Life of pi revolves around the perception of people but the same is not true about the life of a PGP. The life of a PGP student from a top notch b-school revolves around the pillars of academia named cases, assignments, presentations and quizzes. There is a sense of fear tinged with a drop of enthusiasm instilled in every moment when a deadline for any of these approaches and a ‘true PGP’ has a knack of handling the same. But, to get ready for the corporate this rigorous obstacle proves to be the foundation stone to build upon for a robust career to follow. Initiating with the day one joins a b-school the first thing that one faces is the challenge of presenting ones brilliant ideas and notions in front of a highly qualified and analytic audience. Every minute action, gesture and communication is closely observed and this creates a huge cloud of insecurity hovering over the minds of individuals. The atmospheric pressure inside closed rooms aided with projectors, collar mikes and slide changers starts getting on to one’s mind then. What makes one stand out then? What makes one appear to be comfortable and rigid as well as flexible in front of these people? It’s nothing but practice. A B-school prepares one to sustain this pressure. Starting from the night sessions where one presents in front of one’s peers without any severe repercussion on failure, to the highly evaluated ones in the term courses under the vigilant faculties, a PGP only gets better in presentations. Ranging over a diverse set of topics from different domains a PGP is forced to step out of one’s comfort zone and deliver under challenging situations. Presentations hence form an important pillar in the life of a PGP.
The most important part of studying in a B-School is peer learning but one has to keep in mind that grades are equally important.While mid-term and end-term marks form the biggest chunk of the evaluation, there is a small but significant criteria called “Assignments”. Assignments form around 5-10% of the total marks and each course instructor gives 3-4 assignments on an average in a term. It is your performance in these assignments that can give you that slight push to improve your grade from B+ to A-. Completing these assignments on time may seem an easy task but it isn’t. In the initial days, everyone is enthused by the idea of being a part of a premier B-School and pays attention to what is taught in the class. This makes completing assignments easy. But as one progresses through the terms, this enthusiasm goes down and he studies only during the mid-term and end-term exams. For one doesn’t know what topic is being taught in the course, assignment completion is almost impossible. This situation gives birth to a notion called “Freeriding”. All those who do not contribute to the group assignments completion are called “Free Riders”. When in this situation, forming groups for assignments suddenly become strategy problems. And the free riders are very good at it. They identify people who can do well in that particular course and join their groups. Sometimes, a group of free riders form a group among themselves for multiple courses. Each person would work in some of the courses and do nothing in others. All the above statements point out the importance of these assignments. Those who actually do these assignments gain the subject knowledge and free riders get to improve their negotiation and people management skills. Whether one completes them or not, these assignments always teach something.
Learning of concepts and their application are two different things. The best way of learning management is through experience, but for students, it’s not always possible given various constraints. The next best way to acquire knowledge is through cases and simulations. They try to replicate a given situation in the best possible way and challenge the learner to act accordingly. Addition of role plays increases the effectiveness to a whole new level by the process of interactive and mutual learning. Case studies are a part of day to day life at IIM Raipur. All subjects, be it from finance, marketing, strategy, operations or HR use the technique of case study to make the pedagogy more effective. Quizzes are tools for testing the acquired knowledge. “There are only two things that are uncertain in IIM Raipur, death and quiz” these words by a professor aptly captures the essence of the quizzes conduct in the campus, which mostly come as surprise to students. It may sound demanding but on the brighter side, they prepare students to combat uncertain situations.
11:59:59PM-the most ‘deadliest’ time that every student at IIM Raipur fears of. That’s why it’s termed as a ‘deadline’. I could never understand what good these faculties can make by saving just 1 sec. They could simply mention 12 midnight. So how a day at IIM looks like? Each day here is loaded with academic sessions which have presentations, role plays, assignments, case pre-reads, quizzes and what not. You have to stretch and expand yourself for meeting the expectations as well these ‘dreadful’ deadlines. Meeting deadlines is one of the challenges. However, managing it and getting accustomed to it in the initial days of joining B- School creates a lot of physical, psychological and emotional effect. . The most important learning @IIM is probably how to set priorities and lead a balanced life. To sum it up, Life@iimraipur is set around deadlines and one realizes this when he /she is here. Yes it is this IIMR which teaches you the value of time and oversleeping might be a crime! It’s where from the clutches of vicious deadlines you strive to get freed, ‘Attendance is mandatory’ is yet another phrase that has become a cliché. Even if the mail doesn’t includes this phrase people take this as a by-default statement. Attendance of 16/20 classes has to be made to avoid grade drops. Here Students even maintain an excel sheets to keep an eye on the number of missed classes.
That is what a typical day at IIM Raipur or for that matter at any B-School is like. Starting your day with rigorous presentations, attending sessions where you almost fall asleep, preparing for quizzes that might happen any time soon, doing pre-reads, meeting assignment deadlines that seem to be way too unrealistic at times and if there is still any left in hand then utilising it for networking and acing different competitions. Yes, that is what one goes through during this two year course but as tough as it may seem, the hard work that you put in during these two years prepares you for the challenges that lie ahead in the corporate world. Similar to what is desired of a sportsperson, where one toils day in and day out and at times is asked to get the best out of his team-mates in situations where he, himself may not be able to perform at his best is desired of a manager as well and you learn to do that and a lot more from all of these group tasks and assignments and intense pressure-cooker kind of situations that you face here. But then sports is a metaphor for life itself and in our context all of us are nothing but ‘Corporate Athletes’