Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Annexure that got me through SIBM Pune

1. Explain in brief your long term goals and your reasons for applying to SIBM Pune? How will SIBM Pune help you in achieving these goals? (300 words)

I consider myself a strong willed person who has a penchant for creativity. I am also somebody who does not get bogged down by failures, because I believe failures are an essential ingredient of my growth. I want to do many things in life, and one of them is to build a pan-India educational institution that works on a sustainable business formula while catering to the underprivileged at a nominal fee. Five years is a long time, and assuming that I end up doing my MBA from SIBM, I would either be working for a Finance company or doing something in marketing, preferably working with the government sector.

It is my belief that it is wrong to speculate, because every action one takes, every person one meets, every experience one undergoes, dictates and steers the direction of one’s life. So, honestly, I would be much better placed at the end of two years to answer this question as I know that a person is influenced by the company he keeps, and the brilliant peers that I will get an opportunity to work with at SIBM, will spur me on to greater heights. The interactions with the erudite professors, the eclectic blend of subjects that I would be exposed to and the learning environment would each, in its own way, give direction to my journey towards the challenges that I have set for myself, both personal and professional.    




 2. Suppose you had to choose two people to travel with you on a cross-country trip. Who would you choose and why? What would you hope to learn from them? The people could be alive now, from another era or fictitious characters. (300 words)

The two people I would choose to travel with me on a cross-country trip would be Nelson Mandela and Tarun Tejpal.

Nelson Mandela could easily be termed as one of the most charismatic leaders of our era. The fact that he spent 27 years in prison by the decree of a racist white government, yet emerged with a plan to convince the oppressed black population to forgive the white Afrikaners, is a humongous exercise, which only a true leader can have the heart and mind for. He is a master thinker, ambitious, pragmatic. He is endlessly self-aware and self-assured. I would love to spend time with him, discussing his immense sense of forgiveness and the source of his seemingly endless energy. Today what India lacks is a visionary, impartial and a global leader like him, and I would like to take his advice on the leadership required in the Indian context today.  

Since he started Tehelka in 2000, Tarun J. Tejpal has been at the forefront of many sting operations involving the kind of investigative journalism that should be the bedrock of a developing economy like India. He and his team at Tehelka have been repeatedly persecuted by the government agencies during his career when he has left many a top leaders shamefaced. Despite such hardships and lack of financial support, never did he back down, intent as he was to fight injustice and corruption in India. 10 years have passed and he, and Tehelka, is still going strong. Qualities of a leader like integrity, sincerity towards oneself, and persevering in the face of hardships are rife in him, and discussing Indian society with him, I could wish that some of those qualities rub off on me.




3. Describe an ethical dilemma you have experienced firsthand. Discuss how you thought about and managed the situation. (300 words)


Corruption, to me, has been the bane of our nation, as it prospered at every nook and cranny where babus and tortuous regulations cohabited. May be it was this deep rooted detestation, or the revulsion I had experienced after reading about the recent corruption scams that dictated my actions that day.

The day was bright and sweat trickled underneath my helmet. I did not want to stop, but the ceaseless waving of the hand by the traffic policeman ensured that I pulled up right in front of the officer, who instantly pulled out the keys from my bike. I was politely informed that I was over-speeding. I argued that I had ensured that the speed hovered around 55, but in vain. But something strange happened at that moment.

The officer indicated that the challan would cost a couple of hundred bucks, but at the same time subtly dropped a hint that I could get away by paying half of that. But I had already made my decision. I asked the officer to issue the challan. He looked me in the eye, surprise giving way to uneasiness. He fidgeted about, turning a few pages of his challan-book, interspersed by furtive glances in my direction. Finally, handing me the bike keys, and mumbling something about being close and not committing the mistake next time, he indicated me to go. 

At that moment I knew that irrespective of the outcome, I had stood my moral ground, despite the knowledge that I would have to handle the headache of going up to the police station and the courts, stand in the long line on the weekend in the blistering heat, and get the challan money deposited. But my exultation, at that moment, was only paralleled by my sense of pride in doing the right thing, notwithstanding the consequences.




4. Describe a recent event (popular or personal) that seemed wrong to you. What would you do differently, if given a chance? How would you handle it in retrospect? (300 words)

The recent unrest in the Kashmir valley was an event that pained me, as I’m sure it did most of the Indians, liberal citizens, or almost anyone who has a stake in Kashmir, tangible or emotional. The Kashmiri, young and old alike, went into the streets, protesting, with nothing more than a couple of stones in their hands. It was an assertion of their right to life, something which has been all but denied in the tenuous circumstances that the state has found itself in, during the last few years. It was the post 1989 generation, that has grown up in the shadow of bullets and bloodshed, that has taken to the streets to let New Delhi know that they will only take so much of the step-motherly treatment from the centre.

