Why I love Calvin & Hobbes??

Calvin and Hobbes is what I turn to remember that there is more to life even when things do not go my way. Nothing beats the simplicity and the energy with which Calvin questions our hypocrisy, ignorance and selfishness of the things we as human beings do in Life. He brings about a fresh air of excitement & positive energy to sometimes dull and challenging world around me.

I discovered Calvin late in my life, I think I was about 24 years old when I had my first encounter with him and I guess it was love at first sight. I never felt I am too old to read Calvin, it just sounded so relevant to me and my life. The witty humor with which Calvin handled and questioned most of the things around him not only made me laugh but also think on those issues-Why we are supposed to do certain things because everyone else around us is doing it and they say it is the right and only thing to do?

I felt a deep urge as to say, where were you all those years? Why did not I check up on you in my school library? I guess the feeling was similar to when you meet a long forgotten friend after many years, strong emotions with a promise that I will never let you go anywhere again:-)

I have so many of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes strips that I seem to have lost count but I certainly love his take on education system & the objective of our life’s. I am sure it took a fantastic cartoonist in Mr. Bill Watterson to bring Calvin and Hobbes to life on paper but even more impressive is his play with words to communicate his views on such complex topics of our life’s in such lucid and engaging fashion that you cannot but relate to it no matter what your age group or from which country you come from.

I think the below video essay also beautifully summarizes why Calvin and Hobbes have been so loved over the years and why they are as relevant today as they were when they first came along.


I could not resist writing my viewpoint on Calvin and Hobbes after seeing this short video and I hope you will like it too. Thank you to Ananth Padmanabhan who first tweeted about this video link early morning today providing me the motivation to write this piece in the first place. The video is done by KaptainKristian and it appeared  over here on Slate.

Keep Reading!





A big Sorry to all my African Friends!

I am sorry. I am sorry that, we have yet another incident in Delhi, which was yet another attack on the sanity of mankind and which was yet another example of  the growth pangs that we are facing here in India- where in the New India is still fighting with the Old Age India.

But, let me be very clear to you my friends in Africa, you are not alone, it is really unfortunate that one person lost his life and it should have never happened but to tell you the truth, it could have be any one of us. Yes, I said it right- It could even have been an Indian/ Bangladeshi/ American/ Chinese anyone who may have been unfortunate enough to come in the way of people who think law of the land is theirs to keep. It just happened to be a soul from Congo who was standing in their way that night and who became an unfortunate target for these people to prove that they were someone, maybe they were well connected and drunk on power they needed to prove that they had the first right to an auto rickshaw ride.

You see in our country, everyone who is someone needs to prove to others around him that he really is someone. It is like a jungle out there and if you are an animal in a jungle you need to understand your position in the food chain right? So, how does a deer know about his position in the food chain? Does anyone teaches that to him? No, right? It comes naturally to him, its like auto programmed in his mind. Similar is the case for majority of Indians like me who have no connections in power, no money to throw around and no caste connections to save him in time of crisis. We have understood our position in the food chain and if one of us would have encountered a similar kind of situation, we would have straight away let go of that auto rickshaw without even blinking an eye but then again I do not think, we would even dare to venture out in a city like Delhi on our own at 11.30 PM in night and this is Not because the whole city is unsafe but the chances of meeting some of these bad elements become higher in the night.

But, what I want to tell you is that, this is not an India specific problem, this is a problem for a majority of the developing world specially of my friends in Africa, Tell me how many of us will feel safe to venture out in a city like Lagos on our own after 7 in the evening? Kinshasa? Abuja? Juba? Even Nairobi? We and I mean all of us from developing countries face similar challenges where in the rule of law is hard to keep and follow by people drunk on power and I guess it is a part of our growth pangs where in a new order is still fighting the old one and it is nothing new. Sample this, New York City, supposedly one of the safest and most loved city in the world had a really bad crime problem in the 90’s . Read on here!  It could take a very special effort on part of the city administration and politicians to get rid of the crime from the city.

