Sunday, October 21, 2007

Campus to Corporate – A smooth transition

Update: 600 Mindtree Minds in one snap!

I had been waiting quite eagerly for this transition to happen. The defining moment finally arrived on the 15th of October, when MindTree successfully assimilated 600 of the 1000+ MindTree minds (around 400+ had been assimilated during July); they had recruited this academic year. It was quite a memorable day, as were stepping out of the campus arena in to in to the so-called corporate arena. I was curious, anxious and above all thrilled to the core. The specialty of our batch is that; we are the largest batch ever to be assimilated by MindTree in one take!

Day 1: The Induction Day - 15th October 2007

The induction day was scheduled on 15th of October at Good Shepherd auditorium on the residency road at Bangalore. I reached the venue along with many other fellow MindTree minds at around 8:20 a.m. The special thing about this whole induction program was that even the parents were invited to attend this event. It was their way of building a rapport with the parents of their employee’s, right from day 1. After a quick tea/coffee session, all of us were guided in to the auditorium. I must confess that Good Shepherd auditorium is a pretty spacious and a neatly built auditorium in terms of acoustics.

I managed to find a place to sit in the last row of the auditorium with my friends from B.I.E.T., more for the reason that I moved in late, rather than by choice. The day kick started with the usual rituals like lighting the lamp, invocation etc. We were presented with a video that showed the activities that take place every year at MindTree. It also had some memorable snaps of the Technical Fest called ‘Osmosis’, where people showcase their technological brilliance. It was conceived and developed by the July 2007 batch. I think they had done quite a commendable job, as it succeeded radiating true colors of MindTree to a great extent. It was followed by a back to back addressing by the big shots of MindTree. They also played an enlightening video on ‘safety in Bangalore’. There was also this 20 odd minute video footage of ‘Making of MindTree’, which showed some of those defining moments in the history of its making. I really loved the way they had conceived the notion of telling their story (narrated by Subroto Bagchi and S. Janakiraman alternatively) to the rest of the world. At this point in time I would like to share a fact. Some of those people, who built this ‘institution’, hail from the most ordinary family back grounds. But they had extraordinary dreams to fulfill in life. After the video was played, we had 2 of the MindTree minds who joined in July 2007 sharing their experiences at MindTree. It was followed by a Q&A session with the parents. All the questions raised by parents were answered satisfactorily, irrespective of their triviality. After the Q&A session was completed, there was an arrangement made for the parents to visit the MindTree’s new West Campus. In the mean while the rest of us broke for lunch.

The post lunch session was the most eagerly anticipated one, simply for the reason that Mr. Subroto Bagchi was to address the campus minds on the topic, ‘Mission, Vision and Values’. I had read a lot about Subroto, but hadn’t had the opportunity to hear him before. The anchor introduced him saying that, “The next person we would have on stage prefers himself to be called as a thinker rather than an excellent orator”. Trust me, after listening to him; I was convinced of one thing, Subroto was a perfect combination of both these virtues. Subroto began the session with a crisp definition of Mission, Vision and Values and clearly differentiated what they meant in MindTree’s context. He crystallized beautifully, the real meaning of MindTree’s DNA, Imagination, Action and Joy. He also shared with us the interesting story of how MindTree got its ‘living’ logo. He also spoke on the CLASS values of MindTree and explained them in great detail. He managed to be extraordinarily charismatic in spite of the fact that the content he presented was extremely candid. They call this whole process assimilation because they ensure that each and every campus mind that joins MindTree assimilates all those values of MindTree and respects them.

After he was done with the presentation, I was convinced why I had some real good reason to take pride in calling myself a MindTree mind. In his close to a 30 minute presentation, Subroto had made it loud and clear that at any point in time at MindTree, a ‘breach of integrity’ is always gonna land you out of their family and nowhere else. In today’s corporate world where producing doctored resumes, medical bills, furnishing manipulated work experience details or even collaborating during the internal assessments at a work place during training period, have become a norm, MindTree has taken a bold step of never to entertain any such acts. If you are ever found to be involved in any such acts at MindTree, trust me; you would have your termination letters in your hand, latest by that evening. It’s as black and white as that, no matter who you are and what is at stake, we simply don’t care! There are no shades of grey at MindTree. We at MindTree believe that integrity comes first and then comes the rest. That’s exactly the reason why we prefer to call ourselves an institution, rather than an XYZ company.

