The different types of Group Mates at IIM-A

A study group is perhaps the second most important thing you need to get right at IIM-A (the first being your balance sheet in the
Financial Reporting and Analysis exam). While the PGP Office forms your study group for the first trimester, for the next two trimester you have to form your own group, which is in itself a highly contentious process that often generates heart burn. Your choice of group directly affects your grades in group assignments and there are plenty of them and would also indirectly affect your grades in individual assignments if you happen to have a group full of free riders who leave everything on you. So yes, your peace of mind depends on your group. So, what are the typical group mates?  Continue reading

Why interning at a startup would be a bad idea for bschool grads

Why interning at a startup would be a bad idea for bschool grads

Just read this (http://www.pluggd.in/why-interning-with-startups-should-be-made-compulsory-at-b-schools-297/) at pluggd.in where the author, Bhavya Sahani, tries to make a case for the idea of b-school grads interning at startups.

 

The author basically says that interning at a startup would help a relatively inexperienced student discover his/her core strength instead of going for the popular choice. He of the opinion that the more experienced students at a bschool (and most Indian bschools have relatively inexperienced students. I myself have no work experience) would have a better idea of their strengths and tend to not follow the herd when making career decisions while the inexperienced ones never get to figure out their core competency. While I agree that experienced students do show more maturity in making career decisions, it is not uncommon for an IT guy ending up with a job in a pure marketing role at an FMCG firm. It is also possible that the experienced students are so accustomed to their prior field that they there is an inertia against trying something new (though admittedly I haven’t seen that happening with students in my batch).

MBA (more so General Management which is what is offered by the IIMs), is one of those occasions in one’s career where one can make a drastic move, and rediscover one’s core competencies. Just because you joined an IT or energy firm right after engineering, where choices are limited, does not mean you have to necessarily stick with it. Besides, even after 3-4 years of work ex after undergrad one hardly gets to experience a broad spectrum of roles to be able to make a proper choice about one’s core competencies. One works within a relatively rigid set of parameters on a very specific role, hardly gets to interact with client much less drive client engagement. But the first year of MBA helps one discover what they like – I thought I could not like anything other than Operations but my favourite subjects have been those in Economics and Marketing while others who thought they would not be able to stand anything other than Finance were happy to take up Consulting or General Management(well to be frank the lack luster hiring by I-banks do have a role to play here).

So why can’t a startup internship help one figure out their core competency? Simply put, an 2 month internship just wont be enough. Startups are too chaotic and unstructured for one to figure things out fast. Continue reading

Sleepless at IIMA and lovin’ it

What a whirlwind of a week it has been. It was only last Saturday (19th June) that I set foot on the hallowed IIMA campus. I had fallen in love with the campus first time I saw it when I came here for my interviews. Loius I Kahn definitely created a masterpiece, its a unique building not just in Ahmedabad but all of India. The heritage campus is definitely a sight to behold and has been copied by quite a few other b-schools as well.

So yes, for all those people who think CAT was the biggest hurdle in getting to IIMA, well you are wrong. Come here, feel the pressure and you will know that getting through CAT was nothing compared to facing the daily life at IIMA. You can have classes till 4 AM in the morning and then a submission at 8, so forget sleep. You will sleep for no more than 4 hours a day, and that a optimistic figure. On some days you won’t get to sleep at all. With 3 subjects per day plus quiz and of course preparation for the case study for next week, rest and sleep are luxury that you just can’t afford here at IIMA. Yes you get that huge salary at the end of two years, but you are put through a grind for that.

Louis Kahn Plaza

You cannot, for example, be late for a class, not even by a second. If the class starts at 2:30 PM, it means you have to be inside the class by 2:29:59 PM. Any later and you won’t be allowed in and you may get an ‘I’ (incomplete) grade and therefore you will have to repeat a whole course, and therefore a whole year, which means you will complete your MBA in 3 years instead of two. Academic Discipline is sacrosanct here. That means you can not copy your friends assignments, and there is a software to check that. Coming late to class is unacceptable and by no means should your phone ever ring during a class. Keep it silent or better switch it off (even if your phone is in silent the static on the speaker caused by an incoming call can piss off the prof and he/she will refuse to come to your class again which means you entire class repeats the course). You cannot be found in the class without preparing your case material. You will have surprise quizzes here. If you are late for an assignment by even a second, it won’t be accepted.

In the first 3 days itself, I only had 2 proper meals at mess because I had to submit assignments or prepare case-mats, or attend some class or session. I slept for an average of 4 hours. The pressure is tremendous. Sleep here is an afterthought. Rest and relaxations do not exist in the IIMA dictionary. In fact it is said that if you want to relax, you should better join some other IIM. The A in IIMA stands for Acads (and which I have to admit is not one of my strengths). IIMA does not teach you how to handle pressure. And neither does it tell you how to relax. You learn it. There is no “acclimatization” period. You are thrown into the fire and expected to come out without any burns.

IIMA claims that its goal is to produce leaders, not managers. The academic rigor you face is just to ensure that. You will learn to be punctual, always meet deadlines no matter what, maintain the highest standards of integrity at all time, and all this without even knowing how it happened. People enter IIMA after a stringent selection process, and nothing but the best of the best is expected from them. Its not just a question of IIMA reputation but that of the whole country. When an entire country looks upon you, you have to put you best foot forward every time, without fail. In fact, failure is not acceptable here. Also when profs , who could otherwise earn millions working for a company, come 15 mins early to class to teach you, that too for every class day after day year after year, there is no reason why any student should be late.

From the orientation session itself the pressure builds up. After the orientation class, we have to submit an assignment within 3 hours, and needless to say you cannot copy from others, not just your friends but even from seniors who have long passed out, the software detects all. Then there so many other things going on which you have to attend. You also have to prepare for your class. So bottom line, life at IIMA is gruesome, only a military course (preferably special forces) can be more gruesome than this. Already 2-3 students have left in the first week itself, yes its that cruel. The ones who are left will face the most challenging one year of their life.

While I am slightly worried, but I am looking forward to it. Hope I survive. Will keep you updated.

PS: Its 2:33 AM and I am just back from a party where we did rain dance, got totally drenched then came back to our dorm and partied more. I am lovin’ it. I am slightly drunk now. So if the above post is slightly incoherent, don’t blame me, blame the booz