Saturday, April 26, 2008

Between the lines

A post long overdue

Ramblings of a colorful hue

The moods ranging from Red, White and Blue

The flavor of a perfect brew

The start of something new

The start of something new

The start of something new

August 2003 – April 2007:

The best years of my Life. Found a wonderful group of friends and a superb bunch of seniors. Whatever I am today, I owe it to these guys. I felt that I couldn’t have better Mentors and Companions in the formative years of my life. I realized the advantages of studying in a NIT.

Somewhere in my 3rd year, I started my preps for CAT. I took up CAT because I realized technical stuff is not my cup of tea. So took the default CAT route. Meanwhile discovered PG .Browsed a lot but hardly posted. During my 3rd year got an opportunity to work with The Times of India. I worked as a freelancer for almost a year. That’s where I developed an inclination towards Media. But as the one year passed, I realized that though I was good at writing, content creation was not what exactly I was looking for. I felt I needed to go beyond the content part and more into the business, planning and execution side of it. But I had a zilch idea of how to go about it. One day, my mentor at IMS talked about going for niche institutes like TISS, IRMA and MICA. I went and checked PG and found threads dedicated to MICA. I was able to see some enthusiastic aspirants talking about trying hard to get in. I developed contacts with Chuck_gopal and he told me a lot about MICA those days, taking the pains of answering my stupid queries, though he himself was an aspirant. Slowly, I started getting inclined towards MICA. As time flew past my fascination only grew.

Nov 2006:

Took CAT, did ok and ended up with a 95.xx. All hopes of getting into a regular MBA were dashed. I still had MICA in my hand. I started my preps for MICA GE/PI and did what a usual aspirant does. By then, I had already been converted into a MICA fanatic. I was pretty confident of making it to MICA as I felt I had done my bit (or so I thought). And how wrong I was! Had a decent MICAT and GE (Group Exercise). But the PI was just okayish and they didn’t really ask me anything. When the results came out, I was shocked. I didn’t make it. Following is my blog entry post result.

I consoled myself saying that I still have a good job at hand. Graduated and joined Accenture at Chennai in June 2007.

The Chennai Phase:

The time I spent in Chennai was superb courtesy puys. I was lucky again to find a wonderful peer group in them. I got back to serious preps in August and took the Sim Cats. This time around I was much clearer in my head. I was taking CAT with the sole intention of getting into MICA. I was doing decently in my mocks. I wrote CAT 2007 and felt I did ok .But when I came back and checked my answers; I was in for a shock. I fared pathetically in Verbal and DI. All my hopes of getting into MICA came crashing down. I went ahead and filled my MICA form. I was damn pissed with myself and wrote the following mail to chuck

I have checked my scores.
And after checking them, I don’t think that MICA would be interested in giving me an interview call.
I have screwed up royally in DI and Verbal keys are ambiguous as usual. So it seems that my dream of getting into MICA will have to wait.
I was reading Shantaram the other day and i came across a line there.
"Luck is what happens when fate gets tired of waiting "

Sincerely hoping that IIM's feel that I deserve a better Verbal score
and MICA feels I deserve to get in.
But all that will have to wait, because things don’t seem to be
happening well this time around.
Still going ahead and filling the MICA form. Will require your inputs on that.

I didn’t prepare a thing after this. But I still had faint hopes in my heart. So religiously worked on my MICA form.

CAT results were out. I was in for another shock. A pleasant one at that. My Verbal % ile rocketed to 97.xx thus pushing my overall %ile to 94.xx. I felt redeemed. I jumped into MICA preps and was consumed by a passion like none other. I did extensive preparations for my GE/PI, even to the extent of devouring a text on Media prescribed by MICA for Term I. I researched heavily on MICA and worked on each word of my MICA form. I just wasn’t ready to take any chances.

13th March 2008.

The Big day

Here goes my PI Experience

The 3 Panelist were
R1-----> Richa Agarwal
R2------> Rita Kothari
H ------> Hemant Trivedi
PWB ---> Yours truly the Prodigious Willing Bakra

Moi Enters and greetings exchanged.

H- Utsav, you are from Anand, so tell me which river flows near Anand.
PWD - Mahi River

H- No, there is another river which flows tell me about it.
PWD - No Idea

H - its ...Took a name which i had never heard in my life
[Checked with people in Anand.. no one has heard of it either ]

R1 takes over

R1- You career Path is Mechanical Engg----> Software------> MICA ? Where are you heading

PWB- Gave a very honest answer. Took Engg because that was the best option available to me after 12th.Told her about taking an IT job because could not make it to MICA last year.

H takes over again

H - You have studied in
Surat (NIT Surat). Were you there when the floods came last year? Why did the floods come?

PWB - Told about administrative apathy. Releasing cusecs of water blah blah. About water being not released after it crossed the danger mark.

H- I think every housewife has an earthen pot at her home. She knows when to close/open the tap of her earthen pot. What were the 'engineers" doing. That’s just basic commonsense. What use is their engineering then? Anyone could have done that job

PWB - Sir, One needs commonsense to open close the Dam gate, but one requires expertise to determine what the Danger level is. That’s where engineering comes in

H - Utsav, Tell me something about the different types of gates in a Dam
PWB- Sir

H repeats the question

PWB- Told him about that being a part of civil engineering, Me a Mechanical Engineer

H grilled me more on all that

R 2 takes over

R 2 - You worked for the response feature in TOI. What was your work all about?
PWB - Had a nice discussion with her on that.

