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Apurva Rastogi – CRISIL GR&A
B.Tech. (Electrical and Electronics) – Vishveshwarya Institute Of Engineering and Technology
Work Ex : Fresher
CCAP, a program, an initiative and a great learning curve both for a fresher as well as an individual having prior work experience. Often compared to the more conventional MBA in Finance program being run by various colleges across India due to its structure, subjects and curriculum. But to be very frank it is like a foot long and a mile deep program compared to the more renowned MBA program which is a mile long and a foot deep. The best part about being a CCAPian is its essence as you are learning finance in a more practical and holistic way. The hands-on experience you get being a part of CRISIL is in itself differentiates you from the rest. The exposure you get being a part of this course is immense and extremely satisfying. Right after you are allotted Business Units life becomes so methodical and disciplined. Keeping aside the monetary gains that you might not enjoy as a CCAPian there are innumerous ways to excel both in terms of learning and shaping your career. Irrespective of any field or how much you have, it takes time for any course or program to grow on you. So as an individual all you need to do is keep your basics right, be true to yourself and always remember only the fittest shall survive. The time you are going to spend here should add value to your overall career and hence one should focus on what they are doing and how they are doing. Meanwhile, if you are thinking that CRISIL and CCAP is all about work then I would like to request you to start giving second thoughts. We as part of the batch at Crisil have been involved in many HR sessions and interesting guest lecture’s that are light and full of fun. There is also a Cricket and Football Tournament being organized by CRISIL once in a year that would keep you going and help you make some light work of your otherwise tight schedule. Do actively take part in all those fun and sports activities happening across CRISIL and sometimes different business units. Like we did in our very first year as CCAPians and had almost got first time lucky until we faltered at the final hurdle and eventually came out as silver medalists in the Football tournament. Life is simple if you are able to juggle in between your work and class schedule and also be able to learn the art of prioritizing things sooner or later. Keep motivating yourself and never hesitate in clearing your doubts. This is your best chance and platform to grow as the risks involved and consequences faced are comparatively cheaper.
Tear Drop in the Ocean-Sri Lanka
Ayubowan! Work has seen me travelling to Colombo on extended visits twice this year already, and it was my first time stepping a foot outside India. I can’t say I wasn’t excited about the prospect of being in a different country even though the flight was as short as a flight to Kolkata might have been!
The first thing I did in the country (other than catch up on sleep) was try out the local cuisine and finding many similarities with the cuisine from Kerala. One should definitely try the crab there. Beyond local cuisine I was also excited to see a Burger King franchise. I tried to pick up a few useful words, though could only pick up ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ till now. It’s not even really necessary because everybody speaks English. I’m also going to remember Colombo as the only city I’ve been to so far where Zebra Crossings for pedestrians actually work as intended (I admit I’ve crossed roads slower than necessary many times just because it was such a fascinating experience to really be given the right of way as a pedestrian).
It was amusing to be asked about Bollywood stars at work, and to learn that Monday was going to be a bank holiday on account of the full moon. Buddhism is predominant in Sri Lanka, and every full moon in the year is regarded as a day for religious observances, called the Poya Day.
Train tracks running down the west coast provide the means for a beautiful journey or getaway on the weekends (when you’re not working them!). Galle Fort and Hikkaduwa are places you should keep on your itenary if you ever find yourself in the country. When roaming as a curious tourist, you will be quick to notice how welcoming and friendly the locals are.
I’m going to summarize by saying that the country is beautfiul, the food is familiar and the people are charming. Truly a wonderful experience to work there!
~ By Soham Sanyal, Batch VII
We know that all of you must have started your preparations for the GD/PI. Below is an excerpt of the same to help you in some small way through your journey.
As the date for GD/PI came nearer, my honest scouring of the different websites/ pages dedicated to CCAPians and the chronicling of their experiences began. Soon enough, I was the mass consumer of different GD/ PI experiences. So, here is my experience for anyone who’s looking out for the same.
The group/ batch I was a part of was the first one from Delhi. After the preliminary introductions, we were all impatient (& simultaneously scared) for the rendezvous to begin. The topic we got was “Has the current government done enough for the country’s infrastructure?” After an initial hitch when one of us asked the group to take turns for putting forth our points, the GD went on smoothly. Then came the turn of results for the GD. Half of us were eliminated in this first round. The co-ordinators took our names one by one for interview process. I faced two interviewers (some faced three). The questions they posed to me were mostly scenario based questions: “If you get Rs.x from your client, in which all sectors/stocks/units would you invest and why?”
