ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Duke-Fuqua: One of the best decisions of my life

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CaptureCouple of months have passed by and oh so quickly. Coming to Fuqua has been one of the best decisions of my life in a long-long time. Those who know me personally would know what I mean by that.

Especially for internationals, Fuqua is the best MBA school in US and certainly the rankings support that. Before going any further let’s be very clear, MBA is as much a technical program as it is about soft skills. As the name suggests, it has lot to do with learning about Administration. Here is where Team Fuqua culture helps big time.

It’s not for no reason that Fuqua ranks extremely high in employers list. After all, when you are working in a firm, 90% of yours and your firms’ success stems from how well you work as a Team. I will be very candid here and admit that there is hardly much difference among the intellect of people admitted to any of the Top Business schools. How we grow in those two years is what sets us apart.

I have felt a sea change in me in last two months and most of it has stemmed from being open to feedback. I have learned from Team Fuqua culture to get off my high horses and make people feel comfortable to provide feedback. Only if we get feedback can we work upon it. If you feel you are the best (which most people with high GMAT scores and Top 10 B-School admit think), it’s difficult for you to listen from others about your faults. It’s easy to shut doors under the garb of “Oh! I am perfect and everyone else are a bunch of fools”.

At Fuqua I have learned to go beyond that. Add to it one of the toughest curriculum you can find in Business Schools, has made me understand the importance of prioritization. Fall 1 is intentionally made hectic to wake us up from deep slumber of complacency induced by working as an individual in a big firm. An MBA has to be on his/her toes the entire time as we are responsible for running a firm not just playing a cog in the wheel.

I have made friends with some really intelligent and highly creative people and learn from them daily. I have learned to trust the process and trust the people around me (again an important aspect of running a business).

I will write a follow up soon and be more specific about my personal growth and how Fuqua has aided in that.


Written by arpitgarg

October 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Posted in School/College

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Recap: Orientation Class of 2019, Duke Univ, Fuqua School of Business

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fuqua_geneen.jpgHi Friends,

Last three days have been wonderful, better than I could have ever imagined. The sense of togetherness, honor and responsibility that has been instilled has brought me ever closer to the Fuqua Family and Duke Family at large. A quick recap seems to be in order.

Day 1
Stuffed with heavy breakfast, the herd headed from Winter Garden to the Geneen auditorium, into the unknown. Everyone was as anxious as the next person, though were trying hard not to show the anxiety and keep the palpating heart in check. As the clock struck 9, the carnival began. What followed for the next 3 days was nothing short of a welcome one receives from long lost family. I felt like, I have been at Fuqua all my life. Such was the initiation.

Dean Bill spoke and spoke the truth. How the business community is increasingly seen by common men with suspicion and how the next generation of business leaders (we) have an added responsibility to make things right. The evergreen Russ Morgan was welcomed with a thunderous applause. Leena and Andy, the coordinators struck a great tone right from the beginning. The introductions they gave of each speaker, made us familiar with him/her. I never knew Russ, but once he was introduced, I knew all about him. Who came first, “Russ or Fuqua”, became a running joke and we all got invested in it. When Ruth said, she feels like our Mom, I could feel the warmth in her voice. It was followed by inspiring words from Steve and the Section Time. O-Team did an amazing job. The transition was smooth. Section 4 became table bangers, Section 2 were the Rocky. “You are not a section of 75, but a family of 150”, the words still resonate in my ears.

After a quick practice of Cheers and course pack pickup, we left for our homes. Only to party at Rickhouse later that night and get snapped in some weird Nerdy Costumes.

Day 2
Day 2 began with a severe hangover for most of us. The night was a blur and how we reached home was a mystery. The day brought with it some great speakers from the industry, especially GM and Accenture. But the biggest draw of the day was the Section Olympics. It was frenzy, shouts and boos, claps and jeers. Each section was competitive and gave its best. There was CMC introduction for Career Management but all that was just filler. We all were waiting for the Fuqua carnival.

Meeting with the families of our fellow mates was a nourishing experience. The games, the drinks and the food. We called the day early @7 (by traditional standards) for getting relaxed for long day tomorrow.

Day 3
The speech by legendary Alison Levine, gave us all goosebumps. The story of her success and how she related her Mt Everest conquer with problems that ail us in our professional lives enthralled us all. We all took an oath to Honor Code and I could feel the pride among my fellow students while reciting the code. Next was the time for the Big Reveal, our FY teams. That was some legend level stalking by the O Team. They dug out our pics, we never knew existed and put it all out on display. A round of sharing our life history with our team of 6 made us bond in a meaningful way.

After couple more rounds of Section Olympic Games, came the big moment. The Cheer came. Here again Section 2 (yours truly) came out victorious, though Section 1 was the overall winner. Though the rivalry and win/lose was all in fun.

“Divided by Sections, United by Drinks”, we all headed out only to meet again at Shooters, in Costume and with Cheers!

Written by arpitgarg

August 5, 2017 at 7:21 am

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How I scored 770 in GMAT

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GMAT.jpgI won’t make this post long as I for one would not have read a long debrief. Quick words about me and what helped me get 770.