R 2 - Why don’t you like self help books? (Form based dislikes)
PWB - Talked about books being written from a very personal perspective. Most authors US based. Themes not identifiable with Indians yada yada.

R 2 - Your mom is a PhD?
PWB - Yes Maam

R 2 - Which subject and what was her thesis topic?
PWB - Hindi - Ram kavya parampara main prakriti chitran

R 1, R 2, H - Can you please explain that ?
PWB - Explained them the thesis topic.

R 2 - What about your dad, Is he also a Ph D?
PWB - Yes Ma'am

R 2 - So who do you relate to more, your mom or dad?
PWB - Told Mom. Dad passed away when I was 10.

R 1 , R 2, H - Oh
R 2 - What books do you read ?
PWB - Talked about fiction, non fiction , authors etc

R 2 seemed satisfied

R 1 takes over again

R 1 - I think you are a waste of National Resources
PWB - Maam I didn’t get you

R 1 You have wasted an engineering seat in a good college . It could have gone to a deserving student.
PWB - talked about learning, and the development of thought process yada yada

R 1 - You don’t deserve to be a software engineer in an organization like Accenture
PWB - Talked about company must have invested in me only if they saw potential, told that can give any other software engineer a run for his money

R 1 - What do you do in your free time.?
PWB - Talked about thinking and observing things around me. Talked about Why Tiger woods is our Brand Ambassador, Branding of Accenture etc (The only MICA relevant thing I felt )

R 1
- Thank you Utsav, You can leave now

Somewhere in the middle, talked about my work and security of a career. Forgot some part.

Nothing on Media Management, on MICA, Favorite Ads, Hated ads, expectations from MICA

Came out. I lost appetite. Met some other MICAns I knew.

After the horrible interview, I felt like killing myself. I think my reaction to the interview had two different but yet similar (I Know sounds confusing) aspects to it.

The Knee jerk reaction: The moment I came out of the interview, I felt I blew it. The feeling was so overpowering at that very moment, so intensely it manifested itself, that it took me by surprise. I felt that a strange void had developed in me or rather enveloped me, in those 20 minutes. A void which was so devoid of any hope or even a faint streak of faith which was like an empty dried up well in a parched land. The well had always been providing for its people, quenching their thirsts, on which the life of the people depended. The fate and condition of the well was directly linked to those of the people. One fine day, they discover that the well is dry. It’s now just a deep ditch, in which the future of the people totters, dirtying itself in the messy muddy water that has been left for it. The future is not perennially damaged, as the mud can be washed off. But the appearance it dons presently is enough to give one an outlook of a bleak future, a terrifying end and a start of truckload of problems staring at me point blank.

The second reaction: The one of a more logical and rational analysis of the situation. Unfortunately that didn’t happen either, at least not completely. All the preparation I had done, all the hours of hard work put in , all the little sacrifices I made, All the hours of brainstorming that went in, came rushing back to me. The only thought which came to my head: So much for just these shitty 20 minutes. The mistake I made was a very simple one: I expected way too much. I expected the perfect interview. I fell into the trap, of hoping that things will go the way I imagined, the way I planned. I set the bar so high for myself, I set an unrealistic expectation, which in the heart of my hearts, knew will not happen. My escapist tendencies got the better of me and I refused to see things as they were. I was not ready to accept, that yet again, luck had played out its neat little game. Luck is a mistress from the far away lands. You hear great stories of its beauty, its glory, its power to sway fortunes, conquer kingdoms, annihilate people, humble the haughty and you see all this as an innocent bystander. You are secure at the back of the mind, that you are shielded from its fickle actions. You accept that hard work can get you anywhere, irrespective of whether the lady favors you. Then, one fine day, when you are at the precipice of your destiny, she swoops in from nowhere, blindfolds you and spins you around. It then expects you to reach your target, minus the focus, minus the determination, minus the direction and most importantly the faith. You, who were sitting on a gold mine a little while ago, are now more like an average Californian during the Gold Rush, who just came in with equipments, having as much idea about mining as you have of figuring out why you are still reading this rambling of mine.

21st March:

Exactly 1 year after last years reject, got a message from Chuck saying that the results are out. He asked me to check my mail. There I found a mail from the Admissions which said

Form #: 5656


Congratulations! You have been selected for the PGPCM 2008-2010.

My mind went blank. I just stared into the screen like an Idiot. I was now a MICAn.

A few Learning’s:

1.Don‘t take CAT too seriously. It’s just an exam. There is life beyond CAT and the IIM's.

2. Never buckle under pressure. I learnt this from my mom, who single handedly brought up my elder sister and me without anyone’s support. I feel my task was much much easier than hers.

3. Accept failure. Understand why you failed. Move on.

4. You are probably 20/25/30. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t kill yourself for failing in life. We all fail. It all boils down to how hard we take on ourselves.

5. Keep focus, especially if you are aiming for a niche institute. You will have your moments of self doubt, the lure of going for a regular MBA, Fat salaries. Be prepared to take the risk of taking up a niche course. Battle your insecurities. All this because you are still ahead of most people. You already know what you want to do.

Someone asked me: Now what? You have achieved what you wanted. So what’s next?

Dreams are not just to be achieved. They are to be lived once they turn into reality. It’s the culmination of all the effort you put in. The thrill of wanting something and then getting it is unparalleled. In these 22 revolutions the earth has made, I have realized, failure is not fatal, and Success is not final. They are not final points in our lives, they are just milestones, indicating that the road is yet to traveled and unraveled. What ultimately counts is what you gain from the chasm of time between these milestones, between success and failure.

P.S Oops!! For the uninitiated : MICA