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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    April 18, 2007

    My first convocation

    After two tries, one of them aborted at NTU, and the other one at IGNOU, whose convocation function I couldn't attend, I finally made it to my own convocation, at IIM Bangalore.

    A little more than three weeks ago, I graduated from the Post Graduate Diploma in Software Enterprise Management course. I did my course project with Joe and our project title was 'A marketing strategy for Digital Audio Players in India'.

    Doing a post-graduate business management degree from a good institution had been one of my aims, probably right from the time I got into class 11 (1991-92). My original plan was to get into a B-school when I was around 28 years old, after a few years of work experience.

    Due to my messing up at NTU, I had to go through an under-graduate programme all over again. 'The best laid plans', eh? This thus impacted my "B-school at 28 years of age" target. My attempts at joining a B-school in a full-time programme were severely hampered by my previous academic history at the under-graduate level. In 2002 when I did write the CAT, at all my interviews, a common thread was that my background didn't give them the confidence to allow me to do their post-graduate programme.

    I got married in 2003. That obviously meant that I couldn't do a full-time programme since I'd have had to lead a student life, possibly on campus, after giving up a job. I guess since I like the job at Yahoo!, I didn't want to go back to a student life. After a fair amount of head scratching, one day, Krithi asked me to check if IIM-B had a part-time programme. Lo behold! There it was! The PGSM PGSEM course.

    I got a horrible 'deja vu' feeling at the PGSEM interview (having got there by clearing the PGSEM entrance test, held on the first day of the first India-Pak series in Pakistan for 15 years) when the two profs who were interviewing me (Prof. Abhay Ojha and Prof. Kumar, I think) kept bombarding me with questions about why they should select me for the programme given I'd messed up the SIA-NOL scholarship opportunity. I tried my best to convince them that people move on and that I had a good idea of what went wrong (not studying hard enough, and spending far too much time on the internet after 'discovering' it in 1993. For evidence, see these search results from Dejanews Google groups, Yahoo!, Google) and that I knew how to ensure I didn't make the same mistakes again. I hadn't actually given up hope, but I realized it was tough to get the monkey off my back. As it turned out, I did get through the interview.

    If Jurassic Park's tag line was "An adventure 65 million years in the making", my adventure lasted a little less than 3 years - 32 months, to be precise. It was one helluva ride, balancing family, work, studies and blogging. Although I tried to do so to the best of my ability, I suspect there would have been many times when I ended up being unable to do the balancing act properly.

    The course started on 16 June 2004, four days after Jaagruthi was born. The first couple of months were tough. I couldn't go to Trichy on weekends since classes were held on Fridays and Saturdays. So I ended up making lots of 1 day trips.

    Once Krithi and Jaagruthi came to Bangalore, it was very tough on Krithi since this was the first time she saw that although she'd be at home on Saturdays, I wouldn't be around till 2 pm. Moreover, since I got to work late on Fridays, I'd be back late on Fridays. Assignments, case preparation and exam preparation resulted in late-night studying. This invariably translated into a Saturday afternoon nap, which would end up screwing up any chance of an outing on Saturday evenings. We had several fights in those 29 months (from Oct 2004 to Feb 2007), most of them because weekends were more or less ruined.

    Classes on Fridays and Saturdays also meant that we could only take weekend breaks or go on mini-vacations during term breaks. Long weekends were also very rare, although after around a year or so into the course, I started bunking classes more often. What this also meant was that we had to opt out of making several trips to Madras/Trichy, especially during festivals/get-togethers. Instead, my parents & brother and Krithi's parents had to make trips to Bangalore to have a good time together. There'd have been several other instances where Krithi and Jaagruthi have gone to Madras/Trichy to stay there for a few days and I didn't go along since I had classes till Saturday.

    The course was very useful & interesting and I met some very smart people. Yet, for the 32 months, it was a tough journey. So this is a nice opportunity to thank everyone, and that includes Krithi, Jaagruthi, my parents, my brother, Krithi's parents, her siblings, my friends, my team mates & managers at the workplace(s) and my classmates & profs at IIM-B, and everyone else I might have missed out! Like I've often said, Isaac Newton got it spot on when he said "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants". People don't achieve in isolation. Of course, I take a lot of credit for completing the course. But it wouldn't have been possible without the support and encouragement from all the people I mentioned above, obviously varying in their contribution levels.

    Photos from the convocation:

    Appa, amma, Krithi, Jaagruthi and me, wearing the graduation robeKrithi, Jaagruthi and me, wearing the graduation robe
    Group photo of PGSEM 2004 graduating students. I took the photoA view of the stage
    Receiving the diploma from IIM-B chairman Mukesh Ambani as chief guest Nandan Nilekani looks onThe diploma

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