“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” Nothing and no one can question the veracity of this beautiful quote by Desmond Tutu. Not even IIMs. Yes! Much to the surprise of many who follow a school of thought according to which all the IIMs are stamped nothing more than a factory of producing hundreds of job-ready (read employable) candidates on a yearly basis.
The truth is that, akin to how they are the exemplars of great placements and quality education, IIMs also teach us to be good humans at our very core and showcase inclusivity in myriad ways. I’ve enlisted some of the wonderful things/traditions that are practiced at IIMs that provide a buttress to my argument:
- Our festivals have no religion: Ganesh Chaturthi is a Muslim fiesta, Id is a Hindu fiesta, North Indians eagerly await Onam and Pongal; that’s how it works here. We don’t kill our differences but instead, we embrace them! The cultural committee, in collaboration with certain enthusiastic chaps, does a great job to organise festival-specific feasts which are devoured by one and all. Amidst all the communal and regional tension building up everywhere else, IIMs are an enclave where we cherish inclusivity, harmony, and brotherhood, quite literally!
- Professors teach us ways to win people, not impress them: Quite understandably, a major chunk of the classes is spent in teaching the management concepts but, almost infallibly, in the first and the last class of every subject, the professors very zealously guide us on how can we be ethical in not just corporate but also in our general conduct with people. A lot of course content also gyrates around the practical, not just philosophical, the importance of being ethical. Now that’s what you call an unparalleled pedagogy!
- So much for relative grading: What can be a more compelling reason to nurture a cut-throat competition with your peers than having a relative grading system? Nothing substantial, right? Even in such a brutal evaluative system, we limit our competitive spirits to just being healthy (well, most of us :P) and while the quest to pip the others never dies, we give helping a struggling friend during term exams the highest priority. Period. Two toppers can be often seen taking all-night sessions of each other during exams and in our group studies, we aim for an outcome that is best for the group.
- Tolerance is the buzzword: IITians and non-IITians, engineers and all others, reserved quota and general candidates, rich and poor, Hindi speaking and non-Hindi speaking, North Indians and South Indians, North Easterners and the rest of India – you name any 2 such extreme ends of any spectrum and we’ll converge them deftly through tolerance and mutual respect. IIMs are as diverse as India on the whole, the only difference being absolutely zilch conflicts or altercations on the grounds of the aforementioned differences.
Social media is inundated with posts busting innumerable myths about IIMs and most of them have a cynical view towards the world that lies inside. Amidst all this, the time was ripe to bring to the forefront the copious amount of goodness that still prevails and how IIMs teach us to be not to be mean to someone but instead mean something to someone.