Monday, December 26, 2005

Mis-management, me and IRMA...

Management: The art of getting things done.
This broad definition leaves out many important clauses, giving me a strong foundation to erect castles of excuses on! I usually do get things done. But, they lack in artistic finesse. They look more like modern art! A bit of this merging into lots of that. The picture gets completed (somehow's the word!), nevertheless. My confession sort of done with, it's time I started with what happened on the 18th of December, Sunday morning!
A lot of desire to serve my country (instead of editing software code thereby improving the national income of some other nation!) mixed with a bit of enthusiasm to tackle puzzles led me to write the management entrance exam conducted by the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), for admission to its rural mgmt. course. The centre looked deserted, and I had my own doubts of whether it was prepared, at all, to conduct an exam! A small board then indicated the number of people who were to attend the exam. 21. Yes, twenty-one people alone took the exam from Calicut. Count two more applicants for a fellowship program in rural mgmt. I learnt from the applicants that not many were keen on giving an earnest attempt. People who painted incomplete pictures, I must say! I found my seat and settled down, spreading my brushes (oops, pencils, I mean! Let's put an end to this. No more reference to paintings on this post!) on the table.
The question papers were distributed. The first round of what seemed like an earthquake in the offering: 200 questions to be solved in 120 minutes! Negative marking for wrong answers! And then, the second round of tremors, much more powerful on the Richter: 60 out of 200 questions on "Issues of Social Concern"!
I leave aside the other sections, as they were ordinary questions any management institute would like to test its applicants on, except for the number of "None of these (N.O.T)" answers that came out! Now, this was maddening. It's psychologically a bit tough to shade the N.O.T bubble with confidence! Add to it choices like: 13000, 13000000, 1300000, 130000000 and N.O.T when the worked-out answer turned out to be 130000. Problems with counting the number of zeroes? Remember, 200 questions in 120 minutes. Read twenty questions of such kind in the 110 I managed to attempt!
I should say that everything about the question paper was rural. The presentation was bad. Grammatical errors were present throughout the paper! Comprehension passages were followed by incomprehensible questions! The institute doesn't seem to have taken care of finer aspects like these. This is ample data for generalisation. Institutes tend to their brochure sincerely, but that's all. IRMA's brochure looks just fine, but it ends there.
More about questions on social concern... I thought it was going to be tough, with the result that it was... TOUGHER! This was when my interest to join such an institute faded, and the next instant saw me before a computer, coding my way to glory, keeping an online watch on the national income of "SOMEOTHERNATION"! The questions demanded numerical answers: percentage of subsidies, per capita consumptions and what not! The exact statement made by the FM in his 2002 budget regarding a particular sector of the industry... Now, wait! Who are we? Waste-bins that memorise chunks of statistics? I wish to drive home a very important point here. It's the passion a person shows towards joining such an institute that serves as a better gauge. A couple of articles by P Sainath in The Hindu cry out more about poverty and the rural sector than mere histograms. I do very well agree that general awareness is one area where I'm weak in, for my criticism is never to camouflage my lack of awareness (as concerns statistics...). But, I do know that the rural industries in India are struggling to survive. Emphatic articles on such themes are a regular occurence in The Hindu. It's such newspapers that nurture an interest in people to serve the country by graduating from B-schools like IRMA. On the other hand, it's such question papers that murder the former. It's better that such institutes amend their approach towards exams, if they "FEEL" for the rural sector at all, and "CHANGE FOR THE BETTER" is their aim in the long run. Else, they would, like any other institute of a lesser calibre, nurture graduates with good scores and negligible content...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

At last, a blog of my own...

Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet, must be stolen.
-Jerome K Jerome

I confess. I have stolen a few fleeting moments of time to post my first blog. Today's class (?) began with "Industrial Economics". Adam Smith might have regretted opening his mouth, and I think I spotted Lionel Robbins' ghost taking a walk outside the classroom! And if I was seeing things, it was because I was hungry! Two hours of freedom saw me in the canteen, my project guide's room, the ATM, the bank, the administration block, my room and the computer centre. It's "quality managment" in another five minutes, and it does require a lot of patience to wait through one hour before I can jubiliantly blurt out my roll number for attendance's sake. Hope I stay awake!