Monday, June 21, 2010

Over Confidence and Failure - part three

As I mentioned previously I was not doing any tutorials in my first semester mainly due to my familiarity with the subjects. That arrogance really back stabbed me to barely score decent in my first semester.  I contemplated scoring really very well before my exams but I flunked. I categorized my failure due to over confidence and poor judgement over the pattern of NTU scoring. This failure put me into the dark days of my life since I usually been one of the top performers in my schools throughout I could not digest the poor grades. I was totally depressed for a week or so. Moreover, the depression was aggravated by my loneliness in NTU since I was pursuing Entrepreneurship minor during semester break.  I wanted a solid come back with good grades. So, I put myself into the art of reclusion and seclusion.

In the hindsight, those are some of the worst mistakes of my life. I should not have secluded myself from the main stream NTU population since I missed some real good experience of networking and guidance. I realized later that sound career decisions are usually made through networking. It is usually networking which opens the boundless opportunities of high flying jobs. Reflecting on my failures, I consider poor planning and time management are main reasons. My over confidence was the natural product of self esteem I gained from being one of few privileged  blokes from Cuddalore old town to pursue UG in NTU. I became philosophical to realize that failures teach more lessons than success so I changed my mindset to tackle any kind of situations in my life.

At the same time, my first year is not completely about failures but also new dimension of learning in my life. I met people from all over world, learned their cultures and tried to learn languages, experienced international cuisine. More interestingly, my education has become more analytical than rote learning which I was used to for more than 16 years of my life. I don't deny that rote learning happens in NTU but still better than my experience in Indian system. Through failures and mistakes, I was able to understand my interests and more importantly my strengths and weakness. That path of my life gave ample opportunities to develop myself as a good team player and leader. I have participated and also won several competitions during my first years with people from diverse cultures and different backgrounds. So, I consider this might be a beginning of new era in my life towards education.

For part one - Click here
For Part two - Click here

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quantum Leap - A new beginning - Part two

The world has changed in the part two because I have reached the brand new country called Singapore. That was my first air travel experience in my life, moreover I traveled alone. I was anxious in the flight itself, what awaits me in the shores of Singapore. When I reached Singapore, I saw confluence of east and west though west dominated in the eastern part of the world. Singapore, one of the most vibrant city state economies of the world. It has thriving population which accepts people from any parts of the planet and better known for its international cuisine and local hawker centers. My arrival was greeted by my friend Karthik who took a cab, which happens to be a Mercedes ride from Changi Airport to NTU. I was completely awestruck, when I looked at the speedometer and found 110 KM/hr.

Suddenly, I had a feeling of entering a forest in a small state that is none other than NTU. The campus has ample greenery and concrete. I checked into my room to find that my room mate is an Indonesian guy but anyway he was away. I thought to myself that I am gonna experience multiculturalism right from year one. To my surprise, on the next day when I went to hall office to inform my arrival they asked me to change to an Indian room mate. Anyway, he is not a Tamilian like me but a south indian. We gelled together instantly, I got introduced to many friends who had great credentials unlike me. Sometimes, I even felt like I entered some alien land. Then comes the usual Indian identity, I am not talking about food but ragging. I was asked by my seniors to attend ragging sessions every night at some particular place. I used to be a very timid boy from small town hence I was naturally uncomfortable with those non sense.

Moreover, most of them spoke only Hindi during ragging sessions. I knew little Hindi at that time and escaped almost every session because I could not answers those people.  My English, which previously  had heavy Tamil accent was ridiculed by Northies. In retrospect, those ragging sessions helped me a lot in improving my English language skills and people skills. Though, I never stayed in a cosmopolitan city in India but I came to realize the attitudes of Indians in urban India. It was bit uncomfortable for me to open up. As the time pass, I was able to mingle with almost all the races in NTU. Within a week of ragging, I was an expert in offensive Hindi and English language. I got offended initially because I was not called by those words before in my life. Sometimes, I used to think whether I came to a wrong university that admits only rogue Indians. In hindsight, those seniors have better grades and job offer than me. Hence, I eventually realized it is only part and parcel of Indian students' life in NTU.

First year of my undergraduate is one of the most memorable days in NTU mainly because I hardly studied anything. I was exposed to the culture of watching sitcoms and nocturnal habits. Classes are usually conducted in a huge lecture theater that almost resemble Sathyam cinemas in Chennai with all the woofer facilities. Lectures in NTU are presented through beautiful presentation slides, which mostly put you off in sleep. Lectures are usually recorded and posted online on elearning site in NTU. Apparently, NTU is one of the pioneers in elearning facilities. We also have excruciating tutorials classes to attend. We were told to complete tutorial sheets before the class but I never did those in my entire NTU life. Thats fun! not completing homework isn't it?

To read part one click here

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Well... after what can be described as an indefinite break from almost everything in life, I am back to publish a little tidbit of a post- please don't deride me if the subject is not to your taste (no pun intended), as it is about arbitrage opportunities in pizza (or Canadian Pizza, to be more precise :P). So before people begin throwing tomatoes at me and calling me a right c*nt, I will try to explain in more detail.

The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on another market in order to profit from a price discrepancy.
intr.v. ar·bi·traged, ar·bi·trag·ing, ar·bi·trag·es
To be involved in arbitrage.
[Middle English, arbitration, from Old French, from arbitrer, to judge, from Latin arbitrr, to give judgment; see arbitrate.]

That is the dictionary meaning of arbitrage- it's a fancy way of saying that I've gotten a free lunch. So this adventure begins with me trying to get a decent dinner, when I stumble upon the two rival pizza joints (Pizza Hut and Canadian Pizza) right opposite each other. The CP joint had an air of absolute neglect, while the PH joint seemed very well done. Through prior experience, I decided that Pizza Hut would be injurious to my pocket so I decided to go for the Canadian Pizza offer. I looked at the pricing list (or "Menu") and then saw the deals. This is what confronted me:

Buy one get one free offer

1) 10" Regular - $23.90
2) 12" Medium - $31.90
3) 14" Large - $37.90

Getting one pizza has a thirty percent discount!!

So a quick calculation on the Large revealed that I would be loosing approximately $12 ( I then refined the calculation to $11.37 while deciding whether I should go for it). So one large pizza would work out to be $26.53. I also realized that the outlet only took cash. On the way to the atm, I worked out that 2 regular pizzas would yield an area of 50(pi) inch sq. I also worked out that the larger 14" would yield an area of 44(pi) inch sq. Now I realized I would get more pizza by paying less if I choose the 10" option. The N.P.A.P (Narayan Pizza Arbitrage Parameter, which is defined as cost of pizza per unit area of pizza)showed the following:

2 regular pizzas: 0.1521
1 14" pizza : 0.1723

Thereby a clear arbitrage opportunity exists in the said Canadian Pizza outlet and thus should be exploited until the opportunity disappears. But since sales (similar to liquidity) is low (it looked like a warehouse really! :P), I doubt this will happen! :D

P.S- I know it is an arbitrage opportunity of 2 cents per sq.inch :D

I also know it's not exactly an arbitrage as well, but somewhat poor pricing :D