Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

What I say today is what mohammad ali said once , "It is very hard to be humble when you are as great as me". Lest people may be mistaken I am not into boxing. and therefore I resist from praising myself :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Q:What is your CGPA ?
Q:You have good percentages in school. Why 64 % now ?
Q:Well you seem to have neglected your studies. You are just 6.7/10.

With my good friend Gautam Kumar making our batch CGPAs public, I guess my life has turned some sort of a semi-circle.It is one thing to tell people that you have a bad GPA and its completely another for them to see that you are in the bottom half of the bottom half of the class. And people's perception does change when they know that you are a guy with bad grades.

The above three questions were asked at various times during my stay in IIIT. The first was by our dean Dr.Govindarajulu. He asks everyone the question.With his awesome memory he still recalls my GPA.Being the good man that he is he also used to ask whether I am working towards improving it or not. He stopped asking a year ago, when in one of my uncharacteristic bad moods and one of his characteristic tirades, I told him that I do not consider GPA to be a true measure of what sort of a Human Being I am (what nonsense from my side !!! the dean never talked about good or bad Human Beings).

In my first semester I got 7.2 and believe me I had not read even a single page of any subject. I disliked DLD.Already knew the Math being taught, already knew the ES being taught.I loved Physics but IIIT killed that love for reasons beyond the scope of this post.The only subjects to be studied were programming and ITWS. I absolutely loved the math aspect of programming but negelected the actual practice part with the result getting a really bad grade. ITWS was the best. More than teaching it was about exploring. Loved it, decent grade.

Well things actually don't work so smoothly in life. As per the karma theory bad breeds bad. My bad bred bad in the next sem itself, I had a grand SGPA of 4.9. Till date I have not been able to figure out the reasons for the same. A detailed study reveals only one fact - total, complete, holistic screw up.The CGPA became 6.02.AP govt stops the Pratibha award if the GPA goes below 6. God is great and I am saved.

It has been a constant struggle since then. The mind divided into two say Atma Ram(AR) and ParamAtma Ram(PR). AR telling me to study and PR telling me
that there are bigger things in life. As has been the case for a major part of my life... PR usually had resounding victories.

PR thankfully left me with about an year ago. Placements were looming large and the Placement committee decided that they will use only the GPAs upto 6th sem, I fought my battles but Priyanshu and Co were adamant. That left me with only three or four companies to appear for. I decided that it will be ARs all the way in the interview panels - asking me why I did not study etc etc. We can't do anything about that now. So I struggled like hell. Salvaging even bits of projects. Projecting them on the CV, pulling out the books, burning midnight oil and daylight sun. Had I done even one tenth of this struggle before ... well :) By the time placements began with the exception of Operating Systems I knew enough about things in my CV and Grade Sheets that I would have gotten a GPA of 9 had exams been held now. Of course most people would have.

In this context was the second question. By the TCS interviewer. PR came to my rescue when I showed my extra-curricular achievements. They were convinced and with good reason. At least in the extra-curricular aspects there was no cramming, no last minute novel reading or soft skill sessions. They came naturally and I said so. Of course I knew Software Engineering very well and said that I can take on any comers in that field but that is not boasting , if we do not know even one subject that can save our lives. I guess we should seek a well with water and jump in it.

I sat (or was allowed to sit because of my GPA) in only one other company. The interviewers and me were at total cross purposes. They were experts in a field which I was just entering. I did not know that Software Architecture needed a lot and lot of compilers, the fact is it does not, they asked me only because they wanted to stress me out. One of the two guys (even sadistic interviewers hunt in pairs) asked me to draw a parse table of a multi-filed programme. I was clueless and said the same to them. I told them that I was not the proper guy for the job and came off. A nightmare but a lesson nevertheless. btw if someone know the answer to the question please tell me.

The third question was asked in a B-School interview. These interviewers are better placed. They understand that the students who seek B-Schools are usually the ones who have some extra-curricular activities and may possess bad grades. No Generalization though. I showed my extra-curriculars as a reason. Of course I am not so bad as to not give the credit where it needs to be given (or the Devil its due ... as you may). I said that IIIT is a very competitive place and my classmates are extremely brilliant people. They worked much harder than me and that is the reason for my bad grades. The profs from IIFT surely saw some sense in the answer.

Fear of a bad GPA did haunt me for a long time of one and a half year. Then I let the fear go below the carpet, it never disappeared though.In hindsight I feel,
fear is good. I'm not advocating people to be guilty all thet time. But a small flavour of fear in your inner conscience would go a long way in structuring your IIITian life, for this is considered by many as a spring board to launch one's career.

Now what does the title of the post mean in the context. When I joined IIIT my mom said two things - don't become a smoker and don't become a drunkard, my dad too said two things - don't take drugs and never fail. I said only one thing - I can't promise for the rest of them but I will never fail and get at least 70%. Now that translates into a 7 CGPA. It is strange for AR to make such a comeback when PR is the need of the hour. But today I am paranoid about my grades, I need to get an SGPA of 9 in the final semester to get a se7en. At this juncture with a good B-School admission (IIFT took me in) and a job to boot (TCS liked my SE and PR did the rest) it might not really matter. No one needs it or wants it.

