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The CAT and my 1000 Rupee joke.

with 6 comments

Yesterday was the D-Day for a considerable section of the Indian student population. It was the day of an insanely useless exam which decides whether you get a chance to enter into the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) or not. When I say for a considerable section of the ‘Indian student population’, I am actively excluding myself from that. In spite of actually writing the exam I fall under the category of those who did it because they don’t have anything better to do on a fine Sunday morning. In an exam driven student society, writing exams doesn’t seem too weird or difficult to me. But what does seem weird to me are my reasons for writing this exam. In fact, the only reason I even wrote this exam was ‘to please my parents’. For all those of us who quote that reason and talk as if they are pouring out love for their ‘birth-givers’, we all know deep inside that its just to stop the inescapable nagging afterwards. I have never been moved by love before, and I won’t ever be.

And about how I did the exam. The exam itself was pretty enjoyable and I found the paper pretty easy. I might even say that I could get an ‘IIM’ call or something. The sad thing being that if I do get a call, I deny the opportunity for a worthwhile or a deluded student from even having that chance. Seems like a dog in the manger (manger even sounds very similar to manager!). I hate myself when I do that. I liked the reading comprehensions, especially for the standards of CAT they were actually pretty enjoyable and well written. Or maybe they were all about topics I was interested in, things like linguistics, effects of globalisation, etc…. But for the 2 hours of entertainment I got, I would have preferred satyam. its cheaper and has comfortable chairs. But the whole reason I am against the current exam system, is because I don’t particularly approve of the idea of a direct UG to IIM. And No!, working for two years in INFOSYS/TCS doesn’t count as real work experience.

In fact, as I am aspiring to start my own company I would also have to know what management is all about. And from what I can see, the best management education should be about learning what not to do rather than what to do. Lets start with the persistent butt of my jokes – Microsoft. No, I am not saying they are a bad company. The “Microsoft is Evil? camp is hogwash. They are a company and they do what they need to do. Apart from the monopolistic practices that is. But in true free markets monopolies have very low sustainability anyway. They make some very good products, MS-Word for example. And I would probably put their compilers and Dev-tools in that camp too (and no, windows doesn’t come in this list). But they seem to have a hard time catching up to Google. Hmm, the reason I believe is the infestation of MBA types. When I say the MBA types its not just those run of the mill , I’m from IIM types, but also those who think they come from that category. And the rot, starts from the top. Losing out employees to google, getting MS bad PR with ‘the chair incident’? That doesn’t seem too smart. So what were they thinking, any PR is good PR? Consider this for a moment,

Adam : ‘Hey! Eve, did you hear about Steve B throwing the chair because someone left for google?’
Eve : Yeah, its all over slashdot! MS can’t even treat their own employees with respect. <turning her nose with disgust>
Adam : That just reminds me I have to order 3000 copies of Windows Vista.

Not happening guys! In all probability,Eve will dump Adam and start sleeping with the snake. See thats one thing not to do. Don’t fuck with your reputation. There are a lot of ‘not to do’ things which never seem to get taught anywhere. This is not to say good managers are unimportant, just that IIM types don’t fit well within software product companies. IIM’s might work for big banks, infy and tcs because all they seem to do is work on corporate consulting. I don’t think you have a fickle market with your competitors going for your throat there.

Secondly talking about Infosys and TCS and the fact that every politician is beating their breasts about India being the next IT super power is going to be one of the worst mistakes that India is ever going to make. Its appalling that our politicians balk in the glory of unsustainable growth. Infosys and TCS bring good money into the country, but unfortunately all this good money is being disproportionately fed back into the same companies in some way or the other. Things like building subsidized software parks and crap. Part of it is my fucking tax money too, and I would like to see some real development. How about roads? How about giving these ’sops’ to the textile industries. How about creating basic infrastructure. People who decry the globalisation might think this is all the effect of it. But no, its the effect of a seriously misguided polity trying to (mis?)manage an economy on the brink of change. And even if there seem to be sane voices around they aren’t loud enough. There are times when I wonder whether its better having an ‘insane’ left, rather than a misguided right. but I mentally kick myself into sanity in a while. No politician wants to be the guy who killed the ‘IT Boom’, even though it will eventually squash itself to death under its own weight unless companies like infosys seriously start diversifying and restructuring. Simply put, they don’t seem to have the balls to do what it takes. Unless politicians start growing those or we get ones with real balls, India’s IT Superpower dreams are will only remain as dreams.

Signing Off,
Vishnu Vyas.