Had I been either the state head, or a political head at the centre, I would have dealt with the situation differently. I firstly would have been accessible to the common man in Kashmir and would have left the cloak of elitism at home. I would have assertively declared that there need to be some political changes to the structure and policies that Kashmir has been subjected to so far. I would have tried my best to take all the parties at the centre into confidence, and would have weighed, in my best capacity, the case against AFSPA with the entreaties by the Armed Forces to not dilute the special powers act, and then would have taken a decision regarding the same. I would also have constituted a committee to chalk out a workable plan to bring about investment in J&K, especially in the form of institutes for higher learning. And I would not have politicised the issue and would have ensured Hindu-Muslim peace.   



5. Describe a time when you have taken on a particularly challenging or stretching target. What were the Challenges? What did you do to overcome the challenges? To what extent were you able to achieve it? (300 words)

When I crossed the threshold of adulthood and entered college, I found myself at the doorstep of a new world, full of opportunities. I soon realized that I was far too poorly equipped with the required knowledge to hold my own in any situation. I found students far ahead of me, far too much more informed about the happenings in the world around us. I was a regular student back then, and majority of the books that I had read were my course books. But I felt the urge to do more. I started reading the newspaper conscientiously, taking care to absorb as much as I could. It was not as easy at first – understanding the nuances of and rationale behind various government policies and decisions was difficult to say the least.

But I persevered, taking help of the electronic media by catching snippets of NDTV whenever I could, during the evenings. I also started reading good books, starting with Harry Potters, and moving up to the likes of Archer, Grisham and eventually Ayn Rand, Tolstoy, Naipaul, Dickens, Woolf et al. I also found myself drawn towards biographies/autobiographies of leaders like Nehru and Gandhi. These books gave me immense pleasure, a thorough understanding of the challenges of this world, at the same time shaping my personality towards the target I had set for myself. I opened myself up to new ideas. With the years, I could see the change in me, as I gained maturity and developed my own opinions about most of the events. In my personality, I imbibed values like being considerate towards others, respecting their opinions, leaving prejudice out of arguments, and respect for knowledge.

Today, I know the goal is not yet achieved. But it is a continuous process and I am glad that I am well on my way.



6. Page number 221 of your 300 page autobiography would be? (300 words)

Little I dwelt on the fact that my actions on that day were to be dictated by my 46 years lived following what my heart said. I entered the board room. The 16 people in the room were instantly on their feet and greeted me in polite tones. I smiled back, and with a confident nod, took my place as the head of the meeting. I knew I had a big task at hand. The decision to introduce foreign private partners in the delicate field of education is always a tough one. The conundrum at hand – that of making a certain amount of shares of the educational institution that I had nurtured for 18 years public – was even tougher. But I had to go with the decision. It was for the best.

I started by talking at length about our achievements, about how when we started, our model was branded as charity work that would never take off, and we were mockingly christened as “the plunderers in the garb of socialism”, and how the apathy from the government agencies during the initial years was equalled only by the financial hindrances that stymied our progress. But there’s nothing that can thwart indomitable optimism and the can-do spirit. We had come unscathed through the years, and with the PPP model, had grown our network of schools to far-flung and remote areas where 10 years ago there used to be a dearth of basic amenities, and our network of schools had engendered the cycle of development of rural India in a noticeable way. But now the time had come to bring in more capital, to expand this system by introducing other foreign private partners, but at the same time, introducing a mechanism to ensure that all the shareholders remain true to the basic ethos of our institution.


46 comments:

  1. It looks like well planned out. You could perhaps direct your interview in the direction you wanted and succeeded. Well done!

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  2. Holy Mother of god,
    this thing is exceptional

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  3. Brilliantly written. Thanks a lot, this has really helped me finding some direction to fill my annexure

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  4. hey dude
    this is sheer brilliance
    Even after reading this, I am not able to write much with such depth and clarity.

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    1. Thank you Pradeep :) I'm sure you would be able to do much better if you just stick to your strengths. Keep it simple and focus on clarity, that's it.