Interviewers pose questions according to your education background (For example, they once posed a probability question to someone from an Engineering background). The question that they always pay much emphasis on is why you want to go for Finance as a career option and why do you want to choose this course over a traditional finance course offered by B-Schools. You need to be clear as to why you want to join this course because apart from being non-traditional, this course always challenges you and more often not, in not a pretty way.
Hope this was helpful.
Here’s wishing you all a very good luck
CCAP Associate, Batch VII
(By Isha Jain)
She opened her steel-grey eyes in dread as a crow flew by screeching outside the window. She had tossed and turned all night. The night was coming to an end and dawn was approaching. She hurriedly got up and went to the bathroom. Her steel grey eyes stared back at her. “How did I get such eyes?” she wondered.
After ascertaining that her appearance was as she wanted through the cracked mirror the hotel authorities had put up in her room, she collected her belongings and headed for the stairs. At the reception, she said to the manager, in the gruffest voice she could manage, “I want to clear my account.” The manager smiled obsequiously and said, “Sure! But won’t you like to have your breakfast first?” She pondered the question for a second. She was hungry! But she had dreamt about today for so long. She could not take a risk. She had to get out of that place immediately. She refused the manager’s offer, again in a gruff voice and cleared her account.
She went out on the road trying her best to not look scared and not fidget. She walked like everyone else on the road walked. She ventured towards the cab point, got into one and asked the cab driver, again in a gruff voice, to take her to the airport. Her brow was sweating from the tension and the anticipation that something will go wrong. She tried to put on a mask of nonchalance when actually her heart was thumping at a furious pace. She forced herself to breathe normally as the cab progressed closer to her destination. . Hunger, sleep, exhaustion – all were trying to overtake her will, but she would not heed. Her life flashed in front of her eyes. “It was difficult. Oh yes, it was. Nothing short of hell!” She thought, as her eyes stung with the tears that she desperately tried to control. “Why me?” she wanted to ask the cab-driver, the people outside on the road – some chatting, some laughing, some smoking a cigarette, some heading for their work.
“What did they gain from this?”
“Why did they do this to me?”
These questions were racing through her mind. She could think of nothing else. She controlled herself, warned her mind against venturing into this dangerous territory. These questions had no answers; this was what she had learnt over the years of her life in the most bitter way possible. These questions had no answers!
The music blaring on the radio shook her out of her reverie. A girl was singing in a melodious voice. “How beautiful !”, she thought. “But then how was this possible?”
The cab-driver saw her looking at the radio with a mixture of surprise and disbelief. He smiled and said, “Phoren piece, good no? You are also going to phoren? Good for you. You are getting lot of good things in phoren that we won’t get here. You enjoy yourself. But how did you manage to get the visa? It’s pretty hard these days to get a visa for phoren. Only big-shots are able to get one. Are you a big-shot too?”, he scanned the not flashy, commonplace clothes that she was wearing with skeptical eyes before thinking better of it.
She did not respond to the jabbering of the cab-driver, lost in her own thoughts. How indeed did she manage to get a visa in these days? It wasn’t easy. She had to approach many people, bribe several of them, shell out a lot of money in general, go to many places, wait and wait endlessly for nothing – all while maintaining a cool, composed façade. The façade was important, in fact imperative, so that no one could have guessed what the reality was. Day in, day out she went through the same routine, without letting any emotion play on her face, by putting on a mask. The reality, if anyone would get their hands on it would have jeopardized her.
No! She had to play her part to the end. The curtains were not yet closed. There was work that still needed to be done. She caught the reflection of her steel-grey eyes in the rear-view mirror. Steel grey eyes – eyes that forbade her from relenting, or from taking a moment’s rest, eyes that asked her to be as hard as their color, eyes that egged her to go on.
