Friday, August 22, 2008


Sorry for the delay. Someone had shifted my paradigm and I had one hell of a job getting it back. What with the inflation and all, who can afford more than one paradigm these days? These photos are thanks to Ashwin.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Thanks Guys

Shawn... thanks for setting up this site. Look forward to seeing some pictures up here. Didnt the Institute guy take some? Ashwin and Uma were the others who had cameras

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ask the Management Guru - I

Inaugurating a popular series "Ask the Management Guru",

Q. Recently, in a meeting, an MBA from a premier B-School said something that sounded like "a reference point for commonality of paradigm shifts in six sigma and core competency, and the five pees.". What does this mean? - (From "Confused", Mumbai)

A. Dear "Confused".
You are evidently not an MBA. Don't you know your five pees of management?
  • The first pee, at management trainee level, is the "I'm scared witless" pee
  • The second, at the assistant sales manager level, is the "I've been in the conference room for four hours and the a.c. is getting to me" pee.
  • The third, at profit-center head level, is the "I've had five beers at this business lunch and all five want to come out now" pee
  • The fourth, five years from retirement, is the "This diabetes is making me go to the loo every fifteen minutes" pee
  • And finally, for those who make it to the very top of the pole, the fifth pee is "Wow! That's my bonus?" pee.
Q. What is a paradigm? - (From "Jargonically Challenged", Patiala)
A. Dear "Jargonically Challenged".
No one knows for sure. Most of the gurus believe that the paradigm is a creature which looks like a horse but has a horn in the center of its forehead.

Q. But isn't that a unicorn?
A. What are you, a naive believer in fairy tales? Everyone knows the unicorn is mythical. Paradigms keep shifting and often solve problems in this fashion.

Q. Do you believe that the Ambani brothers were responsible for the recent stock market crash?(From "Stoke Mar Cate Ache Spurt", Rajkot)
A. Dear Stoke
No, that was God. The Ambani brothers were responsible for the stock market rise.

Please send in your questions pertaining to anything troubling you in the vast and wondrous world of management and economics. Our Guru will be happy to clarify the situation.

CFNFA - the philosophy

The CFNFA concept is an acronym that defies itself. The C is actually a short form of "see" but doesnt start with S!

Anyway for us at the 88 batch CFNFA is life's philosophy that has withstood the test of time and experience.

It has gone beyond an individual and has become a philosophy of the highest order. It applies to anyones life, work, relationships and everything else.

Ode to CFNFA

S P Jain
That fine old place
Where minds work every day
Where Kotler is read
Without fear or dread
And Porter's just child's play

The statistical stuff,
And even maths, I say
Is as easy for these brainy lads
As fashion design is for a gay

But when it comes
To that one thing
Only we can show the way
The deepest philosophy of them all

Monday, July 14, 2008

CFNFA aptly named.. infact wonder if one us should put a TM ( trademark) to that. The evening was fantastic.. infact a tad embarasssed when Shaun called me onto stage...wondering why after all these years the 'gang' wanted to listen to me, when they would normally shut me up 20yrs back!. ..see CFNFA

I went and stayed at the ' hostel' ..wanted to live it up. Fundu..once again turned to be my 'roomie' . Though i realized that he had turned into a gentleman and had discarded his 'lungi' for more appropriate night wear :)

The Single Malt was one of the smoothest . To Mahesh's utter surprise , i couldnt recall the brand after having gulped 4 plus pegs of his 'premium brand'.. the name was a bit of tongue twister or rather i would say , definitely a twister after one has downed a few drinks. Mahesh i will make it a point to swear by Aberfeldy , in all future parties.

I also had a chance to meet up several of you , for the first time in 20 yrs !.. wish i could spend a hour with each of you to just chat up with you folks and enjoy sharing each other's experiences .
Another surprise was meeting up with Ghalsu .. now a founder of a MBA institute . some day ala Dean Srikant. Ghalsu , was most surprised to see me in a ' Financial services' organization. He did say ' Raj and Finance' ..boss whats going on ? ..and i had to say ' CFNFA'

Shaun , Akhil and Mahesh , thanks again guys for organizing the wonderful evening..

