Tuesday, September 07, 2010

11 rules from Bill Gates' speech

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

My pics 4 and 11.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Visiting Darden

As part of my bschool visits, I visited the Darden school of business at the University of Virginia on sep 6th. My first reaction on entering the school was "Classy" . Everything starting from the building to the fireplaces reminded me of the victorian era. The students were very helpful and so was the admissions office and the professors. One of the students offered to host me at his town house and I had the opportunity to meet his two roommates (Darden students). It was really great spending some quality time with them and see how they go about their preperation for the next day. Darden deals entirely in cases and I had a chance to understand the next day's case before hand. As I am not aware of the tools they use , the first question I asked was how do you know about all these concepts ?. Did you learn them before hand ?. I actually put the same question to a few others and all of them had a single response. "When you spend 4 hours a day with your learning team, you end up learning the stuff" . Team plays a very vital role at Darden. So if some one is not comfortable working in a team or doesn't enjoy sharing knowledge and expanding horizons, Darden is not for them.

The day of the class visit started with the first coffee. I had a chance to meet some current students at the bschool and interacted with them to understand what motivated them to attend Darden. I felt first coffee is a great tradition, giving an opportunity to meet the faculty and co students. After a brief coffee Shivram N, my student rep accompanied me to the class on Decision Analysis by Professor Lichtendal. I was in the class along with another visitor , who happend to be working for the FBI :) ... The class started with the customary section tradition of clapping on the walls /benches etc... which was fun and I guess relaxes the students and gets them into the proper mood. Darden classes are highly interactive. The session continued with a discussion of the previous case on NPVs that they discussed and the lessons learnt from it. At Darden , the professor acts just a facilitator. It started with "cold calling" a student who spoke about her understanding and learnings from the case , to which another student added a point and it continued. All this while the professor was silently making points on the black board and was occassionally providing cues so as to direct the process. I now understand it is a great way to learn. After 15mins , three teams were asked to do a mock consulting presentation to the client from the case to be discussed. Three students were selected as the judges and were required to evaluate the teams. The presentations were very skillfully done with various assumptions , which the teams substantiated. The really fun and interesting part of this mechanism was the opportunity that was given for cross questioning. I remember the ire I used to face when I happend to ask a question in Principles Of management (POM) class at BITS. At my undergrad questioning a prof or a student giving the presenatation was a strict no-no . I could feel the cultural difference at Darden. It was through cross questioning and interaction that students learned concepts like CAPRatio. I wish we at BITS change our attitudes. The class was highly interactive, engaging and fun. For three quarters of the class I forgot that the professor was present except for his occassionaly announcements about the time.

The class ended with a student taking a voluntary punishment for letting his mobile ring in the previous class :) ... he was asked to place his mobile on his forehead and walk backwards. I found Darden students to be fun loving and professional in equal measure. Post class , I went around Charlottesville . It turned about to be a nice quaint town and Virginia students are present everywhere. Later I met Prof. Lichtendal and discussed my career aspirations and how Darden can help me meet them. He was extremely responsive and friendly. Darden faculty has an open door policy and you can walk into a professor's room if the door is open.

On the whole , I am highly highly impressed with Darden. When they write on their website that they are collaborative , the really mean it and it is pervasive all through the campus and community. My resolve to attend Darden has now increased leaps and bounds. I shall put in as good an application as I can :) ... wish me good luck.