Change will come around, it may take some time coming but I am sure it will come and this is what I want to focus on- Positives! Unfortunately we live in a world today in which media carries negative news 100 times faster than a positive news and it is easy to become negative after being bombarded with only negative news day in and day out. I have been asked but lot of my African students/friends/ parents/partners on how safe is Delhi? To them i say, Delhi  is a safe as any other city around the world, yes there are some bad people but majority of people are a generation of Indians who are eager to make the city a better place to live in each day.

Logo for the recently concluded India Africa Summit- New Delhi(Oct’2015)

Our National Government, has put in place a huge emphasis on India-Africa relations which are growing at a rapid pace. We just organised a highly successful India Africa summit in New Delhi which was attended by Head of States of all African Countries. The people to people contact is on the rise with lot of Indian businesses now operating in Africa, lot of people from Africa traveling to India for quality and affordable healthcare, Education even tourism. India-Africa relation have only one way to go, which is UP!

It is highly unfortunate that one person had to loose his life and I am really sorry for that but please do not judge a whole country on the basis of few rotten apples in the system. We are really happy to work with our fellow Africans in developing world to shape a brighter future and look forward to have  a stronger relation with our Friends in Africa.

God Bless!



How NOT to choose a Private University in India!



If you are a student who has just finished writing your grade 12 exams in India or If you are a parent of a student who has just finished writing his/her grade 12 exams in India. This post is for both of you.

As the race to enter India’s premier state funded well known institutions becomes more competitive  read CRAZY every year. We now have a very substantial population of students who have to look for a place in the numerous Private Universities mushrooming across the country and as you begin the process of shortlisting some of these Universities as prospective places where your children can devote next 3-4 years of their life and you can invest a substantial part of your hard earned financial resources, I thought, it will be prudent if I could share a few points on how you should NOT shortlist a prospective private University and If any of the below points is true in a University case, my advice to you is simple- BOLT just run away from that choice and look for better motivations to join a University in first place.

1. I can join this University because ” It is near to my house and 4 years is a long time to spend away from home”

2. I can join this University because ” It has a beautiful campus with a swimming pool in it”

3. I can join this University because ” This is the place for Film Stars to promote their movies and they come at least twice every year!”

4. I can join this University because ” The crowd in the University is really Hip!”

5. I can join this University because Some of the Private  “Leading” Business Magazine Rankings put this Uni in its Top 10 List!”

6. I can join this University because ” The AVERAGE placement figures of its graduates are really good!”

7. I can join this University because ” They have a really good 10 days International Exchange Program to Singapore!” (Read International Holiday)

And, the worst of all;

8. I can join this University because ” Hey, couple of my friends are joining the same and both of them sound smarter than me!”

Choosing a University is a life time decision and it is a time consuming process with no one strategy that fits all but still, If you are choosing a University because of any of the above reasons. Think Again and ask for help with a good career counselor in your city!

I will follow up this post with points on “How to Choose a Private University” soon.

Wish you all the best!



P.S: I wrote this post initially on my Linked in Profile over here!

Should You Join IMT Dubai?


This post is intended to all those of you who have written emails to me in hordes with this very questions- Should I join IMT Dubai?

Well, to be really straight forward to you, as much as I may want to help you, I think I cannot give you a direct answer for that question as the answer for each one of you will differ depending upon your background both professional and personal that is and also your objective in doing an MBA. Still, In this post, I will try to answer this question for all of you based on my own experiences and idea of a B-School.

