Breaking Stereotypes: In search of a risk-free MBA Grad

After having spent a year in a B-school with only few months left to go, I believe that 1 or 2 years is a significant part of one’s life. ‘Experience’ is probably the right word in my opinion. Treat these 2 years as an experience and you shall probably make the most of it. However, flipping through the pages of the past, all that comes to my mind are the myriads of human instincts in an MBA college. Call it following tradition or basic human behavior, we all fit into at least one of these categories. If we don’t, we obviously are not a risk-free MBA student… rather someone breaking stereotypes, someone I’m yet to meet.

The Do-it-All s

Most common in the first year and more so in the first term. Over enthusiasm and insecurity fuel this situation. Yes, it is always good to be an all rounder and one should do a variety of things. However, there is a difference between doing things to make up the numbers and doing things well.  You might end up screwing your academics, causing serious harm to your relationships… this I say after seeing relationships getting bitter and the thread snap for silly reasons like committee selection process.

The CV Point Seekers

Almost all actions are driven by incentives in a B-School and the herd will end up doing all those things they think adds value to their resume. If people started thinking about what adds value to them rather than their resume, quality of activities conducted on campuses would be so much better. People choose courses/electives thinking about what will look good 1 year later. They are ready to endure a poor professor, a course not fit for them and the painful experience of actually studying it because of resume value.

There is a weird concept of a ‘hygiene’ factor in a resume. So, if a few people are doing certifications others want to do it so that their resume isn’t less attractive. Everyone wants one bullet point in their Resume which says you have been part of the management festival and one bullet point on the cultural festival. People manufacture imaginary clubs and societies in their undergrad years. It comes to a point where resumes start looking so similar, the perceived benefits of the above bullet points become almost non-existent.

The Free Loaders

It is a well-known concept in B-Schools. A person who does not contribute at all in a group but gets equal credit by virtue of him/her being in that group is a free-rider. People basically free ride on the insecurity of the scared group member who is concerned about his/her grade. They free ride because they are lazy and see no value being added by working on assignments or presentations.

The Grade Maniacs

Grades may be important for some; may not be important for others. But the third kinds of students are simply crazy about the 0.25 marks they fall short of the maximum. Grades shape up their mind, body and soul!

We have the same feather… let’s flock together

You’re my Bong friend… let’s go look out for fish somewhere! And they spend the remaining days in college fantasizing about fishes and sondesh.

Hey! Join Marcom party tonight! Mind you, it is not any marketing committee party… Marcom = Marathi Committee!

And many more… regionalism is like an identity.

I never raise my hand

In a collectivist society that prevails in India, it is difficult to voice an independent opinion.  And this is where a majority of students, I know, fall.

A number of movies have shown “The Road Not Taken” as a scary path to walk on – full of shocks, hardships and difficulties that will spring upon you out of nowhere, a dangerous route where every step needs to be taken with supreme care. And we, the current Indian student generation, consider the vision shown by these movies as the truth. Thus, we live all our lives, trying to follow the footsteps of previously successful people who have gone down “The Road Most Taken”. And as I write this bit, I seriously wonder where do I fit? In this situation, I cannot expect a utopian transformation to occur in this generation, obviously not me. And after a 10 seconds thought I pen down… Of course, I, too, am a risk-free MBA student.

For all I can do is appreciate Robert Frost

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth…”

This article is written by Debalina Haldar, class of 2015 student at IIM Lucknow. Her novel, The Female Ward, was published in May, 2013. She is the Creative Head and Core Coordinator of the Media and Communication Cell at IIM Lucknow.

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Debalina Haldar

an 'unlikely uncommon quintessential' engineer