25 January 2012

Gaming Industry: Three Cool Infographics

In the last few days, I have been asked for info on gaming industry by a few IIM interview call-getters. So here are three super interesting infographics on the gaming industry. This one is for Mayur!

I have taken the first two from


This last infographic is from geekaphone.

22 January 2012

Guest Column: The difference between cracking the CAT and belling it

Last week, Somyakanta Nanda, a current student at IIM Raipur, shared his post on the IIM Raipur blog. I found it pretty interesting; with his permission I am sharing SN's post with the readers of this blog. Here it goes.

Please note that this is an unedited version, i.e. I have not changed anything.


The difference between cracking the CAT and belling it


Congratulations on getting a call from IIM Raipur.

Most of you would be happy at getting a call from the IIMs. Some people might feel dejected on under performing & blame it on the normalization process. Also a few would cry unfair at having been wronged for not getting calls from other B-schools in spite of having a respectable score. But the bottom line is that the first stage is over. No matter how much privileged you feel at having a high percentile or brood over your score for that matter, it’s time to move on.  As you might have heard or known, this marks the end of the rejection process. Selection starts from here.

I am not here to tell you if you would make it to the other side of things. Nobody can tell you that. On THE day, anything can happen. You may start on a good note & carry the “feel-good” right through the process. OR you might have a bad day. A tough panel or the guy who walked into the interview room previously might have raised the bar. The point is that anything can happen. Realize that & also accept your helplessness in this regard. It would help you if you stop zeroing in on the “Ifs & Buts”. At the end of the day it is your preparation & the confidence that comes from a sound preparation. It’s the same thing as - you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. So buck up.

Another thing that some students tend to do is reveling in the glory of having multiple calls & calling up others about their opinion on which IIM should they go to. Wake up. As I said, the selection process starts from here. Some of those who have not been shortlisted might have had a bad day on the test day. You have only been shortlisted, not selected. There’s no point in thinking along these lines at this stage. Convert your calls & then “take a call”.

Now let’s get to what needs to be done. First you have to start reading up a lot. Be it Newspapers, magazines or online reading. The Hindu & Economic Times are suggested. People lick them during the run up to interviews & sadly you are no exception. Simple Correlation. The more you know, the better you would be at ideating or writing/speaking about a particular issue.

Read up about your interests & hobbies. You could be asked anything under the sun. Freshers could be asked questions about their favorite subject(s). So choose you subjects & start brushing up. Experienced guys could be asked about their work experience, their roles & responsibilities, their company, the industry the company is in. So, don’t think that you have an edge over the freshers just because you had been in a company. You should be able to justify your edge. This applies to Freshers too. You guys would have to do your homework on your achievements, your projects, your internships and the like. Just saying that you were the college president won’t be enough. Start making points of your exact roles & responsibilities. It would help.

Another reason why I am asking you guys to read up is that while in an interview when you find yourself in a no-man’s land situation, the interviewer might move to other areas to give you another chance to prove yourself. On an average day it works out that way. For you to be able to leverage this opportunity, it makes sense to have more options. By options I mean a good range of areas where you are strong. How would you be strong if you haven’t read about it? Doesn’t it make sense?

Written analysis has been introduced for the first time. Hence the exactness of what would be asked is not known. But broadly speaking, you might be asked to write an essay on a particular topic or you might be provided with a case. Essay writing has been around right from the Stone Age & there’s nothing I can add to all that you might already know about it. Again reading up on varied areas & practicing writing would help oil those creaky joints, especially if you haven’t done it for a while.

A case has a narrative, a story, a set of events that unfolds over time in a particular place. Cases consist of a given problem situation. They could be real-life situations or simulated situations. Students are placed in the shoes of the decision maker. Different pressures, considerations & trade-offs need to be weighed in making the decision. Information available is mostly incomplete & assumptions if needed could be taken. There is no single answer. Differences in approaches are common & acceptable. But the rationale behind them needs to be clearly outlined.