For me a B-School has three important pillars;

  1. Profile of Students Studying
  2. Profile of Faculty
  3. Placements

So, How does IMT Dubai stack up on each of those pillars;

1. Profile of Student Studying – I think IMT Dubai is an Indian Institute in Dubai that means almost all of the students joining it are coming from different cities in India. At least that was the case during my time(2008-2010) and I am assuming that is the case today also, so you do not have an International Classroom what you do have is a completely Indian Classroom in Dubai. On an average over the last few years, I think there are about 60-70 students in an MBA class at IMT Dubai

2. Profile of Faculty- Faculty plays a very very important role in any MBA program, at IMT Dubai most of the faculty again are Indians with a minority of them from outside India which in turn keeps the Indianess alive in the campus

3. Placements- One of the most important & first question that comes to any aspirants mind is the golden word placements. In IMT Dubai what will get you placements will be your hard work done in those 2 years of MBA program,you can’t just expect a placement having only topped your class room for 2 years in IMT Dubai and done nothing else.For you to get a placement in IMT Dubai, you need to be a kind of all rounder, somebody who balances his/her academics with internships/company projects, whatever opportunity of exposure comes you to experience Dubai and yes, not a lot of students start on big fat salaries, many start small but surely, after couple of years of experience in the local market establish themselves( I think if you are studying @ IMT Dubai  you should work on a time frame of 2+2, which 2 years for MBA and then 2 years to establish yourself in local market)

Frequently Asked Questions Answered

1. Can I get placement in India through IMT Ghaziabad if I study in IMT Dubai?- No

2. Is Investing a Huge Some of Money in MBA at IMT Dubai a good idea for me?– I cannot take a decision for you, please do the maths, see from my inputs above if you think it will be a good idea for yourself, each of you is in a different phase of  your life. So think and decide accordingly

3. Can you vouch for IMT Dubai?– What kind of question is this?

4. How was your experience in IMT Dubai?– My experience in IMT Dubai was phenomenal, I made the most of my 2years  in IMT Dubai, I experienced my best college life in IMT Dubai, Did internships, organised lot of campus events, made lot of good friends, studied and experienced Dubai, all in those 2 years and I think those were one of the best 2 years of my life but then that was me in a different time and in a different economic scenario all together, you need to take a call yourself. Please do not go by my experience alone. Talk to lot of current students, alumni and find out their                        experiences too

 5. You advice to students joining IMT Dubai?– Always remember you are joining two things IMT & Dubai city. You need to experience & accept both and only then you will succeed

Hope this clarifies all of your questions. Wish you all the best!



Business as Usual-A Callous Indian!

Indian Army Martyr Salute, Siachen

It was just another day for me as I started my travel from home towards my office. I usually drive but this day was a little different as I had to face the added puzzle of solving whether to take my odd or even car today. I live about 35 Kms from my work place and drive every day.

The puzzle sorted, I tuned into the Radio, listening to some Bollywood/Punjabi music and yes, the usual cribbing of Delhi walas on the local issue of the day. This day like for the past so many days, the cribbing was on Odd/Even Formula with people speaking for or against it and our RJ’s getting their content for the day. So, it was business as usual you can say.

But, then suddenly something happened. One of the RJ from a radio channel talked about the ongoing Indian Army operations in Pathankot and about our soldiers who were martyred in the line of duty. She talked about a Commando who got married only 25 days back, a Commando who has a 2.5 year old daughter and a wife at home and many such stories of our soldiers who have been martyred in the last couple of days in the line of duty. I had been following this news for last couple of days myself in the middle pages of TOI but when she talked about them directly and in the silence of the car, A chill ran down my spine,  just to imagine what their families will be going through now and how we as citizens are so casual about our soldiers who make the supreme sacrifices for us.

No candle light vigils? No Intellectuals talking about them? No Social Media updates? No Prime Time Debates? No Documentaries? It is as if writing about them is not cool.It is as if we have taken them for granted; it is part of their job description, so no need to give special attention or focus to them. Render them to the end pages of a news paper, give them condolence message and then forget about them. Move to the next crisis…

I felt ashamed. I wanted to jump out of my car, shout out loud, run to the battle front…Do something to show that I cared. I could not think of anything, tears came down my eyes, I did not know what to do and then I saw people around me, all of them were running for their daily chores, I could see that I was not the only one who was so callous that even the supreme sacrifices of our soldiers were rendered at not a high priority topic but something bad that had happened in the midst of so many bad things that happen to us Indians every day. The most recent and high priority of those for us is the Odd/Even Formula that is until we move to the next crisis maybe what an actor or actress says and we keep fighting on his views for next 15 days..At the end of the days, we are all Indians who have become a little callous. That is it and nothing much.