His presentation was followed by a Q&A session with campus minds, where we shot a lot of questions at Subroto. (I also learnt the first lesson of my corporate life in that session. You don’t address anyone as ‘sir’ in the corporate world. Subroto made it pretty clear that he or in fact anyone in the company should be addressed by his/her first name. Trust me; it’s pretty difficult for someone coming out of that typical college mindset to get used to this. I’m gradually getting used to calling people at my work place, by their first names.) I consider it my privilege to get this golden opportunity to interact with Subroto, because it happens pretty rarely that you get to interact with these biggies, in person. Unfortunately we couldn’t get to hear from our Ashok Soota, as he wasn’t available for some reason. But what was really good about the whole session was that Subroto, in spite of his busy engagements, as usual, had managed to take his time off and arrived there in person to convey the whole idea on which MindTree stands, in the clearest possible words. I feel that this kind of one-to-one mapping of the employees at MindTree is what brings in them, a sense of belonging to a single family! I know that it’s all possible because of that fact we are still a growing company as compared to other oldies in the arena. But I’m sure that our management is really working out in building models to maintain this directivity, as we continue to grow every year.

The later part of the day was dedicated to some wonderful dance numbers, light humor (a.k.a pjs) and some vocal treat. It was real fun! We left the auditorium at about 6 p.m. with the kits that MindTree had provided.

Day2: Paper work! (Actually day 1 at MTW*) - 16th October 2007

The second day was probably the most tiring one as we spent it completely in furnishing all the necessary information on their database, creating employee IDs, opening bank accounts and so on and so forth. So I’m not gonna bore you more on this. Ha Ha… (Isn’t that really kind of me?)

Day 3 & 4 (At V’s place and at my room in the accommodation at BTM) – 17th & 18th October 2007

Two days were reserved exclusively for campus minds who hadn’t managed to find an accommodation for themselves in Bengaluru yet. MindTree had arranged for a meeting with brokers, who were to help the campus minds to find an accommodation for themselves in Bengaluru. I was quite fortunate, because I had already done with this house hunting stuff. So I had been to V’s place and we watched that nail biting match between India and Australia on Wednesday and shopped a bit at Marathalli on Thursday.

Day 5: (Actually day 2 at MTW*) - 19th October 2007

There were a lot of things pending and left unfulfilled. Some of the campus minds hadn’t received the kits on the day of induction that contained MindTree’s T-shirts and other necessary stuff. Since there was a photo session scheduled that evening, getting a T-shirt, along with the other stuffs like ID cards topped the chart. The other activities involved registering for the cab facility provided by them, getting house loan deposit cheque etc. Another important activity of the day was 'allocation of house' to each MindTree mind. They group MindTree minds in to 3 houses during the learning period. There are basically 3 houses at MindTree, Imagination, Action and Joy. I’m in to Joy. I think it suits my character very well! He He… (I will write more about this house allocation and all the fun stuff associated with it, regularly on my blog. Keep tracking this space closely.) We also had those 'inevitable evils', the people from Vodafone, who had come over with their ever confusing tariff plans, to woo some fresh corporate babus, while at the same time to ensure that they retained their existing customer base. Many of my friends applied for a corporate connection. I opted for a conversion from pre-paid tariff plan to a post paid plan, because I didn’t want to mess up with my current contact number. Bhool gaya, AirTel waale bhi aarahe hain Monday ko!

The real thing to watch out for was the photo session which was scheduled to be carried out, anytime between 5p.m. to 6p.m. at the Café Coffee day in the West Campus. Everyone was pretty curious to see how the photographer would be able to capture all the 600 MindTree minds in one snap!! The defining moment finally arrived at around 5:45 p.m., when we everyone gave one of those million-dollar happy dent smile!! It was surely a memorable moment and will go down in to the history books of MindTree as the largest batch of MindTree ever to be captured in one frame! After posing patiently for approximately half a dozen of retakes, we were asked to disperse. Adi had brought her camera with which we managed to click a few memorable pics. (I also managed to get a solo snap of mine. I shall post it shortly.)

If I was to put my experience till date at MindTree, I would prefer to say this; if you are looking for a career and not merely a job, then MindTree should really top your charts!

*MTW – MindTree West Campus.

PS: I’m planning to share with you, the life stories of a few exceptional people at MindTree, who inspire everyone around here, as we continue to grow as one large family. I will finalize the blue print of the format of the same and shall publish them in my subsequent posts. Hope they manage to inspire you as well. Till then it’s me wishing you all, a happy and a colorful dusshera. Enjoy madi!!

~IT's My Life

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Peace of Mind!

