Sunday, 17 February 2008

Experience at the IQ 2008...

From many days, I was in a craze of participating in the IQ 2008. IQ is a quiz compeition conducted by IMS (Institute of Management Studies). It stands for IMS Quotient. It is considered as the nation's biggest undergraduate college quiz competition. There are 5 levels
  1. The Eliminaton Round
  2. City Finals
  3. Quarter Finals
  4. Semi Finals
  5. National Finals
Definitely a tough challenge. However, I, alongwith my teammates, Ajay Agarwal and Chetan Pujari had got ready to take this challenge. All was set and fine. But then, all my friends of SSBJ had planned a meet at Kudalasangama on 16th. This was a lifetime opportunity. My friends were getting together after a very long time of around 4 years. And I really doubt if we can get together again as everyone is going to get busy in life in the days to come. I decided to go for the meet on 16th and then move to the quiz on 17th. But then, due to certain personal reasons, I was unable to move out of Hubli on 16th. I missed the show badly and felt bad for it. I apologize to all my friends who were expecting me to join them and I could not do that. After all, an opportunity that had come after 4 long years and which might not come in the future again was missed by me

Today morning, I got up in time (Thank God!) and after the routine activites, reached the bus station also in time (0815 hours). IMS had made some arrangements to the venue directly (In JNMC College Campus at B S Jirge Auditorium). However, the number of participants was enormous. It appeared to me as if it will be a big problem of crowd management at Belgaum. We got into a bus and started the journey. Coincidently, S B Nadagouda sir also joined us. He was accompanying his college teams for the competition

Soon, we were in Belgaum. There was a lot of time and we moved on for breakfast. The competition was supposed to begin at 1230 hours and we were back by 1215 hours. However, the crowd was so massive that everything was getting out of control. The auditorium could accomodate a 1000 people. However, there were at least 2500 people. There was a lot of mismangement. The IMS people had gone to all colleges in Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum and made almost everyone who they get in the college to fill up the form. They did this with an intention of publicity

Further, there was a brochure distributed among all the students. In that, it was mentioned that all the city finalists will get an iPod. However, all the students misunderstood thinking that every participant would get an iPod and a lot of them came over for the same reason. But then, soon, their hearts were broken

Due to excessive participants, the IMS people did not understand what to do. These are people who give coaching for CAT

Now, lets see what solutions they got

Solution No. 1- We are full. So, others who are not getting a seat in auditorium can leave
Well, you go to each and every person and invite them for your marriage. All come on yor invitation. Very few have come volunteerly. And then, you tell, get out. What does it mean? And these are management teachers???

Solution No. 2- We will conduct the first round twice
Hmmm... so, the second round participants already know the questions. What a solution!
Finally, it was decided to give papers to everyone and the questions would be announced everywhere and from wherever we were, we had to written the answers on any sheet of paper and hand it over to them. Well, although this was the only solution possible, yet, things were not fair. It was obvious for the people to refer books and call their friends to get the answers. Although everything happened before everyone's eyes, everyone was helpless

The main reason for all this mess is definitely the IMS people. Firstly, they go and gather big crowd by telling them attractive things. Just for the sake of getting publicity, they print a lot of booklets and advertise all over. They roamed across all the colleges. They even stood at the entrance of all the colleges and made everyone register for the quiz. And when, they do all this, they should also make the arrangements to cater the needs of all the people. However, this was not taken care of. And the entire event was mismanaged

We were asked 21 questions. Of course, the quality of question was very high. We did our best and submitted the papers. And then, almost 60% of the teams left. We all sat back at the auditorium. And the best 6 teams were declared. We were not in the list. However, a JGCC team was there with a surprise package, as usual

We waited back expecting to win some audience prizes. Things went smooth from here on. Everything was fit and complete. Unfortunately, although we know some answers, we were not lucky enough to get any audience prizes either

At the end, the quiz results were declared. And then, another dhamaal. The winners were PG (Post Graduation) students. And the quiz was only for under graduates. You can imagine level of publicity has happened. And after everything was over, they tell that they are PG students, they get disqualified and the runners up were declared the winners

It was more a boring trip rather than a competition. I defnitely understand that arranging such big events is a difficult task. But then, one must always remember, TOO MUCH IS TOO BAD. These days, the educational institutions have become so commercial that they are on a neck to neck competition with companies like AirTel when it comes to advertising. A lot of misguiding in the name of career guidance is visible clearly everywhere

I must definitely say that we had a OK time. However, if things were planned more correctly in limits, things would be much better

Monday, 11 February 2008

I'm gonna be AMFI certified soon...

