A small person at night.
Walks of the night.

This article is modeled after Review of EE courses I studied at IITK and Review of every first-year course at IIM Ahmedabad. The review is very subjective. You should also know that I am working on three final submissions (one each for EPI, BEE, and CIW) as I write this essay.

The difficulty level, out of $5$, is subjective and based on my impression of the material, the academic associate, and the Professor. $1$ represents a straightforward course, while $5$ represents a very challenging course.

Courses

Term 4

BEE: Behavioral and Experimental Economics
CIW: Contemporary Indian Workplaces
TISM: Tapping into Social Media
AIDP: Privacy Paradox: Artificial Intelligence and Digital Platforms
TSM: Transformational Social Movements
EPI: Education Policy in India
RGG: The Indian State, Democracy and Accountability Institutions: Rethinking Good Governance
SC: Strategy Capstone

Glossary of words

The meaning of these words would come in handy in understanding the reviews that follow:

Globe: Any concept based on random verbiage that does not merit the time spent on learning and can be derived by the user based on his own life experience and can be presented in a obfuscated manner to appear as intelligent. 1

DCP: Desperate Class Participation. An attempt by the participant(s) to participate in class discussions on trivial matters and vocalize viewpoints that do not merit any consideration but help them complete their participation quota.

CCP: Challenge Class Participation. Vocalizing viewpoints in class without context, just because friends challenged the speaker. In specific contexts, the friends provide the requisite material for vocalization. This may or may not result in the participant getting barred from the class.


BEE: Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Overall, a pretty good course. The Professor is very chilled, and the course content is comprehensive. In other words, if you get a chance, you should take the course. The bidding points for the course go very high, though. I am unsure if the course is worth that many bidding points, but the Professor thinks it is not. In his words, “BEE is hugely overrated.” So make an informed choice.

An important thing that I learned from the course is the importance of making a good group. I had a frustrating experience in the group project because the group dynamics did not work out. The course also demonstrated several use cases of a random number generator. I wish the instructor used a random group generator as well. It would level the playing field much more.

PS: I would use the term “dominant strategy” very carefully from now on. I do not wish to disappoint my instructor xD.

Difficulty: 4

CIW: Contemporary Indian Workplaces. I signed up for the course at the last minute, and it turned out to be quite okay. I did not like the first few lectures on labor markets, but besides that, I liked the course. The course discusses various aspects of Indian workplaces and workplaces worldwide.

The highlight of the course was a field trip to the Blind People’s Association near the campus, which I did not know existed. I ate Dhokla for the first time and really liked it. Perhaps, the setting contributed to some of the taste: they served it in a pitch-black room as part of a tour. I learned quite a lot during that visit: simple things that we take for granted are so much harder for blind people, the world is much harder to navigate, and it does not help if ordinary people do not understand their plight.

I also learned about casteism in Silicon Valley. You would think one would leave that shit behind here in India, but apparently not. I felt pretty sad after reading about the Cisco case (just Google Cisco casteism) and watching a BBC video on casteism in the UK.

Difficulty: 2

TISM: Tapping into Social Media. This is the other course I signed up for at the last minute. It did not disappoint me at all. We studied cases about how various companies use social media to their advantage.

We also learned how ineffective social media strategies can sometimes backfire. The highlight of the course was the case about Stoli vodka and how some misdirected guy’s call for a boycott on social media can impact the businesses of a firm.

The course instructor happened to have read my review on MGRCMP, where I complained about having to use Excel for everything. Happy to report that I used Python for the group project for this course. It generated beautiful plots, and I am very happy.

Overall, a great course, and I am so happy that I signed up for it, thanks to my friends.

Difficulty: 2

AIDP: Privacy Paradox: Artificial Intelligence and Digital Platforms. I was most excited about the course, and it did not disappoint. Even before the class started, I wrote an essay briefly explaining what I expected from it. The course delivered on all of my expectations. In fact, it talked about the aspects I talked about: AADHAAR for various schemes, police surveillance, etc. It also helped that I got good group mates. We submitted the group assignments as best as possible, and it went well. Boys played well. If you can spare enough bidding points, you should take the course.

The highlight of the course were the guest lectures. We had guest lecturers from Google Research, McKinsey & Co., and MIT Sloan, among others. I thoroughly enjoyed these sessions and would encourage other instructors to do something similar for their courses. Sadly, these lectures also reminded me of where I could have been had I chosen to continue engineering. The cutting-edge research happening at the intersection of AI and various other fields is exciting. Maybe, I’ll get back to academia soon; who knows! Dr. Reang sounds pretty cool to me, lol.

