Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Nothing in life comes that easy -- General Philosophy

This blog is so generic that it applies to all readers. But I wrote this with applying-to-MBA category folks in mind. I kind of tried to do everything under the sun last year. So the least I can do is give folks the timeline for the MBA application process. The most I could do is to urge people, who read this, to make up their minds (about just about anything they want to do) very early. In decisions on India Vs Abroad, 1 college Vs 10 colleges, or any other decision involving choices, it is better to be decisive early on. Otherwise its not going to be so much fun. The more number of things you put on your plate, the more challenging you make it for yourself. It may be worthwhile because challenge is always good but you get into a position where "end justifies your means".

Take my case for instance. I wrote the GMAT exam, applied to US Schools, attended IMS coaching classes for CAT (in Stella Mary's College :-) ), wrote CAT, got engaged, went around with my then-future-wife( blogged about it here, here and here).. oh .. yeah and then I also worked. And worked on a project that squeezed the last drop of blood out of my body. Apart from all this I was involved in a lot of other personal stuff too. I did not want to give up on celebrations like the ones mentioned here, here and here. This travel blog (which made many people literally gape) was going on at the same time too along with some funny confusions. It was as if I was competing for a guiness record on masochism. It was fun up to an extent and then it became a blood bath. By October, I was reduced to continuous 50 hours of no sleep per week, bad temper, cursing India's non-existent high-speed internet, dead-slow dial-up connection, banging my laptop at 3:00 AM in the morning, driving to work at 11:00 PM in the night(because home internet was not working) and submit an application at 4:00 AM in the morning 10 minutes before the dedline. Oh did I mention??? I got married in the same time period. Got up at 5:00 AM the day after my marriage (as I had done the whole week before marriage) to study for the Wharton Interview. The day after marriage, I Flew from Madras to Bombay to attend the Wharton interview. Came back, went with a gang of screaming relatives to Thirupathi. Walked from Thirumala to Thirupathi. Came back and attended the Darden interview. Next day flew to Switzerland for my honeymoon. Came back and found out that I had been admitted to Michigan. Only after seeing the admit, did I back out of the IIM corporate quota application process going on at work ( I had a pretty decent chance of getting in).

So I am not impressed when many people complain about lack of time (because of work) to prepare for GMAT. It pisses me off when many people complain that it is not an "ideal situation" in their life to attempt something of this magnitude. Let me tell you two things. Firstly, you will never have a lot of time for even the most important preparation in your life. Secondly, and this is something that I strongly believe in, mainly because I have been burnt by it before. And that is - there is never an ideal time to do anything in your life. There never is. There is always an inconvenience, a complication, an unforseen problem, a random change of plans. I personally had a million things like this. What the Sucess blog tried to do was to say that such things should not be looked upon as bad luck. But as evidence of your requirement to plan better and fight it out. Get the adrenalin flowing. Because fighting it out during an inconvenient time, is probably the only time when you will live life to the fullest.

The point of the whole thing is -- As I sat down to write a blog on MBA application process timelines. I thought it might not be a bad idea to set the ground for people to understand what "getting somewhere" should mean to them. And also talk about some of the philosophies around this topic. I wanted to inspire people ( mainly some of my friends who are currently confused) that getting somewhere, means risking what you have in hand now. It involves fighting, putting a lot of things at stake, and risk falling in deepshit. For a person who has been in deepshit a lot of times in life, let me tell you this -- there is nothing as satisfying as hunting and fighting for something. You will be in deepshit but it will be nice when you get out of it. If career is something you take seriously, MBA is a drastic change in your career, lifestyle and your conception of work. Above all - you don't have to do it to survive. When you know that you can shutdown all this, not do it, and settle for a 9-5 work life, it is so easy not do it. But when you still try and sweat out to do something (not just MBA but anything.. something like "making a movie" like my friend ozdude is considering) beyond your actual work and probably beyond what you thought you were capable of -- its a pleasure in itself. It makes living worthwhile.

