All posts tagged: Career

Education reforms in India

The Congress came to power with big promises this year (as all governments post all elections), and much to the credit of the academic party that it is, I am proud to say that I see hope for India, believing, rather optimistically, that Kapil Sibal’s proposed education reforms will be implemented. I must confess that I am an Indian news channels’ addict, despite the trash that they feature and hype, and have followed all day, the vision of Kapil Sibal, India’s HRD minister and a Harvard alumni. My rants on education finally find some relief, at least in acceptance of the fact that our education system is a breeding ground for stress, due to its superficial emphasis on results. The man who led India’s first expedition to the Arctic and represented the country at the Davos economic forum, has now become the harbinger of relief in the Indian student life. In an NDTV exclusive with Barkha Dutt, Kapil Sibal proposed the following: Scrap the compulsory class 10 board exam, for it is merely a source …

Game theory lessons in life

In yesterday’s class of game theory, I learnt one of life’s most important lessons, proven mathematically. It is a generalization of the Shooting Game to life and business, and I’ll try to keep it as non-technical as possible.  If you’re not already familiar with the term, game theory is a subset of economics that assesses the behavior of people in situations where the result (outcome) of their actions (strategies) is influenced by the actions of other people (players). The most widely known example of a game is the Prisoner’s Dilemma. The Shooting Game is a zero sum game, implying that co-ordination is never possible. When one player wins, the other always loses. The game takes place as follows: “Each player has a pistol loaded with only one bullet. They stand 10 steps apart and walk towards each other, at the same pace, one step at a time. After each step, they can choose to fire their one bullet at the other player. The probability of an accurate shot increases with each step, as the players …

The career quest

Yesterday, I attended a career talk by BCG (Boston Consulting Group). It was almost intimidating to enter a room full of people who exude such an aura of intelligence. I suppose it is universally accepted that some of the world’s smartest people work / have worked at BCG, and they won’t disappoint you when you meet them in person. The presentation was impressive, of course, but contrary to my expectations, it was also soft-selling, casual and rather humble. The intimidation has been replaced by admiration. I wonder if people who are now on the other side of the line, who are happy with their jobs, successful even, were ever in the same boat as so many of us soon-to-be-graduates. Did they know from the start what they liked, what they wanted to do, where they belonged? Were they aware of exactly where they stood, with respect to smartness, intelligence, skills and capabilities? Did they have the perfect attitude to begin with?  I wonder if like many things in life, our career has a defining moment …

20 seconds to sell yourself

That’s right, your resume. If there ever was hard-selling, it is now. A piece of paper that contains your life, your learnings, your achievements (whether or not you have any). It tweaks and moulds and screams and boasts. Probably the shallowest piece of paper, probably the most fake; it’ll probably make or break your life.  So here I am, editing mine for the umpteenth time. Even more than the job hunting process, what agitates me is that I’m supposed to sell myself outright on “achievements” that really don’t define me.  No wonder they call us SELL OUTS.

Gen Y goes to work

As graduation clouds loom overhead and the job pressure builds, we don’t anticipate offers raining on fresh graduates like us. The umbrellas of non-finance majors in Singapore are particularly dry. It’s relieving to know that globally, our generation (Five jobs in five years, no worries) is dumping high paying jobs in search of the ‘right fit’, despising long work hours, and being valued for their fast-paced mindset (Gen Y provides leadership and productivity). I wonder if long-standing corporate cultures will make way for this new bunch of people, rebellious yet efficient. I wonder if hiring practices will be adapted to hunt for talent, as opposed to loyalty and conformity. Maybe it’s time the corporate world is split by generations too.

Last semester at college

It’s been a while since I talked about the real stuff that’s been bothering me. The Olympics, Indian news channels, people, are all very well, but I’m pushing aside things that I should really be thinking about. I’m exactly 3 months and 15 days away from graduating. Overwhelming, if one word could sum it up. It’s going to be the end of 3.5 years at college, it feels like the end of an era, and also like a fleeting moment that passed me by with my eyes still shut. The nostalgia is not looming yet, the friendships are still strong, but the future (suddenly?) isn’t looking bright enough. For 3 years, I have been waiting to miraculously discover the trail that my life’s supposed to take. What will I change in the remaining 1/2 of the year (or 3 months, 15 days to be more precise)? Disinterest is giving way to anxiety, and anxiety to fear and hatred. Fear and hatred of my future, of the things that lie ahead for me, of the sell-out that …

Goodbye work

I can’t let the summer end without this last post. By summer, I mean the summer in Singapore. Of work, banks and contradictions. Tomorrow is my last day. I’ll be exaggerating if I say it’s been a roller coaster ride. It’s been pretty smooth actually, at least on the outside. My head has been full of conflicts though, from one moment to the next. I have come a long way since I talked about survival, surviving work in a bank. I have grown out of it, the phobia, the fear and the bias. I know though, that what I had thought all along is true, but I have come to realize that I don’t have the right to judge. It is true that most people are motivated by money. Yet, they are some of the nicest people I’ve met in Singapore. In fact, they’ve almost changed my opinion of the country, in the context of racism. I’ll probe into that topic another time, but for now, I am, as always, in two minds. I can’t say if …