Note to recruiters

Note to recruiters: We are quite aware that recruiters, interviewers, VCs and other professionals generally perform a Google Search before they interview someone, take a pitch from someone, et cetera. Please keep in mind that not everything put on the Internet must align directly to one's future career and/or one's future product portfolio. Sometimes, people do put things on the Internet just because. Just because. It may be out of their personal interests, which may have nothing to do with their professional interests. Or it may be for some other reason. Recruiters seem to have this wrong-headed notion that if somebody is not signalling their interests in a certain area online, then that means that they are not interested in that area at all. It is worth pointing out that economics pretty much underlies the areas of marketing, strategy, operations and finance. And this blog is about economics. With metta, let us. by all means, be reflective about this whole business of business. Also, see our post on "The Multi-faceted Identity Problem".

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The quality of the IITs - some (anecdotal) supporting evidence

Via Naveen Koorakula, who also happens to be an IITian, I came across a link to this somewhat peculiar story on a conversation between an IIT graduate and a rickshaw driver. I don't have the time to translate it (the conversation is in Hindi) but it is really quite the interesting chat.

I would like to present this as supporting evidence of my previous claim regarding the public reputation of the IITs. I am, of course, using public information (the reputation thing) such as this, and so it is theoretically possible that there is some privately held information which would show that this public information is, in fact, false. But given the transparency of the admission process, this seems highly unlikely. It is possible that someone is somehow tampering with the admission process while being careful enough to leave no traces of the act. But evidence for this would be very easy to find - from time to time, you would get an utter idiot who somehow manages to sneak in - but evidence such as this has, thus far, not been forthcoming.

It is very hard for me, therefore, to reject the hypothesis that the public reputation of the IITs is due to its high quality.


There were two rickshaw-walas vying for our business when we wanted to go to Sankat-Mochan temple in Benaras. I agreed to go with the one who was about 20, seemed like a regular young rickshaw-wala, but I found something interesting about this fellow in his eyes. I was not proved wrong.
He wanted Rs 50, we said Rs 30. We settled for 40. Here are the highlights of the conversation that ensued while he rode the rickshaw:


"aap kahan se aaye hain"
"bijness ya kaam karte hain?"
"naukri karte hain"
"internet mein"
"humara bhi kuch wahin kaam lagwa do"
I just chuckled
"main try kar raha hoon engineering padhne kee. achchi naukri lag jaayegi tab"
"achcha?" I asked a little interested
"haan, delhi mein Guru Gobind Singh Indraprashta University mein engineering ke liye apply kara hai. achchi hai woh university"
"haan, achchi hai", I agreed.
"haan, kal hee maine JEE bhi diya"
"JEE matlab, IIT ka?"
"haan, Joint Entrance Examination" he pronounced it perfectly just to make it clear to me what JEE stood for. "mushkil hota hai exam"
"haan, 2 saal toh log padhte hee hain uske liye, asaan nahin hai" I carried on the conversation
"Delhi mein Akaash coaching institute hain na?"
"haan, hai"
"aapne kya padhai kari?"
"main engineer hoon, aur phir mba bhi kiya"
"kahan se engineer?"
"IIT delhi se"
He swung back, surprised, a little delighted, and smiled."Ok, aapke liye Rs 30"
Swati and I laughed
Swati asked"padhai kab karte they IIT ke liye"
"bas, rickshaw chalaane ke baad raat mein". Then he added"kismein engineering kari aapne?"
"toh aapki chemistry toh badi strong hogi"
"nahin, aisa nahin hai"
He continued"yeh bataiye....jab Mendeleev ne Periodic Table banaya tha tab kitne elements they usmein?"
Now it was my turn to get surprised. He was quizzing me. I said"shayad 70-80"
"no, 63" he said sharply."kaunse element kee electronegativity highest hai?"