The Blue Jay
The last few years, I have gotten too consumed with life to write as much as I would like. In some ways, this blogpost is my Thatha’s most recent gift to me. His memory inspired me to do what I love. His memory inspired me to write.
I've never really had a memory. And I've always loved to write. So I thought I'd give it a shot
One of my many learnings at INSEAD has been that I am definitely more interested in the technical aspects of finance and economics than the average MBA. Most of my classmates hate the math, and rightly focus on getting the business insights which they can then apply to the “real world”. I am a proud exception who thoroughly enjoys playing around with all the equations and numbers.
Initially, I felt quite odd and attempted to fit in by trying to be more MBA. Any such illusions were shattered, as I once found myself conducting a finance tutorial to a class of 40 students desperately trying to prepare for a final exam. After this incident, I spent the next few weeks with the nickname “Professor”.
Eventually, I accepted my strangeness and even resorted to attending some of the Ph.D seminars on campus where I could find others like me. Today, I attended a seminar titled “Friends in High Places”. It covered a fascinating piece of research which explored the impact of social networks (college alumni networks, seating proximity in the Senate) on the voting behavior of individual senators. I enjoyed the entire presentation and was mesmerized by the techniques used to leverage a complex database to extract some fascinating insights.
Over lunch, I was excitedly describing this research to 2 MBAs. They were extremely unimpressed and insisted that the research was doing nothing but proving the obvious, which it clearly was. My protestations as to the unique methodology and the potential future research areas it opened, failed to impress them in the least. Their conclusion from the conversation was that most academics spent their lives sitting in their cubes and proving the obvious using obscure techniques. Try as I might, I could not disagree. :)
That incident however, reminded me of a conversation I had had with a Ph.D student just earlier that day. We were talking about the Finance recruiting opportunities which an MBA opened up. He was telling me his views about how most MBA Finance roles completely lacked intellectual challenge and were in reality, extremely well-paid, glorified clerk jobs. Try as I might, I could not disagree. :)
Two sets of people, from two different worlds, inhabiting the same campus. And never the twain shall meet.