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  5. Hey dude
    This is sheer brilliance
    Even after reading this, I am not able to write much with such depth and clarity

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  6. well written. thanks for sharing this. your annexure however pales in comparison to the your reply to pradeep above. your humility stands out there and I find that sole comment more informative than the annexure :). ATB man. hope your edu plans bear fruit :)

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    1. Well thank you Anonymous :) Appreciation is always appreciated :P :) Thanks again!

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  7. thanks ...this was actually v hlpfull .atlest it gave me some kind of information.

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    1. It's a pleasure Rinks. I hope it helped :)

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  8. What thoughtful and clear answers!!! u deserved to get thru

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  9. I can't remember how many times I visited this blog while filling my Annexure. Every time I came here, I wondered how clear were you in writing this and how clear were you about your goals. The inspiration elicited not only helped me in filling my annexure but also in introspecting myself better. And the good news is.. I too, have made it to SIBM, Pune :) Just wanted to stop by and say THANK YOU!! :)

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    Replies
    1. I could not get around to reply to your comment Raheel. I have you in my friend list, but have not been able to see you around in campus. Hope to meet u soon. Any help you need regarding anything, just come up :)

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  10. Thanks for sharing it and It's really awesome. I'm gonna take my snap 2012. I'm sure your experience will guide me to fill my annexure. Thanks again..!!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Nivetha :) I hope you do well. Any advice you want regarding SNAP, just pop the question. Good luck!

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    2. What is the snap cut-off to get a call from sibm pune?

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    3. It's different for each year. And from this year onwards they have a percentile system, so I really cannot hazard a guess. But anything above 98.5 percentile should definitely get you a call.

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  11. Very well worked out annexure and an outstanding clarity of thoughts... U would have led your interview your way... Thanks for sharing... It would help many more aspirants...

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  12. Excellent and bravo!You have written down your mind with utmost clarity.
    Just got my Snap percentile(98.516)
    And my inspiration is Sir Alex Ferguson.
    I want to improve the status of football in India, by marketing the sport and bring in FDI from UK , Spain.
    But don't know how should put it forward towards the panelists.Can you help me out?

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    1. Hi Prashant. You can talk about increased association of football in India with popular icons who have excelled in other fields, association with soft drinks, better investment climate for training schools to come up in different parts in India (especially in the interiors, and not just in the big cities), and eventually a move towards a football league on the lines of IPL (if there isn't already one). Also, associating local football leagues in India with celebrities (like movie actors, etc) can be a help. Finally, political backing for anything is very important for anything in India to be successful. Scouting for political support would go a long way in giving the sport a boost.

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  13. Great help.. I have just started blogging and this has helped alot. Also as an aspirant for SIBM I think this was just what I needed. Thank you for sharing this...!!!

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  14. thank you great help. As an amateur to blogging and an SIBM aspirant this would be handy.. Also now I know there is a lo of ground to cover.. Thanks for sharing

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    1. It's a pleasure to be of any help :)

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    2. Excellent work.I am also SIBM aspirant and have my annexure in front of me.I have my answers but my dilema is like that of bollywood's hero (in 1990s) trying to write a luvletter for his sweetheart,unable to decide whether my words are expressing my thoughts in a better way..can you help me out

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    3. Well I definitely can help you out. But you will have to let me know what specific problem are you facing.

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    4. First and foremost problem is my choice of words.I have never been a blogger although have written down my thoughts a few times,I would like to know that will writing my annexure using flowery language give me an extra edge??Moreover should I open my heart out or should I be cautious and project myslf in a positive way?

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  15. i had a 99+ percentile in snap.. was sure about a high percentile but really don't know how to go about filling d annexure. all my life had been more about a few home n personal problems, sort of never gave my career that much importance. i have been a 75-80% achiever in academics. i really don't have clear answers to any of those questions in the annexure and pretty much don't have any one i can go to to help me out. please help.

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    1. Well all I can say is it's all about connecting those experiences with your motivations, and how you see your career shape up in the next few years. If you can link all that to SIBM Pune, and how this b-school would help you achieve all that you want to, it would be great. Connecting the dots is what helps you in the interview the most.

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    2. thanks .. will try my best :)

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  16. very well written dude......

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  17. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How lengthy have you been blogging for?

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  18. awesome response to each question,
    i liked the style of writing and explaining it with good phrases, ...
    is this the level required to convert or a plain ,simple language will do ??? because my writing is very amateurish and is no where near compared to ur writing .... :P

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    great topic. I needs listen to music spend some time learning
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    info I was looking for this info for my mission.

    ReplyDelete