Graduate Summer School 2018 – IIM Ahmedabad

Vidya Viniyoga Vikas (Development through Application of Knowledge): this is what this great institute stands by, and this is exactly what each and every person in IIM Ahmedabad works towards.

It was in the month of February 2018 that I came across the advertisement for the Graduate Summer School at IIM A, while scrolling through Facebook. Open the link, and it leads you to a very well planned and strategized course outline and schedule. Decision made. Application needs to be filed. The form was nowhere near to a normal application form that one wold perhaps fill for a OGP course at IIM A. Apart from the basic details, it was specific in trying to capture the applicants view of what he/she was going to opt for, what he/she was expecting and hat value he/she would be adding to the school, some basic documents; and done! Application filed. Nevertheless, it had taken 45 minutes to fill that behemoth of a form up.

Come Feb end and the day for the announcement of selected candidates had arrived. I was eagerly waiting since morning, hoping to get that special email. 2:00 pm, and it struck! The 45 minutes of labour had paid off, my ticket to The Mecca of MBA had been confirmed.

We were told that we would be getting pre-read materials that would be required to be gone through. The chain of emails containing articles, journals, books and cases started flowing in from March mid, and they came with a truckload of files. Each mail was another bombarding of some great articles, out of the box cases, and some very new concepts. A normal student would go bonkers by the sheer volume of materials that were sent to us. Each email clearly specifying what was expected of us as students, and what we needed to prepare. Among the materials were quite a few IIM A case studies, password protected, signifying the importance of those documents. Well, those are the cases that the great institute uses in order to nurture future leaders, that is the competitive advantage this place has.

As the date for the School neared, the frequency of emails increased, and the detailing too. Few days before arriving, we were sent detailed documents regarding our arrival and stay, our expectations and everything else we would deem necessary.

Come April 1, and I land up at the gates of my dream place, outside lies my world, and inside, my dream. Everything was well planned and arranged for. The next morning, we had our registrations done, and were showered with some IIM A branded goodies and merchandise. Waste no more time and get straight into business. Session after session, class after class. 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.

And each session is an intense 75 minutes of discussion, fostering critical thinking and problem solution approaches. We were expected to be ready with the pre-read materials assigned and also the case study for that session. The session would begin with the analysis of the case and by the time we ended the case analysis, all the theory was already intertwined and linked in the case. Somewhere, you wouldn’t really understand how the theories got linked, but they did. And that’s the beauty of the teaching method and pedagogy of this place.

The sessions were mainly taken by the FPM Community students of IIM A with a few sessions administered by esteemed faculty members too. We even had a session where a guest faculty had come in from Harvard Business School to give us his insights on the topic. IIM A takes management not only from the business side but every arena of life. So, we also got a chance to know the smallest details of Election Management from a person who had managed one of the recent elections. Thus providing us with a view that what we study is not only restricted to businesses, but to any aspect of life.

Well, when at IIM A, sleep needs to be earned. And Yes, as Summer School students we did have to earn our sleep. The sessions were so planned, with assignments, and pre-reads for the next day in hand, that we were up all night preparing for the next day. Four hours was the maximum sleep we got. Speaking about tradition, we were not left out in being given an exposure into the tradition of IIM A, be it the classroom whereabouts, the mess conversations, the campus memories, or even the dinner at Vishala.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship, two things that CIIE @ IIM A is known for. Living true to its promises, the sessions by CIIE focused on business plan and innovation. We were divided into groups and given an opportunity to present or Big Idea in front of an esteemed panel of judges. Cash prizes awarded to the most promising plans.

When at IIM A, one can not forget speaking about the infrastructure. The red brick walls, the high ceiling, the open doorways, the arches, the greenery, the classrooms, everything. The philosophy behind having high ceilings – to give way for thinking and not let the walls curtail the heights of thoughts. Every possible place in the campus has been designed to encourage interactions, be it the benches at every nook and cranny, the extended parapets to sit on, the thick walls and window sills, or even the floor for that matter. The campus is designed to make you productive. The trivia, the entire old campus (red bricks campus) has no solid foundation in the ground, neither any support pillars; just brisk structures. Makes you feel unsafe? Don’t worry, it survived all natural calamities, and it still stands unperturbed. The new campus, on the other hand, is starkly different. No bricks. Entirely built from RCC, safe and strong to the core. As beautiful as the old one, as inviting as its predecessor. The campus has some strange but eulogising positive vibes all around, you tend to just feel good being there.

To sum it up, my experience of The Graduate Summer School has been an experience of a lifetime. Some great learnings, many new friends and connections, and innumerable happy memories to take back. Not to forget the many goodies that were given to us by the GSS team even as we closed the event. Plus, the IIM A and CIIE branded certificate which everyone who attended GS18 strived for. One thing I am sure of is that anyone who experiences this place will surely come out as ‘Not just another brick in the wall’.

Vishal Patodia

Soon to be HR professional. I love learning new things and exploring beyond normal boundaries.