Sunday, September 28, 2008

Of some Glaswegian reflections

It's been a hectic week here at Glasgow.

From meeting new people across the world to finding my way in lone parts of town while understanding the nuances of Scottish culture, I feel as though a month has passed, not just a week.

The MBA class seems to be an interesting bunch of people. We have a professional opera singer (who looks just like Mel Gibson and has promised to get us tickets to the Royal Scottish Opera - weeeeeee!), stockbrokers, doctors, attorneys, an oil well engineer, bank officers and HR officials among others. I am yet to get to know everyone very well, but they come from different parts of Europe, Africa, Russia, Australia, China, UK and a couple from Scotland. Needless to say, over 50% of the class comprises of Indians.

To me, this is a very disappointing phenomenon. While I may not have been here if they hadn't taken in Indians, my contention is with the large majority that we seem to have - over 30 in a class of 65 ! I mean, here I am , spending all this money and effort to get an international experience, and what do I get? It's raining desis ! What makes it worse is that a large chunk of them (definitely not all) are here just to pass. Yeah - just to pass. While I do not understand why anyone would take the trouble of coming so far from home to an alien land and spending so much money just to pass, it could be parental pressure or the excess of money at home. I don't care. But what matters is that most of the scoring is based on groupwork. If those people freeload from my work, yeah, we have a problem !

#1 lesson in b-school : when asked for an opinion on anything (even in a casual situation), never answer directly. Nothing is ever 'good' or 'bad', merely 'interesting'. This way, we do not lose control over the situation, but others think we're on their side and divulge more information (we were actually trained to say this in different situations).

The teachers are pretty cool too - mostly Scots. Very informal, but serious where it matters. Some of them are authors of well-known management books.

The flat is more globally diverse than the school - we are 6 girls from 5 countries. And yes, we have fun doing girly things like cooking.

The city is beautiful (some glimpses in the next post), the locals friendly and the junkies dangerous. All shops close at 5 PM no matter what. The locals work very little but party very hard.

Overall, Glasgow is , well, interesting.

Edit: This post would be incomplete if I didn't mention Sandy, the smart Brit. He was my hero starting day 1.

The prof was rambling on about learning styles (admittedly not one of the most interesting things to know post-lunch). One guy was sleeping in the 2nd row and sitting right next to him was Sandy. The prof saw the sleeper and asked Sandy if he could please wake up his sleepyhead neighbour. To which Sandy replied without flinching 'Oh no. You put him to sleep, now you wake him up !'

The prof threw a tennis ball at the sleeper (yeah, here they come prepared) and after some laughs about Sandy's repartee (which the prof admitted he enjoyed), the class resumed.

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