Of Experiences and First Impressions…
The countdown to the 26th of July 2010 began long back. We had all been waiting for this day for such a long time and had planned and packed so much, that our parents began to wonder if we were actually going to DoMS to study. Despite all the fun promised to us, I imagined a tedious admission process and all the big-wigs taking turns to come forth and spew out their typewritten speeches. Well, it was slightly different when I actually got to DoMS.
I was taken to a classroom in the department, where my future classmates were already busy filling out forms. Some people, I had met during my GT/PI process. Some I recognized from their pictures on Facebook. There was a smattering of parents too in this crowd, making small talk. Then, the big-wigs made their appearance. They did speak, but it was all direct dil se. They welcomed us warmly to DoMS and assured our parents that we were in safe hands. We were then given time to set up house in our hostels. In our hostels, monkeys, cats and women co-exist peacefully. So long as you keep your rooms locked, your food is safe from them. These monkeys are essentially harmless but they are intelligent enough to unscrew a bottle to down its contents or check out their reflection in the mirrors on the bikes. Now comes the nasty part. We discovered that our rooms in the third floor could be reached by stairs only, no elevators were available. And no daddy’s allowed inside. So my mum and I lugged my numerous bags and boxes one by one and got the housekeeping staff to clean our rooms a bit. When I met my roomie, we made quick introductions. Post lunch, my parents said their good-byes, “good luck”s and “keep calling”s and went back home. I went back to the department where a team-building game was in store for us. We were given a pair scissors and a wad of newspapers and we were instructed to build a bridge and a flyover over a bench in the given time. It was chaos, but we eventually finished our construction, complete with coconut trees and a ribbon to be cut to inaugurate the flyover. Sadly, our engineering marvel didn’t win any prizes but we had fun doing it and made a few friends along the way. After this, we were shown a 2 hour long documentary on…. the rise and fall of world economies, I think. I could be wrong. Prof. Rahul put a stop to the documentary saying this was only the first part of three and hoped that we would see the others before the semester ended. I think the Professor must be a very optimistic person. In the evening, we were informed that we had an “interactive” session with the seniors starting at 8.30. Only someone really dumb would have asked what this meant. Well, I don’t wish to elaborate what transpired in that room - it would only spoil the surprise for those batches that are yet to come, but by the time we were through, it was well past midnight. The seniors wound up by informing us pleasantly that we all had a presentation to give the following night. We decided that we would worry about it the next day. But when reached hostel, we thought since it was so late, we might as well go buy ourselves some tea in “Olive Garden”, a fifteen minutes walk from our hostel. Well, it turned out that there was no tea or olives in that garden, but we all had some juice and returned back to the hostel, singing.
The next morning started at six for us – campus tour of IIT by a few seniors. When we returned, we had a session with Prof. Thenmozhi on “Learning through case-study method”. After being taught how to, we were given case studies and asked to solve within a given time frame. Considering that this was our first case study, I think we did pretty decent. But then, the Professor told us that on many occasions, students ended up feeling dissatisfied as they did not arrive at a firm solution, but she explained that this may not always be possible and the Professor would only just act as a mediator or a guide but not an arbiter. We left the class feeling relaxed as there was nothing else planned for the day but document verification and registration. This was done in a matter of a few minutes for each person and then we were free to go. Suddenly faced with an entire afternoon with nothing to do, I slept like the dead. It was then evening and with two and half hours to go before the presentation, we were all a little worried. We started working with gusto in the Café Coffee Day next to the Department and before long, it was time. I had at least had a borrowed half of a paneer bun, but most others presented their topics on an empty stomach. It didn’t matter. Everybody was sick with nervousness and performance anxiety. Some breezed through them and some faltered, but I thought most put up a good show.
On the third day, we had a session in the morning on Business Communication by Professor Shekhar, a visiting faculty at the Department. We then had Professor G. Sreenivasan sharing with us interesting stats and tidbits about IIT Madras. Which is when I learnt that there are actually over 7000 people living on campus! The whole place is so self-sustained that it’s almost like a civilization in itself. Col. Jayakumar from the central IIT Placement Cell was next on the list of speakers for the day. He had a commanding voice and presence but he had a sense of humor too. He answered all the queries we had regarding placements and told us a bit about his life in the military and how his acclimatization to civilian life took place. We had a thoroughly enjoyable session with him. The last person with whom we had a session that day was Mr. Kalyan Vaidyanathan, an IIT alumnus and graduate from Cornell University, who shared his experiences of being an entrepreneur. He told us the story of Nadhi, his brainchild and how it has transformed and grown from its nascent stages. Somehow, entrepreneurs generate a lot of curiosity and interest from their audience and this instance was no exception. Just when we thought we were done for the day, we notice a sign on the notice board, saying that we have case studies to prepare and present to the seniors in two hours. So we get to work frantically and when we are nearly done, the seniors graciously offer to treat us to dinner, since none of us had the time to have any. We dined at Tiffany’s and then went to present our harried study of the case at hand. We later learnt that they were actually pretty generous in according us with two hours to prepare as some teachers at times, gave students just about an hour to do the same thing!
The last day of formal induction started with a communication workshop by Professor Shekhar again. The next session was on “Climate Change Crisis” by Professor Chella from the Humanities and Sciences department. It was evident from his presentation that he had poured a lot of time and effort into doing his homework and although it was pure science that he was talking, each one of us listened with rapt attention. In a way, I think IIT Madras is doing its bit in this crisis, by imposing a ban on students’ usage of motorized vehicles on campus. I learnt the hard way that bicycling after several years can be a bit painful, but once we get time to explore the campus, I’m sure cycles would be a great way to do it. Professor Rahul then took over and explained the program structure and the concept of credits and audits to us. One of us asked him if we could do more than the 82 credits required to complete the course and he replied saying that given some time, such a crazy idea would never enter our minds! The rest of the evening was awarded to us, to practise for the cultural program that we had to put up for the graduating batch of 2010. In a way, I think the imperfection of our performance made it all the more hilarious and added to the fun quotient. It was a night to remember and a memorable end to our induction at DoMS.
MBA Batch 2010-12