Category Archives: St. Gallen

2 years that were served shaken, not stirred!

Disclaimer: This is gonna be a heavy duty stuff. Parental guidance is advised. In case you are driving or using heavy machinery, please stop and park yourself in a comfortable place.

Only 4 weeks separate us from achieving the alumni status. It’s the perfect time to take stock of the present situation, recent historical trends and future options. The journey that started with the GMAT preparation around 2 years back has come to an end. I have learned and evolved (even though the real new innovation by me was a new cocktail recipe). There have been peaks and troughs. But I think that will happen every time when you want to achieve more in a very short duration. So in case anyone would ask me to provide any tips about this journey, I will have following 3 on the top.

Introspect & Reflect. Identify what you are good at and what you want to do. If there are gaps in these two, identify how to fill those. In case you want to become a ninja, and you are only good at staring at walls, then definitely there is a need for introspection.

Keep it simple. For some MBA will give an opportunity to do things they’ve already thought of. The others will go into ‘zombie’ mode and become the victim of ‘paralysis by analysis’ of their decisions. Often opportunities will come your way; you’ve to identify where your focus should be. In the following 2 flow charts, identify in which one you want to be 🙂

Have Fun in the process. There will be times when you will be pushed to your limits. Motivations will be questioned. Your learning curve will look like a VIX index – too frequent high-rises and panics. Your conventional ideas and thoughts will be shaken. But do enjoy the process. Time flies when you’re having fun. As put in one of the HBR articles –‘Don’t become an overloaded circuit!’

 “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” – John Lennon





To control your cow, give it a bigger pasture…

One of the interesting aspects of HSG MBA is participants from different nationalities (22 in current FT class). And it is an experience in itself in understanding each personality. Now I know 1000 year old Chinese eggs are only preserved for 100 days; There is the closest point between Russia and America that is only 4 km long; 1000 Swiss Francs is the highest denomination note in the world; Chile & Peru are still fighting over the ownership of ‘Pisco’ as a national drink; and yes..Barcelona is not Madrid (my buddy Robert will tell you more in alumni meets).

Aw c’mon! In this already crowded web-based-fountain-of-wisdom world, I’m not going to reveal HSG MBA’s 101 secrets of World Domination. But I can leave you with one of the thoughts from Zen master Suzuki RoshiTo control your cow, give it a bigger pasture.

For me, it’s a great quote. The cow can be seen as your mind and giving the mind a bigger pasture is about having different experiences in life. Understanding MBA participants is one such kind of experience. You will meet people from different backgrounds, cultures, nationalities; you will try to understand each other’s style of working, reacting, absorbing and appreciating. Spending most of your time with intelligent people from different countries and backgrounds will give you a global perspective and will give you an opportunity to refine your PoV (Point of View). And as you will interact more, you will find that the cow (your mind) becomes richer as it roams around the extended pasture of interactions and learning.

PS: “To be stupid, selfish and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.”

~Gustave Flaubert


‘Commoditization’ of an MBA

Planning for a higher education in Business Administration? Thinking of an MBA from a leading B-School? I hope that you know what you are getting yourself into! MBA has become one of the most used term (& most abused at the same time) in the education industry. Thus it becomes very important that prospective students do in-depth research and choose the B-school as per their fit. Experience the environment first-hand. We’ve seen two such applicants sit in our class to get the experience of proceedings, pedagogy and what the school has to offer.  I believe these sample classes are very good opportunities to get a feel of the school environment and should be exercised while making the decision.

If you have already zeroed upon a B-School in a Non-English speaking country, I imagine that you have made all the arguments for your decision. IMO, if one is thinking of doing an MBA, his/her goal in life is to be more close to the customer so that more value can be delivered (through any product/service). It is very important to identify the post-MBA market and have a view of that as well. Then it follows logically, that it will be important for you to speak customer’s language (literally). At least one should be good in humor in the language that customer speaks.  So, with this perspective, HSG is offering German classes for MBA students [going on 3 days  a week, 0800 – 0920). Another feat of St. Gallen MBA – Focusing on the market and bridging the gap 🙂

Just an update on the proceedings: Got 2 more guest speakers giving the perspective of entering a market from Corporate and Government perspectives. One of the speakers was VP at HP-Computers division and the other was from the Canton office of Economy. Banking Days are coming up (from 10 – 21 oct) and all the slots are full. Real opportunity for the people with financial backgrounds and banking as a post-MBA career. We also have been assigned group case study project for Marketing sessions. Time to squeeze every drop of creativity from group members!

The first fortnight into my MBA

So the first fortnight is over. HSG-MBA started with an orientation program. School took us to the city tour, helped us in registering at Canton office and with the basic stuff (housing, insurances, storage etc). HSG MBA building is separated from the main university campus by a few flight of stairs. So the university is uphill and the MBA building is commonly known as down-hill. We had a tour of uphill campus, got our photos done for CV book. The class was also taken for a full day outdoor team building exercise on the Swiss mountains. Was kind of good!

And then was the real start. Core-I started with International Management, Marketing & Communications, Statistics and Finance. Professors are knowledgeable and energetic. Career services team has also sprung into action. Had a LIFO session and CV writing workshop. International Management professor brought along-with him the first guest speaker – Global HR head for a leading Mining & Chemicals company. So all in all a good beginning.

At T-2

At T-2, the heart starts pounding fast! Less than a fortnight left before I start my MBA at St. Gallen (HSG MBA), Switzerland. Most of the things have been taken care-of. Only things going on now are jogging, pre-reading (Accounting, Khans Academy)  and dreams!  

I have finalized the apartment over the phone itself. Looks good so far.

So my new home for next 1 year – University and Library buildings.

And the night shelter for next 1 year – my apartment. 

Ain’t the view fantastic? And there is a small bar as well in the apartment (just to discuss the cases and late night assignments).

Hopefully night outs will not be an issue any more and there won’t be any excuse for not performing 🙂  So wish me luck people. The next post will be directly from MBA building in St. Gallen. Till then, Tschüss!

PS: On Lappy (ZNMD)
Der lagi lekin, 
Maine ab hai Jeena seekh liya
Jaise bhi ho din, 
Maine ab hai Jeena seekh liya

Countdown begins!

Swiss VISA has come. Though the time mentioned was 4-6 weeks, it was delivered within 4 days as the University had already informed and sent the notifications to the concerned embassies. Have zeroed-in upon Bajaj Student Elite plan for insurance.

The only worry at this stage is meteoric rise of CHF. There is no sign of slowing of it. Need to cope up with that and less money at my disposal in Switzerland.

Got the Core 1 calendar as well. Pretty tied up it seems! So now the countdown begins. Flying by this month end.

PS: On lappy (from ZNMD):

Dilon mein tum apni Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Nazar mein khwabon ki Bijliyaan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise Aazad rehna seekho 
Tum ek dariya ke jaise Lehron mein behna seekho
Har ek lamhe se tum milo Khole apni baahein
Har ek pal ek naya sama Dekhen yeh nigahaein
Jo apni aankhon mein Hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Dilon mein tum apni Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
(English Translation)
If you are moving with an eagerness in your heart,
then you are alive..
if you’re moving with the sparks of dreams in your eyes,
then you’re alive..
learn to live freely like the gusts of wind,
Learn to flow in waves, like a river does..
Meet every moment with your arms open,
Every moment these eyes should watch a new weather,
If you’re moving with a bewilderment in your eyes
then you are alive,
If you are moving with an eagerness in your heart,
then you are alive..