1. Placements –
a. Inflated Placements figures – A CTC of 25 lac does not mean the candidate will be earning that amount. In the 25 lac package - roughly 15 lac would be the fixed element, 3 lac would be the joining bonus, 2 lac the maximum achievable bonus and 5 lac worth of stock options which will vest later. So even if you manage to earn 20 lac (if you get the full bonus) in the first year, 3 lac will be deducted from your CTC in the next year! And 80-90% of the times, forget about the stock options!
b. Mean Salaries - Mean salaries, even though widely reported do not give a clear picture of the state of affairs. Thanks to the law of averages, for every 20 people who get a salary of 30 lac there are plenty who get salaries of 10–12 lac as well. So not everybody has a happy ending during the placement season. This is something no one takes into account.
c. Wrong field – There is a huge number of people who get plum jobs but not in the sector they wanted. I know a CFA level 2 cleared person who finally got a sales and marketing internship! There is a clear-cut mismatch!
2. Cut-throat competition - You have to dish out your A-game or you will be beaten by your peers. A 1-2 mark lead can go a long way in changing your grade! Most to your colleagues have been toppers in the past. If you relax for a few days, you can face serious backlog!
3. Fake CV Points – In all probability, 25% of a person’s CV is fake. Exaggeration is the key word here. I mean if he was the Vice-president of a fest which is attended by 1000 people, it will be shown as “Managed India’s biggest management fest with a footfall of 10,000+ people”. Sometimes I don't know what is more fake - an IIM student's CV or Salman Khan’s charity work.
4. Conceptual understanding? Just tell me what is important for the exam – So there are 8 subjects per semester. Every semester there are 2 exams – Mid-terms and End-terms. So in essence, there are 6 exams and 24 subjects to learn – crammed up in a 9 month window, with the major focus being placements! In this environment, how can you expect the kids to actually LEARN the subject? Most of the students are content with just looking at the past years’ papers and faculty PPT. The environment is not conducive to learning subjects but to rather manage to handle stress and manage time efficiently.
5. Quality of Professors – The pathetic quality of teachers will shock you! There are various types of teachers you will find – a sadistic one who is waiting for you to fuck up, a professor who perennially finishes his class 10 minutes after the designated time and eats away the break, a professor who knows 100% about the contents in her book and 0% outside that, etc. (I have special disregard for the one who finishes the class late. I mean, you are a MANAGEMENT teacher, don’t you know how to manage your time?) In spite of the teachers being PhDs and highly accomplished, they really have no connect with the students. Obviously, this is just 1 side of the story. There are a set of professors who are brilliant and talking to them really broadens your understanding of the subject.
6. No one knows how to handle a GD – If you ever happen to attend a GD during summer placements, you will be shocked to see the mediocrity on display. In a group of 10, you will always find 1 person not opening his mouth, 2 people constantly raising their voices and 1-2 people with irrelevant points. It’s a fish market.
7. Wide-spread copying – Phone. Chits. Writing on body parts. Deciding a time to meet in the washroom. Anything is fine as long as it helps in improving the grade. And except for a handful, everyone indulges in it. Religiously.
8. Managing a long distance relationship and friendship can become challenging! It's not an easy ride.
P.S. - By no means am I that saying joining an IIM is not a good decision. It is one of the best things that can happen to you. These are just the negative aspects. The benefits outweigh the costs!