It was my first week in IIM Udaipur, and we were supposed to do our first group project. In a b-school, study groups are made by PGP office, and the groups are made with a specific purpose. The group contains a lot of diversity. There is at least one female in the group. Similarly, there are people with graduation in different domains in one study group. I was the only fresher engineer in the study group. The moment when other members started talking about balance sheets and Porter's five forces, I felt like an alien. I could not contribute much to the project. The next morning, we had alumni meet where three alumni came to motivate the incoming batch. The only question I wanted to ask what should a fresher do to survive in a b-school environment. I had so much inferiority complex of being a fresher at that time that I could not even ask my question out of the fear of being judged.
After completing my first year in IIM Udaipur, and after interacting with our next batch, I understood that a lot of freshers have these inhibitions in their mind. So I would like to address the same in this article.
A b-school designs its curriculum keeping in mind the type of students that will take up the course. Each course starts at the most basic level. There are almost no pre-requisites for the course in the first year of MBA except common sense and basic arithmetic. A class like Financial Accounting, where a fresher engineer like me would expect to feel completely out of place, starts from the very basic idea of credit and debit. Within no time you would find yourself making a valuable contribution to class discussion. The only things that are required in the first term of an MBA course are open mind to new ideas, discipline regarding doing your assigned pre-reads and post-reads, and courage to ask questions. Certain courses like Individual and Group Dynamics can even give fresher an advantage because the course paints a picture of a very utopian organization, but the students with prior work experience cannot accept that and disparage the course content.
Concerning placements, the primary challenge a fresher encounter is filling his/her CV with relevant CV points. Due to an absence of work experience, freshers have to mention their PORs and Academic Achievements. However, if a person has made his/her way into a good b-school of India, they have enough points which they can write on their CV. It is just that they need to look deep into their lives and that would give them enough things to write on their CV. Also, there are companies which want freshers for specific job roles.
After scoring a GPA of 3.79/4 in course of Financial Accounting when at the start of the course I even did not know the meaning of a balance sheet, getting a summer internship offer fairly early in the Summer Internship process, I can certainly say that there are no areas in a b-school journey where a fresher is inferior to any of his/her batch-mate.
The advice I would like to give to any b-school aspirant is that they should be confident about their skills and be free from any inhibitions as inhibitions would prevent you from experiencing the heaven in a b-school. After-all experiences whether good or bad make a competent professional and there is no place apart from b-school where you can have a plethora of experiences in a very limited time of two years.