The monkey is off my shoulder

Remember I had a list of to-do’s in the first post. The very first was to apply for passport. I finally applied my passport today and got the file reference number generated to track the application online. I should accept the process was far simple in Bangalore compared to what i had to go through in Chennai (I had tried applying in chennai, gave up for a very funny reason).

It took some 3 hours in the Head Post Office – Jayanagar who handle passport applications from west Bangalore. The Passport Manager there was very helpful and made sure there was no mistakes in the application.. The most surprising fact was that there was no queue, I was the only person in that room. (I guess everyone have their passports made already 😦 I was late)

So the application is done from my side. I am waiting for the police verification now. I hope things go hastily and I get the passport without any problem. I know what would happen if some problem occurs in passport applications.. I hope I don’t have to face that all. 🙂

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And, The Journey Continues…

~ Subash

Artisan Economy

This is one term I see in many articles on Business trends and Economy. I was curious to know what it is actually and why is getting all the attention from the Small Business/Economic fraternity.

What Does Artisan essentially mean in an Economic context..

An artisan, also called a craftsman, is a skilled manual worker who uses tools and machinery in a particular craft.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artisan

A more rational explanation for the usage of this word in the context of the Economy of 21st century was in an article @ www.smallbiztrends.com(Best feed to subscribe 😉 ) which quotes..

The 21st century artisan is a Web designer, or an author, or a manufacturer of a small but exclusive line of luxury items, or a consultant in a niche specialty, or an entrepreneurial-minded attorney who starts selling information products, or an online retailer, or a software developer, or … the list goes on.

The summary of this view is that the coming decade will see continuing economic transformation and the emergence of a new artisan economy. Many of the new artisans will be small and personal businesses, merchant, craftsmen producing specialty goods for an increasingly large pool of customers seeking unique, and customized products.

The advantages of Artisan Economy is that the Large businesses will use smaller businesses as a source of innovation and small businesses will be involved in global commerce. Large companies will recognize small businesses not only as customers, but as suppliers and partners.

It is a perception (or even true to some extent) business is at the mercy of larger forces you’re not in control. But focus on the many positive trends you are living amidst. We may realize that we have more control over the destiny of our work, and we can improve and innovate.

For more insight and in depth details on prediction and trends on Future of Small Business, go through the 3 Phase report from Intuit on Future of Small Business. I will have to mention another interesting article/case study on Globalization and Artisan Economy where an interesting case study on Varanasi silk weaving industry.

The Microsoft – Yahoo Bear Hug

Off late I have been reading Business related news feeds regularly to just get a feel of happenings in the Business world and also keep in touch with current affairs 🙂 (Err.. actually getting myself jargonized) . Honestly at present I don’t get 90% of the things said and talked about where the other 10% is the Information Technology Business related ones. So here is my view on the latest buzz in the IT world.. The Microsoft-Yahoo merger talks.

Its well known that Yahoo rejected the bid from Microsoft. It’s widely regarded as a mating dance from Yahoo so that they can get a better offer. In the mean time its interesting to see that Yahoo has relaunched a bid to merge with AOL (which they made earlier and didn’t materialize). This in my view is unlikely to happen as AOL doesn’t have a strong search based Ad market which is the main reason why the companies found themselves needing an alternative for Google in the Search and Small-business Ad marketing.

In my opinion the merger is a good thing because of two reasons:

  • To find a refreshing alternative to Google in Search engine and search based businesses.
  • To have another serious contender in pay-per-click, search based advertising market.

An article in New York Times on the same topic insists one of the key aspects of a big name merger. Everyone would think that such a merger will lessen the competition but the article prefers to differ. This particular deal is seen as one which would increase the competition in the internet domain.
The merger has a main advantage is that it offers alternative hope for the small business industry. Google’s pay-per-click advertising was a major source of advertising for small and medium businesses who didn’t have the big money to spend on online advertisements. This deal might give two players that have struggled with their search engines the potential to combine search expertise and resources into something that actually might give Google a run for the money. Worst case, even if Microsoft acquired Yahoo and somehow made Yahoo search “less open 😉 ” we’d still be in the same boat which we are already on now:- for all practical purposes, one search engine – Google.