Specifically, applying for MBA either in India or abroad, takes a lot out of you. When I was starting this application process and tried to scope the work involved various people gave me 100,000 opinions. There are some annoying people ( a very few) who apply to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton and get into all three of them without a sweat. A fraction of that chosen few will tell you that the application process is not a big deal. I was not one of them. So I wont tell you "it is not a big deal". Chances are many of you readers will not be one of them. So it will be a big deal for you. Many people who did not get into any school worth mentioning will also say that it is not a big deal. Usually I understood that as the reason why they never got in. Many people are destined to sweat, go that extra yard, and take the pain to extricate themselves from mediocrity. This process is frustrating and sometimes emotional. If you are pretty passionate about your career -the US MBA application process could be construed as a direct judgement about your life. In your essays, you write about your philosophy, your passion, your goals, your entire life's work. A rejection could cause you re-evaluate your estimation of your worth. Believe me there is drama in MBA application. I have seen quite a few people breakdown and cry during a rejection or when waitlisted. It is painful. All this transalates to hard work and attitude. So be prepared for some real hardwork. Be prepared for some hard core time- management. I wasn't good in either of them. Ask my friends they will tell you how lazy I am. To be blunt, if you want something badly -- do the hardwork. To be even more blunt, it is always easier said than done. If I can do it, I figure a lot of people can ( and I dont say such things lightly).

The month, preceeding my eventual Michigan admit, was so crazy that I had to write a blog to inspire myself. I wrote this three days before marriage because of my anticipation of the crazy schedule to come. Which reminds me of an other thing - This blog. Which I started in the most busiest period of my life. That my readers assumed (based on the fact that my blogs were yawn'ishly loong) that I had way too much time to spare, only made me smile wryly becuase the truth was that this blog was a way of ventilation. It is easy to say that a person must maintain his/her humor and balance in life during tough moments but one's got a find a way (a process) to express that. This blog was that process, that medium where I could let off steam. And what a companion it has been. Everytime, I wanted to scream, shout and tear someone/something to pieces - I blogged. It is frustrating and maddening to write essays with word limits. MBA essays test the limit of your capacity to write briefly, succintly. You have to say a lot in 2 words. It is a separate art in itself (more of that later). Everytime the 400 word limit in the MBA application essays made me feel constipated, taut, wound up and made me go mad, I'd write a freakishly long blog. When I was at the peak of my essay writing, I never wrote anything MBA. When my night dreams began to feature word documents be justified and edited, I knew stuff was wrong and something had to be done. This blog, even if it took precious time in my already crowded life, helped me focus on non-MBA things when everything in my life (including dreams ) was MBA. This is a screaming medium for which I am very thankful for.


Haarish said...

Hey Hawkeye,
//"Many people are destined to sweat, go that extra yard, and take the pain to extricate themselves from mediocrity. This process is frustrating and sometimes emotional."//
Awesome line, i was just into this kind of sweating two months ago and its all for the reason of getting an Internship in a reputed company! Its really emotional, Truth is that the extra sweat will definitely give you the best results. Trust me it works!!. Also sorry for writing these comments like a letter(Just back from school, can't help it) :-).

Babs said...

Very Inspiring daaa.. love your work, you write with such emotion, passion and creativity.
This reminds me of a saying (not quite a saying), A greek when a man dies wont ask what or who he was, but will ask "Did he have Passion?".....and Bharath you do which reflects everytime in your blog, so dont stop no matter what that applies even if you a CEO tomm.

Filtered Sambhar said...

hawk's awesome as ever..
just one thing dude, maybe it was just a game but for you or anyone else but for me it was a career,i have seen enough people do no crap infact less than what i do in terms of hardwork but in terms of suceess which is rated on performance & not potential achieve more results than i do! so i could easily relate to what you have mentioned & even harish has pointed out.
don't u think in life all of us are more bothered about people who are above us and want to relate ourself in terms of indivudual identity to oneselves?

amit said...

cant say i agree more at this juncture when i am writing my essays....emotional, hard, and definitely pressing on my schedule - but it sure is fun.

sri said...


thanks for writing this.
this is what i had been expecting from you from quite a long time. today i have made a decision ( even before reading this blog ). and somehow there are many thoughts that i had gone through which i could read in your blog.

Thanks for being such a wonderful inspiration. if i cannot do anything even after reading this , then there is no purpose in visiting your site itself , so frequently as i do every day.....