Heyyy... I just cleared my AMFI examination!!!
And I am getting registered with them as an independent distributor soon...

It was yet another great moment in life when I got through my AMFI examination

AMFI is the Association of Mutual Funds in India. Any person who wishes to sell mutual funds has to be certified by this body. Only then can he sell them

I have been a big fan of mutual funds from years together. I have done a lot of research on each and everything related to mutual funds. Further, one fine day, I thought, "Why not sell mutual funds alongwith life insurance?" To turn this thought into reality, I started finding the ways to do it. And I got to know that I have to clear this exam
There was a book written by the AMFI which costs Rs 400. However, with the kind of knowledge that I had on mutual funds, I was 100% sure that I will clear the exam without reading this book. However, I did not wish to take a chance as the exam fee was Rs 1000. Even if I fail by 1 mark, I will have to pay another Rs 1000. So, its always good to pay Rs 1400 (400 for the book and 1000 for the exam) and study properly and clear the exam

I ordered the book which arrived in 4-5 days. And I started preparing. The exam was supposed to be held on 8 Feb 08. My preparation was not upto the mark in the beginning. I had a lot of commitments and was tied up with life

However, on the deadline day, 07th Feb, I made a serious venture and studied the book word by word. My God! It was a 350 pages book and I was able to cover about 180-200 pages. The next morning, I just started glancing the remaining portion. Almost everything was known to me. It was mainly dealing with marketing ethics which I had learnt in my classes of BCom and more importantly, I have followed them through life. It dealt with the kinds of funds, their operations, expense ratios, limits, etc which I had in my mind already as I have the habit of reading the offer documents (which are around 100 pages) of almost every mutual fund that comes. So, it was a cakewalk in most of the lessons. However, there were some lessons which I was learning for the first time. I concentrated more on them

And finally, it was 1.30 pm and my exam began. I answered all the questions to the best of my knowledge. The time allotted was 2 hours. However, it was over in 25-30 minutes. I revised everything again. There was a negative marking system too and so, I had to be very careful. It was about an hour now and I was not able to sit. I just submitted the paper and the result flashed on the screen

"You cleared the test"
"Your score is 75%"

Well, that was a beautiful moment that delighted me
I believe, I had answered about 90% of the question correctly and the remaining wrong answers brought my score to 75%
Good going...
Immediately, I ran to the bank, gathered money and took the next step. I had to register myself with AMFI after this exam. I took a copy of the scorecard and the form that I was supposed to fill up. I had to take another DD of Rs 500 for the registration fee. A lot of cash outflow...

I got the DD and sent the application for registration

I am now awaiting for my ARN (AMFI Registration Number)

Once I get that, I shall be an independent mutual fund distributor

Yet another value addition to the services that I offer to my clients
And a lot of thank yous to the people who helped me in the process!!!

Life has been beautiful as well as ugly. On the negative note, I would also like to say that I have not been able to clear my CA examination. The struggle is on. However, its getting more tougher
Lets see, where life takes me...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Best Manager @ ICFAI Utsav 2008...

On 31 Jan 2008, we were informed that there is a InterCollegiate competition organized by the ICFAI National College, Hubli. It is a prestigious event in which a lot of colleges will participate. There were 5 events in which we were supposed to perform. And now, the surprise! "The fest will begin tomorrow". It was evening 5 when we got the information and the next morning at 8, the fest was supposed to begin. Puzzled and confused, I gathered along with my friends and started planning to see if we could do something. We found that we had a quiz team and so, we dont need to bother about it. Further, there was a need to perform a dance show and none was ready for that. A round called Bindaas Bol (Speak your mind) was obviously meant for me. Another event called Prachaar which involved the marketing of a product was also taken up by me and another 2 students. An event called Icebreaker which was the introduction round also had my involvement. Now, the prestigious event of the function was, The Best Manager (Ustaad), and even this was given to me. We started preparing for the Icebreaker immediately. We had to present a fairy tale. After a lot of discussions and thoughts, we finanlized the script and make a few practices

