Long time no see..
So the spring break has started but I do not have any break because there is this one week course that I have to take in this week, but later I would have the option to drop one course. I still have one take home exam left. It is so long..20 questions, each question takes two-three hours. This concept of take home is new for me. So the exam can be done from home using books, Internet except that it should be individual effort. In fact, the Harvard cheating case that was so much in news a few weeks ago was due to the reason that a lot of students had collaborated on a take home exam.
Anyways, I had wanted to write one post after the first term got over about how the MBA experience is. I don't talk much about the MBA stuff because I feel I am not just smart enough. But there are somethings which I wanted to share about MBA and the US in general that I feel.
Firstly, a lot of schools talk about class diversity in terms of the students' background, their work experience - they want different people from different backgrounds. So if you are from an arts background with an experience in say an NGO, you have a very strong chance of entering even if your GMAT score is very low, even 500 is sufficient. But the thing is that this diversity is also a big dampener in your job prospects. Employment in the US is given based on your previous job experience, so it is very difficult to change your career after an MBA because you just don't have experience in that field. The higher the experience you have, the more difficult to change career. I have people in my class - one of them is a professor of biology who is doing his MBA now but companies are very reluctant to hire him because he just doesn't have any experience in finance or marketing or whatever. If one is a career advancer, an MBA is the right path for him. This diversity thing is a case of different priorities. Schools want diversity to have a difference of opinion and they are ranked by the diversity component but employers don't care about diversity, they want the perfect background. If you have an undergraduate degree in finance, MBA in finance, with experience in the financial services sector, get ready to make millions! Also, MBA studies require a very high level of quantitative analytical skills, so if you are someone with no knowledge of maths/statistics, students with no such background struggle a lot. I really don't know the solution.
Secondly, about the international students. Here again, schools are ranked according to the number of international students in the class. Last year, some schools hired a number of international students to increase their average GMAT score but again, the problem comes in the job! To work in this country, you need sponsorship. An employer needs to sponsor an H-1 B visa that will allow you to work here. The problem is that it is such a tedious process, that companies just refuse to sponsor the visa. The thing why it is complicated is that they have to prove to the US government that that there is no one in the domestic pool whose qualifications match the job description and hence they need to hire an international candidate. In the technology sector, it is somewhat simpler to get a visa because not many domestic US candidates go for MS in computers/technology. So, I am sure you would know many friends of yours who would be working in California in a technology company. Those companies have no choice but to sponsor the visa else they won't run! In fact, the technology sector here is just because of the international candidates. The problem comes in the MBA job market. There are companies like Intel that sponsor visa only for technology jobs but refuse any international candidate for business level jobs. If you are not from a Top-15 school, finding a job of your liking is slightly challenging. For business level jobs, companies have people in the US who can work for them, they do not need to hire others. In fact, I don't know any big company in the marketing sector that sponsors. Domestic candidates are very good at marketing, which indeed they are, and most of the US students do marketing. So, international students have to leverage their previous experience. Companies offer IT project management jobs and sponsor for them, so people from IT background especially Indians are offered such jobs. Consulting is another sector which readily sponsors for business level jobs because you need very smart people for it and international students are generally very smart. So if someone who wants to shift careers and is an international candidate, finding a job is slightly difficult. And finding a job is very unlike Indian B-schools. In India, we have a dedicated placement time where all companies come to campus and students apply, etc. Here, finding a job is a year-long process. You have to apply yourself, you have to go to the company for the interview, you have to network with people. So, finding a job is all your effort. Career services of MBA schools does help, but the best they can do is get you an interview. I have applied to about 250 companies and have got only a handful of interview calls. All the companies are from the healthcare sector because I had my engineering in biotechnology. In the application form, there is a question that every company asks: Do you now or in the future require a visa? And you have to answer yes, and they simply apply the filter and you are not selected even for the first round. Even for internships this the problem. Basically, we are only allowed to work for 20 hours and only on campus during the two years. To intern with a company, the office of international students has to give you permission to work for a company in the summer, which everyone gets. After you graduate, every student can work for one year in the period called Optional Practical Training. One can be unemployed during this period for a maximum of three months, after that if you don't have a job, you have to go back to your country. This OPT application has to be approved by the US Government. That is why you see all rankings give a feature of percentage of people with jobs after three months of graduation. There are so many rules and regulations that we have to follow that I get scared sometimes. I had thought that once I got my US visa, things would be simpler but little did I know that it was just the beginning :) I have also been exploring an option of PhD. I have put every other problem in the back burner for now and just focusing on this. I will find a job here no? Main sab kuch to karta hun.. What else do I do? One knows his capabilities, I just wish I was slightly more smart and had some analytical skills and maybe more passionate about these things - finance, technology, thinking. Let's see how many battles I have to fight more :)
So, what else is happening? I finally wrote my final ethics paper. In December 2012, New York Post, on its front page, published a photograph of 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han, who was pushed onto the railway tracks by an assailant at the 49th Street station in Manhattan and was looking at the oncoming train that moments later took his life. The image sparked off a big debate not only on the ethics of publishing this picture by New York Post but also on the character of the photographer itself. The picture forces us to think two ethical questions: should the picture have been taken in the first place, and secondly, should it have been published at all. So I wrote on the ethics of photojournalism. I am not going to get a good grade in this class, I know it.
Also, someone on Facebook posted this excellent article on Ang Lee and the uncertainty of success. What is it that makes reading about people's failures so inspirational? I was just having this discussion with R that how can we overcome jealousy and these failures.. these lines were so brilliant..