Sorry for my grammar, tone and typos. This is a work of my pure emotions.



Questions you must ask a University Representative!

Me with the lovely smiles of Indian School, Ibri(Muscat, Oman)

I have been working in Higher Education space for close to 5 years now. Have traveled to more than 25+ countries to counsel parents & students on various higher education courses on offer. It is really interesting how the conversation goes when a prospective applicant comes to me for an inquiry. Most of the time it goes like this;

Q. Do you have blah blah engineering/medicine course?

Q. What is your entry requirement?

Q. What is your Fee?

Q. What is the “Average Salary” offered to your Graduates?

Full Stop Coma. No further questions asked.

So, in order to help my prospective students in being better questioners, I have put a list of question below which I think you must ask any University representative while looking to make your important career decisions;

Q1.) What are the undergraduate programs that you offer?

Q2.) What is the key difference between your University programs and others?

Q3.) Who are the key stake holders in your University? (Founders/ Faculty)

Q4.) How do you prepare your students for Life?

Q5.) Who will be the peers my child will be studying with?

Q6.) How is the life on campus for students?

Q7.) What are the scholarship opportunities available?

Hope this helps!



Salesmen not Magicians!

rocket singh

Looking for “Self Motivated”, “Result Oriented”, “Target Oriented”,”Self Driven” and the adjectives go on..in any Sales/Business Development profile posting on any of the leading job portals but what remains the same in any of these postings be it from any of the vertical is the underlying message which is “Get us Business”!

Sounds Familiar?

Having worked in Sales/Business Development(BD)/Marketing profile across 25 countries for almost 5 years now. I have got a decent idea now of this field and how a prospective Sales/Business Development professional can differentiate between a genuine Sales/BD profile and a short term Sales/BD profile where your only use to the organisation is to keep your mouth shut and keep the cheques coming month on month. No matter how S****y your product is.I call these kind of profiles “Leeches Profile” where the organisation sucks the blood out of you while replenishing nothing and unfortunately, these days the category of later profiles is dime a dozen after all who does not want a person to join in and get in the money flowing like a magician. A typical conversation in these organisations will go like this with your boss;

Boss: How much is your salary?

You: Boss, X?

Boss: Wow..that is quite decent, So is it wrong if I expect 3X from you in return sales every month??

You: WTF?

Now, the good old boss has logic doesn’t he? But, I have a big problem with this statement where not only being a below the belt shot as it is, your only worth to the organisation is keeping quite and bring in the cheques.If you get to hear this from your seniors, my only suggestion to you is update your resume and start looking for a new role( I have done it personally!) and when you are at it the below learnings from my side should help you out in finding out the right kind of sales profile for you;

How do you differentiate a Awesome Sales/BD Profile from a “Leeches Profile”. The following Key Points should help you decide;

1. A good sales profile will be in a organisation which treats you as a part of a team and not a stand alone person whose only objective is to sell what ever they give you

2. A good organisation will be open to your feedback and inputs. I would go on to that extent that it would value your inputs ahead of anybody else since you are their eyes and ears in the market, the only person who knows the real situation in the market. It would accept its flaws and correct them as things progress

3. A good organisation will give you time to grow and even time to fail. It would not be in a hurry to get the salary figure 3x in return but has a long term view of you as a integral part of the organisation

4. And above all, a good organisation/boss would always trust you and your abilities!

At the end I would like to touch on a very important criteria while choosing a Sales/BD profile which is your reporting boss. Now, a boss in any organisation means everything to a professional but his role become even more imperative in the scenario of a Sales and BD profile.

More on this in my next post.

Wish you a happy job hunting! And, always remember, we are “Salesmen not Magicians!”



Note: I wrote this post originally on my Linked In profile over here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/salesmen-magicians-ankur-vohra?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_COMMENT