But strangely I seem to want it. I think a bottom line can be drawn here. CGPA matters. You need enormous amounts of other efforts in case you do not have a good GPA. Probably Vishwas Rao is the only guy in the batch who has a job in tremendous disproportion to his GPA. He had an awesome interview and a good internship too.I do not know about the luck part of his achievement and I will not take any credit away by calling it luck.In recent times I've also realized that CGPA is one of the criteria for associating with people. Wierd but true.

Of course how you get your GPA also matters.One should be able to vouch for every point in that Grade Point Average as his own. I have poor grades true, but i've never sought the "guidance" and "suggestion" of tutors. This fact is true for the majority of the junta, but those who sought the easy way out will find the going tough some time or the other. A bad GPA is much better than an undeserving one. And a good GPA, as they say in Math, is only a necessary condition not a sufficient one.

PS: Gautam Kumar, if you are reading this will you add the "Going for MBA" statement to the publicised GPA sheet. Will probably save my face in front of some important people :D


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ageree with you my friend :)
CGPA doesnt reflect what kind of person you are !!

Now there are two sides of it

1) You started believing in it since you have a bad CGPA !!

2) You got Bad CGPA because u belived in the above statement .

Now if u are a type 2 never relinquish your faith,If you do u automatically qualify for a type 1 :)

I needed to write this as my story is not very different from you.

so cheer up !! quality of life is never measured in CGPA's.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Koorma Pramodh said...

"realized that CGPA is one of the criteria for associating with people. Wierd but true. " -- I agree with you.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on IIFT and TCS. Pretty good post. I know of another student, who was commented on her CGPA by her father, she just went ahead and got 10/10 the very next semester. I too very hopeful you will achieve your 9.

I liked this comment from you --- a must read for all of us:

Of course how you get your GPA also matters.One should be able to vouch for every point in that Grade Point Average as his own. I have poor grades true, but i've never sought the "guidance" and "suggestion" of tutors. This fact is true for the majority of the junta, but those who sought the easy way out will find the going tough some time or the other. A bad GPA is much better than an undeserving one. And a good GPA, as they say in Math, is only a necessary condition not a sufficient one.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Q: "You have good percentages in school. Why 64 % now ?"

A: College (Engg education) is NOT the same as school!

6:50 PM  
Blogger Satya Krishna said...

now that u will be an MBA, CGPA doesnt matter at all! come on man! whoz gonna ask for ur grade in programming in IIFT?! :) so dont worry at all!! wish u all the very best for ur future!

i definitely have an undeserving CGPA n i just wonder how itz gonna affect my future!! so i wonder whether i need to decrease it so that it doesnt have a drastic effect?? :D

6:56 PM  
Anonymous junior said...

A student with a good CGPA is like a batsman in good form. He may or may not perform on the D-Day but he has the good will.You can claim that once i used to study well.

Anyway very good post and all the best for your MBA in India's rank 4 institute.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first of all congrats on being selected in IIFT this is awesome..
cool man
the other things is tht this post is 2 good.. aftr ever1's comparison of GPA with salary they r going 2 get aftr reading Gautam's blog....
the thing is tht i hav an excellent(excellent acc. 2 me ..)(almost 9) GPA but i feel tht i dont think i deserve every bit of it.. but stil say around 805 of it...
so i am very afraid of bad times ahead...
as its pointed out tht a person with a good gpa is like a good batsman with good form,, but i am kinda confused will i perform on D DAY ??
plzz comment....

9:52 PM  
Blogger Ravi said...

I don't think I said - CGPA maketh a man (or for that matter a woman).
I got bad GPA because I did not study, and because I got bad GPA there were visible ill affects during placements and some other instances.
This has nothing to do with me being a good or a bad human being.
Thanks for the cheering up anyhow.

Your friend is proud (in a positive manner) and very hard working. As far I know I hardly work. Anyway thanx for the wishes.

Dude .... you want me to say that to the interviewers :)

Just deserve your future grades.That'll set right issues ... hopefully.

nice take.But what worth is a player if he does not perform in crunch situations.
We can only build on past achievements but can't live off them right.

I have to think more.Good GPA but low confidence ... hmmm.I have no solution at present.

11:32 PM  
Blogger @nks said...

ur story is no different from mine n lots of other guyz of IIIT.
Every night i sleep thinkin tht next day i'll study hard to do well in xams n improve my CGPA. But, as sunlight fall on my head all such ideas just vanish.
After readin ur post, i think i shud do somethin to make these ideas stay.
n ya congrats for ur selction in IIFT!!

12:41 AM  
Blogger ragdoll said...

im in ug2, and words could not describe what this blog means to me. Happy endings aside, one can see that at least someone had the guts to go on doing what they believed was right and stop caring about what everyone else thought. For the record , some of us already knew your cg was not stellar, and that never stopped us from idealising you.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Gautam Kumar said...

Sorry buddy for everything which my blog had caused...
i m removing CGPA column... and also adding ur MBA :))

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