One of the most important & definitely one that almost every candidate faces is “why MBA?”.  Yet people tend to goof up on this one more than often. The same holds true for other personals like what in MBA, what after MBA, short term & long term goals, where do you see yourself in ‘x’ years from now etc. etc. Trust me, it doesn’t come easy. A lot of introspection, retrospection needs to go into this. The answers would have to refined multiple times till they “sound right” & satisfactory. It’s an iterative process & inputs need to be taken from other people. The more you work on them, the more mistakes you would come to know & the better it would get. Unless you have sponge in your heads, I trust you to not answer the “why MBA?” question as “My Dad told me to”, “I want to do an MBA for the money”, “My friends were appearing too & I didn’t want to feel left out”. Jokes apart, I think you got my point.  Remember, that your answer to the ‘why MBA’ question need not be a Nobel Prize winning one. You should be able to show how an MBA degree would add value to what you have done till date. The “fit” between your personal reasons & what an MBA degree offers, has to exist and make meaningful sense.

There’s one last thought process that I would want to address. I believe it would linger in the minds of quite a few people, irritating like an urge to scratch when you can’t. Of late, lines have been drawn between the IIMs & the so called, “new IIMs”. There would be some of you wondering if they are bang for the buck & find motivation lacking. This feeling is what I am talking about. For people who haven’t landed up on calls from their “dream” colleges & want to wait another year to give it another shot, here’s my personal take. Can you get into a better college next year?  Yes you can. Don’t let go off the hope, otherwise what is the point in waiting another year anyways. Should you wait another year if you knew you are definitely getting into your dream B-school? I would wait. But what is the whole point here we are trying to address. Look beyond all this at the larger picture. It’s your career we are talking about. If you think you can’t be proactive and gain the best out of a college, the 'culture' at other B-schools won’t affect you much either, because let’s face it, you are not built that way. College doesn’t maketh the students, students maketh the college. If all bums got into IIM A B C, IIMs A B C won’t be A B C. New IIMs would be a different experience and I don’t mean an inferior one, if you have the balls for it. If you want the brand name to work for you and thus decide to wait, it doesn’t work that way.

The “New IIMs”, so to say, would give you opportunities which other colleges can’t. I know it might sound as if it is all easy and cool to say this sitting in a B-school, but trust me when I say this. People who make it big don’t need the B-school tags, the B-schools need them to show what awesome alumni they have. It all comes down to the basics-“Believing in your capabilities”. And I don’t mean the capability to crack CAT. More than 4000 chaps do it every single year. My take: Bite the bullet, go for the college and make the 'culture' there. You won’t regret it. And as for the placements, they are comparable.

I want to wrap up by saying that- take it easy. It might seem an uphill task but it’s not rocket science. It might take time to start falling in place but eventually it will, given your efforts.

All the very best! 

Contributed by: Somyakanta Nanda, PGP 2011-13, He can be reached at pgp11036.somyakanta@iimraipur.ac.in

19 January 2012

Thursday Evening Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

  • 5 five reasons a coup in Pakistan is unlikely. (CNN)
  • How globe-trotting executives manage travel demands. (BBC)

 Let me end this reading list with this Indian Express cartoon.

16 January 2012

The eurozone Crisis in Graphic Detail

The eurozone is in deep debt turmoil. The debt crisis that has hit almost all 17 member states is spiraling out of hand; there is single solution in sight. In fact, the euro skeptics brigade is increasing by the day; most believe that eurozone may not survive as a single unit beyond this year.

The Economist has an interesting interactive feature on the current status of the debt crisis in the eurozone.

The Economist says that: "GDP rose in most countries during 2011, though there were marked differences in performance. Germany’s economy grew by a sprightly 3% according to its statistics office. The countries nearby with which Germany trades most heavily also fared well—though signs of incipient recession were visible towards the end of the year. By contrast GDP in Greece and Portugal has crashed under the weight of austerity. Greece’s economy may have contracted by as much as 6% in 2011. And the crisis is sapping the strength of even the so-called “core” euro-zone countries, such as Germany and France. The strains of the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis make a recession in the early part of 2012 likely."