She composed herself and put the mask on her face firmly back in place. She started chatting with the cab-driver in the gruff voice which had now become a part of her and smoked a cigarette. The airport was now visible. She tried to control the vigorous heartbeat, struggling to keep her mask on nonchalance. She alighted from the cab after paying the fare and the tip to the cab-driver. The cab-driver helped her put her meager luggage on to the trolley and drove away.
Here she was, with her bags, standing where she so longed to be at. Now that she had finally reached the place which she had imagined for years on end without rest, she was feeling oddly scared. She was scared, scared of it all falling apart, of her efforts going to vain. She couldn’t bear even the thought of what would happen if someone got their hands on the truth. The very thought shook her to the core.
Gulping down her fear she moved towards the entrance. Cool air greeted her. She stopped herself from crying out loud with happiness and kept the cool composure. “Celebrations can wait”, she thought. “There’s still work to be done.” She headed to the counter, showed her papers and waited in the line with the other boarders. There was only one line at the airport: the small line of people who were given the permission to cross-over. Ironically, no one wanted to enter the country which was once considered enchanting. “Where did we go wrong?” she thought. She pondered these questions often, but always came out blank. There were simply no answers, no logic that could explain this. . She took a deep breath and waited for her turn. Her palms started sweating as the line moved forward. She wanted to run to the washroom to make sure that she had taken all the precautions and everything was in place. But that would look conspicuous. Heart in her mouth, mask firmly over her face, she waited for her turn. Before long, she was standing in front of the attendant.
“Ticket please”, the attendant extended his hand without looking up at her.
She gave her ticket with all the papers to the extended hand.
He examined the papers, “In a bit of hurry, aren’t you? Why wouldn’t you be – it’s a splendid opportunity”, he looked at her as he handed her papers back. “You’ve got strange eyes.”
She tried to breathe normally and gave him a nod.
“First entrance to your left”, he said.
She thanked him in the same gruff voice and proceeded towards the place she had longed to see since so many years. She tried to keep a check on the surge of emotions that threatened to take over her.
Finally came the time to board the plane. She held the railing to ascend the plane with all her might, taking in the solidity of it. The automated voice told her the directions to her seat as her boarding pass was scanned at the entrance. She took the allotted seat. The plane was half empty and no one was sitting beside her. She closed her eyes and thanked God. She thanked God that no one was sitting beside her, thanked God that she reached where she was safely, thanked God that no one came to know her dark secret.
Her mind raced to the past. The past in which her father protected her and kept her safe even though he knew that it was a crime to raise a girl. He kept her hidden from the world; the world in which ‘girl’ was limited to being a word defined by the dictionary. He kept her safe and bided for the time she would be able to go away; away from the horrors of this world. He poured his money into smuggling the clothes which kept her gender identity hidden from the technological glare of the country, which was still a bit limited when compared to other countries. Leaving him behind to accomplish her destiny, to embrace life without fear – this was the hardest bit. But she had to do it – for his sake and for hers. She shuddered involuntarily and discreetly wiped of the tear; an attendant, in his crisp shirt and pants was coming down the aisle.
“Would you like to have something, Sir?”
“No”, she heard herself replying in the gruff voice that now seemed as a natural part of her.
Nothing from people of your likes, she added in her mind.
She will now soon taste freedom, she thought, as the wheels of the plane set in motion. Her steel grey eyes had a glint as they caught the sun’s reflection.
Why do I want to laugh and cry at the same time?
Why do I always have to say “Yes…I am fine”?
Why, after a wonderful day, does nothing seem to be mine?
Why is life sometimes as sweet as honey and as sour as lime?
Why does life keeps taking a different direction every time?
Why can’t things always be smooth and fine?
Why do I sometimes find it difficult to express a feeling of mine?
Why is life sometimes as sweet as honey and as sour as lime?
Still, I am happy, because worries will fly with time
And what seems difficult, will be fit and fine
Because I always have a HOPE…a strength of mine
That says life may be sometimes honey and sometimes lime
But a mix of both gives it a ‘Flavour de Wine’
Honey will soothe your worries and lime will make you shine
Down the memory road
(With Namit Chugh: CCAP Batch V)
What began as an experiment in 2011 – the journey called CCAP- has come to a fruitful end and so has my stint with CRISIL. But as they say, it’s not about the destination but always about the journey; same has been the case for my journey so far.
