Friday, March 29, 2013

For the 2013 MBA batch

Here are some thoughts for my outgoing MBA students who are transitioning from college to corporate career this weekend

· Once you leave your college and get into the job, no one would really care how much you scored in your college.

· It is good to be having “potential” in college days – but beyond that, you will need to be “doing” something.

· Seek out grass root experience – collar soiling, shoe wearing work – experience the true nature of work and the dignity of labour early in career -  before you aim for the cabin

· Hard work does not equate to success and growth –“getting results” equates to success and growth – so focus on getting results and not the effort that you put in.

· Deserve before you desire – responsibilities, postings, promotions will all come to you – but remember – deserve before you desire

· In most companies, it is pretty easy to stand out from the crowd – most people in every company are focussed on “what is in it for them” – all you need to do is to focus on “what you are contributing to the company” and you will be standing out

· Play to win – but with fairness.

· If you are clear what you want out of life – it is not all that difficult to get it – the key is “knowing what you want out of life”.

· If something truly matters to you – you will find a way to get it

· Remember there is always more than one way to accomplish something – actually, there are many ways.

· You do not have to live your life the way the world wants you to – you can live on your own terms

Friday, March 15, 2013

How do you find what you are passionate about (part 5) - the final note

In the recent past, I have shared four questions that should help you get some idea about what you are passions are. These are:

  1. What are the various things you are or were passionate about?
  2. Go back and list the moments in the past when you experienced a sense of flow
  3. Explore the four aims of life; and
  4. What are you naturally good at?

I hope you have spent some time and noted down the answers to these questions. Writing down clarifies the mind – the thoughts which are hazy in the mind become clearer as you pen down the words – grey becomes black or white and clarity emerges.

So here is the final question –visualise this scenario

You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed, what matters to you most? List out your key achievements, key relationships, and your assets – write them down.

This list is what matters to you most - try to spend more time towards achieving this list in your day to day life – prioritise around this list. If you are spending time doing things that are not in this list, your time is not being optimally used.

I believe if you have attempted to answer the 5 questions above with all honesty, you would be already realising what you are passionate about. 
Wishing you all the best with this exercise. I do hope that this series of mine was useful

Friday, March 8, 2013

How do you find what you are passionate about? – Part 4

Here I am back on the topic of finding your passion - till now I have shared three questions that should help you get some ideas about what you are passionate about. These were:

  1. What are the various things you are or were  passionate about 
  2. Go back and list the moments in the past when you experienced a sense of flow; and
  3. Explore the four aims of life

I hope you have found a time slot, when you are at your introspective best. For me it is early in the morning – before dawn – when I feel fresh and I spend time reading, writing, thinking and planning. For some people, their time slot is late at night -when everyone has gone to sleep – and they can relax and introspect.  I hope you have a similiar time slot.
When you do this, it is best to have a pen and paper with you - jot down thoughts that come to you – and you will get answers to some of the questions listed above.

So here is the fourth set of questions that you can think about –

  • What are you naturally good at?
  • What do people typically ask you for help in?
  • If you had to teach something – what would you teach?

Try noting down answers to these questions – it will help you figure out what you are passionate about

Friday, March 1, 2013

My view on Budget and one stock opportunity to invest

I am taking a break from writing about “finding your passion” and writing about budget. Many of my readers had reached out yesterday asking for my views on budget. And so I am forced to say this:

The Indian populace expects miracle from the budget – it is not as important as it is made out to be – years of bad governance cannot be solved by one budget – and I am a long term investor – my equity calls are for 3-5 years – so when I buy my stock, I am looking at period when there will be 3 to 5 budgets and so I cannot be really banking on the budget to give me ruturns. I buy stocks where budget or no budget, the company will make more profits and over time become more valuable and give me returns. In fact, last week the event that has more long term impact on my investments was not the Indian budget, but the Italian elections.

So yesterday, I did not switch on the TV till 9 pm and as I was starting to see what the news said about budget, I got calls from some of my friends to ask for my view on the budget  - and so it is actually today morning in the newspaper that I read details of the budget.

So what is my view – well it is the best that Chidambaram could do under these circumstances. Imagine, as a house hold, you have an income of about Rs. 1 lac per annum and you have a committed expense of Rs 1.1 lac per annum ( that you cannot reduce) – and then assume that you need additional Rs 50,000 to invest in long term asset building (things like education, health etc) . You know that you should not reduce this asset building and so you take loans of Rs 50,000 and invest in this area of asset building. This is kind of situation that India is in. Chidambaram has to balance the income (Rs 1 lac in the example above and INR 10.5 trillion in the real budget) and expenses (1.1 lac in our example above and INR 11 trllion in the real budget).  The asset building in Indian terms is about INR 5.5 trillion and that is funded by govt taking loans to the tune of INR 6 trillion. So what more can you expect from a profligate household like this? Let us accept that we are a poorly managed country. Years of mismanagement of funds has lead us to this situation and one budget can only do so much. So Chidambaram has given some sense of direction - a bit of belt tightening to cut expenses, a bit of fine tuning on where the money is being spent, a bit of tax fine tuning to get some more revenues etc etc.

Really watching the budget for the whole day and trying to buy shares – is foolishness.

So here is one share that I am buying today –Gruh Finance -please study this company –this company is the HDFC Limited of rural India. It is not very well known to us living in metros as it is focussing on home loans in smaller towns and rural India and has an excellent track record.  I have bought this share in the April 2012 for Rs 131 per share and  it is currently trading at Rs 217 ( a 64% return in one year).
This budget has a lovely provision for the middle class – where in first time home buyers get additional Rs 1 lac exemption on interest payments for housing loans up to Rs 25 lacs. What this means is that if you are taking a home loan of Rs 25 lacs, and you are paying a 11% interest, then 10% of this interest will be tax deductible. This will surely impact positively the home sales in non metros and rural areas and Gruh Finance is well positioned to capitalise on this opportunity.
So I would recommend that you buy this share – I am investing in it at the current levels.