Read the complete note on the graphic on The Economist.

Monday Morning Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

Cool cartoon from Deccan Chronicle.

  • One year after the Jasmine Revolution dethroned Tunisian strongman, Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali, from power after more than two decades in power, Tunisia is seeing a new wave of men resorting to self-immolation. (BBC)

11 January 2012

Evening Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

I found this above cartoon, quite pertinent to the Occupy Wall Street Movement, at The Big Picture
  • An oral history of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. (Vanity Fair
  • New U.S. military engagement rules blur line between digital and physical warfare. (Discover Magazine)
  • India and China play geopolitical games in the Middle East. (AlJazeera)

10 January 2012

Evening Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

Check out these articles that will make for enlightening evening reads.

  • Wall Street prepares to take pay cut. (WSJ)
  • The heat is on for the eurozone. (Reuters)
  • Balochistan: Pakistan’s Other War. (AlJazeera Video; Pictures
Let me leave with a funny cartoon by Sudhir Tailang from the pages of the Asian Age.

09 January 2012

Is Inflation derailing the India Growth Story?

nflation has been around for several years now. In fact, the last few years have seen double digit inflation rate that has severely impacted both producers (through rise in cost of raw materials) and consumers (because of increase in retail price). In the case of producers, rising prices have eroded competitiveness of their products while consumers are seeing a fall in the general quality of life, including in their standard of life.

The Explainer: Inflation and Infographic on Inflation

Economic Times has an interesting infographic on inflation in India and how it has impacted the economic growth. It also carries views of experts on what they want to steer the Indian economy on the path to consistent growth.

Monday Morning Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

These are some of the articles I read late last night.
  • The rich and the wealthy control levers of politics and economy. (WSJ)
  • Do Aliens exist? (BBC)
  • Dynasty, North Korea style (NYT)
  • Daniel Yergin on the future of energy. (The Economist Video). Yergin is the author of The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.

06 January 2012

Evening Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas.

Interesting reads I found during my travel today.

  • Corporate psychopaths created the global financial crisis? (Bloomberg)
  • New U.S. Grand Military Vision: A Reality Check (The Economist)
  • What if a Superbug falls into the hands of terrorists? (ForeignPolicy)

04 January 2012

What Apple's U.S.$76 bn cash hoard can do?

Folks, this infographic on Apple's cash chest of U.S.$76 billion is self-explanatory. Apple's cash hoard of U.S.$76 billion is about 22 per cent of India's external debt. I found this at the Financial Post.

Click on the graphic for a larger view.

Morning Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

  • The Myth of Europe. (Foreign Policy)
  • Former RBI governor, Bimal Jalan, on current challenges facing India’s institutions. (Business Today)
  • Mohamed El-Erian, the CEO of PIMCO, on the New International Economic Disorder. (Reuters)

03 January 2012

Tele-density in India: India Calling!

A few days back, I found a revealing infographic on tele-density on India. I guess I found it on the Web pages of Business Line, a publication of The Hindu Group. Or was it the Mint? Never mind! 

At the time of independence, we had less than a million (ten lakh) phone connections in India. Between 1947 and 1981, tele-density did not add up to much, given the poor infrastructure, red tape in allocation of telephone connection, and generally low business activity.

The number of connections increased by about 14 times between 1981-91, the decade when the PCO (public call office) Revolution took place, thanks to Sam Pitroda.

In the last decade of the last century, India deregulated the telecom sector from government control; private companies were allowed to invest in both basic (landline) and mobile telephony. This led to the emergence of Bharti Group, HFCL, Tata Telecom, and other Indian companies into the telecom sector.

Today even foreign companies can invest in the telecom sector; a foreign company, like Vodafone, is allowed to invest up to 74% of the capital in a mobile telephony company. 

The first decade of the 21st century saw liberalized government policy (in terms of capital norms), increased competition, better technology and infrastructure have all contributed to lower tariffs. Gather this: i
n the initial days of the launch of mobile telephony, an outgoing or incoming mobile call cost Rs32 per minute. Now, India is said to have the lowest telecom tariffs in the world. 

