A B-schooler’s Bucket List
B-schools are like snowflakes. Why do I make this odd comparison you ask? Well discerning reader, I shall tell you.
Think of snowflakes. In all likelihood, they bring to mind images of fun and frolic, vacation days, carefree mucking about with your chums, engaging in snowball fights and diverse entertaining activities. But increase the intensity a little, and you’re caught in a snowstorm, freezing to the bone marrow, looking for food, shelter or just a little bit of warmth, all thoughts of fun chased far from your mind. B-schools are notorious for making that change in the blink of an eye. One moment, you’re happily sprawled across the campus lawns, gossiping about the goings-on at the last party when suddenly one tiny little email containing no more than 2 lines of text sends apocalyptic waves of panic through the entire batch. And before you know it you’re guzzling cups of coffee trying to prove that hypotheses such as “Online shoppers have mad cow disease” are statistically significant or finding the net present value of Anil Ambani’s latest gazillion dollar investment and telling him it’s a bad idea (he never listens). You’re not left with too many moments to think during these times, but when you do, it’s usually thoughts like “Why MBA??” or “I pinkie swear to be good from now on. Please let this cruel and unusual punishment end.”
Why always me?
The other and more obvious reason why B-schools are like snowflakes is because like snowflakes, no two are alike. Yes they put you through stressful times, they give you a prestigious degree, they give you their brand which is worth so much in the long run, but at the same time they are all very different. Every established B-school has a culture and tradition so different from another they are as alike as chalk and cheese. The little rituals and rites of passage, the bonding between the senior and junior batches, the stories of old creaky hostel buildings that has housed and witnessed the antics of many generations of business leaders, the terror and fame of certain professors who at times are campus fixtures older than most of the classrooms, tuck shops that are being run on campus by succeeding generations, that one famous tree under which every circle of friends click their graduation pictures, or the way in which you celebrate everything from birthdays to PPOs, the list is full of these tiny little details that form the heart and the spirit of a business school.
But I did say there are a few common things that every student at one of these institutes goes through. Well almost every student anyway. There just are a few who can breeze through their two years conquering everything in their path. I don’t know how they do it. And I think I prefer my way a little better because it makes for so many interesting stories that you will be swapping with your other similarly afflicted friends come your 25th reunion 🙂
So here are just a few things that I and some friends across B-schools have all gone through in our one or two years. It’s not actually a bucket list but this article needed a snazzy title.
Power naps – Doing an Usain Bolt to your room in the 30 minute break between classes, setting 3 alarms and catching 17 minutes and 28 seconds of life-preserving sleep
“Sab Moh Maya hai” – I don’t need to explain this. Happens every time just 30 minutes before a submission or quiz
“No way am I working with that guy!” – Let’s face it. Every group has its share of freeloaders. They may be genuinely nice people but they just don’t pull their weight. And when a professors sticks one (or more) of them in your group, you know you’re gonna have to work hard.
The Exam part 1–
Before the exam – “Tell me everything you know!!!”
After the exam – “I don’t discuss questions”
The Exam part 2 – Staring at the paper for 30 of the 60 minutes cursing yourself for sleeping in class
The Exam part 3 –
Professor: “The exam will be open-book”
You: “Book se kuch nahi aayega”
The Interview GD misconception – “Oh he’s such a quiet guy. I’m going to walk all over him in the GD.” Never happens
Before getting a shortlist – “That Company treats its employees like dirt. I’m never working for them.”
After getting a shortlist – “Tell me EVERYTHING about this company. It’s my dream job.”
After the summer internship – “it was a harrowing experience. The processes are so unstructured. Never again.”
After getting a PPO – “OOOHH! Look at that CTC”
Guy in the first week of class – “I’m going to become an entrepreneur. That’s the only reason I’m here”
At the end of two years – “OOOHH! Look at that CTC”
And the most common one –
Let’s just survive this term. I’ll work on improving my GPA from the next one
“Assignment deadline? Wait, what assignment??”
And after all that bitching and bad-mouthing, a little disclaimer. Please take what I’ve written with a pinch of salt, pepper or whatever seasoning you like. I’m still in the April Fool’s Day spirit 😛 It’s true that a lot of the above things happen, but I’ve just finished final exams and so feel entitled to a right to crib.
And having survived first year, I completely identify with the culture that we live through for two years. And this is what sets us all apart. Different in so many ways, but all still awesome.
So I end this one here, with best wishes to all of us starting our internships. Let’s do good work and enjoy our time.
Cheers to us all
Nadeem is currently trying to make sense of Life, the Universe and Everything coming to the end of his first year at XLRI, Jamshedpur and really looking forward to his summer internship.
He’s also a music lover, master of 3 musical instruments, undiscovered singing prodigy, class jester, wordsmith, and the secret identity of Superman all rolled into one charming package.
Follow Nadeem’s Stories at nadeem.insideiim.com