“When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.” – Orison Swett Marden
Ever since the wait with bated breath at the page, that went on to offer congratulations for being selected for admission to the Class of 2015 at IIMA, every Fachcha would have spent most of the two month long ‘vacation’ in a deluge of advice from people all around: “Party hard and sleep all day” – two things people say are tough to get at IIMA.
At the outset, congratulations for being admitted into the 50th batch at IIMA – yet another batch that will call itself the Golden Jubilee batch and possibly the actual one too. The decision to pursue an MBA at IIMA would have been made after a lot of thought (or so we would love to believe!) and this would be a decision that would alter your life in more ways than one. Those exciting dreams of walking into IIMA’s Red Brick campus, treading the same path as some of India’s top business leaders and personalities would have been juxtaposed with the nervousness and fear of surviving a place that is often spoken about to be one of the most competitive in the country.
While IIMA is definitely competitive and tougher than those under-graduate days where one could sleep through classes and still manage the grades, it definitely does prepare you for the world outside as 49 batches that have been through the paces before you would vouch for. Not for nothing has it become the place that has given to the industry 62% of Indian CEOs who have a management degree and hoards of entrepreneurs who have rewritten history.
Life at IIMA is often compared to that of a roller coaster ride. There will be times when you hit the zeniths only to be brought down to a low you may not have encountered before in life and you feel like hitting the ‘Quit’ button. But do remember that a lot of people have been through the same before you, and almost certainly, have come out in flying colours; with those lows being part of one very memorable journey at the end of the day.
Try making use of the multitude of resources and opportunities that IIMA offers to you on a platter. There are few better emotions than winning a B-school contest, successfully organising a huge fest like Confluence or the joy of bringing out your club newsletter and seeing your article in it. The professors at the institute are peerless and are among the distinguished members in their area of expertise. Utilise the classes, and more importantly the time beyond the classroom to make the most of your stay in the institute.
No article about IIMA is ever complete without mentioning the placements (fortunately or unfortunately!). Use the resources at the institute – Friends, Tuchchas, Alumni, Industry experts, Pre-Placement Talks, Professors to figure out what you want in your career and the going about it. If you know what you want for your career, there is no reason to be part of the proverbial rat-race for seven-figure salaries or exotic locations. The placement office will be on fire (figuratively this time, we assure you!) to offer you all kinds of opportunities that you would have dreamt about while joining a top notch business school.
At the end of the day, if there is one thing that stuck to us at the end of the ride, it was that two hands are almost always better than one. While a lot is spoken about the learning from the classroom, those chats over a cup of coffee with your friends or the discussions and arguments during the group meetings for an assignment, offer as much of an insight as a case discussion in the air-conditioned environs of the classroom. Make your friends; and your own informal support structures during your time at the institute. It is these relationships that form your ‘true network’ rather than the one that you make online by adding a whole bunch of people on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. The institute, not to be left behind, offers formal support structures of its own including the Mentorship Team, your own mentor, the SPCDC and of course, your dorm.
Ensure that you make the best of everything that you get, and make the two years of your journey at IIM Ahmedabad, amongst the most memorable ones of your life. Remember that it is the journey that matters, not the destination. Live life to the fullest, and have no regrets, as this would in all probability be your last time in a college!
(S.G. Shrinivas is a super tuchcha of the class of 2013 and a former member of the Media Cell, IIMA)