A Girl in a Business School

We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.

Sheryl Sandberg

 

Having read and digested the above pearls of wisdom, I will start by saying it’s not such a tough life being a girl. Yes, it isn’t all cakewalk (what with PMS etc. etc. which can actually be pretty handy if you are looking to blame your crankiness on to something else) , but I am also sure guys have their own set of challenges and it would be an unfair comparison to say we have had it tougher. I for one have had a comfortable life. My parents always gave me the best of everything they could afford; material comforts, educational opportunities, constant motivation, encouragement and unrelenting support in everything I wished to do.

 

Source : facenfacts.com
Source : facenfacts.com

 

And hence, I dared dream (Yes, I am dramatic. Period) and I worked hard and burnt the proverbial midnight oil to reach where I am, one of the prestigious B Schools of the country. After almost one and a half years here, I am raising a question – “Is it too much to ask for if a girl demands that her achievements be attributed to the efforts that she made and not to the fact that she is an “unfeeling manipulative shrew (thanks Chandler)   who uses her good looks (and sometimes more than that) to climb up the success ladder?”

Being a girl isn’t so tough. Being a girl in a B school isn’t too tough either if you are thick skinned or care two hoots about what is being said about you. Unfortunately, truth be admitted, most of us aren’t that resilient. I plead guilty to being a little sensitive and hence this “rant”. People who are or have been in B Schools would find that some of these statements would sound eerily familiar – “She got a PPO? Of course, with a face like hers, did you think she wouldn’t?”, “She topped? Oh yeah, She must have flirted with the batch nerd to teach her”, “Did you see how drunk she was?? What a s**t! She was totally getting it on with him (no mention about the fact that the guy was equally drunk and cooperative)”, “don’t tell me she got the top job on campus? How’s that possible, did she open the top buttons of her shirt or something?” (Thereby they also cheapen the top people who come from the industry to recruit. BTW that is going to be you, 10 years from now, a supposedly lecherous man who apparently doesn’t evaluate candidates on the basis of how capable they are)

I am no “bra burning feminist”. Yup I can almost feel the eyes rolling but moving on, it rankles to know that some of the most educated men of the country hold this opinion of capabilities, talents and competence of their female counterparts. Unfortunately some women contribute actively to this notion as well. How much have we progressed really? Girls are now sent to schools, colleges and elite educational institutions – Great. But the real change in perception wasn’t ever brought about. It’s a little about telling women that they are equal to men and not to be so hard on themselves as well as other women. It’s a little more about telling men that girls are equal to them, should get equal opportunities to achieve the same success as theirs and should be respected for whatever they do achieve by putting in sheer hard work ( no mention of top buttons would be appreciated, thank you very much).

And it is mostly about accepting and appreciating the difference between all individuals. Why are we talking about equality on the basis of gender? We are all wired differently. All of us have different strengths, passions and talents and ambitions. And our success or the lack thereof is most logically attributed to presence or absence of these factors and these factors alone. Maybe the girl in your campus who got a PPO from a top investment bank, yes the pretty one you think is dumb, maybe she really is good at what she does, maybe she is a quick learner, maybe she is a people’s person who makes an amazing first impression with the way she talks, maybe she worked 18 hours a day – damn straight!

To be fair, let’s accept it, what’s life without a little speculation and gossip? There are people who get unlikely grades or fantastic placements considering their capabilities (though who can be a correct judge of that, God knows). So it’s okay to have some non malicious gossip about how come X got placement in Y Company worth Z amounts of money. But what isn’t okay is how come the X in question is mostly a female?

I know if one of the biased, ‘go with the stereotype’ crowd reads this article, I would be branded as a bitter girl who people talk about because she is a master manipulator or because she got a good placement because she probably has a pretty face and a good body but little else. Well you can’t have everything. I wanted to rant and so I did. Now can I go back to primping in front of the mirror seeing as I am not good for much else? (Yes, it’s the flair for drama again).

 

– Shambhavi Singh

MBA(IB) 2012-14

IIFT Delhi

shambhavi-insideiim-iift

About Shambhavi

Shambhavi is a second year MBA (IB) student at IIFT. She believes in speaking out her mind and that has landed her in trouble quite a few times. She is also rumored to be a closet feminist though this article may be the “coming out of the closet” moment.

 

Read Everything about IIFT here

Comments

5 comments

1plus1equals3

I totally agree with you that people have such prejudices and cast aspersions on women for no reason, but is it not true that women have a clear cut advantage when it comes getting into b-schools? By advantage I am talking about the “gender diversity” factor in the admission criteria. Don’t you think that you shouldn’t be complaining of about your b school, where you were “pampered” enough already to get in?

apoorva 30

Thank you for writing this article. MBA, is the last place where you would expect to listen to such malicious gossip but sadly, some people are so competitive that they usually stoop to very low levels and out right question your achievements.

apoorva 30

Thank you for writing what should be actively discouraged. MBA, is the last place where you would expect to listen to such malicious gossip but sadly, some people are so competitive that they usually stoop to very low levels and out right question your achievements.