Saturday, April 30, 2005

The reason for the traffic....

I have been wondering all this while about the increase in traffic to this blog. I figured out that it could be because of the article I wrote on Oh! My News International.

Now I realise the reason for the traffic. I am on the top of the Blogger "Blogs of Note" list. Now that is the reason for the mad traffic.

I sure don't know how they select the blogs but I am happy to be there!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Warren Buffets' Advice to Students

Warren Buffet addressing a group of students: (Via Rajesh Jain)

Success and Elective Qualities :
"If there's one thing that you leave here with today, it should be this: And I'll start with a question to get to my point. If you could pick 10% of one person in this room to own or 'go long' for the next 30 years, who would it be? It wouldn't be the person with the highest IQ; it wouldn't be the star athlete; you would look for certain other qualities… And if you had to pick one person to 'short' for the next 30 years, who would it be? Now ask yourself why you have made those selections. If you've considered these questions properly, the person you've gone long is probably someone who is honest, courageous, and dependable; the person you've shorted is probably someone who is egotistical and likes to take the credit. The point is that success is mostly dependent upon elective qualities, not anything with which you are born. You ! can choose to be dependable or not. And it's not easy to change, so choose correctly now. Bertrand Russell once said, 'The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they're too heavy to be broken.' So ask yourself, 'Who do I want to be?' At the
end of this process you should determine that the person you want to buy is yourself. You all are holding winning tickets."

The System :

Consider this: in 1790, the first global census was conducted; there were 290m people in China, 100m in Europe, and 4m in what is now the U.S. Now the U.S. holds 4.5% of the world's population but is responsible for 30% of global GDP. I believe the great American book is yet to be written and will be the one that manages to capture how spectacular this growth has been; again 214 years is just an instant. When we think about such growth, I don't believe the causal factors are the people; it must be the system. The smartest people in Guam are as smart as the smartest people in Iceland are as smart as the smartest people in the U.S. Being born in the U.S. is more important to my success than anything that has happened since.

"Getting on the Right Train"

The most important thing about where you work is that you admire/love it. So it sounds like you liked your experience, and that's great. But we come to my second recommendation, which is to get on the right train; that is, moving in the right direction. There's no course in business school called "Getting on the Right Train", but it's really important. You can be an average passenger but if you get on the right train it will carry you a long way. You want to learn from experience, but you want to learn from other people's experience when you can. Managing your career is like investing - the degree of difficulty does not count. So you can save yourself money and pain by getting on the right train.

Leaving a Legacy

I think an example is the best thing you can leave behind. If what I've done with Berkshire Hathaway - running a unique and independent company in true pursuit of shareholder value - persists and people learn from it to improve the way they invest and run their companies, that would be a fine legacy to leave.

Considering an Acquisition

Well, what do you look for in a girl? Seriously, you look for the logical things - passion, an interest in running the business, honesty.

Change and Technology

I don't know how to spot durable competitive advantage in technology. To get rich, you find businesses with durable competitive advantage and you don't overpay for them. Technology is based on change; and change is really the enemy of the investor. Change is more rapid and unpredictable in technology relative to the broader economy. To me, all technology sectors look like 7-foot hurdles.

What Great Managers Do?

Rajesh Jain in his TechTalk series writes about Marcus Buckingham's new book.

Rajesh writes :

The March 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review has an article by Buckingham based on the book. Buckingham writes: “Great leaders tap into the needs and fears we all share. Great managers, by contrast, perform their magic by discovering, developing, and celebrating what’s different about each person who works for them.” This is the central premise of the book.

Brand Autopsy has a few excerpts from the HBR article:

Great managers play chess, not checkers

Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves. Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.

Identifying a person’s strengths …

To identify a person’s strengths, first ask, “What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months?” Find out what the person was doing and why he enjoyed it so much. Remember: A strength is not merely something you are good at. In fact, it might be something you aren’t good at yet. It might be just a predilection, something you find so intrinsically satisfying that you look forward to doing it again and again and getting better at it over time. This question will prompt your employee to start thinking about his interests and abilities from this perspective.

Great Managers find ways to amplify a person’s style

Great managers don’t try to change a person’s style. They never try to push a knight to move in the same way as a bishop. They know that their employees will differ in how they think, how they build relationships, how altruistic they are, how patient they can be, how much of an expert they need to be, how prepared they need to feel, what drives them, what challenges them, and what their goals are. These differences of trait and talent are like blood types: They cut across the superficial variations of race, sex, and age and capture the essential uniqueness of each individual.

ManyWorlds adds: “To become a great manager, Buckingham says, you need to know three things about each of your person: their strengths, so that you can focus on those while helping them overcome their weaknesses; the triggers that activate those strengths – recognition being the primary recommendation; and how they learn – so you can tailor your management style to fit those who analyze, those who do, and those who watch.”

How true? My turn to understand this will be in the Leadership courses.

Visits to the Blog

Originally uploaded by thegreenguy.
After the publication of my article I have been recieving massive number of visitors to this blog.

Check out the picture of the statistics that SiteMeter has been collecting.

In Other News Tiger is here

I am a big fan of the wonderful Apple Computers and the insanely great Macintosh.

