Monday, September 11, 2006

Cricket Mania !

The recently concluded England-Pakistan series saw some great cricket bring played by both teams, but was driven by its own share of controversies. First, Umpire Darell Hair accusing Pakistan of ball tampering, with Pakistan forfeiting that match, and later Shoaib being accused of scratching the ball (which was later reverted back).

Cricket does not end here however ! Starting tomorrow (Sep 12, 2006) we have the DLF Cup, featuring India, Australia, and the West Indies. This tri-series promises for some great entertainment (assuming that the big black rain clouds can hold themselves in Malaysia) ! India will be looking to redeem their recent one-day series loss against the Windies, while Australia would be looking for some serious practice before the much-awaited World Cup ! One of the foremost things to look out for, in this series, would be the comeback of master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar ! Every Indian is hoping that he would be back to his natural best – Let’s hope that happens !!!

For the English and Australian fans, we also have the Ashes following soon… One of the most awaited series of all times, the Australians would be looking to regain the Ashes – After their horrific defeat last time around… Coach John Buchanan, who plans to retire after the World Cup this year, has this as one of the items in his wish-list. He has been termed as the best Australian Coach ever, by the current captain, Ricky Ponting, and he would be looking to end his coaching career with a World Cup victory.

India will host the second-biggest cricket tournament – The Champion’s Trophy ! This would take place in the months of October - November this year, in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Jaipur and Mohali. This would be a pre-cursor to the world cup, and would give a taste of preparations that teams are going through for the grand finale in March next year. And this is going to be a treat for the cricket fanatics !

So, plan your days, and get set to witness some of the best cricketing nations battle it out in the months to follow this year - Cricket at it’s best !

Friday, September 08, 2006

Post-Graduation : Passport to Employment ?

Every Wednesday, when I start to read my daily dose of English news, I do not forget to lay my hands on Times Ascent – The jobs-related supplement with the Times of India. Naaaaaaaah… I’m not looking for a new job, but a quick overview of this supplement gives you a preview about what’s in and what’s not in the employment-friendly city of Pune (India).

When you talk to youngsters, who are on the verge of completing their Bachelor’s, there’s one question on their minds – “Will I get placed ? Will I get a decent job ?”. There’s a sense of insecurity that rushes through in their thoughts. Why’s this so ? Does this mean that they are not capable of meeting organization’s needs ? Does this mean they have not received ‘quality’ education ? Or does this simply mean that they are not ‘branded’ as yet ?

Well, more than anything else, I believe, that more often than not, in today’s scenario, it is the brand that defines what you get ! For instance, a graduate from an IIT may never face a problem. I completely agree that an IIT grad has experienced quality education, has toiled hard to get into the IIT in the first place, and has slogged his nights out to get that oh-so-coveted B.Tech. degree from the IITs. Hence, he is the best candidate when it comes to getting started in his career.

But, this does not imply that graduates from lower-rung institutes are not capable enough to receive similar offers ! It’s just that the percentage students from a batch graduating out of a good institute, and who are deserving (be it an IIT or an REC or something similar), is much larger than that compared to a much lower rung institute.

Let’s take an example here. I graduated from a school known as K.S. School of Business Management. This institute offers B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Computer Science. There is an option of quitting right after your B.Sc. I was a part of the 1998-2003 batch. But, I had the opportunity to interact with a lot more batches (1999-2004, 2000-2005, 2002-2007). And every interaction led me to think just one thing : Aren’t we capable enough to perform in the industry ? Are we as poor as the placements suggest ? Or is it just that we are not trying enough to get recognition in the world today ?

In every batch, out of a large number of students, there were definitely a few, who were exceptional. These students could perform as well as any other student in the country ! This is because, they did not only rely on what the institute provided them with. They did a lot of research and a lot of practice, apart from what was just required at the institute. And this helped grooming them into professionals – ones that could take on the world ! But, as any other individual, when they tried approaching companies, the only answer they heard of, was “Rejected”. This takes me back to the question – Do we need a branded education to enter the big brands in the industry today ?

Branded education today, comes in two formats : One, a graduation from a branded institution, or two, a post-graduation (from a decently branded institution). A post-graduation puts you into the higher league – One that is much above than a graduate from a not-so-good institution. And the companies today, want brand ! They just want to increase their intellectual capital, and hence, your education’s weight on paper is much more than your intellect.

But is this correct ? Does that mean, if I am not a graduate from a good brand, I compulsorily need to go in for a post-graduation, simply because the companies today want it ? Well, take an MBA for instance. Most B-Schools in the country today, are mere placement agencies. They will claim 100% placements, and provide education, which is much below expectations. But people go for it – Why ? Just because they want to get a good job – Something that can pay them well, and something that companies will approach them for.

The mere purpose of an MBA (for instance) is by-gone now. This is apparent from the fact that every year, the number of students appearing for CAT increases exponentially. And I can vouch for the fact that most of these students are simply planning on an MBA because it’s ‘in’ ! But of course, these students are not to be blamed for this. The primary culprits are the companies in the first place (who do not give enough opportunities to deserving candidates), and the b-school administration, who have cashed in on this, and made this into a profit-making organization (rather than an institution) !

Having done a post-graduation, and an MBA myself, I can definitely say that big companies in India today, can gain a lot more, if they start looking at lower-rung institutes as well. There’s ample potential in these institutes, who are much deserving, and if they perform to their potential, they can take India to an entirely different level than what we are today !