And then, I had college football team selections. I went on with it. On the ground, I was interrupted and told that, there is a cultural program also. I left immediately and we started thinking, what has to be done. No one was getting an idea. So, I had to take the lead again and tell them, we'll dance and I had to join this too. The practice went upto 10 in the night. I never ever danced in my life and this was a real impossible task. But, I knew, had I not joined and motivated, no one would perfrom in this

Tired and exhausted, I reached home and got asleep

The new month began and I packed up and moved to the collge in the early morning. I asked everyone to come and we had a some rehearsals, etc. We registered our team and the events began. Our team was named PARLE. There were a lot of problems that I faced again. I was not allowed to participate in the event, Prachaar, as I was supposed to participate in another event at the same time. Although there was enough time gap and I would definitely make up easily, I was still stopped. One of my teammates took my position in the event

And then, we performed the Icebreaker. Our story was about a king who has given everything to his beautiful daughter but never exposed her to the world. The princess wants freedom but never gets it. Things take a turn and finally, the king realizes his mistake. We had almost zero preparation but still, we managed to perform well. Further, we did the tale in Hindi, which was really difficult for the teammates to cope up immediately

Now began the hunt for the best manager. We were all given a objective type question paper which testing our reasoning skills, interpretation skills, verbal skills, analytical skills, data interpretation, general knowledge, etc. There were 60 questions and 60 minutes to answer them. I started writing the paper and exactly, the same moment, there was an announcement saying that the participants of Speak your mind were supposed to be on the stage immediately. I was totally struck again. I knew I was the 16th person to speak on the stage. Each person would be there on the stage for 2 minutes and at least 1 minute will go in entry and exit, etc. So, 3 x 15= 45 minutes. I started the test and went on like a hungry horse. And guess what, it was over n 22 minutes. No cross checks, no second thoughts, I just got up and handed over the paper and ran on to the stage

My turn came. The topic that I got was 'Is performing tests on animals necessary?'

Hmmm... Had I continued to be a science student, it would be a simple task to me. But then, all my science knowledge has been deeply hidden somewhere in the deepest part of my brain. In a moment, I made that deepest part ready for the race and gave a best shot for the next 2 minutes on the topic. All said, I did excellent, but only results would say how I did

Now, the results of best managers was announced. A large number of participants were eliminated. And I was the 2nd highest scorer in the test. A big surprise! And the very next moment, all the 12 participants were called out, locked in a cab that drove us to the college. All the function was being held at Sawai Gandharwa Hall. Now, in the college, we were given a case study of the Himalaya Drug Company. The company did many branding and rebranding exercises. We were asked to read the case study carefully and answer the questions asked. And also, to justify our answers. It was all an individual effort. After 15 minutes (we were still reading the case), all were asked to close everything and move to the computer lab. And guess what, they said, prepare a powerpoint presentation on the case in the next 15 minutes. I am used to make presentations. But making them ready in 15 minutes and that too with insufficient knowledge was a herculian task. I did that too. And next, they asked us to sit in another room and asked each of us to give a presentation on the powerpoint that we had prepared. Gussshhh!!! Most got frustrated. But, there was a need to perform and all did that. Even I gave a super shot presentation. As usual, hosh uda diye! The HR manager asked a few questions which were answered to the best I could. After all this, we all were brought back to the function hall. We were told that the results will be announced before dinner. And after dinner, we would have 1 more round to go

I joined my team which was ready with some more problems. The participants said that they will not perform as it would be an insult before everyone as we were not prepared for the same. However, my contention was, quitting will give us zero but even the worst performance will give us 1 point. After a hour long tussle, I made them agree. But then, what next? I never ever danced in my life. The people with me have not even practiced properly, they dont know the steps either, what to do? We just dared on went over the stage

