Don’t Let An MBA Degree Kill Your Passion!

Before joining IIM Rohtak, the biggest fear in my mind wasn’t about placements, academics or leaving the comforts of home. I was only worried about whether I’ll get time to pursue my passion of travelling and photography, knowing the fact that MBA was going to be an extremely hectic course and that b-schools have a reputation for being passion-killers.

Coming from a merchant navy background, I wasn’t used to being stuck in one place. Even during the vacation, I got between sailing assignments, I would hardly stay at home, much to the annoyance of my mother. I would pick a place, pack my bag and hop on a bus to explore uncharted territories. Travelling ignited a fire in me. It was food for my soul.

The first month at IIM Rohtak was as expected, gruelling and challenging. Never ending assignments, sacrosanct deadlines, the pressure to be better than others had pushed me to the brink. All in a month’s time. I had mentally prepared myself for this but I could take no more. I had started missing my old life so much so that I wanted to leave everything, run to the mountains and never return. I had a travel itch that I couldn’t scratch.

Luckily we got a weekend off and I had no classes after Friday morning. I convinced few of my friends and we planned a trip to Kasol. It turned out to be the first of many. In the next 6 months, I went on to explore Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh with close friends and Rajasthan, Goa and Karnataka on solo trips. All of that, without missing a single lecture. Term breaks meant far off places and long weekends meant nearby places.

Planning and executing these trips wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Returning from the Himachal trip, we reached campus at 8:32 AM after driving non-stop for 16 hours. Now, no way was I missing the 8:45 AM class, even though I could barely keep myself awake during the lecture.

There is an interesting story behind how I managed to go on the Karnataka trip. I had booked the tickets well in advance. My flight was during the placement week. I was confident of getting placed before that. Sadly, I wasn’t shortlisted by any company, except one, just a day before I was supposed to fly.

There was no way I was going to come back from the interview empty-handed. Unfortunately, the interview didn’t go as planned. Within 5 minutes, the interviewer said “Okay. Do you have anything to ask?” He isn’t selecting me, I told myself. I had a hundred thoughts running through my mind before I managed to say something and the interview started again. After 20 minutes of me talking just about everything that came to my mind, he told me, “I’m not saying that we aren’t taking you!” My mind was about to explode with excitement.

After a whole night of partying, I managed to reach the airport just in time. Solo tripping in Karnataka and Goa was perhaps the best trip of my life. But that’s a story for another day. What I do want to tell in this story is that nothing should stop you from following your dream. Be it painting, writing, or beatboxing, don’t let a gruelling MBA course kill your passion. It isn’t really a passion if you’re unable to find time for it. BTW, as I type this, and I’m all geared up for a week-long trek in Kashmir later this month.

Sanyam Raheja

Sanyam Raheja is an ex merchant navy officer and presently in the 2nd year of MBA at IIM Rohtak.