A Goal That Can Change Your Life

It’s the last year of your under graduation program, the final lecture for the day comes to an end and you hurtle through your classmates to get out of the college building and pray to your Gods that you somehow reach the coaching centre on time. Once you make it, you wade your way through the crowd hoping to get the best seat possible in the classroom. The class begins, the Logical Reasoning faculty throws bouncers at you. After the break, your brain goes in for a toss when the faculty gives you the most difficult number theory questions. At the end of the class you get an assignment sheet, which after a quick scan, you keep it inside your sheet repository only to find older unsolved assignment sheets. You go back to your hostel room and with an empty stomach, you forage through your stuff hoping to find a noodle pack. Somehow you satiate your hunger and try your hands on those assignment sheets only to end up nodding off midway. Alas, the cycle repeats.

The above scenario gives you a sneak peek into the life of an average engineering student who has jumped into the bandwagon to give a shot at the CAT, XAT and every other RAT race inducing exam you could name. And this scenario is an excerpt from my life as well. In the upcoming paragraphs, I shall elucidate to you on how I transformed from an aimless CAT aspirant to being a management student in one of the top business schools in the country which happens to be one of the most cost-effective colleges as well. And trust me, it is all about defining your goals.

When I was at the stage that I defined in the first paragraph, I had only one thing in my mind – I need to pursue MBA. There was no radical answer to why MBA? And as a matter of fact, I had no idea as to which specialisation to pursue. MBA was the jargon that I used to convince myself that I am treading the right track, well, I was horribly wrong. After every lecture in college and every class in my coaching centre, as my tasks started to pile up and resembled Dante’s levels of hell, I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing?!”. I questioned my need to pursue an MBA and if I was indeed made up of the right material to be a manager overlooking businesses. To get these answers I first analysed as to how my bachelor’s degree would help me in my career. Well, a B.Tech in Industrial Biotechnology (never heard of it eh?) would not take me anywhere. Only those who pursued higher studies all the way till a PhD prospered, and I wasn’t willing to go bald enroute this path of extensive and in-depth knowledge. And then the next question popped up, should I take up a job? Guess who were offering me jobs? IT companies! Yaay! Did I want to slog it out in an IT company? No.

At this point, I should remind you of the country that we live in. Incredible India. So incredible that only those people with a stethoscope around their neck or those wearing a big yellow engineering helmet or the ones using the National emblem as their seal are considered to have real jobs. The first two options not being fit for me, I was being advised to take up government jobs. Each time I visited home, my neighbour would tell me, “Beta, IAS likho” (Kid, write IAS). And all I could wonder was his levels of audacity with which he would set the bar high all the way to the post of IAS and that too without knowing anything about the UPSC entrance exams. He annoyed me so much that the next time he said that to me, I wrote the letters I-A-S on the newspaper he was holding.

Now it is not at all wrong to have the guts and strong determination to start preparing for UPSC examinations, I have immense respect for the ones who do. But, I had to be rational, I could not give up everything at a stage where my dad was nearing his retirement, and be a burden on my parents by being at home unemployed preparing for an exam in which even the best of the candidates could take up a minimum of two years to clear it. I was done with my bachelor’s degree at this point and back home. I gave my shot at the CAT exam but failed to make an impact. I had to make a decision and really wanted it to be the right one. In order to do so, I looked back upon my qualities. My professors time and again appreciated my organising and management skills. I was part of the college’s sponsor team for three years and was the Sponsor Head in the third one. In this tenure, I visited many companies, talked to various managers and department heads, and before I made a visit, I would read about their business’s. This honed my conversation skills and it stood out very clearly when I made an impactful presentation in my final year. My professor then told me very strongly to pursue an MBA with full dedication (this was after my first attempt in CAT).

Making a decision is one thing and convincing your parents about that decision is part of a totally different universe. It took me a while to convince my parents that I wanted to pursue an MBA by taking a year off. To be honest, I had nothing much to do, hence the drop, one can easily ace the management entrance exams without one. Somehow I convinced them, I studied hard and not just that I studied smart as well. I made various strategies to attempt an exam through various mocks and finally found solace in one particular strategy. I wrote at least two mocks every alternate day in the last two months before the exam. The last three months of my preparation were high on self-study and I had reduced my dependence on the coaching centre for learning. I had every required thing in my hands, the materials, the mocks, the sheets.. I was on a solving spree. Once I sat on my chair in the library, I wouldn’t move for the next 5-6 hours (only for lunch and a couple of carcinogenic substances). Unlike my previous attempt, this time my target was clear. I aimed the top tier management schools in the country. And for every school, I knew the exact ways in which their exams had to be attempted.

Results, group discussions & personal interviews and finally achievement. I got a call from every college for which I attended the GDs and PIs. My target was a top tier business school and I did achieve it. I am proudly getting beaten up black and blue by deadlines, submissions and case studies while I pursue Human Resources Management and Labour Relations in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. And trust me, life has never been better. I am learning every day, I am getting better every day and I am confident that I will grab one of the most coveted jobs in the industry. And not just that, you get to meet so many people from so many different parts of the society (sometimes you end up wondering where the hell do they come from), and you also get to make great friends who will see you in all your cranky moods while you chase deadlines and yet are fine with it (don’t lose them!) and if you are lucky enough, you also get to meet your “more than a friend” friend.

All this! Just by making a well-thought decision. Thus the point that I am trying to prove here is that life is good when you set your goals. When you know where you are investing your hard work and for what purpose, you will eventually feel satisfied with achieving it. When my undergraduate professor told me that I was the right person in the wrong place, I feel happy to have changed my status quo to being the right person in the right place!, and I wish you all the very best to achieve the same!

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