Well this post isn’t an elucidation of that ‘memorable’ room hunting jaunt. As you might have discovered by now, Hutch is now Vodafone! OMG!! I didn’t know it. Saaalo, itni baar us cute si kutte ki ad ko TV pe dhikaoge to ‘Black’ film ke Amitabh ko yeh yaad rahega!! Trust me every FM station that I was tuning in to, in Bengaluru was bombarding its listener’s ears, mercilessly with this make-over-of-the-millennium act!

I really have no issues with their promotional campaign. But what really pissed me off the other night was an unsolicited sms from Vodafone, which said that a caller tune a.k.a CT would be activated on my cell phone. As any other naïve (all subscribers, other than those of, the then Hutch!) subscriber, I was pretty happy that Vodafone finally was on an offering, free of cost! My first reaction to it was “wow. That’s kewl!” I had all reasons to be happy because S had enjoyed this one month ‘free caller tune’ activation service provided by Hutch a.k.a Vodafone. As the message read, the caller-tune (a song from the movie saajan, ‘Baahut pyaar karte hain…’) was activated. The fact that the CT was activated was brought up to my notice by V. He had called up a day later and asked me, “En le suri… Caller Tune activate madis bittidya?” I was like… WTF!! I was taken by surprise. I never knew that Vodafone was serious about that message! (I’ll come back this ‘breach of integrity’ act of Vodafone shortly)

After terminating that call, I quickly checked my balance, only to find that a cute amount of 30 bucks was literally ripped off my credit. Here money was certainly not the issue. I was *&#$ing pissed off the way they deducted that amount without notifying me. I went fuming. I called up the customer care (read is as customer-don’t-care a.k.a CDC) and spoke to them about this annoying act of theirs. As usual, I heard that *&#$ing one liners from CDC, ‘We will look in it!’ I also asked them to credit back the amount to my account. The gal from CDC promised me that the CT would be deactivated within 24 hours and I would be getting back my 30 bucks. I hung up, with little hopes of getting this issue solved in one stride! You see, Hutch a.k.a Vodafone has a tremendous reputation to live up to!

After an anxious period of 24 hours, I found out that Hutch a.k.a Vodafone had truly lived up to its past reputation. The people from CDC seemed to have not bothered to deactivate my CT. And guess what? They had also ‘forgotten’ to credit back the amount to my account. My instincts were right. I felt that what Shakespeare had said long back was damn right, “What’s in a name?” Saalono ne apna naam to badal liya, lekhin apni purani adaat nahi chodi! When money is the issue, it always gets the worst out of Hutch a.k.a Vodafone.

The next day I called them up again and this time I spoke to them in quite a belligerent tone. This whole CT episode seemed to have taken toll of my patience. I was in no mood for those hi-hello-how-are-you kinda chat with CDC people. I wanted an explanation, straight and square! Here is the verbalization of the call I made on that day:

CDC: This is xyz. How may I assist you sir?

S: I have this annoying caller tune activated on my cell phone without my consent. If this weren’t enough, you have deducted 30 bucks from my account. I want this CT to be deactivated right now and my amount back.

CDC: (In an unperturbed tone) Sir may I know your full name please?

S: Suresh S.

CDC: And… you calling from 98860***** right? (Just avoiding sharing of TMI)

S: Yesss!

CDC: Sir. You mean to say that this caller tune has been activated without your knowledge and you didn’t choose it. Am I right?

S: (Ailaa. Tumhe angrezi samajh main aati hain? To pehle kyu nahi kaha yaaar! Main to khamo kha Hebrew main baat kar raha ta. Tum log bhi na... Had karte ho yaar... mazak karne ki bhi ek had hoti hain) hmmm… I suppose that’s what I meant.

CDC: Sir from when has this caller tune been active on you phone? (In the same istyle as a doctor asks his patients, “Aap ko kabh se pareshaani hain?”)

S: Since a couple of days or so…

CDC: Sir. How did it get activated? You say that it was done without your knowledge?

S: (WTF! That’s what I want to know from you boy!) Well. I got a sms from Vodafone saying that they would activate a CT in a few minutes. Ever since then, this annoying CT has been playing on my cell phone. I spoke to your people yesterday about this thing. They had promised me to deactivate it and credit 30 bucks back to my account within 24 hours. But they haven’t done it.

CDC: Sir… First you need to lodge a complaint about this. Then we will inform about this to our systems section and they will take care of it.

S: (Saale tumhe kya lagta hain main abh tak koi Akbar Birbal ki kahani suna raha ta kya?) That is exactly what I had done yesterday.

CDC: No sir. There is no complaint registered regarding this issue.

S: (*&#$) Okies. Then would you mind registering it now?

