Before sharing my experience, I would like to share my background. I did my B.Tech in Civil Engineering in 2014 followed by an M.Tech in 2016. Both the colleges were in West Bengal. After that, I worked as a traffic engineer in a Highway Consulting firm based in Kolkata for almost a year. Then, I joined IIM Kashipur as a PGP student in its 8th batch.
Having said that, let me share some of my "realisations" at this institute. The learnings which I am about to share are from the day to day activities at IIM Kashipur.
1. Having a Goal is of utmost importance.
Swami Vivekananda said, "Utthistata Jagrata Prapya Barahanibodhata" i.e. “Arise Awake and Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached”. But again one question that needs reflection is "what is this goal?".
You see, the pedagogy here at IIM Kashipur follows a Case Study methodology, i.e. you learn from the success/mistakes of organisations, and a proper analysis will give you new perspectives about a particular type of problem. At first, I was clueless but later on, I realised (of course with the guidance of professors) that, you need to have a goal even when you are analysing a case. What do you intend to find/ learn from the case? Follow the "whys" and you will reach your answers.
If you think about it, it applies to real-life problems too as you need to be specific about the ‘goal’ of your activities. However, goals can change but it is important that you have a goal.
2. You need to find a balance in everything
The schedule of an IIM is hectic. Even if there are no classes, you will still have plenty of work on your plate. So managing time for everything becomes a necessity. If you have learnt to find the balance between the hectic schedule and your own personal time, then my friend you have learnt the very essence of the so-called rigour of an IIM.
3. Try to improve your oratory skills
No matter how big of an introvert you are, you have to learn to speak up and initiate a conversation. If you shy away from public speaking, then you are going against the clock. However, this institute has offered me plenty of opportunities to hone my oratory skills. You see every subject in every trimester has a project and a presentation. You need to use those as an opportunity to get out of your shell and speak up. Besides this, the different clubs and committees of IIM Kashipur organise plenty of events which give you a platform to develop yourself. Your public speaking skills will make you a "showman" which will be an asset for your future.
4. Be proactive. Not reactive
When I was working I always used to follow orders. I was in the infrastructure sector and since the work was demanding I used to be reactive i.e. work only when you have been given an order. But here I learnt that you have to be proactive. You see, you will be given proper education here. But it is your pro-activeness that will make you implement those learnings into actual work. The live projects that are floated by companies are the perfect platforms to apply the learnings to action. But you need a proactive mind. Your laid back reactive attitude will lead you to nowhere.
5. Sometimes being a follower helps a lot.
In my CAP interview I was asked a question," Murshed, what do you want to be? A leader or a follower?" I remember answering, "Sir, I want to be a leader and Blah Blah Blah Blah". But here I learnt that you need to be a follower first to be a good leader. Once you are a follower you will be given a work by your "leader". While doing the job you will face a lot of problems and as you go on solving the problems, you will learn a lot. Again when you will be the leader you will be knowing the ground level problems. The position of a leader is glorious but being a follower also helps you to gain perspectives.
6. Grab every learning opportunity
There is a saying that, "if somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, then say yes and learn how to do it". IIM Kashipur is very fortunate to be located near the Rudrapur Industrial belt which hosts industries like Ashok Leyland, JK Papers, Bajaj Auto Ltd and many more. Having an industrial belt around an IIM has its perks. Often you get projects and site visit opportunities which gives you a hands-on experience in how an industry operates. Recently we visited the Ashok Leyland plant of Pantnagar and it was a wonderful learning experience. These learnings will differentiate you from the others in the hyper-competitive market.
7. Taking a break is extremely important
At times, the life in an IIM tests you and pushes you to your limits. This drains your ‘battery’. So, what to do? The thing that I understood here is that whenever you get time, go for surprise trips, as you don't know if you will get a chance again. IIM Kashipur is surrounded by Nainital, Bhimtal, Corbett National Park which makes a "break" worthwhile. Believe me, a "break" in such places will recharge your "depleted batteries"
8. "Your network is your net worth"
This phrase was said by some industrialist who delivered a guest lecture. I do not remember his name but the phrase has stuck with me. I have realised that this is an undisputable truth. The more networking you do, the more you can utilise that asset. Be it searching for internships/jobs or just advice or live projects, your network is the key.
However, all being said, there is a lot to learn. There is no end of learning. But implementation of those learnings will provide you with bread and butter for future.