On the contrary we can also try to think what Yahoo might do if the deal does not materialize. I have a feeling the best way to go would be to split up the company into small independent units 🙂 . Sounds weired right.. but acc to me it might just work out with the following plan..

  • Collaborate with Google for search. This will improve Yahoo’s cash flow from Ads.
  • Split up into individual business.. for eg: Flickr, delicious, Finance and similar services separately and keep the Mail, My Yahoo, Groups into one parent organization in the same brand name Yahoo.

Not only would this allow Yahoo to remain independent, it would bring new focus to the services Yahoo offers.

Decision On Destination

It was sometime around Jan 2008 when I began to research on the Business school rankings n stuff like that. I was very sure of one thing, that I will be going abroad to do my MBA. Thinking about the list of probable countries where one can pursue MBA from, there were not many which came to my mind. Its always the same list :- US , Canada, UK, Australia.

These are the major factors to consider while choosing a B-School/Country:

  • The Institute and it’s MBA course’s reputation worldwide (Rank in global top-100, Group of eight, Group of 13, Affiliations etc..)
  • Cost of Education – (A major factor for me considering the big risk involved in spending a humongous amount of money)
  • Country’s Economy, Job market, Immigration/Work Visa options – (Obviously no one would want to return empty handed.. )

It’s well known that US and Canada are the dream destination for management studies due to their economy and availability of management jobs aplenty. I said to myself that for sure, I am not going to give GMAT. I have tried this thing before, i.e.. preparing for a competitive exam. When I start on a long term preparation I have a tendency to lose momentum in due course.. But this time I am motivated to make this happen, hence no distractions – Shortest Path Fisrt!

US and Canadian B-Schools are very specific about GMAT score, and most of the better ones demand a score of about 700 to 740. I thought I would try to get into a B-School based on my work experience and IELTS score alone, In that case the possible destinations are UK and Australia. I had a small no-no for US as I knew the cost of education is way too high, exceeding the max loan limit for education loans in India. 🙂

On getting some clarity on the destination countries, We (Me, Raja and Pras) started to research B-Schools in those countries which are reputed and listed consistently in top100 global lists. We had got a list of 6 to 8 B-schools from Australia and 9 B-Schools from UK. Pras had even searched for EU B-Schools which accept without GMAT.

With a list of possible B-Schools ready, we started to do research on the most important part of all (according to me at least 😀 ) :- Work Visa and Immigration options. I would list down the post MBA options in the two countries as follows..

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£ UK

  • International Graduates Scheme [Link]
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP) [Link]

For applying to the first scheme where you are allowed to work for a period of 12 months in the UK after graduation, You must have graduated from a list of 50 B-Schools. Unfortunately the only good B-School with no-GMAT listed in that list of 50 is Bradford. So that pretty much reduced the option of studying in UK to just one B-School – Bradford Univ. School of Management.

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$ Australia

  • PR (Permanent Residence) – Work permit [Link]
  • Graduate Skilled Temporary Visa – TR 1187i (Temporary Residence) [Link] for 1.5 years.

Any student who has completed 2 years of graduate studies in one University in Australia is eligible to apply for the PR directly or He can take a TR and work for 1.5 years till the PR gets processed. Well this sounded a bit promising that the other options. At least here I have a guarantee of working for sometime to get back the money I spent on my education. After that I can reduce the risks, and even come back to India with a international work experience.

With all this in mind I decided on Australia as the destination for my MBA. There is a lot of hurdles to cross, including a major hurdle called passport (I know.. I was stupid not to have got it done earlier). As of today 13-02-08 I’ve listed down what all needs to be done before applying for admissions.

