Classroom Experiences – Ayan Sen, IIM Udaipur

I had come to IIM Udaipur, fresh from a near 3-year work stint. I was eager to gain the leadership and soft skills that an MBA was supposed to provide. IIM Udaipur was known for its emphasis on academic rigour, so I had no doubt about the quality of technical education that I would be receiving. What I also wanted to do was to overcome habits and biases that had held me back, and learn new ones that would help me become a strong and reliable leader in the future.

When I arrived at IIM Udaipur, I was immediately swept away by the flurry of activities that characterized our orientation week. Our class was a melting pot of cultures. An even mix of people with and without work experience from every corner of the country gathered to learn together. I struggled with names and backgrounds for the first couple of weeks, and I still do manage to quite regularly mix up names, to my classmates’ amusement and irritation.

In the first week of classes, we had a few preliminary courses, Managerial Oral Communication being one of them. Our class was split evenly into two separate groups, each having separate classes. Our instructor was Dr Sunil, a tall, sharp looking and eloquent man. In our very first class, he threw us a curveball, when he looked at us, smiled slightly, and asked if anyone of us had looked him up. We blustered a bit, but it was pretty obvious we had not taken the trouble. Still smiling, he asked us how we would know how to communicate effectively with a potentially significant stranger if we did not take the basic step of checking the background of the person. I was taken aback. I remembered that in my job while prepping for meetings, I would take the time to know about the people who would be there in the meeting. Yet, here I had totally skipped the same due diligence because it was a classroom.

We were asked to prepare a story to tell for our second class of Managerial Oral Communication. I had spent some time thinking up one and was reasonably confident in communicating the same effect. Once the class started, however, we were in for a surprise. Each of us was given a sheet of paper on which we were supposed to mark our peers on their performance in storytelling. After a certain number of stories, each of us had to receive feedback on what our own classmates thought of our performance. The activity suddenly seemed a lot more perilous, stressful, and personal.

None of us was completely prepared. A few of us came to a grinding halt and faltered on after encouragement from our classmates. The feedback was raw, unfiltered and honest. No one had any place to hide. As I was told off by my own friends for the myriad of details that I had previously thought too minor to consider, my pride was in tatters. Our class ended with Dr Sunil giving us a few more pointers for improvement, and emphasising the importance of rehearsal for public speaking.

When I came to my room and ruminated on my dressing down, I was surprised to find a sense of relief. All my doubts were resolved, and I was reassured that IIM Udaipur would indeed be the challenging and fulfilling MBA journey that I had wished for.

Which ABG company would I want to work for and why?

One of the things I became aware of with regards to my understanding of the workings of a company was the complete lack of understanding of the many intricacies and complexities of the Finance department of an organization. It is because of this very reason that I want to specialize in finance in the next two years and do hands-on work in the financial services of a large MNC to gain further understanding and experience on the various complexities involved. It thus makes sense that I would want to work for one of the largest financial services in India and one of the top 5 private diversified NBFCs in India, Aditya Birla Capital Limited.

IIM Udaipur Placement Committee

IIM Udaipur, established in 2011, focuses on three pillars of academic excellence, research and career growth for its students so as to provide a transformational journey. Email: placecomm@iimu.ac.in

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