Saturday, October 28, 2006

Placements Ahoy!

This is that time of the year. It has come in earlier than was expected as some of the companies have been accommodated to coincide with their international recruiting schedules. However to keep the process fair to the later recruiters, while interviews would be conducted now, the offers would be announced only at the end of Day 1 of the placement week in February. For some, their focus companies are coming now and this is the chance for them to grab early positions. For the rest it is at least good early preparation for the placement week.

I plan to apply to a few as I find the roles interesting although that has nothing to do with my prior experience. The challenge would be to display skills that I can transfer to the open positions.

CAS has promised a lot of fireworks in the coming few months and indicated that this year's the recruitments are going to be our best yet

Me!! I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The topology of apology

Some say that one of the most difficult task for a person is to issue an apology. Ideally it should be one of the easiest things to do if one realizes one's mistakes and has a clear conscience.

However in corporate settings, it has other complexities. Some of the complexities arise bacause managers sometimes have to apologise for sins committed by their predecessors or by oversight of others. Other complications exist because doing so may not be in the best interests of the company, at least in the short run and since most managers' incentives are tied to short run performance it becomes an even ardous task.

Then again, there is a problem of how your apology is perceived. It is equally important that the company is perceived correclty and the wording and timing of the apology are appropriate. Lastly, the companies also must match the words they say through their actions.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Well the title is not 'V'ictory. It stands for term fi'V'e during this one year long journey called ISB. Added to that, it also stands for the number of courses I am taking this term different from term IV ( We had IV each in first IV core terms).

However, if I add the PaEV course, technically it should count for VI. I might end up applying to V or at the most V+I companies in the first round between Terms V and VI. Would be glad to make it in I of them. I mean I would be glad to make it in at least one.

Having slept at VI in the morning, am not sure if I am making any sense. But thought it was kind of interesting.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Terrorism and Index of Political Freedom

Globally, people tend to view poverty and deprivation as a cause of terrorism. However, in a research, conducted by Alberto Abadie at the John F Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University), factors such as GDP per capita, Human Development Index (HDI) and the Gini Index were found to be non-significant predictors of level of terrorism in countries around the globe.

In the study, Abadie used regression for measuring terrorism as measured by World Market Research Center's Global Terrorism Index (WMRC-GTI) upon various indicators of poverty including GDP per capita, HDI (measure of development in terms of health, education and income) , the Gini Index (measure of income or consumption inequality), Freedom House's Political Rights Index (Freedom House, 2004) , certain geopolitical features including include measures of country land area, average elevation, fraction of the country area in tropical climate and landlock and Indices for linguistic, ethnic, and religious fractionalization which measures the probability that two individuals chosen at random from the same country belong to different linguistic, ethnic, or religious groups.

The data suggests that the dependence on GDP per capita, HDI or the Gini index is not statistically significant and fails to explain terrorism differences. However the other variables including differences in linguistics, geography and climate and lack of political rights are significantly related to the incidence of terrorism.

The study, however, suggests that political freedom has a non-monotonic effect on terrorism i.e. terrorism does not rise with more oppression of freedom but is maximum in the intermediate range (E.g., Iraq, which is making a transition from an authoritarian regime to one with more political freedom is witnessing increased amounts of terrorism and North Korea, which has one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, has the lowest levels of terrorism as indicated by the WMRC Global Terrorism Index (2003-2004)

Also, certain geographical areas have been attributed to cause failure to eliminate terrorism such as mountain terrains (Afghanistan) or tropical jungles (Columbia).

Figure 1 Terrorism and Political Freedom (1- Politically Free to 7 - Authoritarian)

Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism, Alberto Abadie, October 2004

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hierarchical Human Development Index (HHDI): Search for a better index

There is a multitude of indicators that quantify human progress on economic and social development. But what makes a person developed? Yes for the vast majority of people, getting the basic necessities of life, food, shelter and clothing is an everyday struggle. Once a persons basic needs are taken care of, is he content in mere sustenance. Can we call him developed?

If we say that a true measure of development is happiness, what is the index that measures true development of people? Until we develop happiness meters to measure happiness, we have to keep looking for better indicators that measure development.

One way of thinking about and happiness and development is in terms of evolution of needs. As a person evolves, his focus shifts to a new level of needs. If we consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to be absolute (although there is no proof of that) how would we want to measure our progress? For some one in search of Actualization, how good is to force him or her to think about basic material needs. Every excess is limited by the law of diminishing returns. Having one common measure of development index is like forcing everyone to keep thinking about needs that he or she derives only a marginal benefit from.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
5. Actualization
4. Status (esteem)
3. Love/belonging
2. Safety
1. Physiological (biological needs)

Countries, just like individuals, differ in their focus based on the level of collective development. After having achieved a level, they may want to focus on another set of needs to satisfy. Although, HDI indicator in its present from is a powerful tool for countries to measure their development on the bottom level and there is no doubt that there is a pressing need for them to do so, it has limited significance to top one third of the countries. Why not have different levels of HDI for countries on different levels. This index, called HDDI, would retain the advantages of the current HDI, and would give the relatively advanced societies a handle on their development based on their current level. Countries would be rated on the level they are and compared to countries at the same level. Measures such as environmental protection, political freedom, and gender and secularity issues can be built into appropriate levels. Also, the level of a country can be used to decide upon its responsibilities on each of these levels and those below it. The goal of the nations would be to move up in the hierarchy and then move forward in its level until they reach a new level.

Such an index should take care of the concerns of most nations and possibly give them relevant measures to focus on.
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