This blog as might be apparent from the title has to do with running, biking and basically other outdoor individualistic sports, sometimes extreme, such as rock climbing . But don't be surprised if you find articles on work, personal life, music and even philosophy, this blog is an exception in this aspect in the blogosphere of running blogs and I am trying to revamp the blog to make it more runner friendly. You might want to look at the sidebar titled 'categorised', which as is obvious, categorizes my posts into different areas of interest.
The other thing that might interest many people is a section on 'running videos' and 'general videos' on the side bar, which I keep updating now and then.
I plan to bring in more posts on running and biking, with some added colour, so as to make them 'complete'. That's about it for now.
As a post-note, I have run a half-marathon, but I am yet to attempt a marathon, which through some concerted effort and time should happen in the future, but that ofcourse is not the culmination of this blog, it would on the contrary be something to jumpstart this blog onto new vistas.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Where do you go?

Disclaimer: The following article reflects my personal views and may or may not be an indicator of the actual happening of events described therein.

Where do you lovely
Where do you go?
I wanna lovely
I wanna know

where do you go, oh oh eh oh.......

So goes this lovely song.
On a serious note, I was, as others would have too, faced with this question, 'where do you go?', during my 3rd year (too early considering that mine was a 5 year integrated program, but nevertheless, I wanted to have some idea, where the greener pastures lay). Having talked to some senior (one year older), who had written CAT, in a train when I was heading back to hyderabad for hols after the end of my 5th semester, I was inspired to aspire for CAT, and enter the hallowed portals of IIMs. Ofcourse that senior was also apping (applying abroad) and was also sitting for a job.

IIT Madras is considered the app capital among all the IITs, for a huge percentage(20% - 30 % roughly, which is really huge for app among all IITs) of junta here app and around half of them finally head abroad. A maajor percentage (60 - 70 % (rough figures)) write CAT and ofcourse almost everyone (read 90 - 95 % ), sit for placements.

The CAT phenomenon, though not recent, has ballooned exponentially over the last few years. The Job scenario also has improved in a big way with lots of big companies of all genres ( management, tech, finance, futures, software) having hit the campus over the last two years and the average pay has almost doubled. An unsuccessful experiment was attempted for this acadmeic years' placement in that, the placements were postponed from the start of the previous semester (August) to the end of the same semester (mid December).

What has happened due to this little time delay is that, junta who wanted a job and were not really interested in a MBA or an app, were forced to attempt one of these two as they needed to have a second option incase they didn't get a job. In the original scenario, where placements started in august beginning, junta who had job as their top priority, would pack app or CAT as and when they would get placed (mid september for example). Hence this academic year, 2005 - 2006, has seen an unusual number of people apping and also Catting.

The delay in placements has also affected many people both physically and emotionally as they had to face untold frustration in sitting through interviews and GD's of many companies before they would get placed.
A typical company would call for a PPT (pre-placement talk) in the morning and there would be an aptitude test following it. The results would be spelt out only after lunch and those who qualified for either an interview or a GD would have it during the afternoon spilling over usually into the evening and sometimes(rarely) even into the wee hours of the morning.

So a whole day would get wasted for a person if he didn't get through this elaborate assessment process. Due to the amount of companies coming this placement year, the placement office had to allocate one day or a two at the most for conducting their assessment process. What adds to the frustration is that when usually, most junta would get placed by say, January beginning, this placement year has seen quite a few junta getting placed as late as February and a few others who should get placed in March.

I was fortunate enough to get shortlisted for two companies and attend the interviews before calling it a day. Not that I had gotten a job, but I was frustrated after sitting for the second company, having wasted a whole day without cracking the interview and hence quit sitting for placements.

I do agree however, that the placement process is a learning experience and makes one a tough cookie as one goes through series of interviews and GDs before getting through one of the companies, but my priorities were different and that saved me the trouble of furthering my placement process.

As I said earlier, I was pretty sure of attempting CAT in my third year end as I wasn't much interested in further studies in civil engineering and rightly so. There wasn't sufficient exposure to various fields, as many courses at the B.Tech level don't go in depth and the assessment is stereotype, through assignments and quizzess. By the end of third year, any student would know very well, how to beat this system of assignments (cogging) and quizzes( last minute mugging).

