A Guide For An Aspirant By A Former Aspirant

“What are the expected questions that could be asked in the IIM interview?”- a voice on the phone started my day and a realisation struck me. Almost 9 months have passed by at IIML, but it still feels like yesterday. The preparation for IIM interviews, getting into IIML, the induction, the classes, the deadlines, the CV preparation and the summer placements-life indeed has been a roller coaster ride.

And today I am here, guiding another aspirant- tables turned this time. And I said exactly what my mentor had guided me, “I am sure you would have done a lot in your life, significant or not, now is the time to remember it.”

With the preparation of so many expected questions, we actually get closer to the reality, a reality about ourselves that we have never seen, never experienced. You make friends, you gather knowledge, you face challenges and everything happens for a reason. No, it’s not always for HR answers (though it might help), but to complete you as an individual so that you are ready for facing any challenging situation.

After guiding her through “probable questions” she asked, “Is there something more?” I replied – “Any aspect of your life that has not been covered is equally important. A person who does not know himself may not understand others and their expectations. You might not get a physics derivation correct, it is fine but knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” (it is better to quote Aristotle)

She asked, “How much effort does it take? Do you get time to sleep?” I was sure she had a lot of questions for the day!

There are a lot many things that everyone learns here, the most important being- “Deadlines are sacrosanct”. From induction till date, the importance of every second has been ingrained. One can feel the pressure when an assignment is uploading at 23:59:40 for a 23:59:59 deadline. Every fraction of a second has its importance here.

It is said that what you read you forget, what you experience you remember for life. Surely, there are things that the PGP manual might teach us, but for everything else, there is LIFE!

I remember my professor saying, “All of you would probably have been toppers when you were in school, but here not everyone can be a topper”. True, one needs to acknowledge the competition and be comfortable with the fact that the best of minds are competing. You learn to appreciate that people can achieve more than you and admire skills of people and learn from them.

“Hello? Are you there?”- her voice echoed on the phone. I replied with a smile which she might have felt “It’s worth all the effort. You learn who you are, what you want, and what you need to do”

Surely, MBA is not just about parties, or just about studying day-in and day out, it is about learning to create a balance in your life where you can work and enjoy at the same time. It is about networking but it is also about finding introspection. It is about fests and events and about assignment and quizzes. It is only about exploring what you would love to do for the rest of your life!

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