As the results season is going on, social media is flooded with a lot of happy posts- Hey! I got admission in my dream b-school. A very big congratulations to all those who made it this year and all the best to the warriors who will give it another try the next year!
While I started preparing for MBA entrance exams, I remember one of the teachers at a coaching center saying “MBA is like an inverted funnel- difficult to get in but life becomes easy once you are in there. You have a plethora of opportunities before you-you will get your dream job- a dream every coaching institute shows to lure the “would-be student” of their coaching centre”. I partly disagree with this statement. Yes, getting in is difficult- there is a lot of competition-it’s not a small feat to go through all those sleepless preparation nights, those anxiety attacks of low mock scores, the fear of the d-day and then emerging out as a conqueror. But is that feat enough? No! Is entering the funnel enough to get your dream job? No!
Your real journey starts when you enter the premises of your b-school and meet your batchmates.
Level-1 “I am not the only topper here”
As you step in your b-school and meet your batchmates, you will realize that you are not the only topper here. Everyone is! Everyone is a school or/and undergrad topper. Everyone has a stellar academic profile like yours- that’s the first criterion of getting admission to a b-school. You are no more the blue-eyed boy or girl of your teacher! Everyone wants to score well and they have the similar IQ and dedication as you!
More than that you will feel intimidated by the skills of others! How can he or she make such awesome PPTs? What is “Tableau”? How do you know all those formulas in excel? How does someone whip up answers out of thin air?
But isn’t that what everyone else is feeling? Someone will be having similar thoughts about you. How do you come out of that intimidating phase?
Find your niche. Make your identity! You may not be great at making eye-catching PPTs but maybe you can dig out data like no one else! You may not understand the rules of journal entry but you understand those logics and formulas in statistics! You may not be good at numbers but your creativity brings a different angle to the marketing lectures!
You need to understand that in an MBA, you will meet people from all walks of life- they may have skills better than you but they are not you. You are there because of your own talent and that’s what you need to focus on. Building your own brand.
Level- 2 “PDP program preceding your first meeting with your placement committee”
Every b-school has its own Personality Development Program- a program designed to prepare the junior batch for the “nerve wrecking” summer internship selection process- basically your seniors telling you how your life is going to be for next 2 years (you will later realize that it was just an exaggeration). You will actually miss those fun tasks which you couldn’t enjoy under the immense pressure of acing everything!
And that is where you will meet your placement committee for the first time- the ones responsible for getting you your dream internship! Every placement committee has their own style of preparing students- the most common one being “intimidation”. There will be times when someone younger to you in age (because you ae someone with work experience” will be shouting at you or making sarcastic comments for not introducing yourself properly (because there is a specific way of introducing yourself in that b-school and you can’t be the one breaking tradition with your free will!). There will be times when you will be scolded in front of your whole batch for not filling an EOI on time! (You will be filling a lot of them. Some even when you are not even interested in filling them although its known as “expression of interest”)
You will be questioning your life choices standing right there in the middle of that auditorium and would wish to leave that MBA program then and there!
You will realize later that all that shouting is just a sham. You will notice a 180 degrees change in the attitude of the same placement committee coordinators once you get your internship offer. The only fruitful thing out of all that shouting and scolding would be that you will prepare for your internship selection process well and you will eventually reap the benefits!
Level 3-“B-School Competitions”
As soon as you step into your MBA, you will be registering at platforms like “Dare2Compete”, “Kampus conversation” application- platforms which corporates use to put their competitions on and you will be asked to participate in all those competitions mandatorily (you know by whom) because these competitions lead to you getting internship offers even before your summers start officially.
Yes! These competitions are a great opportunity for you! You stand the chance of winning an internship offer (get out of the rat race as soon as possible!) You will learn a lot! You will be using every iota of your brain’s energy to crack that case study and you will have your “eureka” moment! It will go a long way in building your CV and your internship interview may revolve all-around your approach for that competition you cracked and nothing else! You will enjoy the thrill!
However, you may be stuck in a myriad as almost all the competitions open back to back or simultaneously and you will have a lot on your plate! Now when you have a lot of dishes to choose from, eating all of them will cause stomach ache but if you choose wisely for your favourite dishes, you will be contended. Similarly, you will have to choose the competitions you really want to invest yourself in! Not every competition is worth it. You will be making average submissions in a few (because its mandatory to make a submission) and shining in a few! All the marketing enthuse will have a lot of choices but for finance enthuse- you will not have much choice as there aren’t many finance competitions and you will be tagging along your marketing enthu friends helping them figuring out the numbers!
My advice would be-: Choose wisely. Travelling in a lot of boats will be troublesome for you! Look for your “solid” boat and jump in it while giving a hand to other boats!
There are more levels to the first 3 months of your b-school life which will be explored in the next part of this article.
All the best!
Read the second part here!
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