Ofcourse, there were and are those 'hi-funda' courses, which really draw in a lot of interest into the student as the prof clears the basic fundaes of the course and dwells deeper into the subject in a way which makes you hooked to his/her classes. Some of these profs disallow the 75% attendance rule, saying if you are really interested in the course, you would ofcourse attend my class. Students sometimes take advantage of this relaxation by taking a pledge to pack the profs' classes that sem and hence, the prof sometimes reverts back to the 75% attendance rule.

Having digressed enough, let me get straight to where I left when I began digressing. Transportation engg. seemed to appeal to me because of a 'hifunda' prof, who was very thorough in his fundaes and hence I started taking all the electives offered by this prof and it turned out that in one particular elective, 'Transportation Network Analysis', which was by the way a M.Tech course, we had to do some kind of a research and produce results. Ofcourse this research on a chosen topic, was at a much smaller scale, than say an B.Tech prj (BTP), but what happened through this innovative assessment method was that I was actually testing the waters of research and to my surprise, I found it really exciting (by the way, this went into my sop too ;)).

So there I was in my 4th year (8th sem), having to fix my priorities in life and after having done this course, my future pursuits in life seemed to have undergone a complete reversal from management and where the big money lies, to well, research, which, though gives obvious indications of my career headed into academia, serves well to take care of my interests. Even at this stage, I was still not sure, if I should not attempt CAT (its had to ward of peer influence), just for the heck of it. But as it happened, I didn't attempt the CAT and was ready to take my chance with app.

When I say, take my chances with app, I mean that the chances were of a huge degree of uncertainity as the assessment process of some univs were/are really vague and the previous history (app files) of the univs' selection process might also not be available. Ofcourse, there were the standard indicators: my cgpa and gre scores would indicate the range of rankings of univs to which I could apply.

The provided the top 100 engg. schools and this showed me the univs which fell in the ranking range(say top 15 - 30) , decided tentatively apriori. But since I was applying to a Phd program, the research I was doing in my MTP(M.Tech Project), mattered as much as my gpa and my gre scores. So if the research I was doing during the time of apping( november - January) had some weight in terms of a model or policy development, it could offset, to a certain degree, the cgpa and gre scores (if they
weren't decent).

This was the case with me and hence after carefully weighing the research being undertaken at the university to see its similarity to my MTP topic and after some preliminary proffing, I had narrowed down my list to 10 potential univs( that's a little overboard). But then, I had to consider, the junta also apping in my field, so we had what are called 'app meetings' inorder to sort out clashes in univs between junta and my univs list, believe it or not, crumbled down to a mere 5 in number. I wasn't much worried about the 'number' as I had a strong belief in my profs recommendation letter(reco) and more importantly my guides' reco , to be the final draw in helping me secure a univ call.

And then it happened, finally after a long wait, a long long wait. My wing-junta had already started getting admits and therefore, I had started to get a little worried, as I had also packed job. I received an email some days back from the university of washington (uwash), Seattle; intimating me on their acceptance of my application. I have been offered research assistantship at this university and in all probabilty shall be headed there to look forward to a positively enriching experience (quote/unquote sop!).

Future blogs (tentative): Gaming addiction, Martial arts, Now and then, Freedom, Sop fundaes.


Chumma said...

Nice !!!

I now really feel that I should have taken the Networks course (which was one factor in drawing me towards research too) more seriously !!

Having said tht, Looks like Karthik has made quite an impression (very positive) on many of us wich is and wil define wat we are gonna be in the future !

arbit said...

Karthik is god. Period. :-)

NaiKutti said...

congrats dude on ur admission and schol...

arbit said...

Thanks naikutti. :)

Nilambar said...

u r right abt karthik dude!! ... mpst of wat ive learnt in insti is wat i learned in his courses or btp :) ... sexy background da ... i actually looked around my room for the light source that cast a glare!!

arbit said...

True. Thanks machan...initially even I was doing the same(light source thing).

pushkala said...

enna post pa idhu ..
ttile it .. MY LAST FEW DAYS IN INSTI ...
make it a book
give cheatan bagat a nightmare .. !
lolz 1
nice one dude

arbit said...

Thanks....chetan bhagat is an entirely different genre, this article is some gen arbit jottings...:)

pushkala said...

nops.. chetan fictionalises all his facts ,,,
u present it plain and clean ..
anewazz a god work!

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

Robbie Mcewen and steve o'grady - The 'Nudge'