Rediscovering the Calm Appeal of the Academic World

28 02 2009

The world view of students, parents and teachers was very different in India till the early 80’s

For example:

1. The salary disparities were not so pronounced between people employed in the corporate and the academic worlds

2. The concept of choices was almost non-existent in the consumerist sense. If a family had a car it was an Ambassador or a Fiat. Even in branded apparels there were not too many choose from. More money didn’t  necessarily come with more avenues of spending. That somewhat allayed the sense of deprivation among the teaching communities.

Today; even the best of professors in the top ranked engineering colleges and management institutes don’t take home even 30 % of the salaries that middle management executives get in Corporate India.

Undoubtedly, there are a number of sincere and competent teachers in our country who have chosen their profession consciously without attaching much importance to monetary considerations.

 However, at the aggregate level, it is clear that lack of financial incentive has taken a toll on quality of the teaching in the Indian education system

Coming back to the corporate world in India, much of the astronomical pay packets can be ascribed to two broad reasons:

1.      One can get a higher pay packet by virtue of being in a booming industry sector

2.      Or, for handling target- pressures and unreasonable deadlines (which have less to do with knowledge and intellectual wherewithal and more to do with the ability to handle stress)

Today, we know less and less of what really governs and can affect our lives. A glaring example of this navigating in the dark  is the bankruptcy of the 148 year old company like Lehman Brothers which even in the  current year hired a management graduate from IIM Calcutta of  a pay packet of over Rs 10 million per annum. Do we really know how far the impact of the virtual world of finance, sub-primes and leveraging on the real world of manufacturing, selling and consumption can go? Have their effects been played out completely? Is there more to come? What a world of uncertainties we’re living in!

Do the relatively greater sense of serenity and certainty prevailing in academic climes in the current situation increase the viability of an academic career as an alternative to the knowledgeable and  thoughtful among the corporate gentry? I would like to think so.

– Venkat Subramaniam  


BSE Blue Chip Crossword

12 02 2009


BSE Blue Chips Crossword



2.     Look for sister lite in Vedanta

4.     Recruit cigarette salesmen to push agarbattis

6.     No IP Row in Azim’s show

9.     A Bank for Mr Sarkar

10.   Oil Navratna Gets Competitive

12.   Old Chain handed over to Kumar Mangalam

15.   We also bought CORUS

19.   Founded by Polyester Prince, expanded by the Oil King

20.   Engineering giant is flirting with truth, of late

21.   Ms Ragi sells cement and viscose

22.   Holcim cements its place in India

23.   Devdas’s Paro or Dilip’s Taro, they are hard to get

25.   Sunil’s Bar Hit wirelessly




1.     Power-packed PSU

3.     HORN, OK, Please, Nano is coming

5.     Anand drives the Jeep here

7.     The power of belief or a sigh of relief ( after it survived a scare in 2008)

8.     Funding homes from Ramon House

11.   Mera malik hai japani, mera engine hai japani, phir bhi mera dil hai hindustani

12.   CEO school, soapy pool

13.   Construction site, victory light (in Hindi)

14.   IPL sponsor lands in real trouble

16.   Techies Create Software

17.   Chowpatty snack shop has its order book full

18.   Kris’s information systems are world-class

24.   Can Dai-ichi revitalise this one or it may stay calmpose ?


– G. Mohan




















Times They’re a Changing …

8 02 2009

A look at today’s Economic Times (Saturday, 7th February), Hyderabad edition, clearly brings out how much press advertising has got affected by the slow-down. Firstly, the newspaper is a lot thinner, 14 pages instead of 24 pages just a few months ago.


On closer look, I find there are tender notices from various Government departments and PSUs in pages two and three, which would make up for about three-quarters of a page. In the last page there is half-page of advertising. This includes a big advertisement from Economic Times itself pushing “The Power of ideas” campaign. The other advertisements are small inserts from SIDBI ( 30 column-cms approx) and British Council (10 column- cms). The stock pages have the usual small inserts from brokers, who may be having a long-term contract with Economic Times.


