The Satyam Saga

Being in India has meant that I’ve seen the Satyam saga unfold up close and personal with the extensive media coverage. The media seems like a wild cat ready to pounce on fresh meat. There is no semblance of respect for a company that has been a beacon of Indian IT success. The endless hypotheticals and coverage that includes theme music and a logo affecting the livelihood of 50,000 employees sickens me.

I might be really dense but what has the company done wrong really? They wanted to invest in a sister firm, isnt that the instinct of any family-owned business? People who buy shares in a family-owned firm should surely know the risk before investing. I work in the biggest company in its industry and it is family run.

Nobody is saying that it was a daft decision. Nobody is arguing that the return on investment would be lower than if the same amount was invested in a competitor. The only issue is “misgovernance” which is of concern to shareholders.

I’ve gone beyond the point of rage to a sadness that this is how much the media cares. Surely, this can’t be the result of freedom of press in the world’s largest democracy.


My top 5 jobs

The jobhunt’s almost complete; There is just a month left to get through what will hopefully be my last set of exams for a while..So here are the top 5 places/positions I want to work.

5. Pilot, Indian air force
This is a boyhood special. Almost every guy I know wanted to be a pilot as a kid. This career was cut short when it was discovered that I needed glasses. No 6/6. I like the idea of working in the armed forces though. Its a life of honour where most people in Indian society respect you. Booze at subsidized rates from their canteens is the icing on the cake.

4. Business Analyst, Shell Gas and Power (LNG)
A job that was mine for about 5 minutes until it was cruelly taken away. The energy industry fascinates me, the LNG business is about to take off, I’m really impressed with Shell as a company.

3. Op-Ed Writer/ Cricket Columnist
I don’t know how well this pays but I sure like it. It would be great to be writing a daily column commenting on daily news or events. It would probably be better to comment on cricketing news – who won, who lost, who capitulated, who sucked. (Sorry, still reeling from India’s defeat to England).

2. Lawyer
I’m not sure what kind of lawyer since I’m more interested in social policy. This sort of stuff falls more into the domain of politician I think. It would be great to understand and evaluate a society’s ideals and frame laws based on this. Is this really lawyering? I’d love to study for a law degree though.

1. Starbucks Store Manager/ Store planner
Love Coffee. Love the Starbucks service. Love the Starbucks brand. This job would be brilliant. Imagine working in a place that has the wonderful aroma of coffee all the time.


Companies and Impressions

Being a third year undergraduate student on internship I come into contact with several corporate types everyday. Although this is usually on the lift to work (23rd floor) where I am making fun of their atrocious attire (pink is NOT a formal colour!), I sometimes google the companies to find out a little more about them. I’m surprised at the range of attitudes of different companies which reflects in their website (check the faq’s, really gives you an idea).
Some of them actively solicit future employees. Others are brash. Others are extremely humble.

A study in contrast are PWC and AP Moller’s (Maersk) websites. While PWC is good, although theyre huge they make a genuine effort to answer queries. (FAQ: Since PWC is so huge will I just be an insignificant player?) . AP Moller meanwhile says that after their two year training program its possible you might not even get managerial responsibility. They talk about long hours and a corporate culture of facing “brutal facts”. PWC talks about an active social life and sports events.

Not so long ago I was looking for an internship for 6 weeks in the period of June-July. I called up several companies to find out if they can accomodate me since summer internships usually last 10-12 weeks. The responses of certain companies can only be characterised as “nice”. I spoke to HR of Deutsche Bank (DB) and DBS in Singapore. DB was great, they said they realised that third year undergrads are on internship and they tried to accomodate them but due to rotation issues here they just couldnt. They were also straightforward and asked me not to apply. DBS went a step further and said they could accomodate me for 6 weeks so could I please submit my resume.

The others were not so great particularly Goldman Sachs and Lehmann Brothers. Goldman Sachs replied saying that they dont take calls unless I know who I want to talk to. I said I have a genuine query and am not a madman (who does that anyway?). I was asked to leave my query on voicemail and if someone picks it up and is not busy then theyll try to get back. They didn’t.
Lehmann Brothers said their summer internships were closed although their website clearly stated that it was open. When I asked about this they said “Sorry, internships are closed”. Not once but twice. Basic Tip: maybe you should update your website then.