was manufactured in our living room... and the first couple of orders even went from there....coudnt afford to put in money for a separate manufacturing facility....slowly we took a small 300 sq Ft place on rent and moved the manufacturing there.

We were up against some big names, multinational corporations like AMF and Brunswick were already in India.....then there were the established older manufacturers.....some with a history of more than 100 years.....and the Chinese imports. The first year was tough .... we managed to take out our expenses.....but trips to fancy restaurants and holidays were out. At this stage we decided to move to a city north of Delhi because that was were our market was and we wanted to be closer to our customers....and cost of operation was way less.

Things started to move now..... and we changed strategy rather that targeting Urban areas we tried to get inroads into the smaller towns and rural areas and there was no looking back.....our profit for the Financial year 01-02 was more than what I had earned in all my 9 years working till then. At this stage we sold the business, and moved to Canada, I had achieved success in a few of the things I had tried....but it was with a lot of hard work and dedication.

In Canada I was looking at options but there were not many jobs available with an Indian education......and I did not want to invest any money in a business straight away.....and so I went to School to complete my bachelors......(in my field there was only a 3 year diploma in India in the early 90's). The school offered me admission in a masters program because of my experience.... but I wanted to go to a good management school for a MBA... and I was a 30 year old student amongst kids out of high school.....but it was fun n rewarding. I worked with a Non Profit for 6 months after graduating and then started my own retail business at a major mall in the Boston area.

This venture was not very successful...and we ended up loosing about $ 60,000, learnt a few lessons.....and closed the operation this summer. I have been wondering since then as to what I a serious candidate for a MBA prog...... I am 33 now there still time to go to B-School.....I am struggling with GMAT......and the list goes on. But trust me it gets a little scary at this age...what if I am just rejected.....what if companies are looking for younger guys...there is so much going on in my head......I know I need to figure it out quickly......coz life is too short too waste. I am still thinking WILL IT BE WORTH IT, and DO I HAVE A CHANCE?