I am an MBA student. I have committed 2 years of my life to a program that is more demanding that any of the relationships I have had. The irony of the fact is that when I graduated as an engineer I never thought I would need this. But as the rope that I was thrown at my office started to fall short, as my hikes got lesser and as the next promotion looked less likely I came across the glass door. It opened only for those with who had the password. And to know the password you needed to invest into a two-year program. So I did.
After a turbulent journey of sitting for one of the toughest exams in the country to answering ‘Tell me about yourself ‘ questions in interviews, I managed to get into a couple of top b-schools. I chose to take the two-year journey with SPJIMR. I might come up with many reasons to why I joined SP only one will be true –‘Placements’. I thought I had no shot at getting admitted into SP Jain and for once I was honest in the interviews and cited placements as my reason to join. The interviewers were shocked. I came out thinking that in an attempt, to be honest, I had ruined my chances. But I guess the panellists liked me and I got admitted. I guess professors at SP Jain like honesty, a fact that was reinforced many times later on.
When you join a top b-school you expect the Dean of the school to be a person who is restrained and difficult to approach (an experience which I learnt during my engineering). I was therefore shocked to find our Dean addressing us during a session. I don’t remember all of what he said, only this ‘Grades don’t matter’. Growing up in India, you do not take such a statement at face value. I thought our Dean had said this to add dramatic flair to his already entertaining address, I was wrong, though.
My first month at SPJain was hectic to say the least. Folks at MBA do not believe in giving you time to settle in. So we were bombarded with assignments, tests from the first day itself. It is ironical that you take a test on the first day of your b-school journey. I gave that test and managed to pass it. I thought the worst was over, turns out that was far from the truth. The only silver lining during the first month was a short trip to Lonavla where we were taken to learn team building. We participated in events which seemed like daily chores. I am not certain that I learnt team building, however, I did enjoy the weather and got to know some great people.
When you join a b-school that admits 240 students out of 20000+ applications (this after you beat around 100000 people in an exam to come out on top) you think you have made it. However, you end up meeting a bunch of folks who are the best of the best in some walk of life. You end up doubting yourself and wonder whether you belong here. However in the barrage of assignments you don’t find time to mull over it and soon that feeling goes away. The students of any b-schools can be classified into two groups, CAs and non-CAs. The CAs end up having a cakewalk for the most part of the first year. You end up asking queries form people who are 4 years younger to you and soon the self-doubting thoughts resurface. You plunge yourself into multiple activities ( clubs, social circle ) to counter that.
The most important document that you will come across during your MBA is your CV. It is a clever way of dressing you up and presenting yourself to potential recruiters. You end up spending hours to select the correct word, the order of points which would help you get a shortlist . Most people end up taking too many things in order to get precious CV points, some of them succeed , others fake it but all of them end up getting a good job. Placements is a matter of luck. When you have the all stars competing in a match it is only a matter of who wins the toss.
I have had to submit assignments at midnight (I guess professors know that it is the only time we work) juggle between quizzes , committee work, assignments, personal commitments . I cannot say that I have learnt a lot but I am beginning to understand something. The people who are the Elites, who know the password are the kind of people who are ready for anything. No deadline is too tough, no situation is too bad. I guess I will get the password and be admitted to the club. Only time will tell.
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