Internetworking Shows A New Year, A New Ranking – Financial Times Global #18

25 01 2010

Now that we are out of the Stone Age, information reaches us in lightning speed. I analogize this speedy transfer of cyber data to the process of Apparating. For those of you who don’t know what that is, well you need to go to your nearest Harry Potter book. (It’s like teleporting.)

Growing up in the Silicon Valley, I saw and felt the rise of Apple, Intel, and Google, among a few. I also witnessed the demise of Lycos, Excite, and other internet startups that clearly didn’t make an impression on me. Then along came LinkedIn. And Facebook. These two little startups in Mountain View and Palo Alto, respectively, have turned “networking” into real bonds. Covalent ones. A simple compilation of professionals and their past and present colleagues, LinkedIn fares well because it has only one aim: to connect working people. All the other benefits that come from making that connection (like a new job) are added bonuses. Facebook is slightly different. Its mission is global domination (cue eerie music.) No really, Facebook’s purpose is identical, except in fewer words: to connect people. Both are currently fulfilling their end-goals as effective, user-friendly, social-networking platforms. If I may coin a new term, they are great for “internetworking”.

So this morning I went through my perfunctory routine of checking all my emails, my LinkedIn account, and my Facebook. We Silicon Valley-ites are addicted to the internet. Anyway, while scrolling through the discussion of my September intake, I noticed that one of my future classmates had posted a link to the new Global MBA rankings of 2010 according to the Financial Times. This new year, my new school has a new ranking of #18 in the world. Not bad. I think that’s rather exciting news. Then, minutes after reading the rankings list, I went on to Facebook to see if the discussion continued in our forum there. The first thing I noticed in my News Feed was a post by a long-lost friend in Hong Kong. “Currently #9 in Global FT. Guess I’m making a good investment” it said. Incredible. In this Technology Age, the internet is truly fast-tracking our receipt of all information.

It’s my firm belief that technology is here to help us. Yes, this was my stance in my response to a previous GMAT essay prompt. If we don’t abuse its boundaries and use it with cautioned respect, technology will make us a more efficient and pleasant people. Cavemen were always grunting and unhappy because they didn’t have computers and internet. It wasn’t about the food. Although HEC has moved up from its ranking in 2009, I think it can keep moving. In recent years, the MBA program launched an innovative initiative with Apple to provide iPods to students so that lecture podcasts could be saved and listened to at a later time. This is an example of harnessing the power of technology to do good. With the school positioned as a leading business teaching institution in Europe, cultivating and maintaining a strong alliance with the technology sector may be just the thing to propel it even higher.

As students, we should contribute to the improvement of our program with our minds, our words, and our ability to grasp new technology concepts faster. You know you can use that iPhone better than your dad. I sure can :). This collaborative blog is one step forward in the right direction. Now let’s use it to move mountains.

Looking forward to checking my Facebook tomorrow.

For internetworking.


*A secret tidbit about me: I am one of Facebook’s original members (when invitation emails were first sent to a handful of colleges.)


Value of quality networking

22 01 2010

HEC talks about ‘Local Roots, Global Reach’ and apart from the diverse meanings of this phrase, one of the comprehensions refers to ‘reaching out in the right way’ – networking.

The story of the guy who founded Linkedin is something that rings a bell in the craniums of folks who understand the importance of quality networking.

When I mention professional networking, it goes beyond groups of friends and acquaintances. It goes beyond ‘you-scratch-my-back-and-I-will-scratch-yours‘ kind of philosophy. It is something that talks of a value creation with your name and abilities. This is more realized as you network more and more. And that is when you try to search for ‘quality’.

One of the ways with MBA students includes mentor shadowing, which  comes from a good network. Now, one can understand that you gain from the mentor. But what does the mentor have to gain when they respond to you? In fact, if the mentor is really well-placed, that place pays him not to respond to you, and rather focus on his responsibilities. Here is where you can show the value of your profile. If you really want to build a sustainable network, you got to go beyond ‘one-night-stand’ kind-of relations with professional VCs, entrepreneurs, consultants and other such organisms of this planet. How can this come if I am small guy in some remote corner of the earth, and my name is unknown even to the guy I want to follow?

Well, though there are many examples to follow, one of them is that of Warren Buffet – it is said that  “he knocked on the door of GEICO‘s headquarters until a janitor allowed him in” (We could have suggested better ways to get into the building but that’s another discussion.) His mentor was Benjamin Graham, one of the few men that Buffet has considered a guru and mentor for years. What is more important is that Warren had some value that he could give back to Graham, and again, to quote crowd-sourcing sources, “He offered to work for Graham for free, but Graham refused.”

No value is less as long as it has a meaningful comprehension to your connections.

The best thing today is the way the internet allows you to connect (particularly Web 2.0). You don’t need to depend on ‘a big name’ or polish/grease someone with pretention – anyways the truth stands out in the long run.  While talking to a known VC in Mumbai, I had asked him, ‘How do you know whom to listen to and whom not to, particularly when a little-known fellow is approaching you?’ He gave me a smile and said, “I listen to all and attend to a few. One quick way is to recognize passion. Takes a number of years before you can really decide an answer to this question!’

Reid Hoffman has this to say on WSJ about “Launching LinkedIn From a Living Room“. This is his Linkedin Profile.

We as HEC admits have to have ‘quality’ networking running in our bloodstreams. We have to support that with whatever value we can provide to the other person. If I do not have any value to give, this is a good chance to look at yourself and say, ‘Boss, I got to create my give-away-basket!’ It does work to improve ourselves, if nothing else of the universe.  Online connections to a phone call, to a face-to-face meeting, to a b-card exchange, to a value-exchange!

You got to take a risk of being valued as a nobody, till you are valued across the globe.

Off-topic: Talking of risks, recently, there was a movie released in India, about a small time entrepreneur-guy. The name of the movie is ‘Rocket Singh‘. I would end this post with one quote from the movie, ‘Risk to Spiderman ko bhi lena padta he yaar!’ (Even Spiderman has to take risks!). More about MBA learnings from Rocket Singh, later.

Your views!?