I bought a Apple iBook G4 for my MBA program here. Apple will launch the newly awaited OS X Tiger for the Mac.

I have "Panther" on my laptop. If its worth the money then I will upgrade to Tiger in a few months.

Note : For all the Windoes world users. After the release of the new Mac OS X some years back Apple has decided to name all its OS versions after the big cats.

The Structure of the MBA

The MBA in UniSA is structured along Terms or Study period.

As a full time student in Australia I have taken up a two year MBA. A Study period (SP) consists of 11 weeks. So in a year we have 4 SPs. There is a week of holidays between the SP and a 4 week break in the summer. Summer in Australia is Dec-Jan. Remember this is the southern hemisphere.

I need to complete 12 courses during the 8 SP I have in two years. This will mean taking alternatively 2 and 1 courses per each SP. Of course this allows me to have time at my hand.

Most of the MBAs in Australia are geared towards the part-time MBAs where a lot of working students come in. Some of the students here have more than 18 years experience and some are would be CEOs. This means that most of the classes or seminars as they call here are in the evening 6-9 PM.

The seminars or classes are once a week during the 11 week period. All the courses have weekly assignments in terms of a answering a question from a topic and presenting it or providing a critical analysis of a colleagues presentation. Some have case studies.

Interestingly UniSA does not totally subscribe to the Harvard style of teaching where you analyse more than 300 case studies in your MBA program. I am not sure if this is totally right. As I go into the program I can find that out.

My first course here is something called "Contemporary Management Perspectives". CMP is a thinking processes course. It provides a introduction to Systems thinking, Strategy and Quality management. It does not go deep into any of it.

Strategy we would learn in the Strategy course and same with Quality if we take up the Quality elective. However, Systems thinking is one course which does not come back again.

And I believe that it is a major "mental model" to have in your tool bag. As of one the authors, Peter checkland; explains it in his book Systems Thinking, Systems Practice; Systems Thinking is a meta-discipline. It is an approach to understanding the world using whatever other disciplines available at our disposal.

I find it very interesting and very relevant. In a way it does provide me a chance to get into this "elegant" science. More on that later.

Coming back to the MBA structure, I have three options.

1) The General Management Program
2) The Wide Elective Program
3) The Specialization
4)The Australian Business Experience.

The General management program consists of all the 12 courses and 2 electives. The elective program is about 8 courses and 1 from the next three and then electives.

The specialisation is 8 courses and the rest of the units in the respective area of specialisation. The specialisation avaiable are Marketing, entrepreneurship, HR, Finance and the Australian Business Experience. Strangely, there is no Strategy.

My discussion with one of students here resulted in the idea that if we have a few students interested in the Strategy specialization then it can put forward to the board for review. Lets see what can be done and it is sometime away.

The Australian business experience provides a kind of internship with an organization in Australia which may get you a job too.

So I have some 3-4 months to decide on which way I can go.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Spammers, Lets Fight

One of the side-effects of a famous weblog/website is the attack of the spammers.

The spam has started and I have decided to delete all the spam comments. Lets see how many I get.

Hit a Hit

My article on Oh! My News on Australian higher education seems to have got a decent audience. As of now, I have recieved almost 3000 visitors on this blog on the past 3 days due to the article. An amazing response for me by any standards.There was a problem of the posts not being represented at the top of the page and hence I assume that a lot of my visitors/readers have missed my posts. I have now rectified the problem.Thanks for all the visitors. I look forward for your feedback.

Jobs in Australia

I have moved in with a couple of good friends called Rohan and Grishm. They are Gujaratis from Bombay. I will stay with them till my wife joins me in July in Adelaide.

Now since I am settled in Adelaide the next step in the journey will be to find a job, of course a part-time job. According to the visa regulations here I can work only 20 hrs a week.

There has been a large influx of students in the past semester here and the job market has become highly competitive. The rates are going down, especially on the casual jobs and the market temp and part-time market has excess supply.

Getting a job would make it a easier for me to manage my living expenses and may be save some money too for my next semester fees. I have started sending my resumes to various jobs and consultants.

A lot of students do a variety of jobs like Kitchen Hands, Call Centers, Retail Sales, Supermarket jobs etc. I am looking at a job where I can use some of my previous experience and which is not as bad as a kitchen hand.

I am hoping that I will get some decent job. In case anybody can direct me to a good job please e-mail me : anantula [at] gmail DOT com

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Now I am citizen reporter

My article on Australian Business Education is on the front page of Oh! My News International.

If it is not there by the time you check, you can see it at the following link. =

Thanks to Todd Cameron, who is the wonderful editor for this newspaper. If you want to check out the coming age of News you need to check out Oh! My News.

Monday, April 25, 2005

FInding a House

Somebody created this amazing tool using Google Maps and Craigs list.'
This would make my search for a house in Adelaide so much easier.


The Goal of Studying

What is Studying?
Wilson, the Philippines E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year for 2004 is also a MBA student. (Isn't is amazing?)
Anyways he writes in his blog on Rethinking your goals.
The next time I ask my kid why he is not studying, he will most likely reply its because there is no exam or assigned homework.  Maybe I need to remind him that that studying is not for the teacher, the parents or the exams.  It is to learn something!