Your ganguly blog has helped me analyse my writing skills and silly mistakes that i make while expressing my thoughts. ( which are still lying there unedited)

One question overall , which is out of my personal beliefs ....

Do you think Dreams comes first or the Thoughts.
Because as far as i see , the sequence is Dreams -> Thoughts -> Actions.

But again some people differ here , saying that The Thoughts that persist continuously turn into dreams and then result in actions.
which one do you agree for ?

Becase in my case there are occasions in which the minor dreams which are totally unrelated to my conscious thoughts have come true.... and sometimes its my subconscious mind that is incharge and has delivered the results.

Hope u can relate all this.

Ram said...

Hey Hawkeye...
I come under the *applying for an MBA* category. I find your blog rather interesting and inspiring. As you put it, time-mismanagement and laziness are my biggest enemies. I am taking up GMAT on Nov 28, a week after CAT. I am more intent on pursuing my MBA at the US than in India.
Most of my current concerns are beautifully listed on your blog ( I dont have the marriage part of it to worry abt though ;))
1. There are too many things on my plate..in terms of number of schools. How do I get that number down? In the sense that, I have no clue about the schools in the US, apart from the ranking by US NEWS. How do I judge a school? ( Criteria)
2. I have been working with our family business for over a year, and for me dedicating time is not a problem. I can take time off from work. If you can tell me how I can use my time effectively ( before my GMAT, i.e apart from preparation) it would be really helpful.


Hawkeye said...


sorry I did not reply to your comment in the previous post. You can send me an email 9or) better wait for more MBA related blogs (which will anyway address most of your concerns.

To be brutally honest. I think you are very late for fall 2006. I dont think you can apply to more than 2 universities and do full justice to them. That is just my opinion. But I think many people will give you the same opinion.

Unless you have got a decent hold on your essays, I would suggest applying for fall 2007. But I'''ll put out a timeline and you decide based on ur comfort feel.

hemanth said...

If I go ahead and do the GMAT, you'll be one of the few People I'll be Thanking :)

Ram said...

Thanks hawkeye for the frank opinion! I guess I'll have to work harder/longer.
And perhaps with your timeline, I can judge where I stand!


Thanks again man!

Bakkrudeen said...

Hawkyee ,
You are doing a commendable job da.
I am envy how you are finding time to write these blogs inspite of all these hectic work..
Good Work keep going !

Rishi Agarwal said...

hey ,
gud blog.. really inspired me to write more blogs and try for effective time -management.

keep up the gud work :)

Anonymous said...

Well.. always wanted to ask you this - why is a "post" called a "blog" in your blog (or, blogsite to avoid confusion :))?
I understand that since blog means weblog, technically a single post is a web-log as well. But, I see only you following this unique terminology. Is there a reason for us to get corrected?

P.S.:- sorry for jumping into the comments section and asking this stupid question.

Anupadmaja said...

Do you believe we refer to posts as blogs!

No surprise. We do this all the time!

Generalization/obfuscation - a bad habit that works great for us beings!

More often than we think, some set of fine details are hidden with usage and the new usage just becomes convenient. Infact most of the times, we start sounding less geeky with the new usage.

Eg: why is connecting to the dial-up/broadband sometimes called going online/on the internet. You use the underlying connection to get to the internet/your messenger on which you sign in to come online [the usage of the word online is prevalent in the messenger context]. Many friends have asked me if i am online (even if they do not want to chat)/am on the internet/web to mean if i have connectivity. That sounds much less geeky than asking do you have broadband/dialup connectivity!

Infact the web (www) and the internet are not one and the same. But the terms are used interchangeably.

For Indians who can relate, why is auto-rickshaw called auto. Auto is just a feature in the rickshaw (implying its motored as opposed to the manual rickshaws). Its just convenient to say rickshaw and auto to differentiate instead of auto-rickshaw and manual-rickshaw.

Hence here the posts that the blogger writes on his blog become the blogs. I guess its one less word to remember. Also, blog is surely cooler than post! And blog anyway sounds more like a single item (intended meaning) than a collection of items (actual meaning). And the origin of blog is not in greek/roman/whatever! Its just a recent term framed from weB LOG so we would not confuse it with server log (said wikipedia).

