Acads At 70, Work Experience Of 65 Months And The Journey To IIM Bangalore

IIM A, B, & C are not the institutes, about which everyone can dream of! This is what friends remarked when he expressed interest in joining IIMs. He researched further to realize that only 4 out of ~ 400 students of graduating batch ’18 of IIMB had more than 58 months experience. Most of admits had academic scores at least 85% at all stages. Can a person with scores in 70s and PSU work-experience of 65 months aspire for traditional 2-year PGP at top IIMs? He had such apprehensions deep inside, but he just moved ahead with his plan.

Having orientation of public service and experience with middle management, Author felt the need to learn business concepts, take challenging & entrepreneurial roles, and maximize individual potential for a larger purpose. 1 year Executive MBA or 2 years traditional MBA – this question puzzled him too. He was inclined toward stretching it to 2 years as it was probably his last stay in college and he didn’t like short-cuts in education. Practical realities driven suggestions from friends was the opposite. He heard his inner voice while taking the final call. And it was CAT ’17.

He lived in the remote tribal location of Jharkhand while applying for CAT ’17. His job position was demanding, keeping him and his mind engaged the whole day. He kept postponing the preparation for the exam. Last week had already approached and he didn’t get any leave from office. 6 days before the exam, he departed for home to get peace of mind, away from the workplace. At home, he barely touched the book, just surfed through online preparation sites, and supervised construction of his new house.

Obvious lack of preparation left his mind confused on the day before the exam. He was unsure whether he should appear for CAT or not? On Saturday night, he decided to travel to the workplace, for Sunday exam. He reached work-place at 3 AM, had a good sleep till 9 AM on Sunday. The exam was scheduled for the afternoon, 65 km away from his workplace. He picked his bike, and went for a long ride, to reach the scenic dam-side venue. His exam was any other event in his life as usual.

Given the minimal efforts, he wasn’t expecting any good score or any interview call from top IIMs. And here it was, the day of result, and very first interview call from IIM Bangalore. It seemed to him like a once in lifetime kind of opportunity. He had got a clear goal. His friends suggested him to prepare full-fledged for interview by shifting to Delhi or Kolkata. His professional responsibilities and Boss said otherwise. He had ownership of some key responsibilities at work, which couldn’t be abandoned at that time. He decided to continue with the job, in the same remote location. He couldn’t take a single leave from office for interviews preparation. Suddenly emerged professional obligations, responsible position and strict schedule didn’t provide him much freedom. Next months were real challenges for him toward his journey to IIM.

He started connecting with old friends graduated from IIMs, narrowed to few college-juniors, who were studying at IIM B and L. He was lucky to get in touch with Saransh, a final year student at IIM B at that time. Saransh mentored him closely for every single requirement of the interview. In addition to that, the author joined the online mock-interview site “Pinterview”. These two developed him immensely to “be yourself” in the interview.

For each MBA interview, he could get only one daytime. He travelled overnight to Kolkata, appeared for interviews, and returned in the night. IIMB interview was the second one for him, only after the cap interviews. He chatted with candidates extensively while waiting at Kenilworth, Kolkata. He entered the interview room with a free mind, with the intention of light chat with learned professors. His interview was just a conversation about varied topics, ranging from his native to working conditions to mining technology to geography of the northeast. He didn’t answer a few questions, but kept the environment light and chilled somehow.

It was a pleasant day in office when he got the mail. Offer in the very first list from dream college, what more he could ask for! He was instantly melted with joy and celebrating the mail. In hindsight, it all appeared like a dream to him. It was not an even usual, he knew that. His faith in himself got strengthened.

“If you dare to dream and move ahead, you may fail. If you don’t, you have already failed.”, He felt at the end.

Devendra Kumar

Devendra is a first year student at IIM Bangalore. He graduated from ISM Dhanbad, and worked for 69 months at CIL. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/devendrakrgupta

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