It feels like only yesterday when I was basking in the glory of securing admission to IIM Shillong. I remember how I ironed my business formals, shaved my beard, properly positioned myself in front of my laptop, and logged in at 6:45 P.M. for the session scheduled to start at seven.
MBA is like a constant race against time. In the blink of an eye, an entire year swoosh away. But IIM Shillong is a different life altogether. Here life works on a very simple fundamental: either you adapt to the system, or the system will transform you. Either way, the change is inevitable. Here is the list of things we learned in our very first month into MBA:
1. Time Management
When you are forced to complete 48 hours’ worth of work in just 24 hours, you automatically learn how to multitask and double up your work speed. A normal day is filled with half a dozen classes, just as many assignments (both individual and group), industry talks, alumni sessions, clubs/committee activities, case studies, corporate competitions, and whatnot. And the cherry on top is that deadlines are sacrosanct. There are no second chances.
There is a flood of WhatsApp groups and sometimes it gets difficult to even keep track of events, let alone complete them. Along with all these you need to be updated with all the current issues, prepare for placements, and pursue your extra-curricular interests. And you also got to keep an eye on the campus buzz to ensure you don’t miss out on any fun.
Believe me, it is as overwhelming as it sounds. But with time, you learn to manage time. You learn to prioritize, increase your efficiency, and work at your maximum productivity level. And yes, you also have to forego a few meals, skip a few showers, abdicate worldly leisure of chilling out, and pull all-nighters. Sacrificing sleep is the hardest part. But gradually you get used to it.
2. MBA Culture
MBA teaches you the requisite etiquettes and mannerisms for the professional world. It transforms your personality, polishes your presentation, and hones communication skills. But MBA isn’t just about making you ready for the corporate world, it also makes you a better human being.
It teaches you kindness, empathy, and a vision to care not just for those around you but for the entire community and the whole world. Sustainability, after all, is the foundation on which IIM Shillong was started. In MBA, doors are always open, or to say in the current virtual context, the cell phones are always on.
You can ping ANY batchmate or senior, at ANY time, for ANY help, and you shall be helped in the best possible manner. Being the only 100% student-driven campus, peer learning is the soul of IIM Shillong.
3. Work Discipline
When the first slide of the first MBA session reads “the rigor is real”, you are already cautioned that this is serious business. And that there’s more to come.
MBA isn’t much different than real-life work experience. You start your day by getting grilled by professors, and you end it by getting reprimanded by seniors. The personal life gets thrown out of the window. And in between, there are colleagues from diverse backgrounds, whom you need to work along. There is politics, drama, arguments, discussions and everything else to make it feel like a typical Indian serial. But just like the happy ending in movies, ultimately, the whole batch stands untied as one, big IIM Shillong family.
MBA is all about getting the work done. So even if it doesn’t look cool or beats your ego or doesn’t conform with your lazy assed schedule, you got to pull your socks and get work done. You learn to be punctual, sincere, and a team player. Not that it’s all always serious, there are late-night parties as well which run till early in the morning. The motto is simple, “Work hard, Party harder”
4. Opportunities are galore
It was only a couple of days into the program when we had already recognized that the sky is the limit now. When you have industry giants like Amazon, Mahindra, PepsiCo, and many more coming to your campus for corporate talks, competitions, live projects, and placements, you can already see the long-awaited and much-coveted dream of working in these companies turning into a reality.
5. Competition is intense
With so many opportunities it might feel like heaven is just fingertips away. But look around and you will see hundreds like you fighting for the same golden ticket. No achievement comes easy in a batch comprising of a dozen CA/CS, engineers from IITs and NITs, and participants from diverse academic backgrounds ranging from hotel management to mathematics, from law to prosthetics.
For anything you claim to be an expert in, many others can do it even better. We have all sorts of people with all sorts of talents. The breadth of diversity is insane—from sticker queens to meme kings, from subject experts to sports champions, from poets to painters. While it is scary and can sometimes even make you feel inferior, it is also a great learning opportunity and experience. The whole batch is like a giant super-market of people with all the possible varieties of talent out on display. Whatever you wish to explore, you can choose and connect with that person.
Perhaps that’s why they say in MBA, your network is your net-worth. Life in an IIM can be daunting but it also magical. From stalking Instagram profiles to pinning people on zoom, from binge-watching shows to sitting glued for sessions, from that business formal to the combo of shirt-pajama, a lot changes in just one month.
As Prof. Basav says, “MBA is like a Himalayan trek. Your legs will hurt but your eyes will enjoy the view”. It is rough, rigorous, and stressful. It is also fun, entertaining, and amazing. It is MBA at IIM Shillong.
About the Author: Divyaraj Chandwaskar is a PGP Student (Batch 2020-22) at IIM Shillong. He has cleared the Company Secretary Final Level and looking forward to pursuing his career in the field of Finance and Consulting. Deeply interested in politics, social issues, and corporate laws, he is a poet and writer by heart and soul who loves to write confessional poetry and non-fiction blogs and books.