Its all fine so long as everyone gets what the intended meaning is!
The problem though is that with time/more acceptance, this habit leads to misinterpretations / ignorance! The ignorance is caused because some big detail is overlooked in the intended meaning (here a blog is a collection of posts not a single post)! And imagine someone who is not used to this new terminology hearing oh bharath has more than 25 blogs! The stranger would be so impressed! He would think bharath is so great that he needs more than 25 different web sites to organize and post his thoughts!

Another example:

Why is Marina beach - Marina and beach! Marina is a dock/small harbor. Maybe the english when they ruled us, referred to the harbor as the Marina and then we started using it as a proper noun to name the beach! Its common to hear hey i am going to the beach when someone asks Marina or Besant! With due respect (I mean it), I am afraid there may be girls who are named marina. Cant imagine calling them The dock/harbor!

I am not saying its good/bad to use the term blog for post. I am just using this opportunity to put out my enthusiasm in the form of words to express what i dont know is right/wrong (i guess the implied meaning for correct/wrong) but would like to hear views about.

Suggestion: This is a long comment irrelevant to the BLOG! But this is an enthusiastic reply to the previous short irrelevant comment! Bharath maybe you should have a separate section for such irrelevant comments. Some people "like me" seem to find it easier to express themselves/ask personal questions/request you to send them some mba info/wish you on your birthday using your comments section rather than sending you an email!

Hawkeye said...

anupadma'y'a (as in jalapino) :-),

super! kalakitte po! especially the "auto" comment. i wanted to say it but u said it. u shld write a blog! seriously! some of ur "nunukams" are awesome and i relish it!

anyway to answer the actual question.

"blogspot" is name of the website. many blogs reside in a "blogspot". its like many parking spaces reside in a parking spot. :-)

Hema said...

This blog hit very hard right flat on my nose. Just before reading this I was complaining about "No time for Gym, ACCA, Painting, music classes, writing travel articles" and whining about just everything blaming on juggling time between cooking and office. I sat down and jotted the time i spent on each and then realised i actually had more time than what i thought :) I hope to do something about it atleast now. Thanks for the message!!! Much appreciated

Teju said...

This post is very, very inspiring. Also, to add, I came across this phrase, which constantly inspires me, "Ordinary people become Extra ordinary, when they have an Extra ordinary problem to solve". Hence, taking up the extra ordinary problem and cutting it down to size, meanwhile taking up bigger extra ordinary problems, makes one extra ordinary.
Great work.

Waiting for the MBA timeline :-)

Sowmya said...

very passionate blog..btw...don't take this wrong...it is "stella maris college" ppl often say stella mary's like queen mary's, while its actually 'Maris'...am a little attached to my alma mater. thats all.

Anonymous said...

but why nobody else uses it? and were you conscious of this, or am I the one who brought to your note this widely committed mistake {in other blogs (or is it blogs'? ;)), that is}?

Ha! good exlanation!
and btw, I somehow get a slightest of the thought {thanks to my inability to reason ur decision to post (or is it blog?; k, lets say 'comment'!) this articulate reply for my stupid-should-nt-have-been-here-comment} that u might have got pissed off by my comment (if you had not taken in the sense it was meant to be taken) on an otherwise very useful post. If that was the case, I would like to reiterate this was just a light-hearted comment in actually knowing the real meaning of the two words in context of blogs (or blogsites)!!

Anupadmaja said...

Hey Zero,
Like i mentioned in the end, my comment was just triggered out of your "good catch" comment. There was nothing offensive in your comment. Nor did i try to fire back. My comment was just a sharing of an unanswered question in my mind. It was in no way intended to offend you. If i have, then i am sorry (i think its the third time i have a sorry note in Bharath's comments section
:-( ). Let me reiterate, your comment did not piss me off. It just acted as a trigger and provided a context to the question in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anupadmaja!!
Thanks! I had company, then!
I just had a li'l doubt... thats it!! There is no need, whatsoever, for u to be sorry!

Hawkeye said...


:-) thanks man! I hope the internship is going on well



Hawkeye said...


hey thanks dude. will send u a pvt email.

Hawkeye said...


dont worry it will work out. just spend a lot of "thought" rather than time in front of the word processor. trust me it helps!

