Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tales from SPJCM – IIP final

We were into our last term exams in Dubai and there comes an e-mail saying that we have to give 3 presentations on our IIP. First to the Dean, Dr Sethi (who you must be familiar with by nowJ), Second to a Panel of Professors and an external judge and the Third one to the whole batch. OMG!! Just 3 days to go before we actually play the game in front of 3 eclectic varieties of audiences.

I say, 3 eclectic varieties, because there is a deep thought gone into understanding their behaviour J On one hand, we have the Dean who loves to say a lot many things, but listens only things that sound familiar to him – Research, market research, primary research, SPSS and the likes. Then we have the panel of professors and an external judge who may or may not listen to the topic being discussed depending on their own tastes and flavours. They may ask questions like why are you wearing this particular shirt with this blazer, it doesn’t suit well or may be you spoke well and we liked the way your hands were moving while you presented J It just puts you off when after a heavy technical subject and talk for which you spent sleepless nights you get to hear such comments, instead of worthwhile questions. At the end of it, you feel bad that you spent so many hours preparing for these comments. The third variety is our very own class of folks who are not interested in any presentation or talk that goes on stage. Just the idea of a presentation in the leadership hall gives you a yawn and you tend to get sleepy half way. This motley crowd actually is never interested in any such presentation; more so if it is being given by someone amongst us as we have already had enough of each other in the class and hostel J

Nevertheless, we had to present and there was no running away from this. And somehow, we all knew in our IIP group that we will have to give a presentation to our mentor in Bank of Baroda, so it makes 4 in all for us. By the exams got over, we were ecstatic that we wanted to forget the pains of preparing 4 different presentations but somehow they always came back haunting us, especially after the traumatic semi final we had a few days back and as a result of it, we were asked to do a lot many new things which we had never heard of and never knew of. However, bad it may sound, we knew that we will have to implement at least some parts of the new ideas, if we were to sail through.

3 days break and we planned to do a lot of work then and prepare the presentation. Believe me, it was an ordeal collecting all the 5 of us together at the same time in a single room. Even if we somehow manage to do so, we would never discuss the project, because there were lot many hot things to discuss J Never mind, we knew that we had to finalise on a lot many things and do a lot of work. We divided our work and everyone decided that it will be sent to me for compilation. I and Monty decided to do the presentation as well.

2 days into the work and we hear someone say – “yaar Sharad confidence nahin aa raha hai”…n listening this most of us, especially Sharad got pissed off and there started a small duel with each one of contributing their mite to it. Ranny and Raghu also shouted and Sharad was all ready with Monty to give him the requisite confidence. We were wondering, its just 1 day to go before the mega finale and here we are without confidence on what we have done. There was complete raucous and then I ensued by saying…what the f*** is this and this endangered the whole matter all the more. However, after some nasty discussions and heated arguments, we all sat down knowing well that we all together have to fight it out and emerge winners. And finally we decided something that really brought back some confidence at least into Monty. We finalised to do some of the work that was suggested by Prof Chakraborty on Dr Sethi’s recommendations. And all of us took a sigh of relief as we all had agreed to everything by now and there was no shouting anymore J

I guess this small fight was necessary for the eventual success of the project and our team because this brought us closer to each other and started accepting and believing in each other. Those arguments and those heated discussions brought out a fact that we should do what was asked from us and that saved our lives, at the end of the day.

Presentation was ready and we had decided who would start and knew well what each one of us had to say and present. The next day, we heard that the presentations were going behind schedule and we can take time to reach college. As usual, our very own Brad Pitts, Raghu and Ranny were late and reached the college after the rest of us. Luckily for us, our turn hadn’t come by then and we could still take some time to recollect everything.

Slowly but surely, the presentations before us got over and our time to get honoured came. We entered the room and Dr Sethi was eagerly waiting for us. As we got the setup ready, Ranny was ready to shoot. I was at the computer running the slideshow while the rest of us presented and Ranny actually shot – said “Good afternoon Sethi saab” and we all wondered what was that, did we hear what he actually said. And true to Ranny’s ways he started of in his inimitable style. I still remember those words from him – “Just to give you an idea of the Credit Derivatives Market, the size of the US economy is USD 13 trillion and the credit derivatives running on just AIG are USD 67 trillion”. And we heard all that marketing gyaan from him and we were all smiling from inside J And we all presented, with me closing the presentation by giving him a SWOT analysis of CLNs (just to make sure, it looks like a market research project, you remember)

We ended our presentation and we knew that now the Lion would roar. And roared he, with a smile. He asked us whether we think that this project would have taken us 4 months or not to complete. As we said Yes and complimented it with a comment - Offcourse it took us more than 4 months for the project as we had to analyse a lot of things, alphas, betas, gammas and LEMMAS. Oh man!! What is "lemma" now?? Everyone of us wondered. But as they say...once said is said...nothing can be done then J And he started off with another salvo, what all did we do, where did we got it analysed and then where did you get those contacts that you had shown in the presentation and then he said how did we contact them? As if all this was not enough and he asked us to tell him how our mid term review went and what did he ask us to do. As we told him about what happened then, he asked us whether we implemented what was suggested. We readily said Yes, as we actually did implement all that. He rounded off by saying what our mentor thinks of the project and if he is happy with it. As we returned the honours with the affirmative, he asked us if we were the same group with whom he had a small tussle during the mid term review. Again we said Yes, though this time we were reluctant, but we had to say that. There was no running away from this.

Then he paused for a second or two and our heart pumped heavily, as he hadn’t declared the result as yet. We had already started moving out of the room and we looked back at him in anticipation of some good news, and he asked…what did you think, I am not going to pass your project? You have done a reasonable job and I am satisfied with it. Oh what a moment was that!! We couldn’t believe what our ears heard and tried to see each other to make sure that we heard the same thing and it made sense to us J By now we were out of the room and our happiness knew no boundaries.

Everyone was so overjoyed that I must tell you the real expression on the face of each one of us. We came out and Ranny jumped in the air as if he had won the Olympic Gold Medal for High Jump. Sharad and I were so happy and launched ourselves towards Ranny as we had just won the battle of waterloo. Raghu was so ecstatic and hugged us as we had solved a big puzzle. And our very own Monty cried as if he were a small girl and he had some pent up emotions for so many months and his confidence returned only after we had heard that we had won the battle inside that room. Overall we all hugged each other and had one of more joyous moments of our lives in Dubai. OMG!! What a victory for our group and what a moment! Those moments are etched in our hearts like a mark of stone.

Do you know what actually rounded off this whole eventful IIP Final for us? No its not those emotional and feelings of satisfaction. No, not the feeling of work well done and well appreciated, but a phone call that came after we had all presented and came out winning. Yes, a phone call! That call was from a business contact, whom we had tried to contact for an outside review of our project. This was something that was a necessity to get an individual and independent evaluation of the project and get his insightful views. Though, I spoke to him at length about the whole idea and noted down his views, however, we laughed and smiled a lot as we had never laughed and we would remember this day ever!

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