Okay, but who in their right mind would do this? Those who aren’t chasing tags but are looking at what’s best-fit for their careers.
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Bhavya’s tough call to reject four old IIMs
Take Bhavya Nag — computer engineer from DTU with a great profile and an even better CAT score. Bhavya landed calls from most of the old IIMs, eventually converting IIMs L, K, I, and S. She also had an offer from SPJIMR.
What did Bhavya do? She chose SPJIMR over all other options.
“I chose SPJIMR over IIMs K and L primarily because it offered a clear specialization from the beginning. Given my tech background, I didn't want to completely depart from it.
Moreover, SPJIMR's emphasis on non-classroom learning and its commitment to values were significant factors for me. I wanted my educational journey to align with my values and not feel like a daunting experience.
The location was also a major consideration. Coming from Delhi, I preferred pursuing my further education in metropolitan cities. Additionally, SPJIMR's Global Fast Track program was another appealing factor that drew me towards the B-School. In the end, SPJIMR felt like the better fit for me.”
Saikiran’s hard decision to let go of ‘IIM’ tag
Bhavya’s not the only one. G.C. Saikiran, a non-engineer with a stellar profile and a 99+ percentile in CAT, rejected IIMs I, K, new and baby IIM offers for SPJIMR.
“A networking event hosted by SPJIMR in April 2023 played a pivotal role in my decision-making process. It offered me a comprehensive understanding of SPJIMR's unique pedagogical approach.
One distinctive feature that stood out was SPJIMR's autumn internship process, which sets it apart from other business schools. With this approach, students complete four terms, including the specialization term, before embarking on their internship. This not only fosters a more collaborative culture, as opposed to the competitive nature of traditional summer internships, but it also enables us to provide more value to the companies we intern with, having completed our specialization term.”
Salil’s story of choosing SPJIMR over IIM-K
Joining the club of ‘IIM rejectors’ is Salil Bhonsle, who was in the top-2% of CAT and XAT and had converted, with a lot of hard work, an SPJIMR and IIM Kozhikode call.
Tons of research forced Salil’s hand and made him take the painful decision of letting go of the IIM-K offer.
“I had a few close friends already studying in SPJIMR, so I had a good idea of their college experience. I witnessed their significant growth, both professionally and personally.
Objectively, both colleges seemed quite similar given my background. However, what really stood out for me was the non-classroom learning approach at SPJIMR. Activities like mentoring underprivileged children, rural internships, and the Global Fast Track International Immersion Program resonated with me.
I felt like the course structure of SPJIMR was just what I was looking for. During the meetups, interacting with more seniors and fellow students, I felt a strong alignment of values, which I believe is a result of SPJIMR's selection process. I realized these were the kind of people I wanted to share the next two years of my life with.”
Forgetting tags and choosing the right b-school is hard. Here’s how you do it.
Bhavya, Salil, and Saikiran took the bold move of letting go of IIM offers. But this wasn’t just gut-feel — a ton of research went into their decision-making process.
Here’s what you can learn from their experience.
1. Don’t overlook the ‘culture’ factor
“A crucial factor that many people overlook is the college's culture. Opt for a college where you feel culturally aligned.
B-school isn't just a two-year stint; it lays the foundation for your professional life, allowing you to imbibe learnings that will last a lifetime. It's essential to choose a college where you can thrive and become the best version of yourself,” believes Salil Bhonsle.
2. Dig deeper than the average salary
“When evaluating your career options, it's crucial to dig deeper than just the CTC. Take a closer look at the aspirational companies, the specific roles they offer, and the comprehensive placement statistics.
It's not enough to focus solely on the overall CTC; instead, delve into its components, such as the fixed component, variable component, bonuses, and other perks, to make an informed decision,” says G.C Saikiran.
3. Get an insider’s perspective
“First, clarify what you're seeking from the MBA degree. Based on that, conduct an objective analysis. Speak to as many seniors from different colleges as you can, and also consult unbiased individuals from other colleges.
I had lots of chats with seniors from both colleges. They shared their experiences about why they picked their college, what they thought their college lacked, the pedagogy of their respective colleges and domain specific questions about short-term and long-term goals,” says Salil Bhonsle.
4. Consider faculty quality
“An aspect worth considering is the quality of faculty members in your chosen subject or specialization.
For instance, in my core specialization, marketing, at SPJIMR, I found that engaging with the professors has been an enriching experience.
While this may not initially seem like a critical factor, as you progress in your studies, you'll come to appreciate how it elevates your learning, adds depth to your area of interest, and fosters a deeper connection to your chosen field,” says G.C. Saikiran.
5. Go in with no regrets
“Make it a personal decision based on what aligns best with your goals and values. Ultimately, your success can be achieved in any reputable institution, so choose wisely and without any regrets.
Prioritise the factors that matter most to you, such as specialization, learning approach, location, and any unique programs offered by the B-schools. It's your journey, so make sure the school you select resonates with your aspirations,” is what Bhavya Nag would advise aspirants to do.