And then... Each one in their own mood. It was the worst thing. But I loved it. We had planned to perform some stunts on the stage after the 3rd minute. So, I was taking the lead and moving further. But then, all that was not possible. We enjoyed these 3 minutes to the fullest

It was the time for dinner. But before, the results of the best manager. Out of 12, 6 students were eliminated and I was in the lucky six that got selected. I was delighted. We were supposed to move for the next round but as it was already 10.30 pm, things took a small change. We were asked to prepare a hand written business plan to set up an educational institution. And this had to be submitted by 8.30 am, the next day

I left the place and came home. Almost like a dead body. But then, I had promises to keep. I had a bath and started preparing the project report. It was another great task. Preparing a project for making profits is easy. But, this was a social project and I was totally exhausted and the head was bursting, no thoughts came up and things seemed very difficult. Suddenly, I thought, why not make a project report of a defence school rather than a business school or normal college. I knew that no one would ever think of this. My mood changed and I started gathering information. I used the Ajeet magazines, NCC books, etc for reference. But believe me, it got more tough. I kept reading whatever I got in my hand and it was 3.45 am. I lied down for some time and got up. Shocked to see the clock, it was already 6.15 am and I had not written a single word. I wanted to begin writing but there was no paper which I could use. Finally, I got it and started up. I used a very strategic style in writing. My key points were clearly mentioned as the acute shortage of officers in the armed forces and the need to groom a person when he is a child. I stressed upon the importance of all this and finally, the 6 page project was ready. It looked good. It was 8.15 am already and I was still in the bed suit. I just changed my trousers and raced to the function hall. Guess what! I was the first person to come there. The cut off time was 8.30, beyond which, negative marking would begin. Only 2 were able to come in time

I had the next event at 9.30 and it was already 9. I remembered that the pant that I was supposed to wear today was in the college. I had to go to the college to get it and then, I moved home. I had a quick bath, prayed God and got ready. I realized that I did not have a ironed shirt to wear. I just carried one and got it ironed on the way and changed it at the function hall. The first program for the day was the quiz competition and our college won the second place in this. Then, the results of the best manager were announced. The business plan round was a hardcore elimination round. Unfortunately, 3 out of 6 participants would be eliminated. And me, still held on :-) and promoted to the next round. After all, my business plan was 'The Parle School of Defence'

Immediately, the three finalists were called again. We were given a cricket bat and 4 balls to be sold to anyone. They were priced at a sum of Rs 500. An they could be sold at any rate. If we sell them above Rs 450, we get 100% marks for this round. I knew, no one would waste time selling these products at this time. Although we were sent out to sell, I just went and kept them in the college. I said that the bat has been damaged badly and no one will buy it. And so, kindly replace the bat. But then, I was told to sell it at Rs 100 less and I would still get 100% marks. We were also given Rs 50 as petrol allowance. Now, I thought, there is a bat and 4 leather balls and I have to sell them at Rs 450 at least. After reduction due to damage, my selling price must at least be Rs 350. I had received Rs 50 for petrol and I could use that too. So, all these 5 itmes will cost me Rs 300. I asked my friends if that was worth. All said yes. So, I immediately gave Rs 351 and closed the deal with 100% marks!!!

The moment I returned, the second round of Speak your mind began. Here, we would be given a topic and 1 minute to think. And then, we have to speak 2 minutes for the topic and 2 minutes against the topic on spot. I got the topic 'Parliament expenses are a waste of public money'. I did well. But then, a new big problem arose. I was disqualified from the event as I was participating in the best manager. However, there was no such rule mentioned anywhere by anyone. There were people who has done this. But they all were already eliminated and so, they were not seen. And it would not be right on my part to pin point on others. We all made it very clear to them that the rule was never told to us. After a lot of effort, we were told that, they will think about it and let us know. But I knew, the show was spoilt. It hurt a lot. If I had been told this before, I would have at least made someone else to participate. Yesterday, I partipated in the first round of both these events and there was no opposition at all. Now, when they see that I am almost winning both of them, they started this twist. There was no option for us other than accepting what they tell

