I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Sunday, February 19, 2006


So, there's this guy somewhere, Shravan, who has decided to rant on the net. On MBAs. So, it would have been, if only Falstaff hadn't decided to make this an example of how people, with or without ponytails, rant about how MBAs don't contribute to society (you will have to go past the NY times bit on the post)

Poor Shravan, who should know better, decided to defend his sob story. When he couldn't and was found out, decided to ask for a public apology!!

Falstaff has written all that I had to say on the issue itself, so I wouldn't go into any detail on the issue.

What is incredible though, is that Shravan thinks that he has made a difference to people's lives. "I hope others reading this post have benefitted just a wee bit too." says he, in one of his comments. Who I may ask?

Not 'prope//er' who either had wrong facts "Our PSUs are managed by morons and endup making losses by the thousands of crores." !! (Last I checked, out of the five companies with net profit greater than 1 billion, four were PSUs) or misplaced opinions "Private sector companies will always find people. It is the organizations in public sector that really need management skills." prope//er is sermonising himself

Not 'Murli' who has made all the choices that he has wanted to (kudos to him), and now is trying to make a difference in Shravan's life, just like a Prof. Wait, he's a Prof!

Not any others that I read... (I have been on his blog for long!!)

Why am I writing all this? I thought Falstaff had been truly harsh on this guy, who was just ranting. However, after reading Shravan's delusional posts and his comments, I take that back. In public. Just like he demanded.


Blogger neha vish said...

The problem with a blog is that it is essentially a public rant. Shravan seems to have forgotten that! I think it's become sort of a casual conversation about weather sort of thing to discuss the economics of education and such things. While everyone has a right to an opinion - even morons should do their research first! Sigh!

Sunday, February 19, 2006 6:04:00 AM

Blogger neha vish said...

oh and never mind the fact that he seems to think only boys do "MBA".. Eeww.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 6:05:00 AM

Blogger Falstaff said...

:-). Thanks. May I also say that I think you made the right call in your comment on my blog - I probably was being too harsh on him initially - it's been too long since I graduated for me to really remember what last semester blues feel like. Plus the truth is I wasn't just responding to his post, I've heard this stuff about MBAs not making a difference to India from some three different people in the last month - his post was just the straw that broke the camel's back. Still, for a moment there I actually thought I might have been unfair to him.

Fortunately, it turns out his actual argument was even stupider than the one I was criticising him for. In retrospect, I suppose I could have been all polite and sympathetic with him (the way Murali is) and made the point to him more gently, but the combination of self-righteousness and self-pity always makes me impatient, and besides, gnome-baiting is so much fun.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 8:04:00 AM

Blogger shravan said...

Its always fun to be discussed across the web.

1. Neha: boys was just an example. I was not generalizing. Im sorry for the misunderstanding.

2. Dhoomk2: PSUs make money only when they're either a monopoly or when they are in license protected industries. The guy is technically right. Put PSUs in a competitive scenario, and they get washed out.

2. Falstaff: You have no idea what its like in B-Schools in India this time around. Its easy sitting there (wherever) and ranting. I know people who would make fantastic artists, singers or writers, but who end up taking jobs off campus because it pays well. Its easy to say that one should follow their dreams. Put it against a six figure salary, and you'll understand the difference. A lot of them read this post, and told me that the comments by people like Murli were truly insightful. This post was not intended for people like you who have no idea whats really going on. It was meant for a certain target audience, and it served its purpose. Hence the comment.

The point of the post was simple, people avoiding following their dreams in pursuit of money. If you thought that was stupid, you have no idea of reality.

Please discuss me more. My sitemeter is exploding. You,dhoomk2, are obviously entitled to your opinion, however caustic it might be. Go on...

The only reason I was at falstaff's site was because he was incorrect in the interpretation of my post.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 8:46:00 AM

Blogger meditativerose said...

Shravan - You're right ... I guess Falstaff can't relate to you because he gave up a seven figure salary to follow his dreams, unlike you, who can't bring himself to give up a six-figure one to do so.

Anyway, that doesn't change how exceedingly illogical your argument is. To put this very simply, in the hope that you will be able to understand, let me discuss two categories of people:
1. Those who have dreams beyond a high paying job, and also do have a high paying job: For this set of people, the opportunity cost of taking a risk and pursuing their dreams is high. How high it is, depends on the trade-off they make between the importance of money to them, and the importance of their dreams. If they choose to not pursue their dreams because they prefer the security of the high-paying job, they’ve made the trade-off. Please note that having the high paying job or the MBA does not preclude them from pursing their dreams. In fact, I could argue that it greatly reduces the risk of doing so, since they have a safety net to fall back on.
- Those who have a high paying job, but have no dreams beyond that: This category of people often feel dissatisfied, because they feel their life should mean more, have a greater purpose, etc. and they don’t know what that is. That is understandable, but you have to see that the MBA does not have anything to do with that dissatisfaction – at most, it makes you feel like a fraud when you know people around think of you as an overachiever, while you don’t feel that way yourself.