CDC: Yes sir. Sure… Now that you have lodged a complaint, we will definitely take care of it. As soon as we are done with it, you will be getting a call from our customer care sir.

S: Okies.

CDC: Is there anything you want to know sir?

S: No…

CDC: Thank you sir. Have a nice day!

After 4 days (In Bengaluru…)

After watching this movie, I was waiting outside a restaurant, near the cinema hall with my friends. We were all hungry and planning what to have in that restaurant. It was about 4:30 or so in the evening when I got a call. The number flashing on my cell phone seemed quite familiar to me. Yep! You guessed it right. It was a call I had been waiting for nearly 96 hours. For you kindest information, my cell phone still had that annoying CT playing. This time around, I was all set, sleeves up to take on those CDC people. The conversation with a CDC gal went on something like this…

CDC: Sir… this is ABC calling from Vodafone sir. As you know hutch has become Vodafone recently, we are updating all the information of our customers. You had lodged a complaint regarding the CT being activated on you phone without your permission. Is that right sir?

S: Yep! I want to know why it hasn’t been done.

CDC: Sir… Actually since this entire CT and other information are stored on our database located in US, you need to send a sms ‘DCT CT’ and send it across to 56789. Then only your CT will be deactivated.

S: What about my 30 bucks?

CDC: If this CT has been activated from our side without your permission, we will definitely credit that amount to your account within 24 hours.

S: Okies…

CDC: Is there anything you want to know sir?

S: Nooo!!

Since I hadn’t asked them to activate this CT, the deducted amount should have been credited to my account. Well… I have been waiting all the way along. They have duteously deactivated my CT within 24 hours of receiving that call, but have cleverly ‘forgotten’ to credit back that amount. Maan gaye tumhko Hutch a.k.a Vodafone, you definitely lived up to your reputation! It is yet another instance where you registered a breach of integrity!

Now to the real source of inspiration for this post. I received a sms from Vodafone recently that offered to provide me some real good peace of mind! It said:

“To stop unwanted calls, activate Call Filter Service for a monthly rental of just Rs 99 and enjoy peace of mind. Dial *514# or call 55144 today!”

PS: Hmmm... I never knew that peace of mind was just 99 bucks away from me. This is yet another chalo-din-dahade-hi-customer-logon-ko-lootenge kinda campaign from Vodafone! Kaash yeh Art of Living waale aur Baba Ram Dev bhi itne ‘intelligent’ hote! See it’s that simple. No yoga no khul khul ke hasna… Just pay these bloody SOBs 99 per month and enjoy full peace of mind! I seriously feel that Vodafone has gotta retain that punch line of hutch, but with a little change. It should be, ‘Wherever you go, our problems follow you!’

~IT's My Life

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ek nayi safar...

"oru messge ille, oru phone ille, oru missed call ille, oru scrap ille, oru e-mail kooda ille... Enaku rumba bayamarku... Nee thirumbe zoo ku podiya???"
I received the above sms from a friend of mine. I was wondering if he was eagerly waiting to hear from me. Well my friend, zoo waale itne kush nasib nahi yaar! Main aaj bhi khule aam aazad ghoom raha hoon... I probably gave TMI about my whereabouts...
Pata nahi yeh kaisi feeling hai. Lekhin jo bhi hai, badi hi confusing hai yaar. The wait has finally ended and I'm all set to start a new journey in the professional arena.
Kuch ajeeb sa lag raha hai mujhko. I have been staying here in harihar for the past 20 odd years and have zillions of memories attached to it. At this nick of time, I'm feeling very nostalgic. The time I spent at my school and those 4 golden years that B.I.E.T., has given me, will be something that I will treasure for an entire life time. Hailing from a close to sub-urban kinda place, I'm pretty much skeptical about of my life saving adaptability skills at a new place like bengaluru. But I have no choice but to get used to this life style sooner.
I know that I'm stepping in to a world where everyone is out there to prove a point and make a mark for himself on the professional front. I am optimistic about my chances as well. I hope that I would be able to meet the challenges posed by situations both on the personal and the professional front.
This is probably gonna be my last post from my harihar. The next post shall be definitely posted from somewhere in bengaluru. Till then have a great time and don't forget to wish me good luck:) Ha Ha.. (Abh yeh mat kehna ki saala kitna maangta hai... Wishes maang ne main koi burayi nahi hai yaar! Aur use dene main bhi!)
PS: This is not 'that' post which is supposed to have been resting peacefully in my fully packed computer's hard drive. It is yet to go public.
~IT's My Life

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