In retrospect, I have not just learnt the twenty four subjects in finance that were taught in classrooms, but also quite a bit about organization culture, varied leadership styles, people and places, love and hatred, friendship and animosity. I have learnt all this not just because of CCAP, but also through my stay in Mumbai. I have made some friends of lifetime, whom of course I didn’t even speak to for the first few months of the course given my introvert nature; sometimes read arrogance. The Mumbai episode was a compilation of numerous road trips on bike, car, and bicycle, some of which are mentioned below:
Mahabaleshwar: My friendship with a few people nurtured while I was crazily asking them if they would join me for a bike trip to Mahabaleshwar, a territory unknown to all of us; as none of us was from Maharashtra and that was our semester 1. Those three days had set the standards for more such fun filled trips in the years to come. Though, it has always been difficult to convince people to satisfy their wanderlust (given the stipend paid vs. expenses in the costliest city of the country).
Tips: paragliding in Panchgani, kayaking and rafting in Kolad, fresh strawberries in Panchgani.
Alibaug: The trip was followed by a short bike ride to Alibaug (merely 110 kms. from Mumbai). The road being a spoilsport dampened the spirits, but the seafood made up for everything else. I later realized that a bike trip was not the best way to reach Alibaug, and I knew I would be there one more time, before saying good bye to the city. But more on that trip later.
Tips: Sea food
Tarkarli: This one was a classic trip, as I was travelling with fellow batch-mates, to an unexplored Konkan location of Tarkarli, 550 kms from Mumbai. Most of us had not heard of the place before we decided to go there. And also for a change, we were travelling by train and not our bikes. The highlight of the trip was the country made toxic influences. I also directed a short film on the way back in a Volvo bus which cannot be watched while you are sober. The journey has been the most infamous one so far in my life. Details cannot be furnished, but we were almost stranded in a strange village named Kudal. We somehow managed to reach Mumbai safely. All five of us never went on a trip together post Tarkarli.
Tips: snorkeling and scuba diving at Sindhudurg
Lonavla: There is hardly anyone who in is Mumbai and has not been to Lonavala and Khandala. The place is famous for Maganlal chikki. But we wanted to do more, and chose to go on bikes, in eleven in the night, while it was raining. Some would say that’s crazy, and I wouldn’t deny it. That night was crazy. We rode in foggy terrains, with reflectors on the roads being our only source of direction. We were also caught by the highway patrol because we were taking photographs at 2am in the night on the highway. And, as always we came out of trouble somehow, and continued the trip.
Tips: Maganlal chikki, tiger point
Dapoli: This one was a car trip, for a change, and the only blunder we did was parking the car on the beach for some nice photographs. Consequently, we were stuck in the sand and high tide approached and we had two options: either let go of the car with the receding tide or pay the local beach fellows to help us drag the A-star out. That was such a wasteful expenditure!
Tips: Sea food, beach bonfire, peace
Bhivpuri: This is an unexplored trek place near Matheran, usually unheard of by most people. But was one of the most exciting trips. We challenged some tough rocks by rappelling on them, and not to forget, rappelling was under a waterfall. All of us got ourselves hurt, but it was worth the bloodshed. If you happen to go trekking there, keep a few things in mind: go in a large group and carry a first aid box. Both these tips have their consequences.
Matheran: You got to travel by the toy train from Karjat to Matheran, trek on the railway track, cross the valley (literally) via a rope, take photographs on corners of step-hills, etc. Matheran never fails to amaze you. And it’s usually crowded, being so close to Mumbai.
Kashid: So when I asked my roommate and a fellow CCAPian to join me on a cycling road trip, around 160kms in two days; the reaction was ******. But once we completed the trip, he was extremely proud of the fact that we undertook the journey. It was sheer determination that helped us finish that trip alive. The two of us were a team, because cycling that much in two days is no joke. The constant motivation from each other kept us going, and made us do what we have had never anticipated. Fellow Trip itinerary – bicycle ride to Gateway of India, ferry ride till Mandwa and bicycle ride again from Mandwa to Kashid, en route Alibaug. And this was my second visit to Alibaug.
Tips: Sea food, roads
Apart from all these destinations, we have also been to Raigad, Shirdi, Jawahar, Pune and Harihareshar and innumerable bicycle rides to Juhu and Gateway. There was a distinct learning from each of these trips; I have grown as an individual, have made friends of a lifetime, have met with accidents, etc.
