1) Mozilla Thunderbird
What - "Mozilla Thunderbird is a free, open source, cross-platform e-mail and news client developed by the Mozilla Foundation."
Why - Email is the most important form of communication in a B-school. Your mail client will be the single most used application in the time you spend on campus. While GMail and online mail clients are becoming more popular, due to poor reliability of internet connectivity, you need a solid offline client to get your mails and attachments even if Internet is not available. Latest versions integrate extremely well with GMail and have solid support of POP3 and IMAP access. It also allows you to access newsgroups.
2) Microsoft Office
What - Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Nuff said.
Why - Needs no explanation. You need to write documents, prepare spreadsheets and give presentations all the time. MS Office is the de-facto standard in the business world. Mastery of Word, Excel and PowerPoint will allow you to be more productive and in some cases score some extra marks. When it's 5am in the morning and you have been working all night, the last thing you need is to battle with formatting, so invest some time in learning the ins and outs of Office. I promise it will pay dividends many times over.
Where - Ask your cousin/brother/friendly computer guy
3) Google Docs
What - The online version of MS Office. Well not really, but close enough.
Why - Google docs is the easiest way to collaborate with your group-mates and your batch. Be it working on an assignment, or making a survey, Google Docs provides you with the tools to get everyone involved easy. It is especially useful for Class Representatives, Committees and Clubs members to collect data from the batch.
Where - Access Google Docs
What - "Dropbox is a Web-based file hosting service that uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders with others"
Why - You need to backup your data. No matter how many times you have been told this, you still refuse to do it. Dropbox is a god-send for people like us. It automatically backs up all your files online without you having to lift a finger. It also comes with some excellent collaboration tools such as shared folders, so that you can share documents with your groups. With features such as versioning, you can even get back accidentally deleted files or get previous versions of file you were working on.
Where - Download Dropbox
5) Microsoft Security Essentials
What - Free anti-virus software from Microsoft that doesn't suck
Why - You are always sharing files and documents with each other while on campus; either through mails or through pen-drives. This increases the chance of your machine being infected by a virus by many folds. MS Security Essentials is a resource efficient and free anti-virus from Microsoft that just works and keeps your machine safe.
6) Google Reader
What - Online RSS Reader
Why - You need to keep abreast with the latest happenings of the world. It's not always feasible to read the newspaper daily. With Google Reader and the right RSS feeds, you can get the news delivered to you. You can choose when and what you want to read. You can save articles that you want to read for later or save them for future referencing. All major news sources provide feeds on their website.
Where - Access Google Reader
What - "Digsby is a freeware proprietary multiprotocol instant messaging application". Chat with your G!Talk and Facebook friends from a single application
Why - You will most probably have an chat account or two in your life previous to joining a b-school. You will be given another email account on campus. You can either have two or three different chat clients running continuously, or you can use Digsby to consolidate all your chatting onto one platform. Besides doing that, it can also check your email accounts and keep a track of your Facebook and Twitter updates.
Where - Download Digsby
What - Media player which ships with almost every codec known to man
Why - All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Probably one of the most used applications on campuses across the world, VLC requires little explanation. Now stop watching movies and get back to work. It can handle also every type of media file known to man, which is what makes this program one of the most beloved across the world.
Where - Download VLC
What - Music Player
Why - A light weight and highly customizable music player. It can also play radio feeds and its play-list management is top notch. One play-list for partying and another for last minute cramming before the exams.
Where - Downlaod foobar2000
What - File sharing application
Why - To share files with one another through your campus LAN network. Last years questions papers, latest photographs from the recently concluded cricket tournament are some of the many files you can easily get to from a well organized DC hub.
Where - Download DC++
Have I missed a software or two? Write about your favorite software(s) in the comments below.
- Koganti Greeshmanth
(The writer is an alumnus of IIM Indore – Batch of 2011 and currently works with HCL Infosystems)