As always he makes a very important point. I realise this now, once I have started doing my MBA.
Doing my MBA was always a decision to learn, to understand, to reflect and to network. The way the MBA course is structured at my Uni,and at most of the Uni's in the developed world, it is geared towards understand and learning on your own. This is where it becomes very different from the MBA courses back home in India or other parts of Asia.
I see that a lot of International students (mainly from Asia) at my Uni are having trouble to cope with the courses. For one, the lectures are just that "lectures". They are on a loosely built curriculum on which the lecturer lectures, conducts discussions, highlights the important points and allows the class to form its own ideas.
The students need to research on their own, find their own books and chapters from the suggested readings. The assignments are not exams at the end of the course. They consist of class room participation, presentations, critiques, and individual and group projects. This is way different from what we studied a long time back in Asia.
However as I start doing my course, start studying and reading and trying to do my assignments I realise that this new way of studying is making me explore, find information, making me independent and empowering me to be responsible for my learning.
It is you who is responsible for your learning, The lecturer is a facilitator, a person who guides you in your quest for learning. The passion for learning in you will make you learn and nothing else.
This new way of studying is exciting for me. I need to find out if I can make it fruitful too!

Its been a week

Ok. Almost a week since I landed up here.
Adelaide is a nice place. The main city called the CBD or the Central Business Distrcit is small. The majority of the million people live in the suburbs. You can access most of the suburbs in 15-20 minutes.
I staayed at a backpackers for all this while. It was tough. It was more like a hostel. Some 8 (4+4) beds in a room. Common kitchen and bathrooms. People from various places were living there. Mostly they were travellers. From japan, China, Korea, Germany, Auastralians and others.
The Univ is a small 10 min. walk from my place. The main City West Campus where the MBA program is taught is a small campus located in the heart of the CBD, North Terrace. This makes it easier to connect to any part of the city. The infrastructure is modern. The computer pools are for 24 hrs and we good ADSL connections.
I like the library. The books, videos, the study rooms all make me feel that this is the place I want to be. I have been utlising the library facilities from day 2.
My course started on the 22nd. It's called "Contemporary Management Perspectives". Our prof. Murray Oliver is a nice lecturer. Some 17 students in my Intensive batch along with a couple of Indians. Some of the Australians are here with 18 years of experience!
The course mainly deals with Thinking Processes. Systems Thinking. Strategic Thinking and Quality Management.
It is a unique course in a sense. I am now working on Systems Thinking. I read the Fifth Discipline a long time back. Peter Senge from the MIT wrote it many years ago. It was tough top grasp it back then. It still is, but I am not able to understand it much better now.
I made some good friends in this week and hopefully will shift with them till July when my wife will join me.
Adelaide has seen a great influx of students this past one month. Looks like it will be tough getting a job.
That's about it for now. More next time.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

In Adelaide

I reached Adelaide this morning. UniSA sent me a "statesman" to pick up from the airport and put me in a backpackers called 'Shakesphere" where every room is named after novels or events from the literary giants writings.
The University of South Australia is a 10 min walk from the place. The university was efficient and friendly. I got all the basic stuff done like student ID cards, security cards to enter the buildings, enrollment, appointment with the director.
Next on, I made a few Pakistani friends who introduced me to a Indian student in UniSA. Will meet him in the evening and work on the accomodation. Finding a decent accomodation at a cheap rate is the most important thing for me at this point in time.
Living at the "backpackers" with all my 50+ kg luggage is not easy. Booked the backpackers for a week so need to find a new place by then.
Today evening at 3 PM will be my session at UniSA. This is for International students to understand the various requirements of the UniSA programs. This is important to Asian students as the universities back home are very different in the way they teach and test.
About Adelaide

Adelaide is a small city with good infrastructure. Most of the places in the city are easily accesible if you have a car. By the public transport they are still accessible but sometimes tough. This is the feedback from some of the students in the city. Need to know from my own experience.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Kaula Lumpur

On the way to Adelaide. In transit in Kaula Lumpur. What a wonderful and developed city. Had a great tour of the city with a Sri Lankan tamil.

The Kl tower and Petronas stand out.

I am very impressed. This begs the question as to why India still lags behind. A moderate muslim country with a mixture of muslims, tamils and chinese can achieve something like this they India sure can.

Taking the night flight to Adelaide from KL.

My dear friend, Veer Bothra, has featured this blog as the blog of the day on Blogstreet India. Thanks Veer.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

To Australia

The visa arrived two days back after a long extended delay. UniSA has been kind enough to grant me an extension to make this possible.

I am leaving on the 18th April from Hyderabad to Adelaide. I will be taking the Malaysian Airlines flight to Kaula Lumpur and then after a 14 hrs long gap will fly to Adelaide. At least I get a chance see KL and spend some time there.

The course starts on the 22nd April.

First priorities will be find a decent accomodation till July, when my wife Bindu will join me.

UniSA is arranging the pick-up from the Adelaide airport and also has hopefully booked my temporary accomodation.

Updates will start once I settle down.