Saturday, August 07, 2004

Gearing up

Am sitting in the IIMB CC after a long day of work (study + assignments). With the end-sems coming in the next 2 weeks it is going to be a hectic 2-3 weeks. Work pressure at office is guranteed to build up during this time, since Im into a new role, which needs a lot of study (yes, more of it!) and a lot of presentations, and coordination. Hope I dont get stressed out at the end of it all, considering we have 3 reports, 1 presentation and 3-4 exams to get over within these 3 weeks.

We got a circular from PGSM team about the electives being offered next quarter. This includes a few courses on
Finance (Investments, Banking, Finance markets and systems, Risk management, Computational Finance),
Business Marketing Strategy,
Corporate Governance,
Political Economy,
a couple of courses on Enterpreuneurship (E & VC, Corp E & Venturing, Social E),
Strategic Behavior and Industrial Organization,
Business Data Mining and
one on Creating High Performance Organizations.

Quite a variety. Some are interesting in a genuine sense, e.g. E & VC seems promising, with a lot of readings (again!) and an activity to come up with a detailed business plan at the end. Coursework includes extensive readings, videos, case studys (interviews with successful enterpreuneurs), reading from journals and novels and generally seems to be a high value adding course, especially if you are planning on or are genuinely interested in starting your own venture, now or in the future. Will have to weigh in the excess course load, against the advantages if any, and how immediate.

The most interesting course to be offered is on "Spirituality and Self-development for the Global Manager"; the write up seems truly impressive, with the course aiming at a number of things which one one typically not hear of, including a promise of getting the gist of all the great religions, and things like "realizing the underlying order that governs the universe", things youd hardly expect in a subject like management! But perhaps it is not surprising. In fact, with complexity (and abstractness) of any dicipline increasing, courses which are more wholistic and genuine are hard to come by. Hope (Im quite sure actually, having seen the prof) that this is a genuine attempt at achieving something of this sort. I do hope however that it does not go too much into the esoteric and un-practical, especially when I see words like Sensing, Flowing, hidden order that governs the universe etc. Just curious as to how such a course could be pulled off.

Have been reading (rather trying to read) a highly abstract book which kind of resonates with the subject of the abstract in general - its called "The order of things: an archaeology of the Human sciences" by Michel Foucault (20th century French Philosopher). This book was a classic when it was launched, and one can make it out from the breadth of coverage, and the lucidity of writing, though it can get a bit boring and a bit dense in some places. It is however phenomenal how any person is able to come up with something of this magnitude in terms of the sheer magnitude and depth of thought. Im in my first reading and I am yet unable to get a overall idea of it (having read about a third part). Some of these philosophy guys are in a league of their own (just like some of the most accomplished scientists or mathematicians). There have been few books which I have found "difficult" to read, and this includes one of them (others are - "Being and Time" - Heidegger, "Tractatus logico philosphicus" - Witgenstein, the existential philosophy writings of John Paul Sartre, just to give a sample :).

Anyway, I think I count myself as a fairly techie person, and what Id look for in the courses from IIM is a perspective to gain more of the soft skills, and domain knowledge in management. Im attracted to finance due to its technical nature, and large scope for analysis and application, and find things like Marketing a bit boring, ie. unless Im in a marketing sort of role, which I am not. But there are areas in business which Id like to explore more, like Strategy, International Business, Basic Negotiation skills etc. Lets see how things turn up!



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