(#Throwback To 2013: This article was published 5 years back but remains relevant even now)
Walking through the IIM campus is an experience unlike any other. The stately, elegant and huge campus with classically designed buildings, tree-lined walkways, and open, grassy courtyards are a treat for the mind. The premier business schools in the country offer a residential, self-contained campus program for the student participants of the course. The campus design serves to strengthen the sense of community at the B-school, with the belief that the daily interactions of residential life only increase the potential for learning.
It is recognized that every student has a unique set of life circumstances and needs, owing to the fact that these people come from various cultural background and demographics: some are single, some are married, some cherish their privacy, while others want a stronger sense of camaraderie with their fellow students. The MBA experience is more than attending classes—it's about having a sense of community, and a feeling that the place where you live for two years is truly your home.
Over the years the IIMs have strongly fostered this type of culture. The infrastructure is so designed that the students get well-versed with the habit of community learning. But the residential program is beyond community learning. It is about expanding your network, partying with friends, chit-chatting with neighbours, brainstorming of cases for the next day, sharing assignments and much more. Following are some of the b-school experiences that shall make us nostalgic a few years down the line when we reminisce about our experiences of being at B-school in its residential program.
Each day a birthday party-
365 days in a year and near about the same strength of the batches at IIM makes it possible that you celebrate a birthday almost every day on campus. The stroke of midnight is a reminder to move to the celebration spot. No matter whether the person is just an acquaintance or a very dear friend, all form a rush to gift birthday bumps to the birthday boy/girl. Boys have a unique way of celebrating birthdays at IIMs, they get their weapons ready (sticks, deodorants, lighter, broom etc.), and “attack” the birthday boy with them. The one receiving the bumps is delighted as he knows that he would also get a chance to give those bumps tomorrow to someone else. These small moments make a memory of the lifetime.
When you are tired studying late into the night and you decide to move to the night mess, you will find many others like you, trying to ward off their sleep, with a cup of tea or a plate of noodles. Similarly, evening tea and snacks remind those with industry experience of enjoying tea and snacks after finishing work and leaving for home.
Read more about the Night Mess.
No time constraints- the night is ours
The residential program keeps away the 9-5 type working culture. You are always on your feet, innovating, designing, brainstorming solutions to the problems. Time does move but you are more accustomed to it in the form of numbers and not as part of the day. Sleep at night is unlikely. It usually happens when you have enough bandwidth to accommodate time for sleep. The most fun part of this interaction is that you don’t feel anything bad about missing your sleep as this, in turn, is overcome by the joy of achieving something for which you had been trying with your peer group.
Socializing becomes so easy with peer group at IIMs that goes beyond the words. The availability of football/basketball grounds, movie theatre, gym and swimming pool help you to rejuvenate with your peer group and share those moments of competing and challenging on the sports ground. At IIM Indore, a movie in the theatre on Saturdays is a refreshing experience. This movie often acts a stress buster and is an excellent opportunity to enjoy with your friends, which you would have otherwise missed or would miss when you get entangled in the busy corporate life.
Classes at night
As both the faculty and the students are on the campus, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that classes can be scheduled at any hour of the day/night. Having a class at night is a unique experience when you always have had classes in the morning during your graduation days. It is the beauty of the residential campus program that facilitates this type of an arrangement.
Phone calls may be outdated
Often if you have a problem, you call your closest friend to ask for suggestions. In spite of the fact that most companies offer corporate calling plans to students at IIMs, making a phone call is a late option. Participants don’t mind buzzing the doorbell, due to the close proximity and accessibility enabled by the residential culture.
Being away from family
There will be quite a few on the campus who have always lived at home, never been in the hostel. In the initial days when you have just joined the campus, you miss your family to the core. But the support of friends always around you, being on your toes to meet sacrosanct deadlines removes the feeling of being away from home.
After entering the premier B-school I wonder how I would have managed MBA if the program had been non-residential. This is the difference my 5 months of stay at the campus has enabled. Enjoy each and every moment of this residential program. You may believe it or not, but you are weaving a bag full of pleasant memories of your joyful learning experience of this program. Keep working and keep enjoying and become a pioneered connoisseur in management.
- Barleen Kaur
Barleen Kaur is an alumna of IIM Indore (Class of 2015). She did her B.Tech degree from GGS Indraprastha University in Computer Science and Engineering and worked as a training manager at a consulting company and also started a coaching centre. She has a strong affinity for writing and is an avid orator.