Written by vishnuvyas

November 21, 2005 at 4:30 am

6 Responses

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  1. Unlike your other posts, I didn’t see a point in this one. You started off with CAT and ended up beating th politicians (bashing TCS/Infosys and MS in the process)?
    As for the “Not to do” things, I don’t think anyone *will ever* teach them. Sounds weird, but in most occasions, you decide what you shouldn’t do by just doing it (insert burning your fingers, learning from mistakes and all that talk).


    November 22, 2005 at 4:16 am

  2. Hi!, actually I wanted to convey a point, but I got digressed and ended up conveying a lot of other points unrelated to the title instead.
    No the MS bit wasn’t MS bashing, It was just to explain that no matter how big a corp. you are you shouldn’t hurt your reputation. Reputation matters.

    And Infy/TCS thing was about how we seem to be doing a lot of the wrong things, and why no politician seems to be bothered about. Just a collection of inchorent ramblings, but thanks for taking the time to comment :D.

    Vishnu Vyas

    November 22, 2005 at 6:24 am

  3. Vishnu:
    I have an “Austrian” (check out to understand what that term means in the Economics context) perspective on what is happening in the Indian economy. Basically we have had an overly centralized, socialist economy, which impoverished us for decades. Then a crack opened with private sector colleges, mainly in the South. More than any education they provided (everyone knows what the quality of the “education” is), what they provided was raw, enthuisastic, motivated kids. IT companies came along to export the brains. Within the context of the system, this is good thing. If not for these IT companies, we would have a whole bunch of “educated” unemployed, and all of South India would be looking like Kerala.

    In a free market, the rupee would have apprecaited enough already to make simple “brain renting” unviable as a business proposition. A stronger rupee would have automatically helped the poorest Indian, by boosting their purchasing power. In the last 10 years, we in the IT/exporting industries made out well, but the poor people have not and I say that as a liberatarian capitalist. The government is to blame.

    Once the export sector starts thriving, keeping the rupee low becomes an end in itself (“Exports are good”). An active lobby develops to keep the rupee low (which keeps the non-exporting Indians poorer).

    In a perverse way, it also hurts the exporting industry, because you don’t have to raise productivity, and can take refuge under easy business models like exporting brains.

    None of this is a consequence of a free market. It is a direct consequence of central planning (and central banking).



    November 22, 2005 at 6:54 pm

  4. My point was never about the brain renting being bad, but just that most of what IT companies atleast in the software services industry seem to do are in general unsustainable. My guess is that all of infosys and most of TCS, CTS (and all permutations thereof) will be replaced by technology.
    AI? Brute force? Statistical Learning and Inference? Maybe. I don’t know. But I do know that this is just a stop gap solution and its good that we are making money out of it.

    But the government trying to make this an end in itself and betting its entire economy on duct-tape is truly bad. What I am saying is if the government works to provide good infrastructure, senisble market laws and things that would in general improve the living conditions of the people here, then all those software technology parks will be built automatically by companies. Government expenditure should be for the betterment of the people, not politicians and the next election. But I don’t think thats going to happen.

    And yes, this isn’t a product of the free market or capitalism, its a product of a government that behaves like the ‘pointy-haired boss’ in dilbert – or in other words moronic. A true free market is the idelogical equivalent of what I have been calling ‘The Order of Nature’ for the lack of a better phrase, monopolies (us human’s) aren’t sustainable (environmental pollution for starters) unless we learn to cooperate. In a free market checks and balances are grown into the system and doesn’t come pre-built. But what people are afraid is that at what cost do we get this? Not free obviously, but is the cost justifiable. Can our ‘intelligence’ help us in finding clever ways around the cost? Maybe, but all solutions so far haven’t worked at all.

    Central planning in theory is not a bad idea. Its adding intelligence or guidance to the inherently chaotic free-market system. But as we all know, in practice, theory is not right. But atleast I’m happy there are more active voices against this. The louder it gets, the better we are.



    November 23, 2005 at 7:54 pm

  5. True True True. Writing Enterance Exams is crappy, but in here, how about no Enterance Exams, but more Moronic Ways ? Here atleast in Tamil Nadu, a new law states that you will be admitted to colleges based on your +2 Marks, Date of Birth, Caste and even more Moronically, a Draw of Lots. Well, Life of students depends on a Lotterry. How Moronic these politicians can turn out to be….


    December 30, 2005 at 2:45 am

  6. More moronic than we usually expect them to be. The system of entrance examinations usually reveals a lack of confidence in their own testing systems.

    A much more ideal way would be to use a process similar to application process used my american universities, where interested students apply to the universities of their choice and then get in.

    But with rampant corruption and indiscriminate admissions that system is doomed here in India, I have seen that right before my eyes, in my college when it turned deemed.


    December 30, 2005 at 6:16 am

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