But travel leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller.
This last piece of writing is dedicated to fellow CCAPs – Anish Nair and Kshitij Gupta, for being my travel buddies.
Success at the end of the tunnel isn’t bright enough. (BY Akanksha Bijalwan)
“Success: a level of social status, achievement of a goal, the opposite of failure” ~ Wikipedia
“Success means I’m at liberty to help others reach THEIR success, instead of worrying about my own.”
All of us want to succeed in life; all of us want to experience the sense of achievement, the sense of
accomplishment, of reaching where we want to. But somewhere in the transit we overlook, that success
may not be the destination we want to reach, but may be the journey that we encompass for it.
We all have a very rough idea of what we want to achieve, and, people don’t have a stereotypic thinking
anymore. It’s not anymore about having a 9 to 5 job or working in a bank anymore. People are going for
entrepreneurship and for radical career choices like tattoo making, belly dancing, wedding photography,
animation and what not. We are so not willing to follow the old school definitions of success.
That is to say, many men and women (and for that matter, we) have a definition of success and are
already redefining it in our own ways. The emerging ideals include making significant, visible impact
through one’s work anywhere it finds its importance, a workplace that ropes people’s continuous
contributions, or growth and expansion of their capabilities and creative offerings.
If you think of somebody, who in your eyes has achieved success, who would it be? Could be Abraham
Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi maybe, David Beckham for some, Marilyn Monroe for her vivaciousness,
Sylvester Stallone, the dictators Benito Mussolini (1935) and Adolf Hitler (1939), and Joseph Stalin (1945,
1948) who were all nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Victoria Beckham, Agatha Christie, Bradley
Cooper and could even be a character like Harry Potter (yeah, the magic boy) or Alice (the one in
wonderland). But then step back, and see, what you admire in them; their achievements or their
journey. What was achieved by them has little significance, when compared with the way in which it was
achieved. One thing common – they never gave up. Isn’t it easy to give up and deviate? But why take the
easy route? I don’t profess one to believe in “Every time god closes a door, he opens up a window” but
why not believe in “Dear god, close every possible door, am here to make way for my own”. Why not go
to an extent of challenging our own selves. Yes, I know I might not be able to succeed but why not try? I
might fail if I go ahead, but am definitely a failure if I don’t try. Remember – Never be afraid of failure,
take a risk. If you succeed you could be a leader, if you fail you could be a guide to others.
If you come across lemons, make lemonade. If you find cacti in your way, vend it in a desert. Expect
something unexpected, coz that will make you find opportunities in problems. Somebody once asked
how can one not be afraid to fail? You can’t and you don’t have to. That fear makes you work towards
success. Fear is what kept you going, what will keep you going and what keeps you living. The point is to
fight back the fear and win over it.
A lot will come in your way. People, situations, morals and even your own self will try to distract you. A
simple question in your head asking ‘Do I really deserve this?’ and ‘Am I on the right path?’ will give you
the audacity to change the course of your destination. At times you would need to step back and answer
these but that doesn’t mean end of the road. Stop by, have a Chai and proceed. Such questions do make
you rethink about the very purpose of life, but they also push you to a level where you can mould your
life in whatever shape you want.
All this is not something one can teach you or define for you. One cannot even give an achievement
ballpark figure for measurement. Even if one does, you won’t be convinced no matter how nicely you
nod in agreement. It’s basic human tendency to doubt statements given by others (even if they are
quoted by the ones who brought you in this world). And, I say, it’s fine. Doubt it. But don’t leave the
doubt there. Go on a treasure hunt, like ‘they’ say “Discover, yourself”. Evaluate what you want, take
guidance, tell your definition to them and see what they have to add. Why aim for the moon? Aim for
the sun (but don’t burn yourself, just use a bit extra sunscreen!!)
As the first ray of sunshine you see, “Am I focused enough? Will this make my journey worth? Create
conditions for yourself that benefit you, if not now, in future. To quotes Danny Wallace, “The only time
you have no opportunities is when you decide to stop taking them.”
So to end the crap as one might feel, pack your bags, hold on to the steering, fasten your seat belts and
get going. There is no two way about it.