If you’re an aspiring author, director, musician, start up founder, these long stretches of nothing are a huge reason why it’s important to pick something personally meaningful, something that you actually love to do. When external rewards and validation are nonexistent; when you suffer through bouts of jealousy, wondering “How come so-and-so got signed/is successful/got a deal/etc?”; when every new development seems like a kick in the stomach, the love of what you are doing gives you something to hang onto.
Much is made of genius and talent, but the foundation of any life where you get to realize your ambitions is simply being able to out-last everyone through the tough, crappy times — whether through sheer determination, a strong support network, or simply a lack of options.
Do read the excellent article here: http://jeffjlin.com/2013/02/23/ang-lee-and-the-uncertainty-of-success/
And I got a message from S that she read my blog after a really long time and she felt nice and relaxed after reading. D also sends me a message that "you touch hearts, especially those looking for solace". I must admit I was flattered but I am a very mediocre writer in all honesty. I have very little thoughts of my own - mainly I can say I am a good aggregator. That is why I feel really stupid - I just wish I was really good at something. I cannot be a good writer and as I said, one knows his capabilities, I wish I was at least a good writer :( Talking of solace, it is a funny thing. You know what gives me solace these days? Washing utensils..yes, I am not kidding. My room mate said when he played tennis, he feels relaxed. I then started thinking. Recently, whenever I washed utensils, it made me feel good. I know it is a very stupid thing but cleaning them of all the spots and seeing a clean sink is almost therapeutic :) Monica used to clean the house no? Izzie used to bake when she was stressed. I also need to learn baking. I want to try everything. Today, I made pasta for myself.
And also, this super awesome poster on how to be more creative. Sing in the shower :)
So, in Downton Abbey, Matthew and Mary got married but I know Matthew is going to die soon. It was in the news recently that he is going to die in the season finale. Why can't they let a good couple live in peace? I loved the wedding. In the episode, Matthew says to Mary, I wouldn't be happy with anyone else as long as you walk the earth.
Loved this scene when Mr. Carson and Lord Grantham looked at Mary
Mary greeted Mr. Carson first instead of her father Lord Grantham
Matthew: To be honest, I wasn't sure you'd show up
Mary: Good, I'd hate to be predictable
And there was an excellent exchange between the two grand moms regarding tradition. Mary's maternal grandmother is an American while her paternal grandmother is British and they were talking about the tradition of groom not beeing able to see the bride before the wedding.
Martha Levinson: “Nothing ever alters for you people does it. Revolutions erupt and monarchies crash to the ground and the groom still cannot see the bride before the wedding.”
Countess Violet: “You Americans never understand the importance of tradition.”
Martha Levinson: “Yes we do, we just don’t give it power over us. History and tradition took Europe into a world war. Maybe you should think about letting go of its hand.”
It's so true no?
And finally - the one movie that I just can't get enough of. I watched Dil Chahta Hai again and as usual every time I watch I find something that I hadn't noticed before.
Did you know that Kiran Rao made a fleeting apperance in Dil Chahta Hai? I was looking and suddenly I see that in a scene with Deepa, there is this lady who looks like Kiran Rao and then I looked carefully. She was Kiran Rao!! I have seen that movie hundreds of time, but never saw her! See below.
Another trivia I found: Tara says the flat that she lives is provided by her company. And you know on the name place it is written Excel International Ltd. Excel is name of the company that Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani own.
I think Sid absolutely loved painting portraits. There are so many of them that we can see
Unnamed but Aakash thinks is Ms. Kashyap, their Economics Teacher
In the party, Sid draws Shalini
Aakash's portrait in his room is painted by Sid too no?
Unnamed portrait from the best scene ever :)
Sid's favorite one :)
Which he gifts to Tara..the wall behind :)
And similar to professions, Tara and Sid's houses were very similar too.
The houses of both of them are filled with pictures.
They also had similar tastes :)
There are some interesting ducks/cranes/pigeons in Sid's room
Tara buys an interesting flying bird thing
Sid is so awesome. Each and every expression of his is so genuine.
Bored in social settings
Completely solves the Rubik's Cube!!
Happy in Tara's happiness :)
And some more thing which I felt about him. I think Deepa had a very big influence on Sid. You remember the scene where he talks to Deepa, he says
Sid: Kabhi kabhi sochta hun, koi kisi ko kyun chahta hai, kyun chahti ho use?
Deepa: Yeh main nahi jaanti, bas chahti ho use?
Sid: Yeh jaante hue bhi Aaksh tumhe nahi chahta?
Deepa: Haan, tab bhi..
Sid: Tum khoobsourat ho, intelligent ho, tumhen to hazaron ladke mil jayenge..Aisi ummidein hi nahi karni chahiyen...
And later on he feels the same predicament as her!
He was trying to convince Deepa that why does she love Aakash when she can find so many other good boys? And later on Aakash and Sameer say the same things, he gives the answer what Deepa gave that he just loves Tara. Isn't it likely then Deepa had an influence over him?
Aakash: Kya samjhe hun? Tu keh raha hai ki tujhe aisi aurat se pyaar ho gaya ho tujhse 10-15 saal badi hai, jiski ek beti, jiska ek pati tha, tu khud hume keh chuka hai that she's got a drinking problem..kya samjhe hum?
Sid: Yehi ki yeh sab jaante hue bhi main usse pyaar karta hun.
I seriously wish they had shown more of Deepa :)
Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts on it :)
Dialogue of the Day:
You know what Aakash, zindagi me ek aisa waqt aata hai jab humein saccha pyaar ho jata hai.
- Sid, Dil Chahta Hai