I am Comp. Science grad from IIT (Good Grad. School in India). Good at Quant, the stereotype. My earlier experience with GMAT was in 2013. I got 690 (Q50, V31) with 1 week OG practice. Had no intention for MBA at that time. Three years down the line (couple of busted startups later), I zeroed in on MBA. 8 weeks preparation.

First 4 weeks was reading Manhattan Prep books, CR Bible, Veritas Prep Books, OG 16 etc. Then I took Manhattan Mock test, I got 680. Was disheartened. I was standing from where I had started. That’s when I read the debriefs from other people on GMAT club and followed the below strategy for next 4 weeks.

1. Stayed away from all non-OG questions. We have ample Official questions available now. Bought revised OG 2017 books. Non-OG questions (no disrespect to any coaching company), are just that non-Official. They are okay to reach 690-700 but the flip side is, they don’t let you go any higher. (My personal opinion)

2. My weak point was SC. I was taking 2min on avg and getting most wrong. Thus I was getting less time for RC and in turn getting them wrong too. CR was decent. So I targeted 1min avg for SC with high accuracy and got to work.

3. I came to know about Ron’s SC videos and finished them all. Gave me a good start.

4. Then came the tough part. I started analysing each Official Question in depth. Specially the wrong answers. I spent around 20-25 min on each SC question. Trying to figure out why the wrong answers are wrong and what rules do they break. Didn’t move to the next question without dissecting the answers. Used google a lot. GmatClub question discussions helped me a lot. Also ManhattanPrep forum discussions for GMAT prep questions are good.

5. Most of it was mental. I stopped looking for best of 5 answers. I started believing that there is no best of 5. Only 1 answer is correct. Rest 4 are horribly wrong. This was the turning point. Once you realise that and start believing that, SC becomes very easy. And horribly wrong 4 answers is what separates Official problems from non-Official problems.

6. RC was mostly getting purpose of passage question right (Ron’s video helped). Detail questions are easy if you have saved time on SC.

7. I bought GMAT Prep Exam pack 1/2. Got regular scores of 750+ there. For those wanting to crack a good score. Please do buy these tests. You get 4 tests. And these are new questions, so you get a good estimate of your score. GMAT Prep (free tests) gets spoiled as you would have seen many of them already.

In conclusion. Concentrate only on everything official. Believe that 4 answers are horribly wrong. You just have to find why.

PS: Am starting at Duke University – Fuqua School of Business, Aug 2017  for 2 year MBA.

Written by arpitgarg

July 18, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Posted in School/College

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Corruption and Nepotism celebrated. Conscience of a nation dead?

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nepotism1-text_557aa68bd0d5aWhat happened to an honest law officer after she outed the worst kept secret, that jails are 5 stars if you can pay the price. What happened during an award ceremony where Bollywood celebs chanted ‘nepotism rules’ and were proud to do it. It all made me sick to my stomach. My father always taught me that if I studied and worked hard, I would succeed in my life and I did and I achieved. But what is happening in our nation today is real disgusting.

We did revere corruption. It was quite clear to me growing up, when I saw most corrupt living in the biggest of bungalows around me. It was quite clear when I saw people fighting over themselves to getting their daughters married off to the most corrupt of all, coz he had the most money to boast. I knew corruption was in our blood when an Income Tax raid was touted by corrupt as a matter of pride rather than a matter of shame.

We did revere nepotism. It was quite clear to me when I saw dynastic politics and people worshipping the dynasts. The ever growing family business honchos. It was quite clear when I saw the stupidest of my classmates enjoying the lives without hard work, just coz of our nepotistic societal framework. It was quite clear when rather than being named and shamed coz of that, they were celebrated by the society.

But all that was done without saying, in a clandestine manner, under the radar. It never saw any public outcry probably because common man never dared to voice his/her opinion. Now with the advent of social media and spread of mass media as such, people like Kangana who made it big fighting adversities can show these pompous fools, the mirror. She can dare to make them feel their real worth, which is two pence. And how dare she? The open and arrogant manner, in which the female law officer was transferred, shows there is no shame in corruption anymore. It used to happen earlier too but it never used to come out for the lack of media. Today’s 24×7 TV has made it all known. And the nation’s secret is out.

Some of you may blame me for being too negative in my outlook. Trust me I am not. It is happening all around us, all too openly for me to see any positive out of it. I sometimes fear for myself not to fall prey to the lures of this evil.

Written by arpitgarg

July 17, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Posted in General/Society

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Censor chops Indu Sarkar: Why no outrage?

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silenceThere is a certain section of people which is called intelligentsia, who we trust to depict our collective reactions. When movies like Lipstick under the Burka are blocked, we expect known faces to come out in outcry. When government acts towards appeasing majority or minority, we expect the people in public life to hit back hard. For all the money they mooch off our adulations, it is the least we expect them to do.

