Why I Chose TISS Mumbai Over IIM Kozhikode And IIFT Delhi – Vivek Ranjan’s Journey To TISS Mumbai
It was last week of December 2016 when my result came out. It was IIFT. One of my close friends called me that results are out and he asked me for my roll number. I told him after checking it on my laptop. That moment was a very intense one with a lot of things going on in my mind. As IIFT gives out a list in PDF, everyone can know who got through. My friend told me “Congrats! You got through”. Suddenly, mind went to a relaxed state from a tensed one and I myself wanted to check my results and opened the website and found my name there. This was a really happy moment. Then, from the next day, I started preparation for GD-WAT-PI and things were going on as usual. Then CAT results got declared on 9th January. I got a percentile, from which I was sure of getting at least a few IIM calls. Days moved on and calls started coming, first was IIM Kozhikode then IIT Bombay (SJMSOM) then all the new IIMs and finally TISS (HRM & LR). I prepared for all the interviews. It made me travel a lot as I was living in Ranchi and had to go to Kolkata multiple times and to Mumbai 2 times for interviews.
My first interview was IIFT which happened at its Kolkata campus. This was the place my parents wanted me to study. They liked IIFT very much, much more than any IIM (I don’t know why!). The process went well and I was quite sure of getting through. Then after that, I had IIM Kozhikode interview for which I again had to go to Kolkata. That interview was the weirdest interview I ever had in my life (though I had given only a few interviews before that). My interview was taken by Prof. Matthews (I came to know about him after around one week from some friend studying at IIM K that he is one of the most famous profs there). I was totally confused as to how the interview went. Was it good, bad or worst because the only thing Prof. Mathews discussed with me was that MBA is not something right for me and I should pursue Ph.D. from some American University and do some really nice research (as I was a student of Nanotechnology?)
He kept on insisting me that this is not the right field for me to which I kept on giving my reasons for pursuing an MBA. He even told me that had I been his son, he would have never allowed me to pursue MBA. Believe me, he did not ask a single question for which I prepared in the last one month. His only question at the end was – “Do you have a girlfriend?” I had not expected this question and so my facial expression suddenly changed. I replied in the negative (which was true also!). Then the other panellist directly asked – “Why not?”. I was totally unaware of how to deal with such questions in an MBA interview that too of an IIM. I gave some silly reasons (which obviously I would not like to share here!). Then he offered me refreshments and a small water bottle. I took that, came out of the room. This was a totally new experience for me and I told the same to my dad who was sitting downstairs in the lobby. He told me that the interviewer must be testing my conviction to pursue MBA.
From Kolkata, I directly went to Mumbai as my IIT Bombay interview was just after 2 days. At IIT Bombay, the process was first an essay and then interview. I wrote the essay as nicely as I could. Then I went for the interview. I was the first candidate in that panel to be interviewed. In IIT Bombay, in each panel, there is a professor from one of the engineering department as most of the people who come to IIT Bombay for MBA are engineers (That’s true for every other b-school also!). This interview was a grilling one. They asked me all sorts of question that I expected. Whatever I learned in my engineering was completely drained out from me. Then some HR questions also like Why MBA? Why IIT Bombay to which I gave standard answers that every aspirant prepares. When I came out, I was quite sure of not getting selected here. After around 10 days I had TISS interview. So, I went back to home and came after one week again to Mumbai. Here, Essay and GD went decently and the interview was quite different. They asked me why I want to pursue HR and not some other fields like Finance, Marketing, Operations, etc to which I replied some standard answers. Then, they started asking me about the current political scenarios and my political views (I will not share my answers here for sure!). The interview went well I think. After this, I had a call from IIM Ranchi (PGDHRM) which takes a separate interview and is not under common admission process of new IIMs. But that was in April. So, I had to wait now for all the results. My wait came to an end when the first result which was IIFT got declared on last day of March. I made it to IIFT Delhi. I was very happy and went home after some time to celebrate with my parents (who were very happy as I got through their favourite college). Also, I had to prepare documents and make payment of 1st instalment for IIFT. The day I made the Demand Draft, IIM Kozhikode results were declared. I did not expect anything good but of course like any aspirant I wanted to see the results. I logged on and what I saw was a shocker for me. I got IIM Kozhikode as well. My parents were happy but they were happier for IIFT than for IIM K. Then, I had to go to Kolkata for IIM Ranchi (PGDHRM) interview but just 3 days before my interview my father fell sick and I thought that I have already got 2 better converts, so even if I don’t go, it hardly matters. So, I did not go. Then after 2-3 weeks results of IIT Bombay came and after that TISS came. In TISS, I was at WL-2. So, I asked some people over facebook if I would get through to which people replied in positive. And finally, results of New IIMs came one by one. I was on the final list of all of them. Today, when I look back, I remember that when I started preparation, I thought that even if I get a decent college, I would be happy. But, by God’s grace, I ended up converting some top-notch institutions.
Then came the decision phase. My mom did not want me to go to IIM Kozhikode as it was very far away and she wanted me to be at IIFT Delhi. My father wanted me to choose either IIM K or IIFT Delhi. For IIT Bombay and TISS, neither of them was very happy. So, instead of asking other people, I thought of analysing the differences among these institutes. I knew about all of them, but to make a decision, I had to do it in a really serious way. When I listed the benefits and costs and other opportunities, I found TISS to be cheapest (around 1.5 Lakhs academic fees for 2 years), IIT Bombay to be a little modest (around 8 Lakhs) and IIM K and IIFT Delhi to be expensive (16-18 Lakhs). Then, of course, I looked for returns, which was almost the same across these institutes. Then, another dimension was the number of students which definitely affects placements. TISS was again the best in this parameter because it has an intake of 60 only. Another important USP which attracted me to TISS was the concept of fieldwork which gives an opportunity for 4 internships in 4 semesters in 4 different organizations in 4 different sectors and one 1 NGO internship and of course one summer internship. The last parameter was my development as a person which again favoured TISS as it is not a typical b-school and there are various other courses so peer learning would definitely be on higher side. Some people on FB and in Paagalguy told me to join HR only if you are interested and clear about it and HR has lower growth opportunities in future and many other things. But, I was convinced that this is the place where I want to go. HR in the main offering but there are various other things that TISS is offering me and as far as future is concerned, no one has seen it and “life is what happens when you are busy planning other things”.
So, I made my decision final. I told my parents about it but they told me to think again but I told them that I am very sure. Even, the day when I was going for document verification at TISS, before entering the room, my mom asked me if I was sure of my decision and I can still join IIFT as its joining date was one month later. But, I assured my mom that I am very sure.
Now, today when I look back, a smile comes to my face which essentially says that I made the right decision because decisions are not right or wrong it’s the person making that decision should feel what is the right decision for him or her.