Monday, April 2, 2007

The Flavour of an MBA Course

Recollecting fond memories would never go without the recall of days at DoMS: those very formative years, spent or misspent, in the lush green campus, amidst spotted deer, old banyan trees and bicycle rides. Long after we would have clean forgotten the stuff we learnt in classes, we who lived here would undoubtedly retain memories of our concluding student lives.

It was not my first day at college or hostel…. I had already spent 4 years of engineering tasting it. So would it be any different now, I pondered when I passed the DoMS building and stood in front of Sharavati hostel with my luggage on july 27th, 2005. After a short intro and smile exchanged with my roommates and neighbors, there was a knock on the door…"Hey, the seniors are awaiting you guys… run downstairs and put Intro".
“O bother, not again a stupid ragging session…don’t they know we are grown-ups now?!” I said to myself.

Ofcourse, it wasn’t like the BTech ragging wherein mostly, the rules of freshiedom taught are: the senior being always right, the junior always wrong, etc. I learnt some other great deals that day: the arcane mysteries of introduction protocols in an IIT, the nicks of our profs, the IIT slangs and most importantly, the north Indians learnt how to pronounce south Indian long mysterious surnames! There were some late night quizzical sessions and games too. Insights were given on how notorious could BSchool profs be and what kind of safety measures to be taken in each course. And at the end of all this, we were friends with them.

Four days into orientation and that wild freshie enthusiasm abated, as postgraduate life began in earnest. The cycle of getting up at 6 am to find the queue for washroom, being in the mess at 7.30 am to make it the daily 8 O’clock classes…Yeah, here, I was…in a mess again for the next two years of my life! And any disappointing encounter with the hostel's showers or the mess meals kept reminding me of my sacrificed job offer in my hometown.

Fifth continued year of hostel life and there were certain parts of me which refused to grow up. My mom still came in front of my eyes and so did tears. I missed home. With the class and assignment pressures, I felt like giving up. Sometimes, it felt lonely, dark and gloomy too. Soon, I found some of my batchmates stupid and certain others really stupid. And if it wasn’t for this league of extraordinary muggu junta, there wouldn’t have been competition in every damn course and i wouldn’t have had been in search of atleast one grade lower than me in all of the subjects!

So, it does reflect that most of DoMSians pursued grades. However, let me not ditch this opportunity to honor certain others who seemed to be more interested in social networking (read loafing) and hence pursued other “useful” activities like regular boozing, exploring relationships in and out of the MBA programme, orkutting, - and combinations thereof. The next July found us rich in corporate experience and ready to be in an advice giving mode to welcome the new batch. One year of juniorship and the immediate next year being the sole seniors also makes one realize as to how fast life can move here.

Pursuing an MBA did prove to be an altogether different experience…Unlike in an undergraduate degree, one relates with people all the time in an MBA course with not much of a choice ofcourse! With the varied group activities going on in each course, I experienced likeliness, hatred, friendship, jealousy, betrayal, politics, victory, failures, sorrows and of course lots of laughter and joy too. Some things were new and some got related to my old experiences. With meetings and presentations cutting across midnight, I also learnt how to drown my body in coffee cups!

Any MBA course emphasizes on group work. And you start realizing the significance on the very start of every group assignment…. When you just try to get your group members to meet at the same time and it turns out nothing less than a gut-wrenching ordeal! The day scholar wants to take out his pet to the veterinarian in the evening or the hostel guys find the lab at the distance of the diameter of the solar system for a post dinner meet! It’s eureka if everybody comes for the meet and as soon as the meeting gets over, there are times when one feels like treated with high doses of heavy-duty pharmaceuticals. The implicit corollary is that one learns to stretch his limits in tolerating others and their idiosyncrasies. And it is not very late when you realize that others were doing the same for you!

The course is all about slogging. Everybody gets acquainted with 70-hour workweeks and can produce a whole array of slick-looking reports, charts and graphs. Presentations happen to be a frequent phenomenon not just in the profs’ agenda of classroom lectures but also in the agenda of relative grading. And this is where some students learn to just keep babbling on as if they are a chronic case of diarrhea of the mouth.The slogging ride also includes a lot of partying…either on the department terrace for midnight birthday celebrations or late night movies in the projector classrooms or with dance floors and buffet dinners at five star hotels J

Friendship however, also gets defined with a few new curves when you enroll in a course encompassing a variety of age groups of people. Ofcourse group fun continues to be a part of daily life like the undergraduate days; the only difference being that there are work ex graduates 5 yrs older to you and who happen to be more goofier than any fresher of the batch! However, staying with them, one also tends to learn the value of results and relationships. Equally.

One learns to think and express himself better. If it wouldn’t had been for the nocturnal habits of my fellow hostelers, I wouldn’t have learnt new skills of analyzing situations- not just those posed in case studies but also those encountering life and I wouldn’t have been born….Born again-on the rooftop of my hostel with the half crescent moon smiling, floating away in the vast dark blue ocean above or in a cozy hostel room with a bunch of eyes glued on to the latest movie downloaded from the mighty LAN. In just one night, strangers become best friends and with the vivid group life the course enforces, there are many more occasions when relationships develop at a fiery pace. Then there are other times when tempers are quick to flare, especially when conversations turn toward the hot topics of the day: Worldcup, FIFA, music, movies, strategies of top companies or who’s turn is it for the washing machine!

Placements- one time when we all unite… unite under tension. It’s ubiquitous. It all begins with the start of 6th quarter (October). There is a focus shift from academics into placements...the department lab, classrooms, hostel rooms are all ablaze with discussions on companies and interview preps. Nerve racking preparations are witnessed everywhere and its funny to listen and understand all the jargon that people play around with, especially at times when content is as hard to find as an oasis in sub-Sahara. Stress levels are soaring and it hits an all time high as soon as the end quarter exams get over and companies start lining up.

Einstein defined his most popular theory: "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity." During placements also there is this weird kind of relativity - during the days of interviews u feel like u are sitting on the stove, but once u r done and look back, its like time spent with a beautiful girl… It’s actually only a few days of confusion and quagmire but definitely worth it to see every crystal of the batch shining and smiling in the end.

Post placements, there are many of us who start feeling that it’s enough now and that we are sick of the programme and now look forward to kickstart our jobs. But I bet these feelings will be regretted soon! When we begin work, we’ll have to wake up at 5:00am, cook, bathe and deodorize, and stare at a computer screen until our faces turns a pasty yellow color. DoMS life is awesome. Sure, classes suck. But one always enjoys being a student especially for two tightly packed rollercoaster riding years of life! As a matter of fact, I think b-school should be something we go back to every five years or so. I think I’m going to try to convince my employer that I’ll need a refresher MBA in 2012.

Anyways, here I am… ready, at the edge of my MBA program... To face the world. Saying thankyou to DoMS would be an understatement. All I could say more, is that I’m gonna miss you…
Rachana C
(MBA Batch of 2007)


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