My Days at a B-school

A graduation (preferably B.Tech.) followed by MBA, a dream that I had been seeing for so long, came into being a few days back. The dream was always the same, but the purpose kept on changing as I grew up. It all started with a desire to get a handsome package, which could fetch me a big bungalow and luxurious cars. When I was in the college and was placed with “considered to be” the best employer of my college, people said “your life is set, enjoy.” I did not stall myself as there was a bigger destination to be reached. I joined the company but ensured that my focus still lay somewhere outside the office – my dream to crack CAT. Saying this is easier than done. I had to work till late hours to meet the client deadlines. I even had to go to the office on weekends, which forced me to miss my weekend preparation classes too. But perhaps, that’s the first thing required out of a future manager – time management with a focused approach. Eventually, I started getting tired of the long working hours and my desire of doing an MBA got a new dimension added to it – the desire to get back to the golden college days.

I am sure I am not very different from many of those who aspire to crack CAT after having worked for a couple of years. By this time, many of them start missing the “fun” part of their lives. Now, let me leap forward a bit and take you to the day I stepped into a B-School – the first day – the long awaited moment. Entire evening and night prior to it passed by talking to seniors and that was the time I tried discussing the only issue that I could see at that time – waking up at 5:00 in the morning for a Yoga session and the day ending at 00:00 hours!!! My seniors laughed on me and very sweetly (although it hurt for a while) said, “Welcome to MBA” (And through my network across different top B-Schools, I know the schedule is more or less same in all of them, so henceforth whatever I will mention is nearly applicable to all good B-Schools in India). So, this is the definition of a normal day schedule at a B-School, which is also rare because most of the times, your day will start anytime in the morning at around 5:00 and you will have to work till 3:00 am or 4:00 am and many times even round the clock. My expectations of a relaxed college life with less work pressure seemed to be a far fetched dream. But soon, with the help of almighty seniors and their “support”, what seemed impossible became a habit and “sound-sleep” became an occasional activity with the frequency of once a week or even less. But with the adaptation, the same thing became something which most of the B-school alumni miss the most once they are out of their respective places – the night life..!! Trust me, you can reach places in your career, but this is the thing which will make you recall your MBA days for sure!!

You would have heard a lot about the rigorous academic schedule with lots of assignments, projects and quizzes, but in true sense (or atleast for me), life at a B-school is not just about studying – it is about multi-tasking – sometimes productively and sometimes for fun (with due respect to all sleeping beauties and chat-addict MBAs). In whatever form it came, it made us (considering it’s equally applicable to all MBAs) smarter and faster in performing our tasks (which at that point of time used to be liked/disliked assignments). At this point, I cannot refrain myself from mentioning the guest lectures, which we were compelled to attend via clauses like “compulsory attendance” to which students used to scream “thoda sa time hi to mila tha, uss mein bhi ye lecture fasaa diya.”

But eventually, the “mandatory” clause of it gets faded and to everyone’s surprise, the attendance starts increasing – because ultimately, people do realize the worth of them. These sessions, with visiting faculty members from corporate houses, give the real learning and many a times make the subjects interesting for you :-).

Another unique way of learning is through International Conferences. Presenting paper is undoubtedly a big boost, not only to your knowledge base but also to your resume. But even if you can’t present a paper of yourself, you should still be a part of such conferences because your sheer presence in such conferences will ensure you to take away great learning. Listening to people from different profiles and more importantly different geographies presents to you entirely different perspective to the business. In today’s era, when everybody talks about “global” business, such sessions become even more important.

Clubs and Committees can’t be overlooked for their contribution in developing the personalities. At a very basic level, they put you in several situations that you are responsible for, ensuring that you get groomed with effective handling and successful completion of tasks, which, in many senses, are the mini-simulations of the real world challenges. Working on some inter-college competition, looking after its promotions, striving hard for getting sponsorships, arranging for chief-guests and a lot of other operational and execution issues – these all provide certain valuable lessons that help you in long term. Also, you enrich your creative skills especially in designing of new student-pulling events and working on its promotion. But, it’s not just about “organizing” events; participating in them is equally important. More importantly, participation in the inter-B-School events put you in competition with the best of the best talents of the country (and sometimes on international level also). Performing among them is an experience worth feeling. Along with the learning part, you also come in contact with the “cream” of the nation and get ample opportunities to network and learn from their experience.

After so many fun-cum-learning activities, I would like to take you through the tasks which put you in the shoe of a real manager. Along with your academic projects, you get to work on many live projects (apart from the summer internship). These projects take you through the real world challenges. Since theoretic knowledge is very much different from the real world cases, these live projects, along with case-studies, form the basis of your valuable knowledge enhancement. Also, by doing these projects in a particular sector, you get to know your suitability in a particular job-role as well as the sector as a whole. And, it goes without saying that it’s always good to know your suitability before it’s too late!!

So to wind up, when I look back at my two years of MBA, I find that my life actually started with it. The sense of “good placement” changed from talking in terms of packages and big brands to something you love doing. And so do I expect from you. Aspire for a “career”, not for a “job” because otherwise you will just be repeating your graduation-job story again (getting bored and looking for some other options). Do not put yourself through this journey only for the sake of studying and studying. Go there for your overall development. MBA is not just about making your life (or career); it is about living a life too..!! And as they say, college days are undoubtedly the best days of life.

The writer of this piece is an engineer from TITS Bhiwani and an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad, is a young enthusiast who lends a lot of vibrancy, dynamism and strength to the class in turn transcending his own targets. The freshness he emanates makes the students believe in their own selves.

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