  • Passport 😦 I just hate myself for not getting this done long back.
  • Professional resume and Statement of purpose (I am gonna put lot of work into these)
  • Prepare and take IELTS test. (Target 7+ in all bands)
  • Recommendation letters from 5+ people in professional career. (Thankfully not from my Professors 😛 )
  • Document readiness for Grad applications and Student visa.
  • Education loan for tuition fees for the whole course.
  • A little bit of self development in terms of :- Business acumen, Current affairs, Self confidence and Presenting ourself better.. err..things like that.

thats where I stand now… it will be present tense from now on 🙂 .. I believe that writing this blog will keep me self motivated, and help me in having the momentum stable throughout.

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And, The Journey Continues…

~ Subash

SoS: Week 1

  1. Sleep less. This is one of the best investments you can make to make your life more
    productive and rewarding. Most people do not need more than 6 hours to maintain an
    excellent state of health. Try getting up one hour earlier for 21 days and it will develop
    into a powerful habit. Remember, it is the quality not the quantity of sleep that is
    important. And just imagine having an extra 30 hours a month to spend on the things that
    are important to you.
  2. Set aside one hour every morning for personal development matters. Meditate, visualize
    your day, read inspirational texts to set the tone of your day, listen to motivational tapes
    or read great literature. Take this quiet period to vitalize and energize your spirit for the
    productive day ahead. Watch the sun rise once a week or be with nature. Starting the day
    off well is a powerful strategy for self-renewal and personal effectiveness.
  3. Do not allow those things that matter the most in your life be at the mercy of activities
    that matter the least. Every day, take the time to ask yourself the question “is this the best
    use of my time and energy?” Time management is life management so guard your time
    with great care.
  4. Use the rubber band method to condition your mind to focus solely on the most positive
    elements in your life. Place a rubber band around your wrist. Each time a negative,
    energy sapping thought enters your mind, snap the rubber band. Through the power of
    conditioning, your mind will associate pain with negative thinking and you will soon
    possess a strongly positive mindset.
  5. Always answer the phone with enthusiasm in your voice and show your appreciation for
    the caller. Good phone manners are essential. To convey authority on the line, stand up.
    This will instill further confidence in your voice.

The Dream and it’s Inception

A gentleman back in my hometown who met me after years asked me how i was doing and how work and life was.. I said “Okay.. Not so bad”, and it was a honest answer from me though he thought I’m being sarcastic. On seeing a guy from the most common breed of the current Indian youth – Software Engineers, any elderly people would think:- “Look at him, He earns good money, enjoys life with a respectable job, gets what he needs at a very young age of 20’s something”. I am not telling what he said is entirely false, but we can say that the people of the previous generation see an extra purple tint on current software youth. All these perceptions apart, I asked to myself a few questions. There are always three factor which motivates a person to do a certain job.. I was just wondering if the work I do can answer even one of those..

  • Am I doing work which is even remotely related to what I always wanted to?
  • Am I earning enough to consider myself settled (basis of job security) and can run a family?
  • Is my job offering a promising growth and career prospects purely based on one’s performance?

The answer to all these questions :No

Survival in an industry where u are in some corner of a big building, writing a line or two for a huge chunk of a software code which you never know who in this world makes use of.. Now looking at the IT industry in India, it is so much ballooned that there is no value for a person’s caliber, decision making, knowledge/expertise.. It seems to be running on a cheap fuel called Luck. Its true that people term this luck as so called ‘Opportunity’. In reality I have faced the effects and treatment of this industry. One bad luck – My first Job, and all that followed did no good to my career. I still accept that It was totally in my hands, but that’s the only reason, even after a point of no return I decided to give myself another chance. A chance, A Self rescue offer to pull me out of this current career path which obviously I’m not happy continuing. A second innings to test my self belief in getting the things done rightly this time. That’s the inception of this new dream :- The MBA dream. Honestly its not a long term aspiration, or something which I always wanted to do, but its the right direction to resurrect a lost career. And this post will be the last post which would say why I had this dream, because going forward the focus will be in trying my best in realizing the dream.

During the course of this journey I am also determined to develop myself personally to get maximum out of life. I will be imbibing the key take aways of the famous “Top 200 secrets of success: Pillars of self mastery” – By : Robin S. Sharma

My plan is to take up 5 secrets at one time, and regulate them into my system of living.

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And, The Journey Continues…

~ Subash