The action began in the month of July. On one hand, I was feeling excited about starting over a new chapter in my life, while, on the other hand, I was pretty nervous about what to expect in an IIM.
I arrived at the hostel one day in advance as it had been mentioned in the offer letter. To add to the nervousness, our seniors had stuck banners on the door of every room stating “Congratulations on being part of the IIM Sambalpur family. Hope you survive PGP1.”, and that too with a danger sign. I had heard many stories about how doing MBA from an IIM was a rigorous process and required as much hard work as resolve.
Still, I dismissed the thoughts of survival and met my roommate, a Commerce graduate who was very enthusiastic about the whole thing. He even told my parents it would be really good for both of us to learn from each other since we both were from different backgrounds. After having lunch in the mess, my parents left, leaving me to pursue this “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
The first week/orientation week was a trailer for the things to expect at IIM Sambalpur. It involved getting up early to attend lectures and staying up till late in the night, wherein seniors introduced us to the MBA lifestyle with a variety of simulations and presentations. The first week, though hectic, was a real eye-opener. It introduced us to the daily routine of a manager. We were divided into random groups to perform an activity and the groups differed for different activities. This was done to make us know each other better and to build a sense of team spirit.
After the orientation week was over, classes began in full-flow. A typical day here starts at 9 AM and carries on till 6 PM (sometimes even 9 PM) in the evening. The initial weeks were somewhat difficult where all of us were still trying to sort our feet in the new curriculum. Being from an engineering background, the accounting classes were a bit overwhelming for me.
Even after coming from classes we had several home tasks to do (still have), most of which were group tasks. These groups tasks were very helpful during the initial days as we got to know each other and also got different opinions regarding the task to be performed. Also being from different backgrounds helped in getting diverse expertise.
One thing that has become synonymous with life at IIM Sambalpur is punctuality. Not only is coming late to class unacceptable but also assignment/project submissions after a stipulated time (normally 11:59:59 PM) are not accepted by the professors. Almost every other day, we have case/topic presentations (individual as well as group) where we are constantly evaluated.
Before coming here, I had a feeling of stage fright. The constant presentations which are a part of the MBA curriculum here, allowed me to overcome this fear of mine. Also, the feedback received from the different faculties have helped me improve a lot.
Apart from this, whenever we get some free time from our studies, we go to the common room to enjoy some TV or play TT or carrom. Outdoor games like cricket and football are also played during holidays, although holidays are a rare occurrence here. We also go out for movies or sight-seeing after classes, when the workload is a bit low.
The cultural events organized here are a beauty to behold. These are the only time when we get to enjoy the events forgetting about the submissions and deadlines. This year we conducted our first ever annual fest “Ethos”. The event got great response which culminated in it being a massive success. Students from the top B-schools from all over India came to participate in the events.
Taking a look down the memory lane, it seems as if the first year of life at IIM came to an end very quickly. After our summers (internship), we all will be the flag-bearers and mentors for the next batch of IIM Sambalpur.
I still remember the banners which our seniors had stuck in front of every room. Maybe it was a ploy to motivate us for the tough road ahead. Looking back, I can proudly say that “I survived the PGP-I at IIM Sambalpur”.