I am saddened by lack of outrage when Indu Sarkar is asked by Censor to chop off certain portions. The silence is deafening. This when same people are busy writing op-ed’s about another film where utterances by a well known economist have been muted. I wonder why?

It leads me to my conclusion; Incidents like emergency are implemented by buying of intelligentsia and people of prominence. Elites love restrictions like emergency during which they side with the powers that be. Even today the known and well off people scoff at such movies. When leaders who imposed emergency should have been relegated to the gutters of history, they are celebrated. I can even live with that. But during the era when any and each cuts by CBFC is portrayed in media as an act against freedom of expression and rightly so, the lack of support for Indu Sarkar is an eye opener.

Such selective collective approaches is what erodes the public trust. When media and elites rue the fact that Modi is PM or for that matter Trump is President, their own hypocrisy is to blame. Had they rallied against acts such as emergency and stopped bowing down to the Family, maybe public would not have been forced to look past the taint of Godhra. Had they called out Clintons on their misadventures, maybe public would not have looked past the sleaze audio tape.

There is still time for redemption, but I don’t see it coming. All we have to do is to apply same yardstick to everyone. But in todays polarized time, it is easier said than done.

Written by arpitgarg

July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Indu Sarkar: Trailer, like nothing before

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06indu-sarkar1.jpgI just saw the trailer of movie Indu Sarkar, a movie about the atrocities of Emergency, a black chapter of lust for power. I came to know about emergency quite late in my life and have always wondered why? The dark chapter of our history should have been part of our school curriculum, but it never was. It was as if it never happened. A reason why such a movie was never made before today is simple, the dynastic rule never ended. The more I read about emergency, the sad I felt that judiciary, intelligentsia and media of the day knelt down in front of what they called Iron Lady, and they still do.

I always wondered why people voted her back post emergency and continued with the dynastic rule. Maybe we needed to grow as a nation to get out of bonded mindset. Maybe the internet and free knowledge needed to reach to deep interiors of our country to bring people together. I feel we have almost reached there. Movie like Indu Sarkar, if trailer is anything to go by, is bound to change the manufactured history of our nation. Couple of hard hitting dialogues stood out. Dialogues which should have been the part of our national psyche, but they never were.

“Bharat ki ek beti ne desh ko gulam bana ke rakha hua hai, doosri beti se ummed hai azaadi ki” (One daughter of India has kept the nation enslaved; it is up to the other daughter to free the country). Chilling! It took the nation good 40 years to reach here. But I am happy that we finally have strength to say it out loud. We were enslaved. Struggle against emergency was nothing short of Third War of Independence. It should have been celebrated like one, but it never was.

“Tum log zindagi bhar maa bete ki gulaami karna” (You continue being slave to mother and son, your whole like). I couldn’t control my emotions hearing this. So relevant even today! It makes me sick and sad watching septuagenarian leaders bowing to mother and son just to keep their position. Mind you, we as voters were equally culpable, coz we as a nation were ready to serve mother and son, then and now.

But the time seems to have come to say it out loud. Time has now come to absolve ourselves of the sin of electoral mistakes we made. Time has now come to absolve us of the slavery. Indu Sarkar might not turn out to be as hard hitting as its trailer, but it is a step in right direction nonetheless. A step towards mainstreaming the atrocities the nation faced.

I don’t expect the movie to be celebrated by the media and intelligentsia. I don’t expect the movie to be celebrated by the nation as large, as we all were culpable in our choices last 40 years. But I expect it to be a start for a brighter future. Only after accepting and internalizing our failures and mistakes, do we become better.

The story needed to be told. I’d say it came not 40 years late, but it came on time, whenever it came.

Written by arpitgarg

July 13, 2017 at 2:16 am

Presidential Polls: Congress still stuck in dynasty

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dynasty.jpgNot to take anything away from Meira Kumar, but the choice of her candidature shows Congress and the entire opposition is still stuck in Dynastic era. They fail to understand that hatred against dynastic politicians among common man has been one of the major reasons for Modi’s rise and Congress’s fall. It’s not that the opposition can’t find any first generation leader, it’s that they don’t want to. The cabal is so naturalised and deep-rooted that if any of such leaders read this article, they wouldn’t be able to understand what the fuss is all about!

Since the poor were kept poor for far too long, the poor now revolted. How long would they have waited for prosperity from family politicians? Family identity, which used to be a boon in politics, has slowly become the bane. The surnames have become synonymous with loot and plunder and Swiss bank accounts. “Dekho aa gaya chor aur chor ka poora khandaan!”

Politicians that were born out of Emergency, Mandal and other such movements, abandoned the movement and hence the dearth of next generation leaders in their parties. They have only their offspring to fall to. It’s ironical since 20-30 years ago, those very politicians used to badmouth Congress as a dynasty.

I had some hopes from AAP to emerge as a national opposition alternative, to keep the checks and balances of democracy, but those hopes don’t seem to materialise anytime soon. Not that it is BJP’s or Modi’s doing, but a weak opposition is never good for a democracy.

Written by arpitgarg

July 1, 2017 at 1:56 am

Posted in Political

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