IIM Shillong – We Were Not Alone

I would want to take up this opportunity and share a memorable classroom experience that has changed my views and beliefs about a far less spoken topic, Depression.

The course Self Leadership and Communication is taught by Professor Sanjeeb Kakoty who by far is the most charismatic man I have come across, and it was evident that his sessions were more like life lessons that we will take outside our alma mater.

It was a 9 am class on a Wednesday morning, and usually, I skip those, but this course wasn’t usual, and neither was this session.

He began emphasizing how vital storytelling is and how it is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world of today. But before being storytellers, we had to unload some luggage of ours.

It is, of course, understandable that many people aren’t willing to share these things with the world, but perhaps something was about to change.

Students shared demise stories of their loved ones and how it had affected them at large. There were stories of harassment, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

I was awed by the fact that students were willing to share something so personal without toiling in anonymity.

Nobody tells you that b-school might be difficult. We’re sold on placements and the glossy prospectus – there are no footnotes about loneliness and disillusionment.

As a fresher, you’re persistently reminded that this is supposed to be the ‘time of your life.’

Managing your studies alongside depression can be a daily struggle. It is hard to get family support as they live far away.

The most beautiful thing about a caring professor like Kakoty is that he has a tremendous capacity to make the classroom more liberal and open. What b-schools need to know about depression is that establishing a relationship that encourages open communication significantly impacts the student’s ability to reach success in the course.

The professor gets to be acquainted with the students and discover the strategies that the individual is already using to navigate his/her surroundings. Students are well aware of issues that trigger their depression and are also mindful that many of the problems that aggravate their depression are intangible or unknown.

Together we should create a platform for communication that works best for the student; some students prefer to conference in private whereas others prefer email. Students suffering from depression, require constant reassurance and that the professor is both willing to listen and help.

Professors who approach the depressed student with compassion, understanding, flexibility, and openness will create a classroom environment where the students can reach success.

What I realized that many people suffer from depression and put on a happy face. No matter how depressed you feel and how much you think there is no hope, you can always stand up an dig yourself out of that hole, fight your depression, and remember you are not alone!

Which ABG company would you want to work for and why?

Company: Aditya Birla Fashion and Limited

Why: The reason I want to work in fashion & retail is because I am an artist wanting to express myself using clothing. I want to work my way up to the top and become a designer because I feel I have the will power and creativity to make it in the business. You can tell me my sketches suck, my designs will never make it, I don’t have enough nerve, but in the end I’ll prove everyone wrong.


Aditya Chavan

PGP 2nd Year

IIM Shillong

IIM Shillong Placement Committee

Placement Committee of IIM Shillong