Today India has one of the largest mobile subscriber base in the world. A
 mobile phone is ubiquitous; everyone has one, like an opinion. Not bad for a country where a telephone connection was once a symbol of wealth and elite status in the society. 

Morning Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

  • How societies slowly rise and suddenly fall. (Discover)
  • What Europe, and especially the eurozone, can learn from the U.S.'s monetary history. (Economist)
  • Five 2011 tech earthquakes. (Reuters)

02 January 2012

Global Equity Performance in 2011

quity stock market is a reflection of the confidence of and market sentiment. Its performance relates the confidence, or the lack of it, of investors, both domestic and foreign, retail and institutions.

In India, we have two major equity indexes: BSE's Sensex and NSE's Nifty. While the NSE is India's largest stock exchange by turnover, it is the Sensex that is more famous the world over. 

It is debatable if stock market performance is a barometer of a country's economic health.   However, it is true that it does, in most cases, reflect the fundamental strength of the underlying economic fundamentals.

I found the chart below on global equity performance at the 
Global Macro Monitor blog

Among other things, this interesting graph reveals three major ideas: 
(a) The NYSE's Dow Jones is the only stock index to have closed 2011 on a positive note, i.e. at a level higher than end-2010.
(b) The DAX (Frankfurt) and the CAC (Paris) indexes in the huge debt-laden eurozone economies have performed poorly, down nearly 14 and 17 per cent respectively; uncertainty has gripped the euro economies what with debt worries plaguing almost all major economies in the single currency zone.
(c) Three of the four BRIC economies did worse: Shanghai down by over 21 per cent (where majority of listed companies are government-owned), Brazil by 18 per cent, while India's Sensex ended up as the worst performing equity index in the world.

Currently among large economies, India is the second fastest growing economy. However, investors in the listed companies on the Sensex collectively lost a Rs19 lakh crore in 2011. In 2011, the Sensex fell by 
a total 5,054.17 points or 24.64 per cent in the entire 2011. In comparison, the index had gained 3,044 points (17 per cent) in the previous year 2010 and by even a wider margin of 7,817 points (81 per cent) in 2009.

The major reasons for the pathetic performance of the Sensex (and the whole Indian equity market) are: political instability at the Centre, the UPA's bad decision-making, lack of confidence-inspiring reforms, populist spending, rising fiscal deficit, eurozone crisis, rising inflation, volatile energy prices, international political uncertainty, and above, uninspiring leadership at the head of the government, led by Dr Manmohan Singh. 

Morning Reads - Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

01 January 2012

Best of Politics, Economics & Ideas

tarting today, a reading list of the best reads on politics, economics, and ideas will appear in this space. I read extensively on a diverse range of subjects; however, what appears in this space is not something I necessarily subscribe to. 

  • Employment generation fails to keep pace with India's economic growth. (Mint)
  • Investors lost Rs20 lakh crore in 2011. (Business Line)
  • Is it the end of the gold bull run? (BusinessWeek)
  • IIM or ISB? (The Pioneer)
  • Will China face a debt crisis this year? (The Economist)
  • What's the matter with Spain? (BBC)
  • The political power of Social Media. (Foreign Affairs; registration required - it is free!)
  • WTF News in 2011! (collection of bizarre news stories makes for fun reading; Outlook)
Let me leave you with this comic yet weird stuff. I read this a few months back and hence do not know its source. All copyrights belong to its copyrights holders. Please do not copy / share this picture. However, you are free to share any Web link in the above list.

BJ's NoCabbages in 2012: A Brief Note

Let me begin with my wishes for a wonderful new year! 

I started blogging on 14 May 2011, with primary focus on economics and politics. Of course, there have been numerous posts on test prep stuff too, especially with infographics.

I intend to bring a few simple changes: from today, this blog will feature a daily reading list, with links to articles around the Web, greater focus on the Indian economy, and international politics. 

If you wish to share what you are reading, please either email (
bharatcjain11@gmail.com) or post the link to the article, with a short note, in the Comments section. 

May you live all the days of your life!