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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.

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Written by arpitgarg

October 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm

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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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NEET Ordinance: Smacks of Quid Pro Quo

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adiseshan.jpgCabinet has passed an ordinance today delaying NEET for a year, National Level Entrance Exam for Medical colleges. Though Govt is yet to give a reason, what we have heard till now is, it is for the benefit of students who are hassled by sudden imposition of NEET.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. To make the issue simple to understand, let me cite the movie, Sivaji-The Boss, where in Rajinikant fought against politicians who have made Medical education a flesh trade. Private medical colleges owned by big politicians earn a lot in lieu of capitation fee. Private entrance exams where students are asked to leave the answer sheet empty, and later the middlemen in conjunction with college authorities fill up the sheets. Going rate is as high as 1 crore rupees.

This is what NEET aims to eradicate. I urge PM Modi not to succumb to the pressure from states for some quid pro quo in Rajya Sabha. GST can wait, NEET can’t. Just think for a bit, when we have national level exam for engineering colleges, why is the hue and cry for medical exams? The issue here is the dearth of good Medical colleges. Private colleges are owned majorly by big politicians. Govt colleges have very less seats.

Since cabinet has already passed the Ordinance, it is a matter of time when President signs it. It’s now left to the Supreme Court to strike down the ordinance. I don’t have high hopes though. The political privilege has acted out.

Written by arpitgarg

May 20, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Political, School/College

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Sanskrit in IIT’s: Playing Devils Advocate

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sanskrit.jpgHRD Ministry has asked IIT’s to teach Sanskrit. The aim is to leverage the study of science from ancient literature. This literature is primarily in Sanskrit and hence the need to study the language first.

At this point it is not clear if these courses will be optional or compulsory. As much as I know IIT’s, the courses would be optional. Somewhat like the humanities subjects. The reaction to the decision has been mixed. Some have welcomed, some have laughed at it.

Is the decision any good? Is there any harm if Sanskrit is taught? Is the backlash valid or is it just because we think little of Sanskrit. Would the backlash be same if it was Spanish or German? A lot of aspects need to be looked at. Let me play the devils advocate for now.

Pros:

  1. Back to the roots: Due to better job and research opportunities abroad, every year there is a mass migration. The sense of pride in our own legacy has gone missing. Hopefully study of Vedas from scientific point of view might instill some much needed belief. What I most like about Japanese and Chinese people is the pride they take in their traditions and beliefs. If teaching Sanskrit gives us an insight into the uncharted treasure, would be good to have.
  2. Fact vs Fiction: We all have read as to how Sanskrit is the most scientific language. How we can use Sanskrit for technological advancement. How our ancient literature was way ahead of its times and can even compete with the contemporary. The study of Sanskrit will give us an opportunity to vet these topics. Since it will mostly be optional, those who want to they can choose to.
  3. Fight the ills of society: The biggest of the ills of our society has been propagated by people who held on to Sanskrit. I am talking about the so called Brahmins. They monopolized the religion and religious rituals by understanding or simply by-hearting Sanskrit Shlokas. If Sanskrit study kicked off, hopefully these people will not be able to make fool of the populace. The need for the Panditji will subside when we could recite the Shlokas ourselves. This will take time and would require teaching Sanskrit in all colleges and not just IIT’s.

Cons:

  1. May become compulsory: There are chances that after a trial run, Govt. might make it a compulsory subject for the 1st semester. This might cause the grades to suffer as Sanskrit is hard to master. Most of the students haven’t been in touch with it from some time. This might take away from the time which the students would have otherwise spent on technical curriculum.
  2. An attempt to propagate myths: There have been attempts to propagate myths such as presence of flying objects during Ramayana era (Vimana). There is an attempt to push through unsubstantiated reasoning’s in the name of ancient literature. Sanskrit might end up just being right wing propaganda to spread such beliefs. Beliefs which go against continuity of advancement.
  3. Going backward: Top IQ students spending time on an almost extinct language is akin to going backward. India requires urgent development and reading Sanskrit is not going to give us that. Better would have been global language like Spanish through which we would be able to connect to the world better and help in job creation.

Eventually time will tell if Sanskrit is helpful or not. Lets wait and watch!

Written by arpitgarg

April 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

NIT (Non-Indian Institute of Technology?)

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NIT-srinagarWhat the hell is going on in Srinagar? I can empathize with the students. They are a selected lot of people who qualified to study at NIT. But I cannot say the same about the inefficient and biased administration.

I studied at IIT Guwahati. The region was considered insurgent and there were apprehensions enrolling. But what we experienced was fabulous. The locals were very supportive, helpful. They prided in having an Institute of National importance in the region. And never did we ever felt any problem.

But Srinagar problem seems to be out of bound. And the core issue is anti-India feelings in Kashmir. I won’t like to hold back here under the garb of political niceties. What is happening is shameful. And what is more appalling is silence of people like Nayantara Sehgal and her ilk. Where are the awards to be returned? They are hiding today. You know why? Coz supporting nationalistic cause does not get them recognition and moolah across the world. The world celebrates learned people from other countries who are ready to badmouth and malign their motherland. And such intellectuals revel in it; raking in the blood money.

And the insinuation that students are doing this to get transfers to other NITs is pathetic. They are selected top brains who have passed one of the toughest exams and just want to study.

I was against police action at JNU and I am against it in NIT. But what makes me angrier today is, at JNU police action was demonized against people who said, ‘Death to India’. Same opportunists are silent when and at Srinagar it is done to students who said, ‘Long live India’.

My take: What was done to outstation students at Srinagar was akin to racial profiling. They were beaten by local police to teach them a lesson. How dare they raise Indian Tri color? What this will do is damage the NIT Srinagar brand. Check the admission rankings next year. Not the brightest will opt to enroll.

Written by arpitgarg

April 6, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Solution to JNU Crises: Give them degree and kick them out

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jnu.jpgJNU crises have reached a deadlock. There is a need for smartness on the part of authorities. I read that a committee has recommended expelling the hooligans. Not a smart move. No point giving these people audience and propelling their political careers.

Expelling will lead to unnecessary protests. Not worth it. These hooligans and their ilk, who feed on taxpayers’ money, have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So they will do anything and everything. Smartest solution would be to give them the degree. They way they will have to move out the college. Expedite their exams and kick them out.

They can’t cry that they have been expelled. They won’t get the coziness of college for their nefarious activities. No reason for protests. Don’t fail them, pass them. And show them the door. I admit it’s not an ideal solution, but we don’t live in an ideal society, do we?

This leftist hooliganism is a global phenomenon. Lok what happened to Trump rally in Chicago. These people have nothing to lose. No point fighting them. They thrive on media attention. Time to clean our colleges. Rather than expelling, give them a degree and get them off.

Written by arpitgarg

March 15, 2016 at 4:57 pm

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