Just one page of paid advertising in India ’s leading financial daily, is a telling comment on the state of the advertisers. Even if one discounts for the fact that on Saturdays, the circulation for ET may be lower, a share of just 7% advertising in a newspaper is shocking.


A look at Friday’s ET shows three-and-a-half pages of advertising out of a total of 16 pages. About 20% of advertising in a newspaper, which in the boom times gained so much notoriety for filling up with advertisements making a friend remark “In ET, I have to search for news between advertisements.”


If an aggressive media house like the Times is struggling to sell space, wonder how others are coping with the slowdown.


– G. Mohan

Quiz on Satyam Computers

2 02 2009


Q.1. After Satyam announced the decision to acquire Maytas and then backtracked who was the first independent director of Satyam to resign. She is an an academician , working in the  USA and was a Director of Satyam from 1991. Name her.



Ans ; Dr Mangalam Srinivasan



Q.2 What was the earlier name of Maytas Infrastructure ?  It was a company started by Ramalinga Raju.



Ans : Satyam Constructions



Q3. B.Ramalinga Raju and B. Rama Raju are in judicial custody. Name the third brother who is currently absconding and is accused of being the mastermind behind the land deals.



Ans : B.Suryanarayana Raju



Q4. Who was the first MNC client of Satyam Computers?



Ans : John Deere (the tractors company)



Q5. PwC the auditors of Satyam was formed by the merger of ‘Price Waterhouse’ and ‘Coopers and Lybrand’. Coopers and Lybrand had an Indian associate to which the partners Srinivas Talluri and Gopalakrishnan belonged. Name this audit firm.



Ans : Lovelock and Lewes



Q6. B.Ramalinga Raju and Satyam were considered model corporate citizens due to their philanthropic and CSR work in the form of the 108 service (EMRI) and drinking water projects in different parts of AP. Name the foundation which carries out the philanthropic activities of Raju.



Ans : Byrraju Foundation



Q7.  As per the confession letter of Ramalinga Raju who was supposed to take over the charge of Satyam after his resignation. This person was the interim CEO for less than 48 hours before the government appointed a new board.



Ans : Ram Mynampati



Q8. In the Chanchalguda jail, in Hyderabad, where Raju and Ramu are holed up with other petty criminals how is Raju keeping himself busy ?



Ans : Reading spiritual books on Buddha and playing chess.


Q9. What does SFIO stand for?



Ans : Serious Frauds Investigation Office



Q10. Satyam was the first Indian IT Services company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. What is its symbol ?



Ans : SAY



Q11. Satyam is fighting a long legal battle with a UK based products company related to intellectual property rights. The case is going on in  Texas courts. Name the company .



Ans : UPAID Systems



Q12. As per US law, a lawsuit in which one or more parties file a complaint on behalf of themselves and all other people who are “similarly situated” (suffering from the same problem). Often used when a large number of people have comparable claims. Satyam is facing several of such lawsuits filed by investors in the US. What is the correct term for such a suit ?



Ans : Class- action suit



Q 13. In the boom days of Internet, Satyam had floated an Internet company called Satyam Infoway, later renamed as Sify Ltd. This was the first Indian Internet company to be listed on the NASDAQ. Satyam has since divested their shares in this company. Name the new owner of Sify


Ans : Vegesna Raju



Q 14. Satyam floated a Joint venture with Dun and Bradstreet in 1992. The first CEO of this JV was a Satyam nominee. Srini Raju, who happens to be a close relative of Ramalinga Raju. Ramalinga Raju and Srini Raju’s wives are sisters. Srini Raju gave up charge of this company in 1994 and left Satyam in 2000. This company is now a very big IT services company  listed on NASDAQ and is all set to beat Satyam in revenues. Name this company.



Ans : Cognizant Technolgies



– G. Mohan

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