Difficulty: 2

TSM: Transformational Social Movements. “You really come to life in these kinds of courses,” a batchmate told me about my enthusiasm for the Public Systems Group courses at IIMA. I can’t blame him because my spirit shows. People talk very little about my state of Tripura and the North-Eastern India region in the national discourse. So, whenever I get a chance to bring NE up in any course, I do. Hence the enthusiasm.

The course instructor started the course by telling us the number of times he got arrested. That’s a power move right there. The highlight of the course for me was the individual in-class presentations. I presented on Greater Tipraland 2. I wore my traditional attire for the presentation, mainly because I could not find other occasions to put it on. You can see photos here.

If there is one thing I took away from the course, it is that – “The liberties and freedom that we enjoy are the results of the tireless efforts of several people. One can’t take anything for granted. To continue enjoying these liberties, you must defend them with your life.”

Difficulty: 1

EPI: Education Policy in India. I knew I would like the course when I signed up for it. And I did. The course does not have a set structure, but the lectures are informative and full of discussions. There were a couple of guest lectures that I enjoyed (except the ones where there were internet connectivity issues).

Perhaps the most crucial piece of information that I learned in the course is – government teachers get paid much more than private school teachers. I thought it was the other way around.

For some reason, not many people signed up for the course, and I feared it would get dropped/not be offered 3, but I am so happy that I signed up for it because it is a fantastic course. Things are pretty intuitive, and you can guess where the problems might be, but the enormity of the “learning problem” would baffle you.

I thought I should join the civil services after attending a few sessions, but the temptation of traveling around the world is much more than anything. We shall see what happens. I will keep you posted. You should sign up for the newsletter here.

I am working on the final course project as I write this. The project seems exciting, except for a few roadblocks.

Difficulty: 2

RGG: The Indian State, Democracy and Accountability Institutions: Rethinking Good Governance. I regret dropping BLCA (Business Leadership and Corporate Accountability)4, taught by the same Professor. That should hint at how much I enjoyed the RGG course. The course slides are one of the best-researched slides that I have seen at IIMA and trust me, I have seen quite a lot of PPTs during my time here. Every slide seemed to have a purpose, a story behind it, and all slides weaved beautifully into tragic stories of corruption, mishandling, and misconduct.

We examined various accountability (public) institutions and destroyed them slide after slide. Seeing the class getting divided on multiple issues and presenting polar opposite viewpoints was fun. No topic was off-limits, and I loved it. Discussions about the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, hit home. AFSPA was withdrawn from Tripura only in 2015.

The instructor really meant what he said, and we would have long discussions on various topics. He would defend his points voraciously, though. I liked that aspect of the course. I was awestruck when I Googled the instructor and found various articles. The bid points for BLCA and RGG are pretty high, but you should take the courses because the instructor is fantastic.

Difficulty: 2

SC: Strategy Capstone. The course had 8 rounds of business simulation and a final exam with 4 rounds. Most variables were pre-defined, but how other groups performed mattered for our relative standings. This is a mandatory course that every PGP2 has to take, so I did not have much choice in terms of signing up for it.

I did not like it all that much. It felt very mechanical and mundane. Round after round, we would make projections, input a few things, and get the results after 11:30 PM on the day the game ends.

I found it quite hard to grasp for the initial few rounds, but the later rounds were more calculated and fun in some sense because we incurred huge losses initially. On the bright side, I made a few new friends during the discussions for the simulation. That’s more or less it.

Difficulty: 4

Key learnings from Term 4

  • Form a decent group for group projects or you would have a very hard time. This is very very important!
  • I am not as dumb as I thought I was. Things tend to work out on their own.
  • Don’t underestimate the workload and overload credits on yourself.

Notes

  1. Definition sourced from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-IIM-lingo-words 

  2. I do not necessarily endorse the cause for a Greater Tipraland. More careful study and judgment on my part are required before I can indeed form an opinion. I mainly talked about why people demand it in my presentation. 

  3. There is some rule at IIMA that says a course would not be offered if $<20$ people sign up for it. 

  4. In my defense, the classes started at 8:45 in the morning. I do not have that kind of morning energy. Dropping the course allowed me to start my day at 10:20 AM, so I did. Besides, it was not a mandatory academic requirement since I met the credit requirements anyway. 


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