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Twenty years old!

I sit here with a dull ache in my head and a funny feeling in my heart. The dull ache I recognize. It is the symptom of a toot, this time occasioned by our class reunion, the distinguished and erudite batch of 88, SPJIMR. I suppose I had a sip or two too many of a fine Scottish product named Aberfeldy, though it did not seem excessive at the time. But the funny feeling in my heart is different. It is that sweet pang of pleasant memories.

But first, some background for the reader not familiar with our little community. We studied management at the S.P.Jain Institute of Management and Research in Andheri, Bombay, from 1986 to 1988. We were a rag tag bunch of fifty recent and not so recent graduates. Some had prior work ex, but most of us were, like me, fresh out of college.

Almost everyone looked disoriented and had the vacant looks you see on the faces of the Page 3 crowd. Nothing like the focused and purposeful young geniuses that we see entering B-schools now. They start preparing for their entrance exams about 18 weeks after they are born. Actually, there is a school of thought that both parents must, at the moment of conceiving the child, close their eyes and concentrate on a single thought "B-School B-School B-School B-School", (where "B-School" is the name of the school you want the child to get into) so that the right gametes or whatever they're called, fuse and result in a naturally gifted child who will easily get into the said B-School. But this is cutting edge research, closely linked to the Human Genome Project, and way beyond my league. Plus, not relevant. Though, being an MBA, I don't have to stop talking about something just because it is not relevant. But let me move on.

As I was saying, in the two years that we spent in SPJIMR, we metamorphosed from empty headed graduates to empty headed MBAs. No, I'm just kidding, we really learned to think and argue. In my case, this was a distinct revelation, the fact that I had a mind of my own which could actually formulate its own thoughts. Prior to this, all that I had done was read, listen, memorize and replicate on paper. In SPJIMR, however, the teachers wanted to listen to MY opinions and what I feel and why.

As they say, if you keep talking about something, you eventually start thinking about it. So we, our thought processes gradually progressing from tentative to assertive, learned to think for ourselves. I said all this at speech time last evening, prior to sampling the Aberfeldy, by the way, and I meant every word of it. Among those who attended was a man by far the most loved and respected by our bunch, Mr D. Sundaram. He used to teach us Cost Accounting, and more than anyone else, he taught us to use our minds, to use humor effectively in communication, and to be level headed and humble. He is now the Vice Chairman and CFO of India's largest FMCG company. He has an infectious charm which came through in a little speech last evening. He spoke about his fondness for teaching, and his delight at the fact that there is such camaraderie among us. For him, teaching was indeed a labor of love because he had to travel a very long distance, in several modes of public transport, because driving down was just too time consuming, and he had a pretty demanding full time job too. And he definitely did not need the money. He did it simply because he loved teaching. And he still retains that infectious enthusiasm and belief in people. Oh, we loved him!

The other professor who attended was Dr. R. Krishnamurthy, who taught us labor law. He was another one who drew extensively from his professional experience, just like Mr. Sundaram used to do, and in his class, we would be transformed from a bunch of bumbling students to senior executives trying to find a quick solution to some vexatious labor problem. He had a lot of wisdom, Dr. Krishnamurthy did, and he inspired us to think wisely as well. All this came back when he chatted with us last evening. The years just fell away.

Well, this is turning out to be a rambling post. I just wanted to make this a sort of a bulletin board for all our batchmates - I'll be sending invites to them so that they can post their thoughts, photographs etc here - and hopefully thiss will become a repository of mail ids, addresses and so on. Actually, I need to make this into a proper web-page. I'll try to figure out how to do this.

And a quick explanation about the title. We had a prof, who I won't name, who reveled in saying "See friends, no final answer" over and over again when faced with contradictory opinions from all over the class. This became a joke with us - not a very funny one, perhaps - and that phrase was eventually codified as "CFNFA ".