I think it should be fairly clear to you that your angst stems from a. not knowing what your dreams are, or even if you have any, or b. realizing that the dreams you thought were important to you are actually not as important as a six-figure salary out of school. Hopefully, this should help you understand that this is a problem you need to think through at an individual level – blaming the opportunities you have for your angst isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 12:55:00 PM

Blogger Falstaff said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 3:19:00 PM

Blogger Falstaff said...

MR: Thanks. I would go one step further, though, and question the validity of the assumption that anyone who would make the trade-off and take a six / seven figure salary ever had the potential to become a truly great artist / singer / writer in the first place. Being a successful artist is not just about talent, it's about endless hard work, dedication and sacrifice. People who would sell out on that dream for a cushy job would have sold out on it anyway. Are we really to believe that someone who gave up on being a poet because he was getting a seven figure salary would have been content to starve and write if his salary had been only in five figures? Can we think of any examples of people who became great artists because necessity compelled them - because they weren't allowed to find employment elsewhere? People don't become great artists by necessity, they become great artists by choice.

Shravan: Isn't it interesting how people who find your post insightful understand the realities of the world and those who don't agree with you don't know what's really going on? That's convenient, isn't it? By my count there are now at least a half dozen people across the comments on this blog and my own, all of them graduates from the IIMs in recent years (when opportunities, believe me, were not that different from what they are now; if anything, the opportunities at WIMWI when I graduated were, I suspect, signficantly better than the ones you have on your campus now) who disagree with your central thesis that the MBA restricts people from following their dreams - and yet somehow the only people whose views you give credence to are those who found your blog useful. If you are saying that the only relevant target audience for your post were people who are also unwilling to accept responsibility for their own cop-out and are happy to join you in your attempt to blame your failings on the system, then I entirely agree with you - but that's what I've been saying all along. The point is still, to echo dhoomk2's point that the only purpose your post serves is to allow some people to feel needlessly victimised and gives them a good excuse to do nothing meaningful with their lives by blaming it on a convenient scapegoat. I'm not sure that's 'helping' them.

For what it's worth, I do think Murali's comment was insightful, if only in that it made the point that it is entirely possible to pursue your dreams after you get an MBA - all it takes is the clarity and courage to know what you really want and go after it. If you want an example of someone who pursued his dreams and wasn't distracted by money, you need look no further. I fail to see how this reflects any credit on your initial post, however, unless you're arguing that someone has to get things wrong first in order for other people to get them right.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 3:22:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Neha: Hi! Agree with you. Some research will help most of us. In case of Shravan, don't know whether it will!!

MR: You got Shravan figured out. I have one observation:

There is also one more category of people, those who have followed their dreams and are earning six or seven-figure salaries despite that. :-)

Btw, I don't think that money is the only trade-off when it comes to following your dreams and making your choices.

There are a few more: time that you can spend following up on hobbies, there's family life, the feeling of being alone in your pursuit (since it's your dream), the not-so-pleasant experiences on the way (when you pay your dues), losing touch with old friends, changing as a person....

In everyday life, I meet a few of the people who have made these trade-offs and are still happy because they are doing what is best for them. Some of them happen to be earn six-and-seven figure salaries, yes. Even if they weren't being paid thus, they wouldn't know what else to do.

Making one's dreams come true does involve many such trade-offs across the way. And those trade-offs can be worth it only if we are doing something we that we want to do.

Now, only if the fantastic writers, singers and artists that Shravan mentions had real dreams in the first place, they could have made any meaningful trade-offs. Otherwise...

Sunday, February 19, 2006 10:35:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Btw, Shravan... "PSUs make money only when they're either a monopoly or when they are in license protected industries". On what basis are you saying this? Can we have some facts? Minor point, though.

I personally do have facts to show that private companies have outperformed PSUs in multiple industries, but am not sure whether that's because of bad management or because of binding constraints put on the PSUs themselves (ICICI Bank's market cap vs. SBI being a case in point). Some of those constraints are needed, by the way, as PSUs are also a means to cover for market failure.

However, I haven't seen PSUs making money 'only in monopolies or in license-protected industries' either (SBI being a case in point again. SAIL is another turnaround story in a deregulated market). Please do revert back if you disagree.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 11:03:00 PM

Blogger Mr. D said...

Hmm... I think S has been fazed by final-term, pre-placement blues when THINGS have started happening and shortlists are coming, and some people are going places, some are not, and the others are hanging in the middle. I'd like to see how he feels about all this a couple of years from now, assuming he's a rational open-minded individual.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 2:19:00 AM


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