Saturday, March 04, 2006

More 'stuff' (& end of term 3)

I have so many things that I have been thinking to write about that I didn't really have a better title. Of course, it has been a busy time, with term 3 'n all. There are courses, elections, interviews, fellows programs, spring break, GATE trips, and then some more stuff.

Term 3 is over, there is one more final exam on Monday. I wrote earlier about the courses, Operations, Managerial Accounting and Decision Modelling. We are done with MA and DM so far. MA was a subject that was extremely boring and at the same time, very useful for general managers. We learnt about cost accounting in an organization, which means how the many costs incurred by an organization are allocated to the different products that they produce and all the challenges associated with incentive schemes, transfer pricing, peer interactions etc. associated with it. Decision Models is an awesome subject, and you learn tools that help you make complex decisions and optimize your actions. Operations was operations, so throughput time, inventory, queuing etc. Both operations and DM had a particularly great course structure. Term 3 had some really useful courses for managers in general.

The elections for most clubs and positions are over. Pallavi and I stood for Music club and General Management Club (GMC), and lost both! :-( But we lost to worthy competitors and it was fun to sit and make the platforms for these elections and to think through ideas that we would have liked to implement next year. The experience itself is so great that I recommend that every student should stand for at least 1 presidency. It helps you think through a lot of stuff that were done last year and what could be done and improved next year. Anyway, so that was on elections. I have applied to couple of fellows program and have interviewed for career fellow. I am looking forward to those roles as they seem very interesting and something that can be quite satisfying to yourself.

There is not much to write about internship search and interviews, and while that might seem surprising, it's just that it's going on as a process on the side! The market is looking up from last year we are told and that does seem to be the case. Companies come and companies go, and you get excited about the role for couple of days as you research and you apply to the positions, then you give your interview and wait for results. There is nothing really much to write about it, if you know what I mean!

Spring break is coming up and I am going to Cuba!! The Global Academic Travel Experience (GATE) trips are a great way to explore new countries that you are interested in for whatever reason. This is one of the trips where every time I say I am going to Cuba on GATE, the standard response is, "Cuba!? Why Cuba?" The only way I can answer that is to point people towards the speech given by Steve Jobs of Apple at Stanford, "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" and his concept of 'connecting the dots'. Cuba seems like an interesting place, great music and a great way to learn another aspect of US foreign policies. I can't say what 'hard' stuff I have learnt, but I leave for Cuba on Tuesday and hope to have a great time there, meet some government representatives, business men and artists. Maybe this dot will connect somehow to my life and career in future.

One interesting thing that I wanted to cover was something called a 'plant tour' organized by GMC this term to help with the operations course. Some of us signed up to go and visit a manufacturing plant nearby and see how they apply the operations concepts we learnt in classroom in real life. The company we visited was Eaton, a car parts manufacturer and the experience was simply fantastic! We saw a small 'thing' called 'Lash adjuster' that goes into the car's engine and releases the right amount of fuel into the engine. We saw how two basic tubes were cut to size, the metal being ground and heat treated, and so many more small operations that led to final assembly of parts to make a part that's the size smaller than my palm and is supremely important to the working of a car. I can almost understand now why some people are so passionate about operations. It's so interesting to see a product coming out of an assembly line!

So that's the stuff that we have been up to here and it's been a very different term from the last two. I can't quite explain it, but for me, it was a cakewalk after term 2, though there are people who found term 2 quite alright (I don't know which planet they are from!! :-)) The fact that we are finally well settled into our lives and have made some friends also helps. But I have to put in the word that term 2 was stuff that ghost stories are made of! We were roaming the corridors of the school like a bunch of zombies and I thought about 'Snapshots from Hell' by Peter Robinson on more than one occasion. I still maintain that if you are a person who has not taken any kind of accounting course at all in life, take a basic book-keeping course before coming to Fuqua at least (I am not sure how it is in other schools, but something tells me they aren't going to be much more forgiving either! ;-)) You will be thankful for your decision many times over! 6-week accounting is your worst nightmare come true.

Anyway, I digressed, so let me come back to the topic. But oh right! We don't have a topic, do we? Well, so term 3 is over. I liked to say that we are a 'quarter of an MBA' at the end of term 2, but for the end of term 3, I don't have a fancy name; just that things are cruising along, term 3 was a little light on extra-curricular activities overall too. It was the old leadership's last term and I guess they were tired too. The new leadership is all set to take over the clubs in term 4, and the SYs have put their feet up (in all the sense of the phrase! :-)) I wonder how it will be next time this year! Sad, sad, sad...

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