Hawkeye said...


actually u brought about a very good point! actually dreams and thoughts are 'thought' of as inseparable. but i think u refer to drams as the incoherent inspiration where you visualize yourself somewhere big. thoughts as something related planning ur execution and then actions.

if this is it then ur sequence seems sensible

Hawkeye said...


dude go for it :-) B School certainly needs instantkaapi flavor.

seriously! send me a mail if you are serious about it !

Hawkeye said...

hey bakru,

thanks dude. are u the baks from crescent. nice of you to visit dude. keep in touch!

Hawkeye said...

rishi agarwal,



wow! thats a lot of things on your plate. Maybe its just about time for you to start a blog!

Hawkeye said...


thanks. will deliver the timeline soon :-)


thanks for the correction. I did not know that! seriously I didn't. But come to think of it Stell Mary's college makes more sense than stella maris. I am interested to know the origin of the name stella maris. I suspect it mite have started as stella mary's and blended into tamil vernacular way of saying mary's and maris.

just a thought! I understand it cud have been stella maris to start with

Hawkeye said...


no a lot of the bschool blogs (possibly written by europeans, americans) i visited seemed to refer to post as blog. since that was where i spent most of my initial blog reading days, it came as a habit.

Sowmya said...

hey hawkeye,
it was always 'stella maris'. a brief description is available here http://www.stellamariscollege.org/aboutus/emblem.asp

Ram said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ram said...

Hey Bharath,

I have never seen you accept that something was damn hard for you to achieve. So I guess I did not expect this post. It would be gross injustice to lie in a blog to pep up some aspiring students who don't necessarily know what they are getting themselves into, so I accept that you have done the right thing.

However, what really surprised me was your emphasis on the essay. I should have thought that part was not too hard to get through if you were clear on your punch lines ;-)

Hawkeye said...


for a good writer essays should take about 3-4 months to write. essays are very hard to write. i can assure you that. anybody who says otherwise is lying and anybody who doesnt take it seriously is not travelling very far.

yes! i do not normally claim that something many people do is hard. I still dont understand what you are trying to say here. But I guess you are hinting writing essays is not as hard as I put it to be. And it is very naive to say that. 'punch lines' wont get you anywhere at all.

i wont waste time saying "i am saying the truth etc" . I lie whenever i want to. just like everybody else. As i said before, the blog contains my opinions and they are just that.

Arun said...

Dear Ram,

Wharton Alumni here. I am not sure what Hawkeye's response to you would be. I think your comment was pretty immature.

Essay editors charge $800-$1000 per essay. I took about 14 weeks to write the first draft of my W essay and another 5 weeks to edit it.

- Arun

tilotamma said...

did you miss the ;-) which went with the comment, arun (u too hawkeye) ?

Arun said...

Tilo: see the "deleted comment" before Ram's actual comment? This is a weird coincidence. I was around in the comments section when the first comment was there. It was deleted shortly and replaced with a less offensive comment. My response was to the first comment. at the same time I guess Hawk must've been responding to the very same first comment.


Muthu Pugal said...

Man! I am amazed! Good post.

Working in a startup company (too many hours and still constantly loosing ground and handling only burning priorities) and trying to juggle personal and professional life, I have placed myself in a state of complete confusion and chaos.

Time management, I have always felt is an art. I started reading some books on time management and this has opened my eyes to observing time management from a completely logical perspective. Not that I have excelled it, but I started to observe it from a different perspective other than my lazy-usual-self.

Tasks that are "urgent" often take higher precedence than those that are "important". I have seen my manager, my company CEO and several people battling to manage time... It is definitely an untameable wild beast.

Yes, like you said, this makes life worthwhile. Not a good idea to drop into the comfort zone of my cubicle. Have to follow my goal to conquer the important tasks.

Anonymous said...

I really admire your posts.. One thing which scares me off often is that i am hesitant to face defeat..Once i get defeated i rarely am able to get up and do it again.

But after reading your blog i feel... my life is never that hard and i think is on a silver plate till date...i think i should give it another try for a better score..

Thanks buddy..ur right..there is never a right time to things..its better to do things right away.

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Balaji Ramani said...

I ve always enjoyed your posts on dramas, movies, music etc. I never thought pearls of wisdom lay hidden in the archives. Inspirational.