Disclaimer: This piece has been published after explicit permission from Prof. Vishwanathan
Solve this riddle: What happens when you pit 165 of the best brains in the country against one of the best professors in the statistics? Who wins? The Prof or the students? After all, its 165 against 1. The odds for the students winning is almost a given. Ahh well, such a battle was played out at Great Lakes on Friday.
4 weeks into our course we had our first twin mid-term exams – Financial Accountancy and Statistics. First up was Financial Accountancy. It was challenging. 3 Qns, 1.5 hours. We came out of the exam hall all confused about the answers. 165 of us had 165 answers. Well, atleast we had answers!!!
Then after 2 hours of Macro Economics lecture, we went in for Statistics. Our professor Prof. Vishwanathan had told us it would be an open book – open laptop exam! Cool.. No need to study any formulae.. No need to do any revision… What more could we ask for… “This exam’s gonna be a breeze, man” I heard someone say…
Well, he could not have been farther from the truth. Prof. Vishwanathan projected on to the screen what he said was a “simple problem designed to challenge our minds”. That was the understatement of the year!!! Before we knew it, we were hit with one single problem which encompassed almost everything that was taught so far in statistics. Decision Tree, normal distribution, EVPI, etc, etc, etc…
By the time the stipulated half hour was over (Prof. Vishwanathan even granted us 15 minutes over the limit), the entire class was in a kind if trance. Some were gawking around open mouthed, some were staring at the board with a lost expression, some were even crying… All-in-all, we were stumped!
Prof. Vishwanathan had, in his own simple and humbling way, shown all of us our rightful place. Hats Off!
For some reactions during and after the test, Please see pics below.
Class of 2009