Monday, December 31, 2012

A sharp mind, is it enough?

Now this post is not for the exceptionally stud dudes of IITs and not for the ones who are all-positive individuals who like to believe such things are unimportant.

People tend to assume that sharp minds that are blessed with intellect and strong reasoning skills have everything to make it big. But having seen the way it works for the last several years amid the brightest minds, a lot of other factors play a crucial role. And I would not like to get into other skill sets which add dimensions to one's personality apart from a sharp mind in this post. My focus is the circumstances, the background and the choices one makes for his life. The upbringing and family plays an important part. I have seen post IIT after that hostel life people's choices of higher education, jobs they get into, marriage etc are all mostly dependent on their backgrounds rather than solely based on the career prospects. Obviously for similar caliber IITians that takes them to different places. Circumstances are specific situations that people find themselves for some inexplicable reasons. Some for good and some for bad. A seemingly good job on campus may not work wonders and not so desired options take people places. Foresight is one thing but landing up with better opportunities can be just a matter of chance as we all have learnt over the years. Then there are choices that we make, some because of preferences and some due to above mentioned factors. Truly they play a very important role.

Surely I am writing this post after 4.5 years passing out from IIT and the people I come across have long careers ahead of them but I am pretty confident that permutations would become even more complex from here. Its like walking on a chain of paths created by a multinodal tree. The reason of writing this one is simple. Each one of us has tendency to make comparisons. And especially as IITians there are high expectations and pressure. And even though we do not look for excuses for our failures and success reflects intense efforts according to us but as mere mortals we do have certain blessings and limitations that need to be acknowledged for our positions. And for non-IITians please do not assume that sharp mind is all you need. Its equally tough and baffling for even the best minds to attain greater heights. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why its no wonder when NIT, IIIT Hyd student outperforms IITians!

I recently came across an article on "How success can lead to failure". The reason of many IITians starting to lose the plot after success of IIT-JEE could be similar. Over-analysis and having too many choices.

To begin, people often tend to over analyze once in IIT and start to feel they belong to an elite group. There is also more pressure and a sense of responsibility that you start to feel as an IITian. Comparing peer group jobs, work profiles and salaries is pretty common. Many of us have discussed in informal gatherings how our relatives, parents and friends perceptions are totally based on the best IITian benchmarks  and how their expectations are so skewed for us. Often it results in poor and pressurized decision making on the part of IITians. Well, one of the actual reasons of failure after IIT or under performance compared to peers or a person's own abilities is a direct result of distractions. An IITian has far too many directions as options to consider and often the choices results in poor focus. To give an example people aim for CAT, GRE, GMAT and then they have a go at tech, consult, finance etc - all kinds of jobs. Without a concentrated effort two things happen - one you are unaware of your future which leads to apprehensions, second you fail develop skillsets to outperform the masses in one particular area.

So say a guy from IIIT Hyderabad who gets into a coding kind of culture, where people share the passion of programming he quickly has the route to success. He might know just one way to make to the top league and he's got into a company that will take him there. An NIT person may start preparing for CAT right from the second year. He knows that to get that MBA from the best institutes of India you still have a chance. Most IITians, spoilt for choices, relax or tend to lose focus. Essentially making them weaker in their pursuit once the pool gets together in jobs and MBAs. Having said that I would still bet on an IITian to take the lead in the longer term once he gets his focus back. Its important to understand that backing your strengths and focusing on one specific target is very important.

Comparisons made across geographies, sectors and in different phases of careers are not fair. An Infosys employee who joined in periods prior to economic boom and having had worked in US for some years, owning property in Bangalore should not be compared to an IITian who worked on a failed startup and joined the workforce after say 2008. Again, there are exceptions of brilliant non-IITians, not undermining anybody here. Just trying to explain the various reasons behind the differences that prop up over time.