We have always seen students of IIMs going on exchange to universities abroad. In the same set up, students from abroad come to our universities in India. David Merzger is one such student from Germany, who had come for a term to IIM Indore. He is pursuing masters in studies of business administration from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany. David is interested in finance, and has gained hands on commercial experience in financial services back in Germany during his internship with several companies. As part of social activities, he has also worked for civilian service. Let’s check out what he thinks about IIM Indore.
Life at IIM Indore
The experience at IIM-I has been nice. I really like this type of campus life. My university in Germany is spread all over the city and everything seems scattered and lost. You meet your friends once in a while when you get to your class. Here, everything is bundled together which makes you feel good about the life here. There is always something going on in the campus, especially when you are new. It seems to be a new city to me where everyone is together. I have made really good friends and everyone is very helpful out here. When I came here for the first time, quite obviously I got puzzled and lost my way, however I never felt helpless, because someone would always approach me and offer help. People here celebrate some Ravan killing festival(Dussehrra) and then the other day, near the PI-shop (student run grocery store) there was some Lord Puja happening. When I came to India, I thought I would learn about these Indian Gods and Goddesses, but they are so many in numbers! I find it difficult to learn about them.
Indian classroom V/s Classroom in Germany
There are so many differences. For example in Germany, all my grades are based on my performance in the final exam. The evaluation is not distributed on several components, as it is here. During my semester I don’t have to go to my classes though most of the time I got to the class but I feel at the end of the day many people don’t turn up for the class as it doesn’t matter whether one goes to the class or not. I guess it would be the same here as well if the mandatory attendance rule is turned off. The mandatory attendance rule is a nice thing, as this is how you get to know people. After the classes you have to do assignments for which you have to meet and you interact with people. There are so many things going on here all over the trimester. You have term papers, group assignments and so many other things; these make me realize that it’s harder to fail here. In Germany, exams are tough and thus the failure rate is close to 50%. Here the intermittent preparations keep you equipped with the course, thus it is easy to pass in the end. And it isn’t like Germany where you have just one exam, and you have to prove yourself in that one exam. In financial terms, the risk is more diversified here.
Sometimes I am irked by the compulsory class attendance. It is not that I want to miss class on purpose, sometimes you want to travel, you have some work. But then the office here is very supportive, it works out at the end of the day.
The approach to assignments followed here is very different. I am not saying that any one approach is right or wrong, but it is just very different. When we have any assignment in Germany, we have to start right away with our assignment. When there were presentations to be made, we worked for 4 weeks, but here everything is last minute. It always works out somehow. When I had my first assignment on Mergers and Acquisitions here, I was shocked when people started working only three days in advance. However it worked out, everything was fine but it was just a different approach. At first I thought it was impossible to deliver something like this working at the last moment. Everyone here gives their best on the last minute roll, so quality does not suffer with this approach. But for the bad times when you don’t have a buffer, working on the things at the last moment may turn out to be a fiasco. I don’t know which approach is better but it’s just that both are different.
At IIM Indore faculty is more approachable to a certain degree. For e.g. my professor for Business Analysis and Valuation told me that since we were international students and if we were facing any difficulty comprehending the course, whether we would like to have an extra class or some other support? He was ready to help us.
In Germany, we have a distant relation with the professors. The professor comes and teaches, there is no component for class participation so we hardly interact with him. You come, sit and enjoy the lecture, and then you move out. The level of interaction is low and thus I like this thing about India. The class size is smaller so you can have a one to one conversation with the professors. My encounter with the corporate risk management professor made the environment so conducive that it was very much feasible to talk to him and get my doubts cleared. Same doesn’t happen back home.
Germany follows a technical approach - you are taught the concepts, not many case studies are taught. Case study is usually solved during the workshop hour and 1 case study is max we used to do in a workshop. But here you have so many case studies, it is more of a practical approach that you follow. You apply the concepts in the case study, all that you learn is not in the air, it is in your mind as you have practiced it out.
Experience at IIM Indore in one word
Message from David
During my graduation I got a chance to be in the US and Canada. I had enjoyed in those countries as well. India as a country excited me when I was offered the option to go on student exchange. I had option to choose from IIM - Ahmedabad and Calcutta. I talked to one of my friends; he had been on exchange to IIM Indore and had found the experience to be exciting, things worked out well for him here. So, I planned to come here. The courses here were of my interest, this was another reason I joined here. I don’t regret my decision now.
Everyone should have for some international experience because when you work for an international organization, it is important to not be judgmental. I have seen so many different approaches with my international experience and I don’t find any of these approaches right or wrong. You can always have a combination of these to carve the best approach out. I have got to learn a lot from all my experiences all because of the international exposure.
- As told to Barleen Kaur
Barleen Kaur graduates from IIM Indore in March 2015. All stories by Barleen can be found here : barleen.insideiim.com