The very next minute, the 3 finalists of best manager were called. This was the most important round which was aimed to stress the candidates and see how they perform. I was taken to a room and made to sit for some time. Then, I was blindfolded and there were n number of things put on me like flowers, papers, designery items, etc and after 20 minutes, I was taken in the same condition to the stage. All of a sudden, the blindfold was opened and the whole audience started shouting. There were 2 judges who had plans to screw up everything and make me lose. There was an endless conversation under all conditions. Some of the highlights are
  • The interviewer asks you to sit and if you sit, he says, who asked you to sit on the chair. So, I sat on the floorA girl comes with a rose and interrupts and he says she is your girlfriend and you are more worried about her than the job. So, I never bothered about her at all
  • A guy comes with a pepsi and offers it. He's not ready to leave you and the judge says, you have lost concentration. I said-"get out pepsi, I am more worried about the job"
  • He asked how much does a cricket ball bounce. I just said it depends on the pressure or force applied and the height from which it is dropped. He asked me the exact measurement. I just held my view
  • He asked me the distance between the boundary line and the spectator. I said it depends on where the spectator is sitting. He asked me to tell it in exact measurement. I said- "Distance between stumps and spectator minus the radius of the ground". I saw a blink on his face which was a good sign for me
  • He asked me to sell condoms to the other judge. And the other judge says, he is not interested to buy as he and his wife want to build a cricket team. He made me speechless saying that his wife doesnt like them at all and there is no fear of AIDS either as she is his only partner. Now, next. The other judge says, the product is still unsold. I tried again but the response was the same. So, I just told- "There is no meaning in selling a comb to a bald person". Impressed!
There were many serious discussions, negative remarks, tussles, etc that went on continously. I was pulled completely. But under all this condition, one thing that I never lost was, A CONFIDENT SMILE. They tried from the first moment to break this confidence but its the Great Wall of China built in SSBJ, how can it ever break??? They teased me continuously asking me to join a toothpaste company, etc but I just kept everything lively and natural
And guess what, I was not wearing socks... They saw that (as I sat down) and asked me why. I said I lost them yesterday during the dance competition and as it was late night, I could not find any shop open to buy them. And today, I am feeling more comfortable wothout socks :-)
Finally, they asked me, tell 5 qualities that you have for which you must be selected. I knew, this is the most important question of all. All that has happened earlier was mainly to divert our mind away from ourselves and finally, put ourselved in such a position that we forget our own strength. Par bhai, humne tho kaha hai na, yeh Great Wall of SSBJ hai. I was always cool, calm, confident and getting more and more stronger. I said
  1. I am grown in an environment of leaders
  2. I can manage a team
  3. While I lead, I am more a team player than merely a leader
  4. I can make right in a short time
  5. I perform better under stress
I think, these perfect 5 points would have never come from my mouth if I had not been patient and confident. I believe, the last point made a great difference to the show

Things came to an end and I was happy with my performance. We waited long and finally, all the results were out. As mentioned, we were second in quiz. Although I was second in Speak your mind, they had disqualified me

And finally, my name was called. All my team mates were happy but I got up sadly as I was expecting the first prize. Till now, all the prizes were given in the order 3rd, 2nd and 1st, and I presumed the 3rd position. I went on the stage and got a certificate and a trophy. I did not even see anyone on the stage properly nor what I got. I just turned back and came down and walked back to my seat. But then, the announcer directly concluded prize distribution. I was still walking towards my seat and I just saw my certificate. It said, I was "The Best Manager", meaning there was not 1st, 2nd or 3rd position. I was surprised and signaled it to the team members. All shouted and what a delightful moment it was! To confirm, I saw my trophy and it was clearly inscribed, BEST MANAGER. My God! It was a real big surprise again!!!

My efforts paid me. A million thanks to the God. 90% of the colleges that participated in the fest were all reputed management institutes. But then, me, being a commerce student, getting the best manager award, was a great achievement.

Its 00.30 am now and I need to go to bed. I have another competition tomorrow at Dharwad. I need to leave Hubli by 8 and so, I have to get up by 6 at least. Further, I have not yet prepared the script for speaking. Moreover, its in kannada and unfortunately, I am still not able to shape up my kannada speaking skills. Thanks a lot God. I am very grateful to you