Anniversary, cough, cold, fever and an awesome Term 11

For me this term started with a picnic but was the toughest !! 16 of us took the bus from Delhi to reach Mohali and what a picnic it was, mostly thanks to Brother Wong who pushed us all to get onto the bus but slept through the entire journey !! I got my one chance to play DJ (nobody else had got along their collection) and while Ram tried some Telugu music to get us moving, it was Kishore Kumar and Jagjit Singh that made the journey, a breeze. The Mohali campus building is stunning…. Much work still needs to be done on making it fully operational but love the atrium.

I took the first day off as it was my anniversary and Krishnan and I never do any “work” on our anniversary. We celebrate and that’s what we did this time too.

Day 2 started well with Innovation and Entrepreneurship…. And my mysterious cough that had no cold or sore throat to support 🙂 Prof Velamuri, you were the first Prof to use almost all Indian case studies and getting to meet some of the innovators and entrepreneurs in person was a huge highlight of your session. We started IE with the R&R case and it really turned out to be the best case ever written on entrepreneurship as Prof Velamuri said. It was fascinating to see how Mr. Reiss who apparently had nothing under his control, managed to launch a blockbuster trivia board game and make a few millions in the bargain !! Great videos and Mr. Reiss’ humility made me remember Harry Kraemer Jr and his book Values in Action, where one of the values is “genuine humility”.

All the groups also started working on their entrepreneurial ideas and on the last day today, we evaluated 10 interesting ideas, some of which may turn into blockbusters. The one video I won’t forget is the energy bar maker and how he got the funding that he wanted – he was focussed, knew his stuff and had oodles of passion. If anyone had doubts about whether passion is needed, go watch this video.

We learnt about internal locus of control and external locus of control and my fever prevented me from asking the Prof about people like Antony, Siva, DP, and me who have no locus of control !! We understood why some of us flirt with grand ideas of becoming an entrepreneur … It’s just our age and at this age, 35 to 40% of premier B-school grads take to entrepreneurship. So drop the visit to the temple or the shrink, research has proven you are doing things your age.

We discovered Ram’s secret in this term, his risk-reward profile is in complete contrast to the entire class – while the whole class didnt like Travel King, Ram valiantly chose it and so did Vani Kola – good going Ram. We learnt about Abundance mindset Vs control mindset and frameworks to evaluate if an idea is worth pursuing, also how a VC views an idea.

We had guest lectures by Vikram Vuppula who co-founded “Nephroplus” and Mr. Sunder Raman, the “Chotukool” innovator and both were impactful, leaving a deep impression. I could probably write a whole blog on just Mr. Sunder Raman’s presentation and his childlike enthusiasm. Awesome experience.

Prof Chidambaran, I have to start with apologies for having missed your first session, but my friends and fellow classmates couldn’t stop raving about your class …. And I discovered it for myself when I attended the next day onwards. Capital market terms flow from your mouth like movie names from Kamal’s or food stuff from mine !! You made the whole topic look so simple…. But Prof you conned us into believing its easy :):):) if some of us turn in lemons for an answer sheet to the final exam, its not your teaching that was at fault, its just that some of us conned you back about our “financial concepts” knowledge. Personally for me, thanks for taking away the fear that “call” and “put” and “short” and “long” positions put into me … I thought there was no future for me in options, but you have convinced me, that I can understand why I choose to take a “short” position. It was a great introduction to Miller and Modigliani and they kept us company through the course.

It was mental gymnastics for many of us in the Capital Markets class, some of us dealt with it with hope, some with a smoke, and some like DP by bravely explaining DCF !! I walked into my self made trap on commercial paper, Arun as always got animated with the Black Scholes equations and tried explaining to me how it was similar to some other equation… I really should have poured the hot tea on your head Arun for that… Vivek Mishra smiled through it all, it was just happy revision time for him, I thought Vineet was nice, but am reconsidering and all the jargon came too fast at me :):)

We learnt about VC financing, asymmetric information, participating convertible vs straight convertible, equity and debt markets, futures and options, IPO, secondary IPO, derivatives, asset securitisation …WACC reappeared and am sure Prof Kamma hiccuped, we also learnt that cashflow projections beyond seven years are pure conjecture, that constant growth factor is the same as multiples – hmmm, I need some tea, that’s a bunch of financial terms that I knew nothing about just 15 months back, but I do now – personal milestone.

Brother Wong tried negotiating with the Profs about shelving the final test, while Prof Velamuri dealt with it in one way, Prof Chidambaran smiled through it and has just given us an interesting case study and told us we will struggle in one question… I am willing to bet money that we will struggle in one question after another ! Brother Wong, after the last term, please learn negotiation and help the 2014 batch atleast :):)

Not only did some of us get “sick” … We did our bit of destruction to ISB property, some of us broke the chairs (4 per my count) and Siva fell backwards ! I humbly request ISB to make some students like Siva to sit on a bench – they think the chair is a swing !

Just six weeks more and this magical journey will come upon a fork, learning in classrooms will be replaced with learning through application and PGP will be done, Maxing ourselves will begin ….. looking forward.

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